4 AM was always his longest hour. It seemed that the rest of the world was deep in a somber slumber while production continued. He walked outside to begin his journey to the breakroom on this unseasonably warm February morning. With eyes and feet like stone, he felt every heavy step along the way.
Once inside, he poured himself a cup of coffee to pull him through the rest of the shift. He left it black as the night sky outside of the broad windows. Between coffee and energy drinks, he felt as though caffeine pumped more so than oxygen in his bloodstream. The warm brew crept into his soul to provide enough energy for a heavy sigh. His eyes closed for a moment.
He thought of his bed and his wife who slept peacefully in it. The minor argument they shared earlier seemed so distant in his timeline. At least she would be there when he came home with a kiss and a smile to melt the woes of the night before. One of many blessings to be thankful for.
His opened his eyes at last. He lifted the cup to his lips and sipped it as smoothly as a drag from a cigarette. His lips had grown accustomed to the black velvet on his tongue as replacement to his beloved whisky. He looked into the white Styrofoam as if he were looking at a good friend and often wondered however which could kill him first.
The radio clicked abruptly, snapping him out of his momentary bliss. His rough and callused hands reached for the screeching speaker and his safety glasses. It was time to return to his machine and bring a new success into the matching day. With a deep breath and optimism for the rising sun, he was determined yet again.