It was five o’clock in the morning and X Gon Give It To Ya (Dirty) sounded from my phone on the bedside bench. After slapping it silent I looked around the room I found myself caught in - the windows were frosted with cold and everything outside my blankets froze caused my extremities to freeze. My uniform was hanging in my closet. I quickly put it on - blue ‘workers pants’ from Kmart, a black t-shirt from the local second hand store that was covered by a sweater my mother had purchased for me years before, and atop that was a denim jacket. At this rate and at this time I would already be late for work, so I didn’t have nearly enough time to wash, or have breakfast, or brush my teeth. All I had time for was to get into my car and drive. Down two floors of stairs I went. My legs ached from the previous days work, but it made less painful when I leaped down four steps at a time. One day I might even be able to leap down all eight stairs and maybe then I wouldn’t feel anything at all. That was all I could really hope for in the morning. All I ever hoped for each morning - to not feel pain. As I got to my car a familiar sight greeted me - one of my neighbours. We exchange the bare necessary pleasantries. I’m only more familiar with him than anyone else here because I helped him bring a washing machine into his apartment one day, and from that day onward we were forever connected in the bond of fellow labourers with no real social connections. I got in my car and started it up and waited for the engine to warm up. Breakfast wasn’t important, showering wasn’t important, teeth weren’t important - all could be lost without having actually lost anything; but an losing a job could cost you your life. Then my neighbour gave me news that would have led to an even more unfortunate situation than I was in - my tire was flat. ‘Hey wait,’ he shouted as he waved his hand and kept me from going. I wound down my window and asked him ‘what’s up?’ ‘you’re front right tire’s flat.’ At this I got out and checked. Alas, it was flat against the ground and the car had a clear tilt towards the front right side. It would only get even worse when I got inside it. But what could I do from here? I stood staring at the impossible situation that had randomly fallen before me. ‘Hey man, I’ll call an Uber for you.’ I looked at this stranger. I never even knew his name. He was just simply the man who I had helped get some electric shit into his shitty little apartment sometime before. Now here he was offering me more grace than my employer would ever give me. It would easily be $15 to get me to the factory that night, not to mention how I would get back. I couldn’t take this persons money, and I couldn’t afford to lose whatever I would end up earning that night. I got in my car with the still flat tyre and I saw that the engine was warmed up enough, so I turned to my neighbour and thanked him for his offering, but ‘I’ll just fill it up at the 7-11 nearby’ is what I said. I couldn’t get any help, I couldn’t fill it up, I couldn’t change the tire, I simply couldn’t do anything at this time except rush to work and hope that no pigs would pull me over and throw me in the slammer. For some reason losing the tyre and being involved in a massive auto accident that would cause my death was far less scary than ever having to interface with the police, and that was nothing compared to losing this job that I had been in search of for months now. Because I knew that death is unbiased, but due to my poverty I knew that any interaction with the police would either lead to my losing a days worth of work by going to visit the court house, or it would lead to my losing a days worth of work having to pay a pointless fine. It might even end in me no longer having any employment, which would lead to a fate worse than death. That’s essentially the life of a lower class worker in today’s Australia - waste all your time looking after the police, or waste all your time looking after the politicians. Well, thankfully I am extremely observant and I managed to cheat a few cop cars and I managed to make my way to work on a flat tyre and I was only ten minutes late. I tried to sneak my way in. I knew the numerical combination to get into the storage room that included all the overalls and the face masks and the glasses and other OSHA shit that the company included because they wanted to minimise any potential law suites. So I threw on a plastic overall type thing, put on a mask that, after thirty minutes of online research, I had learned actually did nothing to protect against silicosis. Then I walked onto the factory floor and signed my name in for having gotten in half-an-hour earlier. Walking to my section I attempted to act as inconspicuous as possible. After a few months of this work I had learned that this movement consisted of walking with a sort of meek determination; as if you thought you could be more than you are. But you needed to balance it out with an attitude that emanated that you weren’t worth anything. When you work in a factory your entire life consists of oxymorons. You need to work hard enough to be promoted to manager, but if you dare work that hard then you’ll be given a hard time by the current floor managed because they can’t afford to have anyone show any capability - especially if they show the same ability for less money. So if you work too hard you’ll be given a hard time, and if you don’t work hard enough you’ll also be given a hard time. And hard time means recommendation for working over the weekend - and since we were all technically contract workers then working over the weekend didn’t come with any overtime benefits. It just meant wasting your weekend because your limp dicked floor manager thought you were too big or too small or not good enough for you boots.