Warranty Issue

250-word story

Marques had just finished eating when Devon walked into the lunch room and said, “You remember replacing those bad valves last hitch?”

Marques looked up from his phone. “Yeah I remember. I remember you riding me and Carlos to get it done, too.”

Devon tried a smile that ended up a grimace. “Since it’s a warranty issue, we gotta send the old ones back.”

“Dinger said to shit-can ‘em.”

“Goddamnit, Dinger never checks his fucking email,” Devon said. “You shit-canned all of ‘em?”

“Yeah. All of ’em. Why would we keep a bunch of bad valves around?”

Devon scratched his stubble. “We’re talking thousands of dollars here.”

Marques looked at his phone.

“So all we got is new valves?” Devon asked.

Marques sighed. “Shit ton of ’em. Brand new, in the box, and on the shelf.”

Devon pulled a piece of paper from his back pocket. “I got a list of how many of each size we need to send back.” He slid the paper onto the table.

Marques looked at it.

“You sure we don’t have any old ones out there?” Devon asked. “You coulda missed some.”

“There aren’t any to miss,” Marques said.

“We need to send the old valves back,” Devon said. He pushed the list toward Marques. “It’s a warranty issue.”

Marques stood up. “It’s an honesty issue. You find someone else to fuck up some new valves to send back, or do it yourself, I don’t care, but I’m not playing that game.”

© Copyright 2020 by Jim Latham