art by Billy Sagulo
Lucky Cherry Luck
by Kailyn McCord
The cannery above waist level was spotless. Stainless steel countertops shone under the fluorescents and machines hummed with an oiled speed. Jolene was lucky to work at such a fine cannery. She told herself that, when she arrived each evening and again each morning when she left.
One two three, she flicked a rubber-gloved hand across the open cans, one two three, and counted the cherries as they dropped. Before her on the line was the pineapple girl, and before her the melon girl, and before her the girl who scooped shrunken orange slices. Jolene didn't know anyone but the pineapple girl, who sometimes sat with her on breaks. They were all given complimentary cans of fruit cocktail, although most of them went outside to smoke instead of eating.
One two three, she counted, and glanced up at the large black clock on the wall. Half an hour until break, the last of the day.
The floor was sticky and flecked with bits of fruit, and she heard the sucking sounds of rubber shoes as someone walked up behind her. She did not need to look up to know it was Emmanuel.
"Everything all right, Jo?" he asked.