I've been asked several times how things are going with Rolling Thunder. Each Sunday when I return to work everyone wants to know if anything new happened while we were off.
When I left off he had shown me half of a steel shelving unit he had assembled and told me my project was to put the other half together, connect the two, take everything out of his closet, put the new one in, and haul all the old stuff to the dumpster. I managed to avoid him for a couple of weeks.
Two weeks went by without an encounter. I had several close calls, but managed to keep enough distance to avoid talking to him. I knew my luck would run out.
We work every Sunday, twelve hour shifts, and as a result we go to bed early on Saturday night. Last month, on Saturday afternoon, I put on a load of laundry in the dryer upstairs. There is a larger room downstairs, but Rolling Thunder hangs around there a lot and I wasn't going to take any chances. I went to Wal Marcus while the clothes were finishing. On my return I looked through the glass door before entering the hallway from the outside. Sure enough, there sat RT in the middle of the hall, looking around in every direction. He was, you guessed it, looking for me.
I walked around to the side door and entered quietly. I peeked around the corner and saw him talking to someone. His back was to me so I took the opportunity to scurry down the hall like a scared hamster and go into our apartment.
Teresa said he had already been to our door twice looking for me. He needed help with a cabinet he had just bought. He was in a panic. She had seen him going up and down the hall hunting for me. She told him I had gone to the store, so he wanted to be sure I didn't get back in the building without talking to him. grabbed the laundry basket and looked into the hallway. I saw him rolling into the laundry room at the other end of the hall. I ran for the stairway and retrieved our laundry from the upstairs dryers. When I came back he was in the hallway looking around again. As luck would have it a small group of people came through the door from the outside and were headed down the hall in his direction. Like an indian hiding behind his pony I hunkered down and followed them as far as my door. I jumped inside and shut the door.
Teresa told me he had come back again while I was getting the clothes out of the dryer. She had supper fixed, so I ate before going down the hall to see what he needed. I figured I might as well get it over with or he would be at our door every few minutes.
I knocked on his door and I heard him moving around quickly. He asked who it was and I identified myself.
He had been illegally smoking again and there was a cloud in the room. I asked him what he needed.
He had a small cabinet with three drawers he needed put together. As he was telling me the tale I noticed the steel shelves were assembled and in his closet. Apparently he has others to help when I'm in hiding. He showed me a large rack of clothes and said he was going to put them in the little cabinet. He is getting ready in case FEMA shows up soon to put us all in concentration camps. He wants to be able to load up everything quckly and head for the high country.
I could tell right way it would be a quick job, or at least one I could get the majority finished in half an hour or so. He rolled off to get a catalog to show me all the new stuff he was going to order. I quickly sent Teresa a text and asked for an emergency phone call in thirty minutes. He said there was no hurry; I could come back the next morning and finish. I told him I worked Sunday through Wednesday and wouldn't be able to. He told me I could take it home with me and work on it each night after work. I told him no, I could get most of it done right then. I had most of it put together when Teresa called. The last part consisted of tightening about six screws. I left.
Last weekend we were walking from the office when he stepped out of his apartment right in front of us. There was no place to run.
"Jimmy!" he said, "I was just on my way down to your apartment. I have another project for you."
Teresa just kept on walking, but like the dumbass I am I went inside. He had a little cabinet with some bins for shoes and three small drawers, or so the picture indicated. It was on a pile on the floor which resembled a pile of rubble you see on the news after a tornado has destroyed a trailer park.
"I need you to put this together for me, and then I'll show you a picture of the other cabinets and new computer desk I have coming in next week. You sure are going to have a lot of projects!"
Luckily for me, not for my son, Jamie, I had to pick him up at the dentist after he got his wisdom tooth pulled. I told RT I was going to be busy all afternoon and had to pick up my son at the dentist. He said he understood and would be looking for me.
The next morning Teresa and I were up early loading the van in preparation for a trip to the mountains to take pictures. I put some things inside, then walked around to open the back and load the metal detector.
There sat RT blocking my way. I told him we were headed out of town. He said he would see me when we got back. We got back late.
The next morning, Saturday, I was busy. Both kids and their families were coming over for the afternoon. Just before noon I had to go to the store for Teresa. Out of habit and instinct for self preservation I went in the side door to the hallway. Just before I peeked around the corner and down the hall I could hear RT. There were lots of people going back and forth and he was asking each of them if they would put his cabinet together. Everyone said no. I could hear him giving someone a long explanation about the impending FEMA attack when I realized his voice was getting closer. Like a total wimp I quickly walked up the stairs. The last thing I heard him say was, "Well, I'll just see if Jimmy is home. He puts all my stuff together."
After a couple of minutes, plenty of time for Teresa to send him on his way, I called her cell phone. She had told him I had gone to the store and we were going to have company, so I would be busy all afternoon. He told her he would find someone else and he left.
A few minutes ago I saw the UPS truck in front of the office and RT rolling up the hall, most likely headed to pick up my latest project. It is time to go into super stealth mode again. The adventure continues.