Sometimes, just for a change, I like to dress up as a forklift driver and go down the local park and just chill. No big deal, just me being a forkie, perhaps on a smoko, or maybe I’ve just knocked off for the day. I wander round the lake, undo the Velcro fasteners of my hi-vis vest, totally relaxed about the job I have driving a forklift.

Once I got into a bit of a chinwag with an elderly gentleman. He was sitting on a park bench, looking a bit the worse for wear. I said to him, “I’m just on a smoko, from the warehouse down the road—mind if I sit down?”

He made a barely perceptible nod (I think) and I sat down and yawned and stretched—a bit knackered after being flat out on the fork all mornin’. I asked him what he did and I think he said something about a pension. I told him a bit about my job as a forkie, zipping around, picking stuff up, putting it elsewhere, sometimes way up high near the roof. He was a good old fella; I think he may have been in the war, which was before forklifts were invented. Which made us think.

Another time, I was just re-tying the shoelace of my steel-cap boot, when I heard something that sounded like a forklift moving a pallet. Turned out to be a bunch of troubled youths smoking a crack-bong.

A bit sternly, I said, “What the forks going on here?”

A seedy youth produced a switchblade and snarled, “You swearing at my girlfriend?”

I broke into a grin. “I actually said ‘fork’. Any of you guys know what a fork is?”

A ratty-haired girl hissed, “Yeah, something to stick in yer eyeball!”

I let out a hearty laugh. “You got me there, sister! I was talking about a forklift—I’m a forkie by trade! Work at the warehouse down the road. I’m on me smoko. So, any of you kids ever been on a forklift?”

The drug-forked youths looked at each other, then back at me, and shook their heads. I explained about the long metal tines, the steering wheel spinner-knob, and all the different ways you could zip about and pick things up and put them elsewhere. By the time I’d finished, the crack-bong had been put to one side and they asked if they could see this forklift sometime.

“Sure!” I said. “As long as you lose the crack-bong, that is.”

The seedy youth took two steps and kicked the bong, smashing it to smithereens. We all let out a spontaneous cheer and, soon after, the troubled youths returned home to repair what was broken.

* * *

There are times when, just for a change, I consider dressing up as a boilermaker and heading down the mall. But every time I do, just before I leave the house, I think, Stuff that—I’m going as a forkie!

This story was written by Jack Tilley. Jack is average height and likes food, drink, and long walks in the open savannah.

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