The drills for the wells were arrayed out across the grounds, constant everywhere he looked. If expectations were to be met, then they’d need everyone of them pumping out water every second of the day.
From the deck of his make-shift office, watching the workers swarming like ants over the skeletons of half-built buildings, he had his doubts; about the wells, about the expectations, about it all.
He tossed the dregs of his cold coffee to the dirt, left the tin cup on the wooden railing, and hobbled down the stairs to start his rounds. Checking his wristwatch, he grunted. Pain still shot up his arm every time he twisted his wrist around like that. His wife had tried to get him to change his watch to a different wrist, wear it differently, or even take up his father’s pocket watch.
But he couldn’t do it. That’s how men wore their watches in the trenches of the Great War. That’s how his compatriots had worn them when they’d died, and the pain was necessary reminder of why this new powder foundry was so important.
From here, the fury of war would be born, a war end all war.
During World War II, one of the largest explosive powder manufacturing points in America existed just north of Memphis, outside of Millington. The factory required more water per day than the whole of Memphis consumed, and employed over five thousand people in a hundred buildings. It was one of the forges from which the American war effort sprung to life for World War II.