He was “employed at will.”
Bruce worked a long time, twenty years,
drove C.D.L. trucks, changed parts several times,
established operations-schedules for workers,
found time to get the Company lots of work.
“By Will of God,” he used to boast,
“I ain't never been once shit-canned, Chuck!”
By shit-canned” Bruce meant employers
never fired him until today – August 6,
“same day Tojo got what was coming,”
& a Regional Manager walked into Bruce's cubicle,
he saw lots of paper atop desk, “sticky-notes,”
and a calendar exhibiting rural Pennsylvania,
a barn, split rail fence, bright blue sky,
a natural gas well pad under construction.
Bruce looked at him, smiled,
the Regional Manager returned Pepsodent-smile,
got down to business, deep down into U.S. business,
informed Bruce he was “employed at will,”
& he's no longer employed by the Company.
He must hand-in cell phone, all keys, safety-glasses,
clear his desk as he willed,
while another manager kept close watch.
Could Bruce collect unemployment?
Could he afford Cobra health insurance?
Will the Labor Board understand
what's meant by being “employed at will?”
Bruce did not “get it,”
“what the hell are Right-to-Work States,” he thought,
“and why didn't the suit have the balls
to tell me what bad I done?”
Bruce's wife Patti, after the shock, might have answers –
She's on dialysis, Patti understood how a bad agent
can enter a state of being, against one's will,
and Bruce would require lots of understanding,
Neil Young “relating,” he must quickly find another outfit
who will give him a D.O.T. Physical, employ Bruce at Will.
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His desk-top's clear now,
“Work Safely, Asshole!” sign torn down from wall,
Bruce considered an age-discrimination lawsuit,
he's pushing 57-years old, such “settlement” would help –maybe he'll get lucky, and the Regional Manager
shall be stupid, hire a YOUNGER man in Bruce's position,
“Ain't God employed at will?” he thought.
Yahweh counted hairs on people's heads,
protected our troops in Afghanistan,
and Bruce went home, 2006 Impala cruised,
entered I-83's entrance ramp for Baltimore,
toward anointed age 62, he sang Star Spangled Banner
to the dirty harbor, an aimless shark's in the Aquarium,
knowing many others won't know what will hit them next.