The main door to the factory is grim.
It’s next to the toilets.
It stinks of piss.
It’s full of cobwebs and dead flies.
You wouldn’t loiter there, given a choice.
A couple of lads were looking at something on the wall by the main door.
I wandered over.
The lads were in discussion.
“What is it, Rusty?”
“I dunno, Snowy. A moth, I reckon.”
“Or a butterfly. Look at the bloody size of it! It’s as big as my palm!”
I took a look.
It was beautiful.
It’s body was covered in soft beige fur, and huge golden antennae curled from it’s head.
The huge pale wings shivered gently, as though it sensed us but trusted it’s camouflage to keep it safe.
“It’s a hawk moth, but I don’t know what kind.”
I later looked it up. It was a Poplar Hawk Moth.
Snowy and Rusty looked round.
“I might have guessed you’d know that, Lucifer.”
“Why, because I’m renowned for my formidable breadth of knowledge?”
“No. Because you’re such a geeky cunt.”
The lads walked away.
I should have walked away too, I had jobs to do.
I’d seen plenty of direct mail jobs.
I’d never seen a moth like this.
Work could wait for a bit.
The lads had a point.
I am a geeky cunt.
I really loved looking at that moth.
It was so weird, almost alien, and I couldn’t believe something so amazing had chosen to take a rest in that shit hole.
After a bit, I got back to work.
Even though, I kept thinking about that moth while I worked.
I couldn’t resist it.
I went for another look.
It was gone.
I went outside, hoping it had just moved.
I couldn’t see it.
As I turned to go back inside, I saw something moving on the floor.
There, in a pile of gravel and tab ends, was the moth.
Someone had tried to kill it, but had failed.
That soft fur was covered in fag ash, and it’s wings were shattered and hanging off.
The sweeping antennae were broken, as were most of it’s legs.
It was trying to crawl out of the shit that had been crushed down on top of it, but couldn’t get out.
I was mortified.
I picked it up, carried it to a patch of grass, and quietly killed it.
I asked around.
“Here, Rusty. Did you see anyone else looking at that moth?”
I knew Rusty wouldn’t kill it. He was odd, but not cruel.
“Yeah, I did. Norms was showing an interest.”
He would definitely do it.
I found him washing up a print press.
“There’s some right cunts about, Norms.”
“Yeah, too right, Lucifer.”
“Did you see that moth by the main entrance? Some fucker only went and killed it.”
Norms looked up. He had guilt written all over his face.
“Don’t come that. Why did you do it?”
“It were gonna die anyway! That’s why it were by the bogs. It were sick.”
“You’re the one that’s fucking sick.”
“Fuck off! I just put it out of it’s misery.”
“There was nothing wrong with it! There was no need, Norms. There was no need!”
“Oh, fuck off.”
There was no need.
Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t understand why someone would do that.
My only guess was that he did it because the moth didn’t fit, it was an anomaly.
norms couldn’t comprehend it, so he destroyed it.
Either that, or he’s just a sadistic bastard.
A couple of weeks later, Norms looked as sick as a dog.
there was a gut wrenching smell on his machine, a smell that was impossible to describe.
I saw Rusty working a safe distance away.
“Here, Rusty! What the fuck is that rotten smell over by Norms?”
“That’s the rat, Lucifer.”
“The rat. A rat got into the factory, and Norms went after it. Got it cornered. He didn’t kill it though. He was pouring chemicals on it, stabbing it with stuff, being a proper cunt. Anyhow, Goliath caught him doing it.”
“Fucking hell! What happened?”
“First thing he did was stamp on the rat. Killed it outright. Then he picks up Norms and just shakes him. He shakes him and shakes him till Norms puked. Then he picks up the rat, takes it to Norms’ tea mug, and crams it in. Puts cellophane over the top. He tells Norms to leave it right there, on the work bench. He tells him he’s gonna check it every day, and if it’s gone, he’s gonna fuck Norms up really, really bad. That were four days ago.”
I had to look.
I held my nose and went to the machine.
“Hi Norms. Looking good.”
“Fuck off, Lucifer.”
“In a tick…”
There it was, just where Goliath had left it.
Print factories are pretty warm places.
That rat was half way to beingsoup.
I couldn’t stay any longer.
“See you later Norms.”
He didn’t answer.
He was puking into a bin.