I go to the shop floor.
It is after nine.
The Turtle is waiting for me. She is holding the whip and looking at her watch. She looks up at me and smiles.
Good morning, she says.
I don’t understand. I wait for the whipping.
Good morning, she says again, more forcefully.
Good morning, I say.
Where is the whipping?
Right, she says. Basically, today we are going to be fructuous.
She raises her eyebrows at me. She makes a strange face.
I don’t know what to say.
Fructuous, she says. Today we are going to be fructuous.
If you are going to whip me, I think, then just whip me.
Fructuous, The Turtle says. It means ‘fruitful’.
She raises her eyebrows again and makes the face. The face looks strange, like something seen through a smudged window.
I’m basically making a joke, she says.
Oh, I say. Okay.
Fructuous, says The Turtle.
Okay, I say.
Laugh, she says. Basically, laugh or I will whip you.
I laugh at her joke.
Now start working, she says. Start working or I will whip you.