Literary Saturday Prompt #5

“Most men and women will grow up to love their servitude and will never dream of revolution.” —Brave New World by Aldous Huxley


It was a daily grind there was no doubt about it but it had always been a grind. That was life.

That was how it was.

Rolf looked about at the vast room full of men and women all bent over the machines before them concentrating on the one single item their machine produced in vast quantities.

Each man and woman had been at their respective tasks for some time. Years in fact for some.

They valued their jobs.

They worked hard for they knew any slacking off would not be tolerated and their position easily filled by any of the people cued outside waiting for a labour vacancy.

The workday was sunrise to sunset. Which meant you left home in the pre dawn darkness and returned home in the encroaching evening darkness. Sunlight meant work.

Work meant survival.

Rolf knew he was blessed to be able to work at all when so many starved and lived in makeshift shelters day and night.

Rolf and his wife Mary lived in a room above the factory. Their collective wages paid the rent and there was enough for food but nothing for anything else. This was evident from the ragged clothes they both wore but underlying the obvious poverty they lived in was the thought that any questioning of conditions or wages would be meant with dismissal and even though they worked six days a week and had very little opportunity to be a couple they knew the alternative was even worse.

Rolf lowered his head as the next batch of washers spat out of the machine to his left ready for him to stack and pack into the small boxes the bosses insisted was how it was to be done.

He fumbled momentarily hoping none of the over seers noticed that his arthritis was getting worse.

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13 Responses to Literary Saturday Prompt #5

  1. loricarlson66 says:

    Awesome story! You used the prompt so well too! I am so happy you participated.

  2. milliethom says:

    Clever story, Michael, in which you show life as a ‘daily grind’ so well.

  3. sad tale but true, brilliant piece, Michael 🙂

  4. mandy says:

    Beautifully written, Michael, and heartbreaking.

  5. julespaige says:

    A well placed dart this one. Not meaning that in a bad way. I remember my one grandmother walking up and down the stairs of her home (when I was younger and lived with her…) just to keep her joints from getting stiff. It seems that work was the goal and retirement a dream. Though my grandparents did finally retire. One can only hope that they also had some fun when they lived.

    It is a challenge to find the right quote to match the segment 🙂
    Thanks for visiting Isis… the newest addition is:

  6. RoSy says:

    I just don’t get how people are almost forced / trapped to work so hard & barely make it through life – just enough or a bit more than enough to get by – but – not move up. Kinda’ sad. :/

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