A Tussle Over Tinkle–Part 1
Dana flew out of her office in a rage. "Just what is this $500 bill to repaint a wall at the Civic Center all about?" she demanded of her accounts payable supervisor.
"You'll have to talk to Fluke Doogan about that," Pat replied. "He was the supervisor on that job. I don't know the details–something about a scuffle with Dwight Jones. Fluke told me he was going to discuss it with you. Didn't he?"
"No," Dana said angrily.
"Well, I thought he had. It happened a couple months ago, so I pretty much forgot about it. I really wasn't trying to slip something by you," Pat responded sincerely.
"Well, I hope not," Dana huffed. As a small business owner, she signed every check personally and investigated every oddity. If Fluke was trying to buffalo her, she'd have his hide.
"Tell the dispatcher to raise Doogan and Jones on the radio," Dana told Pat. "I want them both in here before they go home tonight."
"Sure, Dana," Pat responded.
Both Fluke Doogan and Dwight Jones showed up in Dana's office as requested. "Sit down, fellows. It seems you've got some explaining to do about a mysterious $500 paint job at the Civic Center. Since when does our work require that we hire painters?" she asked, raising her eyebrows in anticipation of their response.
Dwight deferred to Fluke, since Fluke was his supervisor. "Well, Dana, it really was all a misunderstanding . . . ," Fluke answered. He paused and shifted in his chair.
Dana smirked. "Good, then maybe you can make this bill go away."
"I, uh . . . don't mean about the bill itself," Fluke hedged. "I mean between Dwight and me." He paused again.
"I'm waiting," Dana prompted.
"Well," Fluke continued, "you know how when we're working out on the crew and we have to hook up to a box in the field?"
"Yes," she nodded in encouragement for him to explain.
"You see, when . . ." Fluke paused to clear his throat. "When it isn't convenient for us to get to a john, we usually just open a truck door and use it as a screen so we can take a leak out in the field. But Dwight, here, doesn't like to do it that way, I guess." Dana sighed to herself, thinking, "Great. It's not enough I had to help my daughter toilet train my grandson, now I get to listen to tinkle talk from two grown men on the fine art of roadside watering."
"So on the day we had the Civic Center job," Fluke proceeded, "Dwight whizzed into an empty paint can and then set the can in the back of the truck."
Dana let out a deep sigh of exasperation. "Fluke, do you think you can give me the Reader's Digest version here? I'm losing patience," she interrupted.
"I'm getting there, Dana, trust me."
"I hope so," she responded impatiently.
"Okay, so when we took off, I didn't know that the can of pee fell over and spilled on my jacket," Fluke explained. "You see, my jacket was in the back of the truck along with some other gear. Then, when we got to the job site, I picked up my jacket and it was all wet. So I said, 'How the hell did my jacket get all wet?' That's when one of the other boys told me about Dwight whizzing in the can."
"So naturally I was pretty hot at him for being so stupid," Fluke continued, "and I went lookin' for him inside the Center. When I found him I kind of lost it and started callin' him a dumb ass and a few other things. Well, then he got mad and grabbed his crotch and said, 'Yo' mama!' And that's when all hell broke loose. You see, Dana, at the time Dwight didn't know it, but my mother had died just three weeks before. So I hauled off and smacked him upside the head," Fluke confessed.
"This happened in public? In the Civic Center?" Dana's eyes widened.
"Well, yes," Fluke admitted, sheepishly looking at the floor.
"So why did they have to paint the wall?" she asked. "I don't understand."
"Because of all the blood," said Fluke. "You see, after I hit him, he came back swingin' and bloodied my nose. Well, I couldn't have that, so I split his lip. Then we were down on the floor rolling along this hall that had a big white wall. Fortunately, the other boys broke us apart by the time the Civic Center security people got there. We explained it was a misunderstanding and told them to send us the bill to repaint the wall."
"And you expect me to pay for it?"
"I was going to tell you sooner, Dana, but that happened on a Friday, and then we got that emergency call on Sunday, so me and my crew all trucked down to South Carolina and ended up staying there for three weeks. So we didn't see you. I got involved in solving the problem and just kind of forgot about the Civic Center mess. I'm sorry; it wasn't on purpose," Fluke apologized.
Dana was in a quandary. She never condoned fighting, but Fluke and Dwight were two of her best men, and training their replacements could take months. Normally she'd either fire them or at least suspend them without pay for three days, depending on the case. However, the company was so swamped with work, she couldn't afford to have them off for even a day of suspension. On the other hand, she couldn't let them off scot-free either. As a woman running a small construction business, she had an image to maintain. Her mind raced for a solution.
Did Tina come up with a creative solution? Click to discover how she handled this?
Excerpted from Sex, Laws, & Stereotypes, by N. Elizabeth Fried, Ph.D.©