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Zimpel 43 Lloyd Zimpel Down-Time The door-line was down again and Rosnic's head hurt: it was getting so they went together, Uke the heat and the paint. He'd been watching the doors mosey past and abruptly, with a loud crack, the line stopped. The doors jerked back and forth, their hooks to the links in the overhead chain creaking in the sudden silence. It looked like a mile of the damned ugly things swaying under the flourescent lights. Rosnic's head relished the momentary peace. From the far side of the plant he heard the faint clank of the freezer-line and the voices of the workers there echoing under the tin roof. Sometimes he wished he had the freezer-line: it seemed like a better bunch of guys. Then his own man, Kelly, was yelling in his old-country lilt: "Hey, 'ave we got a leadman 'ere or wot? This is costin' us good money!" Everybody else—Fisher, Stanley, Buster, even Barrymore, who didn't smoke—headed for a cigarette on the fire-escape. So a dozen refrigerator doors back up, so it's two-bits gone in piece work—they'd make that trade for a break in the night shift. But not Kelly, the Irish green-carder, always busting his ass. Just to show up the others, Rosnic figured. Why wasn't he working construction like the rest of his kin instead of here, always bitching? He knew there was nothing Rosnic could do. They guys in the engine shack knew the line was down. What the hell did Kelly want, for him to trot over and remind them? He heard Barrymore, the college kid, call from the fire escape, "Take it easy, Irish. I can use a Uttle break." Sure, he'd be gone by faU and didn't care if the line ever ran so long as his base-rate held. "You're one laddie who can use more than that," said Kelly, but not in a bantering tone. Rosnic pulled off his nose mask. One of the painters—it could be Gorman , with all that gear he couldn't tell—poked his head out of the paintshed and stripped off the tape that sealed his visor to his collar. "What's it look like, Leo?" he called, wanting to know if it was worth the trouble to unwrap. Rosnic only shrugged. Get off my back, he thought, and started up the steel ladder to the catwalk. Above, Uke a huge bicycle chain gone slack, the door-Une threaded down through troUeys suspended from I-beams near the ceiling. Nobody was on the catwalk. That figured, Rosnic thought sourly. Augie, the maintenance man, was probably having a smoke, too. From the bottom of the ladder, Kelly called, "Ya find it yet?" Rosnic gritted 44 the minnesota review his teeth and didn't answer. Then he saw Augie push past the swaying reefer doors to come quickly up the ladder. "What's up now?" Rosnic asked him. Augie edged past on the catwalk. "Search me," he said. "Well, ain't you supposed to be running this damn thing? It's down as much as it works." "Look," Augie said. "It's a machine. It wears out. It breaks down. I can't work miracles." "Never mind miracles, just run the line." "If it runs, that's a miracle," Augie said. He moved along the catwalk , thumping the master-links with the heel of this hand. "Some of this shit is so old—" he said. "Wait a minute." He pulled a hammer out of his toolbelt and banged at a link that had buckled and jammed at one of the troUeys. "There you go, Leo," he said. "Good for another ten minutes. Throw that master." Rosnic reached back and flipped the switch, and the line came alive with a jerk. "Jeez," he muttered. "Another miracle." Below, his crew stubbed out cigarettes on the fire-escape and hustled back before any untacked doors slipped past. Stanley, with a blue bandana on his head instead of a cap like everybody else, gave him an exaggerated OK sign with his thumb and forefinger. Kelly, he saw...


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pp. 43-49
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