Theodore Jerome Cohen is the Readers’ Choice in this week’s Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge. The winning entry is decided by the popular vote and rewarded with a special feature here today. (In case of a tie, the writer who submitted an entry first is the winner per our rules.) Without further ado, here’s the winning story:
by Theodore Jerome Cohen
The two brothers stared at the graffiti-covered walls of the century-old building that lay abandoned on the city’s industrial South Side. Outside, the walls were covered in vines that, here and there, made their way through the shattered windows of the ruined concrete structure.
“Difficult to imagine what this place musta looked like during the height of World War II,” murmured the eldest as they made their way gingerly across a floor covered with broken glass and trash that had accumulated over the last several decades.
His younger sibling shook his head. “Based on what Dad told us when we were kids, it must’ve been a sight to see when they were up and running. All those big cranes on the ceiling, moving the huge castings from one metalworking station to another. He may have been too old to go to war—”
“Don’t forget he also had two kids!” injected his brother.
“Yeah, but even in his 40s, he still worked more than 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, in this, his uncle’s manufacturing plant, to support the war effort. No wonder we almost never saw him.”
“Still, we had some pretty good times. At least he got Christmas off.”
The youngest brother laughed. “Yeah, as I recall, Mom said they were married on Christmas in 1935 because that was the only day his uncle would give him off.
“Some things never change.”