Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Dead People at Work

When you are young, and people die, it doesn't impact you too hard. To be honest, sometimes it doesn't effect you at all, because after all.....the dead guy was old and you have more important things on your mind, things like, oh I don't know, like drinking potato vodka with that redheaded girlio from the the packing department after work

Or maybe your primary focus would be finding a way to get the other closing oven guy to switch nights off so you can go to the Guns & Roses concert.

When you are 20, death just doesn't happen to you. Stuff like that is reserved for your Grandfather, or I guess if you have a 300# Pollack for a father your options could multiply.

Any guy who has 5 wives, smokes 2 packs of Chesterfields daily, and spends rare moments of sobriety trying to break his weld to the bar stool.....yeah he's a candidate too.

But nobody else in your circle of consciousness ever dies. It's a rule of life.

Every once in awhile a 22 year old will die, but that cat lived in Arizona (or was it Arkansas?)

I'll never forget the first day of my 3rd baking job, when I walked into the shop I spotted Larry Winner. Winner was one of my best friends at Dunwoody where we went through baking school together.

So it's my first day, and the 2 of us went outside to smoke.

I've never been one of those guys to "catch up with" or "get in touch with" anybody, professionally or socially because once you are out of a Klecko chapter it might be time to find a new plot, don't wait for a sequel because Klecko moves forward.

I liked Winner a lot. We were both big, and we were both louts,

So I asked him if he had come directly to this bakery from school, but he just laughed and said....

"No, I was at that God-D Tastee Bread.It wasn't too bad, I was working graveyard shift, one night we are on the line and this fat old man starts clutching his chest. People started leaving their post to help the old guy, but our shift foreman started screaming - Hold the Line! Seriously, we couldn't even help the old bast***. So everybody is kinda watching him, and finally the guy slumped over and was dead!"

At this point I was waiting for a punchline.I asked what ended up happening, did they shut down the plant?

Winner smiled matter of factly while responding.

"F*** that, they just grabbed that guys fat a** by the collar, and I s*** you not, they dragged him over to a concrete wall and leaned him up against it. It took like 20 minutes before the ambulance guys showed up.That's why I came here, this place might be low key, but it's growing. I just didn't wanna work where people can gawk at my corpse!"

The 2 of us laughed, after all.....the guy who died might have been old, he might have had family that loved him, but we didn't know any of them, and it really wasn't our concern, and after was dudes fault for shedding his mortal coil,he was old.

A couple years passed by and the 2 of us were still working there. On a Friday in July I stopped by with my wife and daughter. I wanted to get my paycheck.My shift didn't start for 6 hours and the "fam" wanted to head to the municipal pool in the meantime.

But when I walked into the office Winner was sitting with the secretary and their eyes were red and moist, I started to wonder if there was a "thing" going on and perhaps I had walked in at an awkward moment, but Winner explained that Scooter (the bakeries owner) had died.

I thought it was some kind of a joke, after all Scooter was only in his late 30's. Sure, he put on a few pounds. We loved to give him grief about crossing over from Levi's to elastic waistband Dockers, but that couldn't kill a guy.

The element that makes this tragic is that Scooter had a wife and a 3 year old daughter.......and a bun in the oven(5 months worth)as well.

It turns out she was on the west coast visiting her parents while our boss was shooting "H", just enough to kill himself.

Within 2 months I had a hernia and Scooters wife (who now had to run the bakery until she found a buyer) wouldn't file it under workman's comp.

Klecko ended up taking her to court and for the next half a year I had to punch in to the giggling chant of "Klecko sues Widows!"

I never thought things could get worse, but there was that other incident a few years later, you know, the one which prompted my peers to gleefully chant in unison "Klecko slugs retards!" Of courseI didn't hear this until after the 2 day suspension.

But then a guy named Dale French came along, he popped up from a bakery that had recently folded, and he was accompanied by 2 cousins named Fat Richie and Rick Moss.
These guys were 5 years older than me, so they were 28ish, Dale French was the ring leader, and he pretty much thought he was going to knock Larry Winner off the throne and run our little empire.

Dale French was really bright. He knew a lot about a lot of things,

Unfortunately....baking wasn't one of them, but he spent hours talking about counting cards in Vegas. He rambled on about classes he taught to wealthy people and how he would need every other weekend off to go on these junkets to raise business capitol.

Our 2 tribes ended up going to war. The career bakers didn't like it, but French was generous and used high grade coke to buy the popularity votes of numerous bench hands.

Enter Tracey......Tracey worked on the bench with us, she was one of the few female bakers that lasted for a long while in production.

Her body was lean and athletic looking, and she was known to donate it to a lucky baker (or bakers) after work if there was booze involved, and rumor has it that the gentlemen suitor / suitors would have their dreams come true, but only if they promised to spend the entire night.

Well Tracey was totally swept up by French and the 2 of them started hanging out a bit.

French's crew started to crumble though, Fat Richie ended up getting caught moving crank and since he was a 3rd time loser he's still serving a mandatory 25 of 28 years.

So French had to find new hobbies. After a few months the power struggle was over.

French and his boys got nailed for doing shoddy work and taking short cuts, so even they realized they were in over their head baking wise.

For 3 or 4 days French didn't come to work, and most of us figured that he just quit, but on a Sunday night I went outside close to midnight to smoke cigs with Tracey and her hands shook alcoholic hard, when I asked what was wrong....she tried to be cool and bottle it in, but that just made it worse,so before she burst into tear, she ran back into the bakery.

The next day when I punched in, Winner was all pissed off. The FBI had come into the shop. Dale French was found dead. He was all naked and blue like wrapped in sheets on his living room floor.

The Feds were pissed because Dale owed deep into 6 figures on back taxes and they were just about to knab him,but Larry Winner was pissed for another reason...

"That F-ing idiot better be dead, I just co signed on a loan for him, he bought a couple motorcycles. God-D, how am I going to get a death certificate? I am so screwed!"

Then he stopped and our eyes locked. I reminded him "Dude - the guy is dead!"
I know it's horrible to say but, we both laughed......after all, people in their 20's just don't die!

The End

*P.S. Mist people deduced that Tracey was at the scene during the death / murder? But that was all scuttlebitt. Nothing was proven. She quir immedietly and went over to Baldinder where it was reported that she got caught "doing it" in the freezer with some guy, you never know how much gossip is true in the Bakers wire, but I heard she married the guy so the company wouldn't terminate her.



  1. Wow, It's like rock stars meet bakers, sex, drugs and rock and roll.

  2. Yeah pedro...Maybe flocj of Seagulls though, we weren't U2 cool!

  3. Sorry Pedro....Flock of Seagulls, cadence is really off today. sigh

  4. @ Scott Sands.....I wish. did you read that book that they released "Burning Hippos"? It was an early work that was done by he and Burrough's.

    I enjoyed it alot.