Saturday, November 2, 2019

Construction Complaints

“Quit your bellyachin!” Big John scolded the crew of seven. “I won’t stand for it.”

A whisper made its way into one of the crew’s ears about how few things Big John - a euphemism, as calling him ‘Fat John’ was grounds for dismissal - would stand for. The man into whose ear this sentiment was whispered snickered involuntarily.

“Who’s cracking jokes? I should dock all your pay.” At that there came a chorus of ‘fuck yous’ and miscellaneous grumbling. After a moment, one of the crew spoke up.

“You’ve got no right to fuck us like this.” A few yeahs endorsed the sentiment.

“I’ve got every right to fuck you like this - if you don’t like it, you can quit.”

“How are we supposed to work? You can’t expect us to make it through the day without coffee!”

“I never said you couldn’t have coffee,” Big John retorted. I just said the company wouldn’t be providing it any longer. Go buy your own.”

More grumbling began with choice phrases like ‘squeezed to death’ and ‘penny pincher’ frothing to the top. Big John was able to get control of the situation after a fair bit of further scolding, at which point he dismissed the crew and sent them back to their work.

Sally and Tim had stayed relatively quiet during the meeting and worked on their project in silence while Big John padded the floor. It took over an hour before the big man made his way to his office to shuffle paperwork.

“What are you thinking?” Tim asked, shooting Sally a glance.

“Burn it down,” she responded in a cold voice. “Leave nothing but ash.”

“They’ll know it was us.”

“There are five others who’re here. It could be one of them. Hell, it could even be an accident.”

“It could be an accident,” Tim repeated.

“Sure, we’d be a little fucked, but we’re headed toward unemployment anyway - a company doesn’t stop providing free coffee because it’s too profitable.” Sally looked the younger man straight in the eyes. “I say we go out on our own terms.”

“It’s not like they don’t have insurance,” Tim said, nodding. “The owners would probably be happy about it.”

“The real question is: how do we fuck fatso over?”

“I have an idea, we just have to wait until tomorrow.” Tim outlined his plan while pretending to work alongside Sally.

The next day the two showed up about a half hour before Big John was due to bumble in. They placed a few liquor bottles around his office in strategic locations and made a small modification to the break room coffee machine, which they then moved to his office.

As if on cue, as the rest of the crew began complaining about how the coffee machine had been removed, Big John rushed into his office. As he flipped the switch for the light, electricity flowed to the sabotaged caffeine mahine which then erupted in flame on his desk. Covered as it was by loose paper of unread reports and receipts, the fire spread much too quickly for anyone to put it out while it remained in one room. The sprinklers kicked in, dousing the whole place in black water. Everyone was evacuated and the whole control building was written off as a loss due to fire, smoke, and water damage.

In the course of the investigation, the modified coffee machine was discovered, but no specific person could be held accountable. The planted stash of liquor, however, provided the company with an excuse to kick Bg John to the curb with no severance. His dismissal was an easy act of cutting cost for a failing business - especially now that they had quite a few unemployment claims to deal with.

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