Friday June 13 1919
Huge fire at Mundy Pond - lights the Night Sky - Thought to be the work of boys playing with matches - Vickers Vimy's Hop-Off Could be Delayed - Broken Rubber Band in Undercarriage Given as Reason
Ike wasn't exactly at the top of his game today, he had been dragging his ass all over town because he was completely beat, due to the long hard night he just spent battling the Mundy Pond Marauders.
After he had completed running his last batch of messages he returned to the office to get an update from Shirley on his new assignments.
"What have you got for me Shirley? asked Ike, as he wiped the sweat from his brow.
"Nothing! why don't you take a break?" asked Shirley, looking up, over the top of her reading glasses, from the pile of papers that she was sorting. "You don't look well today~~what have you been up to?"
"I had a long hard night looking for some railway equipment that I loaned to the bird-men up at Lester's field. It's a very long story but, the short version is; the stuff was stolen by the crowd up at Mundy Pond, and I spent half the night getting it back from them."
"Oh! Then you must have see the big fire, I was reading all about it earlier, in the Daily News. It said that a small island on Mundy Pond was completely burnt over, no loss of life but a tar paper shack, was completely destroyed.They are blaming the fire on a bunch of local boys who were playing with matches."
"Is that what they say?" asked Ike, looking a bit like the cat that ate the canary. "I could add a few interesting details to that story, if anyone asked me."
"You must stop helping those bird-men Eric", said Shirley, reaching across her desk, with the folded news paper in her hand for Ike to read. "I have noticed a big change in your behavior ever since these bird-men came to town~~you used to be such a care free happy-go-lucky type~~even Mr. Reid has remarked about the changes in your personality."
"Thanks Shirley! I don't need to read about the fire, and I've had as much as I can stand of the bird-men's problems after this weekend, it's back to business as usual for me. If you don't need me for a few minutes, I am going across the street to pick up a small rabbit job~~if you know what I mean."
"Get out of here, you rascal" she said playfully, as she gave him a soft pat on the hand", I'll see you after lunch."
The first person Ike meets as he passes through the dockyard gate was Toe. "Didn't expect to see you at work today~~after the big to-do last night" remarked Toe, who was not looking that good himself, moving in close to avoid being overheard, he whispered. "Did you stay around to fight the fire, cause I never layed eyes on ya after the fire started."
"Na! I discovered long ago that ya can't fight forest fires like that, once they get going all ya can do is stand back and let her go."
"Did the still go up with the old shack?"
"No!~~ Bobby and me saved it before the shack caught fire" replied Ike, with a certain amount of pride showing in his voice, which suddenly turned to one of concern, when he asked. "What happened to poor Mouse, did he have it out with Mauler Mercer?"
"It was the craziest thing ~~ Ike! ya wouldn't believe it~~they are the best of friends now. They were the last two to give up fighting the fire~~They got a couple of old stirrup pumps from the shack; filled with water from the pond; strapped them to their backs and tried to save the shack from burning~~we should keep this to ourself, I wouldn't want it to get around the railway that we where there when the fire started, if you know what I mean Ike"~~Where are ya heading for now?"
Ike explained that he had one last favor to do for the bird-men, and then he was through, and ready to try out for the Guards football team.
"What's wrong with Holy Cross?" asked Toe, placing his big hand on Ike's left shoulder, in a patronizing gesture. "Ike even though your a proddy, I'm sure that Brudder Murphy would let you play for the Holy Cross~~we needs a good center e forward like your self on our team"
"Thanks for the vote of confidence, Toe" replied Ike, as he maneuvered to get away from Toe's heavy hand. "I have to go pick up something at the machine shop that the bird-men urgently need~~see you later Toe."
After leaving Toe Ike proceeded to the dock yard machine shop to meet with Jim Brown, the best machinist on the dockyard pay role by far.
Ike asked Jim if he was able to replicate the magneto gear.
Jim Brown was Ike's super hero: in fact Jim was the hero of all the young boys who worked at the railway, he is an extremely hansom young man in his mid twenties, with jet black hair and an olive complexion, not really that tall but not short either (five foot ten inches would be a reasonable guess). He had a charismatic personality and was fun to be around especially for the boys. Serving in the Royal Navy during the Great war, where he learned his trade as machinist and mechanic. At the dockyard he was considered by his co-workers, to be a genius with all things mechanical. Jim lived across the street form Ike on Barter's hill. Although he was recently married to a pretty young girl from his home town around the bay, Jim spent much of his leisure time working on, and giving the neighborhood kids rides on his prized Indian motor cycle. In many ways he behaved like a big kid himself.
Last winter he organized the boys into teams to gather (steal) components and materials for a giant bobsled, featuring seating for eight with running boards, an automobile steering wheel and a battery powered headlamp from a wrecked car.
Ike had survived several blood curdling trips down over Barters Hill with his buddies on that particular bobsled. One dark February night, after a nasty sleet storms last winter with fearless Jim at the Helm.
"Jim did you get a chance to machine that gear yet?" asked Ike.
"Of course!" Jim replied, as he flipped off the switch of the lathe, and wiping the grease from his hands with a clean rag. "I told you I would do my best, but after getting into the job it turned out to be not all that difficult."
Jim went on to explain, how he was able to case harden the surface of the teeth to the same temper as the original gear, in fact, he said, that the reproduction would be virtually impossible to distinguish from the original.
"I was expecting it to be picked up earlier~~it was waiting for you to come and get it since Wednesday."
"Gee! Sorry, about that Jim." said Ike, who was showing his embarrassment quite clearly by the crimson color of his face. "I would'a come come sooner for it but~~ ya would never guess how busy I am these days wit all the shit going down over the Mundy Pond raggedy arses, running off with the Dock's still and the bird-men's magnetos and the like, but me and the boys got em back again, safe and sound."
"Did you and the boys have anything to do wit the the big fire up at Mundy Pond?"
"Don't ask! Ya knows we did.~~Jim It's just like you taught us; nothing ever turns out right until ya takes things into yar own hands and helps it along."