Factory Tails — Short Story One
by Barbara Anne Helberg
*** The Sohoe
Outside at lunch, Derek, the very wide Pit Bull, said to Midget, “Those poor dogs over at The Sohoe don’t even know how badly they’re getting the wool pulled over their little foreign eyes.”
“How so?” Midget asked. She slid across the picnic table bench to get next to Derek so she could hear better. Her left ear had gone nearly deaf after last summer’s incident at the old granite quarry. She’d plunged into the deep cold water of the huge quarry to save one of her struggling pups — Ramon, the adventurous one — and had taken a headful of water that infected her ear. Her hearing had been affected ever since.
Derek answered her inquiry with a grin, “Sohoe how!”, and threw her a flop-eared look.
Midget laughed and wiggled her mouse-like Border Terrier tail. She liked Derek. He made her laugh like that even when the subject was serious. She believed he liked her a lot right back. He’d been right beside her with constant concern since the quarry accident.
“The Sohoe is the only foreign biscuit plant in the country,” Derek said.
“Sure. We know that.” Midget blinked and waited, glanced at her watch. Their thirty-minute lunch break was nearly over. Four minutes left.
“But do we know who comes and goes there?” Derek asked, snorting a tad.
“What are you pawing at, Derek?”
“Lots of important tails over there.”
“Sammy seen Russell there this past weekend.”
Midget considered this bit of information. Russell, their Northwest Ohio Big Blackie plant manager, visiting Japanese-run The Sohoe. Why? “Well… He’d have business at The Sohoe, wouldn’t he? I mean, the market competition and all?”
“On a weekend?”
“Product negotiations of some kind?”
“Not likely. The Sohoe is union protected.”
“You didn’t know?”
Wearing a sudden grim expression, Midget swayed her head side to side. “So what was Russell doing? Spying?”
“Yeah… Being there on a weekend when no one would know might mean spying, or maybe it means collaborating.”
Midget caught her breath. “Ohh… My! Maybe you’re right!”
“I’m right,” Derek said smugly.
Story and Photo from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg