3'oclock In The Sewing Room

The room was buzzing, the industrial sewing machines were going at full speed, and people were making light chatter except for Samantha as she had fallen asleep at her machine, luckily it was not on, so she wouldn’t accidently start sewing herself in her sleep again. On the other side of the room, the irons were spurting water and it was spilling onto the ironing boards, ruining future garments with possible water stains and by the irons was Ebony who was trying to open a button hole.

“I can’t penetrate the fabric, why does denim have to be so thick.” Ebony says to herself as she scrutinized the still closed buttonhole.

“Don’t say penetrated.” Mellisa complained behind her as she taps her foot up and down impatiently behind, she needed that hammer and chisel now and Ebony the ever incompetent person that she was, couldn’t open it up and was making the entire experience positively filthy.

“It’s the proper wording, I am trying to penetrate this fabric so I can make a button hole.” A smug voiced Ebony told Mellisa as she turned around to face her, she loved to make people uncomfortable with regular words, it filled her with a great sense of jubilation to use regular words that were neither a curse word or a supposed filthy word, to fill a person with either astounding hate or extreme discomfort.

“Well use a different word, I feel like I need a shower every time you say penetrate.” Mellisa said shivering.

“How about I use a different word then,” tapping her finger on her chin as she began to list off other appropriate words, “ how about stab, impale, puncture, skewer or-“

Mellisa waved her hands in front of Ebony as her white face went completely red, “stop just stop, not matter what you say it still sounds filthy.”

“It only sounds filthy because you have a dirty mind.” Ebony pointed out and continued to relentlessly tease her.

The sound of a crashing chair brought Ebony and Mellisa’s conversation to a halt.

“Can you girls just stop, our assignments are due today and your bickering is making some of us distracted and we need to finish or else we will fail and if that happens it will be your fault and I swear to whoever is listening, I will end you!” Deven’s enraged voice encompassed the sewing room and was met with a sudden halt from everyone around her, it was not surprising this happened, her temper was as though someone had left a kettle on the stove too long and in the end the kettle explodes and someone always ended up being scalded and irreversibly scarred for life.

“I’m not worried at, all I got to do is cut open this button hole and I’m done.” Deven could practically see the smugness in Ebony’s voice, she was always such a pain, always pointing out how she stayed late at night finishing off garments and patterns, sometimes she just wanted to steal her work and watch her break down and started tearing out her hair whenever she started getting stressed out, but as a fellow fashion student she could not do that, it was against the code of the sewing room, don’t steal from a fellow student, no matter how much of a know it all they were being.

Deven picked her chair off the ground and put it back in the front of the sewing machine, “well some of us still have garments to start.” Gesturing to the garment that was in her machine.

“That wouldn’t have happened if you had better time management skills.”

Deven took a deep breath and breathed out loudly, “some days I wish you would just die.”

Ebony flashed a confident smile as she made the symbol for a gun with her hand and proceeded to fake shoot at her, “right back at you sister.”

“Why are you guys so worried it’s just tafe not uni, we’re not getting graded or anything.” Melody pointed out as she typed on her computer.

“You do know that this course is being discontinued at the end of the year, correct?” Deven stopped sewing and turned to look at her.

Melody stopped typing on her computer and looked up at Deven, “what are talking about?”

“Haven’t you read the emails the school sent out?” She asked with disbelief.

“No too busy having a life, you know, sex, sex and a lot of anime, too much anime.”

“Well if you had read them, it would have told you that at the end of the year the Advanced Diploma of Fashion and Technology is being discontinued, and if we haven’t finished our work at 6 today and hand it in, ‘I do not give extension Mrs. King’ at 6, we will not be receiving our Advanced Diploma.”

For a few minutes Melody was completely silent, swiftly she closed her laptop and threw it on the table without much care, leaping out of the chair, and ran straight out of the sewing room so fast, it was as if she was leaving a trail of fire behind her.

“What does she think she’s doing, it’s too late to start everything, the illustrations alone take at least a 1 hour not to mention-the C.A.Ds, photoshop, spec sheets, costing’s pattern making, sewing and then we got to put them on the mannequins-so much work.” Deven said as he went back to sewing.

“Your severely underestimating Melody.” Mellisa said as she was handed the chisel and hammer.

Deven sighed as he stopped sewing, “I’m not underestimating her, I’m just being realistic, it’s 3 everything’s due at 6 no exceptions, no excuses, how is she going to get it all done.”

Mellisa shook her head as she explained, “I knew her in Secondary School, every time she forgot something it was due to be handed in at the last second, she was a mess of course-purple hair was completely out of control, make up smeared all over her face and usually some of her clothing was ripped-, but it was all done.”

Deven gave a look of disbelief, “did you ever ask her how she got the work done.”

“Nope because I don’t give a damn.” Mellisa slammed the hammer down on the chisel and with that it seemed she had ended all conversations around her, a silent lull had covered the sewing room, not a word was spoken and all anyone could hear was the sound of the sewing machines, it was very uncommon to have any silence in the sewing room, usually people were telling funny jokes or listening to music, though the radio was broken so that wasn’t going to happen and with what happened last time with the headphones, on the rare occasion someone would either accidently sew or burn themselves, but it looked like a perfectly quiet paradise of course all paradises must be disturbed.

Ebony was leaning against the iron while snipping away loose threads from her skirt when the smell of burning toast wafted up into her nose, “does anyone else smell burnt toast or am I having a heart attack.”

Mellisa who was ironing her shirt stopped and smelt the air, “First off Ebony your too young to have a heart attack and second it does smell like burnt toast.”

“Where is it coming from?”

“Who cares, I’ve got better things to do than figure out why I am smelling burnt toast.”

“I’m going to find where the smells coming from or else I will spend the rest of my life wondering where it’s coming from, like that time I smelt meat, but I didn’t investigate, that still haunts me, where was the smell coming from.”

“You do that.”

Ebony walks around sniffing the air trying to locate the smell, as she continued to smell she realized it was coming from the other room, as the window was too grainy to see in, she decided to open the door and see what was making that smell, opening the door to the adjoining room her blue eyes going wide at the scene before her, half the room is on fire, curtains are ablaze, the rulers were distorted and warped, and the sandwich she left on the table was becoming toast which explained the smell. She could not pull herself away from the absolute calamity that was unfolding in front of her, when she regained some control over her body again, she slowly started moving backwards and shut the door behind her.

Turning around slowly she started packing up her things in a hurried manner as she warned the other students of what was unfolding in the other room.

Though when no one got up from doing their sewing or ironing, she simply shrugged and gathered up the last of her stuff and starting walking calmly out of the door shutting it behind her, she simply had no time for people who didn’t give a damn if they burnt to death.

As if a needle had gone through her finger Mellisa registered what Ebony had said and ran to the door throwing it open with great force and started yelling down the hallway, “wait did you say fire?”

“Yes.” Ebony’s voice echoed from down the hall.

Mellisa ran around the sewing room gathering up her clothing and books, when Deven noticed what she was doing, “Your done already?”


“Then why are you packing up?”

“Ebony said there was a fire.”

“She’s probably li-,” Deven was cut off by sound of the window breaking leaving little pieces of glass on the ground, “or maybe not.” She said as smoke started filling the room.

Samantha who was sleeping at her machine woke up at the sudden commotion, looking around the room, she saw smoke was coming in from the broken window in the door, she slowly got up still half a asleep and started to make for the door stumbling like a new born deer, but as soon as she got to the door she realized no one was leaving, instead they were in a frenzy picking up clothing and rulers.

“What are you doing, we’re supposed to immediately evacuate the building whenever there’s a fire, you know leave you stuff and get out of the building, we’ve been told this since kindergarten.”

“That’s what normal people would do, we’re fashion students we have worked for months on these garments, stayed up till 3 to finish them, wear frumpy clothes because we don’t have enough time to wash or nice stuff, can’t even put on make up because there’s not enough time too, sacrificed trips to Europe and missed weddings to make these garments and I for one would rather burn to death then leave my garments behind.” Mellisa explained as she continued to pack up her things as Sam joined in picking up her own stuff.

After a few near death experiences they finally got to the car park where the rest of the building was already evacuated. The fashion students stood far away from them due to being the last to arrive. As fire trucks whizzed by they all began to look up staring up at the blazing inferno that had engulfed the entirety of the fashion floor and was quickly spreading to other floors.

“How did this even happen?” Deven asked no one in particular as she stared up at the scene before her.”

“I have no idea,” replied Ebony.

“I blame the wiring.” Said Sam running her tanned hand through her messy blonde hair.

“I can tell you what I don’t think it was, arson.” said Mellisa with firm determination as Melody came out of the crowd of students and only catching the last part of Mellisa’s sentence.

Melody began to sweat at that and began to try to move people’s suspicion for the theory of arson, “it is clearly an accident, I mean what person burns down a sewing room.” Melody joked in a forced tone.

Deven lifted her eyebrow and asked in a quizzical tone, “how did you know it started in the sewing room, you weren’t even there.”

Melody face was completely pale and as she started to stutter as though she didn’t know what to say, “well I um…I ummm.”

“You burnt down the sewing room.” Deven accused in a flat tone, and with that the girls surrounded Melody, boxing her in and forcing her to stay put.

Melody shuffled from one foot to another umming and arring as she couldn’t decide what to say, hoping her friends would keep her secret, she admitted what she did, “I may or may not have put the broken radio on and might have tied a piece of calico around the frayed wires, but if I did do this it was because I just needed more time to get my work done.”

Deven, Samantha and Mellisa looked good and hard at Melody not saying a word, they were silent for a full minute and then they did the most unexpected thing, they started cheering and jumping up and down in joy and saying how proud they were of her, when a loud ‘ahem’ that instantly silenced there celebrating.

Ebony was standing close by with her arms crossed over her chest with a frown so large on her face it looked as though her eyes were half lidded, her red hair wild and out of control like a wild fire, Melody gulped in fear, this was her face when she got mad and whenever Ebony got mad she got violent, extremely violent. “You put our very lives in danger, because you needed more time.”

“Everyone needed more time.” Melody softly argued as she could feel Ebony’s glare pierce her soul, dragging her into a pit of eternal guilt.

“We could have died in so many ways and all you care about is getting more time.” Ebony replied her body shaking in rage.

Ebony was in her silent rage at Melody when Miss Dontoni interrupted them.

“Well girls as the fire has basically spread to the entirety of the sewing room so you each get a CO as I know you put in the work.”

“I can’t believe Mrs. King would let you do that.”

“Mrs. King has just quit apparently the fire destroyed the only copy of the manuscript she was working on and had a bit of a breakdown, so she won’t be back next year,” Miss Dontoni phone began to buzz in her hand, “it’s my Mum I’ve got to take this, I will send out an email about what’s happening next year.”

“Are you still going to rat on me now.” Melody asked rhetorically, every single person in their class hated Mrs. King even goody two shoes Ebony, as she had managed to stress her only friend out of the course, she took that personally.

“No, it seems your selfish actions have helped me, so I won’t tell anyone what you have done, but pull this again next year and you will be sorry,” Ebony threatened as the group became silent and all they could hear was the water rushing by, “so do you guys want to celebrate with some karaoke at the karaoke box.”

Melody couldn’t believe this her sudden ominous and dark mood changed to a light happy one, this was usually a headache as the mood change was from crying to rage, but this is one face they had never seen before.

Melody, Samantha, Mellisa and Deven shrugged and followed Ebony down the street where the karaoke box was.

“Hey Melody why didn’t you tell us about the fire.”

“Simple, I had to get it to spread every where and if I notified you too soon, someone would have put it out and I wouldn’t be able to buy more time.”

Deven gave Melody a quizzical look, “So we could have died.”

“Very much so.” Replied Melody with a smile. “It is pure luck that you survived, I was actually hoping that someone would die, then I would defiantly have got out of the final presentation, but this works too.”

Deven stopped and thought about yelling at her, but it simply wasn’t worth it, they got out of having to present there final range and Mrs. King will be gone next year, besides the almost dying, it was a pretty good day, karaoke was going to suck though, combining alcohol with music is the worst possible combination, your just asking for someone to projectile vomit all over you, but aside from those two things, it was a good way to end the year.