Temp Gretta and the Great Seattle Race

By: Marti Talbott

They met at the very edge of Queen Anne Hill, in the parking lot of a defunct Safeway store. In the dead of night they gathered, this gang for sly and sneaky temps, to fight for the longest and best temporary employee assignment in Seattle. Make no mistake about it, they would fight to the death if need be, and the losers had already pledged to turn the job down.

It was Gretta who called this gang together, having recently survived the worst assignment of them all—the dreaded mail room job at the city jail. Her hands bandaged from paper cuts, her back just barely healed from heavy lifting, Gretta was determined to have that job if it was the last thing she ever did! But what kind of race would be fair? Temps came in all shapes and sizes. Some were old, some young, some fat, some ugly and some … well, Gretta would only say she couldn’t compete with some of them.

Eighteen Wheelers, decided Gretta.

Shoot, everyone had one and knew how to drive it. Yes indeed, that would be fair. So there they were, this gang of the top six temps, their shiny rigs evenly lined up in the empty parking lot. With her Mariner baseball cap on backward, dressed in faded jeans and her favorite Seahawk sweatshirt, Gretta slowly raised the flag. In a loud voice and with a distinct Seattle accent, she counted down the last few seconds -- 12:59.58, 12:59.59 . . . Suddenly, she whipped the flag through the air and jumped into the cab of her rig.

Diesel engines instantly roared to life, bright headlights came on and Hairless Harry’s eyes turned dark and mean. He was dressed in all black, the same midnight black as the paint on his rig, when he harshly shoved his stick into gear. A size 22 boot slammed on the gas and his big shiny machine shot through the darkness -- through the parking lot and clean through the chain link fence.

His tires squealed, his engine roared and the strained metal of his rig cried out in anguish as he desperately tried to make the turn. Two Qwest phone booths were the first to go, flying across the intersection and landing on three empty, parked cars. Then the Bank of America building seemed to tremble… just before he ran over the curb, knocked over the “no parking” sign and bounced off its side. Finally, Hairless Harry straightened the wheels and sped off down the street.

Still glued to her seat, Quick Draw Lucy roared with laughter — Hairless Harry was going the wrong way!

To be continued…

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