The Efficiency Expert

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 73

mighty
sorry for him, but he had better find it out now than after that grafter
has wrecked his business entirely."

That afternoon Mr. Compton left the office earlier than usual,
complaining of a headache, and the next morning his daughter telephoned
that he was ill and would not come to the office that day. During the
morning as Bince was walking through the shop he stopped to talk with
Krovac.

Pete Krovac was a rat-faced little foreigner, looked upon among the men
as a trouble-maker. He nursed a perpetual grievance against his employer
and his job, and whenever the opportunity presented, and sometimes when
it did not present itself, he endeavored to inoculate others with his
dissatisfaction. Bince had hired the man, and during the several months
that Krovac had been with the company, the assistant general manager had
learned enough from other workers to realize that the man was an
agitator and a troublemaker. Several times he had been upon the point of
discharging him, but now he was glad that he had not, for he thought he
saw in him a type that in the light of present conditions might be of
use to him.

In fact, for the past couple of weeks he had been using the man in an
endeavor to get some information concerning Torrance and his methods
that would permit him to go to Compton with a valid argument for Jimmy's
discharge.

"Well, Krovac," he said as he came upon the man, "is Torrance
interfering with you any now?"

"He hasn't got my job yet," growled the other, "but he's letting out
hard-working men with families without any reason. The first thing you
know you'll have a strike on your hands."

"I haven't heard any one else complaining," said Bince. "You will,
though," replied Krovac. "They don't any of us know when we are going to
be canned to give Compton more profit, and men are not going to stand
for that long."

"Then," said Bince, "I take it that he really hasn't interfered with you
much?"

"Oh, he's always around asking a lot of fool questions," said Krovac.
"Last week he asked every man in the place what his name was and what
wages he was getting. Wrote it all down in a little book. I suppose he
is planning on cutting pay."

Bince's eyes narrowed. "He got that information from every man in the
shop?" he asked.

"Yes," replied Krovac.

Bince was very pale. He stood in silence for some minutes, apparently
studying the man before him. At last he spoke.

"Krovac," he said, "you don't like this man Torrance, do you?"

"No,"

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