George Leasure was a good friend of my dad and they worked at the same factory. It was Walworth Company in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. The company made valves of all sizes. I worked there for nearly a year before going into the Navy. George became my mentor when I started to work in the tool room.
I had to learn how to learn how to read blue prints so that I would know which drills, jigs, and other supplies that would be needed to complete their project. I would have to pull the right equipment for the machine operators to make the correct part for the needed valve.
Many times I would have to sharpen the drill bits or shape the carbon tips that were affixed onto the end of a metal bar. Grinding the correct bangle on the tip was absolutely critical to make the cuts on the metal valves. If the angle was off, the valve would not seal and the whole thing would be ruined and would leak.
George was a prankster, quick to smile, with an easy laugh. One of his favorite pranks was to place a paper cup with water in it on the top edge of a partially open door. When the door was pushed open, the cup would tip over spilling the water on the person below. Someone would get wet.
I was no exception. He pulled a prank on me by placing the cup of water on top of a blue print he knew that I would need. The blue print was on a shelf, just above eye level. Pulling the print off the shelf, the cup came with it. I had fairly quick reflexes and was able to jump out of the way. The cup hit the floor and the water splashed onto my pant leg.
I glanced back to where George was sitting. He was at his machine where he sharpened the milling machine blades. He was smirking around the stub of a stogie he always had clenched in his teeth. His job was tedious and time consuming. The stool he sat on was covered with rags. The rags cushioned the hard seat and if it got soiled with oils and accumulated dirt, he could toss the dirty one in the trash and apply a new one.
I wanted revenge and devised a plan to get even. It had to be more complex than just a cup of water on the top of a door. I needed a diversion from the real vengeful stunt. George went to the bathroom and I set about with my plan. I put a cup of water on the open tool room door. Then I set in motion the rest of the idea. Using a Baggie, partially filled with water, I slipped it beneath the rags on George’s stool. I smoothed the rags to conceal the booby trap below.
Quickly I moved back to my station and went to work. When George returned, he kicked the door open. The cup fell to the floor. Even the splash of the water missed him. He removed his stogie and chuckled as he headed back to his machine.”You’ll need more than that to get me.” he smirked. I pretended that I was disappointed.
George returned to his seat. He took out his cigar and started to say something. The smirk on his face quickly changed to one of surprise when the Baggie burst and the water soaked through the rags.
I never did find out what he was going to say. The seat of his pants was wet.
It was my turn to chuckle.