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The Big Tomorrow   By:

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[Illustration: Illustrator: Sanford Kossin]

THE BIG TOMORROW

BY PAUL LOHRMAN

There are certain rare individuals in this world who seem bereft of all common sense. These are the people who set their eyes upon an objective and immediately all intelligence, logic, good advice, unsolvable problems, and insurmountable obstacles go completely by the boards. The characters we refer to are obviously just plain stupid. What they want to do, just can't be done. The objectives they have in mind are unachievable and anyone with an ounce of brains can tell them so and give them good reasons. They are usually pretty sad cases and often land in the funny house. But then again, some of them go out and discover new worlds.

He hadn't gotten any work done that morning. He'd spent most of the time pacing the floor of his small back office, and the rest of it at the window hands clasped behind his somewhat bowed back staring up into the cloudless sky.

At ten forty, the intercom buzzed. He snapped the switch.

"Yes?"

"I've got those figures, Mr. Lake. We have nine "

"Maybe you'd better come in and tell me personally, Lucy."

"All right, Mr. Lake."

The intercom snapped off and a few moments later a girl entered the office if the prim little wisp that was Lucy Crane could be so generously classified.

Joshua Lake stared at the elongated bun of black hair on the top of her head as she came toward his desk. There was an odd streak of rich imagination in Joshua Lake and he always felt Lucy Crane's bun was a symbol of disapproval. "Sit down, Lucy. You use up too much energy."

"I try to do my job, Mr. Lake."

"You do that and more. What are the figures, Lucy?"

"We're in desperate shape. We have nine thousand, four hundred and twenty dollars in the payroll account. That leaves it over five thousand short. There is only about two thousand in General Disbursements, but that isn't enough to cover invoices due tomorrow. I'm afraid "

"Don't be afraid, Lucy. That's negative. If we waste our time sitting around shivering, we won't make any progress at all."

"I didn't mean it that way, Mr. Lake. I'm not shivering. I was merely stating that we haven't got enough money."

"Then I'll go to the bank and get some more."

"Of course, Mr. Lake. Is that all?"

"Yes, that's all, Lucy. You run on to lunch."

"You aren't going out?"

"No. I'm not hungry today."

Her bun bobbed in disapproval as she left the office. Joshua Lake stared at the closed door and sighed. Lucy knew exactly how things were. She wasn't one to be fooled. But Joshua hoped the rest of the personnel were not so perceptive. The engineers and the draftsmen particularly. They could all walk out at noon and be working somewhere else by one o'clock, what with the huge current industrial demand.

He walked again to the window; an old man; bone weary, with the weight of his sixty odd years bending his shoulders like a brick carrier's hod.

" Then I'll go to the bank and get some more. " He hadn't even fooled himself this time. His chances at the bank were nil. Less than nil. His very presence there could tip the balance of their decision. Loans could be called; the doors locked before nightfall.

At the window, he lowered his eyes from the sky and looked to the gate that led into the horseshoe sweep of low buildings and back to the great, bulking hangar where precious work was being done.

A man and his dream, Lake mused.

He could see only the back of the sign hanging over the gate, but he was quite familiar with the other side. Lake Interstellar Enterprises in bold, brave letters; and in the lower right hand corner barely discernible Joshua Lake President .

A visitor looking closely at the sign could see that it had been done over that a discarded legend lay beneath a coat of white paint. The old name of the firm was still faintly visible: Lake and Gorman Castings and Extrusions ... Continue reading book >>




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