The greats become nobodies and the nobodies become greats. I’ve worked jobs for years and something always gets left behind. I can go back to any of them and punch in, like I never left. Working men just want a cold beer at the end of a hot day. And they avoid manual labor if they can. They adopt a rhythm when doing their work so that smoking and talking mitigate the strain of each moment. Each man is a genius unto himself, sharing their wisdom like sages. Their words transform tired rooms into lively spaces.
Pete lounged in his lazy boy while the boss wrote assignments on the board. “Anybody who’s asleep should wake the fuck up,” the boss shouted.
And Pete cracked his eyelids to give his attention.
“It’s tournament day, so be sure to move fast and avoid mistakes.”
On a Sunday the golf course is full of the ungodly, playing the game like a religion. Men were gathered on the practice greens smoking cigars and discussing the US Open while I changed the pin locations. A truck honked behind me. It was Jordan and his pickup truck was filled with sand.
“The rain washed out the bunker last night and the boss wants me to fill it. I might need your help if you can pick up the speed, dumbass.”
“Sure thing, smartass.” And I met him on hole number 5. He drove onto the green and activated the sand. It slid into the trap where the gravel was exposed. Jordan gunned the engine to pull out of there, but forgot he was still in reverse and his truck slid into the trap. He opened the driver’s side door and looked down. “Oh shit; call Dave and tell him to bring his chain.”
I looked at Jordan from down below and smiled. The golf course had a way of dispensing justice.
“Andy to Dave… Andy to Dave. We need you to bring a tractor and a chain to hole number 5.”
The boss came cruising across the fairway in his Ford Ranger. He got out wearing his cowboy hat. “Jordan, you’re on the poo poo platter. Andy, you’re off. Now get out of the cab very carefully. I don’t want to fill out L and I paperwork.” Jordan shimmied into position and poked his belly out of the truck. He jumped, landing like a rock.
We could hear Dave’s tractor moving at top speed across the bridge. He was dressed in his military uniform from desert storm and he had a look of pissed-off annoyance on his face.
“I just realized that I need to keep changing the pins,” I said. The boss nodded and I drove back to hole number 4. The golfers were hitting into the green and didn’t seem to notice that I was there. After they finished putting, I moved the pin.
“Why didn’t you move the hole closer to my ball?” A golfer asked. “I could’ve birdied.” He thought he was being original, but whenever I changed the pins, golfers always said the same thing.
I looked at what was happening on number 5. Dave hooked the chain to the front bumper and connected it to the tractor wench. The bitch pulled and the city truck came crashing down. Cracked windshield, broken windows, and the boss shouting expletives. I finished my job and punched out. Bacon, eggs, and pancakes were calling my name at the restaurant.