|We work in the Factory from dawn till the end of night, our fingers so swollen from the labour as to be raw, and bloody. It is a grey Factory, at least twice a mile long, and wide. This said, it seems to us all who toil in it that the walls of the Factory are closing in, tightening. From the moment I rise, till the moment I fall into my bed at night, I see nothing but metal tools, sharp, and human faces, dull; humans have become a tool. The face, since it cannot twist a lever, hammer with force, or press a button, is to the Factory useless; therefore it is left to hang, ugly and pointless, dead and dull. We wear grey overalls. Every once in a while our work is halted in the Factory, and soupers come from the Entrance and ladle into our open mouths lukewarm, necessarily noushing gloop. Then the sirens sound and we are again back to work, out hands clicking and cluncking, mending or destroying, with the same faceless enthusiasm as before.
There is no speech in the Factory, save for the occasional blast from the intercom, speaking not to the workers, but to the men who own the Factory, who - in their offices or pacing amid the workers - nod their heads and scribble the intercom's message down, onto a clipboard. Bird can be seen sometimes to flutter past outside the windows, but the windows are often shuttered, and no-one with any sense dares to look at the birds. I once knew a worker - no, not by name, but by number, 00678345 - who cast his gaze to the birds in the window. I spotted him from the corner of my eye: he stood, silent, watching, and an odd twitching of the mouth came upon him. Standing there, he looked - if at all possible - serene.
Within moments, the men who own the Factory had 00678345 hauled into a backroom. He emerged moments later, a stump instead of a hand, which bled heavily. He was, to the Factory, no more use. He knew, as did anyone who toiled there, what the Factory did with "Uselesses".
That Thursday (or was it Monday?) the Van could be heard to stop outside of the Factory's Entrance. We all tighten in our overalls when the Van arrives, but we do not dare to look around. The Entrance opens ever Monday (or is it Thursday?) and in walks a man in a long white coat, with glasses on his nose and a clipboard in his arms. He points to a few workers, and these men are taken to the Van - it is a random choice, it seems, but anyone with any sense will, regardless, work extra hard in the days leading to the selection. Any Uselesses in the Factory are also taken in the Van. Such a fate befell 00678345, and he trudged to the Van and was never seen again.
It is rumoured, though we daren't ask, that the Van goes to the City, which is a very long distance indeed from the Factory. There the man in the white coat will unload his Van of Uselesses and they will be led to a prison-like building. For one night they stay in the building, in the City, sleeping. The next morning they are woken by jailers, and led down a flight of steps into a courtyard.
It is said that in the City live rich men and women, who delight in caviar and fine cigars and wine and laughter. They wear good clothes, bowties and spats and the like, and can be seen to go to operas, or poetry-clubs or spend the evening eating their caviar and cigars and wine in their own homes. These men and women, it is said, employ the Van-man with the white coat to travel the Country, visiting and gathering workers from the Factories, collecting them each week. It is also said, that these wealthy men and women employ the coated-man so, as it is their fancy to watch Public Gassings, and you cannot have a gassing without having a worker to be gassed.
The Public Gassings are done, it is said, in a courtyard at noon each week, on a Sunday (or is it Wednesday?). The wealthy men and women come in hordes to watch as the selected workers and Uselesses are led from the building and into the courtyard. Oftentimes, these workers will try to flee, but the courtyard is surrounded by guard-dogs, armed men, chains, and razor-wire. Within the courtyard, on a raised platform, stands the Chamber, a glass cube about five meters wide and just as high.
The Chamber doors are opened by the man with the white coat, and in are marched the workers and Uselesses. Then, once all packed inside, clearly visible to the wealthy men and women through the glass, the doors are bolted again. Workers can scramble all they like within the Chamber, they can leave their nail-scratchings to join the million others on the glass walls - but they cannot get free again. They are trapped within, and in moments, a sickly green gas is pumped into the Chamber.
It is said that the gas attacks the lungs, clogging them with smog and grime. It is said that within twelve minutes every inmate of the gas-Chamber will have died of suffocating. It is said that, upon draining the Chamber of gas, the man in the white coat enters and shoots in the head any body which still shows signs of twitching. It is said that once this is over, the rich men and women stand from their thrones and clap, oftentimes requesting an "encore", or shouting, "Bravo!" at the top of their lungs.
It is said, and this part I cannot believe, that the man in the white coat charges the wealthy men and women the price of a cigar for each Public Gassing.