Skip to main content

Six Sentence Story: Eternal

A old-fashioned black typewriter
It's time once again for another Six Sentence Story. Each week, Denise from Girlie on the Edge gives a prompt word and invites all to write a six sentence story based on the prompt. This week's prompt is "eternal," and at first I was thinking that would result in a deep, meaningful story--and then I got another idea. 

****************
Sure, she had worked before, doing the typical early-teen jobs of the time in Oregon--like babysitting and strawberry picking--but this would be her first, get-an-actual-check-at-the-end-of-each-week kind of job. She was dressed in the required uniform: the (soon to be not-) white apron; the oh-so-attractive hair net (topped off by the are-you-kidding-me hard hat); with the day-glow orange, squishy, yet strangely uncomfortable, earplugs in her hand, ready to be inserted once she entered the cannery. 

She carpooled with some friends, and they arrived at the parking lot in the dark, in time for the 11 p.m. start of the graveyard shift. Entering the cold, cavernous building, they were corralled into the lunch room, where they went through the brief orientation ("Safety first, people!"), then were led out to their stations. 

She and her friends were belt workers, which meant that for the next 8 hours, with the exception of one short break and a slightly longer lunch break (Can it even be called lunch at 3 a.m.?), they would be standing alone, one to a belt, watching the fresh-from-the-field beans go by, scooping out any non-bean as the endless sea of green rolled on to its next station. The mind-numbing monotony of the task (and believe me, you do not want excitement on the belt, because excitement comes in the form of [hopefully] dead rodents and snakes which need to be removed from the beans), combined with the dull drone of the machinery, was enough to convince her that an education was definitely a good thing; no way was she going to make this an eternal career. 

Comments

  1. Nothing convinces people to do the right thing like seeing first hand what's going to happen to anyone who refuses to play the game

    ReplyDelete
  2. Funny! I was just thinking of my first job at the cannery this week. I don't know what prompted that thought. I never worked on the belt. Instead I worked on the vertical back standing arm against arm with those beside me. This was in the days before ear plugs and hard hats, at least for my job. I agree that working at a cannery probably motivated many a person to seek high learning.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What was the job on the vertical back? I "worked my way up" from that individual belt to a belt working next to people (cutting beets into smaller pieces, if I remember right), to filling cans, and then finally quality control (which was so much better, because I could walk around.) I was completely flabbergasted that there were "old" women (probably younger than I am now) who came back year after year to work graveyard on the belt!

      Delete
  3. ah the third shift (even better, in a 'factory') an experience not that many people have had (going to work late at night, as you said, lunch at 3am and... one of the small pleasures, when the architecture permits...the growing light of dawn.)
    I love the show 'How It's Made' but every time, when Phyllis is watching with me, I will say, '8 hours a day' at any horrendously repetitive job function.
    Good Six

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't watched "How It's Made," but it sounds interesting--to watch for 30 minutes or an hour, not to spend 8 hours a day doing! :-)

      Delete
  4. There's nothing like a dose of this to make you know you want to work your way up the ladder. Excellent six!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was surprised that there were "old" women who came back year after year to work graveyard on the belt. I knew that wasn't for me!

      Delete
  5. I am amazed at your vivid description in your story.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Nicely done! Instant memories summer after freshman year in college. I lived on campus
    and a few of my friends got a job working 3rd shift in a nearby factory. "Come work with us Denise. We'll work all night then go to the beach all day". Uh, huh. I didn't last a month, lol. I think it takes a very special person to work that shift!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't believe I actually was able to work that shift; I value my sleep too much now.

      Delete
  7. Thankfully I've never worked in a factory. I'd probably fall asleep standing from the monontony. I have though worked the graveyard shift and didn't much care for it but I liked the job and the people I worked with.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sometimes, my eyes would see the belt as stationary and I would have the sensation of moving. Weird, weird, weird.

      Delete
  8. I spent my summer between high shcool and freshman year at college in a sweaty, hot, dirty, disgusting aluminum factory. One summer did it for me! Great memory jogger. Good six.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooh, I can imagine the metallic smell! Probably as bad or worse than the smell when the cannery processed the pickled beets.

      Delete
  9. My first "real for a paycheck" job was working the counter at a Roy Rogers fast food restaurant when I was in high school. Moved to the new Burger King when it opened the next year. I absolutely hated working in fast food. After that I did produce clerk in a supermarket where I learned many things about produce and many things about the bugs that come with produce. Banana spiders. That's all I can say.
    My third shift job in life was data entry for a major calendar company. Weird weird hours and schedule. But the quiet and relaxed atmosphere in the building? That was cool.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yikes to banana spiders! I imagine the data entry job was very nice after that.

      Delete
  10. Great six! Yuck to the (hopefully) dead rodents and snakes! I've worked nights before, and it's such a bizarre period to earn a living. As you wrote: "Can it even be called lunch at 3 a.m.?" Yay, my SSS was also about beans!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Scooping animals off the belt was fortunately not an every night occurrence. Yuck is right! I'm off to read your Six Sentence Story now!

      Delete
  11. Ash yes. Factory work highly motivated me to seek higher education.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Conversations are so much nicer when more than one person does the talking. :-) Please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts; I'd love to hear from you!

Popular posts from this blog

Ten Things of Thankful: Even in Times of Uncertainty

  A railroad switch point on the tracks at the Golden Spike National Historic Park There is a lot I don't know. I don't know who will lead the United States for the next four years (at the time I'm composing this post, that hasn't been determined yet.) I don't know when covid cases will stop rising in my state and start decreasing. I don't know how challenging situations will turn out. There is much uncertainty in life. Living in limbo-land is hard. It's emotionally exhausting. It can be immobilizing. My body seems to think chocolate is the answer, but I know that isn't a long-term solution. What do I need in times like these? I need to REMEMBER . 1. R esilience. People are resilient. I am resilient. I'm thankful for resilience. 2. " E ach Life That Touches Ours for Good." So many people, both those I know in "real life," and those I have only met virtually, have taught me, encouraged me, and been examples to me. I'm thankful

Ten Things of Thankful: #GeneralConference Anticipation

  Jesus Christ stands in an crowd of kneeling worshippers, with the caption "Peace be unto you."  source In last week's post, I expressed gratitude for some things that hadn't actually happened yet, but that I hoped would soon. This week, I'm thankful that some of those things have happened--and I'm still holding out hope that the others will. In addition, I'm thankful in advance for other events.  To revisit last's week's anticipatory items: My air purifier was repaired, the company sent it back to me, and I'm thankful for clean air. The car wash company accepted responsibility for the accident, have authorized a check to be written to the repair company, and I'm thankful I have an appointment scheduled for the new bumper to be installed. The shop did get the van repaired, though not in time for me to renew the tags before the end of September. However, I'm thankful that the state of Utah offers a temporary registration for only $6 whi

Ten Things of Thankful: Another Trip Around the Sun

  A mixed bouquet of pink and purple flowers sits on a round table Last weekend, I celebrated another birthday. I think the earth moves around the sun faster and faster each year, but I can't prove it. Before another minute goes by, let me share my Ten Things of Thankful list for this week. I'm thankful for family: A birthday dinner with my daughter Birthday calls/texts from family members Beautiful flowers from my children A Facetime call with grandchildren. (My grandson repeated three words the entire time: "I am three!" At one point, I told him I would call him Groot.😉)  Drexel and his laid-back nature (The following video shows Drexel on the floor, while the robotic vacuum repeatedly runs into him and starts up his hind leg and tail. Drexel never gets up.) John and his engineering skills. Yesterday, the bishopric of our ward (church congregation) drove around the neighborhood and (taking care to observe covid recommendations) passed out doughnuts to everyone. Eac