CHAPTER SIX HUNDRED and THIRTY-THREE
Monday mid-day — 12:20 p.m.
“We put this system in a year. . .” Orin Olathe said.
“Two,” Jacob said.
“That’s right,” Orin said.
Orin stopped walked and looked up at the Marlowe School building. They were standing in the parking lot. Jacob wore a face mask when Orin had arrived. They’d had a long talk about face masks as Orin hadn’t ever seen one before. He reluctantly took one from Jacob and put it one.
“This thing,” Orin pointed to his face mask, “it’s not as bad as I thought it would be.”
“We’re going to be wearing them for a while,” Jacob said.
“Jeez,” Orin said. “Really?”
“Really,” Jacob said.
Orin didn’t say respond. They walked all the way to the entrance where Helen Siegle was standing.
“You know, the TV says this virus thing is a hoax,” Orin said to Jacob.
“The TV says that my sister, Val, isn’t married to Mike,” Jacob said with a shrug.
Orin didn’t respond. They were standing in the hallway waiting for Helen to get her keys before Orin said, “Jeez, I know Val and Mike. They’re definitely married.”
“Yep,” Jacob said.
With that, Orin turned his attention to the building. Helen returned with the keys to all of the mechanics of the school.
“So Jake ’n me were saying that we put in this system two years ago,” Orin said to Helen.
“Brand new,” Orin said. “Everything. New from scratch.”
“Wha-r-we-thinkin’ we need to do now?” Orin asked.
“We need to create more airflow in the classrooms,” Jacob said.
“You got airflow in classrooms,” Orin said.
“We need to test the airflow in the classrooms,” Helen said. “We also need to upgrade the filtration system so that we catch anything that might be an issue.”
Orin nodded. Helen and Jacob waited while Orin looked around at the airflow in the hallway. They followed him into the first classroom off the office. He looked at the ceiling and then at the floor.
“Babies?” Orin pointed.
Helen nodded as he walked past. They followed him in to the infant and toddler child care area. He stared at the ceiling and looked at the walls. After a minute, he looked down at his feet. After a moment, he looked at Jacob.
“You’re saying that this virus is real,” Orin said to Jacob.
“My father had it,” Jacob said.
“Sam?” Orin asked.
“It nearly killed him,” Jacob said.
“Big Sam Lipson?” Orin asked. “Why. . . He’s no weakling.”
“No, he’s not,” Jacob said.
Helen just tried to stay out of it.
“You think this virus is in the air?” Orin asked.
“It’s airbourne,” Helen said, forgetting that she was staying out of it. “That’s what the scientists tell us.”
Orin gave her a long look before glancing at Jacob.
“My crews not working,” Orin said. “We definitely could use the work. And, if what you’re saying is true, and I’ve never known you to lie, then this could be a big deal for our company because there’s got to be lots of buildings that’s going to need this.”
“It’s why I called you,” Jacob said. “I thought you could become the expert.”
Orin’s face flushed and he nodded.
“I’m not gonna say that we don’t need the help,” Orin said. “My guys are at home; some of them are desperate for work.”
“I know,” Jacob said. “We’re job sharing at Lipson and it’s a mess.”
Orin looked down for a long moment before he nodded again.
“Can you help us?” Helen asked.
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow...
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