My mind drifts to a moment in the future and I look into the gaping hole through which the compactor is fed.

“Turn it on.” I order. Dave dutifully hits the button. I watch as the 1.5 tonne piece of metal slowly moves through the machine, crushing everything in its path.

“Turn it off.”

The machine stops as Dave comes to join myself and Ivy on the platform.

“Ivy? Can you see the risk here?”

She looks uncertain.

“Someone could fall in there and get crushed?”

The way I see it, I am dealing with a person of above average intelligence. At least I don’t have to tell her. She has figured out the obvious.

“Yeah, Ivy. Someone could fall in there and get crushed.”

She looks slightly afraid.

I pity her. I give her an encouraging look.

“So, Ivy. What can we do to stop that from happening?”

“err….put a barrier around the opening?”

I like Ivy.

“Yes.” I smile. Then Dave opens his goddam gob.

“I am always careful. I am not stupid.”

I swivel towards Dave and sigh inwardly. These fucking people. This fucking person. And that stupid half ass smirk that he wears….

“Are you the only person who is ever going to operate this machine, Dave? Are you telling me that the number of incidents that I have had to investigate where people fell or slipped into compactors and got crushed due to distraction, ice, darkness and general misfortune never happened?”

I have stopped being nice. Now I am being me. A cold bastard.

“Yes Dave? Tell me.”

He gulps as I stare at him. A nice kid. Tall. Dark hair, Brown eyes. Muscular. No problem getting girlfriends, that’s for sure.  I envy his assets, but Christ – dumb as shit. Makes me glad I am me. Momentarily, at least.

I begin my assault.

“Lets think of a situation Dave. It is December. Christmas is coming. You are thinking of all the nice presents you are in the process of buying.”

He looks at me uncertainly. Maybe in his mind he realises where I am going with this. Probably not though.

“It is 8am and still dark. You come up here because the machine has blocked again.”

His eyes indicate that his mind is trying to work.

“You lift the bar and you lean over right like this…..” I grab the bar and lean over the gaping hole before making stabbing motions on the imaginary blockage. “Just a normal day, yeah? Done this a million times?”


“You are not thinking about what you are doing. It is dark, you don’t see the ice. You slip and fall into the machine. And then someone notices it is idle and hits the button to start it up.”

“But I would shout for help.” The idiot grins.

“Yup. Promise me you haven’t been knocked unconscious during the fall. Promise me nobody will start up the machine not knowing you are in there.”

That smirk. I want to fucking toss him in there. In a previous life, I probably have by now.

“Then Dave, you cease to be a person. You become a number of different body parts that have to be scooped up. And I have to come out here. I have to investigate. I have to go see your family. I have to explain to them that if your boss had put a barrier here, you would probably still be alive. ”

Dave stays silent. He wont admit it, but the thoughts are slowly perforating his conscious.

Ivy is looking a little bit weak. She can see the ramifications. She is the boss.

“You know what Dave. I don’t care WHAT you think. Ivy – gets this barriered off. RIGHT NOW.”

“I will.”

I flash a smile at Dave.

“Don’t worry mate. If you do end up in there, I will mention to your family that you never meant to fall in.”

The smirk is gone.

I walk off.

Fucking people.