Bannon’s brows came together.
“You ought to know a little more about this yourself, Pete. You’re the man that’s building the house.”
“I guess I’ve been pushing it along as well as any one could,” said Peterson, sullenly.
“That’s all right. I ain’t hitting at you. I’m talking business, that’s all. Now, if Vogel’s right, this cribbing ought to have been here fourteen days ago—fourteen days tomorrow.”
“That’s just two weeks of lost time. How’ve you been planning to make that up?”
“Why—why—I reckon I can put things together soon’s I get the cribbing.”
“Look here, Pete. The office has contracted to get this house done by a certain date. They’ve got to pay $750 for every day that we run over that date. There’s no getting out of that, cribbing or no cribbing. When they’re seeing ten or twenty thousand dollars slipping out of their hands, do you think they’re going to thank you for telling ’em that the G.&M. railroad couldn’t get cars? They don’t care what’s the matter—all they want of you is to do the work on time.”
“Now, look here, Charlie—”
“Hold on, Pete. Don’t get mad. It’s facts, that’s all. Here’s these two weeks gone. You see that, all right enough. Now, the way this work’s laid out, a man’s got to make every day count right from the start if he wants to land on his feet when the house is done. Maybe you think somebody up in the sky is going to hand you down a present of two extra weeks so the lost time won’t count. That would be all right, only it ain’t very likely to happen.”
“Well,” said Peterson, “what are you getting at? What do you want me to do? Perhaps you think it’s easy.”
“No, I don’t. But I’ll tell you what to do. In the first place you want to quit this getting out on the job and doing a laborer’s work. The office is paying out good money to the men that should do that. You know how to lay a corbel, but just now you couldn’t tell me how much cribbing was coming. You’re paid to direct this whole job and to know all about it, not to lay corbels. If you put in half a day swinging a sledge out there on the spouting house, how’re you going to know that the lumber bills tally, and the carpenters ain’t making mistakes, and that the timber’s piled right. Here today you had a dozen men throwing away their time moving a lot of timber that ought to have been put in the right place when it first came in.”
Peterson was silent.
“Now tomorrow, Pete, as soon as you’ve got the work moving along, you’d better go over to the electric light company and see about having the whole ground wired for arc lamps,—so we can be ready to put on a night shift the minute the cribbing comes in. You want to crowd ’em, too. They ought to have it ready in two days.”
Bannon sat for a moment, then he arose and looked at his watch.
“I’m going to leave you, Pete,” he said, as he put on his collar.