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.