This post continues the story from last week’s “MINOU’S PREDICTION.”
“E-A-S-Y!” I said to Yoshi on the phone, “It’s just a report.”
It was February 3rd, 1994 in Weehawken, New Jersey. It was rapidly turning into a bad day.
The line was, however, already dead. Behind me, I heard and felt a massive weight flying up the stairs from the basement. In an instant the door burst open, and there was Yoshi in my face, ranting and raving. Again, he repeated the line about me abusing my family name; just because it was “Olcott,” I had the right to treat others poorly.
Strange how that never occurred to me. If he only knew what my last name really entitled me to!
But how could he, of course?
In any event, I saw an apoplectic 250 pound man in front of me, acting like he just got sprung from Dannemora, smashing his fist in his other hand repeatedly, all the while screaming at me. He wasn‘t just angry. This was harsher than the “if you want my sneakers, take ‘em” stare. This was “your ass, his foot.” I was being threatened. Physically.
At least, I was used to being shouted at.
Clinton Correctional Facility, Dannemora, New York.
“C’mon, Yoshi,” I said as calmly as I could manage, “let’s review this with the boss.” I wasn’t in the mood to take a beating from anyone at work. All this because I asked him for a simple report and one that was now overdue by a day?
“I ain’t coming with you, you piece of shit! Ask me one more time for that report, right here, to my face!” He pointed to his enormous mug, filling my field of view like a full moon over stumps in a poisonous swamp.
Yoshi didn’t want to go upstairs and explain himself to the boss? No matter. This was unacceptable. Yet I knew full well that I didn’t have the authority to reprimand him, even for behavior this egregious. This needed real authority. NOW.
Just to liven up this week’s story.
I walked away from Yoshi and headed up the stairs, a touch faster than usual. Dad was on the phone as I entered his office.
“Dad,” I demanded, “I have a problem. We need to talk NOW!” I made the slit throat sign as a sign of urgency. He begged off the call and hung up the phone gently, looking up quizzically.
“Yes?” he said, expectantly.
I gave him the blow by blow of this morning’s events while noticing that Yoshi had come up behind me, breathing heavily in full-adrenaline mode.
Yoshi countered by telling Dad that I had been harassing him all morning for the report. I looked on passively, puzzled by how he could be so annoyed by such a common and benign work request. Guess there’s a first time for everything.
By any measure, it was obvious to me that Yoshi had been clearly out of line and was on his way to a much deserved reprimand by my Dad. It just isn’t acceptable to threaten coworkers with an ass whooping simply because you didn’t like what you were asked to do. “Please print me a report by tomorrow morning?” Gosh, was that really a harsh request?
I waited patiently for Yoshi to finish and then for Dad to give him a good dressing down. He had it coming.
This meant a lot to me, for more than one reason.
I heard words coming from Dad’s mouth. They were discordant and disconnected from my expectations. I had trouble understanding what he was saying. It was straight from “I CAN’T STOP MY LEG.”
“James,” he said, his voice loud and somewhat wavering, “go solve your own problems.” Did I just lose an open-and-shut case in the kangaroo court? Again?
“WHAT?! Are you kidding me?” I was outraged. “Yoshi’s out of line here. Can’t you see…”
Before I could finish, he waved us both out of his office.
Somewhere deep inside my emotional core, like an out of control nuclear reactor, radioactive slag exploded and started burning all the way down to the core of my world.
Radioactive slag in Chernobyl’s basement.
I was shell-shocked. This was more than an emergency. How could this threat be any more clear cut? Isn’t it obvious that a workplace — whether it be on a plank road in Weehawken or a stately avenue in Washington, DC — needs some minimum degree of order and decorum just to be able to function? Dad’s refusal to come to my defense was inexcusable. The sting was nauseating, unsupportable.
Yoshi stood there glowering over me, menacingly.
I was done. There was simply no point to any of this anymore.
If I couldn’t do my work without being threatened, if I couldn’t get back-up when I clearly needed it, if I couldn’t complete a job I was asked to do, or if I couldn’t show any initiative and be rewarded for it, then FUCK THIS SHIT. I decided right there and then that I didn’t want to share this planet with these assholes.
I looked at Yoshi; it was either him or me. One of us was going out. I no longer cared if it were to be me departing this orb. At least I would get one punch in. Just one. Afterwards I could glare at Dad from my hospital bed or grave, either one.
“Alright Yoshi!” I was making the commands now, “OUTSIDE! NOW!” I pointed to his chest, “YOU. ARE. ON!”
Next week: DUEL AND DEATH, THE AFTERMATH
Courtesy of Twin Peaks, “Gotta Light.”