…I was beginning to dislike this job and dislike these cheezies, so much so in fact that it felt like I gained about 50 pounds in my first week of work. What would I look like after a year I shuddered to think? What to do? I had just started this job. It wouldn’t look right if I just quit. So get fired I thought. But how? The foreman seemed to like me and the way I picked up on this job so fast. Then, it came to me. There was this guy in shipping that kept coming over to me and the cheezie barrel, scooping up a handful of these cheezie morsels for his own confectionary benefit on his way to shipping. Rather than having him come to me I’ll bring the whole operation to him. I’ll wait until Friday to do it.
When the moment came I decided that the first thing I should do is walk over to shipping to ensure my cheezie prey, this cheese-head, was working. Sure enough he was there at one of the loading bays. I walked back to my cheezie machine and fired her up for the first main batch of the day. Everything was working fine. Prior to starting the round black, brake drum like contraption where the heated corn meal is forced through these tiny holes only to expand and be cut by the thin bladed knife on the cool side, the heart of the cheezie operation, I decided to remove the blade and see what would happen. If I was lucky I envisioned the longest and largest cheezie in the whole wide world would be possible to construct. It would be a world record!
I disconnected the knife but let the entire operation proceed. Sure enough, when that souped up cheezie corn meal was thrust through those ten holes they came out the other side and expanded into ten puffed up strands of bland coloured, bland textured and bland tasting cheezies. I removed the tray and let all ten strands snake their way through the drum and through the bath of salt, oil and cheese. Coming out the other side they were cool enough to touch if not a tad bit slimy with all of that cheezie drippings. I carefully grabbed a hold of the ten strands and with careful abandon, and ever so gingerly, directed the strands out of the drum and off toward the other side of the room where the open door led down a short hallway to the shipping dock of the bays. This was careful deliberate work pulling this bundle of ten individual strands of cheezies, not unlike the sensitive work in laying cable on those Trans Atlantic cable laying ships. It would not take much for one of those strands to break, to part or to unravel during this delicate operation. Finally, I arrived in shipping. Everyone there took one look at me and at what I was pulling and in silent amazement began to laugh. George was there too and couldn’t believe what he was witnessing, at least that is what I thought by the startled look on his face.
“Where’s Henry” I asked. “You know, Henry, the corn head Gallant.”
Then I saw him. “Hey Henry,” I yelled in his direction “Chomp on this will ya.” And with that I dropped the entire bundle of Cheezie’s on the floor, watching how slowly it was being pushed by the force behind it as it angled its way from side to side toward Henry, leaving orange streaks from the individual strands in its wake. Everyone was laughing. “Holy shit” I heard someone say. I turned and got the hell out of there. And as I was walking back through the factory floor I saw the plant manager coming toward me. I could tell he was mad, mad as hell, mad as a Mad Hatter in a Humpty Dumpty potato making factory! He was cheezed off no doubt as I heard him scream:
“Morrison, you’re fired. Get the hell out of here.”
I ran up the stairs that skirted beside my Cheezie machine, unemotional as to its most inner machinations. I almost ran through administration and reception, out the front door, requesting as I flew by that they mail me my last cheque to my home address. Out in the parking lot I ran and almost fell into my ole beater and high tailed it out of there. As a last and final gesture I saluted ole Humpty Dumpty as he sat up there precariously on that wall, that last vestige of confectionary horror, grinning back at me.
They’re all gone now. Sherriff’s, Moo Miller’s, AC Wickman, Kodak, Inter-City Truck Line, Dow Chemical Plant, Lake Simcoe Ice – even the 7 Up Booth and the Exhibition Stadium. All gone.
The Kodak campus looks like a war zone today. Abandoned buildings with glass shattered windows, boarded up or shuttered doors. All of those promising career like jobs, as my parents would tell me at the time, are all gone. Who would have guessed or predicted that Eastman Kodak would disappear. If I had stayed at any one of those establishments I would have been screwed.
Ah yes, the digital age. Don’t ya just love it?
I always wondered what happened to the Gallant clan.