The gray steel spanned great lengths. Conveyer platforms churned up magical boxes, fat slabs of black fiber glass encasing what is most important; the screen! An army, inciters of vision pumped down the flattened rubber track, running them to the next arm that finished the job and sped them onto yet another. If the arm had conscience it would revel in the glory of finishing the job.
My father, Bruno, walked the concrete between these rows of conveyors and arms and boxes with glossy screen. He managed the inspectors and technicians, ensuring that the scheduled output of boxes, which will soon flash visions, was up to par. It was indeed. The newest box was flatter than the norm and quite vibrant in comparison to more decayed models. His toe tapped a tube; glass rolling. He bent and picked it up. He was not quite sure what it was doing on the floor, all by its lonesome. This wasn’t a good sign. If one had hopped off the assembly and went loosey goosey from the unit…this was a bad sign and SOMETHING was not up to par as he had expected upon first glance. He recognized the possibility that sure, it was most likely one box with a missing tube and it would account for only one faulty television abstaining from colorful display. But if more boxes began to share the same problem and more cathode ray tubes began to join in the free radical summersault on the oily pavement… then the accrued return, shipping, and replacement production would be the skinning of his ass. They had a deadline to meet and a nation of department chains to stock before the Holidays, and this being September, well ho! Three months is right around the corner. Mush, mush you automated arms!
But if you’re going to do a job right, do it right the first time around, and Goddamn if more cathode ray tubes escape the cage of glass. Then the evidence of his knowledge on this possibility – the security feed that ran to another screen (not manufactured by this factory, believe it or not) would indict his professionalism and pinpoint him as the culprit that neglected the prevention of a costly recall, during the red periods after the fucking Holidays! Fucking lose – lose situation! Pull the plug and halt the assembly!
He hustled off towards the window that shined its fluorescence, bouncing light from a mountain of spreadsheets stacked on top of his desk. The paper still clung to the side strip with holes that gripped the perforated river of paper through the chunk-car-chunk of an ink ribbon rub down, and beside this hub where he could trace the success of his management through numbers, was the yellow lever that stopped it all and made the white and grey arms take a hissing break.
The gears hummed a low note and the conveyors slowed and stopped and peace was too much to ask for – an arm held still the glass pane a centimeter from the skeletal encasement of the box and a visceral static did spark and pop and blew the glass into shards. The shards carried the microcosm of lightning storm on its back until it slapped into the hot wires, the hot wires that talked to the arms and gave it the day’s direction. The heat jumpstarted a black simmer and burst of red-then quickly to a blue flame which hustled down the length of a friction rubbed conveyor. The rubber did not hinder the conduction of the dance party of angry static and electron charges. The whole of the place, every arm and box exploded and the symphony of flame and smoke and debris consumed the body of my ducking father, who pulled down his face and gripped the tip of his hard hat. This is the machine’s consequence for a moment taken to reflect upon, not participate in production. The shockwaves of angry televisions put a sinking dent in the