Chapter 1

(304) Unprepared Stainless Steel – .14 to .18 per pound


My name is Gordon. I’ve owned a metal recycling business for six months. Before that, I had many careers. I swept floors, worked as a waiter, construction, sales, finance, accounting… You name it, I’ve tried it. I my life by a single rule, stay active and keep your head above water. Now, six months into opening this business, I’m starting to realize that fundamental rule may have been misguided.

Don’t get me wrong, recycling is a great business. I get to explore my town and the neighboring cities, picking up odd pieces of metal furniture or other scrap. The initial idea was: make friends with the guys working the garbage trucks, and persuade them to leave me the larger pieces. Goal achieved. They agreed. They don’t break their backs picking up the heavy junk that could break their compressor, and my job gets a little easier. With this plan – I’ve been making ends meet, but just barely.

About two months in, I decided to advertise with simple handouts printed in the local copy store. There were hundreds of corny templates. I picked one that had a little truck on it and wrote out an offer for “free pick up and haul away right out of your home!” 

And that is when things started to change.  People live in routine bubbles. They get up, have coffee, eat breakfast, go to work. They converse with the same people about the same things. Then, they leave and go home to feed their kids and help them with their homework. If they have kids. I’ve realized, most people, without knowing or saying it, want their bubbles popped.

That’s where I come in. Me. When I arrive in their kitchen – whether it’s looks like it was peeled from a gourmet magazine or bought piecemeal from other people’s sidewalks – I am something very different from their bubble. I can talk the same way they do, of course. I’m educated and can hold a polite conversation, but I seem different. I don’t fuss over taxes or complain about how one supermarket is overcharging. I don’t waste time thinking about which roads need paving. I refuse to get caught up in such meaningless concerns. I would rather sit and enjoy quietly reading a paper at the supermarket cafe, than frantically rush around finding gluten free, calorie light, vegetables to shove into my face for lunch. I am not a trend setter, but a trend ignorer. I am on the outside, and that seems to confuse people. I think they like looking at me as much as I like watching them.

So, our paths normally never cross, I live in a way they simply cannot. Since there is no other reason for calling me except to recycle metal, people make excuses to start up conversations.  I admit, I’m not bad looking. This kind of work doesn’t allow for much paunch – or extra food, so I’ve stayed fit. I don’t eat junk food, but that’s not because of dieting. I am tall, tan, strong, with all my hair, and a solid set of broad shoulders. I’m always working my abs around the shop. For those housewives, moms and dads, girlfriends, and daughters, I probably come off a little exotic. People gravitate toward curious things. Unexplored worlds are enticing to them.

My day starts at around 4am. I get up and brew a mug of coffee.  In just a pair of light pajama shorts, I do 30 minutes of bodyweight exercises and stretches. Were I not telling you, no one would know my routine.  I’m not a person who nurses his ego by going to the gym. When I first started working out in the cold of my garage, I felt stupid the first few times. The stretching is particularly helpful since lifting metal is strenuous. I eventually got over the awkwardness, accepted my feelings of being silly, and got on with it.

I get in my pickup truck and start my day by 4:45 am. I have a map of the neighborhoods that mark nearby cities will have their trash out. I painted my company name “Not so Precious Metal Recycling” on the truck’s side to avoid questions and police.

During the mornings, I get to see the sunrise see the other world starting up. Sometimes, in the quieter neighborhoods, I park my truck and walk the length of the street. Two days ago, I saw a man sitting in an expensive car. His eyes were closed and his mouth was open and slack. I wondered if he’d fallen asleep in the driver’s seat. I cautiously passed by on the opposite side of the street, quietly hoping he’d move so I wouldn’t lose a morning giving a statement to police. People from these districts work a ton; early to rise and late to bed, giving hot young nannies the responsibility of taking care of their children. While it was unusual to catch someone passed out in their car, it was not surprising.

I jumped when a thick head of curls bobbed up and disappeared behind the steering wheel. Inching closer, I saw a terry cloth, light pink bathrobe draped over a large, round ass. The folds of material caught between her two round mounds.  A head of black and red curls sucked his cock furiously. The man was in pajamas as well. His pants rung down to his knees. Her mess of curls bouncing up and down on her head. Her arm was between his legs stroking back and forth. Her other hand secured to his shoulder. His hips raised up and down, encouraging her to get deeper.  She jerked her head fervently, coaxing his cock to feed her. His hips tensed and his face contorted. She was pinned against the steering wheel as he unleashed his load into her. They were finished.

I crept away from the car quietly, making tracks as fast as I could. I heard the car doors open behind me. Taking a glimpse over my shoulder, I watched the woman emerge, fix the folds of her bathrobe, and strode across the street to one of the nice looking homes. She scooped up a newspaper at the foot of her walk. Wiping her mouth daintily with the tips of her fingers. The man emerged, adjusting himself, and walked towards another house. He checked the mail before stepping inside the wooden doors. Neither took a passing glance back to see where the other had gone.

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