Archive for February, 2014

“Everyone I see come out of that office on a Friday usually leaves here,” Michael Day proclaimed as I exited Steve’s office, holding my head high. 

Day is a veteran at Lasership. He has worked as a New York City messenger for most of his post-recovery life. I learned much about him one afternoon last summer while delivering my paychecks down in the Lower East Side. He pushed his cart through Grammercy Park and I walked by his side with a well-worn newspaper boy bag strapped over my shoulder, with just a few paychecks remaining inside. 

Other couriers pretended to be sorting through piles of boxes and stacks of paychecks when I walked out of Steve’s office. Day was the only man brave enough to cut right through the office drama to find out whether or not I had been canned. 

“Well it looks like I’ll be taking much of the 2-X route from you, Mike. Steve just ordered that I take over that route, and I know that you often do this work.” 

“That’s fine with me,” Day said, although I know the very reason why it was the 2-X route had been assigned to me. I did it during the snow storm and got every one of the snow-drenched boxes of books delivered. I don’t just leave post-it notes on people’s doors informing them that their shipment of “Fifty Shades of Grey” and “Backslidden” had an attempted delivery that day. I actually wait until a neighbor is entering the building and sneak in with them, pulling my handcart right onto the elevator and dropping the novels right in front of our customer’s doors. I have yet to leave little business cards advertising my own self-published novel. 

I was in no mood to share in warehouse office gossip, even if it was Mike Day fishing for dirt first thing in the morning. I told him to continue to do as many of the boxes as he wanted and to look at me as his back-up, even though if Steve had heard me, he would have used the opportunity to reduce Mike to the point of early retirement. 

I quickly left the warehouse with my newsbag filled with more checks. Day followed and tapped me on my shoulder just as I was carefully avoiding a patch of snow that some doorman along 29th Street had neglected to put salt on. 

“Where are your boxes?” I asked. 

“I’m on my way to my doctor. Don’t worry, I’ll be back before ten and will take all the 2 X’s.” 

“Oh, don’t worry, I’m not worried. I don’t know how you can put up with such shit, Mike. How can you work for such bastards for so long without hurting someone?” 

“That’s because I know what it feels like to be homeless,” Mike shared. I didn’t say a word. I just kept walking with my checks. 

“Yes, I was sleeping on the street with my dog before she died. I told that dog I’d never leave her, and I didn’t. But this nun ran into me one day and told me she could have my dog kept in a fancy grooming place until I pulled myself together. I was fortunate to have a brother who allowed me to live with he and his wife. I saved up my money and got my own place.” 

“Oh, please tell me you got to live with the dog in your new place before it died.” 

“Oh, yes I did,” Day shared. I noticed a little tear forming at the corner of his well-wrinkled eye. 

“Hey look, I gotta go this way,” Mike informed while turning left on Seventh Avenue. 

I immediately felt better about my morning and walked into the rays of a rising sun.

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Juan Vargas nearly ran over my toe in the middle of Times Square on Friday afternoon. He was pushing a hand-truck filled with Barnes and Noble Cardboard boxes. It was the second time I bumped into my co-worker at that exact location on Friday afternoon. Several weeks ago when I first saw Juan there, he begged that I watch over his cart while he made a delivery to a business along Eighth Avenue. There is a porn store just up the street. I was relieved the poor, tan lad did not see me sneak into the hot buddy-booth spot. On Friday, Juan took a fifteen minute break just steps away from the glory holes, and spoke to me about the drama that unfolded in the office at work earlier that day— 

“I hear you are doing the 2 X’s now,” Juan said with just a slight hint of Mexican dialect rolling from his soft pink tongue. 

“I thought for sure I was going to get fired. Steve called me into his office to ask why I refused to go out on a second run with boxes on Thursday. I was fucking exhausted, Juan. The two snow storms this week were hard on us. My feet were wet and cold all week. I just couldn’t do it, so I told what’s his face?– the new dispatcher– that I had to go to my other job.” 

“What did Steve say?” Juan asked while smiling, appearing to believe that I just made up the part about being a part-time porter. 

“He asked what my other job was, so I told him. I’m a porter for the building in which I live, Juan, and I actually put that information on the application when applying for this awful job. Can you believe we have both been here for so long? I remember how you looked so much like a little Mexican boy then. This place has really hardened you—made you look so much older, and look at how skinny I got Juan—nearly the spittin’ image of you with just a little grey hair. I thought for sure I was going to get fired like nearly everyone else does at Tasership, but not only did I keep my job, but Steve gave me the 2 X route. I don’t think I can do it all Juan. Those 2-X’s are the Lower East Side and nobody but me is dumb enough to take on that route. Now I got boxes too? It’s only a matter of time before they get rid of me. I can feel it coming.” 

“You should just talk to Steve, Charles. Don’t just walk away from all you built here. Besides, you’re the only cool white guy at Tasership.” 

“That’s because I’m not a Jew Juan.” 

“Oh,” the lad said as he pulled his cart onto Eighth avenue and walked like a tumbleweed pulling books. 

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