While in the drawing office, I got to work with a rather outspoken and radical young electrical engineer by the name of Graham (not his real name).
Graham was a bit of a socialist and took every opportunity to voice his left wing views about politics, the management or religion to anyone that gave him five minutes of their time. He was actually well educated and quite an intelligent man it obviously ran in his family as his father was a professor at a university.
On this particular day Graham had chosen a completely different topic to air his views about, one that was aimed personally at me!. He was giving me a hard time about my brother whom he accused of causing a motorvehicle accident that his friend had been involved in.
My brother had been doing some weed spraying for the District Council during his university holidays and was carrying out this out on a side road off the main approach road to the Steel Mill. There was a spray boom attached to the council truck he was driving, and he was spraying the edge of the road. He had posted signs around the road he was spraying on to warn motorists but came out onto the main road to turn around when the accident occurred.
The main road curves around a tight bend and the road that my brother was working on came off that road at the bend.
A friend of Grant, who worked as an electronics technician at the steel mill, was racing home in his sports car and came speeding around the corner when he was suddenly confronted with a council truck blocking half the road. Taking evasive action he swerved violently to avoid a collission. Unfortunately, his high speed maneuver resulted in the car rolling over and ending up in the ditch. Although he was fortunately uninjured the car was extensively damaged.
Graham and I ended up having a heated exchange of words as I defended my brother against his accusations that he had being negligent. Graham insisted that he should have provided adequate warning signs on the main road to prevent such an incident occuring in the first place.
Despite not actually having prior knowledge about the crash or having enough facts to determine my brothers innocence, Grahams persistant and passionate opinion that my brother was definately to blame made me angry and all the more determined to defend him.
After an hour of bantering from both sides and reaching a stalemate and with resentment running high between us it came to knockoff time and I was glad to see the back of him for the day.
I had always been taught not to part with someone on bad terms so despite my inner frustration I pushed it aside and wished him a "good night" and he replied “See you later”. However neither of us realised how tragically true that statement was to be.
That night the fire siren hailed me to a fire call-out which turned out to be a motorbike versus a milk tanker. Evidently the rider had turned too sharply into a road at speed, cutting in front of the tanker as it was approaching the intersection and the driver had no choice but to brake and brace for the inevitable impact.
It was too late for the bike rider who went under the truck and was dragged up the road. As his bike collided with the front of the unforgiving truck, he was catapulted head first into the front of the rig. His face obviously took the majority of the impact because when we saw the body, his head from the jaw upwards was missing. Brain matter and flesh were strewn up the road in a bloody trail as the driver bought the truck to a skidding halt.
Our job was primarily to wash the human remains off the road and being one of the crew members on the pump that attended, it was me that had to do it.
Being a small town we all wondered who the poor unidentified victim was and I was astounded to hear the result when the Police traced the motorbike to a surname that was the same as Grahams. The trouble was the owners first name was not Graham. Looking at the body however, I did begin to wonder.
The next day at work Graham didn’t turn up and my increased suspicions were sooned confirmed when the supervisor received the dreaded phone call. It had indeed been Graham, riding his father’s motorbike that had been killed last night.
An ashen and sullen supervisor announced the tragic news to the team and the office mood became rather sombre. He was even more shocked to learn that I had actually attended the accident and had to literally wash his brains off the road.
I never did go to his funeral and the office was never quite the same without his vocal outbursts but at least I had the peace of knowing that we had parted on his last day on good terms.
RIP Graham. This blogg is dedicated to you!