The fiasco at the big No. I Plant atop Pikes Peak began like this.
"Hoskins," said the man known the world over as The Sorcerer,
turning from the empty water cooler, "will you pick up the phone
please and call the storeroom down at the ten-thousand-foot level and
ask them to send up a bottle of mineral water? This one is dry."
"Yes, Sir," said Hoskins, obediently, and began flicking the
number. He clicked impatiently several times, then announced, "The
"That's so," agreed The Sorcerer. "I forgot. They are having some
trouble in No. 31 Distribution Station. The phones may be out for
another hour. But I'm thirsty as hell. Won't you hop on the elevator,
like a good boy, and drop down and bring up one yourself?"
"Y-yes, Sir," acknowledged Hoskins, reluctantly. He was the junior
most of the six young scientists honored with the appointment of being
understudies to the foremost scientist of all time. It griped him to
be asked to do what he regarded as menial things. It was not fitting
to his august position. But he shoved away the mass of formulas he was
working on and got grudgingly to his feet. With just a show of
sulkiness--enough to be unmistakable, yet discreet--he slouched toward
"Dumb egg, that," whispered Bob Hallet to Freddie Palmer, next to
him. "How in the name of Einstein did he ever get this far?"
"Sh-h-h," cautioned Palmer. "Didn't you know? He's Sol Hoskins'
"You mean the General Director of Production at Washington? Oh!"
And that is the end of that scene. Nearly an hour later The
Sorcerer rose, stretched and yawned.
"Well, boys," be called, "let's call it half a day and drop down
to the Quick-and-Dirty and snatch a bite of chow. Looks as if the kid
fell down the shaft or something."