Sunday, March 17, 2013

English as a Second Language.

Arh great, just what I need. 8:00 a.m. Monday morning and Jesus turns up with a completely new crew.
"Jesus, what the fuck man? Where's the regular boys?"
"Hola John."
"Wha... These guys mucho better."

"Better for you maybe, maybe work for less but what the fuck do they know about demoing an apartment in a building like this?" We are stood outside an apartment build on Central Park West and 84th Street. Jesus is my demo guy, he is also a cheap fuck. A Peruvian who hires guys on an as needed basis for as little as he can get away with. He does all my demo, I pay him, he is legal, his men are his concern. Me, I'm a GC, a General Contractor. I specialize in high end apartment refurbs.  My average job is around $5m.  I've a lot of money tied up in business and I've worked hard to get where I am. Getting here was the easy part, it's staying here that's hard. I try do things by the book but it's not easy when the competition will cut every corner they can. I still use union electricians and plumbers, the HVAC guys are all licensed but when you're up against some of the low life's this business has attracted it's getting harder and harder to make a buck.

There's one guy, new on the scene, wears leather trousers for God's sake, he hires Chinese day laborers for everything. They will work for half the price of a Mexican. I don't know how he gets away with it but he does. Palms, obviously, are getting greased. I have one guy, Jim, he's from Trinidad ( you ever met anyone from Tobago? Me neither. It's always Trinidad) he did a few weeks with this guy, told me he had 35 guys doing demo, dragging cans out into the street. No dumpsters just dragging them. All these guys wearing sneakers, no boots, no helmets. Said half the guys came back the next week reinvented as carpenters and laying out the stud and sheet rock. Said he quit when two of them declared themselves electricians and kept shorting everything out. Bad enough working in those conditions; think about living in the apartment when it's done?

Demo is one of the areas I try compete but Jesus has really fucked me this time, these guys look fresh off the boat. This is tricky demo, I want a lot of the walls to remain, I don't want the water lines disturbing, I don't want all the electrics ripping out.

"Where'd you get these guys Jesus?"
"Take it easy my friend. These guys, good guys."
"These guys fucking cheap guys. Where's Hector, get fucking Hector here, he can read prints. I want fucking Hector here or you can fuck right off."
"Hector no work for me no more. Cordaro can read prints yes?"
"Cordaro? Which one's he? Guy's a fucking midget Jesus. Cordaro, you read prints?"
"You do? Jesus stop nodding your fucking head."
"Cordaro where'd you work before? Speak English?"
"Si, poquito."
"Popquito? Where did you work last week?"
"Arh, arh, I dickwasher."
"Jesus, what the fuck? What the fuck's a dickwasher?"
"Si I Dickwasher!"
"Hey don't shout that too fucking loud pal."
"Si, Dickwasher?"
Jesus, get fucking Hector back here and the rest of the regular crew and get this fucking dickwasher out of here..."
"Si I Dickwasher!"
"Hey Cordaro? Where'd you was dicks?"
"John, John, John, he worked in the dinner...
"Washing dicks? Fancy place."
"Washing dishes."
"Arh dish washer?"
"Si, si, si, I Dickwasher."
"Jesus call fucking Hector."


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