CHAPTER 1 – III
The next morning the meat packers arrived at their stations after a night in which (for most of them) the number of drinks they each consumed exceeded the number of hours slept. This was not unusual. Soldering through the early-morning fog, both literal and figurative, buttons and valves and levers were manipulated into the ‘ON’ position and machines awoke with either a screech or a drone, giving the factory the sounds reminiscent of life and death alike. One such machine arousal was that of the grinder which lay mere inches from Abe Sir’s left foot. The workers were unaware that Abe was lying on the meaty mattress, and so was Abe; that is, until the grinder began to swallow his lower extremities. His screams simply joined the chorus of machinery coming to life that morning. He had no heroic final words, just gasps and gulps, but his mind raced as his vision dimmed:
I’m sorry I couldn’t come through, Urissa, my doll
You are the co-lead in my life’s play
And for the workers everywhere, yearning to stand tall
I hope to at least ruin Harry’s goddamned day
The fate of Abe had not become clear until that afternoon when parts of his clothing appeared in the gnarled output. He was the only employee not to show up that day so the deduction was quick, as was the unanimous decision not to report it because calling attention to the matter could potentially ruin a whole batch and cost them a day’s pay. Instead, there was a moment of silence, a few prayers, and the pouring out of breast pocket hooch into the already tainted meals-to-be. That was that. A few tattered clothes remained and Abe’s friend/co-worker, Geno Morten, collected them to return to Urissa.
Goddammit, Abe, what did you do?
What did Harry Augustina do to you?
My love – so heavy and innocent
This moment’s not permanent
What’s pertinent is that
As I sit here in this tenement
I begin to make some arrangements
Within hours Urissa had spread word all over the city, mounting resistance to Harry Augustina – that no good thug and murderer. His foes wound up as sandwich meats, for Christ’s sake. Within days the public had rallied behind her claims and began boycotting Augustina’s meats, causing significant harm to his edibles empire. This completed step one of her plan. Next was to reach out to her two brothers – young men of great ability, like herself – to come and aid her in the next stage of her vengeful assault on the factory owner.
Some disagree whether it is good to be tough or tender
Your parents, your partners, your children
It’s one thing for the lendee, another for the lender
Yet there is wriggle room for your meat vendor