Hank Steel, sitting on a low mound of trade publications, is trying to take off his wing-tip shoe without untying it, panting. He gives up, exhausted, tries again.
Enter Bobby Mallaferro.
HANK: (giving up again) Nothing to sell.
BOBBY: (slowly approaching with an empty order book) Duh! Been like this a few months now. I tell myself, Bobby, be reasonable, somebody’s got to want some steel somewhere. (He broods, musing on sheet specs) Cyclical! Hah!
HANK: I’m glad to see you back. Mustn’t have been any shrimp at the reception.
BOBBY: (sitting down, rubbing his forehead) No leads either.
HANK: Want to hug it out?
BOBBY: (irritably) No. Not now.
HANK: Where did you sleep?
BOBBY: Motel 6. Outside Buffalo. (brightens) I saw a flatbed with a pup coil on it. Going to an end user, I bet. There are usually two.
HANK: Two what?
BOBBY: Coils. Two sheet coils on a flatbed. Remember?
HANK: (gloomily) It’s too much for one man. Too much inventory that’s not moving. On the dock. On the floor. On the boat. Under the bed, for chrissakes!
BOBBY: (feebly) We have the trade cases and the union could go on strike. Or get locked out. There could be a work stoppage. The mills want to cut costs . . .
HANK: (angrily) Would you help me with this shoe? They don’t make Florsheims like they used to. Motel 6, eh? Geez!
BOBBY: (rising) Are you making fun of me? My back hurts. The travel budget is gone.
HANK: We used to stay at the Waldorf eating shrimp.
BOBBY: Suppose we repent?
HANK: (yanking the shoe free) No. Dammit. It’s the market. Not us. Not steel. Everybody loves steel. We have to wait for the market!
BOBBY: Will it be back?
HANK: The flatbed?
BOBBY: (sitting down gingerly in a wobbly office chair, one wheel missing) No. The market.
HANK: I suppose.
BOBBY: (looking around the service center, his head moving this way and that, and then swiveling fully around in the chair) Steel everywhere! I thought we were hand-to-mouth.
Enter Bill Rebarski, lugging a sack of shredded scrap.
BILL: Look what I found. It was just outside the door. No one wants it. The price is going down.
BOBBY: Of course it is! We’ve been waiting months.
BILL: Waiting for what?
HANK: The market. For the market to come back.
BOBBY: It always comes back
BILL: How long will you wait?
HANK: (untying his other shoe and throwing it to the floor) Till whenever. It always comes back.
BOBBY: Yeah, the market always comes back. So we’ll wait . . .
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