“Rowan! Get your ass up here!”
John released the trigger on his welding torch until the flame was a small blue remnant of its former glory. After a few well practised twists, he shut off the gas flow and the flame was gone. Quickly, because his boss was the kind of person you didn’t keep waiting, he stripped off his face guard and hurried to the foreman’s office.
“You have a phone call, John,” he was told as he entered, which was followed by; “Every second spent on that thing is money lost,” as he picked up the receiver.
“Yes sir,” he answered. “I’ll make it quick.”
“Marsha,” he asked. “What have I told you about calling me at work?”
“John,” Davie Robinson answered. “I’m sorry to call you here, but I’ll make this quick.”
“No, it’s okay buddy. What’s this about?”
“It’s about your daughter,” the other answered. John glanced restlessly over to his boss, whose eyes had remained fixed on him from the moment he had entered. “Can you come over after work?”
“I’m pulling doubles today, I won’t be off till late…”
“That’s okay. Just let yourself in the back.”
“What’s all this about? Can’t it wait until tomorrow,” he asked.
“It’s about Vanessa,” Davie replied impatiently. “This can’t wait John. Even now, she’s…”
“She’s what,” he answered nervously.
He didn’t get to hear what his neighbor said, however, because his boss’d had enough. He’d only caught a couple of words, because his focus was now on his foreman. The latter had stood up and was closing the distance between himself and the phone’s base.
“I have to go,” John said quickly, “I’m needed on the-”
He didn’t get to finish his sentence, because at that very moment, his boss pressed the disconnect button and ended their connection.
“I’m not paying you to act out ‘Gossip Girls’, he spat as he stepped just inches away from John. “While you’re up here chatting it up with your girlfriend, you’re holding up my other workers down the line!”
“It was my wife, sir,” he stuttered.
“Don’t give me that shit, Rowan. Unless your wife is an old black man, which I’m fairly certain she’s not and you have something you want to tell me?” He paused, waiting for John to answer. When the other shook his head from side to side, only then did he continue. “Get your ass back on the floor. You’re working extra tonight. Oh, and in the future there will be no personal calls on company time.”
“Yes sir,” John answered softly.
“YES SIR,” he yelled.
“Get the fuck out of my office,” his boss grumbled. John wasted no time complying, and as the door closed behind him, his foreman left him with one final piece of ‘wisdom’. “…worthless piece of shit…” were the words that chased him back to his workstation.
His blood boiled. On one hand, he knew that his friend wouldn’t call him unless something was seriously wrong. On the other, how dare that son of a bitch talk to him that way!? He had poured himself into his job for fifteen years, all of which he had never been late, missed any days, or had a complaint about his quality.
With twelve hours left until he’d finished both shifts, and whatever was being tacked on at the end, It was going to be a long day indeed.