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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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