Raymond and Eric went into work two hours early so they could review progress before the shift-to-shift hand-off meeting.
Raymond felt like he had been kicked in the gut as he walked from room-to-room. The remnants of drywall were painted but the lower portions had obviously been kicked in. And the wiring had been ripped out.
Eric behaved rather strangely. He bent over and inspected every receptacle that had been ripped off the studs and every kicked-in and smashed drywall panel and every inch of wire that had been pulled through the drywall.
Every room that Al and Javier, the two Master Electricians had “bought off and green-dotted” the night before had suffered the same fate.
“Cool down, boss.” Eric said. “This has to play out the way it has to play out.”
Coming out of the last room they saw Russel Davies, the first shift electrical supervisor. Russel immediately launched into a savage attack. It quickly became clear that the demolition had been done with his blessing.
“You fucking moron!” Davies shouted. “What the fuck did you not understand about ‘wait for first shift’.”
Raymond immediately felt his adrenaline peg. He ground his teeth together.
Davies closed in on Raymond and started jabbing him in the chest with his finger.
“You are fucking lucky that I am in a good mood. I have half a mind to have my crew throw you out that window.” Davies shouted.
All Raymond could think of was that his crew had made Davies look bad.
“Look,” Raymond said, “it is not that hard to motivate these guys. i know we are behind but we can catch up with the tombstone chart. All we had to do was to find a ‘traceable’ way to document that we are in compliance with the NEC.”
Davies looked at Raymond like he was a pile of dogshit he had the misfortune to step in.
“That. Is. Not. The. Way. It. Works.” Davies said. “It will be a cold day in hell when I allow electrical work to be closed out before it is inspected by the approved, Cali inspectors.”
“Gotta news flash for ya.” Eric said. “You ain’t in Cali no more.”
Russel rounded on Eric and was about to stab him in the chest with his index finger when Eric said in a conversational voice, “Touch me with that finger and I will rip your arm off and stuff it down your throat.”
Russel decided that he did not need to establish physical dominance to slap Eric down.
Turning to Raymond, “Call off your dog or I will call the cops and file assault charges against him.”
Raymond reasonably said, “Eric didn’t touch you. In fact, you were about to assault him.”
“You are pushing it, asshole.” Davies said. “You put my crew behind. I duly noted that to management. Rather than work on the next set of rooms, I had to assign them to fixing the shit you guys did. Now you need to finish fixing those rooms...and leave them open like I told you last night.”
“Cali might not be in control of LA right now, but it is just a matter of days before they come back.” Davies said. “I am not going to destroy my reputation as a ‘team player’ by going ‘cowboy’ just to meet arbitrary targets on a tombstone chart.”
And with that Davies went stomping off.
“You know, I shouldn’t say this, but I wonder if he is off his meds.” Raymond said. “He was blaming us for putting him behind?”
“Nah.” Eric said. “He is just living in denial. Don’t expect he will be in that job much longer.” he said, popping his bubble gum.
“We gotta focus on what we can control.” Eric said. “I suggest we get the drywall crews started on stripping the walls so the electricians can rewire them. Everybody is going to complain like a mutha-fuck because nobody likes having to redo work.”
Raymond could not understand how Eric could take the setback so philosophically. He knew that Eric was wound even more tightly than he was.
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