46. Strawberry Fields for Trevor

“I’m nipping out to check on the strawberry fields, love.”
“You go careful Henry. Take the dog with you.”
“Aye, will do. See you in a bit.”
He stepped out into the darkness.
Bess loped ahead, her nose working overtime in the cool air.
He shifted the shotgun into the crook of his arm as he lit a roll up, then set off towards the fields.
He was hoping to bag a deer, part of a herd he was convinced were stripping his pick-your-own strawberries.
If he could get a freezer full of venison, it would be some conciliation for all the fruit he’d lost these last weeks.
At the gate, he heard rustling in the fruit rows.
“Bess! Heel…” he whispered.
The breach of the shotgun snicked shut, and he quietly cocked the hammers.
He stepped slowly into the field.
As his eyes adjusted to the dark, he saw a humped shape moving amongst the strawberry bushes.
He raised the shotgun, and took careful aim.
The shape stood up.
“What the…?”
Another man appeared, then another.
So it wasn’t deer.
It was poachers.
Strawberry poachers.
“Bess,” he growled. “Sic ’em!”
The dog didn’t need asking twice.
She raced into the field and latched onto the trousers of the nearest thief.
The field erupted.
Men jumped to there feet and stampeded through the fruit bushes.
the dog was loving it.
He didn’t know who to bite next.
The farmer was struggling to decide who to shoot first.
Then he fired.
The farmer clumped after the fleeing thieves, struggling to re-load the shotgun.
“Come back you bastards!”
They weren’t coming back.
The men charged out of the field and dived into the back of a waiting van.
Doors slammed, headlights blazed, and the van bounced across the rutted track towards the main road.
The farmer tried to catch his breath as he read the familiar logos of the print company emblazoned across the panels of the van…

*Ring ring*
*Ring ring*
*Ring ring*
“Hmm? Hello”
“Cardboard Supervisor. It’s God here. Why do I find myself calling you in the middle of the night with increasing regularity?”
God was the owner of the company, head of the board of directors.
Cardboard supervisor knew his job hung in the balance.
“I don’t know why you are calling, Sir. I can’t imagine…”
“I’m not calling because I want to fuck you, Cardboard. I’m sorry, but you’re just not my type. No, I’m ringing because that set of animals you are supposed to control have been rampaging through the countryside on an orgy of fruit thievery. THe only reason the police aren’t around there now is because I happen to be in the same Masonic Lodge as the Chief Constable, so he decided to keep things… discreet. Sort it out, Cardboard. Sort it out.”
“Yes sir! I had on idea! I…I…”
“Yes sir?”
“Get your coat on, go round there, and kill someone. If you don’t, I might change my mind about wanting to fuck you. Hard.”
“Right. I’ll…”
“Darling, I’ve got to go in to work. I…”
“I hate my job…”

Cardboard Supervisor walked into the factory.
He was in a hideous temper.
All he wanted was someone to take his wrath out on.
He was disappointed.
The place was deserted.
Machines were ticking over on stand by.
Piles of work lay neglected.
“Set of cunts…” growled Cardboard as he stalked through the building.
He heard music.
It was coming from the canteen.
He crept closer.
Looked through the window.
Checkered table cloths covered the formica tables.
Dogsbody had two huge jugs of fresh cream.
THe entire shift of night workers, some sixty people, were sitting at the tables, tucking into bowls of fresh strawberries and cream.
Cardboard was in a quandary.
If he was to start firing people, there wouldn’t be a night worker left in the factory.
And he didn’t have the guts to burst into the room, shouting and bollocking.
He decided to do what he did best.
Cardboard Supervisor decided to do absolutely fuck all.
He turned around, and crept into the night.

The next day he called Trev into his office.
Trev was a Union rep, and a shift supervisor.
He needed his advice.
“What should I do, Trev? God wants me to make heads roll, but If I punish one, I’ve got to punish all! I can’t sack an entire shift!”
Trev stood by the door, looking thoughtful.
“Honest opinion? I’d let it ride, Cardboard. Get God’s copper mate in the masons to tell the farmer that everyone involved had pay docked, but there’s not enough evidence to prosecute. I’ll put out a general notice that if it happens again the police will be brought in.
Problem solved.”
“Hmmm… are you sure, Trev?”
“I’m sure. Trust me, Cardboard. I know these lads.”
“Ok. We’ll do it your way. Thanks for the advice, Trev. I appreciate it.”
“No problem, Cardboard. Any time.”
He turned to go, and winced.
“Are you alright, Trev? You look a bit pale.”
“I’m alright. Just the old piles playing up.”
Cardboard Supervisor watched as Trev limped away, and saw tiny spots of blood seeping through the back of his jeans…

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