Olbrich, M. B. (ed.) / The Wisconsin literary magazine
Vol. 1, No. 1 (December 1903)
MacKenzie, Fred W.
The test of operator Hatheway, pp. [unnumbered]-26
THE TEST OF OPERATOR HATHEWAY The day was one of the hottest of July days. The smoke from the switch engines standing idly about the yards, waiting for the late freight runs, rose straight up in thin hazy columns. The heat from the thick network of tracks trembled and vibrated as from a huge radiator. Business on the road was everywhere reduced to a minimum. It was too hot to work and little was done except to keep the trains moving. Hatheway leaned back in the big office chair, with his feet upon the desk, listening half-consciously to the row of sounders on the desk as they clicked out in drowsy monotony messages of train business, of important board of trade transactions, and of life and death. His work for the day was practically over and he sat there with nothing in sight to do but fix the block for No. 89 and wait for the night operator to come on at 7 o'clock to relieve him. He had just glanced at the clock when the station agent walked into the office with a troubled look on his face. "Say, George, I just got word that Evans is pretty sick. They say up at the house that he slept all day in a regular oven of a room and when he got up at four thirty he wasn't able to dress. Overcome by the heat, I guess. 'Doc' Lane is there now." Evans was the night operator. "That's bad !" returned Hatheway. "Hope he gets around all right in a day or so. He isn't out of his head, is he ?" "Oh, no. Just laid out flat on his back. Looks pretty much as if you'll have to stay on all night, though." "No other way out of it," replied Hatheway, "but then I guess it won't be a hard night and I can keep awake all right. It will be cooler, too." "Well, good luck to you. I'll 'phone you if Evans gets any worse. So long." "Good night, Jim." Hatheway leaned back again in his chair, with something very much like a sigh. Twelve hours on duty on
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