The Bicycle Thief (A true story of summer employment)
February 16, 2009
One summer I had a job installing pools. For the most part I just dug holes; holes which I would occasionally fill with gravel. The actual pool installation was handled by competent long timers who didn’t ride the wheel barrow down hills. I was about 17 at the time, and had yet to discover the importance of professionalism, or the kind of velocity a wheelbarrow filled with 200lbs of gravel can accrue. The potential downside of my ignorance was magnified by the darting children who played on a trampoline at the bottom of the hill. I never actually ran one down, but their erratic presence was enough to send several loads of gravel airborne, and launch me trebuchet style across the back lawn.
Predictably I grew to hate those children. I don’t usually begrudge people their privilege…but being the hired help tasked to install a huge pool, for a pack of taunting brats, that already owned a giant trampoline, brought my latent class consciousness to the surface. I began burying any random toys I found: stomping Barbies and Tonka Bulldozers into the soft earth beneath their pool. Then one day I stole the little girl’s bike.
I should mention I had to take a dump. We weren’t allowed into the clients house, and our deadline was such we had to work a 12 hour shift with no off site breaks. The situation became urgent enough I knocked on the elderly neighbors’ door and asked if I could use her facilities: she declined, and dialed at least 9-1. My coworker suggested I go to the nearest restaurant (9 blocks away), but I feared I wouldn’t make it that far without publically soiling myself. And then, I spotted a small red bicycle, silver streamered and pink basketed.
I felt a little bad as I rode it manically down the street (my knees tucked against my chest), but it was that or shit in the basket. I made it to the restaurant without incident, and defiled their restroom immediately. Afterwards I jogged back to the job site lighter of spirit and colon, and dug with renewed enthusiasm.
Two days later it occurred to me I’d left the bike at the restaurant. By that point any serious attempt at retrieval would have incited all kinds of awkward questioning, and possibly an Amber Alert, so I chalked it up as a victory for the proletariat and went about my business.