We came here because of the oil rush back in 2011. The economy was in the shitter and oil jobs were as good as it was going to get. I was gonna be fracking. No, there will be no "fracking" jokes. It was supposed to be a temporary thing. I was straight out of college and my dreams of being a career student abrubtly ended after I found out I wasn't eligible for anymore financial aid. Apparently, the government doesn't take too kinldy to people who take 8years to finish a bachelor's degree. Go figure. I figure they'd like people to be more educated! After a few months of applying for jobs I gave in and applied at the oil fields. There was an oil rush in rural south Texas so I was hired instantly. Essentially, if you had the balls--or stupidity--to go out and do what the job required you were hired. I fortunately, had the latter. So, there I stood 25 years old, fresh out of college my mind full of ambitions and dreams that were pushed aside by the harsh realization of a recessive economy. I now stood in an office waiting to sign on as a roughneck. "Eight years!" I thought to myself, "Eight freaking years to get my degree and I'm going to be doing something that I could have done straight out of high school--or Compton...like the guy next to me, better not stare too long." I was up next in line to sign my papers and get my uniform, there in the shoddy lit office with wooden panel walls and second hand Wal-Mart desks. You'd figure they're in the oil business they could afford more than a portable office and banged up desks. "Saldivar, Roberto. You're up next." I stepped up. "What size are you son?" the man with the short-sleeved white button up asked. "I'm a medium, sir". He looked up at me through his thick framed glasses resting on a chubby round nose, smirked and said "here's a large, get a belt. Sign the paper, put it in the box on your way out. NEXT!". Jesus, this guy. He was running this thing like if we were enlisting for war. I took the oversized, overalls and tucked them under my arm. Let me tell you, those things smelled like they had been worn by at least 12 other grunts without a wash before me. New gear my ass. I signed my letter of intent and walked outside. The south Texas heat was in full force. It was 112 degrees. New York had issued out a warning for temperatures that might go over one hundred, or as we called it in south Texas, a cold front. The heat really didn't bother me so much any more though. I grew up in Laredo. I liked being outside. The only thing that really bugged me about being out there on that porch to a mobile home in Cotulla, Texas was the damn dust storms that would sneak up on you. The wind could be as calm as a monk on prozac and then all of a sudden raging winds would pick up, hit you with dust, and leave just as fast as it came in. I thought about heading back in to avoid the imminent dust that was coming but I decided that dust in my teeth was better than having to sit through the damn recruiters routine again and see that sly smirk under that irritating bulbous nose. I'm getting worked up just thinking about it--and not in the sexy way either.
I decided instead to take a seat on the steps that led to the door and wait for my ride to get there. My mom had decided to go to the Mexican Restaurant a few miles down with my sister while I took care of all the particulars with the job. I told her I was essentially going to be a meter maid and just read numbers so she wouldn't get worked up. We expected this kind of thing would take longer so I was going to be waiting a while. Sure, I could have called her cellphone but I decided that I need some time for me and my thoughts. I put on my Ipod and hit shuffle and drifted away into the confined solitude of Led Zeppelin.
I was zoned out for a good 20minutes when I heard the loud sound of an engine blaring over a soft part of song. I decided it was worth a look, noise of that caliber must come from something worth looking at. I couldn't have been more right. I glanced at the horizon as the sound kept getting louder and louder. Suddenly, in a flash, a red Bugatti Veyron appeared. I'm not much of a car person, but I watch TopGear enough to know that this car is a marvel of modern mechanics and engineering. It slowed down and pulled up sharply in front of the building. A cloud of dust sprang up from the ground as if to announce it's arrival and gritted against my face. Dust: like I said, inevitable. The bellowing engine silenced and the dark tinted window moved slightly as the driver opened the door. I regretted wearing the ill-fitting jeans and 6year old graphic tee immediately.
You know those moments in movies and TV shows when the girl of the protagonists dreams gets out of a car, or a swimming pool, and everything around them seems to slow down and seems to be only in existence to compliment her perfection? You know you always think, I wish I had one of those moments, well, this was absolutely nothing like it.
The girl got out of her car just a bit too soon and dust got in her mouth and hair and into her car as she tried to keep her composure. Her arms flailed in the arid air trying to get her hair out of her face and she made a raspberry noise with her mouth as she tried to spit out the tiny particles of dust. She was a beautiful girl--it was easy to spot even through the awkwardness and dust--but not exactly the most gracious entrance I've ever seen. I giggled to myself and stood up. Behind me there was a water cooler, the type you see in offices with little cones to drink from. I filled one up, took off my head phones and offered it to her. "Here you go, this might help---oorrr make mud in your mouth. Your call." I smiled, pleased at my attempt at wit.
She flipped her hair out of her face, grabbed the cup and gave a polite, albeit frustrated, thank you.
"You're very welcome." I replied.
Now that she wasn't flailing all over the place I could see the girl clearer. She had long, full, hair shampoo commercial worthy auburn hair and a fair complexion. Her lips were odd, but in a good way, the top lip was a bit thin and the bottom one a bit full and her mouth tilted slightly down. Her hazel eyes were hidden behind huge sunglasses and I was only able to get a glance at them as she took off her shades to clean them. The perfectly shaped eyebrows accented her almond eyes perfectly and her nose while slightly wide compliment the rest of her features brilliantly. She was wearing a simple green 7-up t-shirt--one of those vintage ones that you see at Forever 21 or A&F. Her blue jeans were form fitting and torn just above the knee exposing a bit of her left thigh. She was wearing chucks with laces that matched her shirt and on the shell tip of the shoe in black ink was the name "Casey J".
"Casey J?" I interrupted
"hah, you notice things quick, don't you?" she retorted.
"I've been known to have an eye for things, yeah. Saldivar. Andrew Saldivar. Nice to meet you, Casey."
"Nice to meet you too. So, why in heavens are you sitting outside in the heat, with dust in your face when you could be inside with A/C?" she asked.
I glanced towards the trailer, grimaced and turned around opening my mouth in a prolonged attempt to find the words
"It's Gunter, isn't it?" she interrupted
"heh, well, that's just what I call him. His real name is Alonzo, but he doesn't seem like a Alonzo..he seems like a Gunter. So that's what my sis and I call him."
"Oh, so you know him well, then?" I pried.
"hmm, no not too well. We just see him a lot cause he hangs around the house kissing up to daddy."
"And you're daddy is...."
"Your boss from the looks of that hideous blue thing you have tucked under your arm."
"Casey Jameson..of Jameson Corp. Wow. Right...I wish I had worn a decent shirt."
"The shirts the least of your problems cowboy, those pants have got to go, but hey..I like your shoes" she jested with a wink as she walked away and inside.
I looked down at my chucks and giggled. Sometimes dirt in the face isn't too bad after all.