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Confidence Game   By: (1923-)

Confidence Game by James McKimmey

First Page:

Transcriber's note: This story was published in If: Worlds of Science Fiction , September, 1954. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.

[Illustration]

Illustrated by Ed Emsh

CONFIDENCE GAME

Cutter demanded more and more and more efficiency and got it! But, as in anything, enough is enough, and too much is...

By JAMES McKIMMEY, JR.

George H. Cutter wheeled his big convertible into his reserved space in the Company parking lot with a flourish. A bright California sun drove its early brightness down on him as he strode toward the square, four story brick building which said Cutter Products, Inc. over its front door. A two ton truck was grinding backward, toward the loading doors, the thick shouldered driver craning his neck. Cutter moved briskly forward, a thick shouldered man himself, though not very tall. A glint of light appeared in his eyes, as he saw Kurt, the truck driver, fitting the truck's rear end into the tight opening.

"Get that junk out of the way!" he yelled, and his voice roared over the noise of the truck's engine.

Kurt snapped his head around, his blue eyes thinning, then recognition spread humor crinkles around his eyes and mouth. "All right, sir," he said. "Just a second while I jump out, and I'll lift it out of your way."

"With bare hands?" Cutter said.

"With bare hands," Kurt said.

Cutter's laugh boomed, and as he rounded the front of the truck, he struck the right front fender with his fist. Kurt roared back from the cab with his own laughter.

He liked joking harshly with Kurt and with the rest of the truck drivers. They were simple, and they didn't have his mental strength. But they had another kind of strength. They had muscle and energy, and most important, they had guts. Twenty years before Cutter had driven a truck himself. The drivers knew that, and there was a bond between them, the drivers and himself, that seldom existed between employer and employee.

The guard at the door came to a reflex attention, and Cutter bobbed his head curtly. Then, instead of taking the stairway that led up the front to the second floor and his office, he strode down the hallway to the left, angling through the shop on the first floor. He always walked through the shop. He liked the heavy driving sound of the machines in his ears, and the muscled look of the men, in their coarse work shirts and heavy soled shoes. Here again was strength, in the machines and in the men.

[Illustration]

And here again too, the bond between Cutter and his employees was a thing as real as the whir and grind and thump of the machines, as real as the spray of metal dust, spitting away from a spinning saw blade. He was able to drive himself through to them, through the hard wall of unions and prejudices against business suits and white collars and soft clean hands, because they knew that at one time he had also been a machinist and then tool and die operator and then a shop foreman. He got through to them, and they respected him. They were even inspired by him, Cutter knew, by his energy and alertness and steel confidence. It was one good reason why their production continually skimmed along near the top level of efficiency.

Cutter turned abruptly and started up the metal lipped concrete steps to the second floor. He went up quickly, his square, almost chunky figure moving smoothly, and there was not the faintest shortening in his breath when he reached the level of his own office... Continue reading book >>




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