"Hey, Jimmy. Why don't I ever see you down at the rail yard anymore?" It was a cold winter night and Club 250 had its every-night regulars and as many more folks who weren't. The young man talking to Jimmy Dick was one of the latter.
Jimmy Dick gazed down the length of his beer bottle at the fellow he thought of as "the kid." Right after the Ring of Fire, when everyone was scrambling to pitch in and make things work, he'd taken a job with the railroad and joined the army. The rails kept the power plant in coal and the army kept the town from being overrun. Now he was in the reserves and the scramble to stay alive was over.
"They don't need me," Jimmy replied.
"Bull shit. You were a lot of help."
"Yeah. They could use me . . . but they don't need me. There's enough people to get the job done."
"Yeah, okay. But the money's good, and you were good at it."
"Don't need the money. Why work?"
"Ah, come on. You can always use a little more."
Jimmy had gotten by up-time without working because of the disability payments he picked up in Nam (Agent Orange was a bit more effective than it needed to be), and what little profit there was from the real estate holdings he had inherited. There were a lot of vacancies in town at the time. Now the pension was gone but the real estate more than covered things. He didn't need to work to get by and he saw no reason to get ahead.