The civil war never really touched us. Every once in a while we had to mutter shibboleths to get past men in different hoodies, but they were pretty obvious about what they expected so you didn’t have to worry about it too much. Hard to get fruit for a while, hard to get corn for a while. You know how it is. On the radio there was the usual chatter about glory devices going off far away from us, but besides the one in Longview there was never really anything like that too close to Olympia, and that was a year ago. Then one morning most of the radio went silent and there was music, and we were all told we had been liberated. People celebrated, drank hard seltzer, broke out fireworks, grilled a little meat, shot their guns into the air. Few murders, few hangings, nothing major. I-5 was clogged to shit all day, northbound and southbound both, full of people with all the money they could take out of the bank at once, and we all had a good laugh about that.
Hot pockets in the evening, and in the morning a bowl of cereal.
I woke up the next day and it was Monday, and I wondered if it meant I had to go into work. I mean, the reds had won, so maybe I didn’t. But I wanted to keep everything straight so I clocked in at 8 AM. Richardson the foreman looked like hell, told us he had gotten into molly with some wobbly strange because who was gonna drug test anymore, and he was stressed out about what the war being over meant for production. The boss never showed up; everyone said he was probably headed for Canada or Cali or something. But management was still breathing down his neck. One of the guys in the skin and hair department told him he could probably tell them to go fuck themselves now, but he shut that up. “Without us, society grinds to a halt,” he said, “revolution or no revolution. Maybe in the long run we don’t work for management, but we gotta work. And if anyone has a problem with that -“