Lonnie – original flash fiction by Steven A. Vinson

Lonnie
or
Zeke
or
The Gold Watch
by Steven A. Vinson

About an hour before quitting time on the day I was supposed to retire, the bucket of molten iron I was handling hit a snag and the white-hot liquid metal poured out onto my boss. Lonnie Sorrensky died in terrible pain after squirming in a hospital bed for three days with 90% of his skin burned to charcoal.
I still haven’t got my gold watch.
I remember when I first met Lonnie. He was just out of college and didn’t know shit about iron. Didn’t know shit about nothing. Still he was always on my ass, trying to tell me how to do my job.
“Pouring too fast, Zeke.”
“Pouring too slow, Zeke.”
“It’s not hot enough, Zeke.”
“It’s too hot, Zeke.”
Fuck you, Lonnie.
Sometimes I’d come in a few minutes late and there he’d be, grinning; couldn’t wait to write me up.
If I’d wanted somebody up my ass, I’d have stayed with my old man.
Since Mom died when I was ten, and since he didn’t have no daughters to stick it in, I guess Pops figured my ass was better than his grimy palm.
His ‘71 Mustang crushed his guts when those jacks gave out while he was waiting for me to hand him a wrench.
That was a short while after I got a job at the foundry.
Twenty nine years I gave fucking Lonnie my sweat and blood. If it was 90 degrees outside it was 120 on that foundry floor. Traded my soul and all I wanted was a little appreciation and that gold watch.
I was supposed to get it at a party with cake and coffee but they were busy worrying after Lonnie. Bastard stuck it to me even on my last day.
Spilling iron on Lonnie was the first big mistake I ever made working for that son-of-a-bitch.
Can’t say I’m sorry he died but I didn’t kill him on purpose.
That’s what I told that jury and that’s what I told Lonnie’s wife and kids and that’s what I told the judge.
The reverend said they’ll have reporters in there to come watch me die and that’s what I’ll tell them, too.
I hope somebody remembers to bring that goddamn gold watch.

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