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This article is taken from PN Review 67, Volume 15 Number 5, May - June 1989.

Rubbish Road Latife Tekin

A custom on Rubbish Road which dated from the strike in the car-battery factory was passing on the tent. When the linen-workers' tent fell into the garden of the car-battery factory this was taken to mean that it would be the next to strike. And so it came about, before the linen-workers had time to dismantle their tent and go back to work. The battery-workers pegged down their tent securely and on the first day sent up a white pigeon flying to a round of applause. The bird shot into the sky like an arrow and was lost in the smoke of the factories of Rubbish Road. Then it circled round and perched on top of their factory. That turned out to be the longest strike on Rubbish Road. Snow fell on their tent; frost came. After the rains came summer. The strike-banner lost its colour and the writing faded. Then the workers who had flown the pigeon and danced side by side to keep their tent from blowing away, disappeared one by one from their place by the tent. Only a handful of men remained at the factory-gate. The stubborn ones who stood fast were called 'Tent-Stewards' by the others.

Afterwards the Tent-Stewards got the sack and 'New Blood' workers were taken on at the car-battery factory. The strikers with lead-poisoning went off down Rubbish Road and kept looking back till they were out of sight. The name 'Tent-Steward' was left behind as a reminder to ...

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