Factory Tails — Short Story Nine
by Barbara Anne Helberg
Georgio and Harold, ancient Golden-Lab mixes, sat side by side on their haunches, tails flaired behind them, facing the sunset just outside the west side door of The Big Blackie Biscuit and Specialty Items, Inc. plant. Harold was a Big Blackie veteran who had spent most of his adult working life, over 14 years, at the Northwest Ohio company.
Georgio, younger by four years, was a transfer from GrowRight Gourmet out of Cleveland. He had just filled Harold in on the demise of Amelia, the popular and grand Kerry Blue Terrier of executive stock who had championed the working lineage and lost everything in the now infamous pawboot incident. Harold remembered Boatsway, The Big Blackie president who had trashed Amelia, then died months later under the wheels of one of his own trucks. Foul play had been suspected but never proven in a weak attempt to sort out the circumstances of the apparent accident.
The story was, following Amelia’s electric selection as Union executive secretary, Boatsway, a powerfully built St. Bernard and the company’s unchallenged enforcer as chief executive officer, had called Amelia into his courtyard. He faced Amelia across the negotiation table. “This,” he announced, “is the way it works, Union bitch. Kiss my butt.”
Amelia started. She leaned forward slightly, pressing her minimal terrier weight over slim front legs. “I beg your pardon?”
Boatsway rose from the gold-lined courtyard sitting pad and turned tall toward Amelia. “Kiss my butt,” he commanded from behind his rear end.
Amelia was astounded. She shook her fuzzy Kerry Blue beard, thinking red.
Boatsway wiggled his superior caboose at her. “Well?”
Amelia’s jowls heated with embarrassment and consternation. And then she knew what she needed to do. She inhaled deeply and delivered the “kiss”, a stiff pawboot to Boatsway’s offered rear end.
Boatsway, the humbled, ached for a week.
Amelia, of course, left the plant. She hated to lose her Senior Biscuit Option and Security for Ten and Over Plan, but there simply was no choice.
The Big Blackie Biscuit and Specialty Items, Inc., GrowRight Gourmet factory outlet had no room for a saucy female who couldn’t fit into officerdom in a contrite manner, Boatsway faxed everyone.
“And, of course, actually pawbooting the company’s senior exec,” Georgio explained unnecessarily, “was considered indefensible at all other competing company outlets, too, believe it, or not.” Georgio nodded at Harold. “Amelia was blackballed. Her ending was a sad one. She had no work for months. At her age… well, she lost her dwelling and drifted, lived by her wits mostly for about a year. A street bitch. But the inevitable caught up to her. She checked into the local society, starved and homeless.
“They say she faced the needle bravely,” Georgio said.
Harold answered minimally, gutterally.
Georgio sighed. “We should all be so full of grace and courage at the end, eh?”
Harold growled a deep, low pitch at the sunset.
Then the two friends turned and entered the west door of the plant, their break over. Many more biscuits and parts were needed and required before the sun rose again.
Photo ArtWork and Story from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg