EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR

BY Anita Marie Moscoso 

Inspired By The Soulfood Alphabet Project:
C is for Facing Chaos

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Binnie Cardea worked  for a company called Bannatyne and Hayman.

Well, that’s not exactly true, she lived for a company called Bannatyne and Hayman, she existed  for Bannatyne and Hayman, she would have been nothing and I mean nada but another little fish in the big overcrowded fish pond of life where all the little fishes looked the same if it hadn’t been for Bannatyne and Hayman.

Each weekday morning Binnie Cardea’ s alarm clock would go off at 5:00 and she really did jump out of bed –just like the people in the commercials that advertise how grand life is if you buy the right mattress to sleep on.

Then she  would snap her alarm clock off with a happy tap and sing as she started her shower.

She would hum as she washed her hair and she even whistled as she dressed.

Then she  would collect her work tools from the sideboard in her hallway and…I kid you not – she would practically skip to her car.

One day Binnie got to work at 6:30am sharp, her tool kit clenched in her happy relaxed hand when she saw everyone, and that included the office staff, the salespeople and even the clean up crews standing around the workshop.

They were standing around with worried lines creasing their foreheads, no one was smiling or making for the box of doughnuts on the ‘treat bench’ that held their coffee machine and cups and the little ice color underneath where they kept their juices and pops and bottled water.

“ What’s up? “ Binnie asked with a song in her heart and a smile on her face to no one in particular.

“ The Morana’s are opening a plant up in Edgewater.” She heard a voice say from across the workshop and her heart really did freeze up in her chest- right along with the smile on her face.

“ Oh,” Binnie said and everyone turned to face her “ oh is that what they think they’re going to do?”

That’s what the Morana’s did…a company like the Morana’s did to small companies like B&H what the locusts do to crops and the cold virus does to anything with a respiratory system.

They invaded, they ate they destroyed and there was nothing you could do to stop them.

Here in the States, there’s really only one very big, very successful company like Morana and their line of products was impressive and their delivery system was unsurpassed which counted for a lot when your product line were coffins.

Binnie went through her workday on that somber Tuesday without as much as a smile or cheery hello to anyone. Her dark cloudy expression was frightening, especially when she started to talk about those darn Morana’s and their “ production line o’ death” and she waved around her sharp little carpenter’s tools to emphasize her points.

Then sometime after lunch she had an idea, a brilliant one, an inspired one and when she punched the clock at the end of her shift she was whistling again and no one asked her what was with sudden change of heart.

It seemed like a good idea not to.

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The thing about Morana was that they were one of those 24 hour plants, someone was always going on or off shift and they were always in a hurry to go and very, very slow to arrive.

It only took a few days for Binnie to figure out what needed to be done, who was who and how to complete the task at hand.

After all , she hadn’t been made Employee Of The Year, Winner of the ” Coffin Design of the Year ”  Award as well as Employee Of The Month AND  Carpenter Of The Year because no one else competed.

Binnie Cardea was a company woman and a team player extraordinaire.

But she was also very, very self-motivated.

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One month after Morana opened it’s doors something happened that had never happened in the 50 years they’d been in business. They got backlogged.

Boy, did that cost them.

Do you know what happens when a funeral can’t happen on time because the Coffin didn’t show up? You don’t want to know because it involves the court systems and lawyers and judges and that my dear reader is to horrifying for me to go into.

It started out as a mystery and it stayed a mystery, Morana’s workforce clocked in and their co-workers would swear up and down they’d see them at their workstations. They just never clocked out.

It made for some morbid new stories: factory workers disappear into think air at Coffin making company.

It didn’t take long before “ The Production Line O’ Death Company” folded in Edgewater and that black eye forced them down all over the Country.

After all who would want to work for a company that ate its employees alive?

No one ever figured out what happened.

But of course someone knew exactly what happened and how.

SOMEONE always does.

In this case long after this someone had retired  she owned exactly half of B&H…but Binnie’s story doesn’t end there.

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Almost a week after she passed away at the ripe old age of 92 a construction company worker found all those people from the Edgewater plant in the basement of a little brick building not even two streets away from the big empty ultra modern building once owned by the Morana Corporation.

The Angerona Building has this stone elephant on its roof and it was built in 1899. It was used as a print shop, a restaurant, a gym and even a as a Church.

Then a family called Cardea bought it back in the 1970’s and rented it out for warehouse space.

But really what was interesting about the Angerona Building…what was interesting about all of the buildings on that block as a matter of fact were the series of tunnels that ran under the streets that once upon a time bootleggers used to move their inventory. They could move from the train tracks and docks without ever once stepping foot above ground. The air wasn’t great, but it was dry and quiet and naturally sound proof.

Now, the ‘bootleggers doors’ weren’t really doors. Just holes in the walls that the bootleggers punched out themselves with sledge hammers to make their travels and deliveries more efficient.

There were bootleggers doors everywhere down along the waterfront in Edgewater, including five that were covered not by concrete but by plywood and plaster when the building that they led into was torn down. The name of the building is gone forever but the building that was built over its foundation is interesting…it’s called the Morana Building.

But this story ends at 333 3rd Ave West in the Angerona Building.

In its basements are 50…count them 5-0 wooden boxes lining an unlit tunnel that goes nowhere. Each one is nailed shut and each one holds an awful secret and each one bares the mark

PROUDLY HANDCRAFTED BY BANNATYNE AND HAYMAN                             

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