College help gets line duty, tires still simmering marching down the belt to placed in just the right spot. Between whistle bells signaling the next batch, we doze our backs against beams, dreaming of ice and shade. At the busiest moments, we zing the doughnuts down the line to each other, conserving precious steps costing energy.
My eye lids dip once more under the weight of dust and heat, seeking chilled respite. Hairs prickle in warning, eyes snapping open at attention. Quick hands catch the spear of rebar, dragging furrows of red skin across my chest, flat palm finds his forehead, with force. Crouching lions, eyes warily survey intentions, explanations drowning in clamor.
An errant tire caught the back of his legs, unintended offense causing already hot heads to boil over onto the hard concrete floor. Weighty tension threatens to suffocate our already strained lungs, when whistling bells call us back to the line, our labor to provide feet for vehicles carrying others into summer.
Summers in the hot house of the tire factory were always interesting. Heat causing grown men to act like school house boys on the play ground. Mental fatigue leading to injury or worse, emotions tainted crimson by the environment. In fevered moments, inhibitions flee with wisdom, where cooler heads would prevail.
Time clock expired, breakfast bridged the expanse between us, stirring a breeze with our words. Friends once more, staring out at the summer sun descending.