It always starts with you these days. And if you’re reading this, then perhaps you’re having them, too. We’re doing the things we once did when we were in that state of mind when things were just fine. Before all the betrayal. Before the goodbyes. Before the darkness sank within our eyes, filling our hearts with a taste so foreign, so real that we wanted it more and more like a drug – our crack pipe love affair between our fingers while our lighters burned the cool tips, enraging them.
Sing me a camp fire song, love. Sing the words softly into my ears while the seagulls soar above and the waves crash into the stony shores. We always start here, by the gulf – the waters were always where I came to die and rebirth. The salt cleanses my skin, sucking out the mire from my pores.
But the water sucks you instead and I reach out, grasping whips of seaweed where your hand should be. I cry out your name, once twice three times, screaming it out like two lovers pushed up against each other. And I scream. And I grasp for you. My hand aged.
Love. There are several varieties, but only two conclusions. Those who love you and are willing to grow old with you, and those who age you as a consequence of loving them.
Battlescarred and eyes ripped asunder. You are my link to a person I used to be but can no longer recall. You are my emotional cling to a past that I’m too unfortunate to recall. And with each syllable of your name, I drown myself in the misery of wanting to know. But never having the chance to apologize. To confess my sins to you.
Did I really think it would be this easy? Or was I just pressing my luck that perhaps we could recover like we once did. Like I always imagined we would – what was broken was fixed before, so why not now? Love burns cold, my eyes are shut to you now – know that I’ll never stop reaching out for your hand – know that I’ve accepted you’ve stopped so long ago.
After a few weeks of being screwed over out of a second job and betrayed by a man who was jealous of me getting more money than him, I hung out with Monica, who I haven’t seen in a few months. It was a much needed break from the reality I find myself in.
We hit up the used book shops for our reunion; book hunting is what we do best and, possibly, what we do to make ourselves feel better (I know I do, anyway). Buying a nice lot of books plus a Buck Owens record elevated my mood – and, if it didn’t, the Chinese food did help.
Currently, I’m reading Yes Man by Daniel Wallace – the book went off to inspire a Jim Carrey movie which also stars Zooey Deschanel. At first glance, the book nearly motivated me to say yes more, but then quickly changed my mind when the cynical side of me awoke. Too many complications can come from such an idea, not to mention trouble.
I don’t mind the trouble if it’s fun trouble. I just mind the trouble that can kill me, you know?
After I finish the book, I’ll have to choose between one of the eight books I purchased for myself (the ninth book, The House on Mango Street, I purchased for my mother). I’m feeling a little sci-fi right now, so I might give one of the four Arthur C. Clarke books I purchased: The Songs of a Distant Earth, The Wind From the Sun, The Sands of Mars, or The Sentinel – a collection of short stories that inspired the novel (and later, the film) 2001: A Space Odyssey. More than likely, it’ll be the latter because it’s short fiction and that’s what I need right about now.
I was hired to be assistant clubhouse manager. My trainer was a man named Javier – a name I’ve come to associate with untrustworthy. I accepted the job and accepted the training, not knowing where it would lead me. When I met Javi for the first time, it was on my own “turf,” Apollo Park – not far from where I live. He drove a beat up car, having just come out of work. At first look, I wasn’t sure if I could trust him – but working usually means dealing with people who don’t trust, so you pretend to. He gave me the run down of how it would be working under him. He told me to stay away from the other superiors – don’t even talk to them, not even Estela. I nodded, knowing full well that some of these rules I would have to break for the sake of my job.
Javi’s about money. I picked that up automatically. His heart was set on money, but – on a constant – he assured me that he wasn’t out to screw me over – I would get 70% of the money that goes into paying the clubhouse manager. That’s $700 a month. We agreed; I went home.
We weren’t paid for preseason, though I should really say, he wasn’t paid for preseason. I already had a deal with bossman to work at the stadium for him. When I was in the clubhouse, I was under Javi’s time. When I worked within the stadium, I was on stadium time. This basically boiled down to the fact that I’d be paid twice.
I segued into my new found job as assistant clubhouse manager, meeting the team, working out the kinks and learning all the secrets Javi had to share – which included how to squeeze as much money from the team as possible by doing the job I was hired to do. All the while, I was working within the stadium. My plan was to put in as many hours within the stadium to build a bigger pay check so I can treat Jyg and me to a overnight beach trip. Javi had other ideas.
Knowing full well that I was still working for the stadium, he decided that on pay day, he wasn’t going to give me my half of the $400 – a hundred less than he expected (we get paid twice a month). He told me he wasn’t going to cash the check because he knew something like this would happen. I told bossman that Javi hadn’t paid me, but merely because he hadn’t cashed the check yet. This excuse carried on for nearly a week.
Then Javi admitted that he was pissed off, having told the field manager that he was quitting after he got the second check. He didn’t want to be screwed over. Then again, neither did I. As the stories poured from his mouth, I was finding harder to believe them. Javi, like every Javier who has ever crossed my path, was a pathological liar. One who was only set out to screw me over in the end. I sat down with bossman one Tuesday afternoon and told him, “You know I don’t complain much to you, but this has to do with money and I feel that alone warrants this. Javi still hasn’t paid me. He says he hasn’t cashed the check, but I’m finding it harder to believe. As a defense mechanism, I’m cynical. Usually when someone goes out of their way to acknowledge they have your back that they’ll take care of you, they’re usually the first person to stab you.”
Bossman agreed and told me that his first instruction to Javi was to “take care of Willie.” Javi had failed. Because it was a double hitter that day, it is up to us to feed both teams, a rule I wasn’t even aware of. When the field manager realized neither team was fed, he chewed Javi out. He then phoned the stadium manager to tell him the situation, who then called me and asked where Javi was. When I found him, I turned him over to the bossman in hopes that my monetary problem would be solved. It was only half figured.
“Hey, I turned in a bunch of receipts to [bossman], so when he gets the money, make sure he gives it to you,” Javi told me as he got into his car. He’d called me and, regrettably, I answered. “I’ll find away to get you the rest of the money I owe you. I’m going with Steven to get some food and then I’m going home to watch the game. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Let’s rewind a year. The last time anyone told me that they’ll see me tomorrow was Jaime, my former supervisor. It was the day he came out of main off and mumbled that to me before leaving. I never saw him again (work wise). So when Javi uttered those words in our static-filled phone call, I tensed. I saw nothing as wrong. Later that night, the field manager would come up to me – still angry from before – and asked, “Did Javi quit?”
“I don’t know.”
“Well, if he did, fine. There’s not pussies in this locker room. We’ll pay you the dues we owe him, but we don’t want him back.”
The next day, I realized all the stuff Javi brought into the locker room was gone, as was our Pine Sol, which belonged to the stadium. I panicked again. I asked bossman if Javi had told him anything and explained why I was concerned. Field manager seemed to conclude that Javi had quit. The locker room was filled with an unfamiliar air – it was, for the first time, lax.
I hired Steven to be my employee and we took it from where Javi never picked up. We did great. We worked together and the team complimented us. I bought the visiting team drinks to have after every game and they liked my style. Teams that stiffed us years before, actually paid their dues and tipped! It was a few days of bliss until Javi called me. And I ignored it. He called me again, and, again, I ignored it. I was too busy to deal with his shit. Later, Steven told me that he’d received a message from Javi and for me to call him back, so I did.
“I’ll try to get you the rest of the money I owe you,” he said. “Has [bossman] asked about me?”
“Good, then it’ll be easier for me to come back.”
Come back? Fuck! Didn’t you quit?
Instead, I said, “Oh.”
I thought nothing of it. He was obviously drunk. Come Sunday, I’m in the laundry room, on the phone, speaking with Jyg on what is an interesting topic when Javi walked right in as if he never left. My face and tone fell. The looks of the players slacked. Ding dong, the wicked witch wasn’t dead after all.
I turned to Estela. I told her what was going on. She called him in. He spoke to bossman. Bossman told him that for all he was concerned, he’d quit. Javi grew pissed. I walked back to the clubhouse to confront him in what I knew wasn’t going to be pretty. I sent Steven on an errand. Javi bitched me out.
“You went over there and talked shit about me,” he shouted.
“I didn’t talk shit about you.”
“Yes, you did. You went over there and told him things that weren’t of his concern. I had somethings to take care of and it wasn’t any of your business.”
“I didn’t say anything, I simply asked a question…”
“It wasn’t any of your concern.”
Yeah, only you left a novice behind to fend for himself.
“And I told you not to talk to them. I told you not to go over there and speak to them,” he shouted. “I told you that. I thought you had my back.”
And I thought you had mine, but, you know, you did steal $200 from me.
“And you fucked up. You fucked up really bad,” he said. “You’re not supposed to be spending your hard earned cash buying food for [the team]! They’re supposed to eat for free! They’re using you and you’re too stupid to realize it!”
You’re not one to lecture me on how I spend my money. I mean, you did STEAL TWO-HUNDRED FUCKING DOLLARS FROM ME!
“You shouldn’t pay it,” he said. “And don’t go talking to [bossman] after I leave. You’re in a load of trouble and they don’t want to see you. You’re in so much trouble with them right now, so don’t go talking more shit.”
Oh, sure, I’m the victim of a guy who had no intentions of paying me but I’m in trouble.
“Now I’ll continue to help you both, even after this,” he said.
Yeah, because I want your help now.
After the bitch fest, I went and spoke with bossman. I told him what had happened. Later, both Steven and I were happy that Javi was gone. We even celebrated with pizza. Sorta.
I actually high-fived someone today. It was a little too surreal for me because not only did I high-fived someone I’ve only known for a couple of weeks, but I high-fived someone because of a sporting event.
Now don’t jump into conclusions here, the only reason Fabian and I were excited about the home run was because it meant the game was over. See up until the moment the player crossed over home plate, the score had been a tie. That meant, had he been taken out, the game would go into overtime and that meant work would end later on. This is something neither Fabian or myself wanted.
Steven also admitted being excited because for the same reason. Later, he said, it was the first time he’d ever been excited over a baseball game. Sadly, the visiting team wasn’t as excited.
Meester Binx and Erika, his wife, along with a few of her family members also attended the event. However, I only added them to the list because Binx never told me the number of people attending the event.
But tonight was a great night. Fun. Long. Exciting. And, still, rather strange.
I’m afraid that Valley EMS has my life in their hands. Yesterday marked the first foul ball injury of the season. A random unlucky guy was popped in the face causing him to lose a lot of blood. Me and a few clean up crew and security guards – who work for the stadium, and not actual security guards – took off to see what the commotion was. That’s when I saw the man with his shirt off and bunch in front of his face. Fans rushed the scene. Annoyed, I did my best to ward some of them off while Gilroy went to find the paramedics.
When the actual security guards came in, their voice was meek asking politely that people make room for the medics that took their sweet time getting there. It was all too similar to last season when a ball knocked an umpire out and these guys were nowhere to be found – one fan later found them in their room, with the lights off, asleep.
Later, the clean up crew asked how they go about cleaning up the mess. I told them to mop it up and then to wipe down the bleachers. I went to get them gloves but found that they weren’t in the storage. Angry, I asked the kid with me where they went – hoping that he’d know. He did. Apparently, Estela took it into her own right to steal the clean up crews gloves, a.k.a. my gloves. Annoyed, I looked for the guy who delivered them to her and asked that the get them back so I can leave them in the storage. If she wanted gloves, then she can use her budget in concessions to buy her own, not steal mine.
I got them back, of course, with a few missing. I don’t care if she takes a few, just not the whole goddamn box. The blood was eventually cleaned. The hatchet, not so much.
I have a bad habit of holding grudges. Those who know me well, know this little “quirk” about me. Even after I’ve forgotten why I’m pissed at you, I’ll still hold something against you. Even after the sale by date of a grudge has expired – or should, anyway – I’m still scowling behind your back. It’s a bad habit, like I said. I take no pleasure in it.
The other day, earlier this past week, I was assigned to supervisor a group of workers – the cleaners – because I’ve had experience in the matter. Cool. Whatever. I can do this. But because she didn’t want more work on her back, I did a “favor” for the person who got me the job in the first place. I took the added workers off her back so she can focus on her responsibilities. Either way, I’ve had experience in these sections anyway.
Well, apparently, she decided she didn’t like me around as a superior – a term I use so generously describing those in charge – because a few days after I got the position, she turned my workers against me – even though I had given them every means to work their schedules out with me – and then stole the position away. Now she expects me to do odd jobs, but not get paid for them (as I don’t get paid for working within the stadium while I’m working outside of the stadium).
See, the problem I saw here – well, what I’m beginning to see here – is the fact that I’m getting paid double what she’s getting paid for doing both jobs. Of course, she didn’t want to see me as an equal, so she axed me so I’ll only be getting paid for what I was hired for. Make sense? Didn’t think so.
I got hired this year to manage on section of the stadium, outside of the stadium. I’m not seen or heard from during the game because I’m holed away in my “cage” where only a select few can see me. When I was offered the job to supervise the clean up crew, (and later inherited from here) the ushers and parking, management said I’d be getting paid for that, as well. Not much ($50 a game, but all I did was make sure they’re doing work while I attended to my original job). What that boiled down to was me being paid for doing nothing while I worked in the comfort of a/c.
Of course, this dragon lady (what she was called last year by many adoring fans) decided no one was going to sit around and do nothing (even while I was doing something) and get paid for it. Because if there was going to be one person in the entire ball park that was going to be paid for doing nothing, it would be her. Despite that she said her job is hard. Whatever. I’ve done her job, as well. It isn’t hard.
But it’s okay. I’m done. I’m not going to be doing her anymore favors. I’ll still help out management when I can – paid or not (not meaning jobs that are done within a few minutes) – but my work for her is over. And should she decide to ax me completely, then so be it. In the mean while, every time one of my kids comes up to me for some guidance, I send them her way. Not because I want to be a dick with them and don’t want to be bothered with their problems, but because I want to flood her office with work.