Short Story: A Dog's World Part II
(See the Prologue to A Dog's World here.)
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Charles, second shift quality control parts inspector at the Big Blackie Biscuit and Specialty Items, Inc. Northwest Ohio plant, recognized Chuck's mood as testy before he'd heard Chuck's second sentence. Chuck's first comment seared: "Hey, Charles. Ready for another sparkling day at the millstone? Bad dough. Bad parts. Bad operator."
"Get loose, Chuck. You can't be having a bad day already. It's just three-fifteen."
"Yeah. Whoopie. Eight hours and fifteen minutes to go. It's the same old thing. Six checks, gauges and tests. Check that. Test this. If it checks out all right, send it. If it doesn't check out, hit it with a tenderizer hammer, make it two -- partials -- and send them. Cram it on the gauge, stomp on it, straighten it, ignore it, but SEND IT OUT THE DOOR! And don't even think there's a chance of doing it right because first shift sent it out perfect and you second shifters are second best rift raft who can't even pick up your scrap!"
Charles, a strikingly large St. Bernard with a close cut that made him appear longer and lankier than the normal male member of his breed, had been in quality control for five years. He'd seen it before, heard it before, and wasn't put off by hyper types like Chuck. They just made his rounds more interesting. Chuck was a medium-sized mix with shepherd and Chow-Chow features, including a stubby nose through which he snorted frequent displeasure. Charles had encouraged him to train for a quality control position. Some superiorly intelligent mixes sometimes made the grade for such promotions. But Chuck seemed bent on remaining as a press operator so he could complain without having to take the responsibility for improvement that a higher position would demand of him. Chuck denied that, of course.
But Charles' interpretation was generally accepted where Chuck's personality was concerned.
Chuck's forepaws shook a bit as he hopped tailend onto the metal stool most operators preferred at this station. The press was higher off the concrete than most, and operators needed a boost to reach the paw-push buttons.
Chuck's nervous shake had less to do with anxiety than it did with anger. The shake became noticeable when he got on a disgruntled binge. Parts quality versus production quantity went around in Chuck's head until he became dizzy. His fellow workers referred ot it as Chuck's revolving migraine because there was no resolution to the problem, only a new day and a new headache.
Chuck pushed the paw-push buttons three times and looked through the protective plexiglass shield only to see his first three Q-Three biscuits fall into the chute with underdeveloped tops. He groaned. "I can't approve those," he complained to Charles.
"Nope, you can't," said Charles. "Run three more."
Chuck tightened his dry lips -- it was hot in the plant -- and paw-pushed three more parts with the same result: the top half of the Q was missing.
"Down time, my friend," Charles declared. "I'll tell Supervisor Quincey."
Chuck, black, white, and bronze, slithered off the stool butt first and padded to the test stand where he grabbed his timecard. "Well, he can't say 'run' on parts like that," Chuck growled.
"We never know," Charles said. He winked at Chuck.
Chuck shrugged heavily, went back down to all fours, and trudged off toward the time clock. "Paritals," he muttered. Supervisor Quincey would just say break them into partials and keep running, instead of fixing or adjusting anything on the Q-Three. Paritals boxes didn't make trade. In fact, they were donated by the carload to the Golden Societies, homes for the aged, that dotted the landscape of Big Blackie industrial America. Supervisor Quincey shouldn't settle for partials so often. It was flirting with the capital strength of the company.
But it wasn't Chuck's say-so. He operated the press. He didn't decide.
Chuck snorted displeasure as he leveled his timecard and watched the time clock punch his down time.
Three-twenty-five. Hmph, Chuck snorted. It hadn't taken long to go down.
(Continued in A Dog's World Part III ...)