The Crane

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
Short story inspired by real events

Submitted: June 05, 2013

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Submitted: June 05, 2013



The crane was slugging it up the ramp as David and I watched it from the top. It was loud and heavy and David and I watched it without saying anything. The crane was nearly up the ramp when it started to rain. David said we better go inside and wait for the truck. We turned back. We were just about to walk away when we heard the faint sound of the engine approaching. “That must be the truck” said David. Rain picked up and flashed for minute or two, then it stopped just as quick. “That must be the truck” He yelled out to the crane driver, who by now had the crane parked on side of the platform. The Crane driver’s offsider stuck his head out the window and looked at the sky. Sky was dark and stern as though something bad was going to happen. The crane driver lit a Marlborough. The crane had a brand new red paint job and it glistered under wet dark evening. The truck backed up the ramp with its orange light flashing. It had a huge metal truss fastened to its trailer. The Crane driver’s offsider hopped off the passenger seat and walked to rear of the crane where there was a long aluminium case. He opened the case and took out a pair of gloves, a metal chain and a shackle. He wore the gloves while the crane driver reversed the crane close to the truck. The crane driver’s offsider had a whistle around his neck. He below it when the crane came close enough. The crane driver pulled on lever and the crane’s Jib started to sink slowly. The crane driver’s offsider blew his whistle when it sank low enough. He then jumped on the trailer, unlatched the hook’s safety chain, unfastened the truss from bed of the trailer, ran the chain through it and shackled it to the hook of the jib. He did this in a very short amount of time. From top of the trailer he motioned the driver to raise the jib and jumped off just in time. The driver flicked the butt of his Marlborough and shifted the same lever in an opposite direction. The metal structure detached from the trailer, hovered in mid-air, gently swaying. Crane driver’s offsider kept the truss steady by holding the side of it as it was brought down. David joined him by holding the other side. I continued on watching. Once the truss was set on the platform driver’s offsider unlocked the shackled, rolled the chain and took off his gloves. He put the chain, the shackle and his gloves back into the long aluminium box. The truck rolled down the ramp and drove off. The crane followed after it. After the sound of their engine disappeared there was complete silence as David and I were left with the huge metal structure on the platform. The Truss was assembled by its smaller members going in every direction. They must have been hundred or more. They were joined to larger ones with nuts and bolts. David went in the warehouse and returned with two steel ratchets. The ratchets had already been fitted with appropriate sockets. David handed me a ratchet and kept one himself. We started dismembering the truss and placing the members into separate piles. The piles were classified according to size of the members. The bolts were heaped into a plastic bucket. Bolts were tied pretty hard and I found great satisfaction in undoing them. I also liked the ticking sound the gear made when I repositioned the ratchet for another turn.

It was getting dark and a light rain fell from the sky. The truss sat, semi disintegrated, in a pool of rust water. “I can’t do this anymore.” David said. It was the first thing he had said in hours.  I stopped work and looked up. He was staring at a point in space, at the sky and the vast blue green bushland that was beyond the platform. He looked melancholy and strange. “I shouldn’t be here. I can’t be here. You know I have to be somewhere else. Don’t know where. But I’m sure as hell it’s not here. Do you ever get a feeling that you ought to be somewhere else, doing something else?” I couldn’t say that I had, and told him so. “Well, I do. I get it all the time. No no no no, this wont do- god damn son of a bitch!” He pegged his ratchet and it hit the roller door of the warehouse and made a crashing sound. The sound was amplified by emptiness of our surrounding. The roller door shivered. David stood up and walked across the platform and down the ramp. He walked across the platform and down the ramp without saying anything. I let go of the ratchet and climbed out of the truss. My clothes were soaked with rain and sweat. It was cold. Night was fast advancing. I felt disorientated and didn’t know where I was. Everything around me seemed like protrusion in flat space. I felt nauseous and sick.

There’s an echo in my head and it follows me everywhere I walk. At that moment it grew so strong that I couldn’t differentiate between me and “it”.

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