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´╗┐Title: How to Make Friends
Author: Harmon, Jim
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 "How to Make Friends" ***

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



HOW TO MAKE FRIENDS

By JIM HARMON

Illustrated by WEST

[Transcriber's Note: This etext was produced from Galaxy Magazine
October 1962. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the
U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.]


Every lonely man tries to make friends. Manet just didn't know when to
stop!


William Manet was alone.

In the beginning, he had seen many advantages to being alone. It would
give him an unprecedented opportunity to once and for all correlate
loneliness to the point of madness, to see how long it would take him
to start slavering and clawing the pin-ups from the magazines, to begin
teaching himself classes in philosophy consisting of interminable
lectures to a bored and captive audience of one.

He would be able to measure the qualities of peace and decide whether
it was really better than war, he would be able to get as fat and as
dirty as he liked, he would be able to live more like an animal and
think more like a god than any man for generations.

But after a shorter time than he expected, it all got to be a tearing
bore. Even the waiting to go crazy part of it.

Not that he was going to have any great long wait of it. He was already
talking to himself, making verbal notes for his lectures, and he had
cut out a picture of Annie Oakley from an old book. He tacked it up and
winked at it whenever he passed that way.

Lately she was winking back at him.

Loneliness was a physical weight on his skull. It peeled the flesh from
his arms and legs and sandpapered his self-pity to a fine sensitivity.

No one on Earth was as lonely as William Manet, and even William Manet
could only be this lonely on Mars.

Manet was Atmosphere Seeder Station 131-47's own human.

All Manet had to do was sit in the beating aluminum heart in the middle
of the chalk desert and stare out, chin cupped in hands, at the flat,
flat pavement of dirty talcum, at the stars gleaming as hard in the
black sky as a starlet's capped teeth ... stars two of which were moons
and one of which was Earth. He had to do nothing else. The whole
gimcrack was cybernetically controlled, entirely automatic. No one was
needed here--no human being, at least.

The Workers' Union was a pretty small pressure group, but it didn't
take much to pressure the Assembly. Featherbedding had been carefully
specified, including an Overseer for each of the Seeders to honeycomb
Mars, to prepare its atmosphere for colonization.

They didn't give tests to find well-balanced, well-integrated people
for the job. Well-balanced, well-integrated men weren't going to
isolate themselves in a useless job. They got, instead, William Manet
and his fellows.

The Overseers were to stay as long as the job required. Passenger fare
to Mars was about one billion dollars. They weren't providing commuter
service for night shifts. They weren't providing accommodations
for couples when the law specified only one occupant. They weren't
providing fuel (at fifty million dollars a gallon) for visits between
the various Overseers. They weren't very providential.

But it was two hundred thousand a year in salary, and it offered
wonderful opportunities.

It gave William Manet an opportunity to think he saw a spaceship making
a tailfirst landing on the table of the desert, its tail burning as
bright as envy.



Manet suspected hallucination, but in an existence with all the pallid
dispassion of a requited love he was happy to welcome dementia.
Sometimes he even manufactured it. Sometimes he would run through the
arteries of the factory and play that it had suddenly gone mad hating
human beings, and was about to close down its bulkheads on him as sure
as the Engineers' Thumb and bale up the pressure-dehydrated digest,
making so much stall flooring of him. He ran until he dropped with a
kind of climaxing release of terror.

So Manet put on the pressure suit he had been given because he would
never need it, and marched out to meet the visiting spaceship.

He wasn't quite clear how he came from walking effortlessly across
the Martian plain that had all the distance-perpetuating qualities of
a kid's crank movie machine to the comfortable interior of a strange
cabin. Not a ship's cabin but a Northwoods cabin.

The black and orange Hallowe'en log charring in the slate stone
fireplace seemed real. So did the lean man with the smiling mustache
painted with the random designs of the fire, standing before the
horizontal pattern of chinked wall.

"Need a fresher?" the host inquired.

Manet's eyes wondered down to heavy water tumbler full of rich, amber
whiskey full of sparks from the hearth. He stirred himself in the
comfortingly warm leather chair. "No, no, I'm fine." He let the word
hang there for examination. "Pardon me, but could you tell me just what
place this is?"

The host shrugged. It was the only word for it. "Whatever place you
choose it to be, so long as you're with Trader Tom. 'Service,' that's
my motto. It is a way of life with me."

"Trader Tom? Service?"

"Yes! That's it exactly. It's me exactly. Trader Tom Service--Serving
the Wants of the Spaceman Between the Stars. Of course, 'stars' is
poetic. Any point of light in the sky in a star. We service the
planets."

Manet took the tumbler in both hands and drank. It was good whiskey,
immensely powerful. "The government wouldn't pay for somebody serving
the wants of spacemen," he exploded.

"Ah," Trader Tom said, cautionary. He moved nearer the fire and warmed
his hands and buttocks. "Ah, but I am not a government service. I
represent free enterprise."



"Nonsense," Manet said. "No group of private individuals can build a
spaceship. It takes a combine of nations."

"But remember only that businessmen are reactionary. It's well-known.
Ask anyone on the street. Businessmen are reactionary even beyond the
capitalistic system. Money is a fiction that exists mostly on paper.
They play along on paper to get paper things, but to get real things
they can forego the papers. Comprehend, mon ami? My businessmen
have gone back to the barter system. Between them, they have the raw
materials, the trained men, the man-hours to make a spaceship. So they
make it. Damned reactionaries, all of my principals."

"I don't believe you," Manet stated flatly. His conversation had grown
blunt with disuse. "What possible profit could your principals turn
from running a trading ship among scattered exploration posts on the
planets? What could you give us that a benevolent government doesn't
already supply us with? And if there was anything, how could we pay for
it? My year's salary wouldn't cover the transportation costs of this
glass of whiskey."

"Do you find it good whiskey?"

"Very good."

"Excellent?"

"Excellent, if you prefer."

"I only meant--but never mind. We give you what you want. As for
paying for it--why, forget about the payment. You may apply for a
Trader Tom Credit Card."

"And I could buy anything that I wanted with it?" Manet demanded.
"That's absurd. I'd never be able to pay for it."

"That's it precisely!" Trader Tom said with enthusiasm. "You never
pay for it. Charges are merely deducted from your estate."

"But I may leave no estate!"

Trader Tom demonstrated his peculiar shrug. "All businesses operate on
a certain margin of risk. That is our worry."



Manet finished the mellow whiskey and looked into the glass. It seemed
to have been polished clean. "What do you have to offer?"

"Whatever you want?"

Irritably, "How do I know what I want until I know what you have?"

"You know."

"I know? All right, I know. You don't have it for sale."

"Old chap, understand if you please that I do not only sell. I
am a trader--Trader Tom. I trade with many parties. There are, for
example ... extraterrestrials."

"Folk legend!"

"On the contrary, mon cher, the only reality it lacks is political
reality. The Assembly could no longer justify their disposition of
the cosmos if it were known they were dealing confiscation without
representation. Come, tell me what you want."

Manet gave in to it. "I want to be not alone," he said.

"Of course," Trader Tom replied, "I suspected. It is not so unusual,
you know. Sign here. And here. Two copies. This is yours. Thank you so
much."

Manet handed back the pen and stared at the laminated card in his hand.

/P
    +-------------------------------------+
    |       TRADER TOM CREDIT CARD        |
    |                                     |
    |         Good for Anything         |
    |                                     |
    |      A-1 9*8*7*6*5*4*3*2*****       |
    |                                     |
    |  WM. MaNeT   /--rader /--om |
    |                                     |
    |  ..............                     |
    |   (Sign Here)        Trader Tom     |
    +-------------------------------------+
P/

When he looked up from the card, Manet saw the box. Trader Tom was
pushing it across the floor towards him.

The box had the general dimensions of a coffin, but it wasn't
wood--only brightly illustrated cardboard. There was a large four-color
picture on the lid showing men, women and children moving through a
busy city street. The red and blue letters said:

/P
    LIFO
    The Socialization Kit
P/

"It is commercialized," Trader Tom admitted with no little chagrin.
"It is presented to appeal to a twelve-year-old child, an erotic,
aggressive twelve-year-old, the typical sensie goer--but that is
reality. It offends men of good taste like ourselves, yet sometimes it
approaches being art. We must accept it."

"What's the cost?" Manet asked. "Before I accept it, I have to know the
charges."

"You never know the cost. Only your executor knows that. It's the
Trader Tom plan."

"Well, is it guaranteed?"

"There are no guarantees," Trader Tom admitted. "But I've never had any
complaints yet."

"Suppose I'm the first?" Manet suggested reasonably.

"You won't be," Trader Tom said. "I won't pass this way again."



Manet didn't open the box. He let it fade quietly in the filtered but
still brilliant sunlight near a transparent wall.

Manet puttered around the spawning monster, trying to brush the copper
taste of the station out of his mouth in the mornings, talking to
himself, winking at Annie Oakley, and waiting to go mad.

Finally, Manet woke up one morning. He lay in the sheets of his bunk,
suppressing the urge to go wash his hands, and came at last to the
conclusion that, after all the delay, he was mad.

So he went to open the box.

The cardboard lid seemed to have become both brittle and rotten. It
crumbled as easily as ideals. But Manet was old enough to remember the
boxes Japanese toys came in when he was a boy, and was not alarmed.

The contents were such a glorious pile of junk, of bottles from old
chemistry sets, of pieces from old Erector sets, of nameless things and
unremembered antiques from neglected places, that it seemed too good to
have been assembled commercially. It was the collection of lifetime.

On top of everything was a paperbound book, the size of the Reader's
Digest, covered in rippled gray flexiboard. The title was stamped in
black on the spine and cover: The Making of Friends.

Manet opened the book and, turning one blank page, found the title
in larger print and slightly amplified: The Making of Friends and
Others. There was no author listed. A further line of information
stated: "A Manual for Lifo, The Socialization Kit." At the bottom of
the title page, the publisher was identified as: LIFO KIT CO., LTD.,
SYRACUSE.

The unnumbered first chapter was headed Your First Friend.

/#
Before you go further, first find the Modifier in your kit. This
is vital.
#/

He quickly riffled through the pages. Other Friends, Authority, A
Companion.... Then The Final Model. Manet tried to flip past this
section, but the pages after the sheet labeled The Final Model were
stuck together. More than stuck. There was a thick slab of plastic in
the back of the book. The edges were ridged as if there were pages to
this section, but they could only be the tracks of lame ants.

Manet flipped back to page one.

/#
 First find the Modifier in your kit. This is vital to your entire
 experiment in socialization. The Modifier is Part #A-1 on the Master
 Chart.
#/

He prowled through the box looking for some kind of a chart. There
was nothing that looked like a chart inside. He retrieved the lid and
looked at its inside. Nothing. He tipped the box and looked at its
outside. Not a thing. There was always something missing from kits.
Maybe even the Modifier itself.

He read on, and probed and scattered the parts in the long box. He
studied the manual intently and groped out with his free hand.

The toe bone was connected to the foot bone....



The Red King sat smugly in his diagonal corner.

The Black King stood two places away, his top half tipsy in frustration.

The Red King crabbed sideways one square.

The Black King pounced forward one space.

The Red King advanced backwards to face the enemy.

The Black King shuffled sideways.

The Red King followed....

Uselessly.

"Tie game," Ronald said.

"Tie game," Manet said.

"Let's talk," Ronald said cheerfully. He was always cheerful.

Cheerfulness was a personality trait Manet had thumbed out for him.
Cheerful. Submissive. Co-operative. Manet had selected these factors in
order to make Ronald as different a person from himself as possible.

"The Korean-American War was the greatest of all wars," Ronald said
pontifically.

"Only in the air," Manet corrected him.

Intelligence was one of the factors Manet had punched to suppress.
Intelligence. Aggressiveness. Sense of perfection. Ronald couldn't know
any more than Manet, but he could (and did) know less. He had seen to
that when his own encephalograph matrix had programmed Ronald's feeder.

"There were no dogfights in Korea," Ronald said.

"I know."

"The dogfight was a combat of hundreds of planes in a tight area, the
last of which took place near the end of the First World War. The
aerial duel, sometimes inaccurately referred to as a 'dogfight' was not
seen in Korea either. The pilots at supersonic speeds only had time for
single passes at the enemy. Still, I believe, contrary to all experts,
that this took greater skill, man more wedded to machine, than the
leisurely combats of World War One."

"I know."

"Daniel Boone was still a crack shot at eight-five. He was said to be
warm, sincere, modest, truthful, respected and rheumatic."

"I know."



Manet knew it all. He had heard it all before.

He was so damned sick of hearing about Korean air battles, Daniel
Boone, the literary qualities of ancient sports fiction magazines,
the painting of Norman Rockwell, New York swing, ad nauseum. What a
narrow band of interests! With the whole universe to explore in thought
and concept, why did he have to be trapped with such an unoriginal
human being?

Of course, Ronald wasn't an original human being. He was a copy.

Manet had been interested in the Fabulous Forties--Lt. "Hoot" Gibson,
Sam Merwin tennis stories, Saturday Evening Post covers--when he had
first learned of them, and he had learned all about them. He had firm
opinions on all these.

He yearned for someone to challenge him--to say that Dime Sports had
been nothing but a cheap yellow rag and, why, Sewanee Review, there
had been a magazine for you.

Manet's only consolidation was that Ronald's tastes were lower than his
own. He patriotically insisted that the American Sabre Jet was superior
to the Mig. He maintained with a straight face that Tommy Dorsey was a
better band man than Benny Goodman. Ronald was a terrific jerk.

"Ronald," Manet said, "you are a terrific jerk."

Ronald leaped up immediately and led with his right.

Manet blocked it deftly and threw a right cross.

Ronald blocked it deftly, and drove in a right to the navel.

The two men separated and, puffing like steam locomotives passing the
diesel works, closed again.

Ronald leaped forward and led with his right.

Manet stepped inside the swing and lifted an uppercut to the ledge of
Ronald's jaw.

Ronald pinwheeled to the floor.

He lifted his bruised head from the deck and worked his reddened mouth.
"Had enough?" he asked Manet.

Manet dropped his fists to his sides and turned away. "Yes."

Ronald hopped up lightly. "Another checkers, Billy Boy?"

"No."

"Okay. Anything you want, William, old conquerer."

Manet scrunched up inside himself in impotent fury.

Ronald was maddeningly co-operative and peaceful. He would even get in
a fist fight to avoid trouble between them. He would do anything Manet
wanted him to do. He was so utterly damned stupid.

Manet's eyes orbitted towards the checkerboard.

But if he were so much more stupid than he, Manet, why was it that
their checker games always ended in a tie?



The calendar said it was Spring on Earth when the radio was activated
for a high-speed information and entertainment transmission.

The buzzer-flasher activated in the solarium at the same time.

Manet lay stretched out on his back, naked, in front of the transparent
wall.

By rolling his eyes back in his head, Manet could see over a hedge of
eyebrows for several hundred flat miles of white sand.

And several hundred miles of desert could see him.

For a moment he gloried in the blatant display of his flabby muscles
and patchy sunburn.

Then he sighed, rolled over to his feet and started trudging toward
Communication.

He padded down the rib-ridged matted corridor, taking his usual small
pleasure in the kaleidoscopic effect of the spiraling reflections on
the walls of the tubeway.

As he passed the File Room, he caught the sound of the pounding
vibrations against the stoppered plug of the hatch.

"Come on, Billy Buddy, let me out of this place!"

Manet padded on down the hall. He had, he recalled, shoved Ronald
in there on Lincoln's Birthday, a minor ironic twist he appreciated
quietly. He had been waiting in vain for Ronald to run down ever since.

In Communication, he took a seat and punched the slowed down playback
of the transmission.

"Hello, Overseers," the Voice said. It was the Voice of the B.B.C.
It irritated Manet. He never understood how the British had got the
space transmissions assignment for the English language. He would have
preferred an American disk-jockey himself, one who appreciated New York
swing.

"We imagine that you are most interested in how long you shall
be required to stay at your present stations," said the Voice of
God's paternal uncle. "As you on Mars may know, there has been much
discussion as to how long it will require to complete the present
schedule--" there was of course no "K" sound in the word--"for
atmosphere seeding.

"The original, non-binding estimate at the time of your departure was
18.2 years. However, determining how long it will take our stations
properly to remake the air of Mars is a problem comparable to finding
the age of the Earth. Estimates change as new factors are learned. You
may recall that three years ago the official estimate was changed to
thirty-one years. The recent estimate by certain reactionary sources
of two hundred and seventy-four years is not an official government
estimate. The news for you is good, if you are becoming nostalgic for
home, or not particularly bad if you are counting on drawing your
handsome salary for the time spent on Mars. We have every reason to
believe our original estimate was substantially correct. The total
time is, within limits of error, a flat 18 years."

A very flat 18 years, Manet thought as he palmed off the recorder.

He sat there thinking about eighteen years.

He did not switch to video for some freshly taped westerns.

Finally, Manet went back to the solarium and dragged the big box out.
There was a lot left inside.

One of those parts, one of those bones or struts of flesh sprayers, one
of them, he now knew, was the Modifier.

The Modifier was what he needed to change Ronald. Or to shut him off.

If only the Master Chart hadn't been lost, so he would know what the
Modifier looked like! He hoped the Modifier itself wasn't lost. He
hated to think of Ronald locked in the Usher tomb of the File Room
for 18 flat years. Long before that, he would have worn his fists away
hammering at the hatch. Then he might start pounding with his head.
Perhaps before the time was up he would have worn himself down to
nothing whatsoever.

Manet selected the ripple-finished gray-covered manual from the
hodgepodge, and thought: eighteen years.

Perhaps I should have begun here, he told himself. But I really don't
have as much interest in that sort of thing as the earthier types.
Simple companionship was all I wanted. And, he thought on, even an
insipid personality like Ronald's would be bearable with certain
compensations.

Manet opened the book to the chapter headed: The Making of a Girl.



Veronica crept up behind Manet and slithered her hands up his back and
over his shoulders. She leaned forward and breathed a moist warmth into
his ear, and worried the lobe with her even white teeth.

"Daniel Boone," she sighed huskily, "only killed three Indians in his
life."

"I know."

Manet folded his arms stoically and added: "Please don't talk."

She sighed her instant agreement and moved her expressive hands over
his chest and up to the hollows of his throat.

"I need a shave," he observed.

Her hands instantly caressed his face to prove that she liked a rather
bristly, masculine countenance.

Manet elbowed Veronica away in a gentlemanly fashion.

She made her return.

"Not now," he instructed her.

"Whenever you say."

He stood up and began pacing off the dimensions of the compartment.
There was no doubt about it: he had been missing his regular exercise.

"Now?" she asked.

"I'll tell you."

"If you were a jet pilot," Veronica said wistfully, "you would be
romantic. You would grab love when you could. You would never know
which moment would be last. You would make the most of each one."

"I'm not a jet pilot," Manet said. "There are no jet pilots. There
haven't been any for generations."

"Don't be silly," Veronica said. "Who else would stop those vile North
Koreans and Red China 'volunteers'?"

"Veronica," he said carefully, "the Korean War is over. It was finished
even before the last of the jet pilots."

"Don't be silly," she snapped. "If it were over, I'd know about it,
wouldn't I?"

She would, except that somehow she had turned out even less bright,
less equipped with Manet's own store of information, than Ronald.
Whoever had built the Lifo kit must have had ancient ideas about what
constituted appropriate "feminine" characteristics.

"I suppose," he said heavily, "that you would like me to take you back
to Earth and introduce you to Daniel Boone?"

"Oh, yes."

"Veronica, your stupidity is hideous."

She lowered her long blonde lashes on her pink cheeks. "That is a mean
thing to say to me. But I forgive you."

An invisible hand began pressing down steadily on the top of his head
until it forced a sound out of him. "Aaaawrraagggh! Must you be so
cloyingly sweet? Do you have to keep taking that? Isn't there any fight
in you at all?"

He stepped forward and back-handed her across the jaw.

It was the first time he had ever struck a woman, he realized
regretfully. He now knew he should have been doing it long ago.

Veronica sprang forward and led with a right.



Ronald's cries grew louder as Manet marched Veronica through the
corridor.

"Hear that?" he inquired, smiling with clenched teeth.

"No, darling."

Well, that was all right. He remembered he had once told her to ignore
the noise. She was still following orders.

"Come on, Bill, open up the hatch for old Ronald," the voice carried
through sepulchrally.

"Shut up!" Manet yelled.

The voice dwindled stubbornly, then cut off.

A silence with a whisper of metallic ring to it.

Why hadn't he thought of that before? Maybe because he secretly took
comfort in the sound of an almost human voice echoing through the
station.

Manet threw back the bolt and wheeled back the hatch.

Ronald looked just the same as had when Manet had seen him last. His
hands didn't seem to have been worn away in the least. Ronald's lips
seemed a trifle chapped. But that probably came not from all the
shouting but from having nothing to drink for some months.

Ronald didn't say anything to Manet.

But he looked offended.

"You," Manet said to Veronica with a shove in the small of the back,
"inside, inside."

Ronald sidestepped the lurching girl.

"Do you know what I'm going to do with you?" Manet demanded. "I'm going
to lock you up in here, and leave you for a day, a month, a year,
forever! Now what do you think about that?"

"If you think it's the right thing, dear," Veronica said hesitantly.

"You know best, Willy," Ronald said uncertainly.

Manet slammed the hatch in disgust.

Manet walked carefully down the corridor, watching streamers of
his reflection corkscrewing into the curved walls. He had to walk
carefully, else the artery would roll up tight and squash him. But he
walked too carefully for this to happen.

As he passed the File Room, Ronald's voice said: "In my opinion,
William, you should let us out."

"I," Veronica said, "honestly feel that you should let me out, Bill,
dearest."

Manet giggled. "What? What was that? Do you suggest that I take you
back after you've been behind a locked door with my best friend?"

He went down the corridor, giggling.

He giggled and thought: This will never do.



Pouring and tumbling through the Lifo kit, consulting the manual
diligently, Manet concluded that there weren't enough parts left in the
box to go around.

The book gave instructions for The Model Mother, The Model Father, The
Model Sibling and others. Yet there weren't parts enough in the kit.

He would have to take parts from Ronald or Veronica in order to make
any one of the others. And he could not do that without the Modifier.

He wished Trader Tom would return and extract some higher price from
him for the Modifier, which was clearly missing from the kit.

Or to get even more for simply repossessing the kit.

But Trader Tom would not be back. He came this way only once.

Manet thumbed through the manual in mechanical frustration. As he did
so, the solid piece of the last section parted sheet by sheet.

He glanced forward and found the headings: The Final Model.

There seemed something ominous about that finality. But he had paid
a price for the kit, hadn't he? Who knew what price, when it came to
that? He had every right to get everything out of the kit that he
could.

He read the unfolding page critically. The odd assortment of
ill-matched parts left in the box took a new shape in his mind and
under his fingers....

Manet gave one final spurt from the flesh-sprayer and stood back.

Victor was finished. Perfect.

Manet stepped forward, lifted the model's left eyelid, tweaked his nose.

"Move!"

Victor leaped back into the Lifo kit and did a jig on one of the
flesh-sprayers.

As the device twisted as handily as good intentions, Manet realized
that it was not a flesh-sprayer but the Modifier.

"It's finished!" were Victor's first words. "It's done!"

Manet stared at the tiny wreck. "To say the least."

Victor stepped out of the oblong box. "There is something you should
understand. I am different from the others."

"They all say that."

"I am not your friend."

"No?"

"No. You have made yourself an enemy."

Manet felt nothing more at this information than an esthetic pleasure
at the symmetry of the situation.

"It completes the final course in socialization," Victor continued. "I
am your adversary. I will do everything I can to defeat you. I have
all your knowledge. You do not have all your knowledge. If you let
yourself know some of the things, it could be used against you. It is
my function to use everything I possibly can against you."

"When do you start?"

"I've finished. I've done my worst. I have destroyed the Modifier."

"What's so bad about that?" Manet asked with some interest.

"You'll have Veronica and Ronald and me forever now. We'll never
change. You'll get older, and we'll never change. You'll lose your
interest in New York swing and jet combat and Daniel Boone, and we'll
never change. We don't change and you can't change us for others. I've
made the worst thing happen to you that can happen to any man. I've
seen that you will always keep your friends."



The prospect was frightful.

Victor smiled. "Aren't you going to denounce me for a fiend?"

"Yes, it is time for the denouncement. Tell me, you feel that now you
are through? You have fulfilled your function?"

"Yes. Yes."

"Now you will have but to lean back, as it were, so to speak, and see
me suffer?"

"Yes."

"No. Can't do it, old man. Can't. I know. You're too human, too
like me. The one thing a man can't accept is a passive state, a state
of uselessness. Not if he can possibly avoid it. Something has to be
happening to him. He has to be happening to something. You didn't kill
me because then you would have nothing left to do. You'll never kill
me."

"Of course not!" Victor stormed. "Fundamental safety cut-off!"

"Rationalization. You don't want to kill me. And you can't stop
challenging me at every turn. That's your function."

"Stop talking and just think about your miserable life," Victor said
meanly. "Your friends won't grow and mature with you. You won't make
any new friends. You'll have me to constantly remind you of your
uselessness, your constant unrelenting sterility of purpose. How's that
for boredom, for passiveness?"

"That's what I'm trying to tell you," Manet said irritably, his social
manners rusty. "I won't be bored. You will see to that. It's your
purpose. You'll be a challenge, an obstacle, a source of triumph every
foot of the way. Don't you see? With you for an enemy, I don't need a
friend!"





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