Monday, May 4, 2009

The Fugitive Generation (xii)


Jim walks into the Manpower Temp office. MANPOWER SUPERVISOR, 59, a white man, sits behind desk. On his right, 3 men in their late 20s sit on a bench against the wall. Jim walks up to the Manpower Supervisor's desk.

JIM: I'm looking for some temporary work.

MANPOWER SUPERVISOR: Fill out these two forms. And then have a seat on the bench. If something comes in for you before 10 o'clock, we'll send you out today.

Jim looks at clock on wall behind Manpower Supervisor's desk.

C.U. The time is 7 o'clock.

Jim fills out forms, hands them to the Manpower Supervisor and takes seat on bench.

C.U. The time is 8:45.

Jim is still sitting on bench. The 3 men who had been sitting there are now gone. On Jim's left, 2 different men, 35, are now also sitting on bench. The telephone rings, Manpower Supervisor picks up receiver on desk.

MANPOWER SUPERVISOR: Hello?...He didn't show up?...O.K. I'll send somebody else over right now.

Manpower Supervisor puts down receiver. He looks at the application in front of him and writes address on a card. He looks at Jim and motions.


Jim walks up to desk.

MANPOWER SUPERVISOR (CONT'D): I have a job for you. A janitorial job at Bendix. Dusting and cleaning some of the equipment there. You can take the bus out there now, and report to the personnel office. Here's the address.

He hand card to Jim.


Jim gets off bus and walks toward Bendix plant entrance. Surrounding the Bendix plant grounds is a tall wire fence. At entrance is a checkpoint-charley with a uniformed BENDIX SECURITY GUARD. Jim stops at the checkpoint-charley.

JIM: I'm from Manpower. I'm supposed to go to Personnel.

BENDIX SECURITY GUARD: It's in the building over there.

He points toward small building in front of factory. Jim walks into small building.


BENDIX PERSONNEL MANAGER, 35, sits behind a desk. Jim sits on chair at side of desk.

BENDIX PERSONNEL MANAGER: Everybody who works inside this plant has to get security clearance from the FBI in Washington. Even temp workers. So before I send you inside to Mr. Duncan, we'll fingerprint you and photograph you. And then we'll send your fingerprints and photographs down to the FBI.

He picks up his phone receiver and dials three digits.

BENDIX PERSONNEL MANAGER (CONT'D): Hello, Frank? We got a temp worker here who needs to be fingerprinted and photographed.

He puts down receiver.


A uniformed BENDIX PERSONNEl SECURITY GUARD enters from a backroom with a flash camera and fingerprinting equipment. He stands next to an empty desk and motions for Jim to come over. After fingerprinting Jim, the Bendix Personnel Security Guard takes a photograph of Jim, who has a wide grin as he is photographed. The guard then returns to his backroom.


MR. DUNCAN, 32, wearing suit and tie, hands Jim a rag and a featherduster.

MR. DUNCAN: So that's why you have to be very careful when you dust this equipment. Because it's very delicate.

JIM: I think I can do the job.

MR. DUNCAN: You can usually finish dusting and cleaning all the labs and equipment in less than 5 hours. And we don't mind if you then sit around in the janitor's lounge and read a newspaper for the rest of the time. The main thing is we don't want you to quit after a few days. You're the third guy I've had to train to do this job in the last week. And I'm tired of having to spend a few hours everyday training a new guy.

Jim nods.

MR. DUNCAN (CONT'D): Now I'll leave you on your own for now. But I'll be checking to see how you've done at the end of the day.


Jim begins dusting scopes of lab equipment.


Jim is dusting the scopes of some of the bigger lab equipment, while BENDIX TECHNICIANS, wearing white lab coats, record data from other lab equipment.

BENDIX TECHNICIAN I: They say they'll be closing up at 3 today because of another bomb threat.

BENDIX TECHNICIAN II: Another one! This is the third bomb threat in two weeks.

BENDIX TECHNICIAN I: They say they'll be calling in the FBI to investigate. They think it's either the Weather Underground or somebody who works here.

BENDIX TECHNICIAN II: You sure you didn't tell your wife to call in a bomb threat so you could get off early today?

The Bendix Technicians both laugh. Jim finished dusting lab equipment quickly and leaves lab rapidly.


Louise sits behind desk, reading copy. Eddie walks up to her, holding a letter.

EDDIE: Hey, Louise! Another letter from that Greenberg guy. The envelope was postmarked Kent, Ohio this time.

LOUISE: Let me see it.

Eddie hands her letter. Louise reads it and smiles.

LOUISE (CONT'D): He's predicting that Columbia will be shut down again in April. He's crazy if he believes that's going to happen this Spring.

EDDIE: Are we going to print it?

LOUISE: No. I don't want to give the FBI an excuse to come back here again.


Jim is browsing in stacks among some books about 1960s activism. He suddenly notices that Patty is sitting with her notebook open in a carrel. Jim slowly walks over to the carrel.

JIM: Patty! I never thought I'd meet you here. You didn't strike me as somebody who studies in the stacks.

PATTY: I usually don't. But I have this overdue paper from last year that I really have to finish. And I thought I finally found a place where I wouldn't bump into anybody who would distract me.

Jim laughs.

JIM: Maybe it's cosmic that you bumped into me?

PATTY: I told you we'd be seeing each other again around campus. What have you been up to lately?

JIM: Manpower sent me out to Bendix to work as a janitor. But I quit after a day, when I heard about all the bomb scares they get. I don't want to be working inside there if somebody decides to bomb the plant for producing weapons for the Viet Nam War.

PATTY: I thought the war in Viet Nam was over. I mean nobody's getting drafted anymore.

JIM: It's still going on. And there's even some kind of meeting scheduled for tomorrow. To talk about how the war's been automated. Do you want to go with me?

PATTY: Well, I'm not really into anti-war meetings. Especially when I have this paper I have to finish.

JIM: I guess I should let you get back to doing the paper, then.

Jim touches Patty on the shoulder in an affectionate way.

JIM (CONT'D): Nice bumping into you again, Patty.

Jim goes back to browse in stacks. Patty starts writing in her notebook, while looking at an open book.