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Old 10-23-2002, 12:09 PM   #3
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Default Re: Round Robin 3: Part Three

Sam continued singing, he was not at all happy about the situation he?d found himself in, but at least his singing calmed him and made him forget what was below, or rather what wasn?t below him. He found himself humming and singing words to quite a few songs that leapt into his head, not being sure of the date he was currently in, although he surmised it must be post ?74, but still he kept his voice low. A couple of times he glanced over at Billy and once or twice Billy had caught him looking, Sam just smiled and shrugged his shoulders.

Sam stretched out; painting the last bit that was within his reach. Now he had to unfasten his safety harness to move to another spot on the bridge. Keeping his eyes on a level par, he clung to a steel cable shuffling his feet downward and searching for the next bolt-hook onto which he could reattach the clasps, and himself.

"No! Hey Danny! No!" Billy yelled. "What the hell..."

Sam span around in surprise and lost his footing, he slipped backward. He could feel his feet sliding downward stopping unexpectedly when his boots hit the ridge, but his body continued in a retrograde motion toppling him backwards, his arms windmilling in mid air. For a second he was in contact with nothing but thin air.

Somehow an arm reached out and his hand grabbed at the metal cable. He felt it bite into his palm as his weight and momentum dragged at his skin.

Another hand, not his own caught hold of the braces at the back of his coverall and hauled his rear end upward. Sam?s line of vision lowered, save from cricking his neck he had no choice but let his eyes follow the way he was facing. Then he saw it, the deep gauge below him, the frothy white edges of the rivers bank, and the distance between him and the river beneath.

From a close proximity, a voice bellowed. "What the hell do you think you?re doing Danny?"

Sam managed to grab the cable with his other arm, pulling himself up a little; he tucked the cable under his armpit and turned towards the voice.

Billy?s face strained as he held onto Sam's braces with one hand and the thick cable at the far side with the other. "That?s the surest way to commit suicide, if ever I saw one." He grunted, his voice shaking with the exertion.

Sam struggled to get his feet in contact with the cylindrical shape of the main cable, but the more he pushed the more he swung outward. Finally with one great heave Billy managed to pull Sam inward enough, Sam succeeded in hooking a toecap into the ridge, levering himself back onto the main cable, hugging at its circumference he shook violently.

Quickly Billy secured both of their safety harnesses. "Jeezus! What were you thinking of Danny! You should know by now, that you NEVER unclip both hasps at the SAME time!"

Sam looked at Billy apologetically. "Dunno what I was thinking of Billy, I really don?t."

"Well that?s for sure." Billy looked around to see if anyone else had noticed Danny?s little mishap. "You?re one hell of a lucky kid, I?ll give yer that. Now get that doodle brain of yours in gear, there?s only a half-hour left.

Sam held up his almost empty pot of paint, but Billy didn?t notice, he walked off back to his own stretch of bridge and resumed working. He looked back at Sam but didn?t say anything, the look of annoyance on his face said enough. Sam persevered with his own task, trying to make the little paint he had left last for the next thirty minutes. He didn?t want to annoy Billy any more than he had to, he?d done enough damage for one day and asking a stupid question like, ?Where?s the paint kept?? might have been more that the friendship could tolerate right now.

Sam managed a smile the next time Billy looked over, he had a distinct feeling that Billy was keeping a firm eye on him and that his patience was wearing very thin.

For the last fifteen minutes, Sam painted the same spot over and over again, the pot had run dry and he couldn?t wait until this shift was over. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Billy scraping the excess paint from his brush back into the paint pot and sealed the container.

Sam shouted over, holding the bush and pot up for inspection. "Just in time eh, I?m just about dry."

Billy nodded and sighed. "Hmmm... C?mon Danny, let?s hope tomora?s a better day than the nightmare of a day this?us been."

Sam unclipped ONE hasp at a time, refastening it at arms stretch to the next bolt-hook until he reached the hoist where Billy waited.

"I think it?ll be my shout tonight Billy, after all you?ve done today it?s the least I can do." Sam smiled at the grin Billy returned at his gesture.

"You?re on Danny boy, but I?m warnin? yer Shelly?s a hell?uv a drinker, it?s really gonna cost yer yer?no." Billy laughed. "And..." He attempted to conceal a snigger. "Are we still on for your place tonight? Mom?s gettin? kinda scraggy ?bout me takin? Shelly back there, yer know me only being separated from Connie for a few weeks."

Sam gaped open mouthed at Billy. "Of course." He replied, not knowing what else to say.
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