Anastasia's felter tank at the Smyslov Felt Works
was one of twelve in the second floor tank room. The entire second
floor-the tank room, the supply room, the storage room, the stairwells-had
a unique odor, a cross between rotten eggs and the exhaust of a
bus that burned oil, caused by the pulp in the felter tank, a slurry
of ground wood, ground glass, fiberglass, chemicals, and water,
all transformed into low grade felt by heat and hydraulic pressure.
Hot steam venting from the felt driers liquefied the stench and
deposited it on Anastasia and the other felters, the sheen of an
exotic moisturizer. At home, it washed away in the shower so she
did not wear the smell of her job like the women who worked at Peninsula
Poultry, the chicken processing plant that was Ilion Heights' largest
employer. Working there would be a down step.
| S. Frederic
Liss whose first novel will be published in July, 2020, is a multiple
Pushcart Prize nominee, a nominee for the storySouth Million Writers
Award, and a finalist for the Flannery O'Connor Short Fiction Prize
sponsored by University of Georgia Press, the St. Lawrence Book Award
sponsored by Black Lawrence Press, and the Bakeless Prize sponsored
by Breadloaf Writers' Conference and Middlebury College.