Saturday, May 22, 2010

Even Steven

I am Sam. That is short for Samantha. Originality was never a strong point for my parents . I tell people that my folks are lovely people. As far as being parents are concerned , well ,they were always there when I did not need them . They are scared to death that someone would actually think that something was their fault. So they practice invisibility with the skill of any respectable ghost. They are happy with scraps . I am their wolfish daughter – and female wolves always lead the pack.

I have always wondered if I were their child. We are not much alike. Still we get along okay. They accept what society deals to them- and I reject that concept as too restrictive. I actually like animals better than people . I work, so, have had cats not dogs- which is fine – seems that they suit me better anyway with their self maintaining attitude. I keep to myself-I eat lunch alone , take my breaks alone , and take pride in my self accomplishment . Not interested in marriage, not interested in kids. Not interested in being a victim. Oh yes, and I read about twelve hundred pages on various subjects since I learned.

There is this woman in my office-recent recipient of a GED – who has been put in a position of power . When she was a clerk,when she worked on law suits-she was okay. She is attractive in a sort of redneck biker chick sort of way. I did not have much contact with her – but now that they have made her HR . Lets just say that her mouth has over stepped her ass. I keep really careful records of money due to me-and she does NOT like it. I have caught her time after time in expensive errors. I can be cluttered but she is sloppy and scattered. She threw me under the bus , one might say with the partners because I caught her on several errors . But now she is trying to get rid of me. She is right, there is only room for one of us . She and her Super cuts hairstyle with the home bleached bottle blonde hair.

Yesterday ,she got my boss and I to come to her office because I had complained that the pay check stub submitted was lacking about twenty hours on it. She sat stone faced saying that I was going to people on the floor and was talking about her. No . I did tell the other 2 people in our department to check their stubs as mine was not correct. I feel that is reasonable. Its never one of us but some or all of us. She said that I had told 5 people on the floor about her- there are only three people including me in my department. My boss, a conservative Knoxville bred attorney who wears bow ties He could have walked out of a John Grisham novel;. I am lucky, he likes me. I am a good and focused worker. I usually pull the highest numbers but business has been slow. Too slow. I watch, and believe the average person to be untrustworthy, two faced, self serving. She resents this – and would see me gone. As I said , there is not room for the two of us. I like my boss , Jack-he knows that I have good survival skills. I usually include him under my protection. Its not like she never made a mistake before. I have caught her not crediting payments that have come in. Now she is messing with MY life-I complain to her ,low and lethal to stop. She resents the warning. Yes, indeed , there is room for only one of us. I can fix that . It is her choice.

Our office has the advantage of being at the end of a dead end road . The area used to be a landfill, stands behind a levee of the Cumberland River and is totally deserted . Karen has the bad habit of going drinking with her friends on Friday night , leaving her beloved blue Kia Rondo. There is no security in the area, the lights in the parking lot go off one hour after we have closed -usually about nine o'clock. Its very quiet and dark there with only the geese to bear witness to anything. Geese don't tell. They also eat anything...and are very messy. They swim in run off areas that are man made ponds. We also get heron,whooping cranes,possum,ducks and the largest turtles that you have ever seen. Once, one of the turtles got squashed flat by an 15 wheeler. Glass trucks from down the road , speed by our office , dropping their cargo into a million shattered parts on the only access road. Because we are so

removed from the main Metro Nashville area , we are not bothered by gangs or the average car thief -and rarely patrolled by the Metro Police. The people are secure in perceived fantasy of a crime free existence. It is a ghost town after the businesses close for the night. And they , as they say, roll up the sidewalks early especially in this part of town. It is believed to be a safe part of town in which to park-there is no reason to BE there after the businesses have closed for the weekend. Cabs avoid it at night and on weekends, unless they know the fare, as they fear being robbed.

Daddy insisted that I take the Auto Mechanics for Dummys at the local vocational school , before he would allow me to drive alone.We lived too far into farm country, my parents' choice not mine, when I was in high school not to be able to rig it together enough to get to the next service station. I was able to keep my cars running until computers came in . I still can do basic care. It was a good investment. Daddy taught me lots of thing- I have my own set of tools , power and other wise – I carry a small kit in the back of my car and a mechanics creeper , for those times when I need to get closer underneath the chassis . Bless you , Daddy , for taking care of your daughter . I may need the reciprocating saw-cool, I have a rechargable, which I add to my trunk.

Four forty five...I start up my black Buick Century. Like me , it is a creature of the night . I have nicknamed it Bela after Lugosi. I drive out as I always do . All is well . All is the same. The tall wild grasses brush my car-as this is supposed to be part of a green area , the landscaping tends to be au natural. American Primative which could have been lovely, if budgets to keep the trash down . Cat Stevens blares from my cd player. Yusuf or Cat- I love the mellowness of his voice. “Wild World “ my second favorite. There IS a lot of bad out there. Tonight I will be one of them . So beware , Karen , beware.

China Cottage is one of the better Chinese restaurants that I have encountered here in Tennessee. The people who run it are from China, don't know the province but I do know that its closer to West Coast Chinese than East Coast Chinese. It is a hole in the wall . The young couple that own it now , bought it from the old couple that used to own it. They remember their customers. I order one of the specials, chicken Curry with onion and an egg roll. I ask for a Coke to drink. I am not supposed to have soda but what the heck-today is a lesson and a celebration. The owner's wife remembers that I like my Curry spicy. The decorations have not changed since the change in management, and with another eight tables and chairs stacked , it has a resemblance to a warehouse as much as a restaurant. My food is brought to me with just enough crunchiness and bite to satisfy. I could live on Chinese food. I pay my bill and leave. Come Batmobile, the games afoot. I start the engine on my car . I know where I am going. I am calm.

I take 65 back up to Rosa Parks Boulevard. I t used to be called 8th Ave North. I work my way through the construction that has been abandoned for the night . The blue and sherbet orange colored lights of Tiger Mart contradicts the abandoned atmosphere of the area to follow. Looks almost like civilization. Looks can be deceiving-appearances can be lies. Down the curving corner and bear to the right- then right onto Vantage Way. The lights at the insurance companies are dimming, the street lights far apart . Fountains which entice and entertain during the day breath their last puff of water before slumbering for the night. I turn to the left onto our street. No lights no people and the privileged bright blue Kia atands alone.

Once around the building, no one is there . I park three spaces away. I wait. No one-I can hear the crickets, the call of the night birds . ..but not a human presence anywhere. Karyn never picks her baby up before noon Saturday. Babys should not be left alone...sometimes bad things happen. I tuck my

hair into a surgical hairnet, pull on a camaflague colored rain shirt and pants over my clothes, and don my gloves before opening my trunk.

It was So easy. The prize, Karen's catalytic converter , was not welded in. The bolts were easy to cut. The catalytic converter slipped quickly off the car and onto the trashliner , that I had brought from the Dollar store. I placed it in a bucket ., my prize wrapped in plastic. I added my protective clothes and gloves to another bag. I strapped myself into my seat, Brewer and Shipley celebrate my victory , singling merrily about being one toke over the line. The high that I am feeling is MUCH better. Everything with me, was generic, you could get it anywhere – and I will trash them separately. The part in the river, someplace quiet -there was enough trash in there that it would not be noticed. The clothing in their bag, in the dumpster behind Alta Loma Baptist Church on my way home. I always thought the design of the church in red brick to be pretty.

I did not work overtime the next day , though I could have used the overtime. I was told that she had come in before we closed at noon, waiting for the others to leave before she locked up. That reportedly she had had a problem engaging the gas. That it roared like a hot rod . One of her friends said that Karen had doubted that it was her formerly perfectly purring lady had turned into this trashy tart. The cost? About a thousand dollars , not covered by insurance, out of her own pocket. Personally I think it seems fitting. It was just about equal to what her accounting mistakes had cost me. I heard that , even though the car was drivable , she burst into tears . Ruined the rest of her weekend.

On Monday , when I reported in , she was blocking my way. I excused myself . She glared through swollen eyes. Normal people can be SO hostile.