The Night Guy Series
Part 1 - A Janitor Stops By
"Jerry! Jesus aitch it's you. Dammit you scared me. Don't pop up
in front of me like that!"
"Yeah it's just me. Little jumpy today are we Nate? The
graveyard shift getting to ya already? Startin' to see shadows that
ain't your own?"
"Yeah... shadows ...whew. Well now that you woke me up,
give me a good word or something this mornin'?"
"Got no good word really. Eat, sleep, you know. Your
countertop is lookin' mighty fine here though. Shiny. You usin'
scrub on her or is it just the lighting or sumthin? Well now
it don't look all that great when you stand over ta this side. Eyes
must be goin' south on me?"
"Well yeah looks same as usual to me. I mean I didn't scrub anything myself but someone else could of
"Well I just hope that someone knew what the dots on the bottle meant
and wore them green gloves special made for usin the citrus.
You see Nate, a man's got a right to know what chemicals he's
It's something I started 'round here called 'Right to Know'
and it means if I ask someone to, say, go in and clean off a
mark on yonder floor and I hand 'em a spray bottle to do it
with, then they
got the right to ask 'what's in this stuff I'm usin'?' and we
can go straight off to that book I showed you the other mornin'
and its right in front of us what that person's gettin' his hands
into. 'Right to Know' it's called as I said."
"Sounds fair enough."
"It's fair alright but ain't nobody listen to it. I make a practice of
tellin every one of my workers about 'right to know' at least once
and no sooner is it out my mouth when I'll find em scrubbin away
with a three dot chemical with no goggles, no gloves, no nothin and
they say 'You never told me nothin like that' and I'm thinkin
'Bullshit I didn't' but some people, they don't know no better I
guess. This gal from affirmative action said I'd be smart to have a
witness with me at all times nowadays when I'm training people or
even when I'm just talking to em at all if I wanna protect myself."
"I saw that guy with you yesterday, looked like a lawyer
"There you go,
there you go, that's what it's come to and the gal that brought all
that shit down on me sure wouldn'ta had no gloves on that's one
thing sure and probly would of
whined later when she burned her hands with chemicals that I was the one that done
it by taking a torch to her or something. That man was here yesterday cuz of her problems and accusations and I
ain't supposed to say nothin to nobody yet but its what she ain't wearin that
got me in this shit I'm into now."
"Wearing? Really, what shit is that?
"First day this gal comes to work she shows up with all this
makeup on and these tight, ripped jeans, and a big ass out to here
and right away I say 'wheres the pants we issued you? and she says
'they don't fit me right Jerry Honey' and I say 'well you had four or five
styles to choose from, you can get the cotton or the polyester
stretch like I've got but you gotta look professional' and she says
'I don't like none of those, why can't I wear my own pants, they're the same color ain't they?' Course, what she really means is
she can't get them work pants to hug her ass quite tight enough so
as she can
swing it around for everybody. Be a thing I could understand if she
was skinny and fine or somethin but with that big kitchen of hers ain't
nobody lookin at her 'cept maybe out of wonderment. All I did was
stand by each day repeatin myself that she's got to wear the
required uniform but she won't never do it so I finally have to talk to my boss and he says he'll handle it."
"It's done then. Up to him. Or at least outta your hands."
"No it ain't done and he don't handle it cuz he's got a big
hard on for her probly and all of a sudden this other supervisor,
Manny strolls by and sees her wringin out a mop in the same damn jeans with the makeup gobbed on her and he calls me into
some back office over at the main shop and says, 'what the hell you
running over at the gym Jerry some kind a whorehouse?' and I say
'Hell no I ain't' but he's right, that's what it looks like sure
enough with a street walkin hussy on display out front."
"Must be some
disciplinary measures or..."
"That's exactly what I tried Nate! See you listening to me,
that's exactly what I tried, some
disciplinary measures, simple as that. I wrote her up and give the
paper to her to sign but she takes it, stuffs it down her shirt and won't say nothin, just glares at me
but the next day she's gone. Moved over to the other building and
replaced by this guy Eddie so I just go to training Eddie and think I'm done with her but I should
have known better because they can't just move people around like
that without tellin you, it just ain't never done. Then all of a
sudden my supervisors are acting kinda cool towards me and next
thing I hear is I'm bein called to see that ol' gal again at
affirmative action and she says, 'We got a problem here Jerry' and
after a bunch a bullshitting goes on finally I figure out that
somebody's filing sexual harassment charges against me."
"Yeah, and they won't tell me who but I know who it is and I
say to their faces 'I know who it is, I ain't stupid and they say
'It's more than one person Jerry' and I still know who it is cuz
this gal's sister used to work for me when I was supervising over at
the Union and wasn't no better than she is and it's plain as the
nose on your face what's going on. So, finally I stand up and I say
'How can you bring me in here and accuse me of this when you don't
have no idea what's goin on. See you ain't done your homework. This
other gal who's chargin me must be her sister and you should know
she been caught with some guy balling. Caught balling on a man's
office floor by this professor. A report got filed on that and this
first gal is also seein a guy, Pedro Cruz over at Physical
Resources, always sneakin off with him on break and the both of them
are married, the both of them, but she got him to buy her all these
gold bracelets and his wife ended up leavin him is what I hear."
"She's just plain trouble then."
"You're goddamn right she's trouble and they're calling me in
under this charge? Me! I said 'I got a right to face my accuser, a
right to stare her in her lying face. This ain't England or
someplace this here is America and I demand to be innocent until
somebody proves me guilty. I says 'I was warned about her a long
time ago, people know what she's about and been talkin but you never
bothered to ask nobody before up and draggin me in here.'"So
then this Miss what's her name stands up and puts her hand on my
shoulder and says 'Calm down Jerry' and I say 'Don't you touch me
goddamnit. I'll go right next door and file charges against this
office cuz what your touchin is harrassment to me. This is slander
just having me in here and if you're not careful I'll get a lawyer and sue the panties right off both of you. You see
Nate I think I told you before that I'm a recovered Alcoholic, been in AA for seven years now
and I know what they're talkin about. My sponsor from AA told me
that all women are to be respected and treated just like a man's
mother or wife. See I'll never forget what he said and I know it
through to my soul now. Didn't always know it maybe but I know it now."
' "Well.. I guess that's something then I...."
"You see Nate when I was drinking it was different. If I would
have come to work drunk sometime I can actually see myself ordering
a gal to the upstairs washroom and saying 'Show me your titties or
we'll just see if you don't end up fired.' I can see myself doing it that's the sad thing.
When I was drinking things was screwed up but I'm cleaned up now and
I know where I'm at. I come to work and I go right home to my wife
and I do my work and don't mess around cuz I know how it can be and
how it should be and I need this job but now they're treating me
like I fondled or insulted this woman. Not that it
couldn't of happened back when I was an addict. There was this one
time on my birthday, and I don't like to tell this to nobody but I
was seeing this lil' gal who worked at Circle K, seeing her along
with my wife you know and I used to get drunk down the south side
and go see her in the afternoons. Well she had this roommate who was
about as chunky as the gal here and I hadn't eaten nothin and been
drinking all day, these bastards down the bar had been buying me tequila shooters which always used to screw me up good so anyway
I come crashing through her apartment door half belligerent and said
'where you at I'm gonna get laid for my birthday.' Well my gal
wasn't there but this other gal was and I can't believe it to this day
but I unzipped my pants and she started crying and saying 'No Jerry
please no' but I grabbed her hair and pulled her in my crotch and
made her take me on until I was done."
"I don't even know how I got back to the bar let alone home but
the next day I woke up and went to the Circle K to get my coffee
like I always used to do and I saw my girl and right away I know
something is terrible wrong. She says 'Do you remember what you did
you son of a bitch?' and it came rushing back to me sudden like and
I started trembling and I said, 'Yes I do. Yes I do.' And that's the
worst part about it Nate, I did, I sure as Hell did."
"Geez I.. .well this isn't a good story to hear Jerry.
Sounds to me like you coulda.. you mighta.."
"Well she told me to get out of there and believe me my ass was
already moving for the door and I went on to work and was shaking and cringing
every time I heard a siren round town but no cops ever came. I thought they
were gonna take me away to jail and they had every right to and I
wouldn'ta blamed nobody but myself if they had. I think both them
gals were wanted or married or something and must notta wanted the whole
thing to come down but these years since have taught me what sexual
harassment is so I know and I told this lady at affirmative action
that I ain't even looked wrong at this gal. I got pride and I know
sex has to be consensual between a man and a woman otherwise you are
violatin her and that's the worst thing you can do to somebody and
that's what I did back then to that poor gal. But I've been clean
for seven years now, haven't had one drink, not one goddamn drop.
"Hell, look at the time. I gotta get back to work, get right
back to it you know, check on the boys doin the showers. You got
everything you need? How you doin on my citrus scrub, need any?
Looks like this counter could use a coat."
"No I think we're doing O.K."
"Alright, you take her easy then Nate. I'll see you tomorrow morning
more en likely."
"Yeah Jerry hey I... nice talkin to you."