Monday, December 30, 2019
Another man (fiction)
Another man would have been angry.
Another man might have been hurt.
Another man would have let it go.
Joel stuck the audit sheet in his shirt.
The rabbit is caught because it doesn’t know which way to jump. Joel would not make that mistake.
That evening, Joel asked where the other managers went to unwind after the workday.
He discretely took a seat in the corner. He wasn’t hiding. He figured the most efficient way to hunt was to let the game come to him.
A half hour later, Sven sat at his table. Sven had a pitcher of beer. “Mind if I sit down?” Sven asked.
“I am good with that, as long as you share your beer.” Joel said.
Sven was the welcoming committee. He expected Joel to ask questions and Joel obliged him.
“What can you tell me about Torvaldsen?” Joel asked.
“Totally autistic. The poster-child, really.” Sven immediately replied.
“How can you know that?” Joel asked, rhetorically.
“No eye contact. That is why we have to send in the data. He doesn’t look at us. He looks at the computer.” Sven replied.
Yup, that was about right.
“You know Richards?” Sven asked.
“Yeah, he is my immediate supervisor” Joel said. Sven had to already know that.
“He porked one of his side-chicks on Torvaldsen’s desk. Left a huge stain on the calendar pad. Richards looked as guilty as hell the next morning.” Sven said. “Torvaldsen had the building re-roofed.”
“I mean, how oblivious can you be?” Sven said.
Joel frowned. “How do you know Richards did-the-dirty with a chick on Torvaldsen’s desk?”
Sven smirked. “Richards bragged about it the next day. And Torvaldsen never figured it out.”
That pretty much settled in Joel’s mind that going over Richards’ head was not going to work.
“How do you get all of your work done?” Joel asked.
Sven shrugged. “Mostly, I let my reports do the work. I deep-dive one area a day to keep them honest.”
“Like…?” Joel asked.
“I might check the Security chart one day. I will follow the routes and see if they missed anything. Then I might verify the attendance charts the next day. Just to let them know I am occasionally looking over their shoulder.” Sven said.
“Do you ever catch anything?” Joel asked, fascinated.
“Hell no. Do you know what kind of shit-storm it would stir up if I found a discrepancy. The best thing to do is to let them know where you will be looking a few days in advance. Then, if they slip up, look the other way.” Sven said. “One hand washes the other.”
First thing in the morning, before any of his workers showed up, he made a walk-by inspection of the transportation.
Steve Wright was the first employee to show up. Joel barked at him “I need truck Number Seven up here at the front of the build so I can inspect it.”
Joel took the daily inspection form and made an excruciating show of checking every safety feature. The headlights. The backup lights. The backup camera. The turn indicators and on, and on, and on.
Then Joel looked over the inspection log to verify that every working day had been signed off. Most of the initials were illegible but there was ink in every square where there was supposed to be ink, even if Joel had to put it there.
After twenty minutes of chicken-shitting Wright to death, Joel said “I am going to do once a month. Make sure this truck is perfect on the first Thursday of the month.”
Joel thrust the sheaf of forms that he had to carry to every meeting to Wright and said "I need these filled out."
Then Joel walked away. He had seen what he was looking for in his initial walk-around. The two big trucks did not have any dew on the windshields or hood. They had been run all night.
Going into his office, Joel turned on the computer and pencil-whipped the charts. Then he played a video game for a half hour before heading out to the 8:30 meeting.
His employees were high-fiving as he walked away.