What is that sound?
No, not the constant clatter of endlessly motoring mechanism. That's been there for so long as to be barely noticable. No, there is another sound; cutting through the silence masked by the machines. A wrong sound. A sound that does not belong.
Sometimes the other sound can be a squeak, like the endlessly repetitive chirping of some harridan bird pecking incessantly at the cranium. Or maybe a single, heart-stopping clunk as the machines splutter into morning life after the inertia of night. Perhaps an otherworldly, ear-piercing shriek will cry out as a switch is pushed too far.
But no. Today the other sound is something different. It is somehow more wrong, more other, than any before. A grating, growling harmony to the usual cacophonous clatter draws toward its source.
Where is it coming from?
From one of the many, endlessly spinning wheels? They do squeak so! But no, this sound is not from the wheels.
Is it from one of the smaller machines? The compressor? The carousels? No, their noise is intermittent at worst, not constant like this.
Could it be one of the machines themselves? A cold dread grips as realisation dawns.
The fourth machine.
Approaching, it becomes apparent that the sound is coming from somewhere in the vicinity of the fourth machine.
But what is it?
The fourth machine is running as usual, but the wrong sound still sneaks out.
Was it there?
Is it still?
Nothing but the chatter of the machines.
Turning away, of course the other sound begins again. As if mocking any attempt to discover the source of its emenation. Dread is too weak a word now. Moving closer it is apparent...
The sound is coming from inside the machine...
There's no way I can stop it.
I just work here.
I sigh and think: "We don't get that shit from the digital one", before wandering off to do summat else, safe in the knowledge that the other sound will eventually blend in to the backdrop of mechanical rattling I have become so accustomed to.
And, if the sound is a bad sound, maybe the machine will stop working. Then the booth will be 25% more quiet.