Tell A Tale in 500 Words

Bells, Clocks and Zizzing. By Debbie Jarvie

Anne walked in once again at 7.30am and punched her card. She could already hear the ziz of the machines as she hung her coat on the peg.

She walked around to her own machine passing Sheila on the way who was pointing at her watch.

'7.30am is the start time not the coming in time.’

'I know Sheila. I'm sorry,’ Anne told her pulling her best sad face.

'Go on,' she huffed.

At her machine Anne looked at the boxes of slippers already piling up.

'Ey up.’

She looked at Suzanne and returned the greeting.

'What's up your late again?'

'I know,' Anne yawned.

'What did the doctor say?'

'He just gave me some antidepressants.’

'Right, well. Give 'em a week or two and you'll be as right as rain.’

Suzanne turned back to carry on sewing labels onto insoles and Anne sat down.

'Here we go again.'

She looked at the clock on the white washed brick wall in front of her, 7.33am, and wanted to cry.

'God why did I mess about at school?'

She dragged a large box of slipper tops to the side of her. Glancing around the room there was a row of seven ladies at the opposite side and three more behind her all with their heads down, sewing speedily, concentrating hard. She shook her head.

She sat back on her seat and glanced at the clock, 7.35am, then reached for the long length of pink fake fur and nipped it to the top of the first slipper of the day before she began to sew. In a second the sound of her machine was lost among the other zizzing machines.

It must be nearly break time… nope… 8.17am.


Break time? nope… 9.47am.

At 10.30am the monotony was broken by the sound of the bell and Suzanne stopped immediately.

'Come on quick,' she called over the noise. 'It’s Thursday.'

'Ey?' Anne’s brows almost touched.

'Thursday, Cornish pasty day.’

'Ah, course.’

Anne left a half sewn slipper grasped in heavy steel teeth. Her policy on never doing that had changed.

After the fifteen minute break the ladies returned to their work. Just one look at the clock first. 10.46am.


It has to be dinner time now… nope… 11.33am.

‘Oh god.’

12 noon and the familiar sound of the bell.

'What did you bring today anything good?' Suzanne asked.

'Tomato soup and cheese sandwich.'

'Nice. I've got tuna pasta.'

'Oh god Suzanne. I hate that stuff. It stinks.’

Suzanne shrugged and the two women joined the hoard and rumbled into the canteen. They found a seat next to the window and watched as skinny Mary and desperate Dan huddled outside in the doorway trying to stay out of the rain and keep their cigarettes dry.

Suzanne shook her head at them and without looking at Anne asked thoughtfully.

'Is it really worth it?'

Anne huffed and smiled. 12.09pm. She picked up her mobile and dialed.

‘Hi. I’m interested in your BTEC courses.’

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