gravel sitting down there, enough to get the base ready. Lolo will show
up at daybreak to set the last fifty feet of string line. We pave tomorrow,
and Brown & Lambrecht get their rock back.”
“Gilbert is out of hours. He can’t keep up. He won’t bother us.”
I looked up as I went to the trailer and saw that someone had put a
flag on the top of the plant. Its colors were red, white, and green, sug-
gesting a can of Contadina tomato paste. Since the concrete plant was
Johnny Iannatone’s, the Mediterranean flag was probably his, too.
Junior’s plan made sense. I could check grade with my level. All
we needed were two operators for a loader and a roller. That would be
O’Malley and Lopat. We had about seven hours to get fifty feet of subgrade ready. It was a solid plan. It would be like me and O’Malley putting Prentiss Creek through the box culvert before the sun came up. We
would be all alone.
Prentiss Creek started out somewhere east of our job and finally
dumped into the DuPage River, west of us. It wasn’t a big stream, but
it had flooded once when Herlihy built the triple box culvert. That had
made a lake that went all the way south to Voukon’s doorstep and north
nearly to Jackson in the floodplain. It had taken a week for the water to
go down. We’d made a temporary bypass channel for Prentiss Creek
while we built the box culvert and lined it with erosion-control blanket
like Gilbert had said. But he’d wanted erosion blanket in the new chan-
nel when we put it through the box. We had done that, leaving out about
fifty feet of channel where the temporary stream and permanent one
came together. That was the “plug.”
“What about the ‘plug’?” Gilbert had asked.
“When we remove the plug, water will rush right through. We can’t
put blanket there in a live stream,” I’d said.
“You have to,” Gilbert had said. “It’s in the specifications.” He’d folded
his arms and walked away.
So we did it at night, while Gilbert was asleep. The next morning Gilbert asked, “What about the blanket at the plug?” By now the plug was
gone and where it had been was under three feet of sediment-colored
“Go take a look,” I had said.
Knowing what we were going to do now, I didn’t bother to go home
and get some sleep. I stayed in the trailer near Huey’s batch plant and