Today’s post was in response to a daily writing challenge – please note this story is not for the squeamish and contains descriptions of violence that may not be suitable for all:
Write a post about anything you’d like, but be sure to include this sentence somewhere in the final paragraph: “He tried to hit me with a forklift!”
When Steven Johnson walked into the meat factory, Friday afternoon, the last thing he expected to happen to him that day, was to be locked inside the large refrigerator, with most of the staff gone or leaving. His toes were already numb and he’d lost most of the sensation in his feet; escape was as improbable as a changing government in a third world country. And how did he end up in this predicament in the first place? It all began with a simple conversation…well it wasn’t that simple actually but to Steven, it was as simple as play dough.
“I’m telling you that’s what he did!” Zack exclaimed. His dark wiry strands lay matted to his forehead and sweat droplets hung precariously above his brow. His dark eyes pierced daggers at the other man peering dangerously with murderous intent, while a shaking hand held his worker’s helmet accusingly at the nonchalant Steven.
“Sir. Would I really try and hurt a fellow worker in such a way? Is that something I would do, sir?” Steven could hardly contain the smile of content and satisfaction that was prying at his lips and he knew if they pried his lips wide enough to be a smile – it would remain plastered to his face the rest of the day. But that wouldn’t sit well with management and so with much self control, he relaxed the muscles of his face and gave his most sincere face. Of course his boss bought it, the chunky man with the toupee askew over his bald head would have believed a serial killer holding a dripping knife as long as the man said it with sincerity. The man, Mr Potts, scratched his head indecisively, his toupee slipping off slightly, the action almost causing Steven to crack up laughing but he breathed out slowly and waited.
“Listen here guys, this is a place of employment not a playground. If you have any fights take ’em outside okay! I’m no babysitter.” With a huff he waddled away, much to the annoyance of the agitated Zack, still fixedly staring at the now grinning Steven.
“I’ll get you back Stevie-boy, you watch my words. You will regret the day you crossed Zachary Meyers. Mark. My. Words.” Turning quickly, the man walked away leaving Steven standing by the forklift, the grin on his face fading into a scowl.
“No you watch your back Zacky-boy. You mark my words. Next time…I won’t miss.”
Time rolled by slowly and Steven eyed the long thin second-hand tick by slowly as though it was struggling to pass the seconds. He looked across the grey conveyor belt and found two dark eyes staring intently at him – malice so thick it could be squeezed into poison. Again he felt his heart grow cold from the stare; fear enveloped his chest like a blanket. Smothering. He leered at the man and continued on with his work, looking up at the clock again to see that only 5 seconds had passed since he’d last looked up. He wondered what was running through Zack’s mind, what evil plots he was planning under those dark eyes of his. And why? The man deserved it anyway so he had no regrets, uh uh no sir-ree no regrets. A smile broke his lips as he remembered the way Zack’s eyes had popped open with fear, wide as saucers they were and when the forks of the machine swung right past his face and the realization that a wall prevented him from moving any further back…woo, he figured that would’ve seen the man’s heart leap out of his chest in fear. Oh yes a centimeter closer and Zachary Meyers was a goner – oh I’m sorry Missus Meyers it was a work accident, he didn’t see him there and protocol states clearly that when in the vicinity of a forklift, one must always be at least 3 meters clear of the vehicle – we can only offer our condolences for your loss. Ha! Steven actually chuckled out loud and almost hollered with joy when the lunch bell rang though when his eyes drifted up offhandedly, they came face to face with bright clear eyes and a wide friendly smile that sent a deeper chill down Steven’s spine; Zachary was walking towards him smiling as though everything was hunky-dory, as though a forklift hadn’t almost decapitated the Meyers’ bread winner.
“Hey Stevie-boy, listen. No hard feelings for earlier okay? I was tense from the work, and my wife…you know her don’t you? Well she was being…difficult and stuff and I just took my anger out on you instead. I’m sorry mate.” Steven stood there gobsmacked. A part of him distrusted the whole apology like a warden distrusts his prisoners. No way that was sincere. He smiled nonetheless,
“Sure thing Zachy-boy.” Hurriedly he walked away, turning back once to find that Zack was still smiling broadly at him, waving a little even and moving away to engage someone else in a friendly banter.
Steven was paranoid, understandably. There was Zachary Meyers acting all upbeat and jovial like he’d just won the lottery,
“What’s up with him? He got promoted or something?” Steven shrugged at the tall red-headed teen next to him. Greg or something was his name – a gangly, freckled youth that had just made it out of high school; spring chicken they sometimes called him.
“Maybe he found a talking rabbit in his shoe and he is now moving to Easter Island to decorate Easter eggs for the children of the world. Who cares.” Steven replied sardonically. The youth shrugged and moved away but Steven watched the other man distrustfully as he walked to his normal place in the cafeteria. Sitting down, he idly stabbed his fork into the pale mash potatoes and occasionally rolled the bright green peas into the potato mound. He knew Zack was planning something but he couldn’t figure what. He’d have to watch his back from here on out…who knows what sinister plans the man was plot behind that cheery smile of his.
After lunch work continued as normal. Thoughts of Zack and the forklift incident had been replaced by the sudden workload that required his full attention. The metal saw in his hand sliced through meat and bone like a knife through butter, the pieces packed into a large container for transportation to the walk-in freezer at the back. He was so busy in his work that he was hardly aware of the soft rolling sound coming from the forklift behind him. He was in the middle of a cut, his hand inches away from the rapidly spinning blade when the forklift let out a loud honk. Yelping in surprise, Steven jerked the saw sideways, losing pieces of his fingers in the process but that was the least of his problems as the forks of the lift pinned him to the table, with the blades squeezing him on either side of his chest. He screamed. The forklift hoisted him up, the metal bars cutting into his chest. Screaming for help he tried to wiggle free, but any turning he did dug the metal further against his sides and he realized that if he did get loose, he’d get driven over by the forklift. He let the forklift carry him, the pain in his fingers unbearable, the blood continually dripping from the severed stumps; he tried to figure out where it was taking him. He of course knew who it was or at least who had orchestrated the whole thing – Zachy-boy. The forklift was driving towards the open freezer doors and he realized why no-one was coming in to help him – it was delivery day and everyone was out in the front packing; no one would come to the freezer until Monday. The realization of the situation sent him on a frenzy, he twisted and turned and fought against the poignant pain. With a huff he fell to the ground, landing awkwardly on his ankle; a new burst of pain shot through the appendage but he hobbled away.
“Oh Stevie-boy, where you running to…” Zachary jumped off the forklift and casually strode towards the bleeding Steven.
“You sick piece of trash! Filthy stinking garbage! You will pay! You will pay!” Steven was ranting off at the top of his lungs, hobbling off towards the exit, Zachary was holding a frozen piece of meat in his hands.
“He tried to hit me with a forklift! He tried to hit me wi…” With a heavy swing, the meat connected with the side of Steven’s head, stopping his rant in mid sentence as he tilted sideways, balancing on one leg first and then dropping onto the floor with a thud. Whistling, and with a bright cheery smile plastered to his face Zachary dragged the groaning Steven into the walk-in freezer, making sure his gloved hands held the man’s twisted ankle tightly. Once in the cold storage room, Zachary walked out, shutting the heavy metal door with a nonchalant grin, locking Steven within the frigid room for a gruesome Monday morning discovery.