Down At The Factory Larry Lynch

Every day since I've been here, I march down to that prick's office, which is at the end of a very long assembly line. I don't know any of the other's names, but they all look familiar. Anyway, they all turn and watch me go. Some assholes turn and tell me to get back to work, and others start crying 'cause they now how far behind the line gets if some one stops. But I keep telling them, I'm not supposed to be here, and they stare at me like fuckin' crazed animals or something.

Every step I take there's pain. It's so fucking hot in this place, and the insides of my thighs are chaffed and raw. They burn when they rub together or when the black cover-alls we are issued get sweaty and stick to your legs and back. There's a blister on my ankle that won't heal, and I can feel the skin peeling off it every time I take step. And it's hot - fucking hot.

From time to time I think I see him walking down the line, and I know he stands behind me and watches over my shoulder. But for the most part, he sits in his office and watches page after page of computer paper reel off a printer and fold neatly on the floor. It never stops. He just keeps placing the stacks of print-outs against the wall. The fucker never takes a day off and always closes the curtains behind his desk when he sees me coming.

He's a fat, ugly little shit. I mean, I'm not what you call slim, but this guy should take a look in the mirror. And those sweaters he wears - I wouldn't be caught dead in one. When I was married, my wife used to buy me sweaters like that at Christmas, and I told her, "Look, don't buy me anymore of those fucking ugly sweaters." I never meant to make her cry, but she got the hint.

He never sweats. It's hotter in his office than on the line, he's wearing one of those ugly sweaters, and he never sweats. There's an air conditioner in his office, and it's almost as loud as that damned printer. "Does that thing work?" I asked him once. He just makes a face like he can't hear me over all the noise. Smart-ass fucker. So, one day I say to him, "Listen, I'm not supposed to be here." "What?" he says, and shrugs and nods to the air conditioner. So I repeat myself, louder, a lot louder, and he says he will look into it. That was a week ago. Everyday I go back and there's still no answer.

When I get back to the line there's a lot of dirty looks and sweating and some crying. People mutter to themselves a lot here, too. When I'm away from the line, some people try to do my work and theirs too, and others are fuckin' crying 'cause they now they can't keep up. There's no way of stopping this line. It runs all night, every fucking night, that's all we every work around this goddamned place is night shift, and that fuckin' line never stops except for a few minutes at lunch.

You can barely hear the lunch whistle over the noise. No one wears a watch and there is no clock. When the whistle goes, everyone stands around looking at each other wondering if their ears are playing tricks on them. When the line stops there is a mad rush for the lunch room. All at once everyone clamors for the metal stair case that leads to the lunch room. The staircase is only wide enough for one person and the hand railing is hot to the touch. Steam rises up through the metal grated treads and you have to squint to see where you're going and so your eyeballs don't get burned. The blister on my foot kills me as my shoes flops on my foot when I climb the stairs. I'm gonna mention that to him as well - there's no need to have the lunchroom way the fuck up here.

Inside the room there are no chairs and paper bags with everyone's name on them are heaped in a pile in the middle of the floor. Everyone panics and thrashes to find the one with their name on it before lunch is over and the line starts moving again. There's a lot of shoving and clawing for a few bitter, salted crackers and some bread. The first day I was there, I never found mine until the line started and lunch was over. The next day I found it faster by elbowing my way to the top of the stairs and stepping over people to get there first. I took two bags, and the salty crackers caked the inside of my mouth. I gagged and before I could get to the fountain, lunch was over. Fuck.

The next day I was fiercer, pushing people aside, getting to the top, with the scorching railing burning into my side and leaving welts on my arms and on my hands. Get out of the way you fuckin' assholes! I devoured the bread and crackers before the whistle went, and rushed outside the room to get a drink from the fountain while the rest were still jostling for their bags. The fountain runs all the time, but for some reason when you lean over to take a drink, the flow shrivels up, and you have to stretch your lips under the spout cover to even get them wet, and then the damn water is hot and stinks like rotten eggs. So, all day my mouth feels like someone shit in it, and I'm thirsty and hungry, and crackers and bread sit like an anchor somewhere between my stomach and my throat.

Back on the line there are more black boxes piled next to my station than before I went to lunch. I haven't a clue how they get there or where they come from. I'm not even sure what the hell it is we make here and I honestly don't give fuck. I don't plan on staying long so I just keep doing what I'm told until I get the fuck out a here. The boxes weigh a ton and are filled with metal bars. My job is to climb a ladder and dump the dark metal bars into a vat where they are melted. The boxes are too heavy to carry so I have to dump the bars one at a time. There's no gloves here and my hands get black and I'm always getting metal slivers stuck in them. Further down the line I see people pouring the molten metal in to molds while others drill, grind, polish, whatever. The air here stinks of sweat and steam, and sparks fly from grinders and the cooling metal. And all the while the fucking conveyor never stops, never fucking stops.

At the end of the line, the shiny finished pieces of metal pass through a hole in the wall on the conveyor and vanish. Don't know where, couldn't care less, 'cause I ain't staying. I'm going back to my old job, and I'm gonna tell that no good prick that too.

I wish I could remember what the hell happened anyway, how the hell I got here. I get like that sometimes, you know, forgetful. I'll drink too much and forget where I was , or who I was with, even forget to go to work in the morning. Don't have that trouble here. I just seem to wake up and here I am., hands all fuckin' black, legs all chaffed, and that fuckin' prick sitting up there watching that paper coming out of that printer.

Some days I'd wake up and couldn't remember where I left my car, or how I got home. Woke up one morning and the wife was gone too - well piss on her! If I was late for work, which I was, lots of times, the guys would cover for me. If I wasn't feeling so shit-hot, I'd go lay down somewhere and they'd cover for me too. A real good bunch of guys. They used to tell me to take it easy, tell me that some night I wasn't gonna make it home, and kill someone else and myself too. I said, "Fuck off. You're crazy. Never happen." I told the wife the same thing. All that woman ever did was yap and complain, yap and complain. So what? I work hard, I should be allowed to enjoy myself and do whatever the fuck I want.

Let me tell you: it's a long day in this place. There were long days at my other job, but this is a fuck of a lot worse. I can't tell where one day ends and the next begins. All I know is that when I finally get close to emptying the last fuckin' box into that fuckin' vat, that's when everything gets fucked up. It's like I can never remember the end of the day and going home and going to bed. I never remember emptying the last fuckin' box. Never.

I sleep good though. But it don't seem to do no good 'cause all night I dream that I'm working. I swear, when I wake up my feet are aching, and I got new burns on my hands from the railing up to the lunch room. And while I'm asleep, I can feel the sweat running down my back and down the crack of my ass and sting as it runs into the raw patches on the inside of my thighs. And when I wake, I'm right back on the line, and the pile of boxes is bigger, and my hands are blacker, and the fuckin' blister on my foot is so sore I can hardly stand up. And though I think it's not possible, this fuckin place seems hotter than the day before, and that's when I start down the floor.

So. Today I finally had enough, and I said to myself, I'm gonna find out once and for all what the fuck is goin' on here, and that prick better have some answers. As usual the others are urging me back to work, and I can see them starting to panic, and I hate them more everyday. I could see the shiny, molded metal heading through the wall on the conveyor, and I could see that big-feeling prick closing the drapes on the window behind his desk when he saw me coming.

That printer buzzes back and forth like a chain saw and keeps spitting paper out on the floor in piles. The air conditioner was howling and blowing hot air. He stood there checking off names on the print-outs as they poured out.

"So what did you find out?" I asked him.

"What?" he said and cocked his head and nodded to the air conditioner. Fuckin' smart ass. I roared and repeated myself.

"About what?" he said.

"You know about what," I told him. "I'm not supposed to be here. I wanna know when I'm going back!" I really let that prick have it, and he knew fuckin' well that I was all done fuckin' around.

He went behind his desk and opened the drapes and told me to come have a look. I went over to where he was standing and looked through the window. The conveyor that went through the all with all those polished pieces of metal came out on the other side and was the start of another fuckin' assembly line. The people wore the same black cover-alls that everyone on our side wore, and they worked as frantically, and their backs were soaked in sweat. They took the shiny shapes of metal and melted them down. They poured them into rectangular casts and let them cool. When the bars of dark metal were cool, they were put into black boxes at the end of the line. The same fuckin' boxes I was unloading every-fuckin'-day!

Then, that smug, fat, prick leaned close to me and said he didn't think that I was going anywhere. I could smell the bourbon on his stinking breath; I know bourbon when I smell it - I drank enough of the fuckin' stuff. And the fat fucker's face was rutty and pock-marked. I can still hear mother telling me when I was a teenager to quit picking at the zits that covered my face.

I was gonna tell that fuckin' prick where he could go, only I thought I might never get out of here.

Email Larry Lynch - - The Larry Lynch Main Page - - The Inditer Index - - The Inditer Main Page