The Id and The Odyssey; Episode 18
A Job Offer Episode
“I’m eighteen,” Rich said.
“That’s good,” Frank said. “When I was eighteen I’d already worked two years for a trucking company. I got drafted and went to the beautiful Italy, France, and Germany courtesy Hitler, Mussolini, and Patton. I didn’t have much time to think, but I did think. That’s when I started the idea of my own trucking company. I started with a war surplus duce and a half taking freight to Buffalo and The City. Ya know, when I was new in the business I got a contract that was going to guarantee a hundred dollars in business a week. My wife and I celebrated. Last week I closed a deal that’s worth ten thousand a week. I didn’t sleep for two nights just worrying. And here’s the funny thing, I put more in my pocket in that hundred dollar deal than I am with that ten thousand dollar deal.”
“Why don’t you just go back to one truck?” Rich said.
“I wish it were all that simple,” Frank said.
“Yeah, sometimes you just can’t go back,” Rich said and Frank looked at him curiously. It was one of those awkward moments when something needs to be explained. “How far are we from Albany?”
“Thirty miles,” Frank said. “It will take nearly hour with a the traffic to get to my terminal.” Frank looked at Rich as he watched the telephone poles go by and said as if Rich were impatient, “It beats walkin’.”
“Sure does,” Rich said, “I’m just wondering if it will take very long to get the bike fixed. I want to get to Maine before the snow flies and it‘s not like I‘m real tight on money, but I don‘t want to pay for a new bike just to get the bearings repaired.”
“I’ll tell you what,” Frank said. “I’ll drop you off at the bike shop. You see what has to be done and if ya want some work come on down to my place and I’ll put you on the docks loading and unloading trailers.”
“It’s not that I’m ungrateful,” Rich said. “But a past experience taught me I should always ask how much ya gonna pay?”
“I’ll pay ya three bucks an hour and double time for everything ya work over eight hours,” Frank said. “I bet ya never made that kind of money before.”
“No I haven’t,” Rich said.
“Ya can’t miss my place it’s just two blocks from the bike shop,” Frank said and continued quietly, “That’s all money under the table.”
Rich affirmed with a nod and a smile.
“But there is a catch,” Frank said biting his lower lip. “There’s a few guys at the gate carrying signs. They’ll call ya a scab and some names, but they won’t stop ya. Technically you’re not a scab because I’m not unionized. If ya got a problem with that, I understand.”
“I did the same thing when I was a paper boy,” Rich said. “It’s nothing new to me. The newspaper refused to allow its employees to unionize. I delivered the paper anyway. I was only twelve. What did I know, but some people on my route took it out on me anyway. They called me names and chased me off their property.”
“All the guys out on the picket line want their jobs back,” Frank said. “They know I got to keep the business goin’. That’s why I’m drivin’. Crap I got my two brothers drivin‘ for me. They work behind the desk for me. I swore twelve years ago I‘d never let them get behind a wheel again.”
They bounced along the highway and stopped at a burger stand. He bought Rich a burger, fries, a coke, and they ate on our way. By the time the were done eating Frank stopped in front of a small bike shop. Rich grabbed the door handle and thanked him.
“Don’t forget,” Frank said. “Just walk through the gate and ignore the monkeys. Walk in the front door and ask for me. Good luck, chief.”
“Thanks again, sir,” Rich said and went around to the back of the truck, let down the gate, and removed the bike and gear. After Rich put the gate back he signaled for Frank to leave. He drove away quickly.
Rich showed the bike to a silver haired old man at the bike shop. They talked for awhile about the trip. He said he could have the bike ready by closing. It would cost no more than ten dollars. Rich told him he’d be back in two hours.