I clicked in at work around twelve. I say 'around' because I was definitely half an hour late, and Boss didn't look too happy. He glared at me for a moment, puffing smoke out of his lips like the angry cartoon train I'd seen as a kid. I missed trains. They took you to exotic places, whisking you away from the real world as the scenery blurred. Life in the desert, however, was dreadfully stagnate. Boss represented that stillness in its most menacing form.
"You're late," he puffed, yellowed teeth gnawing on the end of his cigar. I watched the ash float to the ground.
"Yeah," I said. There was nothing else to say. I knew I was on packing duty. Being late equaled manual labour. Only earlybirds like Clarrissa got the counter. I didn't mind, though. Most days, I made myself late just to avoid her. It was surprising I still had a job, really. I chalked it up to Boss having a big heart.
Or a lack of potential employees...
I swerved through the messy interior of Bolts 'N' Bits, through to Storage.
Maybe he'd be there today...
Of course, I was right. He was always in storage. I don't think there was a single day in the past three years that he wasn't lugging boxes away in there. He was like the ultimate worker – quiet, fast, and completely single-minded about his stacking. That's why Boss put him in here. That, and he wasn't really a talker; something which I found completely unfair. It was just a damn shame that pretty face never got let out into the sunshine. I bet he'd be a hit with the ladies who came a-shopping. Then again, I preferred having him all to myself, even if he wasn't really mine.
"Here, let me help you with that," I said, taking a box of spanners from his hands. He nodded, before quietly plodding away to grab his next load. That was all the interaction we ever had, but I thought we made a great team. If only Boss let him out sometime, maybe we'd go have some fun? Not that I could pretend to know what 'fun' was for him. Maybe he liked stacking boxes? Maybe he liked reciting the alphabet backwards? Most likely, he didn't like to do anything, and that was the saddest part. Still, I found myself drawn to him. I wanted to be there in the storage room stacking those boxes, to be his silent companion. Daddy once told me the older model droids don't feel things like we do, but how could he know? He was only human, after all. He wasn't one of us.