Short Timing It


Thirty two hours and two shifts to go, that is what Bob thinks as he runs the mop down the base boards in the department store he works. He has not had a vacation in twelve years, paid or otherwise, bouncing as he has from part-time job to part-time job. None of his bosses until now have offered paid vacation, so when he took this job over a year ago, the first thing he did was plan. It did not take a lot of effort.

Bob’s tastes are simple. All he needs is his uncle’s beat up boat, the lake, and a ready supply of beers and food. It is not that he is unsophisticated. When the cleaning crew takes their break at two in the morning, either his nose is in a book or he is harassing his co workers about politics. He tries not to go on about labor rights, he lost a few jobs that way and he is past the point of putting his ideas before his needs. This, however, is the first time he will get to really relax in a long while. He intends to enjoy it to its fullest. He will turn his always active brain off for a bit and catch, maybe, a few bass.

The others just shake their heads and laugh. He knows he has a stupid grin on  his face and everyone, the half of the crew that are much older and the other half of the crew that are much younger, have become used to his dour if polite demeanor.  Even when he is in the middle of debate and clearly having the time of his life winding up the younger guys (and he does get a chuckle that all the old guys are the “liberals” on the crew) he usually has the same neutral look on his face.

Now, however, he is practically walking on air, and definitely thinking more about vacation than work. Now the hours pass unnoticed as he does his job on automatic pilot, talking even less than usual and thinking about the hours on the water and in the sun. He strokes his scraggly, starting to grey, goatee as he goes to punch out. Just 24 hours and one shift to go, and he gets a reward so many take for granted.


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