Charlie caught himself looking at his rusty , formerly gold , pocket watch for the eighth or so time that morning. He quickly returned it to the back pocket of his worn jeans , as not to give the foreman reason to write “Charles Bastel” on one of those new pink slips the factory had recently begun making use of. Charlie found the prospect of his fourth termination that year , august had yet to reach her hight mind you, rather amusing .It seemed to befit the grey walls of the building and the dusty light shining through its windows, the smell of sweat and oil seeping into his lungs, the roaring of the unforgiving machines and the drabness of the mere cogs that were the purposeless drones maintaining them . He didn’t really know many of them , nor did he care to. “Why bother?” he thought “I won’t be here much longer than they will”. Of course there were always bound to be acquaintances , those with whom he spent his lunch hour discussing sports, current events, family and other things of such trivial nature .A sharp cry came echoing from the side of the building that concerned itself with the production of metal sheets mockingly bright and shiny . Another hand lost to the noble goal of reaching the quota. No one really cared , excepting the amputee , accidents weren’t uncommon and in their eyes it was merely a faulty piece in need of replacement .Charlie was happy he folded boxes .
Temporary as it was, the lunchbell’s glorious ringing came as metallic and punctual as it always did , salvation , though fleeting as it always was .The mess hall was very grey and very symmetrical . At the end of the hall between two equally dissected blocks of seating ,there hung on the wall hung a framed photo of company founder Arthur Servamerc , black hair combed back , gel applied . He was better looking and younger than he had any right to be as founder of a company that employed 500 people. His jaw was strong, not flowing into his neck creating an oval profile as it did with most, defined and sharp yet slightly curved . High cheek bones sharpening the overall form of his face and unwavering dark brown eyes gave the heir of cunning and intelligence , which even Charlie had to admit was a completely accurate assumption to be making . Most workers disliked him somewhat but Charlie hated him . He was reminded of this as he walked by the picture, lunch tray in hand , on his way to sit with his regular lunch companions . “Charlie, thought we might be seein you here” Carlton said ,as though there was a reasonable chance that he wouldn’t show up for lunch . “I wouldn’t miss … bland soup and a potato for the world . You and Leonard should know that by now.” it came from his smirking mouth. He rather liked Lenny and Carl , they were the closest thing to friends he had at the factory .Lenny was fairly lanky blond and blue eyed ,had the hands of a piano player and the job security of an accountant ( a lot) , while Carlton dark haired and dark of complexion ,Italian maybe, had a workers build and the corresponding job. Carlton had even worked with him in another factory few years back and they’d gotten along well then to. Lenny looked up from his hand sized carving of a dog he’d been working on for about two weeks now . The jury was still out but to Charlie it looked like a German Shepard . The snout looked elongated and triangular ,the ears shot straight up and something about those eyes exuded loyalty .The rest of the hound was still rough but Lenny would get around to it as he always did. His previous masterpieces included : a bird that gave the impression of being perpetually on the cusp of the first note in his grandiose song, the pantheon carved into a mountain made of dogwood and Alexander the great being eaten by lions .He disliked Alexander the great. “So Charlie how was your work day anything especially boring ?” he asked in that same slightly sarcastic tone that both Charlie and Carl had been using. It underlined the conversation with a certain witty sophistication. “Someone lost his hand again .” “Well that’s just mundane don’t you think ?” He wasn’t really asking . The conversation continued much like this until founder Arthur Servamerc came striding into the mess hall in that smug confident “behold me” sort of manner I hated so much. This was a rare occurrence , sadly much more so than a severed hand or a dead worker and also sadly much less so than someone being given a sick day. Whenever this happened he usually , from what Charlie had seen and had been told, gave a well articulated speech about why workers were important or why his company were at the forefront , the proverbial mountaintop of some new field it was working on. He started out regularly enough with” You are the hardened backbone of this company which I founded a measly 7 years ago . You support the company lending it both stability and viability . Hardworking everymen , fathers and husbands .” But then ”This is why I regret to inform you that due to new machinery we must cut one hundred of your jobs by the 20th to maximize our capital I’m sure you understand. That is all.” As the room was slowly being flooded with the realization of what had just happened the ,the tides taking some sooner than others, Charlie watched Servamerc closely .The hint of a smile that could be seen creeping up his face did more to disfigure his beauty then scars or burns would ever be able to.