“Listen up you honyocks, malakaas and wankers!” Carlos boomed.
The hundred or so welders, pipe fitters, ironworkers and helpers came to attention. They instinctively understood the tone in Carlos’ voice. They had heard it before. Not necessarily by Carlos, but from the many other supervisors in the past. It was understood to mean ‘shut-up, listen and behave or you wouldn’t be bringing home seventy five dollars an hour’.
The group assembled were modern day cowboys, traveling around the country like circus carnies in expensive motor homes finding work where engineers decided to build that power plant, mall, amusement park or in this case, the modernization of an offshore oil platform.
They and their families are the salt of the earth. The men (and women) sent most of the money home to their other halves to pay the mortgage, electric bills or the monthly installment on the newly minted motorcycle or pick-up truck.
What was left over was spent on beer and drugs, crystal meth being the drug of choice. It gave them unlimited stamina throughout the work day and into the night where one could shoot pool, drink and fight until the sun came up only to do it again the next day. To cope, the dose insidiously increased until local hospital emergency rooms noticed an increase in out-of-state heart attack patients in their early forty’s.
Petrochemical work was the Holy Grail. It was hard to come by these days and was the mother of all paychecks. What oil companies lavished on generous financial renumeration was quickly recouped at the local mini-mart gas pumps which continually escalated prices to an otherwise ignored and seemingly non-existent public outcry.
When the announcement came that they procured employment out-of-state in Petrochem, they were usually given a special sendoff not unlike the Emperor baboons of Madagascar where the female would bend over and offer herself to the only male in possession of fruit.
Carlos administered the same speech given weeks before to the engineers with the exception this one was more detailed, filled with expletives one would hear on the scrimmage line just prior to the snap of a tied Cowboys-Steelers Super bowl with less than a minute on the clock at fourth quarter.
The engineers witnessed the event, placing themselves against the railing on the second deck opposite Carlos and Len. It became difficult for the workers keeping their eyes on Carlos with Donna behind them hanging her D cups over the railing.
Becoming aware Carlos noticing she abruptly pushed away, deciding to get a cup of coffee. Carlos resumed his tirade and Gary and Paul quickly gave each other looks of relief. For the past week the engineers remained productive with Carlos stalking the shadows, looking to catch anyone in compromising situatations.
Of the eight engineers only three remained, Donna, Paul and Gary. Two were dismissed for failing drug tests and three left voluntarily, their reasons being vague and cryptic. Carlos commented on a few occasions his opinion only two engineers were required, one from each company hoping Donna would get the hint.
This wasn’t to be the case.
The fact was Carlos was beginning to appreciate her dogged work performance. She worked twice as hard as Paul and Gary and on a few occasions’ uncovered expensive mistakes and correcting them on the supposed ‘Approved for Construction’ drawing package the three were continuously pouring over and checking.
This impressed Carlos, although he was still concerned about having an attractive woman isolated on an oil rig a mile off-shore with over a hundred workers from most of the Southern states and half of Texas laboring on a thirty million dollar construction effort.
It’s not that he feared for her safety which he did and was inherent with the entire crew for reasons aforementioned.
His greatest fear was the project going over budget due to some pesky sex discrimination lawsuit.
Each time he began to appreciate her work a little voice inside would serve to remind him of the risk he was taking keeping her onboard.
On one day at no particular time between getting coffee and going to the bathroom Carlos decided on letting her stay. As he opened the door to his office and entered he could tell she had been there. Her scent was still lingering. He noticed the pictures of his wife and daughters had been unearthed and were now neatly placed atop file cabinets. His anger began to rise until he looked deeply into the photograph and his wife’s eyes and was flooded with memories of weddings, births, birthdays, and first bicycle rides.
Carlos made a mental note of addressing the rules of his office to outsiders. He sat down in his chair and stared at the photographs for what seemed like hours, wondering what his wife and daughters were doing at that very moment in time.
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