chairman we come now to item nine. our treasurer, mr. mcphail, will report.
mr. mcphail the estimate for the atomic reactor is before you, sir, set forth in appendix h of the subcommittee’s report. you will see that the general design and layout has been approved by professor mcfission. the total cost will amount to $10,000,000. the contractors, messrs. mcnab and mchash, consider that the work should be complete by april, 1959. mr. mcfee, the consulting engineer, warns us that we should not count on completion before october, at the earliest. in this view he is supported by dr. mcheap, the well-known geophysicist, who refers to the probable need for piling at the lower end of the site. the plan of the main building is before you–see appendix ix–and the blueprint is laid on the table. i shall be glad to give any further information that members of this committee may require.
chairman thank you, mr. mcphail, for your very lucid explanation of the plan as proposed. i will now invite the members present to give us their views.
it is necessary to pause at this point and consider what views the members are likely to have. let us suppose that they number eleven, including the chairman but excluding the secretary. of these eleven members, four — including the chairman — do not know what a reactor is. of the remainder, three do not know what it is for. of those who know its purpose, only two have the least idea of what it should cost. one of these is mr. isaacson, the other is mr. brickworth. either is in a position to say something. we may suppose that mr. isaacson is the first to speak.
mr. isaacson well, mr. chairman. i could wish that i felt more confidence in our contractors and consultant. had we gone to professor levi in the first instance, and had the contract been given to messrs. david and goliath, i should have been happier about the whole scheme. mr. lyon-daniels would not have wasted our time with wild guesses about the possible delay in completion, and dr. moses bullrush would have told us definitely whether piling would be wanted or not.
chairman i am sure we all appreciate mr. isaacson’s anxiety to complete this work in the best possible way. i feel, however, that it is rather late in the day to call in new technical advisers. i admit that the main contract has still to be signed, but we have already spent very large sums. if we reject the advice for which we have paid, we shall have to pay as much again.
(other members murmur agreement.)
mr. isaacson i should like my observation to be minuted.
chairman certainly. perhaps mr. brickworth also has something to say on this matter?
now mr. brickworth is almost the only man there who knows what he is talking about. there is a great deal he could say. he distrusts that round figure of $10,000,000. why should it come out to exactly that? why need they demolish the old building to make room for the new approach? why is so large a sum set aside for “contingencies”? and who is mcheap, anyway? is he the man who was sued last year by the trickle and driedup oil corporation? but brickworth does not know where to begin. the other members could not read the blueprint if he referred to it. he would have to begin by explaining what a reactor is and no one there would admit that he did not already know. better to say nothing.
mr. brickworth i have no comment to make.
chairman does any other member wish to speak? very well. i may take it then that the plans and estimates are approved? thank you. may i now sign the main contract on your behalf? (murmur of agreement) thank you. we can now move on to item ten.
allowing a few seconds for rustling papers and unrolling diagrams, the time spent on item nine will have been just two minutes and a half. the meeting is going well. but some members feel uneasy about item nine. they wonder inwardly whether they have really been pulling their weight. it is too late to query that reactor scheme, but they would like to demonstrate, before the meeting ends, that they are alive to all that is going on.
chairman item ten. bicycle shed for the use of the clerical staff. an estimate has been received from messrs. bodger and woodworm, who undertake to complete the work for the sum of $2350. plans and specification are before you, gentlemen.
mr. softleigh surely, mr. chairman, this sum is excessive. i note that the roof is to be of aluminum. would not asbestos be cheaper?
mr. holdfast i agree with mr. softleigh about the cost, but the roof should, in my opinion, be of galvanized iron. i incline to think that the shed could be built for $2000, or even less.
mr. daring i would go further, mr. chairman. i question whether this shed is really necessary. we do too much for our staff as it is. they are never satisfied, that is the trouble. they will be wanting garages next.
mr. holdfast no, i can’t support mr. daring on this occasion. i think that the shed is needed. it is a question of material and cost…
the debate is fairly launched. a sum of $2350 is well within everybody’s comprehension. everyone can visualize a bicycle shed. discussion goes on, therefore, for forty-five minutes, with the possible result of saving some $300. members at length sit back with a feeling of achievement.
chairman item eleven. refreshments supplied at meetings of the joint welfare committee. monthly, $4.75.
mr. softleigh what type of refreshment is supplied on these occasions?
chairman coffee, i understand.
mr. holdfast and this means an annual charge of — let me see — $57?
chairman that is so.
mr. daring well, really, mr. chairman. i question whether this is justified. how long do these meetings last?
“if there were no people, than it’s obvious that people would not have a problem with people…. thus people are both the source of the problem and the solution…”
Once upon a windy L.A. day
A swine-shaped lawyer made his way
Along Flower Street where
It intersects with Third;
His eyes alighted on a bird,
He said to himself,
“You remind me of Charles Carreon,
You carrion fowl,
Pecking at scraps of offal.
I shall tell my readers of this thing,
So terribly disgusting.”
He trundled on, thus ruminating
And all his thoughts keep deviating
to images of Charles Carreon,
Acting clever, having fun,
Pointing at people
With his legal gun,
Maybe even getting some,
How dare that bastard,
He’s a Mexican-
Spanish-Jewish, an oily sort
That last name’s one with
which I’ve made sport,
With imputations quick as light,
By saying “It’s so!”
I made black of white.
Was he known as good?
How tedious. He’s found his place
With the rest of us.
My mudball made of
Has marred his visage
Shaped his fate.
My curse is sure,
It never fails,
I bind it down with coffin nails.”
So thinks the hoglike barrister
As he humps over Bunker Hill
To his favorite watering hole to swill
And spin the tale that will
Take the starch out of that
He picks up his pen, then
He turns to see the waiter
Looking on –
“What say you, Man?
What’s here to dine upon?
And don’t tell me you have no Charles Carreon.”
Anon his smiling partner comes
And conversation turns as conversation
must with William Popehat Hearst,
A man who knows the worst
And longs to tell it
If only he could package it
And sell it.
He’s working on that now
If only wishing could make a pig a cow!
The conversation turns, as I was saying,
To Popehat Hearst’s excoriation
Of Charles Carreon’s cardinal sin
“It doesn’t matter”
Says Popehat Hearst
“To a rogue like Charles Carreon
What side you’re on or who’s to blame,
He’ll take any side,
It’s all the same
His coin is lead
He’ll shoot you dead
As soon as look at you,
A cool devil, I tell you.”
His listener is skeptical
Having heard Popehat wax hysterical,
In phrases oddly metrical.
“Oh, c’mon Hearst,
He’s not half-bad and
Certainly not the worst,
He has his fun, that’s sure,
And aren’t we all
In stock and trade
Of threats and judgments made?”
Popehat Hearst turns dyspeptic
When he hears this dialectic.
“What think you, man,
It’s only Carreon must burn?
Watch yourself, watch me,
My friend, lest someday it be
Your turn. Who offendeth me
Offends a mighty crowd.
I’ll brook no opposition to a just position.”
“What, threats now, Popehat Hearst?
I’m not surprised!
Mark my words
This Charles Carreon business
Has boiled the marrow
Behind your eyes.
You’ve imagined crimes
Where there were none
You’ve pilloried the fellow
For what you say he’s done,
And all that he did
Was seen through the dark,
Twisted lens of your
How unfortunate your words
Have the power to infect.”
At this Hearst took a draught of swill
Belched very loudly as was his will
And said, to his fellow,
“He makes me ill.
I don’t know what it is.
I’ve had my fill.
I kill and kill and kill and kill.
It’s as if I don’t have my own will.
That hate has infected every fiber of me.
And I didn’t think
this could happen to me!”
At this Popehat Hearst broke into tears,
Pulled a dagger from his boot
And plunged it in his chest
Crying, “Tell that bastard Carreon,
He made me do it.”
[i]t’s hard to say exactly what valle is accused of doing in the first place. he never kidnapped anyone, or raped anyone, or murdered anyone. he was never violent to the women who will take the stand. he’s never tasted human flesh. but he thought about these things, and he talked about these things. he may have even taken steps to plan them out. but did he really mean to do them?
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