D__ and I get hooked up with an oil-tank building crew over in Rouseville. They work all over the country, but the boys are back home to put some tanks in there just between Oil City and Titusville. Our crewchief D.R. picks his feet almost up to his knees when he walks, and that might look goofy at first, but he never stumbles or stoves his toe in a very busy workplace, and you might even laugh at the walk like he’s doing it just for your amusement, but you get the impression that he could probably rip your arm off and beat you over the head with it with an overzealous handshake. So you start to adopt the walk yourself and hope someday to be six-four with a mustache like a pushbroom and boots the size of Volkswagons.
D.R. tells how great it was working for Matrix in the seventies. He’d just started there and ended up in charge of a crew. His boss said to take the boys out and show them a good time on the company. D.R. bought the boys six bottles of liquor, three cases of beer, and called in a professional. D.R says, “So I’m supposed to account for every dime we spend. You should have seen the secretary’s face when I turn in my receipt and ask for reimbursement for eight blow jobs and two round-the-worlds.”
The reason I like D.R. right away is, well, just that: I’m afraid he might pat me on the back and my spleen will end up on the other side of Oil Creek in a pile of sawdust. Plus here’s this guy who is a local high school’s all-time leading scorer, the head of a fairly prestigious tank crew, a world traveler, and an all-around big boneshattering mother fucker, and if called upon, I imagine he could castrate me with a couple of simple sentences or just a look out of the corner of his eye.