My Best Friend's Ex(4)

By: Quinn & Meghan Quinn

Fuming now, his face looking like an ugly shade of purple, he spits at me, “These are things you need to bring to my attention. I could have thrown Danny in there to do the electricals.”

“Danny is still an apprentice, and that goes against code.”

“Fuck code. We’d have Manny sign off on it.”

I run my hand over my face, knowing I won’t get anywhere with this man, so I concede, my jaw tight as I say, “Yeah, next time I’ll check with you.”

“Fucking right you will. Just because you’re managing projects now doesn’t mean you manage the entire company. All decisions must be run through me.” He wobbles on his feet as he points at himself, the smell of booze now making its way to me. Yup, all decisions must go through the alcoholic. Smart, so fucking smart. “You’re lucky I don’t take this out of your paycheck.”

I try not to laugh at that comment because last time Julius tried to charge a project manager for something “gone wrong”, HR backed up the employee, ensuring Julius understood how that was not possible.

But hey, empty threats are one of the cornerstones of the perfect manager, right?

Not wanting to indulge in any more conversation with this man, especially since he’s drunk and stumbling over his own two feet, I ask, “Was there anything else you wanted to talk to me about?”

Standing tall, well as tall as he can—I still tower over him with my six-foot-three height—he says, “No, that’s it. Check with me before you do something like that again. Got it?”

I tap my head, and say with sarcasm—which I know he won’t pick up on—, “Lock and loaded, boss man.”

“Good.” Turning around, he trips over a two-by-four which he kicks out of his way once he gains balance and strides toward the management trailer. The house we’re building is an entire housing development, new for the area, but in high demand.

When the trailer door slams shut, I sigh in frustration and remove my hard hat to run my hand through my hair, lightly pulling on the strands. Fuck, if this wasn’t such a damn good opportunity and well-paying job, I would quit. It would be cool to not have to deal with that dickhead anymore but jobs don’t come easy in this area, especially jobs like mine. Upstate New York is a tough place to find work and I’m not about to fine-tune my résumé.

I work hard. I’ve never been a slacker, and even though I may have to work with idiots like Julius, I tell myself repeatedly that it’s not forever. One day, I will be a Julius . . . just not with the alcoholic tendencies and beer belly.

I look down at my Fossil watch with the black face and dark leather wristband. Great. It’s well past quitting time. I walk out to my truck and toss my hard hat in the bed, pop open the tailgate, and snag the cooler I keep there for days like this. I don’t drink at the worksite, but I’m not opposed to having a Mountain Dew after work with a Little Debbie snack.

And neither are my guys . . .

Racer and Smalls both stride over to me, their tool-belts now in their hands, their hard hats under their arms, sweat coating their hair even though it’s still winter.

“Please tell me you have Swiss Rolls today,” Racer calls out just as he sits next to me on the tailgate. Smalls steps on the tire and hoists his body over the side and sits on the ledge.

I hold out a box of Oatmeal Creme Pies and shrug my shoulders. “Creamy pies, sorry.”

“Even fucking better.” Racer grabs the box from me and rips it open only to toss a few pies in our direction. We can take down a box easily in one sitting, without even trying, and the best thing about it, we can get away with the calories because we burn five times as much during the day.

With a mouthful of Oatmeal Pie, Racer says, “Saw Julius over here. Did he forget where he put his bottle cap remover?”

It’s not a secret that Julius is known for one thing—getting drunk in his trailer—so Racer’s question is understandable. Also, Racer, Smalls, and I have been working together for years now, so we don’t beat around the bush about things.

“Bitching about paying an electrician.” I pop an entire Oatmeal Pie in my mouth and chew.

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