Once Again Edited for Me by the Incomparable 'wires' Without Whose Help This Would Be a Far, Far Poorer Story. I Tweaked It a Little After He Returned the Document to Me So, as Always, Any Errors Are Wholely Mine.
Kyle Williams had a dream. It was a simple dream as many are, but like many dreams it required something of an effort to make it come true. Oh, sure, Kyle and many like him spent many hours dreaming of the end result and saying things like 'If I was', or 'it would be great if' or 'when I win the Powerball I'llÉ' but for the most part that was as far as the dreamers went to achieve their dream. Oh, sure, many people in the world went part way down the path that led them to achieving at least a portion of their dream. Kyle was a different type of dreamer though. He spent many hours on his dream and, truthfully, didn't spend much time planning how to achieve it. He just went out and did whatever he had to do to make ends meet. This is common, of course. More people than we want to admit just muddle through life and get by. Kyle set out to be the same. Somehow, something happened, though.
Kyle shot upright in his bed when he heard the loud banging. Over the dong, dong, dong of the wooden spoon hitting the bottom of the aluminum dishpan held in his mother's hands he heard her screeching voice. She yelled as his bedroom door slammed open and bounced off the doorstop. 'Kyle, get your lazy ass outta that bed right now. If you don't get dressed and downstairs in five minutes you'll have to leave without your breakfast. Your Daddy's already outside checking the truck. Now come on.'
Kyle groaned and fell back onto his mussed bed. He was weak. He was shaking and had trouble standing he was so dizzy. Some of his problem may have been all the beer he drank the night before but most of it was the violent wakeup call he just endured. You would think an eighteen-year-old man, as he liked to think of himself, could expect some consideration from his family on the day after his high school graduation and the party that came after. Kyle looked at the clock and grimaced. He had gotten a whole two and a half hours of sleep. No wonder he still felt unsteady on his feet. He was probably still legally drunk and he was definitely still exhausted.
Kyle remembered staggering into the house the night before giggling and shushing his friends as they tried to help him inside. He especially remembered Gloria's help. She had her blouse unbuttoned almost to her navel and her gloriously unencumbered breasts and pebble hard nipples were open to his view in the porch light his parent's left on for him. She was walking alongside him with her arm wrapped around his waist while his friend Bruce steadied them both from time to time as he more or less guided them onto the porch and opened the door.
Kyle wasn't sure how he hooked up with Gloria. Oh, sure, he knew her. After all, she was one of the 47 graduating seniors in his class and was at the party on the riverbank. What he didn't know is how she came to be with him and Bruce when they headed home. He remembered all three of them were in the cab of Bruce's truck, Gloria in the middle. He remembered seeing her get back into the truck and sit beside the passenger door when they left him inside his living room. Hell, he even remembered flashes of the events at the party. He couldn't remember Gloria being with Bruce and her sitting by the door when they left seemed to indicate she wasn't with Bruce.
Kyle staggered slowly down the stairs and into the too bright kitchen. His mother had his fried eggs, potatoes, sausage patties and toast on a plate at his spot at the table. He sat down and started to eat when his father came into the house and yelled, 'Damn it Kyle we don't have time for you to lay around and lollygag. Get yore ass up and let's go. We have a long day ahead of us.'
Kyle looked up at his father and started to take another bite. His father yelled again, 'I said ya don't have time for that. If ya wanted ta eat ya shoulda got up when we called ya the first time. Now come on.'
Kyle frowned. He had absolutely no memory of being awakened that morning before his mother came into his room beating on the dishpan. He glared at his father then put his two eggs and sausage on a piece of toast. He slopped ketchup on top and covered it with his other piece of toast then wrapped the sandwich in a paper towel. Kyle followed his father out the kitchen door and got into their old rattletrap F350 dually. Kyle's father climbed into the driver's seat, slipped the 17-year-old truck into gear and rattled down their dirt driveway. Kyle tried to eat his breakfast while he bounced in the seat. He sure wished he could have eaten the potatoes also. He really liked fried potatoes with his eggs and sausage. The old truck was rocking and bouncing because of the deep potholes in the red clay soil driveway.
Kyle barely got his sandwich eaten before his father pulled up at the first stop. Kyle got out of the truck and began pitching the garbage bags found along the street into the back of the old truck. He hated this job but it was what his family did to make ends meet. Everyone did some kind of work and added their meager pay to the family coffers. His mother and two sisters worked in the diner and Dairy King at town. His younger brother mowed lawns for some of the people in town using the same push mower Kyle used when he did the same thing. Now Kyle had to help his father run the privately operated trash service in their small town and the surrounding communities.
After a backbreaking 11-hour day Kyle and his father returned to their home. Kyle had no idea how many bags of trash he loaded into the truck and threw out of it when they were full and went to the county landfill. He was hot, tired, filthy, hungry and thirsty. He also hated what he did but he couldn't see any choice except to continue. There was no money for college even if he wanted to further his education. Of course with his grades no college would look twice at him either. He had a 2.1 out of a possible 4.0 grade point average when he graduated. Trash was in his future, or if he was exceptionally lucky and managed to escape his father's clutches he could work as a blue-collar factory worker. It didn't matter how many dreams he had of being rich and wearing nice clothes and driving fancy new vehicles. The reality was he was poor, poorly educated, and headed for a life of manual labor.
The summer progressed and Kyle lifted a never-ending volume of trash bags and larger items. Six days a week Kyle labored. One day in the fall Kyle's father's truck broke down. They could not run the route and Kyle had the day off. He went to town and hit the local Dairy King where his friends hung out. Bruce was there bragging about his new job working nights at the local La Z Boy chair plant. When Kyle asked about it Bruce said it was long hours but good money. He worked four ten-hour shifts and even got some overtime. After he got better and could work faster he could even make more money than he was currently because of piecework rates.
Kyle didn't even think about what he was doing. He turned and got onto his small older 150cc motorcycle. He rode to the Lazy Boy plant and applied for a job. To his surprise when he turned his application in he was asked to wait. A man in a suit came out of an office and asked him to come in and 'visit'.
While they were talking, the man wrote notes in the margins of his application. After a few moments the man leaned back in his chair and said, 'Ok, I think weÔll give you a try. We need a couple more men on nights. When can you start?'
Kyle was almost speechless. He stammered and finally said, 'I guess I could start Monday. I help my Daddy on his trash route right now and I oughtta give him a couple of days to replace me.'
'OK. Come in about 2:30 Monday afternoon and see Miss Jensen in my outer office. She'll get you through all the paperwork and introduce you to your foreman. He'll get you started. Here's our policy manual. You need to read it and become familiar with the rules. You will be on three months' probation. If you work out you'll be permanent after that time. Any questions?'
Kyle shook his head no and said, 'No, Sir. I'll be here Monday.'
Kyle's father was furious when he told him and his mother he would be working at the plant beginning Monday. Kyle knew most of his father's anger came because he would have to do more, if not all, of the work on the route when Kyle went to work at the plant. His father had done all the work before Kyle got out of school except on school holidays and weekends when he made Kyle help. He suspected his younger brother would now have the pleasure of helping his father after school and weekends. Kyle didn't care. In his mind he would now be well on his way to a life of riches and luxury. He would start work at almost $7.00 per hour. Imagine, he would make almost $260.00 per week without overtime. He could make even more if he worked faster because the plant worked on piecework. The base pay could be almost doubled if he worked fast and put out a quality product. Why he could even buy a used truck and have wheels!
Life did look brighter and Kyle did have a small amount of spending money but for some reason he didn't feel rich. Of course, the $100 a week his father demanded for room and board took much of his take home pay. Who would have thought taxes and insurance would take over $100 a week out of his pay. In fact, it took $118 a week out of his base pay. That only left him $52 a week for spending money plus whatever overtime he made. Most weeks he barely made rate but he was getting faster so still had hopes of doing better. Kyle was pissed. He was making what, to him, was good money and still didn't have any more to spend than when he helped his father on the trash route.
Like many lower paid blue-collar workers Kyle spent every penny he made. Sometimes he didn't even have enough left over to buy clothes and he had to force himself to cut back on his beer and running around to buy shoes or clothes to wear to work. He saved every penny he could and finally managed to get enough ahead to make a down payment on a used F150 at a 'buy here, pay here' lot. That took another $25.00 per week for almost forever. He had the truck on a four-year note and if he missed a payment the truck had an electronic cut off switch the company could activate to keep it from starting until he was paid up and paid the reactivation fee. Where the hell was the good life, Kyle wondered.
One evening Kyle and his team ran out of parts. The supervisor gave them the choice of either clocking out and going home early (without pay and incentives) or staying and doing casual work for their base pay. Everyone but Kyle left, but he needed the money badly enough he stayed. Kyle was put to work carrying trash out of the factory and putting it into the proper receptacles. All the bins were full so Kyle went back into the plant and found the foreman.
Kyle said, 'Jack, the bins are full and there aren't any empty ones in the storage area so I can't take any more scrap out. What do you want me to do instead?'
Jack, the foreman, stomped outside and looked at the bins and began cussing. He said, 'God Damn it. We pay those assholes good money to pick this shit up and get rid of it. This is the third time this month they have let the containers overflow. This shit's gotta stop. I'm gonna raise enough hell this time they lose their contract. Hell, even the area for used pallets is almost full. Carry out what pallets you can and stack them then come find me again.'
'Jack, how much do we pay them to take this stuff off?'
'Huh? Oh. They get $2.00 per pallet and $10 for each barrel of metal scraps. The wood scrap is paid by the truckload but it goes to another company. I think they sell it to a charcoal kiln if it's hardwood. I don't know what they do with the soft wood scraps.'
'Damn. What do they have to do with the metal and pallets when they haul it off?'
'Hell, we don't give a fuck. Take it to the dump I guess. Shit, it's theirs after they pick it up.'
'Would they hire me to do it? I could take the trash off every day after my shift and I could guarantee it would always be clean and neat back here. I wouldn't let the bins all fill like they are now. I can really use the extra money, too.'
'Hell, I don't know. Do you have a way to get rid of this shit? If you do, I'll ask and see if they will let an employee do it. You'd have to sign a contract, I do know that.'
'Yeah, I have a pretty good truck and I can get rid of the junk. Dad runs a trash service so I could use his license to dump things at the land fill if I needed to.'
Kyle didn't hear from Jack or the company about the metal scraps and pallets so decided they didn't want him to take care of them. He was disappointed but didn't do or say anything. About three weeks after his talk with Jack he got a message to see the Plant Manager before his shift started the next day.
When Kyle reported to the office he was worried. He couldn't think of anything he did wrong but was slightly confident that wasn't why he was called to the office. Normally if you were being disciplined it was either your foreman or the Personnel Manager that did that.
After the pleasantries were out of the way the Plant Manager offered Kyle a seat then said, 'Kyle, I understand you are willing to get rid of our scrap for the same pay that the current company is receiving. I also understand you will agree to haul off the scrap daily at the end of your shift. Is that correct?'
'Yes, Sir, I can do that. No problem. I have a pretty good truck and can get it out of here no problem.'
'You realize those barrels of scrap metal are heavier than shit and we won't load them for you. There are also thirty or forty pallets some days that need to be disposed of. I don't believe a pickup truck would haul all that in one trip. You would have to make several trips to meet your obligations. Also, I don't know if you realize there is more to the deal than just getting rid of the pallets and scrap metal. Our contractor also supplies any pallets we need to ship items on. Of course, we purchase them from him. Right now we pay $10 per pallet and require a minimum of fifty per week. You would be expected to supply however many we needed even if that number exceeded fifty, however.'
'Wow. I didn't know that. How long would I have to get the pallets for you? I don't even know where I could buy them or what they would cost.'
'Well, I can't help you there Kyle. We would give you two or three days notice so you have time to deliver the new pallets, though. We will specify the size and type pallet when we give you the order. I do know the company we have now rebuilds the pallets we send them and returns many of them. If a board is broken they replace it, they make sure all boards are fastened tightly and then use the pallet. As long as the pallet is in good shape we don't care if it is brand new. Many times the pallets you take away don't even need any repair so all you have to do is store them until we need them back.'
'Yes, Sir. I want the contract if you're offering. I would need to have an attorney look it over, though, before I sign it.'
'Fine. I wouldn't have expected anything else.' The Plant Manager leaned toward Kyle and handed him a contract, then continued. 'Here's the standard contract. Review it and get back to us by next week, please, Kyle.'
As Kyle drove home his head was spinning. Damn, he could make as much on the scrap and pallets as he made now working on the floor. Shit, 50 pallets a week at ten dollars was $500. He would be rich. He didn't think about the expenses he would incur in the business.
The next morning he called the attorney his father used for the trash business and made an appointment to have the contract looked over. To his surprise he managed to get an appointment three days later. During his talk with the attorney he had his eyes opened somewhat. The attorney explained some performance penalties if Kyle didn't meet the requirements of the contract. He also mentioned that Kyle would need, at the very least, some tools and material to repair or build pallets if he took the contract. He suggested Kyle build several new pallets for an inventory in case the plant needed delivery of pallets before he had enough used ones in stock to meet their needs.
Kyle left the attorney's office a chastened man. His gravy train turned into crap again. Where the hell was he going to find a place to build and store pallets? Where was he going to find the money to just buy the tools and lumber needed to build and repair pallets? Damn, he wanted this new job but how could he afford to take it? If he didn't supply the pallets when required he had to pay for the company to obtain them somewhere else, pay for shipping and then he would lose his contract on top of that.
Like many young people Kyle didn't over think his decision. He wanted the money he saw and downplayed the possible problems with taking the contract. He signed the forms and turned them in to the company. His contract began in less than two weeks at the beginning of the next month. One week before he was to take over he received a letter from the company ordering 50 pallets on Monday of his first week in business.
Kyle panicked. He rushed to the trash area on his lunch break to see how many pallets were there. He stood in shock when he saw only three broken pallets where there was normally dozens piled. He walked to the scrap metal area and saw the bins almost empty.
As he was leaving he saw his friend Gloria driving a fork truck out the door carrying three empty pallets. She smiled when she saw him and stopped her fork truck. She said, 'Hey, Kyle. I didn't know you worked here. When did you start? I've been here since the first week of June.
'Uh, hi, Gloria. I started in late September. Say, you got any more pallets back there somewhere? I got the contract to haul them off and bring in good ones when they need them. I'm supposed to bring fifty in Monday and this is all there is here. I don't know what I'm gonna do, now. How the hell can I bring in fifty pallets when I am only going to take five or ten home?'
'Oh, man. No, Kyle. I don't know where there are any more empty pallets. I don't bring them all here, only those from my area, but I know we don't keep many in the back. I saw the old guys loading everything earlier today. They were laughing about cleaning us out and making the new contractor build or buy new pallets. I guess that's you, huh?'
'Yeah, and I don't have the money to buy them or build them even if I had the tools and knew how to build them. Shit, what the hell am I gonna do? They'll rape me if I don't supply what they need.'
'Wow, Kyle. I don't know what to say. I'll look around and see if I can find any more pallets but even if I do it won't be anywhere near fifty. Catch ya later.'
Kyle walked back to his work area feeling sick. He didn't even make rate the rest of the night because he was worrying about the pallets. At quitting time Kyle talked to the night manager about the pallets and scrap metal disappearing. The manager looked at him with a smirk and said, 'Yeah, I saw the old crew picking them up at shift change. What's your beef?'
'Well I have the contract to supply the pallets and take off the used ones and scrap metal. I'm supposed to deliver 50 pallets next Monday and there aren't any in the storage area for me to pick up and refurbish. I heard the old company came and got them earlier today.'
'Yeah, so? They still have to contract to pick up the pallets and scrap metal until the first of the month. I heard you got the contract beginning next month but they have the right to pick up the pallets and scrap metal until then. Their contract is still in effect until midnight the last day of this month. Legally you don't have a right to the pallets or scrap metal right now.
Kyle looked at the manager and muttered, 'FUCK' then he turned and walked away. He was fucked and knew it. How the hell was he going to get pallets if there weren't any there to pick up?
The next day was Friday and he normally had it off. About 9:30 he received a phone call from Gloria. She said, 'Hey, Kyle, I just had a great idea. My folks live south of town, ya know, and there's a lot of new construction going on out there. I see a lot of pallets in the dumpsters the crews use for scrap when they build new houses. I bet we could find some of the pallets you need out there. Wantta try? I'll help ya if you do.'
'Hell, yeah. I never wouldda thought about that and I used to work on a trash route. We just never did new construction, but we did find a pallet or two on the route occasionally. Where do you live? I'll come right over if you don't mind.'
Kyle met Gloria at her parent's house and they began scouring the area for pallets. They only found 17 pallets in the dumpsters but that was a start. Kyle was beginning to feel better about things but was still worried about his chances of failing now that he was in the hot seat.
Gloria helped him unload the pallets at his home. They sorted the good ones out and set those that needed repair to the side. While they were eating lunch Kyle looked at her and said, 'Hey, what about the dump? Maybe we could find some pallets there, too. I think I can get in since I used to run the truck with Dad. It's worth a try anyway.
Kyle and Gloria hopped into his truck and went to the dump. They talked long and hard but finally managed to get into the area. They found eleven pallets they thought they could repair and seven more they took to use for parts. After the repairs were completed Kyle had 29 of the fifty pallets he needed. He made a run out to the plant to see if the weekend crew had emptied any pallets and found six more. Now he had 35. Shit, how could he buy lumber and build fifteen pallets in two days? Hell, he didn't even have the tools he would need.
Well, nothing for it but to get with it. Kyle raided his savings and found enough money to buy some green oak, no 3 quality, lumber from a local saw mill. He loaded it onto his family's trailer and took it back to their home. He carefully tore one good pallet apart to use for a pattern and drew out the design he needed to cut. He spent the whole day Saturday cutting lumber for his pallets. On Sunday all he did was build pallets. It was after 9:30 p.m. before he finished. He had 53 completed pallets and didn't have enough money to make his next truck payment that was due Wednesday. He didn't know how long it would be before he got his check for the pallets. Hell, he would have to make two or three trips to deliver them and pick up the scrap on Monday.
Kyle made his delivery and picked up the scrap as promised. He was pissed off when he found out he would be paid within thirty days for the pallets and removal. He pleaded with the assholes in the office but got no satisfaction. They really didn't care if he needed the money. Policy was 'net thirty' on deliveries and that was when they would pay Kyle. End of story.
Kyle managed to borrow enough money from his mother to make his truck payment and buy gas but that was all. Things were tight, real tight. After that fiasco Kyle made it a habit to tour construction sites and pick up any pallets he found and lumber he thought he could use from the dumpsters. Hell, he even found some good nails and screws as well as metal he could recycle. Those dumpsters were a gold mine and he wasn't too proud to mine them. After all, they went straight to the dump so he wasn't really stealing.
As the winter progressed Kyle began to get his new business under control. He built up an inventory of good pallets and only had to purchase lumber occasionally. He continued to raid dumpsters for pallets, wood, and metal. To his surprise he made several dollars just taking scrap metal to the recycling yard. One time the plant rebuilt some air lines and he found almost a whole 55-gallon barrel of brass fittings to recycle. He received almost $1,000 for scrap metal that week.
We all know the old adageÑlast hired, first fired in a lay off. Shit happens. The economy slowed down. Not as many chairs got sold. Guess what? Yep, Kyle, Gloria and Bruce were laid off. Gloria and Bruce were hurting. Kyle felt the pinch but at least his pallet and scrap job was still there for him. He just didn't have as much scrap or as many pallets to deliver and pick up. His income dropped by a little over fifty percent. Since he wasn't working he got the pleasure of helping his father on the trash route once again. Yippee.
Kyle dropped in to the Dairy King to hang out one day and found Gloria there nursing a coke. He sat at her booth and they began talking. As he was complaining about the layoff Gloria cut in and said, 'I don't know why you're complaining. At least you still have enough income to pay your bills. I had to move back home and now I have to put up with my parent's rules again and ask for money to buy a damn coke. My unemployment just barely pays my car payment and insurance now.
'I don't suppose you need any help do you? I sure could use a job here.'
'No, sorry. I can take care of everything I need to do in a couple hours a day right now. I have to do that late in the evening or at night though, because the old man made me start helping on the trash route again. Hell, I have pallets coming out my ears so I sure don't need to pick up or build any more. Sure wish I could sell more now.'
'Well, why can't you? Have you checked with some of the other businesses around to see if they need pallets? Darn Kyle, finding them like you do in the dumpsters you could probably sell them for less than ten dollars if you had to. How much do you have in them if you have to build them from scratch? Crap, start a pallet business and I'll help you.'
'Hell, I don't know. I've never figured it out. Gimme a minute here.'
Kyle grabbed a napkin and did some figuring. He looked up at Gloria and said, 'If I build a pallet from all new material I would have almost $20 in it using all grade three lumber. Crap, the only way to make out here is to just rebuild and repair.'
'Well, why don't you go to other plants and see if they need someone to do what you do for La Z Boy? Keep hitting the dump and dumpsters to build a stockpile of pallets. Build a few if you need to and build up a business recycling metal and pallets.'
Gloria and Kyle were still talking when his phone rang. It was his mother and she was hysterical. She said, 'Kyle, your Daddy's in the hospital. They found his truck along the road and he was lying in the ditch beside it. I'm on the way over right now. Pick up the other kids and meet me there.'
Kyle jumped to his feet and said, 'I gotta go, Gloria. That was mom. Dad's in the hospital. I gotta find the kids and then get over there.'
By the time Kyle found his siblings and made it to the hospital he was too late. He found his mother crying in the emergency waiting area. She stood and wrapped him in a tight hug then said, 'Kyle, your Daddy's gone. The doctor said he was probably dead before he hit the ground. He had a big heart attack. Oh, Kyle, I don't know what we're going to do now. How am I going to feed everyone? We were just barely getting by with all of us working and now we won't have your father's income.'
Kyle hugged his mother and held his other arm out for the now sniffling sisters. His younger brother was already wrapped in his mother's other arm. He said, 'Well, at least I know how to run the route. I'm not working now so I can run the trash route and we'll be able to keep that money coming in anyway. Come on. Let's go home, now. We'll see what else needs to be done later.'
Kyle got his mother and siblings back home then found out where the trash truck was. He got Gloria to take him there in his pick up and he finished the route for the day. He made plans to run the routes daily as his father had. They set the funeral for Sunday so it didn't interfere with his work. Crap, Kyle had no idea how tough running the route alone was until he had to do it. He always thought his father was just lazy and making him do his work when he had to help. Now he wished badly that he had a helper. It was a stone cold bitch getting in and out of the truck at every stop on the route. It took several hours longer to run the routes with just one person, also.
All at once he remembered Gloria. He hated the thought of paying some of their money out for help but he just couldn't do the whole damn route by himself and have any time to take care of his pallet and scrap business, too. He stopped his truck right then at a wide spot in the road and called Gloria. 'Hey, Gloria. Running this trash route alone is a stone cold bitch. Now I know why Dad wanted us kids to help when we weren't in school. Would you be interested in helping me on the route? I can't pay what you made at the plant. Minimum wage is all we can afford but you will make overtime if we go over 8 hours a day. We usually have to work 9 or ten hours to finish the longer routes.'
'Heck yeah. When do you want me to start?'
'Hell I wish you were here now. You can start as soon as you want to.'
'Well, how about now? Its not like I have anything to do. I can be ready in ten or fifteen minutes if you want me to start today. Are you close enough to come by and pick me up? I don't have any way to get to where you are right now.'
'Yeah, I can come by your place but it'll take me about 20 to 30 minutes. Wear heavier boots; steel toed ones if you have them and old clothes. You'll get damn dirty.'
'Great. See ya in a few.'
Kyle and Gloria completed the route that day and he dropped her back at her house. Before she got out of the truck he said, 'Well, do you think you want to help again or is it too much for you?'
'No, its different than I thought it might be but I want to keep working if you think I can do the job.'
'Ok. I start pretty early in the mornings. I'll come by and pick you up about 5:30 tomorrow. We have one of the shorter routes tomorrow in the ritzy part of town.'
Kyle and Gloria finished working the routes that week without much difficulty. They were slightly slower than Kyle and his father could have done the task but they were still learning how to work together and how to do the routes most efficiently.
When things settled down after his father's funeral Kyle figured out he was stuck running the trash business. One good thing that came from his father's death (if you could call it good) was the family disposable income actually went up. His mother and younger siblings qualified for Social Security survivor's benefits and for their income bracket that money was tax-free. His mother could receive benefits until the youngest child reached age 16Ñadmittedly that was only two years, but it did help. The three youngest children would receive benefits until they turned age 18 or completed high school if they were still in high school when they turned age 18. Of course the benefits stopped immediately if the beneficiary married. There was also an earnings limit but none of the three of them made enough to matter. At least they wouldn't starve or lose their home. That was something.
Kyle continued running the trash route and his business. He finally had a chance to do some things he wanted to try that his father wouldn't let him do. He cleaned up the garage and large machinery barn. He organized tools and set out some of the wood working machines he purchased for pallets. He had a frame built to hold pallets while he nailed them together and was finally able to bring it inside where he set up sort of an assembly line.
He also had an area of the building set aside for furniture repair. He was amazed how much furniture he found on his trash route that only needed minor repairs to be as good as new. Hell, some of it already looked like new. Probably some rich bitch just got tired of it so she threw it away. He usually found the 'good stuff' the days he ran the routes in the higher income section of town.
Sometimes he found a chair or couch that only needed cleaning or reupholstering to be perfect. Other times he found one that had a broken leg or other piece of wood. All he had to do was disassemble the piece, replace the broken wood and voila! He had a nice piece of useable furniture once again. Some of the discarded furniture was very expensive name brand stuff. These pieces resold very well after he repaired and cleaned them up.
Since he and Gloria had worked in a furniture factory they knew a lot about building furniture. That transferred to repairing furniture as well. Gloria worked primarily in upholstery for about six months and was quite good at that. They purchased a used upholstery sewing machine to make recovering furniture easier.
After a piece was refurbished they advertised it for sale and always made much more than they spent repairing it. He gave Gloria half the profit on the furniture they sold. One day they were unloading another expensive name brand couch in the building when Gloria said, 'Kyle, we're making as much money now as when we were working at the plant. Why don't we start going to garage sales, pick up good things, spruce them up, and resell them? We can repair broken furniture and refinish items if they need it.
'I don't have a problem with that, Gloria, but where would we keep them until we got them sold? I don't have a good place here. We're really out of space now. Its hell trying to keep the furniture clean until it sells since we have to keep it out here in the work area.'
'Yeah, there is that. HEY! How about if I talk to my grandfather? He owns an old three story building on the courthouse square in town he might let us use. It's been empty now for several years. The ground floor was a variety store for years and years. Maybe we can clean up the old store and use it for a showroom. You're close enough to the business district here it wouldn't be a problem to take the repaired furniture there to put in the showroom. Heck, I bet we could even move the furniture repair work and tools to the warehouse part of the store and do that work there, then we wouldn't even have to move the furniture after it was repaired. I've given up ever being called back to the plant, and, frankly, I really don't want to go back. I like helping you on the route and here in the shop a lot more than I did working at the plant.'
'I don't care, Gloria. Hell, I've been looking at our income and I'm amazed with how much we make from junk people throw out. Let's give it a try. How will we find someone to keep the store open, though? If we use the store we need to be open several hours a day instead of just advertising and making an appointment to meet someone to show them the furniture. I can get Tommy to help on the route Saturdays, or better yet Friday and Saturday, if there is a sale we want to go to. You can go to the sale and buy the items then use my truck to haul them home or wait for me to help you. I think we can make this work if we can figure out how to keep the store open.' Without thinking Kyle pulled Gloria to him and gave her a tight hug in his excitement. Her nipples hardened enough for them to be noticeable through her thin top. She stepped back and looked at Kyle quizzically but didn't say anything. Kyle stared at her then turned away in embarrassment.
That evening Gloria asked her grandfather about using the store building. He agreed she could use it but she would have to pay all the licensing fees, insurance and utilities. Since she was his granddaughter he gave her a break on the rent. He agreed to take 10% of the gross sales for rental not to exceed $1,500 per month.
Startup fees almost scuttled the new endeavor. It was bad enough getting utilities turned on but then they got the insurance quotes. They were outrageous! Finally Kyle thought to ask his insurance agent if the store could be combined with his trash business for insurance purposes. They finally modified his policy and managed to get the necessary insurance much cheaper so they went ahead and opened the business. By the end of the fall when cool weather slowed down yard sales the two partners had the new 'show room' full of nice restored used furniture. They did their best to only stock higher quality items and their reputation was getting around. People started coming to them hunting specific items. One woman even hired them to refinish her expensive dining room set. They made over $1500 profit on that little job and only did it in their spare time. They even purchased some nicer non-furniture items at rummage sales and sold them in their store also. The partners began manufacturing solid wood furniture in their spare time to sell in their store. That was an almost instant hit. Money started rolling in.
They picked up two more factories to haul metal scrap and pallets away and back to upon demand. They were busy enough Kyle actually had to hire another full time man to help on the trash route. They carefully sorted out metal trash and, of course the occasional piece of furniture for sale then took the rest of the actual garbage to the dump as normal. From time to time they found items at the dump they picked up and brought back to their business for resale.
The week before Thanksgiving Kyle combined some of his pick up routes so they could have Thursday and Friday off. They worked longer hours the first three days of the week but it was worth it. As they worked he talked to Gloria about the meal. He said, 'I think Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. The family gets together and we eat all day long. We have our favorite desserts and the traditional Thanksgiving foods for lunch. It always tastes wonderful and is just a perfect holiday. The weather is usually nice enough we can enjoy being outside and there's no hustle and bustle or commercial crap like there is for Christmas.
'How about you? Does your family have a big gathering too?'
'No. It's almost just another day for us. It's just Mom, Dad and me. Mom usually fries chicken or something but we don't have a turkey or anything really special. Dad spends all day in front of the television. It's really a depressing day all in all.'
'Man that sucks. Did you ever do the whole big meal thing?'
'Yeah, when I was little and my grandparents could come over and grandma and my uncle were still alive we had a big meal but now we don't. Gramps can't get out very easy so doesn't come over to our place. We usually go to his little apartment and mom cooks there. He doesn't have room in his kitchen to hardly turn around even if we wanted to do the turkey and all the fixin's. We just have a regular meal and go home after an hour or two. I sure miss the Thanksgiving meal, too. I even sneaked out last year and went to a restaurant by myself for Turkey and all the trimmings but it sucked. The food wasn't very good and there was no one to eat with. Guess I'll just stay home this year.'