The hidden years,116, primates

Door San-Daniel gepubliceerd op Wednesday 12 August 22:11



The men leaned on their shovels. I was  looked over by the biggest one from head to toe. ‘Another apprentice plumber,’ he said to me? ‘ ‘Yes,’ I said, and you? ‘ ‘Us as well, though for three years now' laughed the second one with missing front teeth.’ Everyone is a starting plumber. They spoke flat and every sentence was a slang sentence, at every turn a throat was scraped and they  firmly spat on the ground. ‘So,’ said the biggest one, ‘the break is over, the meters are measured at the end of the day and if you do not get far enough you will be fired.’ ‘I'm really an apprentice plumber,’ I said. ‘I'm not deaf,’ said the biggest one. ‘You will never do anything else like us’ Meanwhile, he handed me a shovel. ‘You're in the middle and Peter here is on your left and throws the soil to the left. I am to your right and throw it to the right. Is that understood? ‘ ‘Where do I throw my full shovel,’ I asked? First turn left and then right past us. If you do not shovel on, Peter or me will give you a blow to your head. I got it. I had the hardest job because I was new. ‘This is the measuring stick,’ said the biggest one, ‘we must make the trench two meters deep, so that your stick no longer looks over the edge. It is a sewage,.hé? ‘

So we walked shovelling from the beginning to the end of the trench and then turned around. ‘Is there no digger, here’ I wanted to know, after having covered the route a few times? ‘ Not necessary, ‘laughed the large one, 'we are cheaper, we are paid by the hour and if you go slower you get fired.’ I was tricked, I would never be a plumber, it started to become clear to me. I had become a navvy. I got a resounding slap to my head of one of the primates. I had gone a little slower shovelling.'Hey ‘I called out angry. ‘If you say one more thing,’ said the biggest one , 'We'll kill you. Just work on. ‘ At the end of the day my back hurt and my hands were open and the muscles in my forearms started to protest. I was saved by a shrill whistle. I dropped the shovel and it fell from my hands. it had been quite a day. ‘Whoa,’ said the biggest one  while he raised his hand, ‘you clear the job up, shovels go to the shack and if you ever disagree with me and he raised his hand.'And if you ever hit me again,’ I said, 'then I’ll plant this shovel in your head where your brains ought to be. ‘ Hey, ‘Peter said,’ are you threatening me, ‘and he spread his feet and let the muscles on his back roll. 'Men,' we heard over the edge, ‘we are going to measure.’ ‘Fuckoff with your shovels’ said the biggest one , ‘to the shack moron 'and then come back if you want to live,’


The shovel had a paint mark on the stem. Our job had a lick of green paint. I handed three shovels in and a man ticked it off on a list. ‘You're lucky,’ said the largest primate, when I came back, 'we made it, if that had not been so you'd have to look for another job tomorrow. ‘ I shrugged my shoulders and went to the car, What a disappointment, what a crappy day. I decided to last it out a week, one thing stood out like a sore thumb, I would not spend my whole life digging trenches for someone who was too miserable to lease a digger. With pleasure I slumped back in the big soft front seat of the old American and turned the key, that even hurt my hands. tomorrow I’d wind some cloths around  my hands, I thought.

Avoiding the potholes I searched with my old blue friend my way, away from the site.

San Daniel 2015

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