What the Factory Makes

Posted on: July 22, 2014

We last checked in with our hero during “The Memory Assassin.” 
Read that one first. This is Part II of his tale.

What the factory makes is Time®. At least, that’s what Frankenstein tells me before he takes a, I’m going to swallow this bitch whole, bite of his ham sandwich.

Frankenstein is not his real name. Obviously. His mother used to call him that because, as the youngest of eight (count em’, eight) boys, she said he was, “an amalgam of noses, lips, eyes, comebacks, excuses, hobbies, fears, and preferences; each in some way borrowed from the brothers that came before you.”

Most of the time he just goes by Frank.

“What the factory makes is Time®,” says Frank. “Trademarked.”

“That’s dumb,” I immediately reply.

“Well,” says Frank, mouth most full of ham and cheese, “It very well may be dumb, but you will have to take that up with the manufacturers. Or maybe the marketing department. Either way, it’s not like I’m just making this shit up.

“You cannot make time,” I say. “Time is not a tangible thing. You can’t make time, break time, stretch time, fuck time, paint time, or punch time.”

Frank shakes a scolding finger at me. “Au contraire, my friend,” he says. “Do you see that building over yonder?”

He points to the white building across the river; its outline delineated by the blue sky, so blue it looks artificial. Must be something in the atmosphere. Same deal as the harvest moon.

“That building,” Frank continues, “makes Time®.”

“Trademarked,” I say.

Frank nods and begins digging into his lunchbox. He retrieves Zebra Cakes.

I demand Frank explain himself.

“It’s a little blue pill that erases stuff. Their slogan is: Time® heals all wounds. It’s basically a legal roofie, but way more legit.”


“Why would you take it?” he asks.


He shrugs his shoulders. “Do something shitty. Favorite pet turtle dies. Girlfriend breaks your heart. Whatever. One little blue pill and you’re good to go.”

“That’s it?” I ask.

Frank shakes his head.

“No, the whole thing’s reactionary,” he says.


“Huh?” Frank confused. Frank no smart.

“Nevermind,” I reply. “It was a joke. What do you mean it’s reactionary?”

“Oh, they just have to implant this chip-thing under your skin on the inside of your wrist. It doesn’t work without the chip.”

I choke on my ham sandwich when he tells me this.

“Get the fuck out,” I say. “A chip? What kind of chip?”

Frank shrugs again. “I dunno. A computer chip thingy. Time® doesn’t work without it. It’s no big deal. Everybody does it.”

He says the last two sentences like he’s making excuses.

“What’s in it?” I ask.

“The chip?” says Frank. He’s drinking apple juice out of a box via straw. By the sound of it, the tank is running on empty.

“Shit, man. I dunno,” he says. “Science?”

He giggles at his own terrible joke, and it dawns on me that Frank is an idiot.

“So, explain this process to me,” I say. “You have something alien, of unknown origin, inserted into your body? And then you take a blue pill, also alien: origin unknown? Then you forget stuff?”

Frank does fish-face (lips, pursed), nods his head, and says, “Yeah… pretty much. Hey, that’d make a pretty good movie title, no?”

He fans his fingers wide and swipes the air across his face like he’s dropping the curtain on a movie marquee in his imagination.

“Alien…” dramatic pause. “Origin Unknown.”

“You should write the screenplay,” I volunteer.

“Man, I don’t know,” replies Frank. “I have an issue with like, the continuity of the universe, you know what I mean? There’s been so many movies and comics and shit. It’s like, Do you just forget that Alien vs. Predator ever happ…

“So when did you do this, Frankenstein?” I interrupt. “Did it work? What happened?”

“Sure, it worked,” he replies.

“What did you forget?”

“Bro,” he says, “That’s the poi…”

“Right,” I interrupt again. “And you feel totally normal now?”

Frank pats his belly like a fat man who’s no longer hungry. “Fit as a fucking fiddle,” he says.

“No side effects?” I ask.

“Look at me,” he says. “I’m great.”

He pauses before he continues speaking, and looks at me with a scrunched forehead. It looks painful for Frankenstein to experience deep thoughts.

“What’s the deal, man?” he asks. “What do you want to forget?”

I open my mouth to reply but am interrupted by the long, sorrowful sound of a horn. It sounds very much like an Australian didgeridoo and/or the alpine horn used in the Ricola cough drop commercials.

Frankenstein snaps to attention.
“Welp,” he says. “Gotta go. I guess lunch break is over.”

He stands up and extends his hand to shake.

“Pleasure to meet you,” he says.

For whatever reason, I have not described his attire until now. He is all white. White t-shirt, white jeans with no belt, white socks, and white shoes that look suspiciously K-Swiss.

Frankenstein and I shake hands and he starts down the grassy hill to the bridge that crosses the river that acts as a moat for the castle that is the factory.

Immediately, I notice that we are not alone. There are hundreds of men and women making their way down the hill. They are all dressed in identical white. Like heavenly ants they bottleneck at the bridge before making their way into the factory buttressed by that blue, blue sky.

“Frank!” I yell. “Why are you all wearing white?”

Sometimes, athletes pinch their jerseys above their nipples and shake them out when they do something good. It’s a sign of pride. Frank turns to me and does this with his white shirt.

“This?” he shouts back to me. “This is just standard issue uniform. Pretty rad, right?”

Written by: Logan Theissen
Photograph by: Matt Crump

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