The Tubular Alloy Steel Company had been instrumental in winning the war. There had scarcely been an airplane that didn’t use one of its custom-made tubes. The general manager had even received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
But that was ten years ago. Wars were still being fought, but not on this big a scale. And so the demand for steel tubes had dwindled considerably.
On the factory floor, word had it that another dire fiscal quarter would put the nail in the company’s coffin. The workers did not take kindly to the rumour. They were proud of their welding and how it kept people safe.
But obviously that no longer worked for them. If the company was to survive, the welders would have to be creative. So even though it directly violated their work ethic, for every hundred tubes they’d weld a bad one.
And they prayed it would all fall apart somewhere above the Soviet Union.
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I love how your short stories, in so few words, do what I love about the best pieces I’ve read- Leave a lot of open questions. You certainly know how to dance around the elephant in the room without ever naming the beast or even acknowledging its presence.
Troubling because it could happen. Thanks for the terror!