Working Class Hero
For anyone who may find this, please understand my dilemma. That’s all that I ask going in. That’s what I deem fair. Understand me, that’s all.
I used to work for a shipping company, but not anymore. I loaded packages by hand, and I was lucky to get the job. I made sure I was just lucky enough to get the job. When in reality, I was hiding from myself. Now I don’t care what anybody says or what laws were written, I am what I am and I hid what I could. But even some choices are…too heartbreaking to make.
How does one do it?
I’ve always been perplexed at the amount of everyday men and women who see someone in danger, in need, begging for help and just…walk away from it.
Walk away from it?
How can a person do that?
It made no sense to me.
Until the day when I found I had done it myself.
To tell you the truth, as Joseph Hynns the worker, I was never very good at my job. I had big enough hands to grab the opposite corners of boxes all right but all those ordered items are just so damn fragile. One slip of the grip and the whole box would crunch. That’s just the risk you take when you try to mask your God-given gifts.
Twice I was given verbal warnings from Mr. Steward, the warehouse supervisor, but I didn’t mind much. Those two slips were deliberate, just so I could call myself what passes for normal in the community. The world has forgotten about us heroes, the ones who still want to help. People are just stubborn. Like a pack of toddlers, all of them. “Can I help you with that?” “No, I’ll do it myself!” they scream. Why? Why when we can make their lives a whole hell of a lot easier?
I know I’m rambling now and I don’t mean to. I guess I’ve picked up things the normal people call issues or insecurities, if you can imagine that.
I’m the observer of a world gone awry, a world where jealousy took hold of the reigns and everyone like me was forced to either be de-clawed, so to speak, by the government or given what I call the double-tap nap; a lobotomy.
Even as I went through the motions, the constant routine of picking boxes up and loading them on the truck, part of me was jonesing for action. In the truck, out the truck, day in, day out.
Until that one day, that one stupid day when Ian decided to lie down on one of the conveyer belts. Ian was an old man with back problems, he thought he could just lie down for a few seconds on an unused conveyer and no one would be the wiser. What he didn’t count on was the double shipment. Instead of receiving three semis, we received six, which is a perfect reason for pulling overtime and to use any and all conveyer belts in the warehouse.
Emily, another package handler screamed her head off when she saw the poor man tumbling around on the conveyers overhead. He was given an awfully bumpy ride and sprained his ankle while riding it through.
I never blamed him.
He didn’t know any better.
It was a crappy company anyway, rife with health issues. It was dangerous. The insurance alone couldn’t cover it if I ever needed surgery, that is if I ever got hurt in my twenty-eight years of being alive which I never did.
At a human pace, I ran alongside the conveyor belt as he zoomed past me. I knew exactly where he was going, how fast he was going, and how crumpled he would be when he got there.
I heard a clunk above me and realized he had fallen in with the packages. If someone didn’t do something quick, Ian would see what it’s like on the other end and look like chewing tobacco.
As I ran, now disregarding anything remotely resembling a human pace, I realized how far we had come as a race. We landed hard, only fourteen hundred of us, and survived the landing crater in North Dakota. The rest were ground into a fertilizer which acted as a natural enhancement to plant growth.
Then the humans, the cameras, and the politicians came. We offered help. Landing scared them. Little did I know a storm was brewing between the men in power and the men in money. We endured, surrendered and gave countless answers to close-minded questions. We were examined, cross-examined, and triple checked and experimented. The result? After eighteen months of deliberation, we were allowed to go public, take a citizen’s test and, under the watchful eye of the government, mix with the general population.
No one knows how we were able to physically change into human form when we entered this planet’s atmosphere. Perhaps, humanity was the only way to survive.
Meanwhile, the old man was still in danger.
The old man screamed horribly, as he tumbled, trying desperately to escape the joyride. When he fell to the ground, his sleeve caught in the chain which leads to the gears, hope had all been lost. In fifteen seconds, he would be ground beef.
I am reminded, as I write this, that humans never trusted us. Despite the numerous attempts to contact the president, to introduce a new fertilizer which would produce millions more crops, our requests went unanswered. Our garden was burned to ashes. The men in power would not have it. They said they were afraid of being poisoned. The truth was that the crops would feed countless homes, so there would be no need for grocery stores. The men would not allow it.
It was one hit after another.
Unfortunately for them, they did not know we had a psychic connection with our brothers and sisters. Each one that died in distress or torture we felt. Yet we said nothing. We couldn’t risk exposing ourselves.
We were terrified. We didn’t come to raise war. We came to raise hope. We follow the way of the common man, felt emotional that they had taken so many steps holding back their humanity.
With a leap and a shove, I picked Ian up, cradled him, and endured the brunt of the gears, pulling my metallic-flexible shoulder blades around us like a set of protective wings. To some, they have labeled Silver Wings. Entering the atmosphere may have humanized us, but our powers were still intact.
The package handlers gathered, watching two bodies disappear into the gears as a seven-foot tall silver spike came out the other side. Sparks erupted, the machinery died, and the lights flickered. I uncloaked us, letting my shoulder blades shift back into my body. Ian was safe, but muttering incoherently. He kept clutching his left arm, writhing in pain.
I tried my best.
Suddenly, to my left I heard, “He’s a Silver!”
I loathe the name. To disarm us would be a way to, how do I say it, clip our wings. They had found that weakness several times over and exploited it.
I did not want this. I wanted to work, to continuing living a dull life. I was the only one left, the last survivor of the crash, but I must own up to my actions.
I turned toward them.
I could see my heavily-embedded trail of footsteps. They looked like craters, an image similar to the men who walked on the moon which was broadcasted into space. Two workers, one Jerry and Tom, who never liked me to begin with, were carrying bolt cutters.
“So it’s come to this,” I said, as they came closer, shaking. “Well fine then! Come over and try to clip them!”
Both men stood their ground, while the others watched. At my foot I felt an electrical box. I took note of it and continued, still as the gears tried to turn and the sparks still spraying the ground. The big machine was done. There would always be a war with the unknown. The humans have an unshakable malice in their hearts.
“We…could have saved so many!” I cried.
I kicked open the electrical box, grabbed the wires, and absorbed all the electricity I could. The warehouse went dark. I didn’t even have to run. I just walked miserably between them as they searched blindly for me, in the dark.
Within forty-two hours, I found the reserve ship, the one we laughingly said we’d never need to go back to. It was capable of holding one hundred of our race.
I, Joseph Hynn, was once a member of the blue collar work force. It was the last uncorrupted union left, I thought. But I care no more. This is my report to other travelers of this universe. The humans are not like us. They are severely dependent in their self-destruction. They don’t want any of our help. Regrettably, we must refrain from any further contact. End of report.