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´╗┐Title: Jubilation, U.S.A.
Author: Vandenburg, G. L.
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 "Jubilation, U.S.A." ***

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                           JUBILATION, U.S.A.

                          By G. L. VANDENBURG

     _You've heard, I'm sure, about the two Martians who went into
     a bar, saw a jukebox flashing and glittering, and said to it,
     "What's a nice girl like you doing in a joint like this?"
     Well, here's one about two Capellans and a slot-machine...._

Toryl pointed the small crypterpreter toward the wooden,
horseshoe-shaped sign. The sign's legend was carved in bright yellow
letters. Sartan, Toryl's companion, watched up and down the open highway
for signs of life. In seconds the small cylindrical mechanism completed
the translation.

The sign said:

      JUBILATION, U.S.A.!!

    The doggondest, cheeriest
     little town in America!

The two aliens smiled at each other. Unaccustomed to oral conversation,
they exchanged thoughts.

"_The crypterpreter worked incredibly fast. The language is quite
simple. It would seem safe to proceed. The sign indicates
friendliness_," thought Toryl, the older of the two Capellans.

"_Very well, Brother_," replied Sartan, "_though I still worry for the
safety of the ship_."

"_Sartan, our instruments tell us that anyone who discovers the ship_,"
Toryl explained, a trifle impatient, "_will show a remarkable degree of
curiosity before they display any hostility_."

Sartan agreed to dismiss his worries and the two aliens began to walk
along the barren highway. Before them, at a great distance, they could
see a cluster of small frame buildings. When they had walked a hundred
feet or more they encountered another sign.

         JUBILATION, U.S.A.!!

    WELCOME, STRANGER! See America
         first and begin with

And several hundred feet further two more signs.

    THE ROTARY CLUB of Jubilation
    welcomes and extends the warm
    hand of friendship to you!!!!
    You are now entering Paradise,


      --Jubilation Chamber of

As members of a peaceful race, Toryl and Sartan naturally found the
signs encouraging. They walked at a sprightly pace.

A whirring noise behind them brought the two to a halt. They turned to
discover a pre-war Chevy choking its way along the road. The aliens
edged their way to a gulley along the side of the road. They were
confident of a friendly reception but, in the event their calculations
had been wrong, they poised themselves to make a break in the direction
of their ship.

The ancient Chevy sputtered by. The driver was almost as ancient as the
car, a bearded fellow with a stogy stuck between his teeth and a crushed
hat on his head.

The driver slowed down when he saw the aliens. "Howdy, strangers!" he
yelled cheerily. "Say, ain't you fellers a mite warm in them coveralls?"
He cackled merrily, put his foot to the floor and sped on by.

Sartan looked at his companion. "_I am sorry, I should not have doubted
you, Brother. You were right. These people will welcome our visit. They
seem very cordial._"

"_Good, Sartan. Let us continue._"

One hundred yards further they were confronted by still another brace of
signs. They stopped once more.

                CITY LIMITS
             (Gambling allowed)

        never come due, 'cause the
      Good Lord takes a likin' to YOU!

     Where gloom and doom are outlawed
       and there's never any sadness.

    Where a smile lights up the midnight
      sky and gives off only gladness!

             (Gambling allowed)

The second sign was another in the shape of a horseshoe.


          (Gambling allowed)

Suddenly Toryl stopped and played with several switches and dials on the

"_What is wrong, Brother?_" asked the puzzled Sartan.

"_I receive no direct translation for the term 'gambling'._"

"_What is the closest term the machine gives?_"


Sartan laughed. "_Now it is you who fret, Toryl. According to the
signpost legends 'fraternizing' would seem to be accurate._"

       *       *       *       *       *

A steady rolling sound of passionless one-armed bandits drowned out all
other noise in Okie's Oasis Bar. As a result, Toryl and Sartan drew
little attention when they entered. Except for their blue-metallic space
suits they looked like and _were_ ordinary humans.

They proceeded rather timidly toward the bar. Okie, the proprietor, was
on duty readying the place for the night shift. Toryl held up his hand.
The crypterpreter had already informed him that oral conversation was
the manner of communication on the strange planet. Such conversation had
long ago been abandoned on the planet Capella, but learned men such as
Toryl and Sartan were familiar with how it was done, though when they
spoke they sometimes had to halt between syllables.

"How-dy!" Toryl flashed a wide grin at the barkeep.

"Just hold your horses there, mister!" was Okie's sharp reply. "You
ain't the only snake in this desert. There's four customers ahead of

Sartan transmitted an admonishing thought to his companion. "_Toryl, you
should have noticed that the man was busy. He has only two hands._"

"_Forgive me, Brother, I was blinded by my own excitement._"

The two Capellans waited and were soon attracted by the silver-handled
machines that seemed to have most of the customers fascinated.

Sartan wandered over to where a small crowd of men was gathered around a
single machine. A huge man, raw-boned and crimson-faced, wearing surplus
army suntans, was operating the machine.

The big man dropped a large coin into a slot. He gave the silver handle
a vicious snap. It made a discordant, bone-crushing sound. Three little
wheels, visible under glass, spun dizzily. Anxious, screwed-up faces
looked on as the first little wheel stopped. _Bell Fruit._

A collective gasp came from the small crowd. The second little wheel
stopped. _Bell Fruit._

Another gasp.

Sartan touched the arm of the man operating the gambling device. "I beg
your pardon, but could you please tell me--"

The big man wheeled around like a bear aroused from hibernation. "Hands
off, mister! You trying to jinx me?"

The third little wheel stopped. _Lemon._

The crowd groaned. The big man turned on Sartan again, a wild and
furious look in his eye. "You jinxed me! Damn you, I oughta' bust you
one right in the snout!!"

"My humble apol-o-gies, sir," the bewildered Sartan began.

"I'll give you your humble apologies right back with my fist," roared
the gambler.

Toryl quickly made his way through the small crowd which by now was
itching to witness a fight. "Ex-cuse me, sir, but my friend did not

"The hell he didn't!" The gambler fumed. "He was trying to jinx me, by
God! And I'm gonna teach him to keep his paws--"

"Okay, okay, you guys, break it up!!" It was Okie, massive and mean
looking, using his barrel belly to push his way through to the two
aliens and the unlucky gambler. "What's goin' on here, Smokey?" he
inquired of the gambler.

"Okie, I had a jackpot workin' when this dumb jerk here ups and grabs my

Toryl interrupted with, "My friend is sorry for what he did, sir."

Okie stabbed a cigar into his mouth. "Who _are_ you guys anyhow? Where'd
you dig up them crazy coveralls?"

"Sure a queer way to dress in this heat," spoke a voice from the crowd.

This was the moment of pride that Toryl and Sartan had looked forward
to. They both grinned confident grins. "We have come to you from
Capella," he said with some exultation.

Okie's face went blank. "Capella! Where the hell is that?"

"Sounds like one of them damn hick towns in California," said Smokey,
the gambler.

Toryl, somewhat deflated, but by no means defeated, hastened to
elucidate. "Capella is lo-cat-ed in the con-stell-a-tion which you call

"Anybody know what the hell he's talking about?" asked the annoyed

Toryl and Sartan exchanged troubled glances. Sartan took up the cudgel.
"Auriga is a constellation, a star cluster, sir. It is forty-two million
light years away."

"What in tarnation is a light year?" asked an old-timer in the group.

Another replied, "They must be from Alaska. They got light years up
there, sometimes stays light the whole confounded year 'round."

"That must be it," agreed Okie, "and that's why they're wearin' them
crazy suits." The saloonkeeper unloosed a grim laugh. "You can take them
arctic pajamas off now, boys. Weather's kinda warm in these parts!"

"Hey, fellas!" a voice shot out, "didya bring any Eskimo babes down with

       *       *       *       *       *

The crowd roared approval at the witticism.

Toryl transmitted a depressing thought to his companion. "_I fear they
do not believe us, Sartan._"

Sartan did not get the opportunity to answer immediately.

"Listen, you guys," Okie pounded his fat finger into Sartan's chest. "I
want you to behave yourselves, understand? Now that means lay off the
customers while they're at the games. You wanna gamble there is plenty
of machines available. I got a respectable place, I wanna keep it that
way!" He turned and addressed the other men. "All right, boys, fun's
over! No fight today! Drink up and gamble your money away. Let's get
back to the games."

       *       *       *       *       *

It was necessary for Toryl to use the crypterpreter to translate the
various signs along the bar. Okie saw the small cylindrical machine
sitting on the bar. His curiosity bested him. He gave it a more thorough
examination than a dog gives a fireplug.

Some of the signs read: "DOUBLE BOURBON--$2.10" "COOL GIN RICKEY--$1.25"
$1.50--DOMESTIC, $1.30."

"Cool gin rick-ey," said Toryl.

"Comin' right up," Okie mumbled, his attention still wrapped around the
crypterpreter. "Say, what is this gadget anyway?"

"It is a cryp-terp-reter," Toryl beamed with pride. "It en-ables us to
un-der-stand and speak your lan-guage."

"Aw, go on!" Okie managed a fainthearted grin, uncertain of whether his
leg was being pulled. "Come on now, tell me what it is."

"But I have just told you, sir."

The barkeep cursed under his breath. "Two gin rickeys, did you say?"


Okie brought the drinks.

Sartan smiled broadly. "Thank you ex-ceed-ing-ly."

"That'll be two-fifty."

Toryl raised his glass as though making a toast. "Two-fif-ty!" he

Okie caught his arm and brought the glass down.

"Two-fifty!" the barkeep said with grim insistence.

Sartan pursed his lips comprehendingly. He removed a large pentagonal
piece of metal from his pocket and gave it to Okie.

Okie took the piece between his fingers, examined it and frowned. "I
give up. What is it?"

Sartan had to glance at Toryl for an answer. Toryl threw a switch on the

"_Money_," Toryl silently advised him.

"Money," said Sartan to Okie.

"You guys hold on and don't drink up yet," growled the barkeep. He then
yelled in the direction of the blackjack table. "Hey, Nugget! Get on
over here, I need you!!"

A wiry little man with a full, unkempt beard, hustled over to the bar.
"Nugget McDermott at yer service, Okie! What's yer pleasure?" he asked
with a sunny smile.

"Take a look at this." Okie handed him the piece of metal.

The old prospector turned it over in his hands, bit it and then held it
in his palm as though to judge its weight. His expert opinion was, "It's
gold, Okie," and was uttered without a shred of modesty.

"Are you sure?"

The old-timer was highly insulted. "Am I sure!! Why you lop-eared,
sun-stroked jackass, of course I'm sure!!! Nugget McDermott is drawed to
gold like nails to a magnet! Why when this here town was nothin' but a
patch of cactus--"

"All right, all right," Okie waved him off, "don't get your gander up!
Go on back to the blackjack table and tell Sam to give you a drink on
the house."

"Much obliged, Okie, much obliged," said Nugget, doffing his hat and
trotting back to the blackjack table.

The barkeep's face was pure sunshine when he turned to the aliens again.
"Gentlemen, with this kind of a substitute you don't need money in my
place. Drink up!"

"Thank you ex-ceed-ing-ly," said Sartan.

Okie arbitrarily judged the gold piece to be worth ten dollars. "The
management invites you to try your luck, gentlemen. Go on give it a

Toryl and Sartan wore blank expressions as Okie slapped seven dollars
and fifty cents change on the bar--four silver dollars, four
half-dollars and six quarters.

"Don't be bashful, gentlemen. Okie's machines are friendly to one and
all," said the barkeep.

       *       *       *       *       *

Toryl removed the change and gave his companion two silver dollars, two
half-dollars and three quarters.

"_What is the purpose of the machines?_" thought Sartan as they
approached the one-armed bandits.

"_I suppose that is what the one called Okie wishes us to learn._"

"_Perhaps it is some type of registration machine._"

"_It is doubtful. The gentleman you disturbed has been at the same
machine since we arrived._"

Sartan gripped the handle of a vacant machine. "_Do you think it might
be a kind of intelligence test?_"

In lieu of an answer Toryl focused his attention on a small card, above
the machine, which gave the winning combinations.

"_There is that term again._"

"_What term?_"

"_Gambling._" Toryl pointed to a line on the card warning minors not to
gamble. A look of perplexity fell upon his face. "_I am no longer sure
the term has anything to do with fraternizing_," he observed mentally.

"_Let us find out._"

Sartan placed a quarter in the coin slot. The three little wheels went
spinning. Cherry. Lemon. Lemon.


Toryl and Sartan looked at each other, their faces blanker than ever.

"_Try it again._"

Sartan disposed of another quarter. They waited. Lemon. Plum. Plum.


Toryl inspected the machine from every angle, like a man on the outside
trying to figure a way in. "_Let me try it._"

He put a quarter in the slot.

Three lemons.

"_It isn't very interesting, is it?_" thought Sartan.

"_Why don't we try the larger pieces?_"

"_A splendid idea, Brother._"

The larger coins did not fit. Toryl proceeded to report this sad state
of affairs to Okie and was amazed when, for the eight large coins, Okie
rewarded him with twenty-four smaller ones. He went back to his
companion at the one-armed bandit.

They then dropped twenty consecutive quarters into the appropriately
named machine without getting so much as a single quarter in return.

"_It is puzzling, is it not, Brother?_"

"_Yes, Sartan. From all indications it would seem to be a machine
totally without purpose._"

"_It does consume money._"

"_But why would one build a machine whose sole purpose is to consume

Sartan gave it some hard thought. "_I don't know!_"

"_Remarkable!_" Toryl concluded. "_But nothing is done without a

"_Obviously we've found something that is._"

"_No, I do not believe that. Let me have the electro-analyzer._"

       *       *       *       *       *

The aliens were so engrossed in their problem as to be unaware that Okie
and two men at the bar were casting suspicious eyes on them.

Sartan fished around in his pocket and produced a small object in the
shape of an irregular triangle. Toryl took the electro-analyzer from
him, removed the cover and moved his finger around inside. He replaced
the cover and slapped the electro-analyzer against the side of the
one-armed bandit. When he took his hand away the small object stuck to
the machine like a leech.

Okie scratched his head and addressed one of the two men at the bar.
"What the hell you suppose they're doin', Sam? What's that gadget for?"

"Search me," replied Sam, a well dressed, stoop-shouldered gent, "but if
you want my opinion it doesn't look legal."

"Hey, Nugget!" yelled the barkeep.

Again the little old prospector hustled himself over to the bar.

"Nugget McDermott at your service! What'll it be, Okie?"

"Go on over and get the sheriff. Tell him there's two queer characters
here trying to jimmy one of my machines in broad daylight."

The old man's feet kicked up sawdust as he scampered out the door. Okie
kept his attention riveted to the two aliens.

Toryl was busy adjusting the electro-analyzer to the best possible

"_What if it does not respond to this machine?_" Sartan wanted to know.

"_I do not think the machine contains any type of metal with which we
are unfamiliar. We will have a reading in one minute._"

The aliens took a step backward and waited.

A sudden noise, like that of a television tube exploding, jolted
everyone in the room, including Toryl and Sartan. The blackjack table
emptied. Gamblers left their machines. A semi-circle of the curious
formed around the two aliens. Okie lit out from behind the bar and
elbowed his way through the crowd.

The aliens' concentration was unbroken by the attention they had
aroused. With all the single mindedness of religious fanatics they
continued to observe the strange mechanical device.

Okie was dumbfounded to find the machine still in one piece and doubly
dumbfounded to discover it was behaving in a most unconventional manner.
It was emitting a low steady gurgling sound and an occasional sputter or
burp. The legs of the machine seemed unsteady. Its body shifted back and
forth in herky-jerky motions like an old-fashioned washing machine. The
three little Bell Fruit wheels were spinning at the speed of an airplane
propellor. Okie thought they might never stop again.

"What the hell are you crazy galoots doing to my machine!" he bellowed.

Before the aliens could answer there was another explosive sound,
causing the crowd to jump back several steps. Quarters fell from the
mouth of the machine, slowly at first, then at an alarming rate. The
coins fell, bounced and rolled all over the floor. The crowd gulped with

"Holy catfish!" said one of the men, "how long since that blasted
thing's paid off?"

"Looks like this is the first time," said one of the others.

"You guys keep quiet!" yelled Okie.

The coins continued to fall for what seemed like a record time. The
crowd was spellbound. Okie watched in silent fury.

And the aliens were more confused than they had been when the machine
_wasn't_ paying off.

       *       *       *       *       *

The one-armed bandit finally coughed out its last quarter. The three
Bell Fruit wheels came to an abrupt halt, as though an inner spring had
snapped. The machine broke down. Certain observers later reported that
the poor thing actually _looked_ exhausted.

The sheriff burst in the door with Nugget McDermott close behind.

"Sheriff, I want you to arrest these two tinhorns!" cried Okie.

"Tinhorns??" Sartan's face was creased with bewilderment.

"What's wrong, Okie?" asked the sheriff.

"Take a look for yourself! These two bugged my machine and then broke it
down! Look at that money all over the floor!"

Toryl smiled. "We meant no harm, sir--"

"The hell you didn't mean no harm! You were out to rob me!"

"We were only ex-per-i-ment-ing--"

"There's their crooked experimenting right there!" said Okie, pointing a
finger at the deactivated one-armed bandit. "I want them locked up until
that machine's paid for!"

"All right," said the sheriff, "you two better come with me."

"But, sir," Sartan protested, "we merely wanted to know how the machine
functioned. You see, we are from Capella and--"

"Capella!" exclaimed the sheriff. "Where is that? I never heard of the

"Well, it is not a part of your Earth."

"Oh, well why didn't you say so before!" The sheriff winked at the
crowd. "You mean you boys are from out of this world?"

"That is correct," Sartan grinned proudly.

"Well, well! That makes a big difference!" The sheriff turned to the
crowd. "All right, boys, grab them and hustle them over to the jail

       *       *       *       *       *

A group of men slowly closed in on the two aliens.

Toryl and Sartan backed away toward the wall.

"_I believe they are angry, Brother_," thought Sartan.

"_But why?_" inquired Toryl.

"_I do not know. Do you suppose the machine represented some form of
religious deity?_"

"_Exceed-ing-ly possible_," Toryl answered.

As the men came closer Okie yelled, "Just get them two crackpots! I'll
plug the first man that touches that money!"

The men were diverted by Okie's warning. They didn't notice, until it
was almost too late, that the two strangers were halfway out the door.

"Get after them!!" the sheriff bellowed.

The aliens ran as though their lives were at stake, which was true,
following the same route they had taken into town.

       *       *       *       *       *

The crowd followed them as far as the edge of town. From there they
hurled rocks.

Toryl and Sartan continued to run at breakneck speed, praying they would
reach the safety of the ship. Once they looked behind them and saw that
the crowd of angry men had given up the chase.

Halfway back to their ship they passed a sign, though they didn't bother
to stop and read it.

          JUBILATION, U.S.A.!!

    The doggondest, cheeriest little
    town in America! Come back soon!!


Transcriber's Note

This etext was produced from _Amazing Science Fiction Stories_ March
1959. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S.
copyright on this publication was renewed. Minor spelling and
typographical errors have been corrected without note.

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