CHAPTER SIX Ram talks to Bull

Ram drove up to phase "B" where bull was busy digging out stumps. Ram didn't interrupt: one good thing about Bull: he was a really hard worker. Ram really felt bad about what he needed to do. Bull had been working for the company longer than Ram had, in fact he was already here when his father started building roads.

Bull noticed Ram parked there. He stopped working on the stump, and rumbled over to where Ram was parked.

"What the heck you want, Ramrod?" Bull growled. "The only time you talk to me is to chew me out, so have your say so I can get back to work!"

"Take it easy, Bull! Don't get your tracks in turmoil!" Ram said. "There is a problem though: I've had complaints about you teasing people and calling them names. Playing pranks on them."

"Look, Ramrod, not my problem if they can't take a joke. I don't need you to tell me how to build a road. I was working here back when your daddy Dodge was a late model! Now can I get back to work?"

"OK!" Ram said. "Don't get overheated! You might blow a hose!"

Ram doubted anything would change. At least he'd tried.

One thing Bull said bothered Ram. They say it's lonely on top, but was he too distant from his coworkers? Maybe he should socialize with them more: get to know them better. Praise them for good work.

Time to talk to Ms. Silverado

Ram dialed Chevy's number. "Hello, Ram!" Chevy said. "What's up?"

"We need to talk about some stuff. Nothing urgent." Ram said.

Well, I'm meeting with the bridge engineers right now, drawing up the plans for the southside approach ramps.(A different construction company was building the bridge: they had equipment like barge cranes, pile drivers, lots of concrete equipment, and so on. The engineers from the two companies had to meet frequently, because the bridge company didn't lay asphalt approaches.)

Ram drove around and watched the various work crews, asked if there were any problems. Everything seemed to be laying down smoothly.

Three O'clock arrived about as fast as cold tar pours, but finally Chevy drove up and parked next to Ram.

"So what's the crisis" Chevy asked.

"How come everybody thinks I only bring bad news?" Ram asked.

"Oh, you don't!" Chevy said. "But we see each other several times a day: when you make an appointment to talk to me I don't expect a surprise party."

"Yeah, well, it's not good stuff. Seems we have a bullying problem. Folks are complaining. I've checked in to it, and it's not just one person getting bullied. Some childish pranks being played too."

"Who's doing this?" Chevy asked.

"Mostly Bull Dozer" Ram replied.

"We might need to get rid of him then." said Chevy.

"Yeah, but he IS a hard worker, and he's been with the company for a long time." Ram replied.

"Yeah, Ram, but I've heard stuff too. I was talking with Polly the other day, and she said he did some pretty heavy body shaming..."

"Heavy body shaming: is that a fat joke?" Ram said.

"Oh you got a screw loose, Ram! This is serious!" Chevy laughed.

"I'm sorry!" Ram said. "I'll wear the bumper sticker of shame!"

"As well you should!" said Chevy.

Ram said, "Say, my tank's about empty: Wanna go to the truck stop? I'll buy you a tank of Premium!"

"Sounds great!" said Chevy. "But you know me: just a regular old 87 octane girl! I WILL have a tank of E-85 now and then though!"

They pulled up to the gas pumps and began filling up. Just then, their old coworker, Lonnie, pulled up to the diesel pumps.

Lonnie Logtruck

Lonnie had worked for the company for years, but he'd quit and opened his own logging business.

"Chevy! Ram! How have you been?" Lonnie asked.

"We're running well!" Ram and Chevy said

"Hey, you guys don't know of any Dozers looking for work do you? Maybe an older one you've been thinking about replacing?" Lonnie asked.

"Well, we've just been talking about Bull Dozer: he might be leaving us soon" Chevy said.

"Ole Bull? I remember him! Why's he leaving?" Lonnie asked. "Can he still do the heavy work? Loggin' ain't easy!"

"Oh, he works just fine. More than fine: he's one of our hardest working dozers." Ram said.

"What's the issue then? I don't want defective equipment!" Lonnie said.

"Well, it's just bullying, name calling, that sort of thing." Chevy said. "He's stressing out a lot of the workers."

"Oh, yeah, that Bull's got a loud exhaust! He used to tell jokes that were pretty derogatory. I'm ashamed I repeated some of them. But I know now it's important to be aware of how things you say affect others. But if that's the only problem with Bull, it won't be a problem with me. Mostly he'll be by himself in the woods. Just me and Bob Cat around. Bob Cat is about the same age as Bull, so they should get along. Most of the time, there won't be anyone Bull could offend!" Lonnie said.

Chevy and Ram pulled in front of Lonnie (ALWAYS pull forward when finished filling your tank!!!) and shared small talk about their times together at the company, inventory of who was still there, that kind of stuff. After Lonnie had filled both of his big saddle tanks, he said "bye" and drove off. Chevy and Ram pulled over to talk awhile longer.

Chevy and Ram make a plan

"This could work out well." Chevy said. "I hate firing people. They get so hurt. It's hard!"

"You're telling me?" Ram said. "You make the call, but I have to bear the bad news!"

"Yeah, it's hard on everybody. Especially when it's a long term employee."Chevy said.

Can be dangerous too! Remember when Augie Auger got fired for drilling through one too many fiber optic lines?" Ram asked.

Chevy replied, "Oh yeah! Who could forget! He drilled through 3 fiber optic lines in 2 days, when they were clearly marked with flags and spray paint!

We HAD to fire him, but when we did, he went all post hole and drilled through a gas main!

It wasn't pressurized yet, so it wasn't dangerous, but they had to replace a big segment of it. Held the whole project up."

"Yes, this might just work out well" Ram said.

NEXT: Chapter (7) "The Secret to World Peace"



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