Servant to steel

“Shift the bobbins.”

The foreman shouted to be heard over the iron-looms groaning. We were only ten workers serving the steel-beast replacing two hundred weavers.

I used to have pride in the careful process of fabric-making, of seeing my skill turned into garments for women.

Their machines had turned me to polisher of steel, tender of cotton, a servant to steel.

Glancing at Marie I nodded.

She winked at the foreman, while I threw my clog deep into the intricate heart of the machinery.

Afterwards we stood smiling in the wreckage of cogwheels and broken levers.

“Sabotage”, the foreman roared.

The image reminded me of the story (apparently a myth) that the word sabotage originates from weavers throwing their clogs into the machinery. Clog is named sabot in French, and the world saboteur originally meant people walking in clogs (making a lot of noise).

Friday Fictioneers is a community of bloggers writing stories to the same picture every week in hundred words (or less). Rochelle keeps us all aligned and make sure we refrain from adverbial sabotage of good prose. But I don’t care I have a poetic license.

Warning, the body count in the stories is growing week by week

Enter at your own risk

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March 27, 2019

31 responses to “Servant to steel

  1. Can’t help, but smile at this flash fiction, Bjorn. I wonder, what future generations, will think about those, who deny the existence of climate change. Do you have a novelty word to describe them? Just curious.

  2. And in goes the “sabot”. I’m guessing the other 190 workers won’t be getting their jobs back, though. I hope he has a spare clog or it’s not going to take the foreman long to identify the culprit…

  3. Interesting, it made me look up the word which is indeed French is origin. And though it may be a myth, your story set it up really well.

  4. Thanks for an entertaining story and a little word history. For some reason I never made the connection between “sabot” and “sabotage.”

  5. I love learning something new whilst reading these stories! Thanks for that… and great story! (And Sabotage is, quite frankly, my favorite Beastie Boys song 😉 )

    -Rachel

  6. some are afraid of change. they try to hold on to what’s becoming the past. but time keeps marching on leaving them in the dust.

  7. Good writing- the story is all of a piece, with the saboteurs at the heart of it, fed up with the tyranny of the loom. Interesting that the clogs gave their name to sabotage.

  8. I so want the ‘sabot’ myth to be true – makes perfect sense to me! Love the feel of this, the imagery and the sentiment too. Taking away a worker’s pride is the beginning of the end

  9. I hope he has a spare clog otherwise he’ll be found out quickly. 🙂 Great historical fiction, and it shows that the replacement of treasured jobs (“but we always worked in that job”) isn’t a new development, and will happen again and again.

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