The Dodo Bird played by Stephan Turner
My name is Archie Whitehead. I am an alcoholic. I've tried as hard as I can to get a hold on my drinking. But ever since I started having problems with work things have gone from bad to worst.
I met and married the most loving woman you could imagine. She's kind, soft spoken, smart, and creative and she loved me for who I was. She inspired me to be a better person and to be proud of myself.
She found out that I had a problem with liquor when I came home from work one payday and I couldn't account for what had happened to half my pay check. She was still willing to stay with me and help me work through the problem. But then I was out of work for a time when the Bolt Works went on strike. My wife, Madeline did not understand why someone who had a good job would not just go to work no matter if other people didn't want to go. She questioned me about it and became very nervous and upset when I could not make her understand what a strike is all about.
Our daughter, Marie, was growing up and going to school and we had a lot of bills to pay. I felt so much pressure that I didn't know what to do. So, I started going back to the tavern. I would walk in, sit down and tell Mick I was only going to have 1 drink and head home. But I couldn't have just 1. Pretty soon I lost track of the time and the day. My friends would take me home and I wouldn't be able to remember a thing when I woke up.
One time, I ended up in the hospital all tied up in a sheet in the crazy ward. After I got out I promised Madeline that I would never drink again. I even promised the priest and the doctor. I did pretty good for quite some time but then the Bolt Works shut down for good after the strike and I didn't know what to do with myself. I didn't have my machine or anybody to talk to who could understand me. I went back to the tavern again and didn't come home for several days. The priest told me I had done something very shameful and embarrassing while drunk. I did not believe what he said until Bull started teasing me about it.
When I did come home, Madeline didn't even know who I was. She had torn up the house, smashed all her beautiful dishes and was standing in the dark. She had lost her mind. The police came because someone heard all the noise and thought we were fighting. When they saw I was drunk they took Madeline to the hospital and called the city to come and pick up Marie.
I was all alone in an empty house. Nobody to love and nobody to love me. I know it was my own fault. Everything that went so wrong in my life and with my family is my fault because I couldn't keep my promise not to drink.
But now I am being given another chance. I called my daughter and we talked for a long time. She forgave me for everything I've done to her and her mother. She came to see me and we had another long talk. I love her so much. She looks just like her mother.
We are going to stay in touch now but she is afraid. She's afraid because she knows what liquor does to me. She never wants to see me drink again. I told her that she would never see me drunk again as long as I live. I promised her the same way I promised Madeline.
William,The Bull, played by Joel Johnson
I have been working at that shop more than 20 years. I done every job there is to do there, and if you think that's got me anywhere you better think again, buddy. That's the way it is in this country now. The little guy can't get ahead no more 'cause there's always a way for the company to get a little more money by screwin' him over.
After work I go to Mick's across the street. There's usually a buncha guys there relaxing and havin' a few, and they're all right. These days that's better than going home to the wife. The kid and her don't even hardly talk to me no more.
Yeah, I used to be Chief Steward. I don't have nothin' to say about that. Except I'll say this: I did what I was supposed to do. I looked after the guys and I looked after the union. If they don't appreciate that, to hell with 'em.
Russ, Union Shop Chief Steward, played by Jeff Lynn
My name is Russ Nowark and I'm a millwright at the steel foundry across the road from this hole-in-the-wall bar that I call my “home away from home before I go home.” Mick's not just a decent bar-tender, I count him as a friend, if not a best buddy. He's a good Joe for a “mick,” who still talks funny even though he got here from the Emerald Isle thirty years ago, served in the good ol' US of A Army, and set up shop selling beer and booze to us foundry louts after he busted up his legs when he had to jump off a pouring deck before getting knocked off by a swinging crane bucket and dropped 15 ft to the floor. Lucky he didn't fall in the trough.
I did my millwright apprenticeship for 2 years after an honorable discharge from the Army myself. I was a lance corporal when I left after 6 years in the infantry. A sharpshooter, too. I can handle a rifle and a machine gun. Was in after Korea but we trained to be ready if the Commies wanted some of what we had for 'em. Yeah. So Bull don't scare me.
I'm not tall by anyone's measure, but I'm stout – and strong. Wrestled 145 in high school. My best weight ever. No fat. All muscle. I'm not real fast, but I am quick and I got great balance. Even now. That's why I can climb around like a monkey up in the rafters of that stinkin' place and not fall and hit the deck while moving and setting those casting and milling machines.
Gotta keep an eye on my helper Dodo, though. I love 'im like a brother – a soul brother, anyway – but he needs lookin' after. He's had a tough row to hoe these past few years, losing his job......
Yeah, he needs lookin' after - and someone to take up for him when a loud-mouth bully like Bull Blatter takes into him. Now there's a piece of work. A big bag of wind that's really just full of shit. I say he's full of “shit” and he shovels it – deep. Sometimes he piles it so deep that I'm side-steppin' around it and can't get what he's sayin'.
Well, he don't have no love for me neither. Especially since the boys voted me into the shop's Chief Steward job after voting him out. Dodo's not the only one who voted against him. I did, too. Lots of us were tired of seeing him get fat off our union dues and double-dippin', with the company payin' him for the same time he got paid by the union for handlin' grievances. Nah. Bull don't scare me.
Yeah, Bull's a loud-mouth alright, but I hear louder every shift. Many a man in that shop has gone “deef,” as Bull likes to yell, hearing protectors or no. When Bull takes off on or tears into Dodo, I gotta step in. The Dodo's not really a dodo. Maybe a fallen sparrow like they talk about in The Good Book. Now I ain't God and I sure as hell ain't no Jesus, but I kinda figure myself to be a sorta Guardian Angel when it comes to the Dodo Bird.
I guess you'd have to say he's an alcoholic. He can't help himself. But he hasn't always been a drunk. He's a gotta a good heart, and even though he's done some things that he's gotta be ashamed of, he's really a decent fella. Bull don't see that. He's got no respect for him.
Yeah, at heart Dodo's a decent fella. She musta knew her papa before he was a drunk and ruined his life - and his wife's - and hers. Thank God she's forgiven him and wants to see him again. It's gonna be the life of him. And even he drinks when she ain't around, it'll be good for him to sober up to see her whenever she can get to town with her boyfriend, who will be her fiancée soon. I hope he does try to help them out on their little farm when they buy it. He'd be a good farmer. He likes takin' care of things, and Lord knows he can keep things runnin' and knows how to fix a machine, so I imagine he'll be able to keep a tractor or pump runnin' and build a fence or chicken coop.
The wife, she don't mind me drinkin' a bit with the boys after knockin' off work, just long's I make sure the bills get paid and we got some savings - and, for sure, I don't drink in front of the kids at home. I do 'preciate a shot and a beer or two - or three. I ain't a drunk like Dodo. I like it but I don't need it, and I don't get the shakes if I can't have one, like him.
Mick, the Bartender, played by Jim Matchett
I've been running this bar for a lot of years now. Most of my customers work in the Foundry. They're really a good bunch of lads, even if they are more than a bit rough around the edges. I try to make this a place where they can feel at home and are able to let off a bit of steam. Working in the Foundry is a tough life and they need to be able to unwind after a hard day. I just have to make sure they don't get too out of hand.