The hidden years,118, payday

Door San-Daniel gepubliceerd op Friday 14 August 13:03



We had been working for hours and the conversation which had been minimal anyway, had dried up, except for  the occasional curse accompanied by a breathless gasp. We were now almost at its expanded depth of two meters and were throwing sand high over the edge of the trench. Pete ran a little behind, I stopped and leaned on my shovel and looked at him . ‘Work tor once you sugar ass', I grinned, or do you want to have your head whacked?’ Pete looked at me aghast. ‘I can not work any harder,’ he wheezed and gasped, out of breath, ‘I have strained something.’ ‘That's a damn pity for you, old wanker’, I said, as I imitated his own sarcastic voice . ‘Maybe your cleaning time has come.’ ‘So help me God, I’ll slap you if you do not move that shovel 'I went  on and I took a few steps back. Pete shrank into nothingness  and put his shovel back into the sand. ‘Thanks Hey Pete,’ I said, ‘now you know again just how it feels when you can not lift a finger more, and then are threatened by some dumbo. The wheezing was no longer there to hear, I glanced at my watch, ‘Pete quit smoking from now on, if I see you smoking again in my trench I‘ll shove the package down your throat. I do not want your rotten tobacco smoke down here. I mean it!

‘Maybe you do not want to see your little daughter grow up, then puff as much as you want, in your spare time.But here I do not want to end up as a squeaky moron because I inhaled your breath.’ ‘Hey man, leave me alone, I do not want war,’ said Pete now having regained some dignity. ‘A few days ago you were very tough,’ I said, ‘and you hit me at every turn, try that again Pete, then we'll see who comes out of  this trench at the end of the day and who remains . ' Hey man let go, ‘said my squeaky partner,’ it ‘s fine again. ‘No Pete, ‘I said, 'you will get out of the trench or l’ll split your filthy head with my shovel , it's almost Drystale time. You will go to where the lorry stops and get my stuff. You come right back with a coffee and a cake for me and then you can help me shovel again, understand? ‘ Pete dropped the shovel from his hands and walked to the step ladder that was at the end just above the trench. ‘Come back,’ I commanded, 'here tools are not thrown about, put the shovel right this minute neatly against the wall. ‘Pete picked up without speaking his shovel and put it with the stem at an angle against the trench wall and then climbed up the ladder. ‘Hey,’ he said, when he stood up on the edge, ‘you are okay 'and started to walk away from the trench. ‘Hey fatso,’ I called after him, ‘I like my coffee black, remember, otherwise you can look for another job.’ With drooping shoulders my colleague digger went to where  within seconds Drystale’s truck would park.


I had a little chuckle, the sheets had been handed out and the tables were turned, from the hands of Pete, I would never suffer again. The day crawled on and when the whistle finally went, I knew it was payday and that we would receive wages in the shack. We went after the measurement of the superintendent of the trench and walked excited with the shovel over our shoulder to the shack where the wages were to be paid. It took a long time and when I stood beside Pete and counted my money, I said, 'it is not right, I've got a day underpaid. ‘You think so,’ Pete said, ‘I have the same and the rest as well. a trick of the boss Hey. What is measured today is not included yet, you’ll get that next week, so he is sure you’ll come back tomorrow.‘ I felt unreasonably angry but turned and walked away forcing myself to stay calm. I went straight to my old friend, the blue Pontiac and stepped in and felt back home in the safety of its steel embrace.

San Daniel 2015

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