Creating an Industrial Empire in 19th Century Parallel World -
Chapter 7 An Exhaustive Day
As minutes turned to hours, Jonathan and Poul are now already feeling the heat of working laboriously digging ditches. After doing so, they would have to lift steel pipes that have the weight of an adult person to the dug ditches and install them there.
There was no break, the watchers would remind them constantly to hurry through shouting. And if the laborers weren't cooperative, they'll whip them out in the back to instill discipline in them.
Jonathan and Poul wanted to avoid that at all costs as they believe their feeble-looking body won't be able to take numerous hits. So they worked hard, for two hours, three hours, four hours, and until noon.
"Okay! You may now have your fifteen-minute break!" the watcher announced as he rang the bell.
The laborers stopped working and started leaving the site and congregated at a nearby food stall that sells eggs, bread, soup, and whiskey.
Jonathan wiped the sweat off his forehead with the back of his arm as he walked over to Poul, who was sitting on the muddy ground staring ahead as if he was thinking.
"You know, the rules are kind of strict here. They only gave us a fifteen-minute break. After that, we return to work for another six hours," Poul said as he sensed Jonathan's approach behind his back.
"You're right. That's why we should get moving or otherwise you won't have the energy to continue doing the work," Jonathan said, propping his arm atop the handle grip of the shovel. His chin resting on his arms.
"Yeah…you're right," Poul said weakly as he rose to his feet.
Jonathan noticed the fatigue washing over Poul's body, prompting him to ask.
"Are you feeling okay?"
"My hands are kinda numb," Poul said as brought his hands up and showed them to Jonathan.
Jonathan saw that his hands were shaking.
"Well, it's just the way your body tells you that it's hungry. You might have low blood sugar, we should get some bread," Jonathan suggested.
Poul simply nodded at the suggestion and started trudging toward the food stall. Jonathan trailed him and one minute later, they arrived at the stall.
It wasn't the same stall that sells them bread and coffee, it was an entirely new stall, and what's more, it has a different product that made everyone drool.
"Get your donuts here! Sprinkled with sugars. Fifteen cents a piece," the vendor shouted loudly.
Jonathan looked around the stall and saw a line of customers already gathered on the sidewalk.
He nudged Poul. "Donuts, we are lucky,"
The two didn't hesitate to join the line. They waited for about twelve minutes and the moment they were next, they didn't waste time and quickly bought 4 pieces of donuts for 60 cents.
Then they rushed towards a nearby hand pump where they got themselves water.
"Ah…the food so far in this world is great!" Poul commented, completely invigorated at the soft and sweet taste of the donut. "You think this water is safe to drink Jonathan? Like you know a lot of people in the Victorian times died of cholera and dysentery?"
"Assuming they dug deep, I'd say that the water is safe for consumption due to the purification properties of the soil. The soil around is not as contaminated as the ones in the streets," Jonathan sniffed the water for good measure. "Yup, it's safe to drink."
After getting an opinion from Jonathan, Poul didn't hesitate to chug the water mug down.
He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and sighed in satisfaction. "That's refreshing."
"Okay back to work everyone!" the watcher tolled the bell, announcing that the break is over.
Jonathan devoured the last donut and chug the water mug down before returning to work.
There, they worked for another six arduous hours. Jonathan can be seen panting heavily as he catches his breath after running back and forth to carry pipes while Poul was busy driving the tip of the shovel blade into the ground and pushing up the soil.
The sun started casting its orange shadow over the city of Columbus, signaling that the night is coming.
"Okay, that's it! Everyone lined up for their pay," the watcher shouted at the laborers.
They did as they are told and lined up to get their salaries for today's work.
There were hundreds of laborers working on the pipeline project of the city, so it will take time for Jonathan and Poul to receive their pay. It took thirty minutes.
"What's your name, boy?" the payroll clerk asked.
"Jonathan, sir," Jonathan replied.
"Jonathan, you did a fine job working your ass out there. For that, I'll raise your salary for today to 1.70 dollars."
"Thank you very much, sir," Jonathan accepted his pay gladly.
"And you, Albian…you get 1 dollar," the payroll clerk handed him the money. "Now get out of my sight."
After receiving their salaries, they left the line and walked around the city.
"Two dollars and seventy cents for 12 hours of work, we are kind of underpaid don't you think?" Poul noted.
"Uh-huh. Two dollars will be deducted from the rent. Good thing we still have extra thanks to the gentleman who gave us three dollars out of pity," Jonathan chuckled.
"You know the night is still young, we should work to increase our funds, like scooping up shit in the street," Poul proposed as he gazed at the streets filled with a mash of muddy dirt and horse dung.
He would have retched at the sight but it seems as though the body that they were occupying was used to the smell, hence the absence of the reaction.
"Okay," Jonathan agreed and beckoned Poul to follow him. He seemed to know the place where they'll get the job. They were optimistic as every cent mattered in this world. Despite their aching and exhaustive bodies, they still want to work to earn additional funds for the day and tomorrow.
"You two want to be street cleaners? Very well, I'll give you eighty cents for the both of you. I need you to remove the dirt and the horse dung off the streets and fill it in these barrels here," the boss pointed at the five barrels on a push cart. "Simple right? Here's some shovel and go get that waste."
Without further ado, the two started working again under the veil of the night. The gas pole light illuminated the streets, allowing the two to see clearly what they were working on.
The reason why they need to fill up the barrels is that dirt, horse dung, and other waste would be good fertilizers. It took them almost two hours to finish the task and once finished, they were rewarded.
"I could really use a bath right now," Poul said. Their bodies were covered with dirt, their faces grime, and the smell was unbearable.
"Me too, I believe there is a bathroom in the apartment. The problem is, where can we get soap?"
"I don't think soap is popular in this era. Just wiping our bodies with fresh towels would do the trick," Poul said and continued. "Also, I think we need to buy a new set of clothes. We can't use these clothes every day or they will wear out quickly."
"We will use the extra dollars to buy two sets of clothes, of course, the cheap ones," Jonathan said.
Poul let out a sigh. "Looks like we survived the day."
"Let's see if we can survive tomorrow," Jonathan said.
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