I’m A Thug

Jim is one of the assemblers that’s made a move into testing instruments just like I did. With the increase in orders I couldn’t keep up by myself at Adjust One anymore. Each of us has our own test rack to operate at either end of a long workbench. We sit side by side tuning instruments, taking measurements, and swapping out circuitboards. To pass the time Jim and I yap about whatever happens to pop into our minds. I like Jim. He’s got great stories about his past and he’s got a good personality. Working together on fucked up instruments has been fun.

When I start working with someone new one topic of conversation that always seems to come up is, what kind of work/jobs did you do before coming here to Bill and Dave’s? Jim told me he used to be a bouncer at a nightclub and bar, and he used to drive a semi for a dairy company, among other things. When I asked him what it was like being a bouncer he mentioned that sometimes no matter what you do you’ve got to slug people. Guess it goes with the territory of dealing with angry drunks. One night he had to bust a guy in the grill and he used brass knuckles to do it. He broke the guy’s jaw. A buddy took Jim’s knuckles away from him before the police got there. Jim knew all the cops because they went to the same high school together. When they showed up on the scene they wanted to know what happened, Jim told the cops that the man lying on the ground with a broken jaw slipped and fell. I’m sure they knew better.

I remembered I had brass knuckles Autumn’s Dad picked up for me in Mexico in a pocket of my Army jacket. I swiveled around in my chair and grabbed my jacket from a hook on Wah’s workbench. It had been so long since I last thought about those knuckles that I couldn’t remember which pocket they were in. I started reaching into each of the four pockets and pulled fistfuls of stuff out and dumped them on our workbench. Jim watched me as I unloaded a pair of gloves, five or six rounds of 9mm, a bottle opener, a mini-maglite flashlight, a deck of playing cards, a few miscellaneous lockpicks, a boxcutter, and finally the brass knuckles.

Dumping all this stuff out on the table reminded me of a scene from one of my favorite movies, The 5,000 Fingers Of Dr. T. It’s a little acid trip of a film made in 1953 by Dr. Seuss with Hans Conreid (the voice of Snidely Whiplash in “Rocky and Bullwinkle” and he also played Captain Hook in Disney’s “Peter Pan”) in the starring role as the evil Dr. Terwilliker. Near the end of Dr. T the film’s two heroes, a kid named Bart and a singing plumber named Mr. Zabladowski, are trapped in a small cage. In order to attempt some kind of escape the two pool together their resources. Bart rifles through all his pockets to produce a healthy pile of junk. Marbles, jacks, a piece of string, a slingshot, and a hearing aid stolen from a sleeping guard. They then mix everything together in a coffee can to make an atomic bomb.

Jim grabbed my brass knuckles and put them in his grip. Clutching them tightly he socked his other hand a few times and said, “Yeah these are good. They feel real good. Don’t get caught with these though.” I nodded. It finally dawned on me why Autumn’s Dad selected that particular kind of knuckle for me. Autumn’s Dad was in the Army back in the 1950’s as a Military Policeman. He drank heavily and brawled alot so he was used to fist fighting. I think he gave me those knuckles because he knew they were a proper fit. If I ever went to hit somebody with them I was less likely to break bones in my hand. Jim handed my knuckles back to me and took another look over the collection of items I placed on our workbench. Almost as an afterthought Jim kind of scowled and asked, “Why are you carrying all that shit around with you?” It was useful stuff as far as I was concerned. I shrugged my shoulders and said, “I dunno. Maybe I need it sometime.” He thought about it for a second or two and then said to me, “You’re a fucking thug.” I was truly shocked, a little hurt even. I yelled, “Me? A thug? No way dude! I’m one of the good guys!”

Jim shook his head at me while turning his chair towards the Adjust One test rack and went back to work.

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~ by factorypeasant on February 15, 2006.

3 Responses to “I’m A Thug”

  1. Finally. I had almost forgotten about the first half of the brass knuckle story.
    And, once again this is just a gentle reminder: there is no such word as “alot.”

  2. when we were in Mexico i had it in my mind that brass knuckles had to be nice, shiny brass. i was more worried about what they looked like. Q was concerned with functionality. the ones he gave me were cast out of some kind of metal that wasn’t brass and they had been spray painted gold. super ghetto. but, they were the real deal.

    ok ok. i’ll try to not use alot anymore.

  3. i got some knucks. Busted a friend of mine in the stomach just to see what it’d be like. It be like sucky for him but much fun for me.

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