The Nut Factory
by Brian Thomas Armstrong
When I first arrived here I would sleep in the back of a truck-bed in my living room. I would wake up in the morning with nothing much to do, wondering, searching in my mind as to what I should partake in during my stay here - and then I found the factory, the old man told his visitor, with an enthused gleam in his eye.
I started out by pulling taffy, and then tediously but joyously stretching it back and forth along the long walls of the factory’s warehouse. I then started making furniture so that I would have something to sit in while chewing on the fruits of my laborious creations. Then I started making shoes for the long walks I endured, and then grew to love, along the trail that I take to the market located in the middle of our town square in order to sell all the goods that I make, the old man said, brimming with pride.
My success grew remarkably fast, so I then hired some of the locals that no one else would seem to hire, although they were perfectly fine men and women in my view, and together we built the small industrial empire that you see here today, all based on candy and shoes that took the local business community around here by great surprise, creating many friends, and also a few formidable enemies if you know what I mean , he winked at his visitor looking very satisfied with himself – I am very very busy now as you can see, and I can hardly remember that dark place the state of my mind seemed to be trapped in before, when I was actively drinking that is. “I know how you feel pop, I’ve also been in that same dark place many times before,” the old man’s son told him in a somewhat solemn response. I’m very busy now as you can see, and I really must go, his father repeated once more. His son told him he wanted to come visit him again soon, and also bring some books back for him to read next time. Oh yes please do - said his father - but never mind the books, there is much for you to learn and do here, and I am in desperate need of help with my factory, as you can see I am very busy here. “I would like that allot pop,” replied his son, a sad smile was on his face as a tear started to well up in his eye. There was also a frazzled looking, somewhat confused and distracted smile on his father’s face as well, as father and son faced each other from across the long wooden table. Very fine then, said the old man, it was assuredly nice to see you again, and as I said before, I am very very busy here, and the factory needs me as you can see. “OK pop, it was great to see you too,” he reached over and held/shook his dads hand for a brief minute, and then he stood up and left the room, forcing himself not to look back at his father as he walked away.
The son looked back at the tall ominous brick building that housed/incarcerated his father as he often did, while walking slowly away from it towards his automobile in the always half empty dirt parking lot in front of the asylum. He was once again trying desperately to hold back the flood of welling tears that threatened to pour down the front of his youthful face. This was a sad routine he knew very well, and expected every time he left one of his few and fewer in-between visits with his disturbed father. He made another silent vow to himself that he would visit the institution more often – after all, his father certainly needed him now, more than he ever had before.