Strike busting on Mt. Willis

At first, I thought it was my imagination. Not one of their eyes ever blinked. Their plastic little smiles never wavered. Their dogged work ethic never waned. It seemed impossible, not to mention a little unsettling.

And yet, it was all true. They never blinked, frowned, or stopped doing their job. And L’il Otis could not have been happier about it.

It was a family Christmas celebration held a few days after the actual holiday. Unlike days of old, those days when opening gifts still held some amount of anticipatory glee, I sat amazed at the number of presents in front of the littlest man in the house. What was more off-putting was the number of blue collar workers in the house.

It seemed everybody had bought L’il O. a dumptruck, a bus, a tractor, a bulldozer, or some sort of landmoving equipment. And every damned one of the things had a little plastic driver inside it. Press down on the driver and he sings a song, like he couldn’t be happier to be doing the hard work of moving land, carting commuters, and keeping the kid happy.

Dr. Jeff, my brother, was the first to warn L’il Otis of the danger.

“Best be careful,” he said in his best doctor/capitalist voice. “You let those guys get to talking and they’ll unionize before you know it.”

At first, the suggestion seemed a little off the wall. Plastic drivers striking for better wages, shorter hours, and a decent pension plan? Hogwash, I thought. L’il O. didn’t seem to pay much heed to the warning either. At the time of Dr. Jeff’s advice, the kid was perfecting a sidearm throw that would eventually lead to a contentious relationship between he and Scoop, the resident therapy mutt and instinctually dangerous scavenger.

Several weeks passed, during which time I left the house for a couple of weeks. While I was gone, the duties of keeping an eye on the kid, the dog, and the plastic drivers fell to my parents and my wife. I was sure I could count on them to make sure nothing here at Mt. Willis would go awry.

It was just today, an exact 30 days since the drivers first laid unblinking eyes on each other, that I noticed a curious absence in the living room mess. Every seat of every blue collar vehicle in the house sat empty. The drivers had disappeared.

Indeed, folks, it seems Dr. Jeff’s advice should have been heeded. I fear the worst. I fear a massive strike. I fear the whole of Mt. Willis will be without the necessary services. Further, I don’t see any wiggle room in the budget. I don’t think we can pay them any more than we already do (which is a very fair ‘nothing’).

I’ve already heard rumblings among the stuffed animals that the bus driver is taking on a leadership role. I’ve sent word through my one confidante, Dancing Elmo, that rumors should be spread that the bus driver has been misusing pension money and may or may not have slept with the wife of Dump Truck Driver #3.

All else fails, we may have a real strike on our hands before Valentines Day.

Any advice on strike busting would be appreciated. In the alternative, I’d also take the location of Jimmy Hoffa’s body. That should be enough to scare those little plastic bastards back into their trucks.

Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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3 Responses

  1. You’ve got a kid, you’ve got to have play-doh – engineer yourself some scab workers.
    Best of the modern world, cloning and union-busting. 21st century, baby!

  2. Sparky’s wrong… scab workers do the job without an appreciation for quality and are more prone to crumble when exposed to the outside air for more than a few hours. You have to weigh the union’s demands against the frequent work stoppages demanded by workers-of-clay (if we’re being politically correct about it) in order to maintain their relative levels of hydration.

    After having handled a near-mutiny at the hands of my Transformer figures in the mid-80s (thanks largely to the ill-fated introduction of Go-Bots to the mix), I know what it takes to snap your workers back in line (although certainly workers in the field of technology, as my Transformers were, have a perspective that is likely to be fundamentally different from those from the mold of Fisher-Price. With no articulated joints and the usual hole-at-bottom-of-torso adaptations, they are evolutionarily pre-disposed to their work – and don’t generally carry laser blasters either – but I digress…).

    You need to follow my four-point plan to bring order back to your child’s workforce.

    1) Order a Weeble-wobble off of ebay. Introduce him to the Fisher-Price men, who will be (naturally) unnerved by his egg-shaped body and inability to be knocked over. Then blindfold him and melt him in the microwave.

    2) If that doesn’t work, buy a couple of those Bratz dolls (working men like ’em young and whore-y). Have them mince around for a few minutes at a union rally. Then melt them in the microwave.

    3) Failing that, you need to break out the Barbie dolls. Who can resist a leggy blonde anyway? Not your average working Joe, I promise you that. Of course, you need not buy the Dream House, there will be nothing seamy going on. Hang their heads from the telescoping ladder on the fire truck, melt their bodies in the microwave.

    4) If none of the above is breaking their resolve it’s time to break out the big guns. First, you take the biggest and meanest-looking guy out of the bunch. Then you paint his body lavender and add thick red kissable lips (and possibly highlights to his hair, assuming the hard hat can be removed and the texture of the molded plastic allows). You reintroduce him to the crew, and I guarantee you they’ll all be back in their trucks by sundown.

    I’ve got a hot pink Grimlock somewhere at my mom’s house, I know from what I speak.

  3. Anonymous Little Willie says:

    I warned him. Maybe he’ll listen to his uncle next time.

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