November 3rd, 2018
Hans was sitting in his front porch. He has a folding chair tucked away in a corner, and that js his hiding hole. He goes there when he needs to be alone. There is always a small pile of cigarette ashes on the porch in front of the chair. The ashes are the residue from an endless number of Pall Malls.
I went out to the porch with him. Hans was dead tired. He had worked the day/night before, and he hadn’t slept for at least twenty-four hours. He slumped down into his chair and pulled out his lighter.
He started talking.
“Those guys at Capitol, they wanted me to go out and pump another job this morning at 10:00. I told them to go to hell. I didn’t get home from the yard until damn near seven. I’d been working almost eighteen hours, had no sleep, and they wanted me to go back out.”
He went on, “Dispatch does this shit all the time. They panic and need a driver to pump concrete. I just tell ’em no. That’s unsafe. I know that Capitol don’t give damn about me. I know that much. But they give a damn about that two million dollar rig I’m driving. They care about lawsuits if I have a wreck. They care about all that.”
Hans lit up a Pall Mall, and took a deep drag. Then he took a sip of his Lime-a-Rita.
Hans went on, “I don’t get no sleep. I don’t have a set work schedule. I go in any time of day or night.”
I asked, “You want to go to sleep now?”
Hans shook his head. “No. I’m past that. I can’t sleep now.”
I asked him, “You too wound up?”
He nodded. “Yeah.”
Hans took another drag and said, “I don’t know what I’m gonna do when Weston is born. I might have to sleep in a truck at the yard.”
I told him, “Well, when you were little, and I was working third shift, Mom used to take you to the park for a couple hours so I could sleep,”
Hans stared straight ahead. “Yeah, I guess.”
“Gabi will just have to leave the house with Weston for a while”, I told him.
Hans just said, “Yeah.”
I thought back to all those years when I worked nights. I thought about how much stress that put on Karin and the kids. I still don’t sleep at night. Hans doesn’t either.
It’s starting all over again.