by Luke Dalton
Pablo was a
laborer on a building site I once worked on. When
I was introduced to him, he seemed fairly
ordinary. I suppose he was at heart. But one
thing set him apart from everyone else: Pablo had
a real passion for riddles. Sitting in the
canteen one morning, he sidled up to me and the
Ive got a question for you, lads:
what comes once in a minute, twice in a moment,
but never in a thousand years? Ill leave it
with you, and he promptly swaggered off. By
the end of the day, everyone had forgotten about
the riddle. Pablo received bewildered looks when
he walked up with the simple words the
A few days later, I was helping a site engineer.
Hed worked out some coordinates and I was
spraying a line on the ground to mark them. About
halfway through, I nearly jumped out of my skin.
Someone was leaning right over me.
I have a mouth, but cannot speak. I have a
bed, but never sleep. I dropped the spray
can, which rolled away noisily, and looked around.
Pablo was already walking away. He looked over
Ill see if you got it at lunch!
Around this time, a crane supervisor was fired
for drinking on the job. Somehow, Pablo was
promoted. I still dont know how. Maybe it
was in exchange for leaving the site manager
alone. I saw him sauntering around in his new
I had a lot of free time during this period. One
idle afternoon, up on the roof level, I watched a
crane operator, controlling his tall machine. It
must be a fun job to do, I thought. He was
lowering sand onto a pickup below. I became aware
of shouting from the ground. I looked down. Pablo
was frantically waving up at him. He was
gesturing for him to stop. The operator switched
off the crane. He put his radio to his ear. Pablo
yelled into his own from below.
YOU LIVE IN A BUNGALOW MADE ENTIRELY OF
REDWOOD. WHAT COLOUR ARE THE STAIRS?!
It was one thing on breaks, but this was a
nonsense. At lunch time, I became aware of
OH, SO THE MAN REALISED HE DIDNT HAVE
HIS WALLET, AND NOW IM MEANT TO START
BELIEVING IN GOD?! WHY DONT YOU LEAVE ME IN
Pablo held his hands up and walked away from the
irate foreman. He approached us in the corner.
Mans walking to the shops. Halfway
there, he realises he doesnt have his
wallet. Never even checked his-
I CAN STILL HEAR YOU, PABLO! I GET A HALF
HOUR FOR LUNCH. I DONT WANT IT FILLED UP
WITH THIS CRAP!
He left the canteen and disappeared into the
cloakroom. When I went to put my boots back on, I
saw him, hunched over his phone. He had his back
to me and I could see the screen: This years
best riddles: get the brain working. With
the number of them hed looked at, youd
think he might have achieved this.