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Factory Man

My God, Raymond thought. Two hundred people, one hundred machines, one building, another small town doomed.

He lowered his head and fought back tears as he thought of his staff. Gina would cry, Bob would start swearing, and Jim would shrug his shoulders, taking it like everything else without complaint. Jim was Raymond’s favorite. When he became plant manager ten years ago he’d asked what his staff expected from him and Jim replied, "Ray, all we want is for you to be a factory man.

You’re one of us now. Just be a straight shooter."

How did it come to this? He'd ran the numbers with management at headquarters several months before and knew closing down was the right financial decision, but couldn’t quite bring himself to drink the corporate cool-aid. What do you tell the man who has worked here thirty five years and will be out on the street? What do you tell the kid out of high school who wanted a decent paying job, but now has to settle for minimum wage? What do you tell the town whose survival hinges on you?

Raymond used his fingers to wipe away the tears. They can’t see you like this. They’re counting on you for strength. After today, we’re all going to need it. He looked up towards his closed office door and knew down the hall in the cafeteria everyone was waiting, probably wondering why he’d called a special meeting.

This is it, he thought. Time to face the music. All you can do is tell them the truth and be a factory man.

Story by:

Paul Petersmark

submitted at 5:03am

18 May 2010

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