Getting rid of George

Scott Stine turned on the pumps to supply the plant with water even though the thermometer only read twenty-six degrees. "Dammit!" he said walking back to his truck. "When the fuck are the supervisors gonna grow some balls and make that old bastard retire?"

He climbed into the truck and pulled the door shut. He looked over at his partner who had a constipated expression on his face. "You alright Juan?"

Juan Marquis, who spoke very good English but rarely made sense to anyone, furrowed his brow and said, "I gotta a prairie dog." Juan frowned, lifted a cheek off the seat, and farted. He smiled at Scott and said, "It's okay, the prairie dog just had to burp." Then he laughed hysterically.

"Man, you're a nasty mother fucker," Scott said and started up the truck. As he drove away from the pumps, he grabbed the handheld mic that was clipped to the collar of his jacket. "Base Eight George, the water's on."

A hundred year old, five pack a day voice came through the speaker of the radio. "It's about time. Alright Miami, 57's comin' to ya, put two stacker on dust."

Scott keyed his mic again. "Mobil Three Curly, where are you located?"

The speaker on the radio spit out some static, and then Curly's voice answered, "I'm in the office."

Scott steered the truck toward the office. He knew Curly would be of little help with his problem, the old bastard was Curly's dad. He parked the trunk in front of the office and walked inside wondering where his life went wrong that he'd ended up here at the Quarry. Oh well, he thought, It could be worse, I could have been a garbage man.

Juan followed behind him like a puppy and nearly plopped in his lap when he sat down in a chair across the desk from Curly. Scott pointed him to a chair in the corner.

"Don't even say it Scotty, I know what you're thinking. You're bent outta shape because George had you start up the water with the temperature below freezing."

"Damn right I am. You know what's gonna happen and so does he, but he don't care 'cause he don't hafta shovel off the belt when it ices up."

"The sun'll be up in about an hour. The plant should be fine 'til then."

Scott was about to say something when his portable radio went off. A voice with a strong Hispanic came through the speaker. "Mobil Three Escott."

Scott glared at Curly as he keyed the mic. "Go ahead, Miami."

"Yeah Escott, twenty conbeyor yust estopped. I dunno wha happen."

"Ten-four. We'll be there in a minute." Scott stood up still glaring at Curly. "You wanna take a wild guess 'wha happen?'"

Curly took a deep breath. "I'll send some laborers over to help you and Juan."

At the mention of his name, Juan stood up quickly and started singing "Feliz Navidad" at the top of his lungs.

"And they ask me why I drink," Scott said more to himself than to the other men in the room. "Juan, go get in the truck, I'll be there in a minute."

"…wanna wish you a Merry Christmas from the bottom of my heaaaart," he sang as he walked away.

Scott turned back to Curly. "Something needs to be done about George and you know it. He thinks he owns this place."

Curly nodded his enormous bald head. "I know. I'll say something to Moe and Larry, but I don't think it'll do any good."

Scott groaned in agreement and walked out. He opened the truck door and was struck in the face with a smell that could gag a pig. Juan had just burped another prairie dog. "Dammit!" he yelled as he slid behind the wheel. "Couldn't you at least roll down the window?"

Juan smiled at him and inhaled deeply through his nose. "Smells like flowers."

Scott drove to twenty-one conveyer with his head out the window like a dog. Juan jumped out when the truck stopped, grabbed a shovel off the back of the truck, and made his way to the job. As Scott slipped on a pair of leather work gloves, he heard the unmistakable roar of the water truck coming toward him. Thirty seconds later, the thirty-five ton converted haul truck pulled to a stop behind Scott's welding truck.

The rising sun reflected off its windshield not allowing a view inside. The engine quieted and the door opened. Mitch Bennett stepped out of the cab and stood on the catwalk adjusting his hardhat over his usual backward Steelers cap. "Y'all need a hand?" he yelled down.

"We'd appreciate it," Scott hollered back. He grabbed two flat shovels out of his truck while Mitch climbed down to the ground.

"I stopped what I was doin' and started up outta the hole soon as I heard you tell George that the water was on," Mitch said, taking one of the shovels.

They turned and walked toward the overloaded conveyor. "That's what gets me; everyone around here knows this is gonna happen except George and the managers."

Mitch shook his head. "They know, they just don't care. Why would they?" They went a few yards up the catwalk and started pushing material off the belt. "Look around you, see any of 'em around? Hell no! They're in their heated offices with their feet propped up."

"Yeah, but this is George's fault."

"But management lets him get away with this kinda shit."

Scott stopped and looked at him. He had a good point. But even so, if George was gone, he wouldn't have half the problems he had. "I just wish I could figure out a way to get rid of him."

"If you're serious, I know a guy that knows a guy that could help you out," Mitch said, flashing a wicked little grin that, after working with the man for nearly ten years, he'd never seen before.

Was he serious? Was he talking about having George killed? Sure he was an asshole, but did he deserve to die? "Yeah right, I'm gonna put a hit out on George." He gave a nervous little laugh and started cleaning off the belt again.

Mitch shrugged and got back to work. "Fine by me, I just thought it might be an option."

The entire time they were shoveling the belt, Scott thought about Mitch's proposition. He had no doubt Mitch knew someone that would do such a thing. Hell, he wouldn't be completely shocked to find out that Mitch was actually a killer himself. The guy had always been a little off. He wasn't a bad guy, just kinda weird. Everyone thought of him as "out of place" working at the quarry.

Nearly an hour later, they had the belt cleared off and running. Scott, Juan, and Mitch trudged back to the truck and put their shovels away. "Thanks for the help," Scott said as Juan slid into the passenger seat and closed the door.

"No problem. Whatcha got goin' on now?"

"Nothin', we'll probably go down to Base 8 for some coffee."

"Sounds good, I'll meet you down there."