Most of this came to me in a dream I had in February of 2012.

I began writing in in 2014 and wrote the last piece in 2016.

I hope you enjoy it.

By the way below is the web address to these stories on my blog:

https://ericjohnmonier.com/home/work...59-flashlight/

PART ONE:
So there I was working at a military base in an undisclosed location that only my superiors knew the whereabouts. All I knew is that it was in the middle of a snowy plateau where below freezing temperatures were a daily occurrence. Though I was only sixteen; I was given the chance to help on a research project. Of course I jumped at the opportunity. I was allowed to be transported to this base and have all my expenses paid for living there. All I had to do in return was promise to spend all school vacation time working there and then join the company upon graduation. I eventually convinced my parents to sign me up. The firm I joined was trying to create a universal fuel that could power all combustion engines under all conditions. The project was top secret as its impact the world’s oil economy was unknown. On this particular afternoon; I was checking the pressure on the tanks by the light of my flashlight. The reason I needed a flashlight was that normal electrical lighting could have ignited this special blend of chemicals. Not only did I need a flashlight but an explosion proof flashlight. After checking the pressure on the fuel tanks; I began to analyze the chemical composition of the fuel. In the midst of doing so, the bulb in my flashlight began to flicker. I also noticed that the O-Rings had become eccentric. I refuse to disclose the brand of this flashlight as this was the only defective model of their’s I have come across. Regardless; I knew these defects could trigger an explosion which would result in the loss of lives and years of research. Quickly, I rushed out of the fuel bunker. Upon exiting; I walked to the supply room and presented my damaged light to the clerk. Pulling out my company issued bank card I asked her
“Do you have any replacements?”
The woman replied in a cut-and-dry voice. “The weather has been treacherous for the past few days and our supplies are cut off.” She paused and then continued “I don’t have that particular model here anymore. We have other models, but they are used and beat up.”
I asked “Are they still safety approved?”
She nodded then said sharply “Of course they are, what do you think? We just conducted inventory and they have all been inspected.”
She walked to the back. I could hear her moving boxes around and complaining. Finally she walked out. She handed me an orange flashlight with a black switch and black ends. I examined it and noticed it was full of dents and oil stains. Eveready No. 1259 was painted in black on the side. It also had the safety information and approvals stamped into the injection molding on the back.
I wondered to myself who could have used this light before it was issued to me, so I asked the clerk “Do you know any history of who used this light?”
She replied “Kid, what do you think I am, a librarian?”
“Jeez, sorry lady, I was just being curious.” I replied, then asked her “I need as many PR6 bulbs as you have.”
She stared at me sternly and then said “Look kid, our supplies are extremely limited. You’re not the only on who needs bulbs for your flashlight. I will give you four bulbs and you better make them last.”
“I also need some Industrial Alkaline batteries, D size.”
She grew even more irritated and said “Get it through you head kid, our supplies are limited. All of the Alkaline batteries have been sold. I only have Carbon Zinc batteries, take ’em or leave ‘m.”
“I guess I’ll have to take them, but I question their performance in the cold.”
She handed me the batteries and bulbs in addition to my flashlight.
I began to walk out when she said “You still have to pay for them. I’m not your momma.”
“You can say that again.” I replied then swiped my card.
She replied, angrily “Watch your attitude or I will report you the the superiors.”
I then left the supply room. It was beginning to get dark. I check the time on my watch, the hands indicated 3:49, 15:49 if I looked at the secondary numbers.” Hurriedly; I wrote down all the information for my reports on the chemicals and then turned them in. Being a minor, I was only allowed to work a certain amount of hours. After swiping my card at the time clock, I headed to my living space. Upon walking in; I pulled out my laptop, logged on and plugged it into the Ethernet jack near my bed. I wanted to do some research on the flashlight I just purchased. When I started the browser; there was an error message that stated the page could not be displayed. I cussed and then went for a walk.
When I found my friend and fellow student-worker; I asked him “Is the Internet connection was working?”
He replied “No, it isn’t. I haven’t been able to connect all day. It is really hindering our research. He pointed at the giant satellite antenna in the middle of the complex and said “The snow is falling so heavily and is collecting on the parabola of the dish. Because of that, it is blocking any signals from passing through.” I cussed again and walked over to the building on which the antenna was situated on. I swiped my card and walked in. The first floor housed the motor for turning and pointing the dish to the appropriate transponders. I walked to the second floor which housed the server mainframe. It was turned on, but indicated that there was no available connection. I cussed again, then walked out of the building, activated the lock code and then walked back to my living quarters, where I caught up on some reading. Soon it was time to eat and I sat by my friend. I pulled my flashlight from my pocket and showed it to him.
He examined it and said “It looks like it had some use.”
“Yes.” I replied, then continued “The lady in the supply room sold it to me. She sure was crabby today, more than usual.”
“So how are things in the tank and valve maintenance?” He asked.
“Interesting.” I replied, then continued “I plan to test all the instruments tomorrow and then calibrate them if need be. They are showing that the fuel is chemically stable as of now, but that is why I am testing the instruments for accuracy. I don’t want to get my hopes or the hopes of the whole firm too high just yet.” I then asked “How are things in R&D?”
He replied “They have me doing the mathematical calculations for the chemical formulas. It’s just to make sure everything can be proven to be scientifically true. It’s quite tedious and redundant, but I am used to it.” He paused and then said “We are on the brink of a breakthrough.” We chatted during the course of dinner and until it was pitch black outside with the exception of the glow from various windows in buildings. With nothing else to do; I went to bed.

PART TWO:

Christmas break had ended and, for now, so had my part of the top-secret work-study. Now that I was back home I took advantage of the reliable Internet access and purchased several more Industrial Alkaline batteries and plenty of PR6 bulbs for my Eveready 1259. I also cleaned the tube and contacts. It was now working as if it were almost new . School had now started up again. The class for my first period was science. Co-incidentally, the subject was on the auto-ignition temperature of various materials and fluids. The material came as a breeze to me as I had already been exposed to it hands on during my work-study. After the notes were written down the teacher began to lecture.
“Auto ignition temperature is the minimum amount of heat required to cause a given combustible substance to ignite. Different materials have different temperatures and care must be taken when handling any one of them.” She paused and then said “Through extensive research, trial and error and even accidents; scientists and engineers have compiled data on plenty of these materials. Doing so allowed for their manufacturers, handlers and end-users to be able to know how hot is too hot. This vital data, when taken seriously, saves billions of dollars and, more importantly, countless lives.” She paused, then continued “Companies and workers that deal with these materials are required by law to use equipment that is positively known not to generate heat beyond the ignition point. This includes motors, lighting, switches and even hand tools. Virtually any machine, device or instrument that could generate any sort of spark must be heavily regulated. Any component that is to be used in an atmosphere where a potentially explosive material is present must not generate heat that meets or exceeds the auto ignition temperature of the given material. This takes some science and engineering to allow conformity, which we will cover some of this is the following lessons. Many students appeared to be bored. I, on the other hand, was listening. This pertained to my everyday work and would for years to come. I was already aware and well rounded in the material presented.
Feeling the desire to show off; I reached into my backpack and pulled out my flashlight then said
“Speaking of auto ignition temperatures, I have a flashlight here that is designed to work in areas where some of these potentially explosive are handled. It has special circuitry and low temperature bulbs that will stop it from igniting any of these gases or dusts.” I pointed my flashlight at the ceiling and continued talking “It is safe to use around potentially explosive materials just like we are learning about. It has been approved by the government as well as other authorities.” I paused then said “There is only one drawback and that is it is horribly dim, but it still gets the job done. The reason why it is dim is because the bulb used in it is weaker than most and therefore shines at a temperature low enough to not cause an explosion.”
The teacher switched the projector off and demanded “What do you think you are doing?”
I replied “I thought I would give an example to the class, you know, show them how this material is practical in the real world.” The class laughed.
“You talked out of turn and disrupted my class.” She paused then said “Furthermore you have an item that is not appropriate for school. Hand it over, now.”
“But…” I said
“But what?” The teacher asked
I replied “I need that for work. Plus, it is my favorite one.”
The teacher asked, sternly “For work, what do you do?”
“I work in and around fuel tanks.” I replied. The class laughed again.
“You are sixteen years old, it is illegal for you to work in that sort of job. I am going to report you employer-unless you are making it up.” She paused then asked “Who is your employer?”
“I am not allowed to disclose that information.” I replied.
“Then you are making it up.” She said, then continued “Hand over the flashlight and I am giving you two Saturday Schools.”
The teacher took my flashlight and the whole class laughed once more.
I cussed as I was angry beyond belief.
“That’s another Saturday School young man!” The teacher shouted sternly, the class laughed once more and then the bell rang.
I was angrier than I had been in a long time. That light had a history, whether I knew what it was or not, and that hateful teacher took it from me. I sat in the rest of my classes still angry but focused on getting a new one. Finally, came recess. I logged onto the computer and did a search for a replacement Eveready 1259. I found there was a supply house in my town that was selling it for $6.99. I paid much less for my first one, but this was brand new.
“Fair enough.” I reluctantly thought to myself.
The remainder of the school day dragged on, until, finally, the bell rang. I walked out of the classroom, changed my shirt, put my books in my locker, retrieved my cell phone, took my backpack and headed on foot to the supply house. It took me over an hour to get there, but finally, I arrived. I walked in and a middle aged man greeted me with a stern look.
“May I help you young man?” He asked.
“Yes sir.” I replied, then continued “I saw on your company website that you have an Eveready 1259 in stock. I walked here a good distance, so I hope you still have it.”
“Yes, we do.” He said and continued “But what exactly do you need it for?”
I fabricated a half lie and said “I had one as a hand me down but I was showing it off in science class and the teacher took it.”
The salesman asked “Why in the hell were you showing off a flashlight in class, especially one like that. If I were you I would have wanted a much brighter flashlight to show off.”
I replied “We were learning about the auto ignition temperatures of volatile materials and I wanted demonstrate my knowledge.”
The salesman laughed and said “Well it is $6.99 plus tax.”
“I’ll take it.” I replied.
“Okay, your total is going to be $7.58, do you still want it? ” The man asked.
“Of course I do.” I said handing him my debit card. He ran it through the computers and printed me out an invoice. I also signed the store’s copy. After he handed me my new flashlight; we sat and we shot the breeze. The hands on my watch indicated 6:00 or 18:00 in the secondary numbers. The man looked at his as well.
“Well, another day is done. You better get home kid, before it gets too cold.” The man said.
I simply nodded and called my parents on my cell phone to pick me up. I waited for them to arrive in the cold January weather, but the cold temperatures here were nothing compared to the cold temperatures I had experienced on the base.

PART THREE:

School had just let out for Summer Vacation that very afternoon and I knew I was about to resume my work-study. So, I turned in all my books, placed my uniform shirt in my backpack and collected all of my personal items.
My science teacher saw me leaving the school building.
She was holding my old Eveready 1259 in her hand and stopped me saying, “Since you did so well in my class, I think you deserve this back. You’re very bright, but you need to be more serious during class time. You also need to watch your language.”
“Thanks.” I sheepishly told her. Little did she know that I had job security for years to come, despite being only sixteen. I initially wanted to tell her off, but I guess her giving me back the flashlight had caught me off guard. She didn’t know about my newer Eveready 1259 in my backpack and wasn’t going to find out.
My teacher then handed my flashlight to me and asked, “Were you serious about working with fuel tanks are were you just trying to be smart alleck?”
“I do work with fuel, but I am not allowed to say any more.”
“It’s illegal you know for someone your age to do that kind of work.”
“Trust me, it’s legal. I just cannot say anymore.”
“Whatever you say. Just be careful.”
I then quickly exited the school building. In just a few hours I had to walk to the helicopter terminal on the other side of town to be transported to the secret base. However, first I wanted to get some more batteries and bulbs for both of my Eveready 1259 flashlights. Therefore, I made a bee line for the supply house.
Finally I made it there.
As I walked through the door, the same salesman greeted me, “Hello young man, haven’t seen you in a while. Did you teacher take away your second flashlight too?”
“Nope. Actually she returned my original 1259 to me because she thought I did well in her class.”
“Wow, then teachers sure aren’t as strict as when I went to school. One time I brought my favorite Matchbox car to class and was playing with it on my desk. The teacher took it and I never saw it again.”
“That sucks.”
“Yes, but I never brought anything to school again, unless I needed it for class. Anyways, what brings you here?”
“I need more bulbs and batteries for these two flashlights. I would prefer some PR6 bulbs and as many Energizer Industrial D cells as possible.”
“I do have those, but why exactly do you need PR6 bulbs? They’re dim as all hell. And it’s not like you actually need your flashlight to be explosion proof, right?”
“But I definitely do need it to be explosion proof.”
“Come on, I know you can’t be eighteen yet, and that means you’re not allowed to work in a hazardous job. So why would you need an explosion proof flashlight?”
“That’s top secret, now I am on foot and have to get across town in a limited amount of time.”
“Okay, young man, whatever you say. Since you like explosion proof flashlights so much, might I interest you in a Pelican 1900? It’s explosion proof, brighter and much smaller. Plus it comes in different colors.”
“Let me see one, then maybe.”
The salesman showed me the display.
“It costs 12.50 for one Pelican 1900.”
“I’ll take it.”
“What color do you want, kid?”
“The neon green looks cool.”
“You’ll probably want replacement lamps, right?”
“Yes.”
“They’re $4.50 each.”
“Give me three.”
“That’s $13.50 in addition to your $12.50. And you’ll want replacement batteries. They are 18 cents each for the Energizer Industrials.”
“Give me eight of them.”
“That’s $1.44 in addition to $13.50 for the lamps and $12.50 for the Pelican 1900. Which comes out to $27.44 plus tax.”

“Great. I’ll take ’em.”
“Didn’t you want PR6 bulbs and Industrial Alkaline D batteries as well.?”
“You’re right.”
“The D cells are 95 cents apiece.”
“Give me six.”
“Okay that’s $5.70 in addition to $27.44 for your other stuff. And PR6 bulbs are $1.90 apiece if you want them as well.”
“Yes. Give me four of them.”
“All right that’s an additional $7.60 plus the $33.14 for everything else. If you don’t want to buy anything else, your subtotal is $40.74.”
“Okay, that’s fine.”
“That comes out to $44.20 after tax.”
“I pull out one of my two $50 bills and hand it to him.”
“You must either have rich parents or you work to have that kind of money.”
“I work.”
“Is that why you so desperately need your flashlights to be explosion proof?”
“I’ll neither confirm nor deny. Now I have to get across town quickly.”
He gives me the $5.80 back as change and hands me all of my merchandise. I then put all of it in my backpack and leave the supply house, looking at my watch.
The time indicates 1:20 or 13:20 if looking at the secondary numbers. I have to be at the heliport by 4:00 or 16:00, but it’s way on the other side of town and I’m on foot.
A female classmate sees me walking in the hot sun and offers me a ride.
I take it.
“Where are you heading?” She asks.
“The heliport.”
She gives me a puzzled look and then asks, “Why do you need to go there.”
“It’s for my job.”
She smiles and asks “Going work in the tanks, right.”
“Yes. You must have in that class.”
“That was totally cute how you showed off that flashlight with the lights off as we took notes.”
“Well thanks.”
“Actually, though, I think you’re just cute anyway.”
She leans over to kiss me. I blush.

“I didn’t realize you liked me.”
She smiled brightly and nodded her head.
“I wish we could do something this summer, but I’m going to be out of the country.”
“Is it for your secret job.”
“Yes.”
“Would you be able to call me?”
“Yes, once I put a SIM card in my phone that I get from the base. I have an international cell phone. If you see a strange looking number, it’s probably mine.”
“Okay, I’ll give you my cell and my parents’ house number.”
She calls them out and I put them in my GSM phone.
“Are you on AIM?” I ask her.
“Yes.”
I take a piece of my sales invoice and write my screen name on it and hand it to her. She dictates her screen name to me and I write it down.
Afterwards she holds my hand and drives me to the heliport.
As we are going there, I tell her, “I have a little bit of time and cash, so maybe I could take you to lunch.”
Her eyes light up and she nods.
“Where would you like to get me lunch?” She asks.
“Applebees.” I reply.
“Awesome!”
With that, we pull into the parking lot and are seated.
We order and are soon served our food.
Over the course of our meal, she asks, “What is so secret about your job anyway?”
“Well we develop products that could make other products obsolete. The owners of companies whose products become obsolete would want to kill us and destroy our workplaces. That’s why we are flown by helicopter, but the wherabouts of my jobs are totally unknwon to me. I’m sorry I cannot tell you anymore.”
“How did you get this job?”
“I was chosen by an online profiler who I guess thought I was smart and trustworthy.”
“I’m going to miss not seeing you.”
“But we can talk on the phone and online.”
“Yes, but that’s not the same as seeing you cute face.”
I blushed brightly and she giggled.
I looked at my watch. It was now 2:55 or 14:55 in secondary numbers.
“Do you have to leave now?”
“The helicopter leaves at 4 P.M., but I would like to be at the heliport sooner than that.”
“Can I stay until you board?”
“Sure. I would want you to.”
“You really would?”
“Of course. No one else ever paid attention to me like you do.”
“So you like me as well, then?”
“Yes. Yes I do.”
She kissed me again.
I paid for the meal and then we left.
As we were riding to the heliport, she asked me “Are you going to miss me?”
I nodded, then said “Terribly.”
“You’re so sweet.” She said and kissed me a third time.
We sat in her car and talked. Other student workers began to arrive. I held her hand and stayed in her car until I saw the helicopter land.
My watch indicated 3:58 or 15:58 in secondary numbers.
“I guess I have to go now. Can I kiss you this time?”
“Of course you can.”
We stared at each other, then closed our eyes and passionately kissed. I embraced her and kissed her once more, then walked out of her car with all my stuff.
She waved and blew me one final kiss as I boarded the helicopter. As it took off I could see her standing on the ground watching us leave…