Stories

The Saw Mill – Hank Kirton

I began to dislike working at the chainsaw factory.
        After almost five months toiling on the floor, I started to notice things. Bad things involving threats of blackmail against some of the men working on the line. Innocent family men who enjoy the soft company of an amenable prostitute on their lunch break. Men who report back to work with drying saliva on their shrinking dicks. Men who need to release some steam (among other things) once in a while. The job is stressful and arduous. After a quick lunch, their moods improve. Naturally. Pleasurably. Stimulating the brain’s greedy reward system to combat the horror and boredom of working-class life. I can’t say I blame them.
        I only took the lousy job to prevent the homelessness that was breathing down my neck. It was a dire situation. I’d lost every damn thing in my life. I was barely hanging on.
        I had dropped out of college after my parents perished in a house fire. My dad had somehow knocked over an inexplicable jar of kerosene next to a burning cigar in the garage. The scenario didn’t make any sense to me but that’s what the fire marshal concluded so whatever.
        He briefly suspected arson but had no compelling evidence to justify opening a case. So it was ruled an accident. Just my poor Pop’s clumsy misadventure. Kerosene and cigars it was.
        My Mom had crashed-out on the sofa after excessive glasses of Pinot noir and died of smoke inhalation while trapped in the burning living room.
        Meanwhile, I was safely ensconced in my dorm room as the flames ate my family, five hundred miles away. So, since I had to handle the endless legalities pertaining to the deaths of my parents and destruction of the house—which had been reduced to a foundation full of charred debris—I decided to drop out of college (not that I could afford to remain there anyway). I moved into a cheap motel room (most of my possessions had been incinerated) and learned that my folks had let their life insurance lapse. They also never bothered to write a will. So, I was left with nothing but the stuff I’d carried to college and that wasn’t much. My bank account was bleeding. It seemed that my entire life had vaporized in the conflagration.
        Anyway, I was talking about work-related blowjobs.
        I still haven’t indulged in any sexual activity while on the job, which brings up another key point. We (employees) have to punch out when we break for lunch. We’re not on the company clock, therefore the time we have is our own. We should be able to spend that hour any way we see fit. Within reason. As long as we aren’t harming anyone. Sure, it’s illegal activity but it’s a victimless crime. Prostitution should be legalized and taxed and regulated anyway. Destigmatized. I don’t consider it a blazing offense. They say it’s the world’s oldest profession and I’m sure it beats working in a fucking chainsaw factory.
        The first thing you learn when you start working at Reecho Saws Inc. is that IT IS DEAFENING! It’s not just the constant testing of the chainsaws, it’s all the machines used for assembly. They SCREAM! There are fifteen primary machines on the floor and they’re all loud and never stop working. The noise levels are above 85 decibels so they have to provide OSHA-mandated earplugs, which are these soft yellow mini marshmallows that you squeeze into your ears. It’s strictly voluntary. Last week I realized that all six of the men who avail themselves of the mouthly affections of the lotwalkers never use the earplugs. To a man. It’s a funny coincidence. It’s probably tied to masculine overcompensation, which I see a lot of here. It won’t seem cool when they’re deaf in twenty years.
        When those of us that don’t troll for oral sex in the parking lot are eating in the dismal break-room, there’s a lot of discussion about what’s going on. It’s a potent mix of gossip, speculation and fevered opinion.
        Jay Nicholson, a fifty-year-old veteran of the chainsaw racket loves to joke about the goings on, “Man, it’s cold out there. I don’t know why you’d want fellatio from someone with chattering teeth, haw haw…” but I get the impression he secretly relishes the titillating situation. I don’t know why he doesn’t just join in. He’s a bachelor, unlike the six guys who choose blowjobs over stale, vending-machine sandwiches. Guess he’s afraid. Or just too cheap.
        Old Joe Stamp (72) seems passively amused by the whole thing, like he’s seen it all before. He’s the one who introduced me to the term “lot lizard.”
        Most of the female employees don’t like what’s happening at all. Meg especially is particularly uncomfortable with the sexual antics. Meg is only slightly older than myself and she seems genuinely disgusted by the whole affair, leading to rumors that she’s the prude behind the blackmail letters.
        Someone slipped notes into the lockers of the Deepthroat 6, demanding that they cease and desist all suck-off activity or their wives would receive letters disclosing their noontime flagrante delicto. She did this without knowing if the men were in open marriages or not. Sometimes wives are understanding and open-minded about recreational sex, like my dearly departed mom. She was a trooper. And my dad got away with bloody murder.
        Not that I’m assuming Meg is responsible. Nobody knows who really wrote the threatening letters. I think Meg is okay and, because she considers me ethical and chaste in this wanton workplace, she seems to respect me. Anyway, we get along. She’s pleasant enough to talk to but since we have to shout to be heard above the industrial din we don’t really bother.
        Marsha Kofax is in her 50s and surprisingly (to me anyway) cool with the whole sex situation. She once said, “Hell, if I had a root instead of a crack, I’d be out there too. Bet your ass. It beats this shitty tuna. I hate it when they put fucking relish in this shit. Fucking disgusting!”
        Marsha works in Human Resources. She and Meg don’t get along.
        And then there’s Yvette. The notorious Yvette.
        Yvette is around thirty and worked as a machine operator for almost two years. She’s a shy, private type but friendly when she has to be. Sometimes, at the shift’s end, she and Meg would go out for cocktails together.
        When the whole prostitution scandal broke, Meg was shocked and appalled.
        But Yvette was intrigued.
        See, Yvette struggles financially. She has two kids to raise alone. Reecho Saws barely pays a living wage. I can certainly attest to that! So, one day during the midday break, she followed the men outside and approached one of the fellatio ladies and invited her for lunch at the Wendy’s down on Route 12. It’s unknown whether she paid her for the time because Yvette sought only information and advice. I assume she got it because she served her resignation notice to Reecho Management that very day.
        You can still catch her hanging in the parking lot once in a while. I often wave and say, “Hi!” and we engage in small talk. She says she’s happy and doing better financially. Kids are in school and doing great.
        Naturally, Meg is still upset by the perceived betrayal and the two don’t speak anymore.
        Yvette is something of a folk hero around here.
        Charlie Moss is one of the six lunch-break johns and he started procuring Yvette almost exclusively. I believe if he wasn’t married he’d fall in love with her. But as it is he treats her like fast food. If the blackmail bandit makes good on their threat, I can see divorce on the horizon, thus freeing Charlie to pursue Yvette on more respectable (and legal) terms.
        But that’s all speculation based on workplace scuttlebutt. This place is a hive of gossip and hearsay.
        I only pay attention to the ongoing drama to combat the crushing tedium of this fucking place. We are paid a paltry sum to suffer. We are bleeding out our limited lifespan every week, bleeding out our precious allotment of time for a slavish wage. Pledging our coerced fealty to a corporation that sees us as disposable, animated meat feeding the bottom line. Sometimes literally, like poor Abner Crabbe who lost his left hand in the metallic jaws of his meaningless task. He staggered to the reception desk in shock, pale as a ghost, dribbling a trail of bloody calligraphy behind him. It was real Industrial Revolution type shit. Gilded Age stuff. He never returned. They say he’s living in the lap of luxury thanks to a sizable court settlement. Bought a villa in Saint-Tropez. Lucky one-handed bastard.
        Of course, we had to endure endless, boring safety classes as a result of the incident. I think someone in the white-collar upper echelon got fired.
        So that was a plus. Most of those upstairs punks should be keelhauled anyway.
        Even after a shocking tragedy like that, we get lectured about safety as if any unfortunate accident is solely the result of the employee’s reckless and stupid behavior. The company does everything right and human error is to blame. As if the company isn’t run by humans. And we just take it. We take the burden of responsibility and continue our long days of drudgery like the good, contented workers we are. Happy little cogs in the bleeding meatgrinder.
        The whole silly blowjob situation is a welcome and soft distraction from the misery and tedium of the harsh workshifts we’re all trapped in.
        I mean, we’re ALL whores in a way. Maybe I should start sucking dick in the parking lot too.