Axel the general contractor was highly regarded for his work wherever he went. However, such did not necessarily mean that we were ever flush. In fact, the honor of craftsmanship was more valuable to him than the check which was just as likely to be spent on enjoyment of his own (or some lucky play partner perhaps) rather than say “a rainy day.” First priority however was to ensure that our home and vehicles remained in working order along with his shop and tools, and I always had enough money with which to purchase quality ingredients for our meals. I’m not complaining, this value system suited me as his joy, honor, pride, happiness were my own. I lived to serve him and to see him smile. Just the same, if I genuinely wanted something, that is, something material would cause me a moment of pride or happiness, he would always indulge me. Our life was simple but ordered.
Each day I would make him a boxed lunch; fill thermoses with hot coffee, ice water; ensure that he had a nice ironed work shirt, clean comfortable socks, etc.; and two packs of hand-rolled fine tobacco cigarettes (I would re-purpose my mini cigar tins). These items would often be a cause for comment on the job site or by visitors to his wondrous shop. Axel loved to brag that I had done these things for him. Sometimes he would ask me to pack extra homemade cookies or doughnuts to share with someone whom he had hired for a specific task. Whenever anyone asked for a cigarette he would offer one of his proudly. The intoxicating aroma combined with the unusual box would tend to draw in interested parties.
Occasionally, he would bring me along on a job such as to help him with clean-up, “guard dog” his work trailer (with the aid of a cellphone, I’m not that fierce, and some embroidery to pass the time), interior painting (I’m pretty good), flake-board cabinet assembly, or carpool lane dummy. I was delighted to be pressed into service in this manner. Occasionally, however, my presence would be a cause for consternation on the part of the client.
It was a kitchen cabinet assembly job that let me know just how out-of-touch I was with the values of the modern Western woman.
Two women and a man had gone in together as partners in an apartment venture, with the apartments themselves first requiring significant renovation and upgrade. They were a straight woman, a gay woman, and a gay man. It was the job of the straight woman to hire the contractors who would perform the actual work (funny how that works). Although Axel detested flake-board cabinet assembly jobs, the saving grace was that I would be the one doing the unit assembly, with Axel doing the measurements and installation, and so the fine craftsman’s hands need not be sullied with the crappy cabinets more than necessary. As for me however, I love “arts and crafts” and this sort of job suited me just fine. In between fine woodworking jobs (Axel’s preference) the kitchen cabinet jobs helped to pay the bills.
I was sitting on the floor happily assembling cabinets which is my preferred position, having been offered a folding table as an alternative, when the straight woman came for a visit to the job site. She had brought along packaged cookies for Axel. He graciously thanked her and put them in his lunch box to be later offered to the son of the landlord of his shop.
Then she spotted me.
“Oh you must hate that,” she announced. “That is the worst job.”
“I enjoy it,” I replied, smiling.
“I’ve done that,” she continued. “It’s the worst job. I know you must hate that. Don’t you have a table to do that on?”
Apparently my job was demeaning and just watching me do it offended her.
“I like it,” I persisted with perhaps just a little edge in my voice now. “I prefer to do it on the floor. I’m more comfortable sitting like this.”
“I offered her a table,” Axel explained suddenly enjoying the strange interplay between these two women. He flashed me a smile.
“I have a check,” announced the straight woman as if a notion had suddenly occurred to her. She turned to me. “Here, I’ll just hand it to you since you’ll probably get it anyway.”
She placed this check right into the breast pocket of my work shirt. I was astonished! How forward!
Apparently handling money is not a demeaning activity for a woman in her eyes and neither is inserting money into the breast pocket of a younger woman who she had just met.
I just sat on the floor, frozen, speechless. ‘The customer is always right,” I said to myself.
Axel saw my look and crossed the room in long strides. He deftly pulled the check from my pocket. By the way, I wasn’t wearing a bra. I don’t actually need one.
“I’ll take that,” he announced and placed the check into his pocket. “It’s my business,” he continued, turning to the client with that winning smile that never failed to make me weak in the knees. “I’m the boss.”
I looked at the expression of the “lady” and she looked like she might faint as well. I wonder how long it had been since she had been royally fucked? Probably a really long time.
Later on, she happened to see Axel enjoying his lunch, topped off with delicious homemade cookies. I had packed an extra one and a half a sandwich for myself.