The afternoon went by much as the morning had, slowly and with a lot of distraction on his part. He found it harder and harder not to smile, and harder and harder to pay attention to his work. After all, at this point what would it matter if he did his job well? The worst they could do was fire him, and he was going to be quitting soon anyway. He wondered how quickly he should do so. It may take Bernie a bit of time to get the money together, after all. And it would take at least a little bit of time to find a new place to live, unless he really did go with the plan of just staying in an inn. And he didn’t want to go through the money too quickly. On the other hand, it didn’t seem right for a millionaire to show up for a shift at a steel mill. After all, as they kept telling the workers regularly, there were a hundred people right outside the door that needed the money just as bad as he did. Why keep working when he didn’t have to?

Those were the thoughts consuming his mind as the third malformed cast went by unnoticed, at least by him. “You there!” a man shouted from the catwalk above. His eyes shot up at the sound to see a severe looking man in an appropriately severe looking suit. Slightly balding, outwardly calm, but with a hint of fury in his eyes, the little man looked like he meant business. “You,” he shouted, at one of the other workers this time, “take over that man’s station.” The other worker silently and slowly pointed at himself, both to confirm and as if to say “Why me?”, but the man on the catwalk gave him an irritated wave toward Holden’s station. “You,” he shouted, back at Holden, “to the supervisor’s office. Now.”

Holden slunk off toward the supervisor’s office with a niggling sense of panic. It was one thing to consider quitting, or throw up a front about getting fired, but he wasn’t sure he actually wanted it to happen. When he reached the office the severe little man was already seated behind his desk. He gave Holden a quick wave to sit down in the cramped metal chair opposite him as he leaned down to open one of the desk drawers. “Name?” he said, matter of factly. Holden wasn’t quite sure it was even a question, but he responded anyway.

“Holden,” he said. “Holden Kort.”

“Is that supposed to be humorous?” the man asked.

“You would have to ask my parents, sir.” Holden replied.

“Yes, well. Mr. Kort, I am Supervisor Hemmel, I will be filling in for Supervisor Tulg until he returns.” He still had not looked directly at Holden. “Ah, here we are” he said, raising his head with a file in his hand. It was a bit thicker than Holden would have liked, if it was what he thought it was.


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