THE GO-GETTER ***
Produced by John Hagerson, Kevin Handy, and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.
A Story That Tells You How to be One
By Peter B. Kyne
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THIS LITTLE BOOK IS DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF MY DEAD CHIEF, BRIGADIER-GENERAL LEROY S. LYON, SOMETIME COMMANDER OF THE 65TH FIELD ARTILLERY BRIGADE, 40TH DIVISION, UNITED STATES ARMY.
HE PRACTICED AND PREACHED A RELIGION OF LOYALTY TO THE COUNTRY AND THE APPOINTED TASK, WHATEVER IT MIGHT BE.
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Mr. Alden P. Ricks, known in Pacific Coast wholesale lumber and shipping circles as Cappy Ricks, had more troubles than a hen with ducklings. He remarked as much to Mr. Skinner, president and general manager of the Ricks Logging & Lumbering Company, the corporate entity which represented Cappy's vast lumber interests; and he fairly barked the information at Captain Matt Peasley, his son-in-law and also president and manager of the Blue Star Navigation Company, another corporate entity which represented the Ricks interest in the American mercantile marine.
Mr. Skinner received this information in silence. He was not related to Cappy Ricks. But Matt Peasley sat down, crossed his legs and matched glares with his mercurial father-in-law.
"_You_ have troubles!" he jeered, with emphasis on the pronoun. "Have you got a misery in your back, or is Herbert Hoover the wrong man for Secretary of Commerce?"
"Stow your sarcasm, young feller," Cappy shrilled. "You know dad-blamed well it isn't a question of health or politics. It's the fact that in my old age I find myself totally surrounded by the choicest aggregation of mental duds since Ajax defied the lightning."
"You and Skinner."
"Why, what have we done?"
"You argued me into taking on the management of twenty-five of those infernal Shipping Board freighters, and no sooner do we have them allocated to us than a near panic hits the country, freight rates go to glory, marine engineers go on strike and every infernal young whelp we send out to take charge of one of our offices in the Orient promptly gets the swelled head and thinks he's divinely ordained to drink up all the synthetic Scotch whiskey manufactured in Japan for the benefit of thirsty Americans. In my old age you two have forced us into the position of having to fire folks by cable. Why? Because we're breaking into a game that can't be played on the home grounds. A lot of our business is so far away we can't control it."
Matt Peasley leveled an accusing finger at Cappy Ricks. "We never argued you into taking over the management of those Shipping Board boats. We argued me into it. I'm the goat. You have nothing to do with it. You retired ten years ago. All the troubles in the marine end of this shop belong on my capable shoulders, old settler."
"Theoretically--yes. Actually--no. I hope you do not expect me to abandon mental as well as physical effort. Great Wampus Cats! Am I to be denied a sentimental interest in matters where I have a controlling financial interest? I admit you two boys are running my affairs and ordinarily you run them rather well, but--but--ahem! Harumph-h-h! What's the matter with you, Matt? And you, also, Skinner? If Matt makes a mistake, it's your job to remind him of it before the results manifest themselves, is it not? And vice versa. Have you two boobs lost your ability to judge men or did you ever have such ability?"
"You're referring to Henderson, of the Shanghai office, I dare say," Mr. Skinner cut in.
"I am, Skinner. And I'm here to remind you that if we'd stuck to our own game, which is coast-wise shipping, and had left the trans-Pacific field with its general cargoes to others, we wouldn't have any Shanghai office at this moment and we would not be pestered by the Hendersons of this world."
"He's the best lumber salesman we've ever had," Mr. Skinner defended. "I had every hope that he would send us orders for many a cargo for Asiatic delivery."
"And he had gone through every job in this office, from office boy to sales manager in the lumber department and from freight clerk to passenger agent in the navigation company," Matt Peasley supplemented.
"I admit all of that. But did you consult me when you decided to send him out to China on his own?"
"Of course not. I'm boss of the Blue Star Navigation Company, am I not? The man was in charge of the Shanghai office before you ever opened your mouth to discharge your cargo of free advice."
"I told you then that Henderson wouldn't make good, didn't I?"