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Don't Piss Off the Working Class
by Joshua Bernstein

On a sunny summer morn I arrived, hangover in tow. Gathering my Smirnoff-battered senses, I checked into the office and met Charlie, my trash supervisor. Charlie wasn’t one for words, but apparently approved of my tattered jeans and "I (heart) Pepsi" T-shirt because he grunted, handed me a wad of black plastic bags, and wordlessly led me outside.

"This," he said, pausing for dramatic effect as he waved his hand across the hundreds of gleaming red trucks parked in rows, allowing me to soak in the automotive glory, "is your job." Clean up all the trash under the trucks, near the trucks, next to the trucks, and anywhere around where you think trucks may have been. I’ll check in with you in a couple hours."

I simply nodded, my voice muted by the hangover.

I worked steadily for the next couple hours, bending and standing, bending and standing, picking up an assorted menagerie of road life residue: cigarette packs, fast food wrappers, and oodles of styrofoam coffee cups. Basically, all the good things that keep truckers raring on those long hauls.

After the easy early morning of candy wrappers, I began to encounter capped off drink bottles filled with a yellowish liquid. I shoved a couple in my trash bags before curiosity tackled me. I unscrewed a practically filled bottle and–gag–sniffed. I was smacked with a whiff of pungent, festering urine.

It seems that truckers, when thirsty and stuck on a haul that doesn’t permit pee breaks, chug their favorite beverage, wait for their bodies to process the drink, piss it back into the container’s gaping hole and then, when the final destination is reached, the truckers casually toss the piss bottles under their rigs where unsuspecting shmucks forced to work temp jobs just to stay solvent, pick up the bottles and sometimes smell them because it’s pretty fucking boring to pick up trash all day. Even with a hangover.

I was pissed.

It got worse.

From beneath a rig I spied some crumpled newspapers. I thought it smelled like decomposing meat, but chalked it up to leaky oil. I’d never been beneath a truck before; any number of smells could lurk below. I grabbed the papers and yanked them out.

The stench, best described as baked diarrhea, donkey-punched my senses. I wanted nothing to do with what lay inside the papers, but morbid curiosity, much like the macabre fascination one has when watching the ambulance cart away the victims of a particularly bloody car wreck, tickled me.

Pinching my nose with my left hand, I gingerly opened the papers with my right hand. What met me were the remains of a particularly runny, messy, and hellacious shit. I nearly retched, but had enough sense to rapidly close the noisome papers and toss them into my trash sack, taking care not to get shit on my fingers. Unfortunately, I was too hasty with my disposal because a couple of wadded blue tissues that must’ve been trapped between sheets fell out. I cringed.

What magical mystery lay inside those tissues? Remains of snot, an M&M that traveled down the wrong hatch? Nothing? Whatever it was couldn’t have been as bad as messy bowel movements. I know, I know, I should’ve just quit right there, walked straight to my car and motored on home, far away from poop and piss land, but curiosity was nipping me.

So I stooped down to inspect the tissues. Adjusting my glasses, I looked nice and hard. Condom wrappers with used condoms peeked through the tissue’s ruffles. Some trucker, tired of pulling off on his hog as someone talked dirty to him on the CB, must’ve picked up a lovely lady of the night and tried to show her why truckers call themselves "kings of the road." Or maybe because every other receptacle and paper product in the cab was filled with various forms of excrement, he ripped open a condom, slipped it on and jerked it real good right into the reservoir tip to the soothing sounds of trucker chatter so he wouldn’t have another mess to clean up.

Fuck that. That trucker, that sick motherfucker, took a shit in the same cab he fucked someone (or himself) and then put the cum-filled condom in between sheets of shit-covered newspaper. What type of mentality allows someone to do that with a clean conscience? What type of mentality allows someone to pick up that newspaper and examine it along with the love tissues? A mentality paid $8/hr or $2 for every urine bottle. I cleared my mind with thoughts of frolicking with the $64 I’d have at the day’s end and went back to work.

Kicking the tissues back under the truck I went on my trash-picking way, $64 floating through my head, cleaning up suspiciously filled hydraulic fluid containers and mysterious paper piles sans curiosity, exacting revenge all the while by pissing nice and hard on the trucks’ chrome door handles. When 4 p.m. struck, I sped home and showered until the hot water ran cold.

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