Monday, March 22, 2010

Casual Monday Fiction 1154 words

Casual Monday

Dave sits in his beat up 1968 Cougar and inhaling a deep drag from his cigarette as he watches the good workers of Skinner Cutlery enter the building for the morning shift.

A petite woman wearing a heavy coat walks to the entrance.

"She's a looker," Dave nods.
"That little stick?" Answers Bret, sitting next to Dave in the front seat.
"Nice little body," Dave enthuses.
"You think?"
"Look at her."
They stare at her, a tiny bundle of red cloth as she hugs herself against the wind, and disappears behind the large glass door.
"Wouldn't touch that," said Bret.

Dave takes another drag and blows it out the window.

"Nice entrance for a shit-hole," Bret says.
"Never know it was such a shit-hole by the look of those doors."
"Nice doors," says Dave, a touch of sarcasm in his tone.
Bret rolls up his window, staring at the front doors. "Big fucking doors made of glass. How thick you think those things are, two inches at least? Like a freaking blast door, only glass. What the hell is that supposed to mean? I mean, they make steel cutlery in there; People sweating their asses off behind two ton presses. Lucky they don't lose a finger after a week, grease coming out of their pores with the sweat. Zits springing up all over their greasy little worker faces, sweating oil."

"They should wash their fucking hands and faces more often." Dave threw the butt out the window. “I wash my hands all day long in that place.”

"Nobody says you have to stay."
"That's right. Nobody says I have to stay.”

Bret smiles and says, "But then she'd never let you leave the job, would she, the wife? I mean, how'd you live, then, huh? Where'd the money come from? No money coming in. You sitting around the house all day breathing in the stink of diapers and cat piss. Watching, The Price Is Right and Hogan's Heroes re-runs."
"Got rid of the cats."
"You'd go bonkers in a week."
"Two weeks."
"I'd last about two weeks then I'd have to kill somebody."

Bret whistles and smiles. "Look at that one. Bingham's secretary isn't she? Oh my, oh my."

A shapely woman in a black dress and heels walks by the car and into the building.

"Gina Collins. Saw here at the Christmas party. Had a lot to drink, too," Dave says.

Bret smiles. "Ain't nobody gonna mess with her. A real woman, that one. Nobody gonna mess with her. She carries herself right, doesn’t she? See the way she walks?”

They stare at her as she disappears behind the glass doors.

“She carries herself like a woman aught to, right? Nice piece of ass, too,” Bret says.

Dave sighs and looks at his watch.

"Time to go?" Asks Bret.
"So what do you think she'd do if you left?"
"Your wife. What would she do if you just up and quit? Walked out on the job?"
"How the fuck should I know?"
"You know she'd have a bird."
"What the fuck does that mean, 'have a bird', anyway? Who the hell has a bird? What does that mean? She's gonna shit out a bird?"
"She'd have the law after you for it, wouldn't she?"
"Why? It's not against the law."
"Abandonment is. Child abandonment."
"I don't know what the fuck you’re talking about. Just shut up."

Dave lights another cigarette. They stare at a few people bunched together as they walk into the building.
"Look at the fat fuck, Freddy."
"What about him?"
"He's a disgusting pig, that's what."
A heavy set man hovers at the edge of the crowd as they talk and laugh.

"What he ever do to you?"
"I have to look at him, don't I? I can smell that fat fuck from here."
Dave looks at Bret and they burst out laughing.
"You're real benevolent piece of work, aren't you? You're a real sweet guy, Bret."
"Yeah, I'm the American freaking, Gandhi."
"Smelling people from the car. You're a fucking super hero, too. A real useful super power, you've got there."
"That's right. I'm ‘fat fuck smeller guy’. I can smell 'em a mile away."
"Wonderful power. Any others? Any more wonderful super powers? Smell farts from behind walls or something?"
"Anything having to do with smells, I can do it."
They laugh.
Bret points to a small woman carrying a bag.
"See that woman? She just farted about ten minutes ago and I can still smell it!"
"Shut up!” Dave laughs.

Dave throws the second butt out the window and checks his watch again.

"Would you ever do it, though?" Bret asked.
"Do what?"
"Walk. Just walk right out."
"On my wife or the job?"
"The whole thing. Would you?"

Dave thinks a minute. A bell rings from the cutlery plant and they get out of the car and walk toward the building.

"You wouldn't have the balls. I bet when you were a kid this is exactly what you wanted to do, right? Work in a shit-hole making piece work for the rest of your life."

Dave looks at Bret.
"You trying to piss me off?"
"I'm just asking a question. Would you ever walk?"

Dave stops outside the factory door and takes a deep breath. He looks into the lobby and back to Bret. "I love my wife and kids. The only way I'd walk is if I won the lottery or something. If inherited a lot of money. Then I'd walk in a heartbeat. But that would never happen."

“What if I told you you’ve already won the lottery?”
“What do you mean?”
“Just what I said, you’ve already won. Just by you being born you won the biggest lottery of all. You beat out those thousands of other little bastards and got inside that fucking egg and you struggled for life and came out your mother and took your first breath…and here you are.”

Dave pulls the handle on the huge glass door and walks inside. He turns and sees Bret staring in through the glass.

Dave waves at Bret to come in. He points to his watch and waves Bret in. “Come on.”

Bret backs away from the factory door and bundles himself against the cold wind.

Bret punches his card in the time clock and turns to look at Dave, but he is gone. Bret is alone in the lobby. The sound of huge presses churning echo down the hall. Bret looks at his watch, at his grease stained fingernails, his worn steel toed boots. A bell rings from inside the work floor. Bret turns and walks through the inner doors of the factory floor. The bright hard sounds of the presses clank in familiar rhythmic staccato and echo in his head as he finds his work station and stands at his place.

The End


  1. I recall working in greasy spoons and being able to wipe grease from my face after the shift and zits. I worked at Revlon on the assembly line and thought my God, an assembly line I never realized how like a galley slave job it is, just keep moving all day long, doing your assignment as fast as you can. I could not get over people doing this for years, as some at Revlon had been doing. I was glad that was more toward the end of my work years. So I never read a piece about work like that without remembering..

  2. I still have the acne scars on my face from the safety glasses and the grease...