Short fiction

Works of fiction by Ignatius

On a Safety Pin.

Silver. Light. Don't think first of purpose, think first of weight and texture, the tangible nature of the thing. I don't think of the coiled spring built into the metal, nor of its two-part nature. More often than not a safety pin is a wire, turned round on itself, with a sharp point. Attached to this is a guard made of the same type of metal. Or maybe it isn't. Maybe they're one in the same. Is the thing that functions the same as the thing which keeps you safe? If I were to make a machine to create these, would I stamp the whole thing from the same mold? I think it would be easier to take it and role out the needles. Make them as if they were miniature metal snakes as a child would make. Role them as you might role the wax when making a crayon. Then I would bend them. I would take these long needles and warp them into shape. Take the straightness and make it so that it is opposed. The metal yearns to return to its needle-like way but it is prevented by this useful deformation.

This is not like its cousin the paper clip. Both are made of the same type of thin, metal rod, both are intended to fasten, but a paper clip is bent to remain in place. It is created as a blunt object. Its purpose is still fastening, but instead of fastening fabric it merely focuses on holding paper loosely. It lacks the violence of the pin, and in its dullness it intends to hold onto things loosely and cleanly. While adding something to a paper clip you will only likely deform the paper clip.

A safety pin will not do this. It will deform, sometimes damage, and sometimes permanently destroy the thing it fastens. A safety pin forces its way upon the world with the violence of a sword. A paper clip merely hold onto the world tightly. It is as if it is intending to take all of the violence of joining and visit that pain upon itself. It is there to collect the world, but it will not force it to stay that way.

Attached to this newly created spring I would place the "safety" part as a cap. It would take this thing which is too dangerous on its own. This thing would clearly attack its owner and tear at their flesh. Instead I would muzzle it. I would place on it a device to ensure that it could harm only those fool enough to leave the point exposed.

These things would then be dropped onto a giant conveyor belt. All factories have these, don't they? Factories have them, farms have them. Stores don't. Before things arrive at stores they are collected and packaged. We do not wish for a wide variety or a giant mass of things. Instead we prefer them in pre-made boxes, wrapped in tape and paper. So it with paper clips. So it is with safety pins.

Each of these machines, the devices making our tiny rods, would be tooled for different sizes. Some large, with metal think enough to serve as wiring, some small, barely enough to hold even the lightest of tugs. Each of these sizes would drop and be collected on the variety of forever spinning belts. They would then be hurled into a gaping funnel where they would be collected even further. The pieces of wire would then be held in giant bins for the great collection which precedes the shipment.

Another belt would then move boxes underneath spouts of metal. These great conveyors on conveyors would be filled with all of the differing shapes, from each according to its kind to one amalgamation, a collection and variety. Once this is done, the boxes, large and small, are then placed in larger boxes, then placed on palettes, then moved into trucks. They are packaged in packaging to be packaged and shipped. Theres is a story of journey. Theres is a story of perpetual motion, until finally they are grabbed, each by hand, by a store clerk. This is the first time any of them will be in nearly so close contact with human touch, yet even here they are held away by a barricade made of packaging.

Finally, they spend one more journey, this one much shorter. They leave the shelf and are brought to one final conveyor. One belt brings them to the clerk's machine, as if it is their final placement before departure. Their final reminder of where they came from before they can arrive at the many places they might be going, where they can finally serve their purpose.

This is how these light things, these tiniest of shiny objects of the house, are made into purchasable notions. This is how they arrive at a home, to be used, and then, in time, discarded, when they no longer need to hold.

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