Nothing Personal, You Know?
Because he had so much respect for karma, Dana did not hate his boss, Scott. He tried to view Scott with a good deal of detachment, because he found that he could better navigate the murky waters, in which Scott spent so much of his time, if he did not take things personally.
Scott had run a grow operation, the result of which Dana was trimming right now. Scott had spent a lot of cash to set the whole thing up, way back in a remote area of Northern Mendocino County, and had paid little attention to details such as respect for the environment. Scott had made use of chemicals in the form of additives, that he had dumped in the soil of his plants. He had run a diesel generator eighteen hours a day, and didn’t give a hoot when a hundred gallons of the stuff had leaked out into the creek, from which he took his water.
Dana saw Scott on the graveled road regularly, and observed how Scott bullied his way around with his mega-colossal Dodge Truck, with its jumbo-sized mud tires. He once saw Scott come up behind a little Nissan truck with such menacing wrath, that it reminded Dana of a rabid dog who slobbered and drooled his way amongst others, while they tried to stay out of his path. He’ll get his some day, thought Dana, and when he does, I’m going to stand back and not lift a finger to stop it.
Now, as Dana sat in his chair, he felt the ache descending from his neck and shoulders, all the way down his spine, lodging in the small of his back with a vengeance. You wouldn’t think sitting around using your hands, could cause such a ferocious amount of pain. Whether or not it was worth the twenty bucks an hour was open for debate, but arguing with his old lady about paying the bills, was not. She had given him an ultimatum: Either get off his lazy tush and earn some loot, or get a job, whichever he preferred. Otherwise, get the hell out of my house, she’d said, forgetting for just a minute, that the house was actually Dana’s.
He did not know if the little incident the other day had anything to do with her edict, but then again, he did not know that it didn’t. What incident? He had darn near burnt the place down, and only the barking of the dog had alerted him to the fact. Actually, since Haley was just arriving home at the same instant, it had alerted them. To say she had been furious, is to say that the Dodgers bite. No one would argue with either.
How was he supposed to know that his new bong had a peculiar habit of ejecting the contents of the bowl, if he should accidentally exhale into the glass shaft, while taking in a lungful of Blue Dream? In this case, he had been coughing so hard, that he did not notice that the cherry had landed right in the pile of trimmings, sitting beside it, and that had ignited the pile into a dancing mass of leaping flames, just after he had gone out to the kitchen. The resulting mess left him in a world of hurt, as far as Haley was concerned.
There was a bong here in the trimming shed, just sitting on a shelf, but not one that was up for grabs. Scott seemed to derive great pleasure in dangling it there for Dana to see, while enforcing the official work policy, which was that Scott alone called the shots as to the frequency of use of said bong. Otherwise, don’t even think about it. Dana didn’t dare try to stuff a few button buds into it, and take advantage of what most trimmers accept as stock conditions. He thought of it as one of the perks of the industry. Well, who knows? Maybe the earth would move and Scott would see fit to load a bowl.
The door burst open, banging on the opposite wall, just as it did every single time Scott ever came into the shed. Dana did not kid himself, that it was done for any other reason, than to make Dana jump six inches, and every time it made Scott burst out laughing. Every single time.
“Hey, there, old chap. What say we fire up that bong? I got a reason for celebrating-twenty of them, actually.”
“You sold your first-born into slavery?” Dana inquired.
“Ha, ha. That’s pretty funny. Shut up, dick, and hand me your lighter, so I can fire up this bitch. I gotta meet a man about a horse.”
“You’re leaving?” That came as a surprise, because Dana had been expecting to work at least another hour, until six.
“That’s funny, so am I. You are too, dipshit. Get your act together after we finish this rip so I can lock this place up. I stashed the twenty pounds in the back room earlier. If this guy goes for it, I’ll be back in an hour to get the shit. Get a move on, Danny-we don’t have all night.”
Danny, Dana thought to himself. Son of a bitch can’t even get my name right. What else would I expect? He took the perfunctory hit off of the bong and handed it back to Scott. He turned to grab his lunchbox, while he pulled the hoodie off the back of his chair and donned it. He watched as Scott loaded the bong for one last hellacious hit, and then couldn’t help laughing to himself, as Scott erupted into a fit of coughing, reaching out and grabbing for the door at the same time, and pulling it open.
“We’re out of here,” and out the door he went with Dana on his heels. They headed back down the path, but only got about a hundred feet, before the penetrating November cold made Dana realize he had left his overcoat hanging on the nail behind where his work station lay.
“Hey, Dude! Hold on. I gotta go back and get my coat. I’ll only be a second. Toss me the key.”
“Oh great, like I got nothing better to do but wait for you. Make it fast and don’t stop for anything but that lousy coat. You hear me?” He threw a key on a mimi-flashlight at Dana while he hollered the last to Dana’s retreating back.
Dana burst into the shed, heading straight back to his spot, where he snagged his jacket off the nail. As he was turning back to the door, his nostrils were assailed by the acrid smell of smoke, and he realized that the source was a humungous pile of trimmings, that had been shunted to one side of the expansive trim table. Apparently that last rip that Scott had taken, had sent that cherry out of the bowl, and right into the center of the bone-dry pile of shake, and it was about to erupt in a pile of flames.
Too bad Scott had given him such precise directions about what he could and could not do, at this juncture in time. “...don’t stop for anything but that lousy coat.”
Hey, he was just following directions as he pulled the door tightly shut. Nothing personal, you know?