Barefoot Poetry

SS Matthews


Wind Spirit

“It is said that if a man sits on the-rock-between-worlds, the Spirit of Wind will come to play for him. It is a magic flute. The music cannot be heard by all, but has secrets to reveal.”



I’m a Good Boss

Written for Short Story Prompt #2
SSMatthews, 5/7/13

“Sir, are you Josh Miller, the night foreman?”

“Yeah, that’s me. Been the foreman down here for five years.”

“My name’s Hadley, I’m with Harris International.”

“Who the hell is Harris International?”

“Insurance. You’ve never dealt with one of our reps before?”

“Nope. I run a tight ship, but I remember hearing the name now. Must of been at a meeting or something.”

“I’m finishing up the report on the incident that took place Tuesday night. What can you tell me about the accident?”

“Well, I told that Hippie fart to keep his hair tied and secured under a ball-cap, right? Human resources, sure they are! What a joke, sending a long haired pot-smoking kid into the pit! God! There ain’t half a brain among ‘em, sending boys to do a man’s job.

“Ah, about the accident?”

“Sure, sure. Anyway, he was darn lucky I was there. The bumb-ass kid was walking around reading when he was supposed to be working.”

“Did you try to correct him?”

“No. I was up on the second level.”

“Do you know what he was reading?”

“Yeah, a love note from his girlfriend, or maybe his boyfriend, I’m not sure which, but he was supposed to be watering the rollers. The trough level gets low, you have splash the seats. How complicated is that? My pit-bull could do a better job! Anyway, the press is running flat out at 60 maybe 70,000 rpm and he must of been high. Afterwards I bet he was high on just being alive! Those rollers are rubber coated and when inked up they’re as tacky as Amanda’s shorts. No offense Amanda.”

“None taken, handsome.”

“Mr. Miller, the accident report says he lost a tooth. How’d that happen?”

“He was damn lucky he didn’t lose ‘em all! You know how fast things can happen at that speed of revolution? Damn fast I tell ya! A conveyer wire goes and you’ve got papers stackin’ up ‘til they landslide. Then you’ve got front pages fluttering down like a flock of newsprint butterflies! If you really want to see somethin’ you should see it when a roll tears out. You’ve got a one ton roll of paper free-spinning. The loose end shoots straight up to the ceiling and starts stackin’ up against it! Until the break kicks in it just keeps on pilin’ up, slammin’ yard after yard up over your head. It’s a hell-of-a sight and what a mess!”

“Sir, about the tooth?”

“I told him to wear a hat, you know. Kids these days, you can’t tell them anything. They have to learn things the hard way. And that roller is hard, inches of aluminum under an eighth inch rubber pad. I was about to holler down at him when, Bam! That roller caught him by a wisp of hair and the next thing I knew, his head bounced so hard he rebounded about six feet before hitting the floor. It could have been worse. Hell, I had visions of Elmer Fudd getting run over by a steam roller. It could’a been like that; imagine, a pancake Hippie! No brain damage huh? I am surprised at that. But I can’t really say how the owner wound up with a bloody tooth in his Sunday sports section. Kind of ironic don’t cha think? Now I’m not a bad boss, anyone who wants to keep their job will tell you so. I feel for the guy. But you should of seen him, laying on the floor dreaming flower power and his hair fanned out from his head in a sideways black ink Mohawk. Jesus! It was weird as a snake’s suspenders.”

“Did you or anyone else help him up?”

“Nope. Amanda went and stood over him to see if he was still alive. ‘Course a sight like that might well send a man into a coma! No offense Amanda!”

“None taken, handsome!”

“Anyway, I hollered at Jacky to phone it in and get an ambulance on the way, but the kid came ‘round on his own. Got up from the floor and headed straight for the men’s room. When I walked in he was trying to wash the ink off his eyelashes, so he could see I guess. They were kind of pasted to his cheeks and he was usin’ hand soap for chrissakes! I knew right then his brain was rattled. You can’t wash that stuff off with soap and water.”

“What did you do then?”

“I went and got him can of Go-Jo.”

“The hand cleaner?”

“Yep. Great stuff Go-Jo. It’ll clean the cigarette stains right off your teeth. Bet you didn’t know that?”

“Uh, no, I didn’t. What happened next?”

“I asked him if he wanted to go to the hospital or to back to work.”

“And he chose to go to the hospital?”

“Yeah. What kind of slacker is that anyway, I ask you? You take a job you can’t do, don’t heed safety instructions and then after a bump on the head you run off to the hospital. Hell, he’ll probably wind up suing the company over his own stupidity! Anyway, he did act kind of strange; just kept on washing his face until the paramedics came and took him away.”

“I see; one last question.”

“Can ya hurry it up pal? I got a job to do around here.”

“Yes, of course? Did you at any time notice any blood on Mr. Smith. His face perhaps, or neck?”

“His face was pretty much black with ink and I got a moppin’ detail on the mess right away. Wet ink’s slippery on concrete. Wonder why that is? They didn’t say anything about any blood, or teeth either for that matter. Besides, he was wearing one of them turtle-neck collared shirts. It was a dark color and all I saw was ink. I did notice one thing though.”

“What was it you noticed?”

“He crapped his pants. Just thought you might want to put that in your report. Now that you mention it, can’t say I wouldn’t have either. It must of happened way to fast to realize what was happening, but afterwards, holy shit!

“Okay, one more thing. Did you happen to read the paper he was looking at when the accident occurred?”

“Nope, never found it; probably got stuck in the owner’s sports section like the tooth. Anything else, I really gotta get back before these knuckle-heads all go to sleep. No offense Amanda!”

“None taken, handsome!”