Saturday, August 22, 2009

September 23, 2009

New post on September 23, 2009. Competing in short story contest w/deadline on Sept 15, 2009.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Conversation with Guy LeCri

Whoosh goes the big glass door to the concrete lab as the Geo-tech, Bob, puts his right shoulder into the door this afternoon. As Bob enters the dark lab, he walks to the cylinder stripping bay with a set of six gray concrete cylinders and bends over setting them down. Adjusting himself to an upright position, he sees two eyes peering at him from the chair next to the table where the cylinders are stressed tested.

"Guy, is that you?" Bob asks startlingly.
"Oui, it is me," says Guy in an evil chuckle.
"What are doing?" inquires Bob.
"Eating my lunch, what did you think I was doing?" responds Guy.
"I don't know, I can't see you," says Bob, "Why are you eating in the dark."
"It is more peaceful," replies Guy.
"Well, Okay then," affirms Bob as he turns toward the wooden door heading to the project managers' offices.
"Where are you going?" asks Guy.
"To update Ova Nova on the project," replies Bob.

Upon hearing that Bob was about to leave the lab to see the project manager, Ova Nova, Guy becomes extremely quiet. Bob had known Guy for a long time and knew this was Guy's way of asking him to stay because he had something to discuss. Guy Lecri had come many years ago from French speaking West Africa and spoke slowly because he always translated what he was hearing into French for better clarity. This was a source of frustration for alot of Americans, but Bob was always patient and paid attention no matter how busy he was.

"Guy, Did you want to talk to me?" asks Bob tensely.
"No," replies Guy.
"Are you sure?" asks Bob.
"Oui," nods Guy.
"Okay, then I'm going to see Ova Nova." says Bob emphatically.

Bob starts to leave while having the feeling that Guy is watching him. The silence is noticeable and thick. When it is thick, Bob knows that Guy does not just want to talk to him, but needs to talk to him. Bob stops at the wooden door and turns around.

"Okay, say it," says Bob frustratingly.
"Say what," says a puzzled Guy.
"Just say whatever you want to," replies Bob.
" Are you sure you have the time?" asks Guy.
"I do," says Bob.

Bob leans against the lightly colored, wooden cabinet where the nuclear, soil gauges are stored, while Guy stares down at his lunch on the table. Bob lays his black XX Engineering bag on the floor, and Guy pushes his green office chair backwards from the table. They look at each other,and Guy smiles.

" Do you remember, last week, when I came to the site to pick up the masonry prisms," says Guy.
"I do," replies Bob chuckling.
"And I forgot what you told me about going to the visitor's center," says Guy.
"Yes," says Bob.
"Instead I went to the gate, and the soldier stopped me," says Guy nervously.
"Yeah, that is when you called me, and I talked to the soldier on the cell," replies Bob.
"Yes, you do remember, and you told the soldier that I was confused and that I needed to wait at the visitors center for my escort, Sea-dog" says Guy.
"Uh, huh," says Bob tiredly.
"Then Sea-dog came, and the soldier was really mad at him...," says Guy.
"He was?" laughs Bob.
"Yes, He told him that he was responsible for my mistake, and he reprimanded him harshly," says Guy.
"That's okay. Sea-dog's probably used to getting chewed on, now and then," says Bob with a big grin.
"Then Sea-dog escorts me to the parking lot to turn me over to you, but you aren't there," says Guy.
"You know I went to get us value meals," says Bob.
"I know. Then you come back, and I say lets get this done quick so I can get outta here and back to Ova. And you say, 'screw Ova.' Do you remember?" asks Guy.
"I do," laughs Bob.
"This is big in the culture that I was raised...," Guy says emphatically.
"What, value meals are big in your culture," says Bob mockingly.

With just that one comment, the silence becomes thick, once more. Now, the silence is very thick, and Bob realizes that he just stepped on Guy's feelings like a child playing hopscotch. The silence is getting exponentially thicker by the second, and Bob knows he has to apologize.

"You know, Guy, the value meals are important to me because they are important to you," says Bob.
"Thank you," says Guy.
"Many years ago when I was younger, my country was in a civil war. Do you know what civil war is?" asks Guy.
"Yeah, we had one around 1860," replies Bob.
"But you really don't know what one is, do you?" asks Guy.
"I guess you are right. I don't know what it is like to have your hometown occupied by an enemy," says Bob.
"Exactly. But during this period, soldiers from one side occupied my village,"says Guy.
"Which side?" asks Bob.
"What does it matter, which side. One side," replies Guy.
"And they rounded up everyone in the village. Some were taken prisoner, some forced to work,and some were terminated. Me, I was forced to work as a messenger. And I did it to save the lives of mon père et ma mère" says Guy

Bob walks over to the coffee pot on the table in front of the glass door, and pours himself a cup. He kicks a gray office chair over to the gang box, which is next to the glass door. Reaching into his pocket he pulls out a cigarette and walks over to the chair with the coffee and cigarette in hand. Noticing the "No Smoking" sign as the faintest rays of sunlight hit it, he sits and props his feet on to the gang box while lighting his cigarette. Guy starts laughing.

"Go on, Guy, go on," encourages Bob.
"Well, one day the other side catches me, and I am taken prisoner," says Guy.
"That can't be good." says Bob as he puffs the cigarette.
"No, they tortured me." says Guy in a low voice.
"How did the torture you?" asks Bob.
"What does it matter, the word torture should be descriptive enough. And then I escaped." says Guy.
"Then, you came to America?" asks Bob.
"Then I come to America and get asylum." says Guy.
"Good, " says Bob.

Bob walks over to the glass door, opens it, and flicks the butt over the back porch. Guy grabs the trash from his lunch and throws it into the large gray trashcan next to the table. Guy places both his hands on the trash can, and looks into it.

"Until last week, I have never seen anything in America that reminded of those days in my original country," explains Guy.
"But, last week brought all of those memories back, right?" inquires Bob.
"Yeah, except that you and Sea-dog were there, and the soldier was very good." says Guy.
"You mean disciplined," corrects Bob.
"I mean disciplined, and that was the one good thing I learned last week." says Guy.

Bob smiles at Guy and waves as he walks to Ova's office, and Guy turns to finish his work, stress testing concrete cylinders. Bob is walking and thinking about the enlightenment that Guy had just showed him about West African culture. While Bob is walking, Guy is testing cylinders and thinking about the knowledge that he had gained in the week prior about his new country, America.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Conversation with Malachi Thomas

Malachi Thomas is a foreman for the Moreorless masonry company. He is a man whom is about forty, and he likes to do the daily crossword puzzles. A dedicated worker who is most of the time conscientious, and he embraces the establishment or corporate office if you will, as needed.
Today, Malachi is ordered by his project manager Baker Bowie to cut four masons from the roster, or in other words,it is lay-off time. Malachi responds by telling Baker to pick three because he already laid one mason off this morning. Baker Bowie being a double-chinned gutless sycophant does not want to pick.

"Just do it." Says Baker.
"Like Nike, OK. I'll lay off Alberto, Miguel, and Raul at break time." responds Malachi. "Good." replies Baker with a sigh of relief.
"Pick three." Says Malachi to the Geo-tech, Bob.
"Three for what?" asks Bob.
"Three for pinks." says Malachi grinningly pointing to the top of the scaffold.
"No, man. Not on your life." says Bob.
"Why not, are you chicken?" says Malachi.
"No, man. I don't want to be apart of such cruelty." says Bob.
"It's the right thing to do. There is no work, and the company expects me to reduce." explains Malachi.
"I don't care if it is the right or wrong thing to do. It is still cruel." says Bob.
"How so no one guarantees you a job. There is such a thing as a Darwinian aspect in life. These are my worst four guys, and the company can no longer afford to keep them employed. In this business, people are tools or commodities, if you will. When they are no longer of value or become unusable, then you get rid of them." lectures Malachi.
"It makes it no less cruel. He becomes a victim of circumstance, and his wife and children become one as well. All because Mr. Bill Moreorless can't do without his two beach houses in Cape May, or his fifty million in the bank. You could let them at least finish out the day, and if you were to be compassionate and generous, you'd let them finish out the week." responds Bob.

With that they walk over to the truck and finish the crossword on a hot summer day. They each light a cigarette and pop the brims of their hard hats up. They look at the scaffold and see the masons climbing down to go to break. "This will only take a minute, don't go anywhere," Malachi orders Bob. Malachi goes up the hill and sends Alberto, Miguel and Raul home. Bob looks up the hill and sees the distress on their faces as they leave. Malachi walks briskly down the hill.

"Told you, it wouldn't take long." says Malachi
"While you were at it, did you tell them to eat cake?" Bob digs.
"Look, three months from now, I could be in their shoes." exclaims Malachi.
"So for three months worth of pay, you punched their tickets. You should of told Baker to do it, or called Moreorless and made him do it." says Bob.
"They expect me to do it." says Malachi.
"I don't get you. Half the time you are saying that you are going to walk out, and the other half you are kissing Baker's posterior. Why?"
"Because their is a Darwinian aspect to life. In the animal world the strong survive and the weak become obsolete. In our world, survival depends on skill and/or cunning. Whether it be surviving for three more months or eternity, you must have skill and/or cunning," says Malachi.
"It seems to me that it comes to kissing butts and dumb-luck." says Bob.
"And that would be the and/or cunning part of the Darwinian aspect. Takes both, remember that." says Malachi.
"In the meantime, four families have been screwed in the posterior by Moreorless. Do me a favor? If it ever happens to me, don't let anyone tell me about the Darwinian aspect or use the phrase, 'go eat cake,' or I will kick that guy in his little Darwins" replies Bob.

And with that Malachi nodded and cut the day short. He took four hours leave and got into his company owned truck to head home. When he got home he patted his dog on the head and changed into his blue and white speedos-in order to annoy the stay-at-home wives in the neighborhood-and after doing that, he grabbed three beers. He walked toward the pool in his backyard and put the beers at the pool's edge. He grabbed his green and pink raft and placed it into the water. He grabbed a beer, and laid on the raft with his moon exposed to the sun, neighborhood, or any passer-by such as Darwin's clone, so that they may know that they were fully entitled to kiss his a-- because there is a Darwinian aspect in life.