Merna turned on the radio that sat next to her at the factory. G.I. Jill was playing her G.I. jives for the troops overseas and, oddly enough, that helped her get through the twelve-hour shift.
Guns would be made. Steel would be melted. Tanks constructed.
The whistle blew and it signaled the middle of her day. Merna hopped on the counter and her daily ritual begun. She lit a Pall Mall and admired the elegant weapon she just built. It would surely be in a serviceman's hands within the month. Blowing smoke at the rifle, she wondered how many men it would kill, how many thousands of rounds it would fire and, moreover, who would get it?
Merna thought of her husband Nick who was stationed in Hawaii before ultimately shipping out to Japan. She smiled at the mere thought of him and figured it would be ironic if he wound up using the artillery she made and conditioned for the war that tore them apart.
Six hours later, the whistle blew again.
* * *
Merna's daily walk home was a long one. She could have easily took the bus but would rather pocket the change for some extra smokes at the end of the week and a few movie magazines. Besides, the solace gave her time to prepare. She dreaded the mail. Deplored envelopes. Anything that bore the seal of the United States or its War Department.
Would there be a telegram today? Would Nick still be alive tomorrow?
Approaching her rowhouse, Merna walked towards the steps of her front porch. Despite the horrendous hours and mile walk from the factory, this was the longest part of her day. She stuck her hand inside of the mailbox. It was empty. She sighed.
Nick got to live another day. She could now do the dishes and start the process all over again tomorrow.