Chapter III – Clay
Clay breathed a sigh of relief. Almost didn’t make it that time, he thought to himself. He finished urinating into the toilet, buttoned his pants, and leaned against the closed door of the bathroom stall. Relax, he thought. In through the nose, and out through the mouth. Breathe. A few more minutes and he would be right as rain. He brushed the cold sweat off of his brow with the back of his hand, and felt his body relax slightly. Clay couldn’t figure out why he let them make him so upset.
He had taken on the position as Work Leader for the Phase Dock and had been given strict instructions by his supervisor Hugh to “put a fire under their asses”. Great. Mr. Hugh “The Softie” Smith himself had placed the figurative ‘Enforcer Badge’ onto Clay’s chest, and Clay alone. It wouldn’t be so bad if those guys weren’t so damn difficult. He could ask nicely, but would get nothing but smart-ass responses from them. Even Cari had a mouth on her that would make a sailor blush! That was no way a woman should speak, at least not by Clay’s southern standards. Over time, he learned that if he raised his voice a little and threw in a couple of cuss words here and there, the guys seemed to respond a little better and take his position as their supervisor more seriously. Even after all of the time that had elapsed, however, standing up to those guys still scared the shit out of him. Well, scared the ‘piss’ out of him would be more like it. Just the thought of a confrontation kicked his bladder into hyper-drive, and sent him into sort of a panic attack. He had been doing pretty well at keeping it quiet. Only had an “accident” twelve times; the first couple times he had to go home to change. He quickly learned to keep a spare uniform hidden in his desk drawer just in case. Jesus, he didn’t want to even imagine what those guys would say if they knew their Work Leader pissed his pants regularly due to confrontation.
Clay gathered his composure and opened the bathroom stall door. The coast was clear. It was bad enough to have to run to the bathroom because someone yelled at you, but to have to run right back in? He quickly exited the restroom, avoiding eye contact with one of the flightline guys who was making his way towards the men’s restroom. Clay made a beeline towards his office. Second to the restroom, of course, his office was in a way his safe haven. Given the occasional pop-in by one of the guys, and the fact that he shared his office with Hugh, Clay felt like he could be a little more relaxed than swimming on the hangar floor with all of those sharks. He made it to his office without any further confrontations, and sank into his cushy chair. Clay glanced up at the military issued clock that was hanging above his desk. 2:00. Only two and a half hours until it was time to leave this hellhole. Ah, he thought, it really wasn’t all that bad. He loved being able to use his plethora of aircraft knowledge and it really could be the perfect job if he didn’t have to deal with implementing all of the rules in the dock.
“Clay!” Holy shit, that scared him. Terry had managed to creep down the hall and stick his head into the office door without Clay noticing. It was like a fucking joke with these guys: see how jumpy you can make someone by sneaking up on them.
“What do you need Terry?” Clay felt his bladder start to jump, and quickly crossed his legs.
“I’d like to leave early today. I got a weight lifting contest at my gym that I don’t want to be late for. Hey, by the way, I am selling tickets to the gun show later!” Terry gave a little laugh as he flexed his bicep. This guy was huge! Terry was 5’11”, weighed around 220 pounds, and looked like he spent every waking moment in the gym. With not an ounce of fat on him, Terry was solid muscle.
“This is your third day this week that you have asked to leave early, Terry. You are going to tell me that a weight lifting contest is that fucking significant?” Good front, he thought to himself, but Clay was extremely intimidated by this guy. The only thing that was keeping Clay from pissing his pants was the fact that he was sitting in a chair, otherwise his knees would probably be buckling and urine trickling down his thighs at the thought of standing up to Terry. Clay squeezed his legs tighter together.
“Shit Clay, this is important to me! I’ve got a real chance at winning the belt with this one!” Terry kicked at the blue Berber carpet with is steel-toed boot and crossed his arms. He couldn’t be sure, but Clay could have sworn he saw fire in Terry’s eyes. Oh fuck, Clay thought. He didn’t want to go to battle with guy, not now.
“Whatever, Terry. Get the hell out of here! Just don’t come crying to me when Hugh has your ass. Now get the fuck out of my way!” With that, Clay was up out of his chair in a split-second, pushing past Terry, making his way to the men’s restroom.
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