Boss Lady sat back in her seat, banged her head on the back window, sighed and closed her eyes for a moment.
The Whiner. Why do I always get stuck with The Whiner?
She made a face and reached for the mic while she made a face and mentally answered her own question.
Because I’m the weekend fill-in. Because Dingbat does the scheduling, and he doesn’t want to deal with Whiner. Because everything happens to me.
“Boss Lady, I need a break.”
“Whiner, Dawn is making her rounds, there’s fifteen minutes left of the north end flagger’s break and then she’ll be there to give you a break. Hang in there.”
“Ten-four Boss Lady.”
Of course, he knew that. He just wanted to whine about it.
“He knew that. He just wanted to whine about it. But you bought me fifteen minutes, anyway.”
“Ack! Dawn, one of these days you’re going to get yourself shot.”
“But today is not that day, Owner Lady banned you from carrying on site after you waved your gun in the face of that trucker that called you a miniature Napoleon.”
“He also threatened to punch you if I recall correctly.”
“Yeah, but I had a mental target painted on his beady little nads. You completely stole my fun that day, you know. You broke my streak!”
“I had made a grown man cry every week for a month and a half!”
“You, dear girl, are evil.”
“Yeah, yeah. I learned from a master.” Dawn made a bow.
“Get back to work before I fire you.” Boss Lady chuckled.
“Yes, Mem’sab. Whatever you say, oh Raja. Yessa Massa.” Dawn walked back to her car, bowing.
“You’re white! Live with it!” Boss Lady laughed.
She shook off her annoyance with Whiner and put her truck into gear, listening to the clank of the transmission.
Poor Bertha. You were great when it was just me driving you, weren’t you girl? But now the men have gone and tore you up.
Boss Lady snorted, and drove off to check on things. She waved as she passed the guys she knew, and listened to the chatter on the radio.
Ah, for the days when they didn’t pave on the weekends. But they’re behind schedule. Of course they’re behind schedule, they elected to start the job in January. There was three feet of snow on the ground until March.
“Well I’m a redneck woman, I ain’t no high class broad,”
I love that ring tone, Boss Lady thought as she stopped the truck, checking the amount of service on the phone before she answered it.
“Hello, this is Boss Lady,”
“Is this the supervisor at the road construction site?”
“Yes it is.”
“Ma’am this is Dispatch, we’ve got a highway patrolman coming through there, we need to get him through as fast as possible. As. Fast. As. Possible.” The dispatcher spoke the last sentence slowly, as if Boss Lady were a slow second grader.
“Yeah, I got that part. It would help me if I knew what direction he was coming from.”
“The south. And he needs to get through-“
“As fast as possible, yes. I’m on it. Anything else?”
“Keep an eye out for a dark green pickup.”
“It doesn’t matter why!”
“Yes, yes it does matter. See, if he ran without paying for his gas, well, yes, we want him caught, and we’ll watch for him, and hold him until the authorities get here if we can. But, if he’s a mass murderer on the run from Johnny Law, I’m not going to endanger my crew or the other crews on this site by antagonizing him any more than we absolutely have to.”
The dispatcher sighed into the phone, and Boss Lady could actually hear her rolling her eyes as she said, “It was a hit and run in Lamar.”
“See how easy that was?”
“That officer better not be delayed or-“
“Or what? You’ll take away my playground priveledges? We’ll get him through as quickly as possible, and safely. Goodbye.”
Boss lady flipped the cell phone closed on her thigh and grabbed the radio mic. Everyone was chattering back and forth and she couldn’t find any empty airspace, so she finally just stepped on them.
“Everybody shut up!!!”
Boss Lady’s adrenaline was pumping. She loved pulling cops through, it was a huge rush. She also felt a little guilty for feeling excited about things that usually meant something was going very wrong somewhere else, but shut the guilt up with the knowledge that by having her fun and leading the emergency vehicles through, the people who needed help, or needed to be caught, would get it that much sooner.
“I just got a call, we’ve got a State Patrol coming hot, hit and run up north, vehicle description: Dark green pickup, unknown plate. Probably a largish dent near the front. Keep an eye out, hold all traffic North End till I get the Hi-Po led through. Pilot car, what’s your 20?”
Damnit, I’m talking like a cop again. I thought I broke myself of that habit.
“Traffic is south bound, just passing the plant now.”
Shit, I’ll be leading him straight into it.
The whole time she was talking, Boss Lady was driving to the south end to meet the officer.
“Shit. Dawn, you got a copy?”
“You anywhere near the paver recently?”
“Yep, and I know what you’re thinking. I think there’s enough room to squeak ‘em by if I move a couple of drums, I’ll get on that now.” Dawn always knew what to do before she had to be told. Or at least, most of the time, and when she didn’t, she listened to the instructions she was given, which was a major bonus in a flagger.
“If we’ve got a wide load in line that bridge will be a problem.” Boss Lady ran through a mental list of horrible scenarios, trying to plan for all of them at once, so that she wouldn’t have to think later, when something did go wrong.
“If we’ve got a load that wide, we’ve got bigger problems than the bridge. And, if it looks too tight, you can always pull the Hi-Po over into Bantry’s driveway.” Dawn’s voice was calm, if you didn’t know her better. Boss Lady could hear the tension in her tone, and knew that Dawn was on at least as much of an adrenaline rush as she was.
“You’re right. All right, you move those drums, and then snag an air horn and start warning workers. You won’t get to all of them, but some is better than none.”
“Ten-Four Boss Lady, I’m on it.”
Boss Lady was at the south end, and she could see the flashing lights coming.
This is gonna be a wild ride