Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Witch Hunt

6:00 am - wake up, it is sunny, make food.

7:00 am - walk to foreman's truck, can't find foreman's truck, oh yeah, it broke down in the rainstorm yesterday.

7:10 am - find foreman, ask him what truck to go in

7:25 to 9:45 am - long drive to the block, listen to new Weezer album a few times, sucks.

9:45 am to 3:00 pm - planting , swampy trenches, heavy stock, having a hard time making money

3:10 pm - Scott, company checker for Sundance Forestry, the company that contracts my company to plant the trees comes into my land, throws four plots, I ask him how the trees are looking, says they are good on density, pretty good on microsite selection, asks me to plant higher up spots on trenches, walks into Yossef's peice, directly adjacent

3:11 pm - planting trees, I hear Scott call "CAM," with rising pitch, like a mother who has found her children's mess and is calling to scold them, Yossef walks over there muttering about density in the accomodating tone he takes with company checkers, Cam walks over, to this little area in Yossef's peice, I assume Yossef has gone way too tight in his trenches, as he is flying today, bagging out 540 trees for every 405 I put in

3:12 pm - I see Scott Picking up bundles of trees, around 75, that had been hidden under a log in Yossef's peice, my immediate reaction is to plant a line in the opposing direction

3:14 pm - I am called over to Yossef's peice and told that there were trees stashed, Yossef insisting he did not do it, Scott in absolute full-on anger mode with accusing eyes saying that he is rounding up everybody who had been anywhere near this land today, and that whoever did this would come out with it and be fired before leaving the block today

3:16 pm - Mark Large, his girlfriend Jessie, Yossef and I, as well as two rookies: Vanessa, a hard worker in her early twenties who reminds me of Marla Singer and has taken to following me around in my land and observing my technique, a funny little thing with the kind of laugh you could hear over a banquet room full of chatter; and Kathy, a precocious young French Canadian who had been scolding me twenty minutes earlier for telling her to fuck off the day before, catholic girl with good legs who wears spandex pants on the block every day - we are drawn into a circle, the six of us who were working near Yossef's land

3:20 pm - we are lectured by Scott about the severity of this problem, he is sick to his stomach, and told that the person who did it would have to come forth, lest we all be fired, and I feel a little bit sick

3:22 pm - silence

3:24 pm - we all agree that there was nobody else in or around Yossef's land, and that the trees were stashed today, and that therefor it had to be one of us, sitting in a circle with our bags off in the middle of the block

3:30 pm - reminding myself I haven't done anything wrong

3:40 pm - Crew boss Cam goes back to running trees, his reputation and his company on the line, Cam Parks, a managerial big guy from camp, nice guy, comes to see us and give us his word about the graveness of our situation, Scott and big Cam go away to talk, it is very clear that we will not be allowed to leave until someone comes forth, and that it will not be good enough for someone to just take the fall - the responsible party must come forth, or we will all be fired

3:45 pm to 4:20 pm - I am cleaning my boots to keep myself busy and avoid eye contact with anyone. Whenever someone speaks up it is to address the mystery person in our midst with accusatory and fearful rhetoric, like: "whoever it is just has to be a man and step up, becuase they are wasting my time and my day, and we are all fucked if you don't just come out," people look around at eachother, who looks guilty, who could have done this, would Yossef stash trees in his own peice, wouldn't that be a little bit stupid for a guy with so much experience who has planted so many trees before and can plant 75 trees in about five minutes anyways, but there is a doubt, or how could anyone else have done it, did they sneak in there and put them under a log there, and if so does this mean they have malicious intentions towards Yossef, and when would they have done this, and how guilty do I look, as a person relatively new, who keeps to himself and plants big numbers, who was planting right beside Yossef, who lost his job earlier in the season at another company for reasons we can't be completely sure of?

4:30 pm - what behaviors are indications of guilt? How should I act?

4:45 pm - Scott comes back, tells us that our whole crew will be fired if the person does not step forth, like fourteen people, and Cam, part owner in the company will lose his job, and likely his future in the industry, worrying about Cam, worried he is not cut out for anything but this industry

4:50 pm - people talk about taking the fall, Yossef says he will volunteer, it is his peice, he says, he is crying, a forty three year old man with tears in his eyes, Kathy hugging him, his emotions make him look guilty to me

4:55 pm - I say "Yossef, if you did this, then come forth, and if you didn't then you have to not come forth, a fall guy doesn't help us," we are all tainted now, all of us, a big shit-smear across our face, until we know beyond a doubt who this was, I can see people in camp saying "I knew that Adam was a stasher..."

5:00 pm - nothing, thinking about truth and god, feeling assured and strong

5:20 pm - I suggest that Cam and Scott conduct private interviews, they do, we all talk to them for about ten minutes and then return to the group, they ask more personal questions, like who you think did it and that, I am honest and respond with gravity, they threaten to fire everyone, I tell Scott that that is `McCarthyism` and you will only end up raising the stakes of getting a wrongful confession using this kind of method, and that the stakes in terms of humility are probably too high for anyone to come out anymore; he doesn't trust me, I can see in his body language, Cam Stewart is in my land throwing plots, looking for trees? though I swear before god and on my mother's grave

6:00 pm - we rebundle the stashed trees and walk to the quad trail where we sit down, Cam, with everything on the line and electric eyes, stares dead at me and asks if I did it and I put my hand on my heart and say no, he has already counted Yossef out, as has everyone else in the company, his reputation being too good and the stashing being too amateurish, Cam says he thinks it was a rookie, which leaves Vanessa and Kathy

6:15 pm - Cam tells Vanessa and Kathy that he thinks it is one of them, Vanessa immediately breaks down into tears, says no, Kathy looks at him and says "I would never do something so disrespectful" which is probably a lie or a poor choice of words, as Kathy has disrespected me more seriously on several occassions, Vanessa becomes angry angry angry and calls her mom on a cell phone (the block is close to town), marching around near the van, exasperated, crying, Kathy stoic, Yossef saying he will leave the company regardless of the outcome

6:30 pm - we leave the block, I have two beers and give one to Cam Stewart and he shotguns the beer right there on the block and we walk away, towards the vehicles, on the way passing a gas compression plant, something that takes the raw gas and separates it into the good and the bad, expels the bad and sends the good down the pipeline

8:00 pm - check into a hotel in Edson, Alberta, go to strip club with Cam, who happens to have also lost his wallet, destroyed his truck, had his lunch eaten by a dog, stuck a quad in a swamp and twisted his ankle earlier in the day, a naked woman kneels on the stage talking to some roughnecks, she is the last dancer of the night and we have missed her show, Cam, 31 years old is carded and doesn`t have his wallet, we can`t stay, get offsales, I buy he waits, roughnecks try to pick a fight with him outside calling him a fucking faggot, him laughing like a maniac, completely unafraid and almost challenging

12:00 pm - spend time with crew, drinking and talking, really feeling up front with eachother, wondering whose head will roll and if it will be mine and if so how I would ever find another job after being fired twice in the same season, knowing that I am in a good position because of the amount of trees I plant, politically, but worried, thinking Yossef or Kathy, hoping it was not Yossef