I never expected to be assigned the graveyard shift, but it’s one of those things that sneak up on you. Being awake at all hours of the night isn’t really a problem, but it kills your social life. Slowly, but surely, the only people I interacted with were my coworkers. Most of us were almost family by this point. In most of our down times, we would be found at each other’s houses. The only female in our division practically lived at in my apartment.
This morning, however, I was outraged at Oscar. He called off with less than an hour notice again. This was the third time in two weeks that I had to work a double shift because of him. Normally I’m off work by eight in the morning and in bed by nine, but I guess I get to see the sun shine today.
With all the cutbacks the city had been making, the Department of Water and Power had been hit hard. No one cared about the mechanics that made sure everything worked properly. I used to have a team of mechanics to help me repair the pumps and fabricate parts. After all the layoffs, I often worked alone.
Luckily it had been slow. No machines had broken down this morning, so I decided to put my head down for a bit in the control room. It seemed like only seconds later my cell phone was buzzing in my pocket.
“Damn it, why can’t I get some quiet time”, crossed my mind as I looked at my phone. Oscar Rivera’s crooked smile graced the screen as my teeth barred. Having no desire to speak with him, I punched it to voicemail, grateful to put my head back down. The silence was broken by the phone buzzing once again.
“Seriously, man, isn’t sticking me with your shift enough?” I answered rudely.
“Ryan, thank God you’re ok!” Oscar sighed with relief. “There is some serious shit going on out here. People are going insane. Some woman just nearly killed me! Just stay inside and… and find something to protect yourself with”, he warned. “I’ll be there as soon as I can”.
I tried to press more details from him, but he hung up before I could. The tone of his voice was actually more disconcerting than what he had actually told me. Oscar wasn’t someone to get scared of anything. He was a large Mexican, with broad shoulders and stood a little over six feet tall. He could have easily been a lineman, but he didn’t make it to the United States until he was about thirty. No team even looked twice. Ten years later, he was making a living repairing water pumps. Oscar may have been lazy, but if he was scared of something, it was definitely time to panic.
I quickly scrambled out of the control room to find something: anything to defend myself with. This all was rudely interrupted by a pounding at the outside door.