Eventually, we got some dirt on Milton, the shift foreman, convinced him to come to a meeting, and we turned him. It was surprisingly easy. Once he was in on it, we could pack all that paper out during the night shift. Max is the one, being civic-minded, who recommended recycling. Milton, being a greedy devious bugger, knew a guy who would pay us for it in cash.
The operation quickly got out of control. Recycling money was one thing at one PO, but news spread fast. In the blink of an eye half the Post Offices in Seattle were skimming, and it wouldn’t be long, it didn’t take long at all, for the shit to hit the fan.
For one thing, we had too much cash. You wouldn’t think this would be a problem, but it was. And we needed to get the other POs under control. And, yes we wanted our cut. We were the ones that set up the deal, we were the ones with our asses on the line. It would be stupid for us to take all the risk and let the rest of those monkeys walk away with our money. More on that later.
The first problem was with the money we had. Max was getting nervous having all that cash at his apartment.
“Anyone could bust in here anytime and blow me away. I wouldn’t really give a shit about giving up the stupid money, but I’ll be goddamned if I give up the ghost for it.”
I scoffed a bit at that, Max was hardly an altruistic ascetic. We spent loads of money and had a good time doing it. However, and I don’t believe I’m saying this, there’s only so much beer you can drink. We had parties, pretty big parties, I’d never seen morale so high in a post office. The guys were happy with lighter sacks, sure, but they knew we were raking it in. This, too, would create problems.
I had piles of cash myself, it was a roll of bills stuffed in my sock drawer that was the beginning of the end of things with the wife. She got suspicious and laid into me, stopped trusting me, always on my back, wondering what the fuck I was up to. I couldn’t tell her about it. I could have told her that I couldn't tell her for her own good, you know, given her the “less-you-know-the-better” line. Instead, I didn't say anything. We just stopped talking.
In all honesty, I was just protecting my own skin. When she stopped trusting me I stopped trusting her. She could have narc-ed on me. Call me paranoid, but it was a distinct possibility. During those increasingly rare moments when we were together things were pretty tense. It was one time, one evening before I went to work and after she’d come back, we were in the kitchen making dinner, saying nothing much just getting in each other’s way, not even making the same meal, each of us wanting something different. She had hers I had mine.
Well, I was standing at the counter chopping an onion. We had a really nice knife set, a wedding present, one of the few we'd managed to hold onto. I’d always thought it was a bad idea to give newlyweds knives, they’re a dangerous weapon, and a time always comes when the shine wears off, and I’m not talking about the shine of the knives.
So, I’m standing there chopping my onion and she kind of bumps me, on accident I think, and I nick my finger and I almost lost it, my temper not my finger. I turned around to look at her, but she’d already turned and walked on, didn’t even notice what she’d done and probably wouldn’t have much cared if she had.
A blazing hot mad rush overwhelmed me, rushed through me in a goosebumping flash, convulsed and constricted my body from head to toe. I gripped that knife and for a split-second imagined myself plunging it into her back, one step and one hard thrust that’s all it would have took. Then it waned, the blood from my cut finger was dripping on the floor, seeing that and the pain brought me back to my senses.
I knew then I had to leave her. If I didn’t there might come a time my anger wouldn’t wane.