2 February 1999
The Fifth Column & William Gillespie

this week, a guy was changing a valve on top of a gas-tanker

it exploded

it killed him, injured three other people

but they were lucky

the back of the shop was destroyed

and it didnít catch on fire

he was a good guy,

everybody said,
his daughter was disabled and he was
always active 

doing volunteer work with other disabled  children
bringing them to the company picnic 

just a regular guy

but something happened

nobody will ever figure out why

all the precautions had been taken

I don't know his name
they called him lurch
cause he was seven foot three
a little like big john

wasn't the first guy died there
since I been there
guess I'm lucky
I'm just permanently injured

it was a bad week at work
lurch lost his life
I lost my job

I knew something was up when I walked into the meeting

I was sitting across the table from some hatchet-faced dude from minneapolis
supposedly heís seen so many strikes that heís lost count
but heís supervaluís labor negotiator

but he walks around doing hardball 
negotiation with union leaders

when I walked in the room and saw that guy I knew something was up

I donít know his name either
I just call him hatchetface

the meeting was short and sweet
me and about eight other clerks

they had a letter
they put it up on a screen
they read us the letter
they asked if we had any questions
none of us had any questions
we knew weíd been screwed

I think none of us asked any questions
because we knew we couldnít get a straight answer

why bother