"You're strong for a girl!"
"You're pretty for an old curmudgeon."
Just like that, everyone around the final pallet of freight to be brought into the warehouse that sweltering Evillian afternoon burst into laughter, concluding with the now embarrassed curmudgeon and then Jane, who, soaking in the sensation, uncharacteristically smiled.
"Alright, that's enough. Good work, everyone. Your end time is 6:15. Check the calendar to see your hours for tomorrow. Jane, hang tight for a minute."
"What's up, Detlef... rather... 'Deadlift'?"
The warehouse was empty. They both caught a smoke as they walked toward the trucks on the far end of the yard before 'Deadlift' said, "how're they treating you? Nothing too bad?" "Nothing I can't handle." "I know they pick on everyone but I just wanna make sure, not just to cover my ass, but because, well, I know you're trying to get back into computer-type work."
They slowly arrived at one of their older trucks.
"Nothing to concern yourself with, boss. I need the money, so I'm not gonna dropkick you. You've been good to me, plus, you wouldn't give me a reference if I did anything foolish." "Yeah... It's just we, they, live in a world outside a polite society. If you hang out here too much, you might get rowdy and unfavorable with some of your important customers... and it's not good for your health."
He held out his the remainder of his left hand.
"There's one thing that's not stressful about this. Well, two. I don't have to carry any shit home with me. Stuff like 'how can I fix this computer thing' kept me up at night. It's all merit here. No brown-nosing, even to you." 'Deadlift' laughed. "Yeah, that's nice." Jane had nothing to say for a while until they finished their cigarettes in silence.
"Thanks for checking in."
They slowly walked back to the office. "Sure. You're one of our better workers. For one, you arrive on time, ready to work, and you don't come in drunk or stoned." "You wouldn't have liked me before I got clean." "No need to dwell on the past, right? Well, since I held you up, I'll sign you off at 6:45 today. You want overtime tomorrow?"
The company's coveted overtime.
"Sure. I don't have anything going on this weekend." "Huh... well, OK. Should start at 8, but check the schedule to be sure." "Sure, thanks for the opportunity." "Alright, good work. See ya tomorrow at 8." "Later, boss." She walked over to her locker, unlocked it, got her empty lunch pail, and locked it. Her truck was one of the last ones left in the lot.
She warmed it up and went for a detour drive.
No real destination in mind. Just open roads, a clear head, and no immediate stress. Sure, she didn't have as much as her friend Sammohini. No family or kid. Just a cheap apartment full of old books she'd read and re-read. But that was comfortable.
And that's what she wanted most of all.
[Sources: My professional experiences. Behind the Name for Detlef; movers all have road names, so I wanted to shoehorn both in, perhaps somewhat unsuccessfully...]
[Inspirations: Remembering how it was like being a furniture mover.]
[Related: Somewhere in the Sammohini Arc of “The Story” as an introduction to a mini-arc about Jane's adventures over the course of one exciting weekend.]
<td>Photo: "Warehouse" rolling door at Pike Place Market.</td>
[Written On: June 11th [45 minutes], 25th]
[Last Edited: June 25th]
"You're strong for a girl!"