“Hello, this is Cardboard Supervisor.”
“Cardboard, this is God.”
God owns the factory, everything in it, and the grubby souls of all the people who take his shilling.
“God! What a surprise, sir! Hahaha! How are you this morning? In fine fettle, I trust?”
“Shut up, Cardboard. If I wanted a blow job I’d ask for one. I want to know why I’ve just walked through my own factory, and seen a hideously ugly man staggering around with a broom wearing a grubby pink boob tube that says, ‘Too hot to handle’ on the front. In glitter.”
“Oh. ‘Too hot to handle’?”
“Yes. ‘Too hot to handle’. And he was wearing a steel toe capped boot.”
“Steel toe capped boots?”
“No. A steel toe capped boot. Just one. On the other foot he was wearing a dirty white trainer. And he was ugly. Very, very ugly.”
“No. Very, very ugly.”
“Oh, very, very ugly! That will be Roadkill. I’ll pull him in.”
“Do that, Cardboard. Just looking at him in that outfit made me want to vomit. He shouldn’t be allowed out like that for health and safety reasons. Can we sack him for being ugly?”
“I’m not sure… probably not. No, I’m fairly certain. You can’t. I think we tried it with another employee a few years back and they took us to court.”
“That’s a pity. Then again, if we started sacking hideous people then I wouldn’t have any staff. Hahaha. Oh well. Sort out that horrible goblin or I’ll sack you, Cardboard.”
“Yes sir! I’m onto it, sir! I’ll…”
“Hello? Hello, God?”
Cardboard slammed down the phone and stalked onto the factory floor…
Roadkill needed a fag.
He always needed a fag.
The only thing he needed more than a fag was a drink.
A fag and a drink, then he’d be right as rain.
As it was, he felt like shit.
He did a bit of sweeping up, emptied a couple of bins, ignored the stifled laughter of the lads working the machines.
He looked down at his top.
Too hot to handle.
His beer gut bulged alarmingly from beneath the stretched pink cotton.
For fuck’s sake…
He almost had a heart attack. He gripped his chest and clenched his teeth. Soon the pain passed.
“Fuckin’ Hell, Cardboard! No need for that…”
“No need for that? No need for that? You’re stood in the middle of the factory looking like a disabled prozzy, and you wonder why I’m shouting at you?”
“A disabled prozzy? I wouldn’t go that far, Cardboard.”
“I fucking well would! Why are you wearing a pink boob tube, you tit?”
“I had a few ales last night, to be truthful. Got up a bit late, and couldn’t find my t-shirt. I put on the first thing that came to hand. This is our lass’s. I didn’t notice what I looked like till I took my coat off.”
“A few ales? How many ales do you have to drink to make you dress like that and not notice?”
“Jesus wept. Ask the maintenance department for a set of overalls, Roadkill. You make my eyes hurt. What about your shoes then?”
“Some rotten fucker has nicked one of my boots and one of my trainers.”
What? Why aren’t you wearing the shoes you arrived in then?”
“Well, it were dark this morning, and I couldn’t find my shoes, so…”
Cardboard buried his face in his hands.
“Don’t tell me. You came to work in your wife’s shoes?”
“Bloody hell, man, weren’t they far too small for you?”
“Not really. I’ve only got little feet.”
“What’s the problem then?”
“I’m not used to the heels. I wobble about.”
“What??? Never mind. Never mind. Go to the stores and sign for another pair of boots.”
“Can’t wear them boots, Cardboard. They hurt my feet.”
Hurt your feet? You’ve got one boot on right now! Is that hurting?”
“Well what’s the difference between that boot and a new boot?”
“New boots hurt my feet. I’ve got very delicate feet.”
Cardboard Supervisor started to turn red.
“So boots aren’t good enough for you now, eh? I’m not sure that Jimmy fucking Choo does high heels with steel toe caps, but I can check the fucking catalogue!!!”
“No need to shout, Cardboard. I’ve got a right head as it is.”
Cardboard lost it.
“No wonder you’ve got a right head, you fucking alky!! You downed twenty odd tins of beer last night and came to work dressed like Eddie fucking Izzard!! Now you won’t put on proper regulation footwear! I know what you want, you stinking little cunt. You want me to send you home, don’t you? You want me to send you home, but you won’t go home though. You’ll go to the pub. You’ll go to the pub all afternoon, and drink another twenty odd ales, then tomorrow you’ll come to work in another ridiculous get up!! What will it be?? Dressed as your mum? Dressed as a dog? ‘Sorry Cardboard, it were dark, all I could find to wear was this fucking collar…’ Well, I’m not having it. You WILL work, you WON’T be going home, and you WILL wear the safety footwear provided!!!”
Twenty minutes later, Roadkill wiggled down the road in his wife’s heels.
He’d been sent home.
He lit a fag and inhaled.
When the glowing tip started to melt the filter he breathed out.
He let out more smoke than a burning tyre.
That felt good, he thought.
But only half better.
He needed something else.
He needed a drink.
He looked at his wrist.
His wife’s watch said 11.05am.
His local would be doing two for one until twelve.
If he hurried he could make it in time.
The clicking of his heels increased pace, and with surprising grace and ease, Roadkill started to run.