When I was young, I was a school sweeper boy. From ages 14-19 I swept, mopped, buffed, vacuumed, emptied garbage; all for $7.50 an hour. It was a dream job really. I only worked two hours after school each day, drank free soda and most importantly - I got to work with my very best friends.
It was while we were employed at Dilworth Elementary that we first met "Will".
Will was the Head Night Custodian. He had retired and was looking for a little extra cash to make ends meet. He was a friendly guy; frumpishly cheerful, eternally optimistic, eager to work and an all around good guy. Each day when we left, he would give us a friendly wink and say in his gruff, elderly voice, "You guys have a good one!"
Why was it that we were constantly pulling pranks on Will? He was such a gentle man, with such good intentions. It is for this reason that I still feel badly about what happened that doleful eve.
As part of our benefits as sweeper boys, we were allowed to take as much chocolate milk from the cafeteria freezer as we liked. Each night, as we finished our shift, we would find time to enjoy a good coco froth together like good ole boys. We had some good times.
My friend Hadley and I knew the exact time in which Will would journey into the cafetorium for his nightly free milker. In our cruelest brains, we had conjured up a plan so devious, so maniacally cruel, we just knew Will would love it.
For some strange reason, it seemed as though we had a gorilla and a monster mask in our possession. We pulled the masks over our frail, 14 year old heads and went to wait inside giant milk refrigerator for Will to get his milk.
I will never forget that old man's face as he opened the door to that fridge. We jumped out with milk ablaze and monkey ears steaming, yelling "HELLO WILL!" Will's eyes quickly got as large as those breakfast potato things at McDonalds and he awkwardly backed into the table behind him. After a few moments, he finally realized that it was us and what had actually happened.
Our laughter turned to immediate guilt. Here we were, making a 70 year old man hyperventalate and nearly stopping his heart. As he sat there staring at us, he clearly was getting more and more upset. We apologized profusely and acknowledged that we were both in fact, huge jackasses.
When we left that evening was it was the first time that Will did not give us the old, "You have a good one guys!"