Page:Manhattan Transfer (John Dos Passos, 1925).djvu/203

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Nine Days' Wonder


"Glad to meet yez. . . . Have a cigar. I jus wanted to have a little talk wid ye, see? . . . I'm organizer for Local 47, see? Let's see your card."

"I'm not a union man."

"Well ye're goin to be aint ye. . . . Us guys of the buildin trades have got to stick together. We're tryin to get every bloke from night watchmen to inspectors lined up to make a solid front against this here lockout sitooation."

Harland lit his cigar. "Look here, bo, you're wasting your breath on me. They'll always need a watchman, strike or no strike. . . . I'm an old man and I havent got much fight left in me. This is the first decent job I've had in five years and they'll have to shoot me to get it away from me. . . . All that stuff's for kids like you. I'm out of it. You sure are wasting your breath if you're going round trying to organize night watchmen."

"Say you don't talk like you'd always been in this kind o woik."

"Well maybe I aint."

The young man took off his hat and rubbed his hand over his forehead and up across his dense cropped hair. "Hell it's warm work arguin. . . . Swell night though aint it?"

"Oh the night's all right," said Harland.

"Say my name's O'Keefe, Joe O'Keefe. . . . Gee I bet you could tell a guy a lot o things." He held out his hand.

"My name's Joe too . . . Harland. . . . Twenty years ago that name meant something to people."

"Twenty years from now . . ."

"Say you're a funny fellow for a walking delegate. . . . You take an old man's advice before I run you off the lot, and quit it. . . . It's no game for a likely young feller who wants to make his way in the world."

"Times are changin you know. . . . There's big fellers back o this here strike, see? I was talkin over the sitooation with Assemblyman McNiel jus this afternoon in his office."

"But I'm telling you straight if there's one thing that'll queer you in this town it's this labor stuff. . . . You'll re-