First Job

Cement Mixer Cleaner

When I was fifteen years old I got my first job.   Actually my brother got it for me. He had just come home from Vietnam and was working in construction.  I don't know what he did. I think he was a carpenter.

I was hired as a general job site laborer. This construction site was a block away from my school so every day after school I would walk over there, put my boots on and go to work.  I worked from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM, five days a week.  I'm not sure my Mom liked me working there.

I had to do anything my boss told me to do.  I would pick up scrap lumber and other trash from the job site.  One time I got to light a big fire and burn all the trash. During slower times I had to sweep out the inside of the buildings. That was BORING.

I was making $2.50 an hour. That was an incredible amount of money for a kid back then. All my friends who were working in fast food were making minimum wage, which was $1.65 an hour in February 1973. I ended up working there for only three months.

This construction company was constructing an apartment complex. I think the complex ended up being about five or six buildings.  The buildings were probably 75 yards long and each building contained about 20 individual apartments. When I was hired the foundation was poured and the frame was up for the first building.

I had a passkey to every apartment. Which was pretty cool.

These guys running the construction company had this old cement mixer from the 1950's. It was a red International that was all beat up.

Because I was 15 and kind of small I got an interesting task one day.

My foreman showed me a 40 pound jackhammer. It was air powered.  He wanted me to get inside the drum of the mixer and use the jackhammer to chip away dried up cement on the fins inside. The metal fins jut out from the walls of the inside of the drum. As the drum turns, the fins keep the cement mixed.  As you know, if the drum stops turning, the cement will dry.

It's been thirty years but I think it went down something like this...

My foreman put a pallet on the forks of a forklift. He has me a ride up to the opening of the drum. I carried the jackhammer up with me. I scrambled down into the drum with the jackhammer. Then I blasted away at the dried cement. As you might imagine the noise was deafening.   After a while the air was filled with cement dust. I tied a handkerchief around my mouth and nose and kept blasting.

When I had a sizable amount of cement chunks I would stop hammering and chuck the rocks out the opening at the top of the drum.

I jack hammered on that cement mixer for almost two days. I didn't get all the cement off the fins. But I got enough off so that the mixer was usable again.The company used that old cement mixer to pour the foundations of the other buildings.

As a fifteen year old boy this was by far the coolest thing I had ever done.


Man v. Woman

I got this in one of those "funny" emails --I never quite figured out why the sexual urge of men and women differ so much.  And I have never figured out why men think with their head and women with their heart.

FOR EXAMPLE: One evening last week, my wife and I were getting into bed. The passion starts to heat up, when she eventually says " don't feel like it, I just want you to hold me."  I said "WHAT??!! What was that?!" So she says the words that every husband on the planet dreads to hear..."You're just not in touch with my emotional needs as a woman enough for me to satisfy your physical needs as a man." She responded to my puzzled look by saying, "Can't you just love me for who I am and not what I do for you in the bedroom?"

Realizing that nothing was going to happen that night, I went to sleep... The very next day I opted to take the day off of work to spend time with her.  We went out to a nice lunch and then went shopping at a big, big department store.  I walked around with her while she tried on several different very expensive outfits.  She couldn't decide which one to take so I told her we'd just buy them all.  She wanted new shoes to compliment her new clothes, so I said lets get a pair for each outfit.  We went onto the jewelry department where she picked out a pair of diamond earrings. Let me tell you...she was so excited.  She must have thought I was one wave short of a shipwreck.  I started to think she was testing me because she asked for a tennis bracelet when she doesn't even know how to play tennis.  I think I threw her for a loop when I said, "That's fine, honey."

She was almost nearing sexual satisfaction from all of the excitement.  Smiling with excited anticipation she finally said, "I think this is all dear, let's go to the cashier." I could hardly contain myself when I blurted out, "No honey, I don't feel like it."  Her face just went completely blank as her jaw dropped with a baffled WHAT?!" ! !

I then said "honey! I just want you to HOLD this stuff for a while. You're just not in touch with my financial needs as a man enough for me to satisfy your shopping needs as a woman." And just when she had this look like she was going to kill me, I added, "Why can't you just love me for who I am and not for the things I buy you?"

Apparently I'm not having sex tonight either.


Senator at the Urinal

I used be a copy machine operator in a big Orlando law firm.  I ran a high-speed copier that made about 100 copies per minute.  We used to pump out 30000 copies a month.

The firm's main partner was a big Republican supporter.

One day I'm at the urinal, minding my own business.  I happen to glance at the urinal beside me and I see Utah Senator Orin Hatch zipping up.  It reminded me of the story Hunter S. Thompson used to tell about seeing Richard Nixon at the urinal beside him.


Very Short Story Project

Very Short Story Project 3000 Words, 6 pages at 500 words per page. That's 12 point type and Times New Roman font.

There are two friends who know each other very well. Two young men in their early twenties.   They have a long history together. They went to high school together but have recently come back together after attending college separately.  These are two people who couldn't be closer.

But they both harbor a dark secret that the other doesn't know about. They go on a long car trip together.

On this car trip the readers hear the thoughts inside their heads and the struggle over whether they should tell one another. We can explore how the characters feel, whether it's shame, horror or fright.

The reader hears each character's arguments for and against telling the other.In the end - should I have both characters confess to one another? Should I have one character confess to the other?  Should I have neither character confess? If both characters confess, they both feel the relief of confession and their bond of friendship becomes stronger. If one character confesses, he feels the relief of confession while the other may be repulsed by his friend. If neither character confesses, neither feels relief but the friendship remains intact with nothing to disturb or change it.