Who's The Boss?

     Traveling at what seemed over 100 MPH on the back road, taking the inside of each turn I could possibly manage at this speed, I still couldn't be quick enough to show up by 6. The old man expected it of me. He never spoke a word, only allowed me to choose, when I started, what time I would show up each morning. If these hair-pin turns and hilly roads don't get the best of me, Ed would probably make me wish they had. He has a way of making you know what he approves of, without saying a word.
     The weekend had almost done me in. I swore I would never allow myself to be so fuckin hung over again. WTF was I thinking? This was very unlike me. I knew that I got drunk, but not clumsy-drunk. I remembered telling the guys I had to get some sleep, and that I'd better get going.
No, I didn't drive myself. My house was in walking distance.
     I'd known two of the three friends since grade school. The newest friend, Carl, was a regular at my favorite local pub. Anyway, Carl worked underground in the local coal mines. He went on for half an hour about the crew of idiots he worked with down there. Most of the workers on his crew had quit to transfer closer to their homes, as a new source had opened up. Carl practically begged me to talk to the supervisor about working on his crew. I had never thought about whether or not I'd want to be a coal miner. Around here, if you are well-off, you either work in production, the mines, or own your own business. This could be a great opportunity for me. I could let Carl know my decision within the next few days.
     When Ed asked me to do work at his place, I was working at a factory in the next town north of us. I chose to accept Ed's offer because, well, he offered me a lot more. There was a chance I could have moved to a supervisor position, but there were no guarantees. The mines would pay a cool ten grand more than Ed, plus the benefits. I needed to talk to the old man about this. How? No fuckin idea. But if he doesn't chop my head off for being late, I'll find a way to bring it up in conversation, I thought, while trying to stay focused on the one lane, winding road ahead of me.
     I pulled up to the gate. Ed was nowhere in sight. I'd figured he would be on that damn glider swing, waiting with crossed arms out front. Not today. In fact, he never poked his nose out the door. I walked up the steps to the deck and knocked on the front door. The old man usually had the front door open first thing in the morning. Instead, I had to knock a second time. "I'll be right there. Hold your damn horses, will ya?" Wow, I was relieved. The old man had over slept too. After he let me in, immediately told me to put on some eggs and he'd handle the rest. He went in to wash his hands, put in his dentures and whatever else old folks do. Then he came in and started cooking. I guess because he had slept late, he didn't notice that I was more than twenty minutes late getting in.
    There was no such thing as a simple meal around Ed. The table was full with eggs, bacon, grits, biscuits, and sausage-gravy. He even laid out some fruits to choose from. I definitely needed this meal, feeling the way I did. We were finishing up, and I knew there would be no better chance to talk to him about things. I told him about the deal I had been given, what it meant, and all the details I had been given about the job. The only question he had for me was how much it paid. He was thinking it over while we cleaned up our area. He poured us each a glass of tea and suggested we rest before I got started. As we were walking out to the deck, I asked him what he thought about my situation. "Any advice?"
"I know the mines pay really well and all. But you stick with me, Son. You sure won't be sorry."
Uploaded 07/11/2011
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Tags: man old