Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Night Shift

The nightly employees filed in through the double revolving doors. Lister, remembering to get his card ready to punch in the hole of the machine, stood in line ready, card tilted between thumb and forefinger. The tin metal receiver signalled its acceptance with a clunk-click and the rectangular card emerged then from the dark interior of the shiny reflecting lips like it had gotten its teeth knocked out. After sliding the slither of card back into his jeans pocket Lister shuffled towards the corridor, he pointed on the map to Zone B452. Lolloping his number five loafers along the gritty floor he gazed at the glitter of rough sandy particles. His head casually barged the aluminium door, nudging it with his shoulder. The door slammed behind, its sound travelling, echoing throughout the dark interior. He walked over to one of a row of steel lockers lined along the side of the room; with a key attached to a chain inside his jacket pocket Lister clicked open locker number 857. Inside were his boots and a boiler suite, neatly folded. He pulled the oil blotted material over his regular clothes, and placed his number fives in the locker, clicking the tin cube shut, making his way then towards the workman’s entrance. Walking, eyes fixed on the floor, his eyes noticed the firm, regular strides of a familiar figure striding towards him;
“Hey” it was Jim just on his way out from the day shift. “Where’s Ed?”
Off sick, said he got the flu or something.”
Well you’ll not be doin much tonight; we’ve just spent all day fixing the bearings on Ruby 6. She’s huffin and puffin, but… it’ll wear off. Keep a close eye on her…tell us how doin’ int’ mornin, right, you know what you’re doin’ right?”
“Sure Jim, anything you say, er, you got the report, yeah?”
“All jotted down for yeah in the office. Don’t worry…right I’m off to bed, see you later”
“Right, OK”
Lister didn’t have a clue what Jim was talking about but it was good to nod and make the correct signs. Being new in a job meant one had to be duplicitous, make the right sounds and noises till you knew what they all meant. He looked down at his map for Ruby 6 and imagined a machine shaped like a giant woman with six nostrils.

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