The next day, we worked our way down the mountain to Phoenix and found the local Union Hall. We sauntered in and announced our intention to get out on the Salt River Canyon project asap.
The one person there told us the project was done and energized way last summer. He says come back tomorrow when the BA will be there. He let us sign an old dusty book that he pulled off the bottom of a pile.
We figured he didn’t know what he was talking about, and we’d sort it out with the BA in the morning. The journal had to be right.
Meantime, we decided to get a beer and go over the plan. While this was going on, we struck up a conversation with a guy who said he’d rent us a room in his house for a couple hundred dollars. He seemed legit so we followed him over to his house which was a decent ranch house with no furniture.
No worries, so we paid up, bought some groceries and moved into our room. Deep thinkers, I guess, we were not.
About this time, we remembered that Saturday Apprentice classes were about to start up back in Syracuse and it was a firing offense to miss, without a good reason.
We called the 1249 Apprentice Coordinator. He made us tell the story twice, once to him and once again, probably on speakerphone, for the office.
We went through the whole chain of events of where, how, and why we were currently in Arizona.
When we concluded, he explained that journal stories are all six to eight months old, and if we wanted to go to work, we should have called him, and he would have made some calls.
He then said to call him back in an hour. When we called him back, he said go to Texas. There was a high line in progress there and they had jobs for us.
Finally, things were looking up, but we were getting short on cash. We asked the landlord for a partial refund on the rent since we only slept on his floor one night.
Initially, he said no problem but then told us water is expensive in Arizona and we washed my van, and both took showers so he couldn’t do it. Gary’s idea of beating him did have merit, but the knot on my head and my still broken glasses dampened my enthusiasm for that course of action. I had another idea.
We had enough cash left for gas to Texas, but not to eat until we got paid. So, in the am, when the landlord went out, we loaded up all the groceries we had bought, as well as every morsel of human food in the house. The goldfish seemed neutral, so we left their sprinkles alone.
We also emptied the fridge into our cooler and took off for Texas.
Texas is only three states away so when we called the line office, we told the GF we’d be there tomorrow. It’s a long way across Texas and, needless to say, we weren’t there to work the next day.
Joe Rosenfeld - Lineman