I was still getting to know who was who. The guy wearing the lumberjack shirt and the Baltimore Ravens cap fascinated me. His name was Jack. “From Baltimore?” I offered. “Nah, from Houston,” said the foreman, “The cap was a present from the boss – for when he got back to work, after the accident.“

I watched Jack working his piece – everything in place: machine guards, ear and eye protectors. He paused for a moment. Wiped sweat from his forehead. Fumbled for cigarette and lighter. Right hand, no fingers.

“For the record,” I said, “Size 7, New York Jets”.


For Friday Fictioneers.


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39 Responses to Timberyard

  1. Nan Falkner says:

    Where is OSHA when you need them? Sounds like a pretty risky place to work. Good story, thanks!

  2. Very nicely done! Poor Jack losing his fingers like that. As for the new employee… I’m guessing he’ll be trying for a cap too

  3. I love how your protagonist has a sense of humor about his impending workplace accident! Nicely done 🙂

  4. sooner of later a new cap will be needed.

  5. rgayer55 says:

    St. Louis Cardinals – size 7 3/8

  6. Ha! Size 7, NY Jets, too funny.

  7. So sad he to sacrifice his fingers. Ouch! Nice one, Patrick.

  8. Sun says:

    poor Jack…by adding he lost his fingers from an accident and gets only a baseball cap really stabs at the heart, Patrick. good one.

  9. hugmamma says:

    Uplifting story…

  10. draliman says:

    Wow, a baseball cap in exchange for losing his fingers? He needs a better lawyer!
    I bet the new guy is so glad he came to work there.

  11. Dear Patrick,

    Despite any confusion I enjoyed this. The last line took me a minute but when I got it, it was an aha moment that made me smile.



  12. Bryan Ens says:

    hope he doesn’t need to take THAT kind of break from work…

  13. This was a great take on the picture (medium, Hull City)

  14. JackieP says:

    Well your and my characters might be related. Just never know.

  15. vb holmes says:

    I dunno–a baseball cap as incentive? The missing fingers might tip the scales against that position. Howwever, sounds like the No Smoking rule is poorly enforced so perhaps the new guy is lured by the prospect of smoking on the job.

    • It should be read as the new person finding the gift of a baseball cap poor compensation for a worker losing a hand’s worth of fingers and so his sarcastic comment about cap size etc is a prelude to telling the foreman to stuff the job. His career choice. (Is this another 100 words? I must do better!)

  16. Good story. I would imagine that the man is now wearing protective gear because he doesn’t want to lose any more fingers, his eyesight, etc.

  17. Great story because everyone interprets it differently! I like it.

  18. Ironic that with all the protective gear, he lost all the fingers on his right hand. Amazing that he could work that way.


  19. Perry Block says:

    This is an interesting story, but I’m confused. Is the new employee also a smoker so he assumes he’ll lose his fingers? Does he think he’ll lose his fingers because safety is lax in the shop? Or does he just want the damn Jets hat?

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