Thursday, November 21, 2013

Prompt: A New World Sweat Shop

Anna counted each stitch in time to the clock over her head. She knew to the second when she would the hiss and feel the first tug of the feeding tube pulling out of her throat. She prided herself on not gagging. She wouldn’t give them the satisfaction. The waste tube pulled out and her port rotated closed. The injection site at her elbow was inflamed, so they had put in a wrist port on her left arm. It had hurt during her whole shift, although she tried not to move it much. She stabbed the needle in the eye of the man she had been stitching. If only…

Standing to stretch, she looked around the table. The women didn’t talk during shift changes. She rested her right hand on Mary’s shoulder, and Mary nodded slightly, never breaking her rhythm. She looked up at the clock over Jamie’s head. Two more hours. The girl was done in. Sick and pregnant, but she wouldn’t get any sympathy from them, of course. Two more hours.

Anna walked around the table and hit the button over Jamie’s chair. Jamie looked up in surprise, then understanding, then horror. She shook her head, but Anna said, “It’s done, honey. You’ve got to go home and get some rest. I can do it. Don’t you worry.”

She turned to the wall speaker. “I volunteer two hours of time. Release Jamie and I’ll take her place.”

Tears streamed down Jamie’s face as the tubes released. “No, Anna, you can’t!” She croaked when the feeding tube cleared her mouth.

“It’s okay. You’ve got to take care of that baby. I have some time off coming up.”

Jamie climbed to her feet and wrapped her arms around Anna’s neck. She began to cry in earnest. The light flashed yellow over her chair. Anna reached up to grab her arms and whispered in her ear, “Listen honey. You have to be strong. This isn’t going to last forever. And we have to be ready.”

Jamie pulled back, questions in her eyes. Anna smiled and shook her head ever so slightly. Under her breath, without moving her lips, she said, “Not here.”

She slid into Anna’s seat and forced herself to stillness as the needle slid into her wrist port and the feeding tube pushed down her throat. Two hours. She could take two hours.

Dogs in house

Time writing:
25 minutes

October word count:


  1. Prompt: A New World Sweat Shop

    Jerry stretched his fingers and looked about, trying to be surreptitious. The foreman wasn’t looking; good. He put down his half-finished grav-boot and squatted. It only took moments before he was hidden under the table.

    “Jerry?” His neighbour continued pasting together his boot. “What are you doing?”

    “Don’t worry, Wayne,” Jerry said. “You never saw where I went.” He crawled forward, in between the knees of the men and women at either side of the table. There would be vid records, of course, but they weren’t reviewed in real time.

    He bit his lip. Was the resolution good enough to have caught Wayne’s lips moving for his question? He didn’t want to leave trouble behind him. But popping back up would be worse. He had already lost nearly a minute, and he wasn’t the fastest paster in the first place. His whole section would be punished for his failure to meet their goal; but if he completed his mission, the boss’s concerns would be elsewhere.

    His head knocked against the first of the blaster elements he was expecting on the underside of the table. He pulled it down and crawled forward again. He hoped the rest were in place.

    Time writing: 20 minutes

  2. Nice and gritty! I wonder why they have tubes and injections. And what it is they are waiting for. Good suspense!