Bear and the BJ

Time was moving very slowly. I was very uncomfortable. I had another thirty minutes of this. After that there would be explosive violence. Time was moving very slowly.

Previously…

The roofing company I worked for had a couple of trucks that we took on roofing jobs. A large truck with removable, fenced sides for carrying materials. A large pick up truck for tools. And a little son-of-a-bitch Subaru diesel flatbed. The Subaru had more of a wooden back seat than a truck bed. The trucks all used to be white. The guys who did plumbing jobs had newer trucks with newer paint jobs. The roofers got the shit trucks. Well, perhaps we got good trucks and just treated them like shit. Bear was driving the Subaru and I was in the only other seat.

Bear was just passing though town. He was a trucker without a truck. He had been in Lancaster for a few months and with the roofing company for about a month. I’m sure they called him Bear because he was huge and because he was furry. He was one of those guys that told you what his nickname was without mentioning his real one. I'm sure he had something to hide. He was a talker or a sawbitch as Miss Sally would have called him. He had big plans. Driving munitions for the Army. Carrying hazardous cargo for the government. Each “job” was exciting, dangerous and paid a shitload of money. I don’t know why then he was driving my ass to a roofing job in a Subaru for $8.50 an hour.

About $4.25 into the morning, Bear and I were heading down to Logan, OH to the GE plant to continue a roofing job. We had all met at the shop, loaded the trucks and divided up for the trip down. I got stuck with Bear. As we headed out of town, he pulled off the highway into a residential neighborhood I was unfamiliar with. I asked where we were going. “My girlfriend’s house.” We pulled up to a little green house in the neighborhood and he got out with his coffee mug. “Be right back.” I waited. Be right back turned out to be fifteen minutes. Just enough time to fill his coffee cup and get a BJ. He got back in all smiles and laughs. I pretended to be asleep. We headed south to the jobsite.

The Subaru did have one good attribute. It had a choke. And when you were going down the highway, pulling on the choke would emit copious amounts of smoke out the tailpipe. Because the top speed of the Subaru was 58 MPH, many people would ride our ass. I’d yell, “Give um the smoke!” and the driver would pull the choke and bury the unlucky bastard behind us.

A week later, I found myself in the Subaru again. This time with Mark. Mark was a plumber who was working as a roofer until a plumbing job opened up. He felt like the owner of the company was keeping him back and not promoting him. Especially when they hired another plumber without offering him the job. I think he spent his entire life picking himself up and dusting off after some bully pushed him down.

We loaded up the trucks with roofing materials and divided up to drive down to Logan. Mark and I got in the Subaru and headed south. Mark swore. He had forgotten his lunch bucket. He apologized and soon pulled off the highway into a little residential neighborhood that I was now familiar with. I remarked, “Hey, this is the same neighborhood where Bear’s girlfriend lives.”

“Really?” He said “really” in a way that implied that his brain plumbing was springing a small leak. Mark never really got along with Bear. Bear had been picking on guys like Mark since the first grade.

We pulled up to a little green house in the neighborhood.

“Hey, this is where Bear’s girlfriend lives.”

“No, this is where I live.” Mark has a wife and two kids. He mentioned them often.

“Does Bear’s girlfriend live with you?” At that moment, we both realized that yes, Bear’s girlfriend did live in Mark’s house.

Mark got out of the truck and walked into the house. He was only in there for four or five minutes. He didn’t have his lunch bucket when he walked out. He didn’t say anything as he got in the truck. He pulled out and we headed south.

Time was moving very slowly. I was very uncomfortable. I had another thirty minutes of this. After that there would be explosive violence. Time was moving very slowly.

Bear had ridden down in one of the other trucks and I wondered if he would sense Mark walking up behind him with a shovel and bashing his brains in. Or Mark dumping a bucket of hot, liquid asphalt on him. There was also an axe in the tool truck…

We arrived at the jobsite in silence. Mark got out of the truck and put on his gloves and boots. He then went to work. I did the same.

Throughout the day, Mark was silent. At lunch he drove down with the foreman to buy stale sandwiches from the gas station. He ate them alone in the truck.

“What’s wrong with Mark?” others would ask.

“I don’t know,” I lied.

At the end of the day, I made sure I wasn’t in the same truck as Mark or Bear. So I rode in the back of the fenced truck with roofing debris and fiberglass swirling about. Permanent eye damage seemed more desirable than half an hour of silence with Mark or half an hour of bullshit with The-guy-who-is-sleeping-with-Mark’s-wife. We got back to the shop and everyone went home.

I’m sorry to tell you that is how this story ends. There was no confrontation. There was no bashing of the skull or death by black tar. Everything went back to normal the next day. It turns out Mark was still the little kid getting pushed down by a bully or a boss or a guy fucking his wife. And he wasn’t fighting back. The story doesn’t always end with a montage of the little kid leaning karate and kicking the bully’s ass. Sometimes we just keep getting pushed over.

Why do I feel like I’m leaving something out…

Oh! Did I mention that Bear did give his real name to Mark’s wife?

I think I also forgot that Bear had several warrants out for his arrest.

And then there was the part about Bear being arrested as few days later when someone left an anonymous message with the Lancaster police.

In about a month, a plumber position did open up. Mark got one of the newer trucks.

15 comments:

miss fanny dimples said...

goose bumps, good job pal.

Momcat said...

Good story. More than one way to get revenge.

Maundering mutterer said...

Nice timing. Good story. Good stuff. East to see why you're 'notable'. Soon to be notorious?

Conny said...

i always wonder how you get yourself into situations like these.

Rox said...

Damn. Well that sucks for all parties.

Mary from the Prairie said...

Love the story! Congratulations on your Blog of Note!

Yang said...

I was grudgingly browsing blogs to finish one of my class assignments until I saw your story. Nice one. Worth the time I spent reading it.

KK said...

good story :)

nance said...

Great story; nicely written.

nance said...

Great story and nicely written.

Nate said...

I liked how real this story is. No fancy hollywood embellishments. This is how life is and sometimes it is less than fun.

Bubbly said...

ah life at it's most honest...very good post..seems bear got what he deserved...and Mark well he got a lil something with the new truck and job...renews faith that SOMETIMES good things happen to good people...sadly... so does bad stuff..enjoyed the read..congrats your blog's definitely "noted" worthy.

phoonim said...

Love the story! Congratulations on your Blog of Note! congrats your blog's definitely "noted" worthy.

phoonim said...

Love the story! Congratulations on your Blog of Note! congrats your blog's definitely "noted" worthy.

angie said...

i always admire people who always find time in expressing their thoughts...