Factory Tails — Short Story Four
by Barbara Anne Helberg
*** “What’s Wrong?”
“What’s wrong?! This table! I can’t reach!” Pekingese Horace stood on hind legs to reach the top of a sorting table. The rectangular table was loaded with stacked biscuits that had to be sorted for chips and cracks, then reboxed. A typical situation, Horace thought as he glared at his Supervisor. His breed, lamented Horace, was always picked out to get the junk jobs at Big Blackie Biscuits and Specialty Items of Northwest Ohio, Inc. What dignity was there in searching through a Corndog’s mistakes? It was part of the press operator’s job to catch these bad parts and scrap them out.
“You might be a bit more careful, Horace. We want whole biscuits, you know. It’s rather the point of this resort,” said Supervisor Felix, a large Beagle, as Horace continued to sling resorted biscuits into a clean packing box.
Horace hardened his glare, knowing to complain about a cheap-labor Corndog was useless. Cornbred Sifty had run the T-Bone Express press on third shift. Cornbreds were considered none too bright by most Purebreds, and Horace thoroughly agreed. Should have opted for The Sohoe Plant when I had the chance, he thought. “Can I get the table adjusted?” he asked sourly.
“I’ll get maintenance over here to adjust the table, Horace,” Felix said with grand tones. Horace glared.
Horace was good at running the T-Bone Express press, not that any special recognition came his way. It was his usual second shift assignment, but today he’d been put at a sorting table to sift through the extra mess produced by a first shift rookie who merely had followed Corndog Sifty’s mistakes. Horace actually had pangs of jealousy when another dog was given the press, instead of him. He had bid on the job a year ago, and right was right. He should be on the press. It was his job. Horace knew they assigned a rookie to the T-Boner every now and then on first shift, leaving Horace with the second shift sort. All to annoy him while the T-Boner was down, waiting for maintenance . It was management’s way of putting off a dog like himself who had brains enough to question procedure.
Management didn’t want dogs with brains, Horace thought grimly. They wanted dogs with work-like-a-dog mentalities. Work like a dog for us under the conditions we give you. Can’t even get a height adjustment on a table, Horace fumed. Then we’ll give you retirement at some staid Golden Society kennel that barely has essential accommodations.
“What’s wrong, he asks,” Horace muttered. Humph! Everything at Big Blackie is wrong!
Story and Photo from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg