Survivor — Hudson County Style

Limousine Stan had a good thing going unloading trucks in New York City’s 14th Street meat market – until the IRS put the kibosh on that. In his forties and only 5′ 5″ or so, Stan stacked the heavy cases as fast as any of the younger, bigger men. Though Stan enjoyed a few shots of whiskey, he rarely drank to excess. Neatly dressed and polite, reliably working around the clock, he developed a regular clientele. All the rest of the guys working the trucks were alcoholics or drug addicts.

Stan did so well that he bought a Cadillac, which was a mistake. Smelling money, a union delegate pressured Stan to start paying dues. Stan refused. Dropping a dime, the union delegate ratted Stan out to the IRS. To make up for past arrears, Uncle Sam drove off in the Cadillac. If you can’t make it there, then Jersey City is the place to be. Stan hopped on the PATH and soon found Union Terminal Cold Storage near the New Jersey side of the Holland Tunnel. A hard worker, a reliable worker, working both late nights and early mornings, Stan again soon had a nice little business going.

Between trucks, Stan became a regular in the Tunnel Bar, where he’d watch TV and chat, stretching out a Schenley and water. Stan became particular friends with Hal, a semi-retired enforcer for the loan sharks. Stan told Hal army stories. Hal had many interesting and curious tales of life behind bars. One Saturday was different. Stan showed up early and drank steadily. He had a dazed, distracted look. Late that afternoon, Stan asked the bartender, Sal, Jr, if he wanted to make a few extra dollars.

“Sal, I got a truck lined up but the guys at Union Terminal can’t take it until ten o’clock tonight. How’s about you doin’ it? It pays forty-five dollars and shouldn’t take but an hour.” Sal, Jr. knew something was not right. Stan never passed anything up.

“Nah, thanks Stan, but Saturday is my early day. I close up at seven. I’d have to wait around three hours. And anyhow, I’m lookin’ forward to goin’ home early and takin’ it easy.”

Later that evening, Stan ran into Skip, a local druggie and told him about the job all set up and waiting. As Skip was always looking to get high, Stan’s proposition seemed to be proof that God was looking down with compassion.

Skip ran over to Union Terminal. He sat on the loading dock behind the trailer, waiting for the night crew to arrive. Shortly after ten, the wooden doors of the warehouse slid open. Skip jumped up smiling.

“‘Ey, Jake. I’m workin’ this a here trailer!”

“I thought that was Stan’s?”

“Yeah, but he was up ‘roun’ the clock and jus’ needed to crash an’ so’s he handed it off to me.”

As Stan wasn’t there, Jake was satisfied with the explanation. He began to bring out pallets for the unloaded freight.

It was cases of ham, heavy cases. Forty-five dollars was just enough for PATH fare, a needle, a soda, a pack of cigarettes, and four bags of heroin. It was going to be a great Saturday night! Motivated and focused, Skip worked through the truck like it was an Olympic event.

Finished, Skip jumped off of the loading dock and ran up to the tractor. He stepped up onto the running board. The Rebel truckdriver, a heavy man with a beard slumbered behind the wheel. Skip tapped on the window. The man inside woke with a start.”

“Wuz you wan’?”

“Good evening Sir! Your truck’s all finished!”

“Where’s Stan at?”

“He couldn’t be here tonight. I did the job for him.”

“Yeah? Well thank ye kindly.”

And the driver went back to sleep.”

Skip again tapped on the window.

“Uh, did you want to check to see that it’s done?”

“Nah, I sees the weights off. I believe yuh.”

“Well, that’s forty-five dollars.”

“FOR WHAT!?”

“FOR UNLOADIN’ YER TRUCK, CRACKER!”

“YOUSE BETTER HAUL YER ASS OFF BEFORE I CLIMBS ON DOWN AND BEATS SOME SENSE INTO YUH!”

The warehouse night boss came running over.

“Guys, GUYS! You know the policy is for the shop not to get involved between the drivers and the helpers. But, I ain’t gonna let this trouble boil over. I saw this man pay Stan in advance.”

“You paid Stan?”

“Damned, right I did. Forty-five dollars. Said he was short on the rent. I was a little leery . . . but as he’s been good every week for goin’ on a year now . . .”

“My apologies. I’m sorry for the misunderstanding.”

For the rest of the night, Skip prowled the streets and alleys around the Tunnel. It took hours, but in the end he found Stan. Skip severely beat him, breaking Stan’s arms and legs.

If Stan had called the Police, it was not very likely that theft by deception with a notorious street criminal as the victim would engender much sympathy.

Most people would immediately seek medical attention. Not Stan.

No one knows how he did it. No one knows if there was an accomplice or if Stan crawled there.

But, somehow or other, Stan got to the Grove Street PATH station, to the down elevator. When he slid off at the bottom, Stan began to shriek and to scream.

“IT BUCKED AN’ THREW ME!!! AAAAAAHHHHH!!! IT BUCKED AN’ THREW ME!!! OH, GOD SOMEONE HELP!!! IT BUCKED AN’ THREW ME!!!”

From the resulting law suit, Stan received a million dollars.

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About Anthony Olszewski

Anthony Olszewski has written on a wide variety of topics: cage birds, tropical fish, popular culture, the poetry of Amiri Baraka and a chapter on genetics for a veterinary text book, as a small sample. He worked as an editor at a magazine produced by TFH, the world's largest publisher of pet books. Anthony Olszewski is the author of a booklet on Hudson County history, Hudson County Facts, and a book of short stories, Second Thief, Best Thief, that are sold on Amazon. Anthony Olszewski established PETCRAFT.com in 1996. A pioneer on the Web, the Site continues to provide unique information on a range of companion animals, focusing on birds and fish. As a community service, he operates Jersey City Free Books. Anthony Olszewski was born in Jersey City, NJ (Margaret Hague Maternity Hospital, 1956) and is a member of Mensa.
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One Response to Survivor — Hudson County Style

  1. Jimbo says:

    ‘It was cases of ham, heavy cases. Forty-five dollars was just enough for PATH fare, a needle, a soda, a pack of cigarettes, and four bags of heroin. It was going to be a great Saturday night! Motivated and focused, Skip worked through the truck like it was an Olympic event.’

    ^ good writing

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