The hidden years,139, roughing it

Door San-Daniel gepubliceerd op Wednesday 26 August 07:41


Roughing it

In the main barrack was a kind of office. On the wall hung a grid plate with chips in four colors. ‘Four shift teams, 'said Bill, '24 hours around the clock.’ A man with bags under his eyes, sat behind a telex machine, while across from him, another man filled in numbers on a large sheet of paper. ‘Yes,’ said the writer? ‘Is there a phone here,’ Bill wanted to know? The man jerked his thumb over his shoulder and went on with entering numbers. ‘We are behind in meeting our goals’ reported the man at the telex. ‘we ‘ll adjust our goals to it, 'replied the man with the head,’ then it reflects the situation again.'That sounded funny, a special solution, I had nothing to do with it, but I felt that things were made to fit. They probably had to do a monthly accountability. Bill thanked the men for the use of the phone, but the men did not hear him and we walked out of the room again.

‘We’ll go to the canteen barrack,’ Bill said, ‘we have to discuss something.’ We walked along the buffet and Bill scooped a plate full of cold cuts and bacon, then he grabbed some sandwiches. ‘Have you got some plastic bags,’ he said to the man behind the counter. He got no answer but was just given a stack of sandwich bags. They do not speak a word too much here, I thought, and I walked back to Bill. Who filled two mugs of coffee and sat down at a table. There he started ‘to load up’  sandwiches with meats and stuffed them into the bags. I watched him in silence going on. ‘We're going to move on,’ began Bill 'and it will not happen to us anymore that we are stranded without food. ‘ ‘Oh, I said, 'where do we go, to Calgary, I presume?’ ‘No,’ said Bil, ‘that was planned before we got stuck. The drive from Calgary to Grande Prairie has already been given away ‘ ‘We are going to Yellowknife but that is not possible from here because there are stupidly enough no connecting roads  through the wilderness.’


‘Yellowknife,’ I repeated, ‘how far is it from here?’ ‘From  Fort McMurray, some 1700 kilometers, but we're past that, so you can expect about a 1900 kilometers. You can count on a 24-hour drive. ‘Holy shit,’ I exclaimed, ‘that's no bullshit anymore.’ ‘No,’ agreed Bill, ‘that's no nonsense and there are still some little things that I should tell you 'Well, bring it on,’ I said, ‘Nothing surprises me anymore.’ ‘Yup,’ said Bill, ‘we go over High Prairie, which lies some 700 kilometers in the right direction, we are loaded there  with steel pipes and provisions for mining beyond Yellowknife '' What sort of mines ' I asked, expecting the answer; gold. ‘They are strip mines,’ said Bill, ‘it is one of the largest deposits of diamonds, the mines look like a funnel into the ground.’ ‘Go on,’ I said, 'because you had some little things you wanted to inform me about ‘ ‘Yes,’ Bill replied, a little tense, ‘I have commited us to drive six weeks up there '' You have what,’ I asked bewildered?

‘We're six weeks Up North,’ repeated Bill, ‘it can be more as well, that depends on the work.’ ‘Right,’ I said, ‘You did not need to consult with me?’ ‘No,’ Bill replied, ‘you have agreed to drive with me to Calgary. This combination goes up North, so you and I go ‘ ‘Is there more?’ I asked, ‘there are other little things?’ ‘I could choose to be paid by the hour or per mile, I've chosen per mile.’ ‘I'm glad I know that,’ I chuckled, ‘you're a great democratic leader '' In High Prairie lies part of our check waiting, so we can just refuel and eat,’ Bill went on, ‘and because people otherwise won’t go. There is a high turnabout amongst drivers. '' Why is there a high turnabout amongst drivers, ‘I wanted to know? Bill muttered something under his breath that sounded like risks.


‘Did I hear it right Bill?’ I asked, ‘is one of the little things, a high risk?’ ‘Oh, what is called, risk, risk, Bill muttered again, but he looked very imprinted while saying it,’ Are you with me, are you my man? ‘ ‘What could I do?’ ‘I reached my hand out and shook his, 'I am with you,’ I said solemnly. ‘ Beautiful, ‘Bill said,’ we'd better get going, ‘and a moment later the diesel was warming up.

San Daniel 2015

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