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A small department store in Kilkenny Ireland, 2002 —

The manager was spending a lot of time with one of the young women who worked there. That didn't bother me; that was their business.

It did get to be a little ridiculous. Out to lunch together, in the storeroom (where's the manager?) ... But it was just kind of another annoyance.

The problem started because the other female employees found this a great story — scandalous. They didn't approve at all, of course. But they loved it. This matter concerned them anxiously, and a little bit gleefully. He had a woman already, after all....

An American quasilegal in Ireland...

Then he tried to stop the talk.

And that's the part I didn't like. The manager, upon finding people talking, would interupt and imply that their talk was keeping them from doing their work.

I decided to start trying to find out what the union could do. We had a union, and paid dues. We had no shop steward, though, ever since the previous one had gone out pregnant. And without a shop steward, we had no representation. So I volunteered. I mean, yeah, we had to have a vote; but nobody else tried.

It was a good idea. Well, it would have been. I wasn't thinking too clearly. Not that it matters now. Every job has its end....

The manager called me into his office one day and asked me if I had a work permit. He told me that Dublin wanted to know.

That was at the end of a workweek, at the end of the day, on what turned out to be my last day at Heaton's.