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.