Sunday, January 30, 2005

Rail Rat Exposé

I wrote a check for union dues today, to pay me up for the year 2005. And I know you wonder why I would pay to belong to an organization I haven’t worked with in over 5 years. And the last ten or so that I did work were spotty at best.

Seniority. You never know when you might need it. And the Good Lord knows that Local 204 kept me out of the poorhouse in my salad years. My dream as an eighteen year old boy was to one day be a “rail rat.” One of the old men that hung out at the hemp rail and drank coffee while us young bucks did all the work. I’ve probably got enough seniority to do that now, but I don’t think my conscience would ever let me.

Grandpa managed the stage in the ancient art deco auditorium in town, and daddy worked back stage some until the night he fell off a truck ramp and decided to swear off it for the sake of his back. So I guess I was destined to become a stage hand from the get-go. Besides, when you’re in your teens or early twenties, it gives you some amount of bragging rights. “Yeah, we ate lunch with Def Leppard yesterday. They’re really pretty cool guys.”

Anyone over the age of forty probably remembers the Grand Funk song, ‘We’re An American Band,’ which was the world’s introduction to the now famous groupie, Sweet Sweet Connie. And Connie was always a fixture back stage anytime a rock show came to town. Most of us had a speaking acquaintance with her, though it was tacitly understood that she didn’t do townies. (Except for Bennie. We all heard that Bennie was getting it on the side.)

One night in ’86, I was loitering backstage waiting for some hair band to finish for the night so we could load them out, and Connie came up and draped an arm across my shoulder. She reeked of beer, and even in the dark I could see her eyes were lit like the exit sign at the White Water Tavern. The next thing I knew I felt a wet tongue in my ear and she slurred, “Ya know where I can find a job for th’ shummer?”

I was working for a large printing company at the time for my “real job” and ran a pretty big crew in the mailing area. We were always looking for warm bodies to catch off the conveyors or to sack mail. “Sure Connie,” I said, “Come see me next week.” I didn’t think she would even remember it the next day.

True to form, I didn’t hear anymore about it until one day, a couple of weeks later, I stopped into Miller’s Bar, down the street from the plant, to have a beer after work. WTF? There was Connie waiting tables.

In the convoluted manner that is Sweet Connie, she explained to me how she had come to my office one day the past week and asked for me. They told her that I had gone to lunch and offered to leave a message. Of course she doesn’t leave a message, she doesn’t fill out an application. No, she just leaves.

And as she’s driving down the highway she sees Miller’s and thinks, “I bet he’s in there having lunch.”

Well, I like beer as much as the next guy, but even now I don’t make it my lunch. But that’s the way Connie thinks.

Bless their hearts, the folks at Miller’s, they knew me. And they demanded to know what she wanted before they would acknowledge even that much. Old Jack’s eyes probably lit up when Connie replied, “A job.”

Connie was still a young woman then and not unattractive. She told me that after a ride in his convertible, and a blow job, Jack offered her a job at Miller’s as a bar maid. All of which set my mind racing as to the possibilities for fun with this situation. I told Connie that I was going to bring a couple of guys from work with me next time, and to make them feel special.

Steve was the owner’s nephew and basically my boss at the time. I invited him and the personnel director, Ron, to go have a drink after work. I slipped out a little early, staked out a table and gave Connie the nod. Steve and Ron came in, grabbed a seat, and Connie saunters over to take our drink order.

“Ron, Steve, this is Connie. Connie, this is Ron and Steve.” I said.

Connie grinned from ear to ear, hooked her thumbs in her tube top, gave it a slight downward tug and tumped out a couple of well exposed but nonetheless perky tits.

“Nice to meet you,” Ron stared into her chest, “both of you.”

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