The factory


The chimney, rising high above the surrounding rooftops belches thick smoke, stark grey against the blue of the winter sky. The plume mirrors the foggy breath of the men outside clustered around the upturned oil drum being used as a brazier, the fire within chasing away the worst of the Winter chill as they stand on the picket line. Bob lights a cigarette, drawing the smoke deep into his corrupted lungs. Thirty years in the factory have taken their toll. It is why they are striking, not for more money, not for perks, but for the basic human right to be kept safe, to not be killed slowly by the job they do day after day.

Management fought the changes of course. “Too expensive, not productive!” the tired old excuses of the men who had never had to spend a day tending the machines, stoking the furnaces, safe in their executive suites. Bob takes a final drag on his fag, dropping the butt to the concrete floor, grinding it under his work boot, as looking up he sees the chimney, smoking no more, cooling like the corpse of his industry…

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