Thursday, January 04, 2007

Entry #5

Once Upon A Time
By Herschel Cozine

Once upon a time the building hummed with well oiled machinery. Twenty-four hours a day, six days a week, the building was alive with people—and their dreams.

Peggy, a young widow with two preschool girls, worked the drill press. This week a pair of shoes for Denise. Next week, or perhaps the week after, gloves for Melissa. They could be bought for a good price at the thrift store.

Mike, a high school dropout, kept the machinery running. There weren’t too many jobs for young men with limited education. He lived alone in a room above a garage. He watched a black and white TV while eating burgers from MacDonalds.

Phil, a one armed ex-football player. He kept a fatherly eye on Peggy, ready to step in if she ever needed protection. His own daughter died of cancer a few years back. His wife was dead as well, still grieving for her daughter.

Then the company failed. A few workers watched as the president drove away in his limo, leaving them to find another job. The old building, locked and shuttered, stands as a mute reminder of better times. Phil and Mike can be found rummaging through trash bins for recyclables, and sleeping in doorways. No one knows what happened to Peggy. She moved away, to California someone said.

Listen closely and you can hear the lathes turning. And the drill press whirring. And the people. Yes. The people—and their dreams.

Once upon a time.


Jim said...

Aw, and here I was hoping for something supernatural - phantoms, or something, trapped for all time performing the same tasks over and over and over. Good story, though. I liked the highlights on the people that worked there.

S. W. Vaughn said...

How poignant! And sadly happening too often in the world.

Fran Piper said...

I liked the way you drew the characters. Just a few sentences on each, but you made me care about them.

Nice job.

Michele said...


Good people connection.

Dafath said...

ah, detroit

Jeff said...

I agree with Fran on the way you drew the characters. Good job!

Anonymous said...

Who were the some who said Peggy had moved to California? Its a very big place , California, you'd never find her with this description we need more on the location!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful work. Pitch perfect.

Anonymous said...

Lovely character piece and reminds how common this sort of run-down is these days.

SF Johnston said...

The contrasting descriptions of Phil and Mike are brilliant.

I *really* liked this story.

Anonymous said...

That was so poignant and very beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Very nostalgic. Interesting character study. Yes, some places seem to be haunted by our mark upon them.