The following is another story from the time I spent as a quality control inspector at a steel coating plant outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This story starts approximately ten minutes after !#@$%# Raccoons Part 1 ended.
Ken and I headed onto to the floor to check on some beams that had been coated the day before and were ready for final inspection. As we were looking over the beams and taking paint thickness readings, we heard a scream from one of the cranes above.
Jerry was in one of the cranes waving wildly and yelling something incoherently.
“What’s wrong with him?” Ken asked.
“I have no idea, specific to this situation,” I replied.
“What’s he yelling?” Ken asked.
“Look at me I’m in a crane?” I proffered.
I pulled out my radio and called Eric the paint supervisor, “I think there’s a problem on the floor.”
“Why do think there’s a problem?” Eric responded.
“It’s Jerry,” I answered.
“I’ll be right there,” he said with disgusted resignation.
Eric joined us on the floor to a display of Jerry shouting indistinctly and gesticulating wildly.
“Why doesn’t he use his radio?” Eric asked.
“It’s hard to say,” I responded.
“He’s seems like an idiot,” Ken added.
Eric held up his radio and pointed to it, to indicate to Jerry to use his. Jerry nodded in agreement. He then lunged out of sight, lunged back again clutching his radio, and shouted into the radio, “There’s a !#@$%# raccoon up here.”
“That’s where that raccoon went,” I said to Ken and we both laughed more than we should have.
“Don’t worry Jerry,” I tried to reassure him,”raccoons are very clean animals, they wash their food.”
“They ain’t clean!,” Rick shouted as he came running, “People think they’re clean, but they ain’t clean. People think…”
“Shut up Rick,” Eric yelled, mercifully putting an end to the rant.
“What’s going on,” one the painters asked as he was passing by.
“Jerry’s trapped in the crane with a raccoon,” Ken replied casually.
“That is awesome!” Within minutes the entire shop had ground to a halt as everybody had gathered under Jerry’s crane to offer words of encouragement, to the raccoon. Jerry was mostly mocked.
“Can’t you get to the ladder?” Eric asked.
“No, it’s right in the way,” Jerry replied.
“Can’t you move it aside with your foot?” Eric offered.
“What if it bites me?” Jerry demanded.
“You’re wearing steel toed boots aren’t you?”
“What if it scratches them, these are brand new boots.” Jerry blurted.
Eric sighed in exasperation and buried his face in his hands.
“Jerry is real anal about his boots,” one of the painters commented.
“How does he feel about rabies shots?” Ken asked. He was answered with semi-indifferent shrugs.
“I’ve got a rifle in my truck that’ll put a bullet in that vermin’s head,” Rick said with disdain.
“You can’t shoot Jerry in the head Rick,” I told him.
“I meant the raccoon you idiot.” Rick called me an idiot often.
“Just try it,” Eric told him, obviously losing patience.
“Okay I’m gonna try it…I’m trying it…It grabbed my boot what do I do?” Jerry exclaimed frantically.
“Jerry, does it have little people hands?” I asked him with alarm in my voice.
“It does,” he responded.
“Your screwed, that means it’s smart,” I yelled into the radio.
I could see the wrath in Rick’s face, but before he could say anything Eric tossed his radio down and screamed, “everybody shut up.” He screamed up at the crane, sans radio, “Just get the hell out of that crane or you’re fired.”
There were some clattering noises, a few girlish screams, suddenly Jerry was out of the crane and on the ladder. There was much rejoicing, followed by copious amounts of mocking.
Ken knew a guy in animal control, the raccoon was soon gone.
I thought I saw Rick wipe a tear away; some memories are hard to put behind you.