Williston. A small town suffocating under the weight of the greatest boom in American history and it’s torn between burning the witches and resignedly saying, “More weight.” And I’m the problem: I’m one of the bad boys of the Bakken.
Furthermore, I get to tell strangers that I work for Savage. “Oh, you’re going to CNA School? Congratulations. I work in the oil fields for a company called Savage. Yeah, last winter it hit about minus seventy degrees Fahrenheit, but by May it was above zero again, and come July it was a hundred. But by mid September it starts to get a bit nippy, say, twenty below. No, only about ninety hours a week, but we’re allowed to work extra shifts, so it’s not too bad at all.” The trick is to say it nonchalantly then change the subject. Because if they ask, they will eventually find out that I glance down at a hundred grand a year doing a job that requires the intelligence of a whack-a-mole game and the stalwart courage of a vole of retiring disposition catching sight of a tail twitching above the grass (that would be "none;" do try to keep up...). Mostly I push buttons. I also sometimes glance up from my book to watch the thing that the buttons are on. Plus, we have our own personal heaters and forty minute breaks every hour. Seriously. But we usually have to work two out of every three weeks and there are no outlets to charge our phones in our booths, so I guess it evens out.
Savage sounds like a pretty brutal name for a pretty brutal company, but turns out it’s just the name of the family that started it. Yeah, it’s a family business. And they’re Mormon, to boot: the company actually has a no profanity clause in their employment contract, which is about as effective as putting up a chain link fence to keep out the mosquitoes: we’ve only got one supervisor that doesn’t cuss, and he’s a Catholic with nine kids and the ability to work thirty hours a day while remaining oblivious to dry sarcasm. He actually believed me when I told him “lol” stood for “lots of love,” but I couldn’t maintain it for fear of him sending someone a text reading “Heard your dad died, lol.”