I walked into the break room and there he was,
Stationed on a chair before an opened bag of
Potato chips, laid flat on the table.
“Dan!” I said enthused. “It has been awhile.”
He placed a few chips in his mouth, chewed.
Crumbs slipped through the gaps in his teeth
And landed on his work-shirt.
“No shit.” He said, voice muffled from a mouth-full. “What have you been doing?”
I pulled out a chair, it screeched as I dragged it
Across the dirt ridden linoleum. I rested it beside him
And took a seat. “Traveled a bit. Worked at shitty jobs.
How have you been? I don’t think we have had contact
Since I was placed on probation.”
He picked away plaque with his fingernail.
Situated between what few teeth he had left.
He wiped the remnants onto his work-shirt.
“I remember that…” He said, lips smacking.
“Did that work out?”
“Yeah! Been off for almost a year now.”
“Good for you.” He brushed the plaque and chip crumbs
Off his shirt.
I leaned in close. “Still in the dope game?” I questioned.
He laughed. “Don’t have the energy for that anymore.
After all the robberies, ripoffs, and jail sentences.
I just gave up, been working here for about a year now.”
“Oh yeah?” I asked. “Do you like it?”
“No. It fucking sucks. The hours are long.
The pay is shit. I go home every night in pain.
Yeah…if you’re working here it means you made some mistakes
In your life.”
I looked around the room at my tattooed cohorts.
Their faces were full of pockmarks. Track marks dotted their veins,
Like sins exposed during Confession. I felt comfortable, however
As if I found the proper clique in the high school cafeteria.
Dan stood up and pushed his chair in. He crumpled the chip wrapper
Into a ball and threw it into the trashcan. “Well…break is over.
Time to make some rich fucker more money.”
I stood, followed him to our work stations.
The next break we sat in silence.
Our will for conversation
As dead as a junkie’s eyes.