Boomtown had a new mayor and Paul hoped that this time maybe something would change. He’d worked at the abattoir for too many years to think about and he knew it wasn’t doing him any good. He hoped he wasn’t like all the other workers that he watched every morning slowly shuffling along the dank dismal corridor, their sole ambition to make the clocking on machine go ‘ding’ before the horn sounded for the start of the shift. The shit you got from the wage office if you clocked on late was far worse than anything you got splattered with from the poor beasts they ‘processed’ in this place. “Ohh hurry up” he thought (or did he say those words out loud?) as yet another moron dropped their time card.
Looking around the changing room he saw no glint in the eye, no outward sign of any ambition in his work mates. If only he knew the reality. If only he knew that every single person who worked in the godforsaken place felt and thought exactly the same way that Paul did. They all wanted out, they all wanted a life that was different from the one they endured day after day, week after week, year after year. Like them, Paul had his dreams but they were such complex dreams: dreams within dreams that offered him so much promise. In the alternative universe inside his head, Paul felt no caution. Every night he succeeded in waking himself up and living the golden years he yearned for….years that would pass him by so slow, without the boredom and without the self-defeating fears of his tortured reality. And every morning when he woke and realised that nothing had changed, he cursed himself and slid a little further into despair.
Someone bumped into him and he was shaken from his reverie. For a moment he couldn’t see the wood for the trees….not sure where his day-dreams ended and reality began. Anger swelled from somewhere deep and primal….he’d spit in the eye of any fuck who did that again……or should he be the bigger man and gruffly accept the apology that was offered? His mind wandered and the moment was gone…his unwitting assailant making a dash for the door before fists started flying.
Paul took a step to follow – to leave through the door on the left and enter the slaughter room beyond, just as he did day after day. But something made him stop. Should he take the door on the right? Walk out, turn his back on this place once and for all? Maybe yes he could? Or maybe no? Paul stood there alone….the fluorescent light over his head had been broken for months and the light flicked on and off erratically across his slumped shoulders. The indecisive light matching his indecisive mood. In that instant he felt a rush of blood to the head – he re-lived the newsreel of his team winning the league earlier in the week and he felt he could tear down the sky. He took the door on the right and as he stepped into the street, he swore to himself that never in million years would he set foot in that place again.