Day 3: Write a story that predates 1950.
Harold closed his eyes, steadied his hands, and deeply inhaled that odd metallic and oil smell that permeated the factory air.
“Harold, can I speak to you for a moment?”
Harold opened his eyes and glanced up the conveyor belt toward Donald, and down the conveyor belt toward Percy. He sat up straight and glanced at the factory wall.
“Of course, Mr. Clark.”
Harold grabbed a dirty oil rag as he stood. He tried to smudge the grease off of his hands as he walked from the assembly line, trailing Mr. Clark to his office. He found a clean, or relatively clean, section of the rag and wiped the sweat out of his face. He stuffed the rag into a pocket as he entered Mr. Clark’s office. Harold paused in the doorway, as Mr. Clark took his seat.
“Please, Harold, sit down.”
“Harold, you know what this is about, don’t you son?”
As Harold held Mr. Clark’s gaze, he couldn’t help but notice how weary Mr. Clark had come to look. Harold noted that Mr. Clark must have been around his father’s age, an age where a good night’s rest and a smile might make a man look thirty, but one bad day, and every worry painted a man’s age across his face. Mr. Clark’s stresses had become deeply engrained into his furrowed brow, his pursed lips, the crinkled skin surrounding his eyes. But for now, Mr. Clark’s face was soft. Sympathetic.
“Yes, sir. I appreciate you keeping me on as long as you did.”
Harold reached for Mr. Clark’s hand as he stood, taking his final walk back to his small locker, as many had before him in the preceding weeks. He washed his hands with the bright orange, grainy bar, the only thing that really gets the oil off, and looked over the floor. He counted the children among the other line workers, and said a silent prayer for their families. He replaced his coveralls with a proper shirt and folded them neatly to put in his lunch bag. He grabbed his hat off the hook, and began the slow walk home, to his mother who would be starting dinner with the same ham bones and beans they’d had every other night this week, and to his father who would fall asleep before dinner was ready, but claim he was just resting his eyes if someone were to suggest he go to bed.