Saturday, August 13, 2005

The Early Years: Payback.

I got talked into picking cherries for some old fart with a fruit stand. The guy came and picked me up along with two of my friends in his Chevy pickup. The guy bragged about his paint job that he'd done all by himself using house paint and a big brush. Honestly, it was the roughest looking thing I'd ever seen, wavy and ridged like a potato chip. My friends and I hopped in the bed, sitting on empty fruit baskets. As we bounced down the old road to the orchards, one of my friends started laughing at this fat lady wearing this big sun hat. We thought that we'd be working with the old man, but it turns out that the funny fat lady would be our real boss.

This fat lady sat under a canopy in front of a big fold out table with a lock box of money and a cooler full of Tab. After the old fart handed us to her, she went on a big rant about if she catches us touching any of her stuff we won't get paid, if we screw around we won't get paid, and then drifted off about where to start picking. We got paid by the pound, so we needed to pick a lot. We got up on these loosey-goosey wood ladders and started picking, then about 20 minutes into it, picking and eating, and then finally an all out cherry fight. The Fat lady heard what was going on but was too lazy to get out of her chair, so she just let out a bovine like groan followed by, "Quit screwing around!"

It was really hot and about three hours in we were past hungry and dying of thirst. We thought that the next guy to take a basket up to the stand should beg her for one of the Tabs and whatever else she had in the cooler. One of my buddies ended up going there first and was turned down. She actually yelled at him for asking then directed him over to a bucket full of the nastiest water imaginable. We were too thirsty to protest, so we drank what we could keep down.

After the fourth hour of picking we noticed that the lady had left her stand. The lock box was gone, but the cooler was still there. We were a little unsure if we could get away with taking anything out of there without being caught. We went over anyway and looked inside the cooler. There was only one Tab left and it was open. This was back in the day of the tall glass bottle. My friend held up the bottle; the dripping ice water ran down the sides of the bottle and caught the Summer sun just like the damn commercials. We were in desperation waiting for our turn; then to our horror, our friend hawked up a huge loogey and spat in her drink. After the rest of us got over our initial disappointment and outrage, we realized the genius of what this kid did. So, we both took our turns spitting into this ladies' drink. Yes, she drank it, and yes, we got paid too. That was one of my first lessons in workplace anarchy and I'll treasure it forever.

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