The Roach Coach as some of the guys used to call it.
Every day about this time of the morning, it would show up with its tantalizing treats, the sugary-delights every Fatboy yearns for in the morning. Do-nuts, Bear claws, those really slippery loaded with sugar items with the raspberry jelly inside. (My mouth begins to water just writing this)
I would always opt for the Egg Salad sandwich and a carton of Chocolate Milk. Some of the other guys would spring for the grease soaked burrito’s and even the occasional Indian Taco.
After purchasing our particular brand of poison at greatly inflated prices, we would walk over to a huge pile of lumber, and there in the sunlight of the morning, eat our treats and take our non-union unauthorized respite. Just a loose knit bunch of guys taking a break from the day.
Our rag-tag collective gathering is not to be confused with the boys down the street. I am not even sure if the food truck stopped there or not, to tell you the truth. I am talking about the boys down the street at the diesel shop, who broke every morning, almost religiously for a fresh cup of coffee as Paul Harvey dispensed his daily take on America from the radio resting in the windowsill on the east wall of the break room.
So, here we are, sitting on the pile of lumber and someone, who I don’t remember, spots this alley cat sauntering down the road, right next to the railroad tracks. He is walking our way, no hurry – no worry, and he looks bad.
He has one eye partially closed, his tail is bent awkwardly to one side, he is missing a patch or two of hair in several places. I don’t know where he has been, who he has been hangin’ with, but this cat, man, he looks pretty bad.
The cat, without so much as giving us a glance, walks on by. He gets a little bit past our collective group, and someone, again I don’t know who, begins to laugh. Soon, the entire group of men sitting on this pile of lumber eating their mid morning snacks are engaged in raucous laughter.
The cat abruptly stops walking.
Slowly it turns around and curiously stares intently at these guys on the pile of lumber, and each one to a man, suddenly stops laughing. You could virtually hear a pin drop, it was that quiet. Satisfied that the humor at his expense is over, the cat turns around and slowly walks off.
At that point, I turn and look at Hal, an Ex-Marine and a burly sort of guy, who could if he wanted to, break you like a piece of dry kindling. I said, “Hey Hal. Why did you stop laughing?” Hal looked at me and replied, “Uh, I dunno. He sort of looked like he meant business, so I thought it was time to shut up.”
Have a great day today, go out into the world and put your best foot forward. And please check yourself in the mirror at the house before you go out … Appearance is what it is all about y’know.