The whistle signaling quitting time was always his favorite time. It was the high water mark for the rest of the day, representing that first moment of freedom matched with the highest level of energy he’d have for the rest of the night. He turned his dirty earth-moving machine off, ceasing the rumble in his seat and in the engine. Quietly, he pulled the earplugs from his ears, and collected his gloves and cooler. The cooler held remnants of his lunch which had consisted of two ham and cheese sandwiches, a dill pickle, a bag of chips, and an apple. Each step back to his truck, parked four blocks away, ached down into his core. Shifting his weight right, he could feel the burn on his ankle and knee. Shifting his weight left provided the same effect on the other side. The cooler dangled from his neck by a scrap of black and orange nylon rope and the heft of it swayed back and forth across his chest with each heavy step. The truck,
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