I’d get a call over the walkie-talkie, write down what parts were needed, find them in the parts’ warehouse tent, load ’em up, and deliver them to the job site. It was pretty easygoing. In between orders I’d just sit in the air-conditioned truck, listening to Howard Stern and napping here and there. When I could. After a month, they hired another guy to be my partner. He was a computer programming geek, married with kids, and he had these stupid cartoon tattoos all over his arms. Japanese anime **** and Hanna-Barbara characters. The guy really got on my nerves, one of those know-it-all nerds.
Our boss was the biggest Native I’d ever seen. Looked like a Navajo Andre the Giant, only he had a big, black, handlebar mustache. Which as surprising, because, I was under the impression Navajo’s couldn’t grow ****** hair. He stood at nearly 6’6” with long skinny legs, a barrel chest covered in silver and turquoise jewelry. When he got angry, his eyes went wild, like fire raging out of control. Like the time I got the flatbed truck stuck on an embankment and the back axle snapped off. “******* JUNIOR!” he shouted. My old man was one of the foremen there, so everyone just called me Junior. Oh yes, my boss, Darren, was a scary guy to say the least. So me and my delivery partner were making a run to the jobsite one day, the radio blaring “Free Bird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd, just getting into the fast final part of the song. The good part. Right in the middle of the guitar solo, my partner changed the station to Nickleback, of all things. I quickly switched it back to the Skynyrd.
“What’s wrong with you? Don’t change it in the middle of “Free Bird,” I said.
My partner rolled his eyes and switched it back to Nicklecrap.
“Come on, get with the times, man. This is the new ****.”
“Yeah, **** is right.”
I switched it back AGAIN, but the song was ending.
“You made me miss the song, ya’ ******’ *****.’
“Why don’t ya’ just cry about it then?”
We delivered the parts and parked the truck back inside the parts’ warehouse tent. With no calls coming in over the radio, we cranked the a/c and dozed off to Howard Stern talking about an “**** ring toss” game they were going to play. I woke up an hour later to Darren’s angry voice coming in over the radio. “Where the **** are you guys? *******, we got parts that gotta go out. I’m headed to the tent …”
I looked over to my partner, snoring away in the driver’s seat. For a second, I contemplated waking him up. Then I remembered the Lynard Skynyrd/Nickleback incident, and I left him sleeping in the truck. I walked out of the tent, to the Port-John to take a squirt. When I returned to the tent, Darren was staring at my partner, who was still asleep in the truck. Darren’s eyes were big and crazy; he was furious. He turned to me.
“What the ****, Junior?”
“I’ve been trying to get him up, but he just won’t budge. I’m having to do all this work myself!”
“******* …” Darren said, with a heavy sigh, before pounding on the driver’s side window.
“Andy! Wake the **** up, *******! Junior’s carrying all the weight here!”
Andy did wake up. He glared at me, and I smiled back with a ****-eating grin.
You don’t ever interrupt The Free Bird. I don't care what your name is.