Monday, December 29, 2008

"Ain't He Purrrt-y."

On my very first day I reported to the Haughton shop dressed in my new J.C. Penny’s work shirt, Levi 501’s, high top Red Wing steel-toed work boots. I was equipped with a Craftsman screwdriver, Channel Locks, notebook and pencil. Frank took one look at me and snickered "Ain't He Purrrt-y."

All along the question in my mind was. . . Where would my first work assignment be? As I held my breath, he told me to go to the Federal Office Building (FOB) in Downtown Los Angeles. Oh No, Not the Federal Building!!! FOB was a big job with sixteen gearless passenger cars, two geared service cars, one hydro and a couple of escalators. The whole she-bang was all under one roof in a big rectangular box at Los Angeles & Temple Streets. Also, FOB just happened to be the "Devil’s Island" of Haughton's current jobs. To make matters worse, the foreman was the Devil himself. “BUD”

Bud (AKA Stumpy)

I drove my ‘58 Ford 500 down the Hollywood Freeway to the Temple Street exit, parked on the street about five blocks from the job, gathered up my stuff, hiked on in and started looking for Bud. I'd never been on a big job before and it was downright SCARY. Here were all these mean-looking hard hats. They were yelling at each other and even taking a crap on toilets right out in the open close enough to whisper in each others’ ear. Then there were the big-ass holes in the floor that went into some dark unknown abyss. Power cords were all over the floor. It was dark and the only lighting was two wires strung everywhere with light bulbs attached via a plastic device called a Redhead. To top it off there was the ear shattering noise that came from everywhere.

I found Bud, introduced myself to the “Alleged Tyrant” who responded with a few primeval undistinguishable grunts. Rather than The elevator superman I expected, here stood a short stocky guy wearing a J.C. Penny’s Towncraft navy blue tee shirt with a Marlboro hard pack in the pocket. This guy had the shortest, thickest fingers I'd ever seen. And to make matters worse, he chewed his nails and they looked like those old "MOON" wheel covers cut in half. Later I found out they were the source of his nick name "STUMPY"

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