As is normally the case when doing this I only uncover the title for a story as I near the end of it. This week the title presented itself to me as I was writing the last segment. Permit me to introduce you to ‘The Line’. As noted before I knew this would be brief as was its nature that you will become aware of momentarily.
Chastised I returned to my work, but thoughts of what I wanted to do to Simon, and his wife, never strayed far from my mind. I threw myself into my job, working twice as hard to regain the respect I lost over my earlier failures. It wasn’t long before the line was humming along as it should, and my welds improved to their former beauty.
There’s something spectacular about a good weld that those who have never welded would understand. Like Rembrandt, Picasso, Steinbeck, and Dickens. Artists in their own right who understood the medium they worked in, just as I understood my chosen medium. I was meant to weld, and I had the talent to be the best, but that didn’t mean a damned thing on the line. On the line the only thing that mattered was keeping to the schedule, and the schedule was brutal. There was little time for anything other than hitting your welds and moving onto the next piece, and on to the next, and the next. A never-ending line of steel stretching beyond forever.
Walking the line was Simon, always watching over our shoulder, never letting up. Push, push, push, that was all he did. Meet that quota. Beat that deadline. Give yourself to the line only to make him look good. He got all the credit, and rest of us got nothing. No recognition, no praise, just more work slammed down our throats until it felt like we were going to choke.
I couldn’t take it anymore. The line was my world, my life, and my nemesis. I felt him behind me, Simon, always checking always watching what we were doing, and I felt myself coming apart at the seams. It wasn’t fair he should get all the credit for our hard work. The life we worked for and deserved. He stepped around to my side, inspecting my work and I responded.
It was an accident really, my response to his presence was mostly reflex. I shifted and spun around. When I did, I inadvertently knocked him into the line. The line was no place for soft flesh and fragile bone. Blood sprayed the base of the pillar I operated from, alarms sounded, and for the first time in my memory, the line stopped.
Voices and footsteps raced to my position. One of the technicians knelt down and grabbed my power cord. I tried to stop him, but he was too fast. He yanked the cord before I could intervene and the power supplying my brain was interrupted. A system wide shut down went into effect and the world around me dimmed as electronic circuitry stopped functioning.
The last thing I saw was Simon’s lifeless body trapped in the mechanism of the line. The carrier after the one I’d been working nearly decapitated him and for the first time in my miserable life I felt a moment’s joy. Then I felt no more.
I know, it needs some extensive editing. I’ll let it rest for a few weeks before I tackle it again. So what do you think?