Whistle While You Work

I whistled to myself as I brought the angle grinder down on the slab of concrete, the already-muffled tune quickly drowned out by the screech of protesting metal. I enjoyed the sensation of whistling when nobody could hear – not even me.

As I launched into the full throes of my concerto, I felt someone tap me on the shoulder. Fighting off the urge to immediately spin around, I quickly turned off my power tool, then craned my neck to see who it was.

It was a guy named Rudy, one of the office types who never looked comfortable on the job sites. He leaned over my shoulder, lifting up my earmuffs so he could speak into my ear.

‘Foreman wants to see you,’ he shouted over the din of construction. I winced at the yelling, but nodded and set down the grinder. Rudy motioned with his thumb which of the portables the foreman was currently holed up in.

‘You wanted to see me, boss?’ I asked as soon as I stepped into the air-conditioned room. I wiped the sweat from my forehead as the foreman finished scanning the last section of the plan on his desk.

‘You’re the one we sent out for construction supplies on Tuesday?’ he asked me, finally.

I nodded slowly. ‘Yeah, to that hardware store local to Sandringham.’

‘Excellent,’ he smiled. ‘Where is it?’

‘What’s that?’

‘The charges were made to our company card, almost two grand’s worth of timber.’

‘Sounds right…’ I said, hesitantly.

‘So where is it?’ he asked again. ‘Why isn’t it here yet?’

‘Maybe the store is just being slow–’

‘Actually, that store has an excellent reputation, especially for good quality Cheltenham timber. And I checked, they aren’t sending anything to us. So – where is it?’

I gulped. ‘Maybe the order got lost…’

‘Mister Roy…’ the foreman started.

‘Please, I’ll figure out what happened to it,’ I stammered. ‘Maybe I put down my brother’s address by mistake, I had to send him something that day too­–’

‘You’re fired.’

Walking home, I tried to whistle to cheer myself up… but nothing came out.