A Storyby Steve Stern
Had Gussie Panken looked up from her machine, a movement that could get her salary docked a dollar, she would have seen what the lazy Sadie Kupla saw in the window overlooking Washington Place. The late March breeze was causing the orange curtains to billow, the serrated orange curtains, though the open windows along Washington Place had never had any curtains. Then the wisps of orange turned into waves, a rumbling swell that poured over the sills into the shop, engulfing the bins of scraps, torching the bales of unfinished waists heaped atop the oil-soaked tables. By the time Gussie had turned to see what Sadie was screeching about—her shrieks echoed in a chorus all up and down the long rows of worktables—the fire was advancing like a mob of ragged hooligans.