38. Own Goal.

Huge floodlights loom over the rear yard.
They’re for loading and unloading wagons at night.
The thing is, that’s pretty boring.
Why not use them to illuminate football matches instead?
The night shift get bored easily.
At midnight they stop work and charge out into the yard.
The lights go on.
Barrels of chemical for goal posts.
Somebody hoofs a ball across the concrete.
Game on.
Things always get heated.
Shouted comments from the sidelines.
Disputes over possession.
Fat, unfit machine minders puking quietly behind the skips.
Games can last for hours.
Not much work gets done.
For people living nearby, not much sleeping gets done either…

“Hmm? Hello?”
“Cardboard Supervisor? This is God.”
“Fucking Hell!”
“What a coincidence. That’s exactly what I said when the police phoned me at two o’clock in the fucking morning.”
“The police? What did they want, sir?”
“They wanted to know why the loading area of the factory was lit up like Heathrow airport all fucking night, and why it sounded like those chimpanzees I have the misfortune of paying sounded like they were murdering each other! Nobody at the factory is answering the phone, so they had no choice but to locate the poor unfortunate who owns the sorry excuse for a business, and that happened to be me!”
“Oh indeed, Cardboard Supervisor. Now I trust that you will sort everything out by morning, and that the necessary heads will roll, and that I will hear nothing more from the local constabulary regarding the nocturnal shenanigans of my dull witted workforce!!!”
“Yes sir. I’ll get right on it.”
“Who was that, cardboard darling?”
“It was God. The monkeys have got out of the fucking zoo again, and they sound like they are having a shit fight! I’ve got to phone the factory. Go back to sleep.”
“Who the fucking hell is that??!”
“Go fuck yourself. Who are you?”
“I’m Cardboard Supervisor, that’s who, you piece of shit!”
“Oh! Sorry sir. It’s Dogsbody here. What’s up?”
“What’s up? What’s up? I’ve got God calling me up in the middle of the night because of the noise you arseholes are making, that’s what’s up! The police are wanting to send the riot squad round to break things up! Now, what the fuck is going on?”
“NOTHING?! Are you taking the piss, Dogsbody?”
“No, sir! We’re all just getting on with our work. Can’t imagine what all the fuss is about!”
“Fuck off, Dogsbody! You can’t fool me! Where’s Mule, the shift supervisor? Why hasn’t he been answering the phone?”
“Mule’s been very busy, sir. He can’t get to the phone. He’s working ever so hard! We all are! Honest!”
“I don’t believe you!”
“It’s true! He’s very strict, is Mule! He doesn’t let us get away with nothing! That’s why he’s supervisor – very responsible man, is Mule!”
A sudden, deafening roar comes from the back yard, screams and whoops and cheers.
Cardboard Supervisor holds the handset away from his ear until the sound becomes bearable.
“Aherm. Yes Sir?”
“Where’s Mule?”
“He’s in goal.”

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