Monday, October 26, 2009

Your office an empty cab.

That used to mean a yards run. You still hear it rarely, and it always means money, but I don't think we do yards runs any more.

A yards run was taking a train crew, 1-5 guys, from one rail road yard to another. Say, Janesville to Rock Springs. It usually meant you'd make a lot of money that day, hundreds of dollars.

When I started driving, the Hog was in France. He had a degree in French, and was qualified to teach French, but where an ex-con, covered with tattoos, would get a job teaching 7th graders French, isn't quite clear to me. I'm sure that like so many of us with dreams of escaping, he was combining a long vacation with a skills upgrade, and considered the trip an investment in his future. When he came back he was fluent in spoken French, though I think Du's skill's were always superior. As long as the Hog was in France, yards runs went out fairly.

It's always been the case that cheating causes hard feelings. I mean, after all, we're playing keepsies, when the supposed randomness of the business mix is tampered with there is sure to be someone who will be offended. It's not dollaroids you're stealing from someone else, the cash is real. It's never mattered who's doing it or which call(s), and I'm not the only none who gets offended. The company has always taken the line that they don't condone cheating and take steps to prevent it. Horse Pucky, I say. They have always looked the other way. Which is probably why, in the end, that we lost that account.

When the Hog came back, his expectation was that he'd dust off the throne which had been empty for a year, and resume being king of the night time dispatchers. I'd been driving about a year when this moment came. It would be a number of years before I'd become a night driver, so I only viewed this Bozo as another driver. He viewed himself as an authority figure and how dare some rookie driver with only one year challenge him or anything he did. Well, I've felt the same way when all of them came back, and they/we all come back (my longest pure absence was around 5 months). My attitude has always been, who the hell do you think you are?

The Hog did give me at least one chance to realize my mistake, and give him the proper level of respect, and ignore his cheating. He didn't much like the who the hell are you attitude.

How Piggie (the nickname he liked) cheated was inside information. Piggie loved to play pool. He wasn't very good at it, but he loved the pool hall and the game almost as much as he loved Badger Cab. It turns out that some number of Chi-Nor employees also frequented the pool hall. They'd tell Piggie when the yards runs were going to happen a day or 2 in advance. Then about 30 minutes before the call would go out, he'd wander over to the office and wait for the call to go out over the air. He was always first up. The other drivers in the fleet tolerated this because they knew the system and protesting it was a waste of time, or because they didn't know the system and didn't notice it going on (ROOKIES), but I didn't like it and said so. It wasn't until years later when Crawdaddy started driving cab that anyone found out how the Hog was cheating. Crawdaddy is also a serious pool player, also knew the Chi-Nor guys and disclosed the Hog's secret. Even after this disclosure, the company denied it and allowed this practice to continue until we lost the account.

The Hog would go on to mess with me until he was too old and sick to be a driver or dispatcher anymore. He also got Curley to pursue his vendetta's for him. This was the beginning of my years long conflict with Curley. Curley worshiped the ground the Hog walked on. If I had it to do over again, I'd act the same.

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