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Turtledove, Harry - American Empire 03 - The Victorious Opposition by Turtledove Harry

Turtledove, Harry - American Empire 03 - The Victorious Opposition by Turtledove Harry

Author:Turtledove, Harry [Turtledove, Harry]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: Fiction
ISBN: 9780345464507
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Published: 2008-12-16T05:00:00+00:00


XI

“I’m off.” Chester Martin blew Rita a kiss and Carl another one. His wife and their son sent kisses through the air back toward him, too. He was glad to get them as he went out the door and headed for the bus stop.

It had rained the day before, the first rain of the season in Los Angeles. The sky was a brilliant blue now, as if the rain had washed it clean. Even late in October, the weather would get up into the seventies. Chester remembered Toledo with a fondness that diminished every year he stayed in California. You couldn’t beat this weather no matter how hard you tried.

A bum slept in a doorway, a blanket wrapped around him. Living here without money was easier than it was in the eastern USA, because people didn’t have to worry so much about shelter. Idly, Martin wondered if Florida and Cuba had more than their share of out-of-work people in the CSA for the same reason.

He needed a southbound trolley today. He was heading down to Hawthorne, a suburb south of the airport and not far from the beach. Mordechai’s crew was running up a pair of apartment buildings. People with jobs kept moving to Southern California, too, and they all needed places to live.

When the trolley rolled up, Martin threw his nickel in the fare box, paid two cents more for a transfer, and then sat down with his toolbox in his lap. Even though that toolbox was a sign he had work to go to, he didn’t stop worrying. The way things were these days, who could? He wondered if he would be able to go on working after Mordechai retired. The foreman with the missing fingers on his right hand had to be past sixty. Whoever replaced him might have new favorites who needed jobs. In a trade without a union, that sort of thing was always a worry.

Posters praising candidates for the upcoming Congressional elections sprouted like toadstools on walls and fences and telephone poles: Democratic red, white, and blue against Socialist red and, here and there, Republican green. Trying to guess who’d win by seeing who had the most posters up was a mug’s game, which didn’t mean people didn’t play it all the time. By the way things looked here, the two big parties were running neck and neck. Outside of a few states in the Midwest, Republicans had a hard time getting elected. Their ideas were stuck between those of the Democrats and the Socialists, and old-timers still associated them with the nineteenth-century disasters the USA had suffered under Lincoln and Blaine.

Martin changed lines on El Segundo. He got off the trolley at Hawthorne Boulevard and walked two blocks south and three blocks east. Mordechai waved to him when he came up, calling, “Morning, Chester.”

“Morning,” Martin answered. About half the crew—who lived all over the Los Angeles area—were already there. It was still only a quarter to eight. Chester didn’t expect many people to show up after eight o’clock.



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