When I got the plant entrance, the large grey doors were closed. I rang the buzzer. A camera above the door and to the left was the only way to communicate. I stood there banging on the door, waving my hand in front of the camera. Shit, I thought, maybe they won’t answer at all. I looked at my watch, nearly fifteen after. They’ll never answer now. Suddenly the door flew open and a big fat man stuck his sweaty face out.

‘I’m gonna write you up, boy!’ He let me in and then handed me a pink slip.

I sulked over to my super’s desk and dropped the slip in his basket, thankful he wasn’t there for the enquiry. He was probably busting someones butt. I went looking for Al and Helmut. They couldn’t have been far. Al’s face had a look of disbelief when I told him what happened. Helmut went a little easier on me.

‘Don’t worry, they won’t fire you. You get three warnings first.’

I had never even thought of being fired only reprimanded. Suddenly the loudspeaker crackled.

‘T 749, report to the desk, T 749.’ Helmut looked at Al. Al looked at me. I looked at my badge.

‘That’s you,’ Al said as he shook his head.

I made my way over to the desk. Davidson, the super, was waiting, talking on the phone with someone. He had a grave look on his face.

‘Sure, sure, I’ll tell him.’

I waited for him to place the receiver down.

‘You wanted to see me,’ I asked.

‘Where were you this mornin’?’

‘Well, there was an accident that kept me late. I think someone died.’

‘There was, huh?’


‘So when did you get here?’

‘About seven-fifteen,’

‘But you didn’t punch in.’

Thinking about it I supposed I hadn’t. ‘Uh, that’s right. I forgot to, what with the accident and all.’

‘Go punch in now, son.’

I did what the super asked. I walked the entire half mile and back. When I returned the super’s was writing something down. I cleared my throat as I arrived stateside.

He turned to me and said, ‘Boy, you’re AWOL.’

‘Excuse me,’ I said diffidently.

‘You’re an hour and a half late. We can’t let you in past fifteen minutes after the hour. Didn’t anyone ever tell you that?’

‘Sir, I don’t think I understand. I was here and people saw me, you yourself just asked me to go and punch in.’

‘Only a technicality, you’ll have to leave now. Next time punch in. And don’t be late again.’

I stood there for a moment. I wasn’t sure if this was a joke or some test that corporations put their summer employees through and Davidson would just smirk at me and say he was just testing me.

‘Leave?’ I asked, ‘seriously?’

‘Yes, come back tomorrow, on time.’

I shook my head, turned on my heels, cursing Davidson all the way back to the front door. But when I pulled onto the highway my mood suddenly changed. The sun was out and the sky was an azure blue. With the whole day was ahead of me and I felt free. The morning air was fresh and cool as I rolled down the window and I thought, maybe I could be a slacker.

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