Friday, July 21, 2006

Coworkers: Part 69 - Recker

   Recker floated into the store after 2:00. He looked a mess. I acknowledged him with a basic, "Recker."
   Recker worked day shift - - as in mornings. Time was 2:17 PM.
   "Don't talk to me, man! I gotta concentrate."
   With that, he tried repeatedly to clock in. For any other employee, this would have been second nature, especially since his name and password were identical.
   Still, no one else was on Recker's level.
   The stratosphere.
   Eventually, he figured out how to spell his name twice in a row, and moseyed to the back, arms swinging limply at his sides.
   The daily schedule was posted up front, but for whatever reason, Recker decided to check the one in the back.
   Where The Boss was working.
   "Hey, man, sorry I'm a couple of minutes late ... "
   "Go home, Recker."
   "Aww, man, it's only a couple of minutes -- "
   "One, it's five hours, Recker. And two, it's your day off."

   Wasn't the first time Recker had tottered into work on his day off.
   His physical appearance was the pits. Refugee from a fire in a rainforest. Clothes damp and rumpled, like he'd mowed the lawn with the sprinkler going. Face covered in soot. Spring cleaning? Chimney sweeping?
   After he clocked back out I asked him.
   "Dude, what's with the look? You toasting marshmallows on the coffee table again?"
   "What?" he rubbed his face, looked at his filthy hands, "Aww, man ... "
   Disappeared into the bathroom for about twenty minutes. Doubtless shooting the breeze with that stranger across the sink, in that shiny, square looking glass.
   Recker, the complete pothead. Later ...
   "So, like, I got some really killer weed, man. And there was this - - no, like I couldn't - - Someone stole my pipe, man."
   Recker owned 237 pipes, bongs, hookahs. Except, if they weren't sitting clearly on the table beside the sofa, they were considered stolen. Usually, they'd be piled on the floor, strewn on the kitchen table, in the refrigerator, scattered beside the bed, in the bathtub, next to the telephone, in his car. Or buried in the sofa, under his backside, while he looked at the empty table, muttering, "Aww, man."
   "I was at this party once, you know? And Belinda tossed the pipes in the pool, so we couldn't use them cause they were wet. But Donny made a pipe out of an empty paper towel tube. Which worked great, man. We got so fucked up."
   I listened patiently. I used to be Recker.
   "I didn't have any paper towels, so ... I got this killer weed, you know? Oh, toilet paper! I didn't have an empty roll, see? And it took me a long time to figure out where to store the paper when I pulled it off the roll. Have I told you this before? So, I put it - - and it was a full roll, man ... "
   Recker droned on. He'd wasted twenty minutes in the bathroom, he still looked like sirloin, charred. Stacey walked from the customer's bathroom, spread her arms wide, and shot me the W-T-F look. I could only imagine the state he left the room in.
   " ... anyway, I put some grass in the cardboard tube."
   "What about foil?"
   "Foil, Dude. Otherwise the tube will burn." I made a quick sketch. "You got your tube, see. Cut a hole near the end. Wrap the tube in aluminum foil, make a depression where the cut is, pack the reefer in there. Fire up."
   Once a stoner, always a stoner.
   Recker's eyes were red, watery, and glassy. I might have been explaining rocket science.
   "I filled the tube, OK? Not too heavy, you know, cause I wanted it to catch. Next, the whole fucking tube is in flames! I was by the faucet, only I didn't want to ruin the weed - - this was bad ass shit, man - - by getting water, so I huffed it hard, smoke and all."
   Maybe I was never that stoned.
   "Smoke detector went off - - After I got the - - Killed my ears - - I decided - - Ceiling fan, you know? - - Walked to Fantasy Imports to buy a new pipe. But - - then I remembered it was time to come to work, you know? The store's only a block away. So here I am. Except the day was wrong. Not my fault, man."
   "Tomorrow morning, Hoss," I pointed to the schedule. "9:00 AM. You, me, Mandy."
   I knew, absolutely knew, tomorrow would only be Mandy and me.

   Recker showed up five days later. Tuesday. He'd completely blown the weekend.
   The Boss was ... it was not a happy place.
   "Hey, man, so you got my check, man?"
   "Today's Tuesday, not Friday, Recker."
   "Really? No! So no paycheck? C'mon, m -- "
   "Where were you all weekend?"
The Boss demanded.
   "Was this that Daylight Savings Thing going on?"
   The Boss's eyes disappeared into his head, "Are you telling me, you missed an entire weekend because you forgot to change your clock? Is that the best excuse you have?"
   "Man, I don't even have a clock,"
he started chuckling.
   "Recker ... you're fired."
   "Aww, man, can't we talk this over? Let's be reasonable, alright?"
   "Goodbye, Recker."

   With that final exchange, Recker, the heaviest stoner I ever attempted to work with, was history.

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