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Wonder Stories

JULY, 1930


ALTHOUGH this is a short story, the editors really rank it among the best they have received. It is full of humor, pathos, tragedy and deep wisdom; and yet it is exciting from the start to the finish.

It is difficult to analyze the science of this story in order to show what it proves, for it has a bit of many sciences in it. And each is worked out with the skill and care of a man who knows what he is writing about. Mr. Endersby, we might say, is blazing a new path in science fiction-a path that most of our readers associate with the name of A. Merritt. Those who read "The Day of Judgment," Mr. Endersby's contribution to the November, 1929 Cover Contest, in the April issue of SCIENCE WONDER STORIES, will agree with us that we have here a writer of the first rank.


AFTER 5000 YEARS

By VICTOR A. ENDERSBY
By the Author of "The Day of Judgment."

WILLIAM TREVETHEN, loosening the last of the scale which coated the rows of boiler tubes upon which he sat, pitched his scraper away and rolled half-over to rub the painful corrugations pressed into his thigh by the round pipes. Tossing his caged electric bulb out through the open manhole above him, he got upon his hands and knees stiffly, preparatory to standing up and elbowing himself through the opening. Three forty-five P.M. by the boiler-house clock.

"Bill! Oh, Bill!" Twenty-five minutes later Jack Brinston stood upon the brick floor just inside the door, calling his co-worker. His eye fell upon the light-bulb hanging at the end of its cord beside Boiler No. 4, then traveled up over the rounded sweep of grimy steel exposed above the brick foundation. His glance finally came to rest upon an oval plate, from the center of which a long, inch-thick screw protruded.

"Damn that guy anyway! That's what ya git fer havin' a lousy cousin on the shift ahead! Lazy katoot not osly can't finish his job but hasta leave me put the cover back on, just 'cause I'm ten minutes late; an' I'll bet he never flushed the scale out o' the bottom either. Well, I gotta get steam up f'r th' evenin' load by fivethirty; 'f I scale-burn somethin' I'll see't he's the guy't gets the hook fer 't!"

So saying, along with many other things that were more within the linguistic limits of a powerhouse fireman than those of decency, Jack climbed to the top of the boiler to replace the manhole cover, which by rights should have been a two-man job.

The cover is an oval piece of half-inch steel, just large enough to cover a hole admitting a man's body, and is curved to fit the contour of the top of the boiler. It fits on the inside against a metallic gasket. The purpose of the manhole is to allow a mechanic to get inside the boiler, either for repairs or to scrape off the encrusted scale, which, in course of time, decreases the steaming qualities. If allowed to thicken too much, it ultimately causes the tubes or boiler sheets to "burn"; that is, to be weakened by high temperature through the inability of the water inside the boiler to disperse the heat fast enough. Bill had been engaged in scraping the scale from the rows of tubes, while sitting on top of them inside the boiler.

Wrestling with the heavy plate and spider, emitting grunts and maledictions of a f...

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