Another late night drive across the mountains. It’s easier that way. Dark isn’t the absence of light, it’s the presence of ink. The stuff from which letters are made.
“I like the night,” says James Peck. “Time-and-a-half.” Time is $12.59 an hour. “I haven’t figured out the half.” He’s had this job four months. “Best job I ever had.” Only job he’s ever had. It’s harder than it looks. To get it he had to take a test. The test asked, What do you do if a car doesn’t stop? I ask, “Does that happen?” Peck says, “Last night.” Drunk driver, mowed down a sign. “What did you do?” “I got out of the way.”
A car throbbing with bass rolls up, four girls looking for the party on a Monday night in Rutland, Vermont. Peck flicks his sign. They have to stop. He waves. They laugh. It’s a good job.
“What did you do before this?” “Nothing.” He’s 20, came to Vermont from South Carolina to be with his grandparents. They were dying. Now they’re dead. He’s still here. The job’ll be over soon. No blacktop in winter. He doesn’t know what he’ll do. But he has a dream. “I want to move to Alaska. They give you land if you increase its value ten times.” That, and the nights are long. “More time-and-a-half.”
#nightshift #vermont #timeandahalf #truestory
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