On The Horns Of A Dilemma.

Here it is, Labor Day – almost. And the usual group of scoundrels known as the Fondue Writers Club have banded together to post flash fiction for the holiday. We just do holidays now, after our long-running COVID series that resulted in THE COVID QUARANTINE CANTINA. (Yes, you should buy a copy.) There will be yet another story tomorrow on one of their blogs! Yesterday it was Jamie Greening with his story YOU MUST WORK FOR YOUR FONDUE. Hop over and read it!

We hope you’ll visit the other authors who comprise this collection: Paul Bennett, Robert CelyDerek Elkins, Jamie D. Greening, Kathy Kexel, and Joe Shaw. As always, there’s no fee, we’re doing this to help you pass the time. We do ask that you buy our books/audio books to help pay the freight here. But that’s up to you! Mine are all on the right margin of the blog.

On The Horns Of A Dilemma.

It seemed that every time Judith Shawirma planned to go some place with her family on a holiday,  her miserable company with their miserable planning and miserable leadership found some miserable last-minute order that would make them all miserable unless they worked the miserable holiday to get it shipped out.

That’s a lot of misery. Today’s misery was Labor Day, and 74 pallets of waffle-irons that a big-box retailer needed to finish their back-to-school crap. The waffle-irons had been advertised as the coming thing for college students, and gullible parents wanted to grace their dorm rooms with them, because they all wished they’d had waffles for breakfast in college. Mind you, most of them were too hung-over to eat waffles for at least three of the four years they’d wandered their way through a university, but that was irrelevant to the shopping brain programmed in by the media.

The day started out more lovely than anticipated, the local Mickey D’s was closed due to a post Chinese Plague labor shortage, so no breakfast on the way to the warehouse. The annual 10K that the city held added to the joy, as part of her drive was blocked off for morons in lacy shorts and tank tops – pushing strollers. She hated runners, and really hated runner mommies.

Arriving 12 minutes late, her charming boss immediately started abusing her about her “team player spirit lacking” and directed her to get to the far side of the line of trailers waiting to be loaded with her forklift. Work to be done. 

After checking the gas bottle on her forklift, she did a basic maintenance check on it. Slow to respond would be a kind description, but the spare forklift was down and it was good enough. Popping the brake, she actually left a bit of rubber on the floor when the thing ramped up after a hiccup.

Rounding the corner of the stacks, she headed down a side aisle toward the pile of product roped off for the big-box distribution center. Pissed about being late and her boss jumping her about it on a freaking holiday, she leadfooted it down the aisle, the fork screaming at full rpm as she neared the halfway point to her destination.

She had a fork tine on the right that was wobbling toward the floor and the last thing she wanted was a somersault on some crack in the floor, so she nudged the lever to raise the tilt of the forks while she blipped the adjacent lever to raise them a couple of inches. 

The speed was continuing to rise and the forks were not moving. But that changed suddenly as they whipped up to a full 15 degrees from the horizontal and slammed up three feet in the blink of an eye.

“Whoah, that’s nuts!” She slapped at the lever to lower the forks just as her boss rounded a corner and shouted at her to slow down. She honked the horn, but the idiot moved in front of her like Officer Friendly and raised his hand for her to stop. That train had left the station, and her choice was to hope the brakes worked better than the rest of the controls. The other option was to turn hard into the racking next to her to stop, and given the volume of appliances stacked three stories high, she’d probably die in the mess. 

The left fork punched through her boss’ abdomen and he came to rest, scream frozen in his throat two feet from her face. The spray of blood blinded her, and her last thought was she’d never have a breakfast sandwich again as the forklift caught a piece of the racking and pinwheeled down the alley, followed closely by a shower of toasters, waffle irons, mixers and other assorted small electrics. Her seatbelt had never been buckled that morning and she was ejected from the safety cage as the deadly rain of 10 pound boxes dropped three stories to crush her just before the steel racking put the “icing” on the mangled mess.

Labor Day. Not a good day to go to work at Orae electric. 

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Joseph Courtemanche

About Joseph Courtemanche

I'm a conservative Christian author who's been happily married for over 30 years. I am a Veteran of the United States Navy, Naval Security Group. I speak a few languages, I have an absurd sense of humor and I'm proud to be an American.