“Hey, wake up now. Later we cannot make it on time to the place,” she gentlely nudged his shoulder, trying to wake him up.
“Emmmmhhhhh **%%~@#!!” (lost in translation..) He slowly opened his eyes and lazily mumbled something. “What is the time now?”
“It it 5.45am. Just now woke up you at 5.30am and I went to prepare breakfast, didn’t know you went back to sleep”, shaking her head while she said that to him.
“5.45am? It is still early. Huarraarrrggghh…” (Yawning)
“Faster go take your bath. Then eat your breakfast and we go there. We need to be early, ” She then walked to the kitchen. He could hear sounds of plastic containers being opened and closed. She must be packing for their lunch. They are not coming back for lunch. The place is quite far from their house and eating outside just not so convenient, given their nature of work. He could smell the stench, just by thinking of it. He passed by that area few times and he wondered if he could make himself comfortable there later.
“Hey, why you are still idling there? Go that your bath now,” her irritated voice jolted him from his wandering thoughts.
“Ugh… okay,” he grabbed his towel and slowly dragged himself to the tiny bathroom behind the kitchen.
After he took his shower and ate his breakfast, they took off. While walking to the place, he asked her, “Why we must go to that place? The place stinks. We can choose other places.”
“We need the money,” she gave him a short answer.
After walking 30 minutes, they almost reached the place. It is located at the industrial area near the river. Loud noises of heavy machinery from the factories deafening his ears. He could smell the distinctive aroma from the place as the sight of the building appearing before them. A strong smell of fermented or rotting fish wafted through the air. “Well, everywhere here it smell like this,” he whispered under his breath.
They finally reached the place. It is a shrimp shelling factory. It was their first day at work. She went to the office to register and then asked for the direction to the working place. “Upstairs. Go up the staircase on the right,” a lady sitting behind the glassed counter motioned to her after giving her a tiny note book – to record the quantity of shrimps they would shell that day, a boot, one white cap, and an apron.
“Thanks,” she clutched the tiny note book – a 555 notebook you can buy at bookstore for 10 cent each and grabbed his hands. He followed her upstairs. The smell of the place was intoxicating. She opened the door for him and he saw an area of six inch deep pools of dirty water at the entrance way in front of him. Some of the workers were walking through the water, holding their baskets of shrimps to their working table. He looked up at her.
“Come, I carry you over,” she lifted him by the arms and carried him to an empty table. He sat there and waited, while she went to the main counter and get their baskets of shrimps.
She came back with 2 baskets of shrimps and put them on the table. Then she picked up the shrimps and start peeling the shrimps. “It’s going to be a long day. Now you look at the way I do it and you follow, ” she smiled at him while saying that.
“Yeah. It is going to be a long and smelly day,” he thought to himself.
ps: He was 10.