George set the coffee maker going, then looked up as the doorbell rang. "Little early, ain'tcha?" he muttered under his breath; then, "Come in!", he yelled. He listened to the door open and close, and nodded to Jason as the latter man ambled into the kitchen. "Coffee's not ready yet."
"'m early," Jason agreed. He rubbed his hands together. "Cold out there. Glad I don't hafta walk down to the bus stop an' wait around in this weather."
George nodded curtly. "How's the truck coming along?"
"Might have it fixed this week."
"Good. Good." Sooner the better. Jason was a decent neighbor and coworker, but that didn't mean George wanted to keep giving him a lift out to the plant every day. Especially since the bastard never chipped in for gas.
Jason interrupted his thoughts. "You get a raise this year?"
George frowned. "Ain't your business, I suppose, but no. Didn't get one."
"I gotta friend in HR, says this year's round of reviews finished yesterday. Says nobody got raises, and a lotta guys got laid off besides."
Jason shrugged. "It's a hard life, is all I'm sayin'. Blue-collar grunts like us, there ain't much left for us no more."
"Ain't you a cheery guy." George reached up to grab a couple of mugs from the cabinet. "You must be the life of every party."
"No, really," Jason replied, as George handed him a mug. "information tech-naw-lo-gee, that's where it is these days." He sipped at the coffee. "Here I am just hopin' to make it to retirement."
George glared at his own mug. LONNIE'S CB MART, it read. Jason's mug read ANTON'S HOUSE OF PORK. "You get to be my age, you'll be more or less used to losin' your job. Eventually you find another one." Not that it was the kind of thing he wanted to be thinking about, but since Jason never knew when the hell to shut up... George sighed, kept talking. "My brother came to me, ten, fifteen years ago now, asked me for help. Said he was starting up a new company. He just needed a couple thousand bucks and an extra pair of hands. Was goin' into computers, just like you're goin' on about now.
Jason gaped in a manner that George found supremely annoying. "An' didja help him?"
"Course not. I thought he was crazy. Flint County didn't need no internet -- we needed manufacturin', we needed the GM plant and men like you and me to work it." He rubbed his forehead. "Last I heard he was worth three million. Guess one of us was crazy, at that."
"Wow," Jason replied helpfully.
George glared at his mug again. "Fuggin' LONNIE'S CB MART," he muttered.