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´╗┐Title: Something Will Turn Up
Author: Mason, David
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Something Will Turn Up" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber note: This etext was produced from Analog February 1963.
Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright
on this publication was renewed.

       *       *       *       *       *



Something
Will Turn Up

by
David Mason


    Err ... maybe it had to do with this being
    a non-Parity universe, perhaps?
    Some things can't be simply inverted, after all....


Illustrated by Brotman


[Illustration]


"You, Mr. Rapp?"

Stanley Rapp blinked, considering the matter. He always thought over
everything very carefully. Of course, some questions were easier to
answer than others. This one, for instance. He had very few doubts about
his name.

"Uh," Stanley Rapp said. "Yes. Yes."

He stared at the bearded young man. Living in the Village, even on the
better side of it, one saw beards every day, all shapes and sizes of
beard. This one was not a psychoanalyst beard, or a folk singer beard;
not even an actor beard. This was the scraggly variety, almost certainly
a poet beard. Mr. Rapp, while holding no particular prejudice against
poets, had not sent for one, he was sure of that.

Then he noticed the toolcase in the bearded young man's hand, lettered
large LIGHTNING SERVICE, TV, HI-FI.

"Oh," Stanley said, nodding. "You're the man to fix the TV set."

"You know it, Dad," the young man said, coming in. He shut the door
behind him, and stared around the apartment. "What a wild pad. Where the
idiot box, hey?"

The pleasantly furnished, neat little apartment was not what Mr. Rapp
had ever thought of as a "wild pad." But the Village had odd standards,
Mr. Rapp knew. Chacun a son gout, he had said, on moving into the
apartment ten years ago. Not aloud, of course, because he had only taken
one year of French, and would never have trusted his accent. But chacun
a son gout, anyway.

"The television set," Mr. Rapp said, translating. "Oh, yes." He went to
the closet door and opened it. Reaching inside, he brought out an
imposingly large TV set, mounted on a wheeled table. The bearded
repairman whistled.

"In the closet," the repairman said, admiringly. "Crazy. You go in there
to watch it, or you let it talk to itself?"

"Oh. Well, I don't exactly watch it at all," Mr. Rapp said, a little
sadly. "I mean, I can't. That's why I called you."

"Lightning's here, have no fear," the bearded one said, approaching the
set with a professional air. "Like, in the closet, hey." He bent over
the set, appraisingly. "I thought you were a square, Pops, but I can see
you're.... Hey, this is like too much. Man, I don't want to pry, but why
is this box upside down?"

"I wish I knew," Mr. Rapp said. He sat down, and leaned back, sighing.
This was going to be difficult, he knew. He had already had to explain
it to the last three repairmen, and he was getting tired of explaining.
Although he thought, somehow, that this young man might understand it a
little more quickly than the others had.

"I've had a couple of other repairmen look it over," Mr. Rapp told the
bearded one. "They ... well, they gave up."

"Dilettantes," commented the beard.

"Oh, no," Mr. Rapp said. "One of them was from the company that made it.
But they couldn't do anything."

"Let's try it," the repairman said, plugging the cord into a wall
socket. He returned to the set, and switched it on, without changing
its upside down position. The big screen lit almost at once; a pained
face appeared, with a large silhouetted hammer striking the image's
forehead in a rhythmic beat.

"... Immediate relief from headache," a bland voice said, as the
pictured face broke into a broad smile. The repairman shuddered, and
turned down the sound, staring at the image with widened eyes as he did
so.

"Dad, I don't want to bug you," the repairman said, his eyes still on
the screen, "only, look. The set is upside down, right?"

"Right," said Mr. Rapp.

"Only the picture--" the repairman paused, trying to find the right
phrase. "I mean, the picture's flipped. Like, it's wrong side up, too.
Only, right side up, now."

"Exactly," said Mr. Rapp. "You see, that's the trouble. I put the set
upside down because of that."

"Cool," the repairman said, watching the picture. "I mean, so why worry?
You got a picture, right? You want me to turn the picture around? I can
do that with a little fiddling around inside the set ... uh-oh. Dad,
something's happening."

          *       *       *       *       *

The repairman bent closer, staring at the picture. It was now showing a
busty young woman singer, her mouth opened, but silent, since the sound
was turned down. She was slowly rotating as Rapp and the bearded
repairman watched, turning until her face, still mouthing silent song,
hung upside down on the screen.

"It always does that," Rapp said. "No matter which way I put the set,
the picture's always upside down."

"No, man," the repairman said, pleadingly. "Look, I took a course. I
mean, the best school, you dig? It don't work that way. It just can't."

"It does, though," Rapp pointed out. "And that's what the other repair
people said, too. They took it out, and brought it back, and it still
did it. Not when they had it in their shops, but the minute it came back
here, the picture went upside down again."

"Wow," the repairman said, backing slowly away from the set, but
watching it with the tense gaze of a man who expected trouble. After a
minute he moved toward it again, and took hold of the cabinet sides,
lifting.

"I don't want to put you down, Pops," he said, grunting. "Only, I got to
see this. Over she goes." He set it down again, right side up. The
picture, still the singer's face, remained in a relatively upright
position for another moment, and then slowly rolled over, upside down
again.

"You see," Mr. Rapp said, shrugging. "I guess I'll have to buy another
set. Except I'd hate to have it happen again, and this one did cost
quite a lot."

"You couldn't trade it in, either," the repairman agreed. "Not to me,
anyway." Suddenly he snapped his fingers. "Hey now. Sideways?"

"You mean on its side?"

"Just for kicks...." the repairman gripped the set again. "On the
side...." He set the cabinet down, on one side, and stepped back, to
regard the picture again.

Slowly, the picture turned once more, and once again, relative to the
usual directions of up and down, the picture was stubbornly, completely
inverted.

"It's onto that, too," the repairman said, gloomily. He sat down on the
floor, and assumed a kind of Yoga posture, peering between his legs.
"You could try it this way, Pops."

"I'm pretty stiff," Mr. Rapp told him, shaking his head.

"Yeah," the repairman said, reinverting himself. For a long while he
sat, pulling his beard thoughtfully, a look of deep thought on his face.
The reversed singer faded out, to give place to an earnestly grinning
announcer who pointed emphatically to a large, upside down sign bearing
the name of a product.

"Watching it this way could get to be a fad," the repairman said, at
last, almost inaudibly. He fell silent again, and Mr. Rapp, sadly, began
to realize that even this bearded and confident young man had apparently
been stopped, like the others.

"The way I look at it, like, there's a place where science hangs up,"
the bearded one spoke, finally.

"Like, I don't want to put down my old Guru at the Second Avenue School
of Electronics," he added, solemnly. "But you got to admit that there
are things not dreamed of in your philosophy, Horatio. You dig?"

"My name isn't Horatio," Mr. Rapp objected.

"I was quoting," the repairman told him. "I mean, this is a thing like,
outside material means. Supernatural, sort of. Did you cross up any
witches lately, Pops?"

"Oh, dear," Mr. Rapp said sadly. He shook his head. "No, I haven't ...
er, offended any witches. Not that I know of." He regarded the inverted
picture for a moment. Then, as the repairman's words began to sink in,
Mr. Rapp looked at him apprehensively.

"Witches?" Mr. Rapp asked. "But ... I mean, that's all superstition,
isn't it? And anyway ... well, television sets!"

"They used to dry up cows, but who keeps cows?" the bearded one said
ominously. "Why not television sets? Like, I happen to be personally
acquainted with several witches and like that. The Village is full of
them. However--" He rose, and stalked toward the set, his eyes
glittering in a peculiar way. "You're a lucky one, Daddyo. Back in my
square days, I did some reading up on the hookups between poetry and
magic. Now, I'm a poet. Therefore, and to wit, I'm also a magician. On
this hangup, I'm going to try magic. Electronics won't work, that's for
sure."

       *       *       *       *       *

"But...." Mr. Rapp was not quite sure why he disapproved, but he did. On
the other hand, the repairman appeared to be very definitely sure of
what he was doing, as he peered into the back of the television set.

"Have you ever tried ... ah, this method before?"

"Never ran into any hexed TV sets before," the repairman said,
straightening up. "Don't worry, though. I got the touch, like with
poetry. Same thing, in fact. All magic spells rhyme, see? Well, I used
to rhyme, back before I really started swinging. Anybody can rhyme. And
the rest is just instinct."

He had been scribbling something on a notepad, as he spoke. Now he bent
down, to take another look at the back of the set, and nodded with an
air of assurance.

"The tube layout," the repairman told Mr. Rapp, exhibiting his notebook.
"That, and Ohm's Law, and a couple of Hindu bits I picked up listening
to the UN on the radio ... makes a first-class spell."

Mr. Rapp backed away, nervously. "Look, if it's all the same to you...."

"Don't flip." The repairman consulted his notebook, and moved to stand
in front of the screen. The picture showed a smiling newscaster,
pointing to a map which indicated something ominous.

"Cool, man," the repairman said. "Here we go." He lifted his hands in an
ecclesiastical gesture, and his voice became a deep boom.

"6SN7, 6ac5, six and seven millivolts are running down the line, E
equals R times A, that's the way it goes, go round the other way, Subhas
Chandra BOSE!"

Afterward, Mr. Rapp was never quite sure exactly what happened. He had
an impression of a flash of light, and an odd, indefinite sound rather
like the dropping of a cosmic garbage can lid. But possibly neither the
light nor the sound actually happened; at any rate, there were no
complaints from the neighbors later on. However, the lighted screen was
certainly doing something.

"Crazy!" the repairman said, in awed tones.

Mr. Rapp, his view partly blocked by the repairman, could not see
exactly what was happening on the screen. However, he caught a brief
glimpse of the newscaster's face. It was right side up, but no longer
smiling. Instead, the pictured face wore a look of profound alarm, and
the newsman was apparently leaning far forward, his face almost out of
focus because of its nearness to the lens. Just for a moment, Mr. Rapp
could have sworn he saw a chair floating _up_, past the agonized
expression on the screen.

Then the screen want gray, and a panel of lettering appeared, shaking
slightly.

OUR PICTURE HAS BEEN TEMPORARILY INTERRUPTED. NORMAL SERVICE WILL BE
RESTORED AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. PLEASE STAND BY.

"I was going to give you a bill," the repairman said. "Only maybe we
better just charge it up to customer relations."

The letters remained steady on the screen, and Mr. Rapp studied them.
They were right side up.

"You fixed it," Mr. Rapp said, a little uncertainly. "I mean, it's
working. I ought to pay...."

"I goofed," the repairman said. He picked up his tools, and moved toward
the door. "Like, I won't mention it to anybody if you won't. But I
goofed, all right. Didn't you see the picture?"

"But whatever you did ... it worked," Mr. Rapp said. "The picture's
right side up."

"I know," the repairman said. "Only somewhere ... there's a studio
that's upside down. I just goofed, Pops, that's all."

He closed the door behind him, leaving Mr. Rapp still staring at the
immobile, right-side-up message on the glowing screen.

[Illustration]

The End.





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