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´╗┐Title: Rough Translation
Author: Janis, Jean M.
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 "Rough Translation" ***

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



                         Transcriber's Note:

    This etext was produced from Galaxy Science Fiction December 1954.
    Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S.
    copyright on this publication was renewed.


                          Rough Translation


                           By JEAN M. JANIS


                        Illustrated by Hunter


     Don't be ashamed if you can't blikkel any more. It's because
     you couldn't help framishing.

       *       *       *       *       *



"Shurgub," said the tape recorder. "Just like I told you before, Dr.
Blair, it's krandoor, so don't expect to vrillipax, because they just
won't stand for any. They'd sooner framish."

"Framish?" Jonathan heard his own voice played back by the recorder,
tinny and slightly nasal. "What is that, Mr. Easton?"

"_You_ know. Like when you guttip. Carooms get awfully bevvergrit.
Why, I saw one actually--"

"Let's go back a little, shall we?" Jonathan suggested. "What does
shurgub mean?"

There was a pause while the machine hummed and the recorder tape
whirred. Jonathan remembered the look on Easton's face when he had
asked him that. Easton had pulled away slightly, mouth open, eyes
hurt.

"Why--why, I _told_ you!" he had shouted. "Weeks ago! What's the
matter? Don't you blikkel English?"

Jonathan Blair reached out and snapped the switch on the machine.
Putting his head in his hands, he stared down at the top of his desk.

You learned Navajo in six months, he reminded himself fiercely.

You are a highly skilled linguist. What's the matter? Don't you
blikkel English?

       *       *       *       *       *

He groaned and started searching through his briefcase for the reports
from Psych. Easton must be insane. He must! Ramirez says it's no
language. Stoughton says it's no language. And _I_, Jonathan thought
savagely, say it's no language.

But--

Margery tiptoed into the study with a tray.

"But Psych," he continued aloud to her, "Psych says it _must_ be a
language because, they say, Easton is _not_ insane!"

"Oh, dear," sighed Margery, blinking her pale blue eyes. "That again?"
She set his coffee on the desk in front of him. "Poor Jonathan. Why
doesn't the Institute give up?"

"Because they can't." He reached for the cup and sat glaring at the
steaming coffee.

"Well," said his wife, settling into the leather chair beside him,
"_I_ certainly would. My goodness, it's been over a month now since he
came back, and you haven't learned a thing from him!"

"Oh, we've learned some. And this morning, for the first time, Easton
himself began to seem puzzled by a few of the things he was saying.
He's beginning to use terms we can understand. He's coming around. And
if I could only find some clue--some sort of--"

Margery snorted. "It's just plain foolish! I knew the Institute was
asking for trouble when they sent the _Rhinestead_ off. How do they
know Easton ever got to Mars, anyway? Maybe he did away with those
other men, cruised around, and then came back to Earth with this
made-up story just so he could seem to be a hero and--"

"That's nonsense!"

"Why?" she demanded stubbornly. "Why is it?"

"Because the _Rhinestead_ was tracked, for one thing, on both flights,
to and from Mars. Moonbase has an indisputable record of it. And
besides, the instruments on the ship itself show--" He found the
report he had been searching for. "Oh, never mind."

"All right," she said defiantly. "Maybe he did get to Mars. Maybe he
did away with the crew after he got there. He knew the ship was built
so that one man could handle it in an emergency. Maybe he--"

"Look," said Jonathan patiently. "He didn't do anything of the sort.
Easton has been checked so thoroughly that it's impossible to assume
anything except, (a) he is sane, (b) he reached Mars and made contact
with the Martians, (c) this linguistic barrier is a result of that
contact."

       *       *       *       *       *

Margery shook her head, sucking in her breath. "When I think of all
those fine young men," she murmured. "Heaven only knows what happened
to them!"

"You," Jonathan accused, "have been reading that
columnist--what's-his-name? The one that's been writing such claptrap
ever since Easton brought the _Rhinestead_ back alone."

"Cuddlehorn," said his wife. "Roger Cuddlehorn, and it's not
claptrap."

"The other members of the crew are all alive, all--"

"I suppose Easton told you that?" she interrupted.

"Yes, he did."

"Using double-talk, of course," said his wife triumphantly. At the
look on Jonathan's face, she stood up in guilty haste. "All right,
I'll go!" She blew him a kiss from the door. "Richie and I are having
lunch at one. Okay? Or would you rather have a tray in here?"

"Tray," he said, turning back to his desk and his coffee. "No, on
second thought, call me when lunch is ready. I'll need a break."

He was barely conscious of the closing of the door as Margery left the
room. Naturally he didn't take her remarks seriously, but--

He opened the folder of pictures and studied them again, along with
the interpretations by Psych, Stoughton, Ramirez and himself.

Easton had drawn the little stick figures on the first day of his
return. The interpretations all checked--and they had been done
independently, too. There it is, thought Jonathan. Easton lands the
_Rhinestead_. He and the others meet the Martians. They are impressed
by the Martians. The others stay on Mars. Easton returns to Earth,
bearing a message.

Question: What is the message?

Teeth set, Jonathan put away the pictures and went back to the tape on
the recorder. "Yes," said his own voice, in answer to Easton's
outburst. "I do--er--blikkel English. But tell me, Mr. Easton, do you
understand me?"

"Under-stand?" The man seemed to have difficulty forming the word.
"You mean--" Pause. "Dr. Blair, I murv you. Is that it?"

"Murv," repeated Jonathan. "All right, you murv me. Do you murv this?
I do not always murv what you say."

A laugh. "Of course not. How could you?" Suppressed groan. "Carooms,"
Easton had murmured, almost inaudibly. "Just when I almost murv, the
kwakut goes freeble."

Jonathan flipped the switch on the machine. "Murv" he wrote on his
pad of paper. He added "Blikkel," "Carooms" and "Freeble." He stared
at the list. He should understand, he thought. At times it seemed as
if he did and then, in the next instant, he was lost again, and Easton
was angry, and they had to start all over again.

       *       *       *       *       *

Sighing, he took out more papers, notes from previous sessions, both
with himself and with other linguists. The difficulty of reaching
Easton was unlike anything he had ever before tackled. The six months
of Navajo had been rough going, but he had done it, and done it well
enough to earn the praise of Old Comas, his informant. Surely, he
thought, after mastering a language like that, one in which the
student must not only learn to imitate difficult sounds, but also
learn a whole new pattern of thought--

Pattern of thought. Jonathan sat very still, as though movement would
send the fleeting clue back into the corner from which his mind had
glimpsed it.

A whole new frame of reference. Suppose, he toyed with the thought,
suppose the Martian language, whatever it was, was structured along
the lines of Navajo, involving clearly defined categories which did
not exist in English.

"Murv," he said aloud. "I murv a lesson, but I blikkel a language."

Eagerly, Jonathan reached again for the switch. Categories clearly
defined, yes! But the categories of the Martian language were not
those of the concrete or the particular, like the Navajo. They were of
the abstract. Where one word "understand" would do in English, the
Martian used two--

Good Lord, he realized, they might use hundreds! They might--

Jonathan turned on the machine, sat back and made notes, letting the
recorder run uninterrupted. He made his notes, this time, on the
feelings he received from the words Easton used. When the first tape
was done, he put on the second.

Margery tapped at the door just as the third tape was ending. "In a
minute," he called, scribbling furiously. He turned off the machine,
put out his cigarette and went to lunch, feeling better than he had in
weeks.

Richie was at the kitchen sink, washing his hands.

"And next time," Margery was saying, "you wash up before you sit
down."

Richie blinked and watched Jonathan seat himself. "Daddy didn't wash
his hands," he said.

Margery fixed the six-year-old with a stern eye. "Richard, don't be
rude."

[Illustration]

"Well, he didn't." Richie sat down and reached for his glass of milk.

"Daddy probably washed before he came in," said Margery. She took the
cover off a tureen, ladled soup into bowls and passed sandwiches,
pretending not to see the ink-stained hand Jonathan was hiding in his
lap.

Jonathan, elated by the promise of success, ate three or four
sandwiches, had two bowls of soup and finally sat back while Margery
went to get coffee.

Richie slid part way off his chair, remembered, and slid back on
again. "Kin I go?" he asked.

"Please may I be excused," corrected his father.

       *       *       *       *       *

Richie repeated, received a nod and ran out of the dinette and through
the kitchen, grabbing a handful of cookies on the way. The screen door
banged behind him as he raced into the backyard.

"Richie!" Margery started after him, eyes ablaze. Then she stopped and
came back to the table with the coffee. "That boy! How long does it
take before they get to be civilized?" Jonathan laughed. "Oh, sure,"
she went on, sitting down opposite him. "It's funny to you. But if you
were here all day long--" She stirred sugar into her cup. "We should
have sent him to camp, even if it would have wrecked the budget!"

"Oh? Is it that bad?"

Margery shuddered. "Sometimes he's a perfect angel, and then--It's
unbelievable, the things that child can think of! Sometimes I'm
convinced children are another species altogether! Why, only this
morning--"

"Well," Jonathan broke in, "next summer he goes to camp." He stood up
and stretched.

Margery said wistfully, "I suppose you want to get back to work."

"Ummmm." Jonathan leaned over and kissed her briefly. "I've got a new
line of attack," he said, picking up his coffee. He patted his wife's
shoulder. "If things work out well, we might get away on that vacation
sooner than we thought."

"Really?" she asked, brightening.

"Really." He left the table and went back to his den.

Putting the next tape on the machine, he settled down to his job. Time
passed and finally there were no more tapes to listen to.

He stacked his notes and began making lists, checking through the
sheets of paper for repetitions of words Easton had used, listing the
various connotations which had occurred to Jonathan while he had
listened to the tapes.

As he worked, he was struck by the similarity of the words he was
recording to the occasional bits of double-talk he had heard used by
comedians in theaters and on the air, and he allowed his mind to
wander a bit, exploring the possibilities.

Was Martian actually such a close relative to English? Or had the
Martians learned English from Easton, and had Easton then formed a
sort of pidgin-English-Martian of his own?

Jonathan found it difficult to believe in the coincidence of the two
languages being alike, unless--

He laughed. Unless, of course, Earthmen were descended from Martians,
or vice versa. Oh, well, not my problem, he thought jauntily.

       *       *       *       *       *

He stared at the list before him and then he started to swear, softly
at first, then louder. But no matter how loudly he swore, the list
remained undeniably and obstinately the same:

Freeble--Displeasure (Tape 3)

Freeble--Elation (Tape 4)

Freeble--Grief (Tape 5)

"How," he asked the empty room, "can a word mean grief and elation at
the same time?"

Jonathan sat for a few moments in silence, thinking back to the start
of the sessions with Easton. Ramirez and Stoughton had both agreed
with him that Easton's speech was phonemically identical to English.
Jonathan's trained ear remembered the pronunciation of "Freeble" in
the three different connotations and he forced himself to admit it was
the same on all three tapes in question.

Stuck again, he thought gloomily.

Good-by, vacation!

He lit a cigarette and stared at the ceiling. It was like saying the
word "die" meant something happy and something sad at one and the
same, like saying--

Jonathan pursed his lips. Yes, it could be. If someone were in
terrible pain, death, while a thing of sorrow, could also mean release
from suffering and so become a thing of joy. Or it could mean sorrow
to one person and relief to another. In that case, what he was dealing
with here was not only--

The crash of the ball, as it sailed through the window behind his
desk, lifted Jonathan right from his chair. Furious, his elusive clue
shattered as surely as the pane of glass, he strode to the window.

"Richie!"

His son, almost hidden behind the lilac bush, did not answer.

"I see you!" Jonathan bellowed. "Come here!"

The bush stirred slightly and Richie peeped through the leaves. "Did
you call me, Daddy?" he asked politely.

Jonathan clamped his lips shut and pointed to the den. Richie tried a
smile as he sidled around the bush, around his father, and into the
house.

"My," he marveled, looking at the broken glass on the floor inside.
"My goodness!" He sat down in the leather chair to which Jonathan
motioned.

"Richie," said his father, when he could trust his voice again, "how
did it happen?"

His son's thin legs, brown and wiry, stuck out straight from the
depths of the chair. There was a long scratch on one calf and numerous
black-and-blue spots around both knees.

"I dunno," said Richie. He blinked his eyes, deeper blue than
Margery's, and reached up one hand to push away the mass of blond hair
tumbling over his forehead. He was obviously trying hard to pretend he
wasn't in the room at all.

       *       *       *       *       *

Jonathan said, "Now, son, that is not a good answer. What were you
doing when the ball went through the window?"

"Watching," said Richie truthfully.

"How did it _go_ through the window?"

"Real fast."

Jonathan found his teeth were clamped. No wonder he couldn't decode
Easton's speech--he couldn't even talk with his own son!

"I mean," he explained, his patience wavering, "you threw the ball so
that it broke the window, didn't you?"

"I didn't mean it to," said Richie.

"All right. That's what I wanted to know." He started on a lecture
about respect for other people's property, while Richie sat and looked
blankly respectful. "And so," he heard himself conclude, "I hope we'll
be more careful in the future."

"Yes," said Richie.

A vague memory came to Jonathan and he sat and studied his son,
remembering him when he was younger and first starting to talk. He
recalled the time Richie, age three, had come bustling up to him.
"Vransh!" the child had pleaded, tugging at his father's hand.
Jonathan had gone outside with him to see a baby bird which had fallen
from its nest. "Vransh!" Richie had crowed, exhibiting his find.
"Vransh!"

"Do I get my spanking now?" asked Richie from the chair. His eyes
were wide and watchful.

Jonathan tore his mind from still another recollection: the old joke
about the man and woman who adopted a day-old French infant and then
studied French so they would be able to understand their child when he
began to talk. Maybe, thought Jonathan, it's no joke. Maybe there _is_
a language--

"Spanking?" he repeated absentmindedly. He took a fresh pencil and pad
of paper. "How would you like to help with something, Richie?"

The blue eyes watched carefully. "Before you spank me or after?"

"No spanking." Jonathan glanced at the Easton notes, vaguely aware
that Richie had suddenly relaxed. "What I'm going to do," he went on,
"is say some words. It'll be a kind of game. I'll say a word and then
you say a word. You say the first word you think after you hear my
word. Okay?" He cleared his throat. "Okay! The first word is--house."

"_My_ house."

"Bird," said Jonathan.

"Uh--tree." Richie scratched his nose and stifled a yawn.

       *       *       *       *       *

Disappointed, Jonathan reminded himself that Richie at six could not
be expected to remember something he had said when he was three.
"Dog."

"Biffy." Richie sat up straight. "Daddy, did you know Biffy had
puppies? Steve's mother showed me. Biffy had four puppies, Daddy.
_Four_!"

Jonathan nodded. He supposed Richie's next statement would be an
appeal to go next door and negotiate for one of the pups, and he
hurried on with, "Carooms."

"Friends," said Richie, eyes still shining. "Daddy, do you suppose we
could have a pup--" He broke off at the look on Jonathan's face.
"Huh?"

"Friends," repeated Jonathan, writing the word slowly and unsteadily.
"Uh--vacation."

"Beach," said Richie cautiously, still looking scared.

Jonathan went on with more familiar terms and Richie slowly relaxed
again in the big chair. From somewhere in the back of his mind,
Jonathan heard Margery say, "Sometimes I think they're a different
species altogether." He kept his voice low and casual, uncertain of
what he was thinking, but aware of the fact that Richie was hiding
something. The little mantel clock ticked drowsily, and Richie began
to look sleepy and bored as they went through things like "car" and
"school" and "book." Then--

"Friend," said Jonathan.

"Allavarg," yawned Richie. "No!" He snapped to, alert and wary. "I
mean _Steve_."

His father looked up sharply. "What's that?"

"What?" asked Richie.

"Richie," said Jonathan, "what's a Caroom?"

The boy shrugged and muttered, "_I_ dunno."

"Oh, yes, you do!" Jonathan lit a cigarette. "What's an Allavarg?" He
watched the boy bite his lips and stare out the window. "He's a
friend, isn't he?" coaxed Jonathan. "_Your_ friend? Does he play with
you?"

The blond head nodded slowly and uncertainly.

"Where does he live?" persisted Jonathan. "Does he come over here and
play in your yard? Does he, Richie?"

The boy stared at his father, worried and unhappy. "Sometimes," he
whispered. "Sometimes he does, if I call him."

"How do you call him?" asked Jonathan. He was beginning to feel
foolish.

"Why," said Richie, "I just say 'Here, Allavarg!' and he comes, if
he's not too busy."

"What keeps him busy?" Such nonsense! Allavarg was undoubtedly an
imaginary playmate. This whole hunch of his was utter nonsense. He
should be at work on Easton instead of--

"The nursery keeps him busy," said Richie. "Real busy."

       *       *       *       *       *

Jonathan frowned. Did Richie mean the greenhouse down the road? Was
there a Mr. Allavarg who worked there? "Whose nursery?"

"Ours." Richie wrinkled his face thoughtfully. "I think I better go
outside and play."

"_Our_ nursery?" Jonathan stared at his son. "Where is it?"

"I think I better go play," said Richie more firmly, sliding off the
chair.

"Richard! _Where_ is the nursery?"

The full lower lip began to tremble. "I can't tell you!" Richie
wailed. "I promised!"

Jonathan slammed his fist on the desk. "Answer me!" He knew he
shouldn't speak this way to Richie; he knew he was frightening the
boy. But the ideas racing through his mind drove him to find out what
this was all about. It might be nothing, but it also might be--"Answer
me, Richard!"

The child stifled a sob. "Here," he said weakly.

"_Here_? Where?"

"In my house," said Richie. "And Steve's house and Billy's and all
over." He rubbed his eyes, leaving a grimy smear.

"All right," soothed Jonathan. "It's all right now, son. Daddy didn't
mean to scare you. Daddy has to learn these things, that's all. Just
like learning in school."

The boy shook his head resentfully. "_You_ know," he accused. "You
just forgot."

"What did I forget, Richie?"

"You forgot all about Allavarg. He told me! It was a different
Allavarg when you were little, but it was almost the same. You used to
play with _your_ Allavarg when you were little like me!"

Jonathan took a deep breath. "Where did Allavarg come from, Richie?"

But Richie shook his head stubbornly, lips pressed tight. "I
promised!"

"Richie, a promise like that isn't a good one," pleaded Jonathan.
"Allavarg wouldn't want you to disobey your father and mother, would
he?"

The child sat and stared at him.

This was a very disturbing thought and Jonathan could see Richie did
not know how to deal with it.

He pressed his momentary advantage. "Allavarg takes care of little
boys and girls, doesn't he? He plays with them and he looks after
them, I'll bet."

Richie nodded uncertainly.

"And," continued Jonathan, smiling what he hoped was a winning,
comradely smile at his son, "I'll bet that Allavarg came from some
place far, far away, didn't he?"

"Yes," said Richie softly.

"And it's his job to be here and look after the--the nursery?"
Jonathan bit his lip. Nursery? Earth? Carooms--Martians? His head
began to ache. "Son, you've got to help me understand. Do you--do you
murv me?"

       *       *       *       *       *

Richie shook his head. "No. But I _will_ after--"

"After what?"

"After I grow up."

"Why not now?" asked Jonathan.

The blond head sank lower. "Because you framish, Daddy."

His father nodded, trying to look wise, wincing inwardly as he
pictured his colleagues listening in on this conversation. "Well--why
don't you help me so I _don't_ framish?"

"I can't." Richie glanced up, his eyes stricken. "Some day, Allavarg
says, _I'm_ going to framish, too!"

"Grow up, you mean?" hazarded Jonathan, and this time his smile was
real as he looked at the smudged eyes and soft round cheeks. "Why,
Richie," he went on, his voice suddenly husky, "it's fun to be a
little boy, but there'll be lots to do when you grow up. You--"

"I wish I was Mr. Easton!" Richie said fiercely.

Jonathan held his breath. "What about Mr. Easton?"

Richie squirmed out of the chair and clutched Jonathan's arm. "Please,
Daddy! If you let Mr. Easton go back, can I go, too? Please? Can I?"

Jonathan put his hands on his son's shoulders. "Richie! What do you
know about Mr. Easton?"

"Please? Can I go with him?" The shining blue eyes pleaded up at him.
"If you don't let him go back pretty soon, he's going to framish
again! Please! Can I?"

"He's going to framish," nodded Jonathan. "And what then?" he coaxed.
"What'll happen after he framishes? Will he be able to tell me about
his trip?"

"_I_ dunno," said Richie. "I dunno how he _could_. After you framish,
you don't remember lots of things. I don't think he's even gonna
remember he _went_ on a trip." The boy's hands shook Jonathan's arm
eagerly. "Please, Daddy! Can I go with him?"

"No!" Jonathan glared and released his hold on Richie. Didn't he have
troubles enough without Richie suggesting--"About the nursery," he
said briskly. "Why is there a nursery?"

"To take care of us." Richie looked worried. "Why can't I go?"

"Because you can't! Why don't they have the nursery back where
Allavarg came from?"

"There isn't any room." The blue eyes studied the man, looking for a
way to get permission to go with Mr. Easton.

"No room? What do you mean?"

Richie sighed. Obviously he'd have to explain first and coax later.
"Well, you know my school? You know my teacher in school? You know
when my teacher was different?" He peered anxiously at Jonathan, and
suddenly the man caught on.

"Of course! You mean when they split the kindergarten into two smaller
groups because there were too many--"

       *       *       *       *       *

His voice trailed off. Too many. Too many what? Too many Martians on
Mars? Growing population? No way to cut down the birth rate? He
pictured the planet with too many people. What to do? Move out. Take
another planet. Why didn't they just do that? He put the question to
Richie.

"Oh," said his son wisely, "they couldn't because of the framish. They
_did_ go other places, but everywhere they went, they framished. And
after you framish, you ain't--_aren't_ a Caroom any more. You're a
Gunderguck and of course--"

"Huh?"

"--and a Caroom doesn't like to framish and be a Gunderguck,"
continued Richie happily, as though reciting a lesson learned in
school. "He wants to be a Caroom _all_ the time because it's better
and more fun and you know lots of things you don't remember after you
get to be a Gunderguck. Only--" he paused for a gulp of air--"only
there wasn't room for _all_ the Carooms back home and they couldn't
find any place where they could be Carooms all the time, because of
the framish. So after a long time, and after they looked all over all
around, they decided maybe it wouldn't be so bad if they sent some of
their little boys and girls--the ones they didn't have room for--to
some place where they could be Carooms longer than most other places.
And _that_ place," Richie said proudly, "was right here! 'Cause _here_
there's almost as much gladdisl as back home and--"

"Gladdisl?" Jonathan echoed hoarsely. "What's--"

"--and after they start growing up--"

"Gladdisl," Jonathan repeated, more firmly. "Richie, what is it?"

The forehead puckered momentarily. "It's something you breathe, sort
of." The boy shied away from the difficult question, trying to
remember what Allavarg had said about gladdisl. "Anyway, after the
little boys and girls start to grow up and after they framish and be
Gundergucks, like you and Mommy, the Carooms back home send some
_more_ to take their places. And the Gundergucks who used to be
Carooms here in the nursery look after the new little--"

"Wait a minute! Wait a minute!" Jonathan interrupted suspiciously. "I
thought you said Allavarg looks after them."

"He does. But there's so many little Carooms and there aren't many
Allavargs and so the Gundergucks have to help. You help," Richie
assured his father. "You and Mommy help a little bit."

Big of you to admit it, old man, thought Jonathan, suppressing a
smile. "But aren't you _our_ little boy?" he asked. He had a sudden
vision of himself addressing the scientists at the Institute: "And so,
gentlemen, our babies--who, incidentally, are really Martians--_are_
brought by storks, after all. Except in those cases where--"

"The doctor brought me in a little black bag," said Richie.

       *       *       *       *       *

The boy stood silent and studied his father. He sort of remembered
what Allavarg had said, too. Things like You _mustn't ever tell_ and
_It's got to be a secret_ and _They'd only laugh at you, Richie, and
if they didn't laugh, they might believe you and try to go back home
and there just isn't any room._

"I think," said Richie, "I think I better--" He took a deep breath.
"Here, Allavarg," he called in a soft, piping voice.

Jonathan raised his head. "Just what do you think you're doing--"

There was a sound behind him, and Jonathan turned startledly.

"Shame on you," said Allavarg, coming through the broken window.

Jonathan's words dropped away in a faint gurgle.

"I'm sorry," said Richie. "Don't be dipplefit."

"It's a mess," Allavarg replied. "It's a krandoor mess!" He waved his
arm in the air over Jonathan's head. "And don't think I'm going to
forget it!" The insistent hiss of escaping gas hovered over the moving
pellet in his hand. "Jivis boy!"

Jonathan coughed suddenly. He got as far as "Now look here" and then
found that he could neither speak nor move. The gas or whatever it was
stung his eyes and burned in his throat.

"Why don't you just freeble him?" Richie asked unhappily. "You're
using up all your gladdisl! Why don't you freeble him and get me
another one?"

"Freeble, breeble," grumbled Allavarg, shoving the capsule directly
under Jonathan's nose. "Just like you youngsters, always wanting to
take the easy way out! Gundergucks don't grow on blansercots, you
know."

Jonathan felt tears start in his eyes, partly from the fumes and
partly from a growing realization that Allavarg was sacrificing
precious air for him. He tried to think. If this was gladdisl and if
this would keep a man in the state of being a Caroom, then--

"There," said Allavarg, looking unhappily at the emptied pellet. He
shook it, sniffed it and finally returned it to the container at his
side.

"I'm sorry," Richie whispered. "But he kept askin' me and askin' me."

"There, there," said Allavarg, going to the window. "Don't fret. I
know you won't do it again." He turned and looked thoughtfully at
Jonathan. He winked at Richie and then he was gone.

       *       *       *       *       *

Jonathan rubbed his eyes. He could move now. He opened his mouth and
waggled his jaws. Now that the room was beginning to be cleared of the
gas, he realized that it had had a pleasant odor. He realized--

Why, it was all so simple! Remembering his sessions with Easton,
Jonathan laughed aloud. So simple! The message? _Stay away from Mars!
No room there! They said I could come back if I gave you the message,
but I have to come back alone because there's no room for more
people!_

No room? Nonsense! Jonathan reached for the phone, dialled the
Institute and asked for Dr. Stoughton. No room? On the paradise that
was Mars? Well, they'd just have to make room! They couldn't keep that
to themselves!

"Hello, Fred?" He leaned back in his chair, feeling a surge of pride
and power. Wait till they heard about this! "Just wanted to tell you I
solved the Easton thing. Just a simple case of hapsodon. You see,
Allavarg came and gave me a tressimox of gladdisl and now that I'm a
Caroom again--What? What do you mean, what's the matter? I said I'm
not a Gunderguck any more." He stared at the phone. "Why, you
spebberset moron! What's the matter with you? Don't you blikkel
English?"

From the depths of the big chair across the room, Richie giggled.

                                                        --JEAN M. JANIS

       *       *       *       *       *





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