Punch, Press, Drunk
“Fuck this town,” I muttered under my breath, just out of earshot of my supervisor. I just finished lodging a formal complaint against the scumbag who has been stealing my lunch.
Per usual, the only response I managed to elicit was, “That sucks. Wha’d they take this time?” My body, exhausted from the last six hours of repetitive lifting, now has to survive another six hours without food… again. Fuck this place.
There went my lunch break. I’m not sure why I even bothered to waste my time filing a complaint. The man never even took my memo. Does he even have a filing system for these sorts of things? I stuffed the paper back into my pocket. My stomach bubbled with the coffee I downed to quell my hunger. Amazingly, I made it back to my station before the machines flipped on again.
Within seconds of stepping on my platform, the huge hydraulic press started to rhythmically stamp sheets of metal. The cylinders rose and fell like thundering of hooves on a metal roof. The sound was deafening. It was in that moment I realized I had forgotten to put in my ear plugs. Dammit. Another fucking wrench in my day. I methodically kept lifting the finished pieces off the press and onto a rack, my body on autopilot.
After the first minute of pounding, I could no longer hear anything. My head felt like it was in the press being bashed in with each fall of the die. The coffee in my stomach sloshed around, rolling like the ocean in a storm. My aching body lifted and placed the pieces in time.
After about ten minutes my eyes began to water and I became disoriented. Punch press drunk… or so I’ve heard it called. Inebriated by the barrage of sounds from the machinery, not to mention my empty stomach, I lost track of my rhythm. I fumbled a piece and it clattered to the ground. Another fell just after.
I heard the blaring of a siren bell like a fire alarm in the night and suddenly the pounding stopped. Two feet stood in front of my face. I was on the floor. My supervisor towered over me with my sandwich in his hand. I rose shakily, pulled back my fist, and landed it square in his jaw. Both he and the sandwich dropped to the ground. From my pocket I pulled the memo he wouldn’t take earlier and I shoved the paper into his grip. From there I headed to the bar for a long drink to cure my headache. Punch, press, drunk.