Corbin's a leavin'

Marzeus von Hemelen By Marzeus von Hemelen, 22nd Oct 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Diaries

Life sure has a funny way to keep a balance of sorts.

The Chicken Processing Company

Very many years ago, when Father still had The Chicken Processing Company, through our church he found a guy called Corbin to work for him. Corbin used to work in the mine, but that was getting hazardous to his health. He came close to dying too many times; once when underground explosives blew out a steel door that then killed the man standing right next to Corbin, and another time when Corbin was buried under silt coming in. His mine buddies had to keep digging the silt away in front of his face so he can breathe.

So, when he got the chance from Father to become a chicken business' manager, he took it. Later on he also became a partner in the business.

Anyway, as the years passed, Corbin got very rich out of The Chicken Processing Company, and started a dairy farm next door out of which he got even richer. He also opened up a shop there selling liquor to all the farm workers, and became stinking rich out of their alcohol addictions. And later on Corbin would also become a grower of chickens. At the same time, Father and him were also farming with cattle.

The point is Corbin and his family got stinking, stinking rich, and they loved living the rich life of new fantastic cars every now and again, home renovations and what have you.

Unfortunately as for The Chicken Processing Company, Corbin ran that into the ground. He wasn't a good manager and didn't know how to work with people, especially black people. I'm not saying that the chicken job was an easy one, because it was absolute chaos and a difficult industry too, but Corbin couldn't make it work and bankrupted it.

His honesty was also a liiiiiiiiiiittle bit off, as Harrison, who tried for a short time to manage the Chicken Processing Company, would later remark. The rule was that before the chicken growers, of which Corbin was one, bring their chickens to the abbattoir, they have to stop feeding their chickens at least six hours before they arrive at the abbattoir. Otherwise of course the chickens arrive stuffed heavy with chicken feed in their gizzards, which makes them weigh much heavier (the abbattoir pays the grower by weight). Also, the very expensive feed, which for some reason The Chicken Processing Company paid for too, is wasted, as it will simply be washed out of the chicken and go down the drain.

My chicken farming days

Harrison discovered that Corbin has been knowingly delivered the chickens stuffed chock full of chicken feed, and getting paid insanely more than he should. I also later wondered about Corbin's integrity; Harrison talked me into growing chickens with Corbin and his two sons and one of Corbin's friends. Corbin would treat me very harshly and overreacted every time I don't do something his way or make a mistake. I didn't know why, but it became evident later on.

We had five chicken houses full of hundreds of thousands of chickens. Every day, in all five houses combined, there would die about two hundred of them. It was just the general mortality rate.

Corbin and his gang lie to make me look bad and work me out of there

One evening I found that the supervisor of one of the houses didn't shut the sail curtains. The chickens might be quite cold, I thought, so I closed the curtains.

Next day, Corbin and his sons told Father and everybody they know, that I had made a big mistake and that I had robbed us all of a large portion of our profit, as "TWO HUNDRED CHICKENS DIED!" because of being too hot during the night. "TWO HUNDRED CHICKENS!" they would exclaim. Boy, am I just the stupidest mess-upper of all.

However, next time I'm at the chicken houses, I go look at the charts that every supervisor fills in. At the chicken house where this supposedly happened, there's no such thing as 200 chickens dead. It's about 30. Quite in the range of the usual 15 to 50. Nothing whatsoever out of the ordinary here. Why did they lie?

I went around to all five houses, and found the same thing - normal mortality rate. When all are added together, then yes, it makes 200 chickens. Same as it does roughly every day. So why would they start a smear campaign against me, acting like I'm the worst thing for the business?

After about four months I had to move on to do other things, and stopped working there. Immediately Corbin brings in the other two of his sons to slide right into my place, and told that other partner friend of theirs to hit the road too.

It's pretty obvious when they put up a sign at the gate: "Steinbrick Family Trust".

Yep, Corbin's intention was all this time to make it so horrible for me that I leave, and wanted that other guy to buzz off too, so that he can make this solely his family's business.

Rich in riches, money and attitude problem

Father, the poor kindhearted fool, also sold him the land that the chicken houses are on. I say "sold him", but he gave it away really for a silly price, just like another piece of land he just basically handed over to Corbin for peanuts, because Father thought Corbin was his loyal partner.

But, oh dear, as Corbin became completely independent and rich, he forgot how Father took him out of that life-threatening mine and gave him a life that made all his riches possible. Corbin and his wife became resentful of Father, and were no longer hearty, but instead stiff, demanding and sometimes even ridiculous. For example, later when the partnership ended, Corbin would still throw his rubbish and dead chickens on Father's land. Can you imagine dumping your garbage on your neighbour's property? When Father confirmed that such a thing is indecent, Corbin had bad blood towards Father for a long time. Asif.

Sons build empire, soiling nature

In recent years, Corbin's son's grew up and also started big chicken growing farms in other places in the country. There is a hill opposite Tower Hills to the West, that was always beautiful to look at when the sun went down. Beautiful sunsets over a beautiful hill.

But, about a year or two ago, one of Corbin's sons build this huge, huge, huge modern mansion of a place on there, and to top it off, just a little bit away from this house, they built an entire chicken house complex spanning just about all of the hill. It's a complete eyesore that spoils the view. Must have cost incomprehensible millions.

Now during the day, when the sun shines on the shiny roofs of those chicken houses, you can't even look in that direction, unless you'd like to be blinded by the reflection.

And that house! Good god, is that a showy fort of power and money. Father told me he was inside once, and it's the most beautiful, expensive, fantasy of a place that bespeaks money and wealth unknown even by him.

Many times when I drive down the road, especially if I drive in my own car, and one of the Steinbricks happen to drive past me, I suddenly feel like they are probably laughing at how I drive the same old junkheap for so many years, while they have an exciting new shiny monster of a vehicle just about every six months.

Yup, the Steinbricks are rolling in the dough, there's no doubt about that. I resented them just slightly some time in the past, for the way they tried to smear my name in order to get me out of that chicken business, and then when Corbin and Father's partnership ended because Corbin bankrupted the business with his management skills, the way they acted like Father was the horrible person here telling Corbin it's over.

But lately I've just let it all go, and accepted them for being who they are, and wish them only the best with all their insane amount of riches.


So I was quite surprized, when tonight Father tells me an interesting thing: Corbin is going away. They're selling their property.

Now why on earth would they do that? I wondered.

Believe it or not, their luck has changed. We've known for years that the chicken industry is a difficult one, as there are other countries whose governments subsidize their chicken farmers, and such produced chicken is much cheaper to import into South Africa, than to produce it here. The RETAIL price of such imported chicken is WAY BELOW what COST is here. Yes, cost. Not retail. There are also some other countries that can produce cheaper chicken because where here, every player in the production story adds a profit leading to a much higher final retail price, over there they are all partners who only profit in the FINAL stage when it is sold for profit.

Anyway, now it's gotten so bad that it's no longer an industry worth pursuing.

Wait, I ask Father, what about Corbin's sons? Which one is it again who lives up on the hill in that gigantic complex?

Yep, they're all going away. Their money is gone.

Yikes. Was that place up and completed even a year now? If so, not more than two years. Did they put all of that up for nothing now?

Father says Corbin wanted to start crying all the time when he told Father about it. It seems their life of insane riches is all over.

I'm still having a hard time believing that somebody who was so rich, can be bankrupted so quickly. I mean if it were me, I would have saved money like crazy. I would have millions stashed away and living off the interest. It wouldn't bother me at all if I lose my job and work, because I would just keep on going on the interest.

Can it actually be that the Steinbricks actually spent all their millions on those flashy cars and gigantic buildings and complexes, and now they don't have much left?

I now actually feel sorry for them. Never thought I would. They just seemed so... rich and invincible, not needing anybody's sympathies or empathy.

I guess life does whatever it wants with whomever it wants.

But things are changing so fast now. I remember when we found out the river is poisoned by a uranium mine, Jack Mervin told us that we must NOT sell our properties now for we won't get a good price.

Yet, after the fire that burned down the earth from the North to the South and East, Dawson sold his land. He probably needed the grass for his cattle, and with everything burned down he could no longer go on.

Now Corbin, our neighbour to the West, and his sons are leaving too.

Mother actually wonders if we shouldn't leave too. I don't see why. Why?

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Bankrupt, Business, Chicken Farming, Chickens, Farming, Land, Profitable, Sold, Subsidies, Sustainable, Sustainable Farming

Meet the author

author avatar Marzeus von Hemelen
I like eggs for breakfast. I live on top of a hill inside a beautiful but old dwelling complex. I like to take life in through my senses and then give feedback through my writing.

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