24. The Whistle.


That same, familiar whistle.
I hear it every working day.
Five, sometimes six days a week.
For twenty years.
The sort of whistle used to attract your attention.
The sort of whistle that, when heard, makes you look up, see who’s calling you.
The sort of whistle a friend uses from across the road when they see you.
And that’s the idea.
You hear The Whistle.
You look up.
Nobody’s there.
You walk on.
You hear The Whistle again.
You look up.
Nobody’s there.
And so on.
For twenty years.
Don’t get me wrong.
I don’t fall for The Whistle any more.
Not for nineteen years.
I hear the whistle and just keep walking.
And it’s not just me who gets The Whistle.
Everybody gets The Whistle at some time or another.
Everybody.
I’ve been next to Whistlers in action.
“Hi Bilbo. How’s it going?”
“Great, Lucifer! Great! Hey, look! There’s Scorcher! Get hiddy!.”
(Hiddy means hidden.)
“Why?”
“Never mind why! Just get hiddy!”
I get hiddy.
I squat like a moron behind a reel of paper, and wait for The Whistle with a kind of fatalistic dread.
*Whistle*
“Ha! Did you see that, Lucifer? Did you see the look on Scorcher’s face! Ha!”
*Whistle*
“Ha ha! He looked again! The big fool! He never learns, old Scorcher! Never learns! Did you see his face?”
“No, Bilbo. I was sitting here like a tit behind this reel.”
“Aww! Why didn’t you look, Lucifer?”
Because I knew what I would see.
Somebody glancing around, a vague expression of bewilderment on their face.
Or mild embarrassment at falling for The Whistle.
Or somebody pointedly ignoring The Whistle, their shoulders hunched protectively against it, because they, too, had become sick to the stomach of this tiresome, feeble, pathetic joke.
Bilbo loves The Whistle.
He must do it twenty, thirty times a day.
Never tires of it.
Always makes his fat belly jiggle with mirth.
I could walk out of the door right now, and cross the factory floor, and I will guarantee you he will whistle.
If you looked hard, you would see his round, red face peeping from between stacks of paper, grinning.
Sometimes I want to smash it in.
You might think I have no sense of humour.
It is, after all, just a bit of fun.
But the fun has worn very, very thin.
To the point that it now grates, and irritates, and makes my teeth ache where they grind together.
It’s the repetitive nature of The Whistle that is the problem.
The Whistle makes Groundhog Day seem like a soothing routine.
The Whistle is for people content with mind numbing repetition, the dull and mundane.
Bacon sandwich, pot of tea, hiddy, *Whistle*, giggle, workety work work, hiddy, *Whistle*, giggle, more workety work, a biscuit, hiddy, *Whistle*, giggle, off to the bog, dump, hiddy, *Whistle*, giggle, repetitive tasks followed by more repetitive tasks, hiddy, *Whistle*, giggle, sit in a dark corner and worry that the factory might one day close, hiddy, *Whistle*, giggle, secretly lust after unattainable page 3 girl, hiddy, *Whistle*, giggle….
And so on.
And on.
And on.
Until death.
Blissful, merciful death.
But there are many Whistlers.
One dies, another steps up to the plate.
Dull eyed, dull witted, middle aged men with chocolate around their mouths and their flies gaping open, men who don’t buy their own clothes but leave it to the missus, men who only look at the pictures, men who vote BNP because somebody with an opinion once told them to, men who think steak is the only thing on the menu and football is the only thing on television, men who used to have fights twenty years ago and still like to talk about it, men who actually like working in a grim, colourless, depressing environment like a northern factory, who can’t see any problem with it, and who wouldn’t want anything else even if you handed it to them on a silver platter.
They work in a factory because they are suited to it.
Genetically engineered to deal with the grind, the toil, the lack of stimulus.
Perfectly suited to get hiddy.
Perfectly suited to Whistle.
Perfectly suited to giggle.
I fully realise that it’s me who is in the wrong here.
That gives me zero comfort.
I am trapped in this bizarre twilight world of clattering machines and grinning Whistlers, whey faced office staff and fevered lavatory masturbators, the whirring silence of servers, monitors, back up devices, towers, screens and hubs, a view of every bright dawn through bars and crumpled blinds, in a job I desperately need but desperately hate.
I want a cup of tea.
And when I stand at the water font, mug in hand, I know that when I turn my back, from amongst the machinery and paper and pallets and bins, drifting, taunting, maddening, it will come.
The Whistle.

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2 Responses to 24. The Whistle.

  1. Pingback: Reprographics... - Page 7 - London Fixed-gear and Single-speed

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