Into The Center of the Warehouse Aisle
The floating giggle and the light pitter-patter of the twolegs’ hushed steps echoed through the warehouse and woke me up.
As I pulled myself out of the waking dreams I called sleep, I heard their laughter again, this time closer. The high-pitched squeals made my 42-inch forks tingle in annoyance. My brakes were on so I was forced to wait until the twolegs were in my line of sight.
Soon enough, a trio of twolegs rounded the corner into my aisle. They moved slowly, laden with packs that clanked and creaked with every step.
“This is a stupid idea if there ever was one,” grumbled one of the twoloegs. The other two hushed and swatted him.
Moonlight drifted in from the windows that ringed the warehouse and cut through the deep shadows cast by the crates stacked hundreds of feet high around us.
Instantly, I recognized them from the photographs my twoleg kept taped to my steering wheel. I shuffled around my engine fluid until I remembered their names – Thomas, Eve, and Hudson. Before I could figure out who was who, the twolegs finally noticed me and began circling my orange body. As they spoke, I managed to put names to faces.
“So this is the piece of junk Dad always talks about,” groused the shortest of the twolegs, the one called Thomas, as he dropped his pack near my front tire. He sat on my forks, and started to light a cigarette but didn’t even get a spark before the female twoleg, Eve, smacked it out of his hand.
“Tommy, I swear if I hear you complain one more time, I am going to kick your butt so hard your ancestors will feel it,” hissed Eve, her long hair twisted into an efficient braid.
The tallest twoleg, Hudson, snickered and dumped the pack he had been carrying before intervening.
“Eve, relax,” he said, still trying to contain his laughter. “We’re here for a reason. Don’t let the idiot distract you.”
Eve scowled but said nothing further. She climbed into my carriage and began inspecting my levers.
“What’s this thing called again?” she asked.
Thomas grunted and said nothing. He fished a bag of chips out of his pack and began loudly chomping on the chips. A swift glare from Hudson reduced the loud munching to quiet chewing.
“It’s a forklift, I think,” said Hudson. He pointed to the painted words on my side. “Toyota brand, stock number 266646.”
He gestured to the surrounding crates.
“Everyday, Dad comes to work at this warehouse and use the forklift to move crates around all day,” he explained. “That’s his job. He loves helping people get to the things they need.”
“Why does this even matter…” mumbled Thomas, his hand buried deep in the bag of chips.
Eve got out of the carriage, looking like she wanted to make good on her threat. Hudson grabbed her arm before she even took a step and shook his head. The female twoleg sighed and sat back down in my carriage.
“Because, Dad loves this forklift. He bought it with his own money and subcontracts out to the warehouse,” she said in a tone often reserved for addressing toddlers.
“Come guys, enough chitchat, let’s get started,” said Hudson.
Eve hopped out of the carriage and began emptying Hudson’s pack. Thomas, still engrossed in his chips, didn’t move until Hudson smacked him on the back of his head. Thomas wiped his greasy hands on my forks before opening up and emptying his pack. I resisted the urge to lift my forks and dump the uncouth youth on the ground.
I watched as they unloaded paper streamers, balloons, spray paint, stencils, and tubs of glitter. I shuffled around some more engine fluid trying to figure out what these miniature twolegs planned to do.
As the male twolegs finished unpacking, Eve climbed back into my carriage and fished a pair of keys out of her pant pockets. She slid them into my ignition and tried to turn me on. I was reluctant to fire up my engine – it was the middle of the night after all – but after Eve jiggled the keys a few times, I had no choice but to comply.
With a lurch, she maneuvered me into the center of the warehouse aisle. My tires hurt from her rough handling but eventually she seemed satisfied with my position and switched me off.
The male twolegs used a role of tape of attach stencils to different parts of my carriage and filled them in with spray-paint. I shivered as the cold spray hit me. Eve followed behind them, dusting the wet paint with glitter. I felt the glitter works its way into my screws and in between my panels.
When they were done, they sat down cross-legged on the floor and began blowing up the balloons. I stayed very still as they clambered onto to my roof to attach the balloons and streamers to the top of my carriage. The streamers tickled my engine and I fought the urge to sneeze.
Finally, yawning, they stepped back to admire their handiwork. Between the glitter and the paint and the sparkling streamers, I was shimmering and sparkling like queen at her coronation. Even the twoleg named Thomas smiled a little.
I still hadn’t figured out why these twolegs had decided to decorate me in this fashion but Hudson quickly provided the answer.
“Where’s the box of cigars?” he asked, looking at his siblings.
Eve dug into Thomas’s pack and fished out a small metal tin and a card. With a flourish she wrapped the tin in some leftover streamer and placed it on the seat in my carriage, with the card leaning against it.
“There!” she said. “The perfect birthday surprise for Dad! Since we all have to leave town tomorrow morning, this is the best way for us to celebrate his 50th birthday!”
I watched them pack up quickly and leave the way they came, the first rays of sunrise peaking in through the windows.
I smiled and waited for my twoleg to finally arrive.