How many times?

“Gayle’s gonna do it. Jeez!” Marie started to laugh and it was catching.

“Nah, she ain’t.”

“Oh yeah. She’s gonna tell that fool to pay us our overtime. If I hear the phrase ‘it’ll be on the next pay check,’ one more time, I’m really gonna lose it. She’s gonna tell him right to his face. Prettiest sight I’ve seen in a long time. New managers. New ignoramuses, more like.” Joe aimed his left fist toward his right palm and missed.

Stacey started to giggle and Joe joined her. Their chant turned into nervous trills and a bunch of sad sack jokes began to flow out. Paul started it. “How many supervisors does it take to pull up to a loading dock? One. One to direct traffic.”

The thought of lone talkin’ to Mean Eddie was scary. The protest had started suddenly. After Sid had told them that he’d missed another appointment with the cardiac guy. Because of so-called overtime. Unpaid overtime. Mandatory damn time.

“Remember in July when Tim was sent home? That’s when Gayle started to heat up real bad.”

“Yup. She sure did.”

Gayle turned, “Go ahead, guys. Go on home. I don’t need no cheerleaders. When I come out, I’ll either be canned or I’ll carry on. We might not get our overtime but I’m damn well not gonna be scared anymore.”

“Are ya sure you don’t want some of us to come with you Gayle?”

“Thanks, but I’m dead sure. I might pull up stakes and head out to my sister’s and find something there. But you guys have gotta do something solid here to fight this bull. I can’t take it anymore. I’m probably outta here.”

She brushed Marie’s hand. Her fingers were clammy.

“Go ahead you guys. I’m gonna have a super respectful chat with Eddie. Make a formal request and all. Point out a few things. I’m real calm now. This is gonna be fine. Extra job skills, eh? Anger management training on the job. No courses needed.”

Her sideways glance was a smile they hadn’t seen in a long time.

Story by Sharon Roseman

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