by Anthony Ward
The punch rose and pounded, rose and pounded, beating Bob about the head as his ears hissed with confusion.
He stormed across the shop floor towards the canteen, where sat down at the veneered bench and began picking at the blisters on his hands, pulling at the skin until it was left flailing like the veneer on the table corner, which began to irritate him all the more. Bob pulled at it and pulled at it until his entire skin came off like an overall of flesh, which he let drop to the floor.
He walked back onto the shop floor, passing all the pneumatic presses that hissed like snakes and cats between them. The operators stopped what they were doing and watched Bob—his nerves exposed amongst the sinew and bone—as he left a bloody trail all the way back to his machine.
He sat down and placed a round piece of steel into the jig. The press hissed and punched through the metal just as the operator from the opposite press walked up to him and said, nearly placing his hand on his shoulder:
“You sure look sore Bob?”