I crimp cable in a computer factory. Never successfully. No matter how hard I try to master crimp connection, the inspector calls me back and asks if I know what the hell I’m doing. No, no I don’t. Please fire me. Crimping cables is my summer job. My dad knew someone who knew someone else who gave me the opportunity and I better be god damn appreciative. I started my first day with another new girl, who lasted until lunch. The other crimpers intimidated her, most former WACs. Military preference, my father explains. Tough women who served tough time who will toughen me up this summer. Deal with it.
My supervisor’s name is Scar. True. It’s on her badge. S-C-A-R chomped out by a label maker, stuck to her plastic supervisor badge. I confer with Scar. A lot. She’s my crimping mentor. I ask her if any opportunities are available in the badge department, I’m artistic, I could handle the label maker. I would so appreciate making her a new badge. “You can’t even crimp,” she says. I explain once the wires disappear inside the crimper, it’s over. I can’t see what I’m crimping. I do try. I close my eyes and become one with the crimper. I imagine the connection, mash the crimper closed and envision success. I blame crimp failure on my contact lenses. Sometimes (often) goo gets on my contacts and blurs my vision. Scar asks how I expect to pull the backing off the plastic labels if my vision is often compromised.
Glad you asked, Scar. See, the labels align with the letter dial on the outside of the label maker and are more easily seen, not tucked inside the crimper like a uterus. What do I know about a uterus? Well, I have one. Tucked inside me and once a month, I get really bad crimps. I laugh and hold my hand up for a high five. She leaves me hanging.
“Get back to your station and start crimping, now and every hour of every day to the end of this summer.” I ask if I’m expected to do overtime because gladly, I’ll give that opportunity to one of Scar’s fellow WACs. “I’ll take it,” Betty volunteers. She’s 62, not a WAC but sort of socially connected to one, as the other crimpers put it, meaning her husband who worked over in computer assembly left her for the WAC who sat next to Betty the entire year she was banging her husband. All before I arrived on the scene, a recent high school grad whose daddy got her a job she can’t seem to get herself fired from. “Hear that, Scar? Betty needs every cent and I am happy to help her out financially. Betty, as long as I’m employed as a seriously bad crimper, my overtime is yours, WAC or not.” Scar crosses her arms. “That’s Women’s Army Corps, to you.” I salute and still, do not get fired.
Image Credit: René Magritte, Trois Pommes (1968)
Sheree Shatsky writes wild words. Her short fiction has appeared in a variety of journals including Saw Palm: Florida Literature and Art, The Dead Mule, Funny Pearls, Back Patio Press, trampset, Anti-Heroin Chic, Fictive Dream, Bending Genres and New Flash Fiction Review. She is twice-nominated for Best Microfiction 2020. Read more of her work at shereeshatsky.com. Sheree tweets @talktomememe.