“Can or can’t, that don’t interest MacBride a bit. He says it’s got to be done and it has.”
“Why, he can’t expect us to do it. He didn’t say anything about January first to me. I didn’t know it was a rush job. And then we played in hard luck, too, before you came. That cribbing being tied up, for instance. He certainly can’t blame us if—”
“That’s got nothing to do with it,” Bannon cut in shortly. “He don’t pay us to make excuses; he pays us to do as we’re told. When I have to begin explaining to MacBride why it can’t be done, I’ll send my resignation along in a separate envelope and go to peddling a cure for corns. What we want to talk about is how we’re going to do it.”
Peterson flushed, but said nothing, and Bannon went on: “Now, here’s what we’ve got to do. We’ve got to frame the cupola and put on the roof and sheathe the entire house with galvanized iron; we’ve got to finish the spouting house and sheathe that; we’ve got to build the belt gallery—and we’ll have no end of a time doing it if the C. & S. C. is still looking for trouble. Then there’s all the machinery to erect and the millwright work to do. And we’ve got to build the annex.”
“I thought you was going to forget that,” said Pete. “That’s the worst job of all.”
“No, it ain’t. It’s the easiest. It’ll build itself. It’s just a case of two and two makes four. All you’ve got to do is spike down two-inch planks till it’s done, and then clap on some sort of a roof. There’s no machinery, no details, just straight work. It’s just a question of having the lumber to do it with, and we’ve got it now. It’s the little work that can raise Ned with you. There is more than a million little things that any man ought to do in half an hour, but if one of ’em goes wrong, it may hold you up for all day. Now, I figure the business this way.”
He took a memorandum from his pocket and began reading. There was very little guesswork about it; he had set down as nearly as possible the amount of labor involved in each separate piece of construction, and the number of men who could work on it at once. Allowing for the different kinds of work that could be done simultaneously, he made out a total of one hundred and twenty days.
“Well, that’s all right, I guess,” said Pete, “but you see that takes us way along into next year sometime.”
“About March first,” said Max.
“You haven’t divided by three yet,” said Bannon. “We’ll get three eight-hour days into every twenty-four hours, and twenty-one of ’em into every week.”
“Why, that’s better than we need to do,” said Pete, after a moment. “That gets us about two weeks ahead of time.”
“Did you ever get through when you thought you would?” Bannon demanded. “I never did. Don’t you know that you always get hit by something you ain’t looking for? I’m figuring in our hard-luck margin, that’s all. There are some things I am looking for, too. We’ll have a strike here before we get through.”