Oct 10, 2006


When Greg was relieved of his position as a maintenance electrician at a busy factory he found it very difficult to find similar employment. Few vacancies ever arose, and those that did offered much less than his previous rate of pay. Whilst talking to a friend he heard about another company that employs maintenance technicians on a temporary contractual basis. Greg applied for one of the positions, and was offered a 24-hour contract to provide electrical maintenance services to a very large factory on the outskirts of the city. When Greg arrived at his short-term workplace he noticed that the electrics were in very good order, flawlessly maintained, so he suspected that another maintenance electrician must be on site. The immaculate electrics meant that Greg had nothing to do, so he spent his time pretending to work on them, mimicking the actions of his profession with his tools, and then placing them back down again into his prepared and polished toolbox. He continued to do this for several hours, flicking his eyes towards the door at regular intervals in case this other electrician were to suddenly walk in and catch him unawares. Greg was keen to meet him and imagined what he must be like. He wanted to ask him how it is that he can sustain such perfect electrics and where he trained to be able to order such controlled wiring. ''He must have a natural feel for it, a God-given talent, but where is he now? I hardly think leaving your electrics by themselves for hours is the mark of a devoted electrician!'' Irritated by having to be patient, Greg decided to keep his hands busy to prove to his doubters that he is as capable as the absentee, after all, standing around doing nothing on your first day is unlikely to impress many contractors. So he started to rearrange the wires to make their colours combine in more innovative ways, plugging the red ones into the green ones so that their interaction suggested more, their plastic coatings giving birth to sparks of light as they flowed into one another. Greg could hear that the factory had become silent, the whirring ceasing abruptly for the benefit of a complete stillness, no doubt due to the hammer that he had hammered into the main fuse box. This act was sure to attract the attention of the faceless maintenance electrician, whom Greg planned to discipline for leaving his post as soon as he returned to check on the electrics. Greg stood and waited, sat and waited, lay down, but as it approached the end of his shift there was still no sign. Incensed by the rejection Greg pulled the live jugular cable out of the generator and fed it through the arms of his shirt so that it ran into one sleeve, across his chest and into his other hand, which he held gestured towards the door, ready to greet the shake of the absentee. ''How delicious the irony'' Greg cackled into the silence, ''as soon as he walks through the door, Mr. Wonderful will be frazzled by the one thing he loves! As soon as he touches me!''

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