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These Things Happen This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Accidents are bound to happen when you work on a maintenance crew at a retirement home. It's a fact of life that things don't always go as planned, but it's extremely unexpected for all the accidents to happen on the same day.

A 7: 45 on a warm summer morning, I arrived ready for the same routine. Everything was normal so far. Jim, the superintendent, entertained the guys with his dirty jokes while Fat Charlie took the last drag of his third cigarette, and my partner John finished his ham and cheese on rye.

After Jim told his last joke, he sent John and me to wash the new shipment of windows and haul them off to the storage room. Following orders, we washed the windows and loaded them onto the tractor. On our way to the storage room, John, who would make even the bravest passenger nervous, was driving through the narrow breezeways of the complex. The laundry room door, which was slightly open, was in the tractor's path. After we passed, there was no longer a door because we hit it so hard the door ripped off the wall. John stopped the tractor and we looked at the door, the doorway, and back at the door.

We expected Jim to go ballistic but instead he remained quiet. Actually, he remained so quiet that we wished he had gone ballistic. When his face regained its natural color, Jim just told us he understood that accidents happen and be more careful. That was a relief.

We went back to the storage room to unload the windows and John told me that he decided not to drive the tractor anymore. Later, I realized I should have had him put it in writing. As John handed me the last window to be stored, we noticed it didn't look right. It had three large cracks down the middle and my partner and I knew that we could be fired. Surprisingly, Jim let us off the hook again because he understood that "these things happen."

After our 3 o'clock break, John and I started weedwacking around the buildings. As I was working in an area overgrown with grass, I heard a loud snap, a click, and before I knew what happened, the head of the weedwacker was across the courtyard. Apparently, the string had wrapped around a metal rod protruding from the ground, snapped the head off, and sent it flying 20 feet. I cursed the machine for doing such a stupid thing and went up to Jim with another broken item in hand.

The boss laughed and said that the next thing we'd probably do was run over one of the residents. I didn't think this was very funny because the way the day was going, that wasn't so far-fetched.

At 4: 30 p.m. it was time to lock up the shop as the day had finally come to an end. John and I looked back on that day and joked that there was nothing else we could have broken. My partner began to lock the first garage door and I went into the other room to lock the second. As I pulled the door down I heard a crash in the other room. I ran in and saw John standing there with a 3-foot piece of the garage door in his hand ... c


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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