One of the guys on the crew unexpectedly quit, so Benito hired a man named Marc to replace him. Marc was large and rough-looking, with tattoos covering his face and neck. If you tried speaking to him, he’d only glower and grunt.
After a week, Marc didn’t show up one morning. The crew remained at the shop to wait for him, even after everyone else had gone to their respective job sites.
“I hope he’s OK,” Crew Leader Carl said, pacing the shop floor. “According to Benito, he didn’t call in.”
“I wouldn’t worry about it,” I said. “He’s probably hungover or something.”
“He knows to call in if he’s sick,” Carl said. “And he obviously didn’t quit, because he didn’t say anything to me or Benito. I’m just worried that something happened.”
“Maybe we can obsess about it on the road,” I said. “The longer we wait here, the later we’ll have to work tonight to get everything done.”
Carl glanced at his watch. “We’ll give him a few more minutes. I’d hate for him to show up and for us to be gone.”
“Yeah, that’d be a real tragedy,” I said. “We’d all be deprived of his sunny disposition.”
Carl continued to pace while the rest of us leaned against the truck, loafing. Francisco yawned and started to nod off, even though he was standing up.
“It’s not like him not to show up,” Carl said.
“He’s been here a week,” I said. “He hasn’t exactly demonstrated longterm stability.”
“But he explicitly told me how much he appreciates this job,” Carl said. “He was so grateful for the opportunity. I can’t imagine that he’d squander it.”
He shook his head and sighed. “I wonder what could have gotten into him?”
“Probably a fifth of tequila and a six pack,” I said.
Finally, Carl’s cell starting ringing. He put it to his ear. “Yeah? Oh, you did? Well, that’s good news. I’m glad you found out. The entire crew was worried. Huh? Yeah, we’ll go ahead and hit the road.”
Carl put the phone away. “That was Benito. He just heard from Marc. Apparently, he couldn’t come to work this morning because he’s in jail for beating his wife.”
“Well, that’s reassuring,” I said, rolling my eyes. “Thank goodness he’s OK. Now we can all rest easy.”
Carl glared at me.
“I mean, I know all of us were deeply concerned about his health and well-being,” I said. “I’m just glad he isn’t hurt.”
Carl closed his eyes, sighing.
“I just have one question, though,” I said. “Is going to jail for beating your wife an acceptable excuse to miss work? I mean, can you declare that as sick time, or maybe personal vacation? I must have glossed over that part in the employee handbook.”
“OK, Peter!” Carl barked. “Enough! You’ve made your point.”