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A Deck of Cards

A Deck of Cards

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Published by lacikid

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Published by: lacikid on Nov 13, 2009
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11/13/2009

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A deck of cards
In front of the factory the workers gathered around two of their mates. Oneof them was Rafael Martinez, the other one Steven Williams. The two in themiddle exchanged puzzled looks.
It wasn’t supposed to happen like this
,thought Martinez.The autumn weather was sunny but a bit chilly. Thecentury old ash tree in front of the factory gate danced in the light wind. Theworkers were all worried. They were all good friends with both Martinez andWilliams.
It wasn’t supposed to happen like that 
– some murmured to hisneighbor in the crowd. The tension was almost visible among them.It was an old factory in the outskirt of Detroit, MI manufacturing metal partsfor tractors and other industrial and agricultural vehicles and machines. Mostof the people have been working there since they were 16 or 17. In this areaof the city life standards were way beyond state limits – which to be frankwas not too high either. Young kids had to start working early in their lives,for education was too high of a price for their families to afford. Many of them started working night shifts because the older, more experiencedworkers had the ’privilige’ to choose their shifts if it was possible. As timepassed by they all grew up in the factory becoming best pals, who would gettogether for a beer once in a while or gather together to watch a statefootball game. Their lives were not easy – working for below minimal wagefor 12-14 hours just to make a living is hardly easy – but they kind of gotused to it and accepted their fates.Everything went just about fine until rumors started going around that thecompany Patterson Star is going bankrupt and will have to sell the factory.Of course there were some people who started panicing right away, othersstayed more calm, stating panic is good for nothing. As it finally turned outthe rumors were actually true and Patterson Star had to sell the factory.Fortunately there was a german investor who saw a chance of buniness in
 
the old manufactory and bought it under the company name of Gunther Inc. The workers haven’t noticed much about the change – other than the gossipsthat have spread around the mill all the time – until this Monday. And that iswhen the panic started.Mr. Gunther, the new owner issued a bulletin about the changes he intendedto implement in order to increase productivity and get rid of unnecessaryprocedures. One of the changes he proposed was a cut in the workforce.From every department one person had to go. He told the department headsto decide who to fire until the end of the week. The head of the heavy machinery department was William Hoax. He hasstarted off as any one of the other local guys, working mostly night shiftsstarting at age 16. But while others slept and watched TV during the day off work, Hoax started a vocational school and became a mechanic. Having ahigher degree it was obvious that after a few years he was chosen to be theleader of the machinery squad when the former head retired. He acceptedthe position and stayed in his position since then. The reason all the workersliked him was that power did not get into his head. He always knew where hebelonged to and tried to be friendly and helpful with everybody. Theafternoon when he got the bad news, that one of his brothers had to leave,and he is the one to decide who, he became anxious. For hours he tried todecide how to tell the others what has happened, and more of that choosethe one to fire. After about 3 hours he came up with the best solution hecould have imagined in this desperate situation. He gathered all the workersin front of the yard and told them the sad and disturbing news. When hescanned the faces of the people he could see fear and sadness on all thefaces. This factory was not only a source of living for these people, butalmost like a second home, a place where all there friends worked, wherethey have spent most of their lives.
 
 The crowd started murmuring. Some people shook their heads to show theirdisagreement. Some yelled out from the crow asking Hoax who is the one togo.
Please calm down and listen to me
– Hoax raised his voice when thecrowd settled down and paid close attention to the words that would changeeverything, not only for one but for all of them.
I could not decide who to fireand would not possibly be able to send anyone of you away. But I have comeup with a solution. I can not say it is good, for there is no good solution in asituation like that, but if you all accept my proposal than that’s how we willdecide.
 The people all agreed to Hoax because the solution he came up withseemed fair. Hoax got a pack of french cards out of his pocket, shuffled itthoroughly and made all the workers pick one card. There was a jolly joker inthe pack – which was far from jolly that day because the one to pick that onewould have to go. Everyone has picked a card and they made a big circle. The people were releived a bit when they looked at the clubs and hearts intheir hands.
Who will be it?
– they started murmuring, when Rafael Martinezstepped out of the cirle and walked to the middle showing his joker high up.His face was staggering. As he stood in the middle of the manmade cirle hethought of his wife and the three young children he had to support. Ateardrop slid down his cheek, when something interesting happened. SteveWilliams stepped into the circle next to Martinez holding an other joker in hishands.
How could that have happened? –
the crowd sighed in unison withHoax. I have checked the pack so there is only one joker left in it. Who will goand who will stay now? Then suddenly Williams’ voice broke the murmur.
Iwill go
. The people looked puzzled.
It wasn’t supposed to happen like this
,thought Martinez.
I was the one picking the wild card.
 
I got a jolly joker tooand anyway in half a year I am moving to Chicago with my new fiance so it isnot a big deal for me
– said the 28 year old Williams with a joking tone.Martinez looked a bit releaved and sad at the same time. Williams was agood friend of his. He taught him how to use the mold, and the press weldingmachine. He was almost like a father to the young boy when he got to thefactory.

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