Caught Talking

‘Load her up, boys!’ I heard the factory manager yelling behind us, slapping the side of the truck for good measure. I looked over my shoulder and frowned.

         ‘Load her up?’ I said to myself. ‘With what?’

         ‘Steel, probably,’ Mike shrugged, unwrapping his sandwich. He glanced over at my lunchbox. ‘What did you pack today?’

         ‘But what kind of steel?’ I asked, ignoring him. ‘We’re picking up steel from a reputable steel fabrication company. Melbourne companies like this have more than one kind of steel.’

         ‘The one we ordered then, geesh,’ Mike mumbled around a mouthful of bread.

         ‘But who’s the steel for? What job is this being sent to? How are we supposed to know what exactly we’re loading up?’

         ‘Did you forget your lunch?’ Mike frowned at me. ‘Is that why you’re grumpy?’

         ‘I’m not grumpy,’ I huffed. ‘I just appreciate clear instructions in an industrial setting.’

         ‘Right… so did you want half of mine, or—’

         I snatched the sandwich triangle off him and shoved it into my mouth, starving.

         ‘It’s the principle of the thing!’ I mumbled, mouth full. ‘We can’t be picking up steel supplies around Melbourne without a clear line of communication from our managers!’

         ‘Is there a problem here?’

         I twisted around to see who had spoken, and immediately began choking on the sandwich as I spotted the factory manager’s signature red vest. His eyes narrowed, and he made no move to help me as I struggled to breathe.

         Mike jumped to his feet and pounded me on the back. It was in completely the wrong spot to actually help me, but at least it gave him something to do while I worked on clearing my airways.

         Finally, I sucked in a deep breath and managed a smile. ‘Sir?’

         ‘Is there a problem, Samuel?’ he repeated. ‘Something you’d like to raise with your superior?’

         ‘No, sir,’ I grinned nervously. ‘Not from my end.’