Hey, who likes going to staff recognition breakfast extravaganza galas?
I mean, no. Not me. (Keep getting me and not-me mixed up, damn you, Bil Keane.) But being warm and mandatory, I had to go and politely clap while coworkers won inanimate carbon rods for being special, and stuff. During a break in the "action," what did I see across the dark convention hall but two white eggs suspended in space. Good thing Reggie kept his eyes open!
"I promise! I promise!" Reggie quavered and quailed.
"That 27 dollars I owe you! I promise I'll get it to you!"
"I don't care about that, Reggie."
"Are you sure? I can... I mean... Maybe next week...?"
We went out to the loading dock where other facility staff congregated to smoke and joke. Reggie looked a little worse and a little tired, but his teeth were super white. Just like me.
"So are you retiring this year?"
"Naw," Reggie said. He shook his head and puffed away. "I want my full benefits. So I have four more years to go."
"Ah. You heard about Gwen...?" (Our former manager who died last year of a bowel obstruction.)
"Yeah, yeah. But she had something done to her intestines, man. You can't do that."
"Mm, yes. Death happens to others, indeed." I coughed from Reggie's nicotine emissions.
"So how's it going at ol' Cherry Creek?"
"Besides all the racism, you mean?"
"I hear they're building a huge house behind the library. Vanessa and her husband, damn..." Reggie shook his head. "Typical of a Mexican to show off like that."
"I hear the house looks like a giant burrito from outer space."
"And how's Sam...?"
"Uh, she left last year. But she's still hot and twenty-five, if that's what you're wondering."
"Mmm." Reggie adjusted his cigarette. "Mmmmmmm."
Just then there was a kerfuffle at the hall entrance. His Honor the Mayor of Denver was approaching with his full parade entourage. No doubt a friend to the working class (just like me = Working Class Hero Jackass), Hancock came over and heartily shook hands. Then he turned to Reggie.
"Hello, Mister Mayor!"
"Is there bacon at this thing?"
"Naw, naw," Reggie said. "But there's quiche!"
HA HA HA all around. Turns out it's Reggie who's the real working class hero.
After the mayor went inside, I turned to Reggie. "How does the mayor know you?"
Reggie winked. "I clean more than just toilets, you know."
"Hey, why didn't you enter the art show?"
I told him I missed the deadline, but then I explained that the painting was a beautiful homage to him. It was called "O, Canada!"
"Aw man, you're going to make me cry."
"I'd wait until you see it before you do any crying."
"I did my own this year called 'El Paso.' It's a landscape. I'm trying to change my image. I'm trying not to be such a whore."
"But in the background I made the mountains look like titties." Reggie laughed.
"Love you, man. It was so good to see you!"
He gave me a big, big hug. We looked into each other's eyes. Who knows when we'll see each other again.
"But, seriously," I said as we parted. "Get me that 27 bucks by Monday."