It’s was nearly 11am on Monday when the Mercedes, piloted by one pissed off Tracey, pulled into Mike’s workshop.
With a complete disregard for the rules and for safety Tracey skidded to a halt several meters from the open pit, climbed out of the car, slammed the door and stormed towards Mike who was underneath the bonnet of truck 15 replacing a fan belt.
“I suppose you think these stupid games are somehow making things between us even?”
“Excuse me?” Mike said looking down from underneath the bonnet.
“Don’t give me that shit you, fucking idiot!” She hardly had time to take a breath before continuing, “The diesel, the rocks on the roof, the tyres, the stinking fish in the car and this fucking gash across my forehead. It’s your childish way of getting back at me for sacking you.”
“I wasn’t sacked, I was made redundant, there’s a difference,” Mike said climbing down from the front of the rig and standing face to face with her, “One means I did something wrong the other means I annoyed management and they had no legitimate reason to sack me!”
“Don’t get smart with me arsehole.” She pushed him in the chest.
“Keep your hands off me or I’ll put in a claim for workplace harassment as well as unfair dismissal.”
“You don’t have a hope with either dipshit not after the stunts you have pulled. Now I don’t care how you do it, or what it takes, get the fucking smell out of my car by the end of the day or you’ll find yourself talking to the cops about it, not me.”
“What’s going on here?” The voice came from behind the truck; it was Magsy the union representative.
“It’s got nothing to do with you Magsy, it’s betwe….” And that was as far as she got before Barry interrupted.
“Tracey, I have just witnessed you threaten, both verbally and physically, a member of the staff. Now if that kind of complaint came from an employee it might have a chance of being argued but in the presence of a union official there is no argument and it has everything to do with me.”
“Oh fuck off the both of you.” Tracey growled, “Just do as I’ve asked Mike and make sure it’s done by the end of the day.” She then stormed off towards her office.
There was silence in the workshop until Magsy was sure Tracey was out of ear shot then he asked. “Anything you want to tell me about mate?”
“Nah, nothing at all.” Mike said innocently as both men returned to work.
By the end day Mike had learned from Magsy that five more redundancies had been passed down and three other drivers were on official warnings for minor disagreements with clients.
Mike’s night had been restless and sleep hadn’t come easy, he was annoyed because of his own situation but he was even more annoyed that Tracey had been able to justify even more sackings. He was going to be fine, he’d already organised another job and financially he was secure but two of the three drivers he knew had been made redundant the previous day were struggling young men, men with mortgages and men with families to feed and provide for.
Would it have been better if the redundancies were not just to reduce the bottom line? Would it have been better if those made redundant wouldn’t be replaced with outside contractors within months? Mike wasn’t sure, but after a night with little sleep he was angry and not prepared to let things go as easily as Tracey wanted.
Mike pulled into the depot, passed Tracey’s car parked in its usual spot near the front of the building and continued around the back of the workshop where he usually parked his ute. It was there he found that someone had taped off the small area with caution tape in an attempt to stop his parking his car there.
“Awe you’ve got to be kidding me bitch!” Mike said as he thumped the steering wheel, shrugged and pulled into the spot, taking the caution tape with him.
Climbing out of the car with his work bag in his hand Mike heard a screeching voice yelling at him across the depot grounds.
“What the fuck do you think you are doing? That is a no parking zone, you might not care about safety hazards around the place but someone has to, now move that heap of shit before I have the fucking thing towed.”
Mike knew every towing company within a 200 kilometer radius and knew there wasn’t a hope in the world that she’d be able to get his car towed so he walked away with a smile on his face.
“Don’t turn your back on me you arrogant piece of shit. I’m your boss you will do as I tell you too or you’ll find yourself in more shit than you can paddle through.”
Mike had rounded the corner of the building before her tirade had finished however when he stopped, poked his head around the corner and with a big smile on his face waved his hand at Tracey he thought he could nearly see steam coming out of her ears.
Having spent most of the morning in his office thinking about the work he was avoiding it was nearly lunch time when his mind finally snapped. He was sitting in his chair, feet on the desk and sipping his fifth coffee when the thought jumped into his head and it was thirty seconds later when he decided it was definitely time to do something about Tracey.
He walked around truck No27, kicked any tools clear of the area then stepped up into the cab and turned the key. The 600 horsepower Caterpillar motor roared into life and as the engine warmed up Mike revved it several times watching the thick black exhaust smoke spread around the workshop.
With the engine warm Mike check both mirrors and slowly reversed the large red and white twin steer Kenworth outside the workshop. Once outside he gently maneuvered the truck around the yard as if testing its brakes then took off on a lap around the workshop building.
Rounding the last corner Mike slowly passed the open workshop door and continued forward. Without expression and without remorse Mike aimed the truck at Bullshit Castle. He knew exactly where Tracey’s desk was, he also knew that by aiming correctly he would hit only Tracey and her work area, the building would no doubt be ruined but collateral damage was to be expected when proving a point.
Moments before the Kenworth’s solid aluminum bullbar forced its way through the office window Mike saw the look of total despair and horror on Tracey’s face as she watched the approaching truck and realised that her ridiculous close minded office planning scheme, which gave her the prominent place in the office, had also given her nowhere to run.
Mike didn’t accelerate, he wanted everything to look like an accident, but he did see Tracey stand up from her chair in front of the oncoming, slow moving truck. He looked her directly in the eyes until she disappeared below his line of sight as the truck collided with her and pushed her towards the wall.
The bullbar, pushing broken pieces of timber frame, brick, and plastered wall collected Tracey, it struck her knees first, shattering the left and breaking her right leg.
A piece of timber plunged into her stomach forcing her to bend forward, her unwillingly head was then thrust directly into a large round driving light mounted on the bullbar. She was knocked out instantly as the weathered glass light shattered into tiny pieces, some of which pierced Tracey’s face then created small rivers of blood on her cheeks.
Her body, along with debris from the walls and desks, was thrust forward as the truck came to a stop. Her left shoulder was dislocated and her arm snapped as she landed on it roughly before hitting the ground.
Mike quickly jumped down out of the truck’s cabin and began throwing debris aside as he made his way towards Tracey and by the time the few drivers present at the depot had made the scene they saw a frantic Mike trying relentlessly to help their injured boss after a terrible accident.
During her recovery in Portsmith Private Hospital the police asked questions of Tracey, Mike and their fellow workers. Tracey’s story was vastly different to the rest and with the evidence that Mike produced showing the lack of maintenance, specifically regarding the sourcing of brakes for truck 27 things turned bad for Tracey. However it was the evidence the police found which suggested Tracey was culling the current workforce so that she could contract business to her brother’s struggling labour hire business that eventually influenced the police’s decision.
Tracey and the business were fined for unsafe work practices and fined by the roads corporation for operating unsafe vehicles. Tracey herself was found guilty of 12 counts of unfair dismissal and her license to operate a transporting company was revoked.
Even Mike himself found it hard to believe, but within four months of being cleared of any wrong doing in the accident and with the police satisfied there was no truth to Tracey’s complaints of harassment he owned a transport company.
He’d brought the business free and clear with the money he’d had invested and the money he’d made from the leech like television reporters who wouldn’t leave him alone in an attempt to get his story.
However the one story neither himself nor his staff ever told was the meaning of the tombstone planted at the gate which simply read
Never shall she return