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´╗┐Title: Hoiman and the Solar Circuit
Author: Dewey, Gordon
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 "Hoiman and the Solar Circuit" ***

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                         Transcriber's Note:

    This etext was produced from If Worlds of Science Fiction July 1952.
    Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S.
    copyright on this publication was renewed.


                     Hoiman and the Solar Circuit


                           By Gordon Dewey


     _They lifted Hoiman's scratch, thus causing him to lose much
      smoosh. So he grabbed his bum and hit the high orbit._

       *       *       *       *       *



Pay day! I scrawled my Larry Maloney across the back of the check and
handed it to Nick, the bartender. "Leave me something to operate on,"
I told him.

Nick turned it over. "Still with the _News_?"

The question was rhetorical. I let it pass without swinging at it. I
was mentally estimating the total of the pile of tabs Nick pulled out
of the cash register, like a fighter on percentage trying to count the
house. I didn't like the figure it gave me.

Nick added them up, then added them again before he pulled some bills
out of the money drawer and said, "Here's thirty skins. Your rent
due?"

"This'll cover it. I'll do my drinking here."

I went over to a booth and sat down. I lit a cigarette. I smoked. And
waited. Presently Sherry, tall, dark and delicious, decided I was
making like a customer, and strolled over. "Would you like a menu, Mr.
Maloney?" she trilled.

"Larry to you," I reminded her. "No menu. Bring me a steak. Big.
Thick. Rare. And a plate of french fries. No salad. Bread and butter.
Coffee."

She managed at last to pull her writing hand out of mine, and I had to
repeat the order. Unless it could be turned into money, Sherry's
memory was limited strictly to the present instant.

She put in the order, then brought me a set-up. I let my eyes go over
her, real careful, for maybe the thousandth time. No doubt of it--the
lassie had a classy chassis. If she just wouldn't yak so damn much.

[Illustration: _It looked as though Hoiman's Bum would be remembered
on Mars._]

"Did you see the matches last night?" She didn't wait for my answer,
just went on with the yat-a-ta. "I spent the whole evening just glued
to my television set. I was simply enthralled. When the Horrible
Hungarian got the Flying Hackensack on--"

"Standing Hackenschmidt, Sherry!"

"--poor little Billie McElroy I wanted to--to scratch his eyes out."

I pointed out that McElroy weighed in at two forty-one and had gone on
to win the match. Sherry never heard me.

"And the way the Weeping Greek kept hitting the other fellow--the
announcer said he was throwing Judo cutlets."

"_Cuts_, not cutlets."

"But aren't Judo cutlets illegitimate?" The barest hint of a puzzled
frown tugged at her flawless brows as she poured ice water into my
glass.

"The word," I repeated, "is _cuts_. And the blow is not illegal." I
gave my eyes another treat. What a chassis. And _what_ a mind.
"Anything these days, so long as you don't kill your opponent, is
legal in wrestling."

Suddenly we had company: a little man who made scarcely a sound as he
slid into my booth and sat facing me. "Rassling, yet," he said, in
bitter tones. "What a woid. Dun't be saying it." He helped himself to
a cigarette from my pack lying on the table, and put the pack in his
pocket. He lit the cigarette, using my lighter, which he held a moment
longer than necessary before replacing it--regretfully--on the table.

He inhaled deeply. "Rassling!" he repeated. "Leave us not discuss it."

       *       *       *       *       *

He was thin, haggard, unkempt, and his brown suit--in which the chalk
stripes were beginning to blend with the background--was threadbare.
He needed a shave, and his fingernails were dirty. He was vaguely
familiar. The beady little eyes flicked up at me, and all uncertainty
dissolved.

"Oh, no!" I said. "Not you. Not--"

He exhaled a great cloud of smoke. "Hoiman Katz," he said, in dejected
tones. "It is me, again. The same as like always, only not so better."
He sighed.

Sherry's tongue had been shifting from one foot to the other, waiting
for an opening. "Are you a wrestler, Mr. Katz?" she asked brightly.

Hoiman half rose from his seat, and the cigarette dropped from his lax
mouth. Then he slumped down again, spread his hands, shrugged, and
said, "Now I esk you!"

Sherry said, "I guess not." Then, "Shall I bring you something?" Her
eyes were on me as she asked. She hadn't worked on Vine Street for six
years without learning the ropes--about people at least.

I nodded.

Katz was waiting for the nod. He licked his lips. "I'll have a--"

"Planet Punch?"

"No. I'll have a--"

"Solar Sling? Martian Mule?"

Hoiman's eyes squinted shut, and he winced eloquently. "Martian!" he
groaned. "With rassling, too! Bring me a bottle of beer. Two bottles!"
After a moment he peered cautiously through slitted lids. "Is she
gone?" he whispered. "Such woids. Rassling. Martian. Better I should
have stood in Hollywood."

I laughed. "What's the matter with wrestling, Hoiman? Last I heard you
were managing a good boy--what was his name?"

"Killer Coogan? That bum!"

I had to do some thinking back. "Yeah," I said, "that's the boy.
Started wrestling back in the fifties. Good crowd pleaser. Took the
Junior Heavyweight Championship from Brickbuster Bates. Had a trick
hold he called the pretzel bend--hard to apply, but good for a
submission every time when he clamped it on. Right?"

"Okay, so he won some bouts with it. But that was twenty-five years
ago. He's slower, can't use that holt any more. We ain't had no main
events for a long time, and my bum is a big eater, see?"

"So?"

"So Hoiman Katz is not sleeping yet at the switch. He's got it up
here." A grimy forefinger tapped his wrinkled brow. "I says, Hoiman,
if we don't get it here, we gotta go where we _can_ get it."

Sherry came back with Hoiman's two bottles of beer, and my steak and
french fries. The steak was a dream, and the french fries were a
crisp, rich golden brown that started my mouth watering.

Sherry wanted to talk. I waved her down, and she went away pouting. If
there was a story in Hoiman I wanted to get it without interference.

He was pouring a second glass of beer. His beady eyes swivelled up to
mine, then quickly away. "You want I should tell you about my bum?"

I mumbled something through a mouthful of good juicy steak.

Hoiman sighed, reminiscently, and a grimy paw swooped into my french
fries. I moved them to the other side of my steak platter.

We woiked all up and down the Coast, (Hoiman said). My bum took all
comers. Slasher Slade had his abominal stretch. Crusher Kane had his
rolling rocking horse split; Manslaughter Murphy had his cobra
holt--but none of those guys had anything like my Bum's pretzel bend.
He trun 'em all, and they stayed trun.

That was fine. All through the fifties, and the sixties we made plenty
scratch. Maybe it slowed down, but we was eating regular. In the
seventies my bum was slowing up. I shoulda seen it when he started
missing his holt. That leaves him wide open, see? And twict the other
bum moiders him.

That was recent--they was just putting in regular passenger service on
the space lines, so you could buy tickets to the Moon, or Venus or
Mars. Depended on whether you was ducking a bill or some broad.

By this time my bum is getting pinned to the mat too regular, and
we're slipping out of the big dough. I counts up our lettuce one day,
and I says to my bum, I says, Ray, I says, you and me are going to the
Moon.

So what if they didn't have a rassling circuit there yet, I tell him.
Just leave it to your uncle Hoiman. We'll make our own circuit.

I figured that the ribbon clerks wouldn't be taking space rides for
awhile, and if we went to the Moon we'd find some bums there who could
give my bum a good bout, but not fast enough to toss him.

So we went there.


Hoiman's eyes, looking into the past, had lost their beadiness. He'd
shifted his third glass of beer to his right hand, and his left,
seemingly of its own volition, had found my plate of french fries. The
pile had dwindled by half, and tell-tale potato crumbs were lodged in
the whiskers on Hoiman's unshaven chin. Neither beer nor potatoes in
his mouth seemed to matter--he went right on talking at the same rate.


It takes me two weeks, (Hoiman continued), to ballyhoo up a bout, line
up another bum, fix up the ring and hall and everything. We was down
to our last lettuce that night. I gets my bum by the ear, and I tells
him, I says, make it a good show. But don't take no chances--this is
winner take all, and we better not lose. Don't use your pretzel bend
unlessen you have to.

This bum we rassle was a big miner, see?--hard as the rocks he juggles
around in the daytime. He was stronger'n my bum, but he don't know
nothing about rassling. My bum tried a step-over toehold on him, but
he knows how to kick. My bum goes through the ropes. He don't try that
no more.

They rassle around, and eight minutes later my bum takes first fall
with a body press after flattening the miner with a hard knee lift. I
told my bum to let him take the second fall, which he does. The big
miner gets a head scissors on him and like to moiders him before he
can submit.

Ray isn't liking it, and he takes the third one quick with a abominal
stretch, which surprises the big guy and takes all the fight outa him.
He didn't know they was holts like that, and he passes the word around
that my bum has plenty moxie. So we get only one more bout on the
Moon--but outa the two we get enough scratch to take us to Venus.


Hoiman paused, trying hard to pour more beer out of the empty second
bottle. He licked his lips like they were real dry, and his beady eyes
flicked a glance at me that came and went as fast as the tip of a
swinging rapier. I signalled Sherry to bring two more bottles of beer.
Hoiman relaxed, sighed, gazing almost affectionately at the new crop
of french fries which had appeared suddenly in his clutching fist.

Sherry, still pouting, came with the beer, and ten seconds later
Hoiman was talking again.

We did okay on Venus, (he said). Before long I have a regular little
circuit woiked up in the three spaceports, and they is plenty bums
there what think they can rassle. Some of them can--my bum has to use
his pretzel bend oftener and oftener. He's lucky, and he don't slip
none clamping it on--at first.

I have ta tell you about them Venusians. Them dustlanders, I mean.
They got big flat wide feet for padding through the dust, and their
noses are like a big spongy thing all over their puss, to filter the
dust out. So they got no expression on their pans. A guy like me,
which has got a real expressive face, could get the willies just
looking at them. And their eyes--round and flat, big as silver
dollars.

Them dustlanders was nuts about rassling. They flock to the rassling
shows and buy good seats. They don't do no hollering and waving like
people do. Just sit there, staring out of them big flat eyes and
making funny _chuffing_ noises at each other when some bum would get a
good hold on the other.

My bum didn't pay them no never mind at foist, but one day he tells me
he keeps feeling them eyes on him while he's rasslin'. I give him the
old razz--but that night he tries for his pretzel bend, and misses.
The other bum is young and fast, and my bum gets trun, but good!

So this happens a few more times, and my bum says we gotta move on--he
can't rassle no more with them dustlanders staring at him and
_chuffing_ about him.

Some of them ear benders on Venus are studying up on the side, anyhow,
and the outlook for my bum ain't so good no more nohow. So we go to
Mars.


I signalled Sherry for my coffee, as Hoiman ground to a stop while he
refilled his glass. I swear my eyes weren't away from the table for
more than a half second, but in that moment all the french fries left
my plate. I yielded to Fate--it wasn't meant to be that I eat french
fries this pay day.


Things are primitive like on Mars, (Hoiman was saying), on accounta
the troubles they have with power there. We rassled under some funny
set-ups, but that's okay with me as long as my bum tosses his man.

This time they ain't none of them screwy Venusians to put the whammy
on him, and he's doing okay. Until--I gotta admit it--I get deluges of
grandeur, or something.

I gotta tell ya about them Martians. They are about seven feet tall,
not too heavy, but they got plenty moxie. And an extra pair of arms,
so I get to thinking they oughta be terrific in the ring. Just so they
ain't _too_ terrific.

I ask my bum, I says to him, I says, could he, does he think, trun one
of them Martians? He says iffen he has to he'll use his pretzel bend,
and they ain't no Martian on six legs, or eight, what won't say uncle.

So I check with the Colony Administrator, and he says it's okay for a
match perviding we don't interfere with any of their beliefs or
customs or conventions. I ast him what were they, and he told me the
Martians never talked about them, so we'd just have to be careful.

What the hell, I says to my bum. A bout's a bout. So I start
promoting. First I find out do them Martians have a bum what wants to
rassle my bum, winner take all--which is the way we like to rassle,
when I know my bum can trun the other bum. Natch.

I don't mean we talk to the Martians--I don't savvy them squeaks they
use on each other. We hire an interpreter--we have to take his word
for it that everything is woiking out.

So the night of the match comes around and them Martians insist on
having it in their own town, Meekweek it sounds like, near as I can
say it in people talk. Remember I told you it was primitive? You never
seen nothing like this. They don't live with people by the way. They
live off by theirselves in their own town.

The ring and mat and ropes are okay--not regulation, but nothing to
squawk about. Them lights was what get me. The Martians got no power,
so they make a deal with some insecks. Cross my heart--'sa fack. You
never see such insecks. Round, big as a dinner plate, flat on top,
rounded off on the bottom. They stay up in the air by spinning like a
wheel--just like them flying saucers the Rigellians was spying on us
in the fifties. You wouldn't remember about that.

At night the bottom part of them insecks lights up like a big electric
bulb, almost as bright, too. They was enough of them _zinging_ around
over the ring to make it look like it was floodlighted. My bum says
they remind him of them dish-eyed Venusians, but I quick change the
subjeck. That shoulda tipped me off--shoulda give me a freemonition
that the party was gonna get rough. If I'da known how rough, we'da
stood in town.

The Martian bum is a big mug, and those four arms of his look mighty
plural. I quick tells my bum, I says to him, I says, watch out for arm
locks and leg strangles. If that overgrowed spider ever gets one on
you he'll double keylock it!

       *       *       *       *       *

The two bums go in the ring, and get their instructions. Mostly the
ref makes motions. The Martian nods his head like he understands fine.
When the ref is telling them about trunnin' each other outen the ring,
the Martian makes a motion like can he trun his man up in the rafters?

The ref shakes his head no, and that seems to satisfy the Martian. The
timekeeper blows a whistle, and things start to moving. That Martian
Mangler puts down his two middle limbs, uses them like legs, and is
across the ring and swarming all over my bum while he is still taking
his foist step.

Before you know it the ref is counting one, two, three, and my bum is
trun for the foist fall. The Martian is using his middle limbs like
arms, and he has a hammerlock and an arm strangle both on my bum--and
both of them keylocked!

The ref gets them untangled, and I quick tell my bum we ain't hurt
until we get trun twict. So I tell him how to get that next fall--to
keep away from them four arms and keep circling until he gets a chance
to clamp on the pretzel bend.

The whistle blows, and this time my bum uses my head. When the Martian
Mangler gallops over to his corner, my bum has went through the ropes
and quick runs around on the apron to the other side and comes at the
Martian from behind before the goof knows what's happening.

He lets the Martian have a rabbit punch, then a forearm smash, then a
knee to his stomach. The Martian leans over, kinda sick, maybe, and
gets a knee lift to the smoosh. This softens him up good, and my bum
clamps the pretzel bend on him. That Martian squirms like an octopus,
with arms and legs flying in all directions. And you coulda knocked me
over with a subpoena when he got out of it!

Your guess is as good as mine, how he done it. But my bum is moving
fast, and he gives him some more knee lifts and a drop kick or two,
and then a hair mare, and he falls on him for a body press and gets
the count.

Each bum has got a fall. You shoulda heard them Martians there
squeaking this time--ten times as loud as when their bum won the foist
fall. But they had no squawks. These flying chandeliers they had, they
kinda bunched up to follow the action, and the light was good so the
ref couldn't make no mistake about it.

That Martian squirming out of the pretzel bend don't look so good, so
I tell my bum not to use it for the thoid fall. I tell him to give the
Martian some more of them knee lifts--he don't get along with them at
all. I tell him to folly that up with a airplane spin and a body slam.

My bum follys instructions to the alphabet, and that is just what
happens. He bangs that Martian around with elbow smashes and knee
lifts till he don't know is he on one leg or six. Then he goes in fast
and grabs him by a coupla legs and arms, holds him up in the air, and
spins him like a pinwheel.

Right away I knowed something was in the air besides that Martian
Mangler. Oi! Did things happen all to onct!

My bum slams the Martian and falls on him for the count, and wins the
thoid fall and the match. That part is okay. But while the Martian is
still up in the air I notice that all the squeaking from the Martians
has stopped all of a sudden.

So from the Martians we are getting nothing but silence, strictly
wholesale. I think maybe that's natural when their bum gets trun.

And then--plop! plop! plop!--and them flying light bulbs all drop down
flat on the mat and lay there just like the Martian bum, until they
isn't enough light in the house to see to strike a match. And then the
squeaking starts again, like a million hungry rats, and I can just
barely see them Martians starting for the ring.

I gets my bum by the arm and tells him something tells me we better
blow the joint. We blow, fast. Them Martians is mad about something
which I ain't had time to figure out, yet. My bum steps on one of them
animated light fixtures when he gets out of the ring and squashes it.
A puddle of light squirts out, and natch he steps in it. We are
scramming through that crowd like mad, and we are in the clear. But we
hear them squeaks behind us for a long time. They are follyin' the
glowing footprints my bum is leaving to point the way.


He emptied the last bottle of beer, holding it upended for a long time
waiting for the final laggard drop to detach itself. He stalled over
his drink, waiting for me to ask him what happened, so I did. He put
on his most wounded expression, and I knew then that he'd suffered a
mortal blow--to his purse.


Yeah, we got away, I made my bum trun away his flashy shoes so they
couldn't track us by them. We walked all the way back to Neopolis, the
people city. All kinds of plain and fancy rumors beat us there, so the
Colony Cops put us in protective custody until they got the straight
story.

Nobody ever saw another Martian. It seems that they got some trick
notions about theirselves. They are proud because they can walk on the
ground and don't have to fly, so they got a hearty contemp for things
that fly, like them insecks which they used for house lights.

Now, them insecks is dopes too and would give anything if they could
walk like the Martians. And the Martians know the insecks can think a
little, and it makes them feel good to have the insecks looking up to
them. Lord knows nobody else does.

So when my bum lifted their bum up in the air and spun him around like
a pinwheel it was a big insult to them. They took it that my bum was
as much as telling them that he didn't think they was any better than
them insecks flying around over the ring. And the insecks took it as a
invite to come down and try the Martians racket so that's why they all
flop into the ring and the lights go out. They was trying to walk.

That's more than the Martians can take. They swarm into the ring and
kill all the insecks. They'da killed us too, but I got smart brains
and we didn't hang around asking for it.

And now they won't have nothing to do with no people from Earth on
account of they have lost so much smoosh, the way they look at it.

We got no take from that bout. And the Colony Administrator lifts all
our scratch--said we'd gummed up Martian trade and he'da trun us in
the clink too only he didn't want to see no more of us. He wouldn'ta
even give us fare back to Earth except he said he didn't want us
anywhere on Mars.


"So that," the little promoter concluded sadly, "is why I don't like
Mars and rasslin' and Martian Mules and people who talk about such
things." His beady eyes flicked a baleful glance at Sherry, who
hovered nearby on the chance that he'd stop talking and give her an
inning.

Hoiman stood up, carefully shook the bottles to be sure that they were
empty, extracted a cigarette from the pack he'd stuck into his pocket,
and used my lighter again. He hefted it carefully, reluctantly putting
it back on the table. Then his little black eyes swivelled to the last
piece of potato on my plate--the piece he'd spared in previous raids.

"What's the matter with them fries?" he asked.

It disappeared into his mouth and he went away, munching, a dingy
little man padding along on silent, predatory feet.

He'd scarcely slipped out through the door when Sherry moved in.

"Is he really a wrestler, Larry?" she asked breathlessly.

"Him?" Even Sherry, vintage Vine Streeter that she was, should have
got the pitch. "The only thing," I told her solemnly, "that Hoiman
ever got a hammerlock on was a dollar bill!"

But Sherry wasn't listening, "Don't you just _love_ wrestling?"

I let my eyes have a treat, taking their time as they went over that
classy chassis. Then I said it. Fervently.

"Any time, Sherry! Any time."

THE END

       *       *       *       *       *





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