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Reach Pull

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There’s a town in a border country. It has no name, at least not to me. It’s a paycheck for honest work. Or dishonest work. Doesn’t really matter as long as I get the tape on the box before it’s stolen away by the flow of the machine, the conveyer belt. I don’t know where it goes. I don’t know what’s inside. I just do my shift. Reach to the back of the box, pull to the front: it’s sealed; send it on its way. Reach, pull. Another: reach, pull. Another: reach, pull. You learn to love repetition. Learn to be fast, be efficient, be worth more than your paycheck. Miss one box, that’s it, you’re done. No paycheck here means you’re out of luck, you’re out of town: left stumbling to whatever lies beyond the border. No one would find the body. I work my shift. Reach, pull: onto the next. Reach, pull: the warehouse groans, not that there’s life in it. It’s all a machine and I’m a part of it. I don’t speak, like there’s anyone listening. Sometimes I whistle, quiet, simple tunes, really, I’m no musician, but it’s all consumed by the machine: all sound, all hope, all life, it all goes. Reach, pull: I follow the music of the machine; feel the harmony of every part and every sound coming together. I am the Crescendo. Reach, pull: every worker fades away; a box on a conveyer belt, a clean coat of paint that chips to pieces on a machine that doesn’t stop, doesn’t die. But we do. I reach. I pull. I work my shift. Because with every reach, with every pull, the sun falls over the horizon and you’ve got money in your pocket, you’re a step closer to getting out of town and surviving the walk to wherever you call home; or wherever you’ll make home. So I endure. I survive. I embrace the machine that enslaves me; I obey the tall shadows that watch over me. I reach. I pull. I work my shift until I’m home.




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