This post originally appeared on LandmanLife.com in July of 2013. It has been very slightly edited to correct some grammatical errors and add a few minor details that were left out of the original story. Obviously the names of those people involved have been changed for their own sake…but I’m pretty sure anyone that knows these guys won’t have a hard time figuring out who’s who.
If you have not read The Beer Fueled Poker Game that Almost Got Me Fired Part 1 yet, go ahead and get that out of the way before proceeding. Enjoy your weekend everybody, and remember…when you’re on a road trip to nowhere, there’s always time for one more beer…
As I got out of bed and tried to shake off the hungover/still drunk feeling from the night before I called a couple of my coworkers trying to figure out what had happened, but no one answered. Since I was already worried about [primary broker’s name] being in town and the disturbing call I had just received, I naturally assumed that the people I couldn’t get to answer their phones were already at the office, ready for the impending firing squad. Being the last person there when [primary broker] was in town just doesn’t sound like it would be good for my job security so I rushed through a quick shower, hoping it would clean off the smell of sweat. I hurriedly dried off, got dressed, and hauled ass to the office. Lucky for me the cops in town only cared about big rigs running the stoplight (yes, THE stoplight). As I blasted through that red light I waved at the police cruiser parked on the other side of the intersection.
Passing the gas station we always stopped at for beer after work each afternoon meant I was almost there, told you the hotel was close, right? A left turn, two stopsigns (that I rolled through) and a right turn later, I was in front of the office. It wasn’t a good sign that none of my coworkers who had gone out the night before were at the office, maybe I didn’t need to rush so much to get there after all? Nobody wants to be last, but it is also not a good idea to be the first person through the door…that guy always gets shot. Two of the older guys were outside smoking cigarettes and I tried to chat them up about why [primary broker] was coming in, they both kept it short just saying “I don’t know what you kids did last night, but he’s pissed as hell.” Not something you want to hear in the morning on a Friday, especially if you blacked out the night before. That statement also made it pretty clear that whatever the problem was, my buddies and possibly myself had been involved. Fuck.
Heading inside to our tiny office I first turned left into the “old farts” room to see who else was there. Our crew chief and two other older landmen were at their desks, and they all gave me a weird look as I walked in. At the time I don’t think the term “throwing shade” was a thing, but that’s exactly what they were doing. Trying to act normal is so much harder when you don’t know WHY you should feel guilty, but I did my best to pull it off. Obviously I didn’t want to straight up ask our crew chief what was going on if I was somehow implicated in the situation so I just kept to the normal bullshit. He was the definition of excellence, at least if you asked him. To most people he was a weird old liberal hippy man that wore slippers with socks, had a remarkably persistent dip spit stain running down his chin and through his scraggly white beard, wore women’s glasses, and had a pierced ear. To us, he was just an annoyingly aloof crew chief. He actually told me once that his instructions were, “intentionally vague.” I guess that means he was covering his ass by not actually telling me to do anything? Still not sure.
After a few minutes of that I left their side of the office and went to the “young guns” side where my desk was, sat down in my piece of shit rolling chair, and wondered how I was going to make myself look busy. I tidied up my desk, organized some papers and folders, and put a couple of miscellaneous documents into my file folder. Between the two sides of our office was a small hallway that had most of our office supplies, a seldom used microwave, and a small fridge that (usually) had beer in it. As I glanced at the fridge I had the fleeting thought that it might be a good idea to make sure there weren’t any beers in there when the owner was coming in. Then I imagined him walking in while I was pulling a handful of beers out of the fridge…and I decided that it wasn’t my problem because it wasn’t my beer, as far as I could remember.
Since I was the most recent hire onto the crew I got shafted on my desk location and had my back facing the door at the very front of the room. Looking busy was a pretty important part of my every day routine. I pulled up our runsheet form and figured I’d go ahead and type up some of the labels I would need next week. Then, all together, my coworker buddies strolled into the office looking guilty, tired, and hungover, but trying their best (as I did) to appear normal on this far from normal Friday at the office. You could cut the awkward tension with a slow motion Austin Powers judo chop. As they all tried to do the really forced small talk dance with our crew chief I resisted the temptation to turn around and ask what the fuck had happened last night.
I waited for them to finish saying that awkward charade with the guys on the other side of the office, but once they came into our side and sat down I started (quietly) asking what had gone on the night before. The look on their faces got me even more concerned than the fact that they wouldn’t say anything about it. “Nothing, shuts. Don’t talk about it,” was the only response I could get. That was pretty irritating, but I understood they didn’t want to be spreading the word about whatever they had done…all I really wanted to know was what I might have been involved with…or if I was involved at all, really. They made it clear that it was a united front to stay silent…so I waited. After a couple of minutes of silence while the tension seemed to slowly build, the owner walked in. Let me correct myself, the owner STORMED in.
The Hurricane Makes Landfall
Let me set the stage by sharing some information about the owner of our company; he was about 5’4, weighed probably 110lbs, had an absurdly large mustache, always wore a (usually cowboy) hat to cover his nearly bald head, wore glasses, and always had on a button down shirt tucked in with jeans and nice boots. Not generally an intimidating persona, but he had a Napoleonic complex to rival the best of the small men out there and loved nothing more than to rip someone’s head off just to prove he had some small amount of power over them and an equally small penis. This morning he was obviously not in the mood for any bullshit, he slammed the door and very loudly stated he wanted everyone to be in (our side) of the office in 2 minutes. Well, at least I was finally about to find out what happened last night. It took about 30 seconds for everyone to assemble in our side of the office…since it was all of 20 feet away. I think that was the only time I had ever seen everyone on our crew at the office at the same time.
We were all sitting there anxiously waiting to see what the owner had to say. He walked in, dramatically paced around for a minute, then pointed his finger and wagged it around at everyone in the room. “You people do realize that MY name is the FIRST name of this COMPANY name, right? I’M FIRST FUCKING NAME!” I figured that was a rhetorical question so the little smartass voice inside me decided to stay quiet for once. “I understand my partner started this project here, but hasn’t done shit since then. Well that’s over, because I’m now taking control since you dumbasses are fucking up and MY name is on it. When I fucking tell ya’ll to do something, you don’t question me, you fucking do it! Understand!?” Crystal fucking clear, Mr. First Name. Please proceed. He did…
“Now that we have that over with, we can address the incident that happened last night. Let me assure each and every one of you that this will NOT happen again! I hope you all understand what I mean. If you guys think you can go around doing whatever the fuck you want, drinking beer and screwing off, and it won’t cost you this job, think again. If this ever happens again I’m not going to bother asking any questions, I’ll just tell anyone involved to get their walking papers and get the fuck out. I hope you understand how serious I am right now, if you want to test me go ahead, you won’t like the outcome. Now, I need to speak privately with Motorboat, Chatterbox, Partyboy, and Racy, unless anyone else was involved??? Everyone else is free to go back to work.” He stood there glowering at everyone until people started awkwardly shuffling out of the office.
As I got up and started walking outside, I glanced over my shoulder at Motorboat, Chatterbox, Partyboy, and Racy. They looked grim faced as they stayed huddled in the corner of the room. Well, I guess I dodged that bullet, but my landman buddies obviously didn’t. I still had no idea what had gone down the night before, but was glad to be off the hook at least. [Primary broker] huffed as he paced around the room waiting for everyone else to go outside. It didn’t look like it was going to be pretty…
End of Part 2
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