© Copyright 2013 - Wingatn - Used by permission
Storycodes: Solo-M; machine; strip; naked; wrap; boxed; stuck; storage; pallet; transported; reluct/nc; X
A story from an old disk I forgot I had. I didn’t have access to the internet yet so I didn’t know other people were into stuff like this. My only inspiration was ‘News of the Weird’, Weekly World News’, and various ‘strange but true books so I wrote the kind of news stories I’d like to see.
(A.P.-Mexico) When workers loading boxes of ironing boards onto trucks outside a factory in Monterey, Mexico heard something rustling inside one of the boxes they first thought it was a rat but instead found factory worker Raphael Orega – naked, wrapped in clear plastic, wedged into a stack of similarly wrapped ironing boards, sealed in a corrugated cardboard box, and ready to ship. The hapless worker had been trapped in there for almost two days and was en route to a wholesaler in Belgium.
“It was a close call” said yard foreman Edwardo Segovia. “He didn’t have any food or water or anything so he definitely wouldn’t have survived the trip. As it was, he was pretty sore. And hungry. And he’d been sweating in that bag for two days with nothing to drink so he was REAL thirsty and he didn’t smell too good when they unwrapped him. He was ok though. Mostly he was real embarrassed about the whole thing.”
According to Orega he’d been loading a fresh roll of shrink wrap into one of the wrapping machines, a procedure that involves turning off the conveyor belt and climbing inside. Apparently he accidentally kicked the start button because the machine started suddenly before he could get clear. He twisted his body in the opening, trying to keep himself from being pulled forward, but only succeeded in hooking his shorts on a protruding flange so as he was dragged in his shorts were pulled off, taking his shoes with them. Already shirtless, the now naked worker was unceremoniously pulled into the machine and treated like just another finished ironing board headed to market.
He was quickly sealed in a plastic bag and hit with a blast of hot air that caused the plastic to shrink tight around him, binding his legs together, pinning his arms to his sides, and pulling tight across his mouth so he couldn’t cry out. Fortunately for Orega, one of the vent holes left to release trapped air from the bag as it shrank wound up near his eye so he could still breath through the void alongside his nose. But he could only writhe and moan and struggle helplessly in his snug plastic cocoon as the machinery dragged it’s wriggling bundle down a conveyer belt and dumped him into a box on top of some similarly wrapped ironing boards and strapped and stapled the box shut before sending it down a conveyer belt to the stock area. In a few moments Orega’s box was lost among hundreds of identical boxes and no one even knew what had happened.
In the stock area Orega felt his fellow workers lift his box and struggled frantically, trying to get their attention, but no one could hear him over the sound of the machinery. He was set down and heard other boxes being placed alongside and on top. He heard a machine starting and the sound of stretching plastic followed by the sound of the boxes squeezing tighter together as his box was bundled into a pallet. He heard a forklift approach and felt his pallet bumped and then lifted and carried away. He squirmed in his wrappings, trying desperately to escape or at least let the driver know what had happened, with no effect. Soon, he felt himself being lifted high into the air and felt the pallet touch down on a high shelf, well out of reach of anyone who might help him.
Trapped in his tight shrinkwrap cocoon and sealed in a nearly airtight box with a shroud of pallet wrap over that, Orega was soon drenched in sweat and fighting for breath, but could do little but lie there and hope someone noticed he was missing. He waited for hours before he heard someone calling his name and he moaned through his plastic gag as loudly as he could but they moved on and didn’t come back. Hours later he heard the machines go silent as everyone went home and he was left alone in the darkened factory, wrapped, packed, and stacked with the rest of the merchandise. He spent an uncomfortable night in storage – bound and gagged, naked and helpless, and wedged into a box two sizes smaller than he was that pressed in on him from every side, holding flat and straight and secure like any other packaged product. Every time he breathed the box and wrappings squeezed his chest and arms and he couldn’t shift his position to get any relief. He spent hours struggling and worrying until he wore himself out and finally got some sleep.
In the morning he heard the forklift taking pallets next to his to the loading dock and prayed his would be next. Soon he felt himself being lifted and taken outside and he heard the loading crew talking nearby. He squirmed and moaned to get their attention but they didn’t hear him. They loaded his pallet on a truck and closed the door and he felt the truck carrying him away. For hours he was bounced around inside his box with the weight of the boxes above driving down on him with every bump as the truck drove along roads of varying quality. He lay packaged and helpless in back whenever the truck stopped for gas or meal breaks. And he shivered through a chilly night in a motel parking lot, still naked save his thin film of plastic. In the morning he heard people moving around the truck and made more futile attempts to contact them before the truck started up and he was traveling again, getting further and further from his home and his pants.
The truck finally stopped and he lay there for a while until the doors opened and another forklift removed his pallet and carried him away. He felt his pallet settle down and he lay there for hours. He heard seagulls and realized he was at a port and was about to be locked in a ship’s hold for days or weeks, longer than he could possibly last in his box, and he made more frantic moans as he tried to get someone’s attention. As sun rose higher on he felt the box get hot and soon he was drenched in sweat again and was sure he was going to die. Finally some workers stopped for lunch and chose his pallet to sit on. Orega felt the added weight on his stack and heard them talking and squirmed and moaned with all the strength he had left and this time it worked. Someone noticed the sound of rustling plastic and cut a hole in the side of the bundle, expecting a rat to crawl out. Instead he looked in and saw an eye peering at him through a mask of tightly stretched shrinkwrap.
The loading crew quickly tore apart the bundle, extracted the box containing Orega, opened it up, and uncovered his head so he could talk. After two days bound up in tight plastic and trapped in a sealed box Orega couldn’t believe he was actually getting out on for a time he was right. Once the crew found out he was OK they left him as he was, sitting on a box, still naked and wrapped from the neck down, and subjected him to half an hour of teasing before they finally freed him from his cocoon. Despite his treatment Orega fells grateful. “I didn’t want to die like that – naked like some animal and packed and shipped like shrink wrapped ham. A few more hours in the sun and I would have been a baked ham. I’m just glad I’m still alive.”