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´╗┐Title: Cry Snooker
Author: Fetler, Andrew
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 "Cry Snooker" ***

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

                              Cry Snooker

                           By ANDREW FETLER

                      Illustrated by DICK FRANCIS

           [Transcriber's Note: This etext was produced from
                     Galaxy Magazine October 1960.
         Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that
         the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.]

                What a wife! Pretty, smart ... and when
               she cooked it was just out of this world!

"Baby Doll," George called from the bathroom.

There was no answer.

George wrapped a towel around his rump and came into the living room.
Rosy sat curled up reading a magazine.

"Do me a favor, Rosy," George said. "Put caps on bottles so your
perfume won't evaporate. I paid twelve bucks for that Chanel."

Rosy looked up at him, stretching her neck a little.

"And next time close the damn Bendix so I won't have to swim through
the basement to shut it off."

"I told you, the catch wouldn't catch."

"The catch would catch all right if you didn't leave Timmy's diaper
hanging out."

"That's not fair," Rosy said. "Blaming little Timmy."

His hands tried to crush an invisible bowling ball. "Just a little ...
presence of mind, Rosy. Okay?"

"You dropped your towel," Rosy said, looking away.

George ran into the bedroom and came back in his pajamas. "For God's
sake, honey, _try_ to remember what you're doing when you're doing it.
Like with the power mower."

"I suppose _that_ was my fault?"

"Don't you know enough to cut the engine when you're done?"

"I _wasn't_ done. I had to answer the phone, didn't I?"

George threw up his hands. "So all right. So you left it running and it
went right through Charlie's fence."

"Sometimes," Rosy said, putting down the magazine, "you exasperate me,
George. I _told_ you, I put it in neutral or whatever it is."

"You put it in high and let it run through Charlie's fence."

Rosy looked at him as at a bad tomato. "Why," she said, "do I get
blamed every time something mechanical goes wrong?"

But they kissed and made up because it was the night before their third
wedding anniversary.

       *       *       *       *       *

At the breakfast table next morning George gave her the diamond
cocktail ring she'd drooled over. Rosy gave him the self-winding time
piece he'd slobbered over in Cellini's window. Dear girl, had the
courage to get it for nothing down and thirty-six months to pay.

"Don't gulp your food," Rosy said. "It's Charlie's turn to drive you."

In his high chair, Timmy scooped up handfuls of oatmeal and heaved them
over the port side.

When Charlie came to the door he had a gift-wrapped box for them. It
looked heavy. He gave it to Rosy and slipped on one of Timmy's oatmeal
bombs and flew headlong into the couch.

"Happy wedding anniversary, you two," Charlie said, picking himself up.
"When are you going to fix my fence?"

Rosy weighed the box in her arms. "Charlie, that's real sweet of you
and Beth. Let's open it now, George."

"We're late," Charlie said. He wiped his shoe on the rug. "Come on,

They took the freeway out of Sunnydale. Downtown the clock on the
Trojan Life & Casualty building gave them four minutes to get there.

"What was in that box you brought?" George asked.

"A pressure cooker."

"Oh, no."

"Supposed to build up terrific pressure," Charlie said. "Five thousand
pounds per square inch."

George stared before him as they drove into the Park-O-Port.

He had not a moment free till his coffee break at ten. Mr. Perkins
wanted the Lawndale policies cleared right away and Mr. Zungenspiel
had all the juniors in for a briefing on exorbitant rates. When he got
back to his desk Maude Doody waited to interview him about his wedding
anniversary for her "Sweetness and Light" column in _Keep Smiling_, the
company weekly.

"I hope you're always polite to Rosy," Meddlin' Maude said. "I can't
stand rude men. How old is Timmy now?"

"He'll be three in September."

Maude made a quick mental calculation. She looked doubtful. "And could
you tell us what you gave Rosy for her wedding anniversary?"

"A pressure cooker," George said, forgetting everything else.

"Is that all? What kind of pressure cooker, George?"

"Five thousand pounds per square inch."

"I mean the _brand_," Maude said, stabbing the air with her sharp
pencil. "Don't you think the folks would like to know the brand?"

"Uh, I guess the best."

"They're all best," Maude said. "Can't you remember the brand?"

"No," he said.

Meddlin' Maude rose to her feet. She looked down at him severely.
"George, you're slipping," she said and marched off to the _Keep
Smiling_ office.

       *       *       *       *       *

George grabbed the telephone. Five thousand pounds per square inch, he
thought. Whammo!

The phone rang seven times. Then he dialed Charlie's house, but Beth
did not answer either. Rosy and Beth spent hours at the supermart. It
was the social center of Sunnydale where the gals could gossip a little
and compare brands.

George took the elevator up to the company cafeteria. On the fifth
floor Mr. Perkins stepped in.

"Just got your Lawndale policies," Mr. Perkins said. "Fast work, son.
Keep it up."

"Thank you, sir. I had an inquiry this morning, sir. About domestic

"Shoot the problem, son."

"Does it cover injury by pressure cooker?"

"Was it Full Coverage or Complete Coverage?"

"Complete, sir."

"Covers everything from electrocution in the bath tub to getting hit by
a stray rocket from Cape Canaveral."

The elevator let them out at the cafeteria. "Mr. Perkins, I'd like to
double my wife's policy."

"Mighty sensible of you, George. Can you afford it?"

"No, sir."

"That's the spirit! How about your own policy, George? Isn't it about
time you went up a notch?"

"You mean it, sir?"

"I've been keeping my eye on you," Mr. Perkins said. "I'll see what I
can do."

George thanked him profusely.

"Not at all, not at all," Mr. Perkins boomed. "That's what old dad
Perkins is here for."

George got his coffee and joined Charlie at their corner table.

"Getting chummy with old dad Perkins?" Charlie asked.

"I just got told," George said, leaning forward, "I could increase my


"Said it was time I moved up a notch."

Charlie clenched his fist. "We _can_ make the Country Club, I tell
you. I'm almost twelve thousand in the red, not counting the house and
the boat. Let's celebrate, Georgie. All four of us. We can go to the
Emperor Room for sixty bucks. That is, if you're still talking to your
humble friends."

"Come off it."

"I've seen it happen," Charlie said bitterly. "People getting so deep
in debt they start snubbing their more solvent friends."

When Arlene dropped the noon mail on George's desk he sat dreaming.
More insurance, more credit; more credit, more debt; more debts, more
prestige. He sat up with a start and dialed Rosy.

       *       *       *       *       *

This time she answered and all was fine. She'd spent the morning in the
supermart filling out contest entry blanks and buying a big roast for
the pressure cooker.

"Oh, George, it's a wonderful pressure cooker. It looks like a space
ship, with bolts and portholes and all."

"I don't want you to--"

"And it's got a remote control panel or something, with all kinds of
buttons and blinkers. Timmy just loves it!"

"Is Timmy anywhere near it?"

"He's _in_ it. It's a big one."

Arlene came by his desk. "Where's Charlie?" she asked. "I got a
telegram for him."

George waved her away and brought the receiver close to his mouth.

"Rosy, listen," George hissed. "Put that damn thing away till I get
home. We're going to the Emperor Room with Beth and Charlie."

There was a short silence. "You said you wanted a home-cooked meal,"
Rosy said. "To remind you how married you are."

George looked up at Maude Doody standing at his desk. "That sounds
like a personal call," Meddlin' Maude said.

"It's my wife."

"You've been on that phone three minutes," Meddlin' Maude said,
glancing at her watch. "You know company policy on personal calls,

"I'm a homemaker," Rosy was saying. "I _want_ to make dinner for you
and Timmy."

"Oh, go to hell!" George said.

Meddlin' Maude clutched at her heart.

Rosy gasped.

Five minutes later:

"Of course I love you, baby doll," George said weakly. In a semi-circle
around him stood Meddlin' Maude, Mr. Zungenspiel, Mr. Perkins, Arlene,
and an assortment of lesser office authorities. "Just don't touch that
pressure cooker till I get home, dammit. It's dangerous."

"I can only do my best, George," Rosy said with hard finality. "If
that's not good enough for you, darling"--she choked on a sob--"well,
I'm _sorry_."

The phone clicked and the wire went dead.

       *       *       *       *       *

A dozen faces bent over him. "George," Meddlin' Maude said, raising her
sharp pencil.

"Just a minute, Miss Doody," said Mr. Zungenspiel. "Young man, would
you step into my office when you have a _free_ moment?"

"If you see Charlie before they fire you," Arlene said, "tell him I
left a telegram on his desk."

"George," Miss Doody shrilled, her sharp pencil raised, "did you or did
you not tell _me_ to go to hell?"

Charlie crashed through the crowd, waving a telegram. "Look at this,

George read the telegram:


George dropped the telegram.

"What are you waiting for, man?" Charlie said. "Call Rosy, will ya?"

"She won't answer," George said. "She thinks I don't love her."

"Come on! We better get home before she starts making dinner."

They ran down to the Park-O-Port.

"Ahm sorry, Mistuh Charlie," the snappy attendant said. "Caint git yuh
cah now. It's on de top floh behind seven lines of cahs an _dey_ aint
comin out till five like every weekday sept Satterdays, Sunneys an

"Give him a tip and let's get a taxi," George said. He ran into the
street just in time to flag a cab.

George tossed the cabbie ten dollars. "Step on it. It may be a matter
of life and death."

"I could have called Beth," Charlie said.

"We'll get there almost as fast."

They zoomed through the underpass and turned onto the freeway. A cycle
cop emerged from behind a Schlitz billboard and took after them, his
siren wailing.

"Never mind the cop," George said.

The cabbie hunched forward and gripped the wheel. "Mister," he said,
"I've been waiting for a chance like this."

       *       *       *       *       *

The cop gained on them and as he came abreast George grew confused. He
saw the cop's big sun glasses shining like the eyes of a wasp and his
hat snapping in the wind. George had never broken the law in his life.
He had a deep respect for the police, preservers of law and order.

The cop motioned the cabbie to pull over. The cab zoomed over a crest
on the freeway and ripped down the slope with marked increase in speed.

George rolled down the window and flapped his arms. "My wife!" he

The cop cut the siren. His hand went down to his holster.

"My wife!" George yelled. "Pressure cooker."

The cop grinned and nodded to say he understood, and roaring ahead
waved them to follow. The siren started up again.

They lost him when they turned off the freeway and raced past the
supermarket to their street. Sunnydale looked peaceful in the
afternoon. George's house came in view. He heaved a sigh of relief as
the cabbie pulled to a stop.

"Rosy!" he yelled, dashing up the walk.

He flung open the door and stopped. The house was silent except for
Rosy's voice in the kitchen. She was counting backwards:

"Five ... four ... three...."


"One ... zero."

A steaming hiss sounded in the kitchen. In a moment it rose to a
howling pitch. There was a tremendous crash and a tremor shook the
plaster from the walls.

In the settling dust Timmy crawled out of the kitchen with a pot on his

In the kitchen Rosy sat on the floor, clutching the instruction booklet.

"Now see what you did, George!"

"What _I_ did?"

"Barging in like that," Rosy said, tears of frustration streaking her
dusty cheeks. "I must have pressed the wrong button."

Beside her on the floor lay the Touch Command Control Panel. Its
colored lights blinked on and off like a pinball machine.

Charlie came into the kitchen with Timmy in his arms.

"Oh my gosh!" Rosy cried, looking up at the ceiling. A hole was ripped
out in the roof and through it they could see God's blue sky.

       *       *       *       *       *

George grabbed the control panel and they ran outside. They saw the
snooker describing a lovely ellipse over Sunnydale.

"My roast!" Rosy wailed.

"It seems to be waiting for orders," Charlie said.

"Have to get it down," George said, setting the control panel on the
lawn. "Before it slams into some airplane."

He pressed a large red button. The snooker wobbled for a moment, then
broke its orbit and dove for Charlie's house. It smashed in at the back
and came out the front. Beth ran out in a bathrobe, screaming.

"Stop it!" Charlie yelled, flinging himself at the control panel and
pressing a yellow button.

The snooker resumed its orbit, then wobbled and dove into every second
or third house in the street, working the houses from side to side.

Women ran out and stood dazed, clutching their children and watching
the snooker.

Desperately George pressed the blue button. The snooker resumed its
orbit, wobbled, flew once over the street as if to check what all
needed to be hit, then slammed through the whole length of houses from
end to end.

Two houses caught fire. Charlie pressed the largest button of all,
the green one. The snooker righted itself and flew out over the town.
Wherever it struck a small cloud of dust rose in the air.

Four fire-engines turned into the street. Three of them turned around
and raced back to downtown.

They lost sight of the snooker for a while. All they saw was the clouds
of dust mushrooming all over town, and here and there a fire. When the
snooker came in view again, it was rising toward a jet plane circling

"It'll get hit!" Charlie said.

George pressed all four buttons.

The snooker wobbled for a moment. Then it seemed to shake off the
confused commands and rose into the plane's path. The plane veered. The
snooker turned after it and rose steeply. Then it dove and slammed down
through the fuselage.

They all stared as the plane crashed into the supermarket. Above them
the pilot floated down in a parachute. He seemed to see the blinking
lights of the control panel and worked the chute calmly. He landed
through the hole in Rosy's kitchen. He came out of the house eating a
piece of cold chicken.

He wore an air-research uniform with a belt slanted across his chest
and high shiny boots, and in his hand he carried a Rommel whip.

       *       *       *       *       *

He strode up to George and looked down at the blinking control panel.
With the toe of his boot he pushed a black button in the lower left
corner and squinted up at the sky, chewing the chicken. The snooker
obeyed instantly and resumed its original elliptical orbit.

"_Ja_," he said. "Very goot." He gazed out over the town, the clouds of
dust and the fires burning. "Excellent," he said, tossing the chicken
bone over his back. It hit Charlie in the face.

"You must be the dismantling expert," George said hopefully.

"I am more. I am the infentor of pressure snooker." He noticed Rosy
and Beth. "Ladies," he said, clicking his heels and bowing. "I haf the
honor to present myself. Vernher von Wissenschaft, at your serfice."

"Likewise," Rosy said. "Could you get my pressure cooker down before it
does any more damage?"

"Ha ha!" Vernher von Wissenschaft laughed. "Very goot! Pressure
_cooker_! Hm, goot way to deceive brutal enemy. Export five hoondred
tausend pressure cookers to enemy homes. _Ja_, I like it."

"You don't understand," Rosy said. "My roast will be ruined if you
don't get it down pretty soon."

"You cook rosht in my infention?"

"Biggest roast you ever saw," Rosy said. She hugged George. "You see,
this is our wedding anniversary and I'm dying to know how it came out."

"Rosht?" he mused, following the snooker with his eyes and licking his
fingers thoughtfully. "Why not? Maybe I make deal on side with Amerikan
Kitchen Appliance Inkorporated. If rosht comes out goot." He looked
at the broken houses and the firemen spraying the fires. "_Ja_," he
decided, "kill two experiments mit one snooker."

He waited for the snooker to pass overhead. Then he gave the control
panel a sharp kick with his heel, breaking it in two. The snooker
wobbled and exploded. Bits of steel whirred out over Sunnydale. A brown
cloud appeared above them and in a moment they were all drenched in a
rainfall of roast beef.

By the time the gravy hit them it had cooled enough to taste.

"It's wonderful!" Rosy said.

"Chust a minute," Vernher von Wissenschaft said. "Scientific experiment
not so fast." He removed a shred of roast beef from behind his ear and

"Isn't it good?" Rosy asked anxiously.

Vernher von Wissenschaft finished tasting. He thought a moment,
stretched his face. "Excellent," he said.

"Do you _really_ like it?"

"Ja, excellent." He held up a finger. "Perhaps," he suggested, "two
more grains pepper."

       *       *       *       *       *

Two weeks later, when all the fires in the town had been put out and
the damage assessed, a great banquet was held in the Emperor Room to
honor George. In the street a huge crowd of well-wishers waited to
greet him as he came out. The Emperor Room could accommodate only the
town's important personages; there were so many of them that some of
the best families did not bribe the mayor in time to get a seat.

But George managed to get standing room for Mr. Perkins and Mr.

Beside George at the table of honor sat Charlie. Next to him Vernher
von Wissenschaft in a splendid uniform, cracking his Rommel whip
from time to time. Everybody who was anybody was there: the Police
Commissioner, the Gambling Czar, the District Attorney, the Teamsters'
Boss, Senator Smiley, Coroner Schadenfrohm, the Election Commissioner,
the Slum Owner, the Housing Inspector.

"Never before," the mayor orated, "has so much damage been done by such
a little man in such a short time."

Vernher cracked his whip. "Very goot," he said, turning to George.
"Rhetoric, you know."

"The national economy," the mayor continued, "was in danger of
imminent collapse ever since our old-fashioned P.O.--planned
obsolescence--reached a point of no return. We had to produce more and
more until the market was glutted. Of course we would not sell so much
as a toaster to our brutal enemy." (Applause.)

Vernher cracked his whip. "Very goot."

"But now," the mayor said, smiling at George, "the solution to our
economic impasse has been found! This young man had the daring
vision to contribute a brilliant new concept to our economics. S.
D.--Senseless Destruction!" (Applause.)

Vernher cracked his whip. "Excellent."

The mayor raised his arms for silence. "I have good news," he said.
"Congress has just voted one billion dollars for Senseless Destruction
research!" (Wild applause.)

Vernher cracked his whip six times.

"I can promise you, ladies and gentlemen," the mayor continued,
"what happened to our town is only the beginning. As a result of the
visionary experiment by this daring young man, fifty thousand idle
construction workers have already been put back on the job; twenty new
banks have sprung up to handle the flood of mortgages; a new steel
mill will be erected in our world-famous game preserve. But I need not
go on. The industries, businesses and stock markets that will profit
by Senseless Destruction can hardly be numbered. The biggest boom in
history is on! And as long as we have the snooker it will never end!"
(General pandemonium.)

When order was restored, the mayor turned solemnly to George and said:
"In grateful recognition of your...."

After the recognition speech George accepted humbly the following sums,
not listing gifts under $10,000:

$10,000 from Home Builders Assn.

$12,500 from Construction Union, Local 256.

$15,000 from Last Bank of America.

$11,276.88 from Unified Steel Corp.

$20,00 from Chicago Furniture Mart.

$10,000 from Congress in Series E Bonds.

George also received the following appointments:

Special Adviser to Mayor on Senseless Destruction, with nominal yearly
income of $75,000 tax free.

Vice-President of Trojan Life & Casualty Co.

Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Sunnydale Game and Wood Preserve.

Honorary Supreme Commander of Juvenile Senseless Destructionists, to be

       *       *       *       *       *

A year later George sat wearily in the control room of his chateau on
Indian Rock overlooking the town. Snookers buzzed over rooftops like
flies. Clouds of dust rose prosperously everywhere. In the streets
construction gangs raced in speed trucks.

George had begun to wonder how it would all end.

After the novelty had worn off, Senseless Destruction became more
monotonous, more depressing than the Installment Way of Life before
it. People worked harder than ever now and had less to show for it. Of
course, it was unpatriotic to have anything to show for it. Nobody in
his right senses would argue against Round-the-Clock Employment for
All. And if you didn't go around grinning and saying how happy you were
with your seventh mortgage, people began to suspect you.

George had talked it all over with Rosy and she agreed. Sure, it was
all right for _them_--for the time being. But George had begun to
despise himself.

He had to keep sharp control over the snookers. Some of them showed a
tendency to sneak off course, looking for some nice fresh target--like
the chateau, maybe.

The butler came in and presented a calling card on a silver platter.

"Vernher! Show him in at once."

Vernher von Wissenschaft marched in, cracking his Rommel whip. He
looked worried.

"Bad news," Vernher said, shaking hands. "Chust come from the

"How _is_ Charlie?"

"Goot. But too much work. And trouble. These snookers." Vernher strode
to the window and looked out over the town.

"They're doing a fine job," George assured him.

Vernher turned. A grim smile slashed his face. "Too goot. Russian
economy caught up with ours. They vant snookers too. Must have snookers
or they go kaput."

"What's so bad about that? Let them go kaput. Cold war will be over at

Vernher shook his head. "They threaten atomic war if they don't get
snookers. This time for real."

       *       *       *       *       *

George gave a low whistle.

"_Ja_," Vernher sighed. "Charlie had secret cabinet meeting. We cannot
take chance. You must go teach them how."

"Can't you go?"

"I'm leaving for Johannesburg tonight. United Africa also caught up."

"As it is our economy barely keeps ahead of the Russians!"

"_Ja._ But cannot be helped."

"Maybe," George said, "if you invented something bigger, better, more

"You think I haf not tried?"

George stood thinking a long moment. He said, "Vernher, is there no way

"Sure," Vernher laughed. "If we go back to savage pre-civilization."

"All right," George said. "I'll go tell Rosy. Watch the control panel a
moment, will you? Especially the Eastern Section."

"What's the matter with them?"

"They seem to be getting restless lately."

"Nonsense! My snookers haf no emotions."

"Just seems that way sometimes," George said, going out. Their job
could even make stones feel something, he thought.

He ran down to Rosy in the kitchen. She had consented to having
servants only because of her social position, but she still insisted on
personally running the kitchen her own way.

George pulled her into the hallway and put his arms around her and
kissed her.

"What on earth?" she said.

"You must be very brave, darling." He fixed her with his eyes. "Rosy,
this is _it_."



E for Escape.

"We can't talk now," he said. "Vernher is at the controls."

"Can I change?"

"No time. Are the suitcases packed?"

"They're in the garage, behind the beer barrels."

"Go get Timmy," George said. "I'll drive the station wagon round to the
back door."

At the gate to the grounds they stopped and took a last look at the
chateau. They could see Vernher standing in the control window. He
seemed to be enjoying the spectacle in the town below.

Rosy gripped George's arm. "Look!"

A snooker had strayed off its orbit and was hissing in toward the
chateau. It came fast over the grounds, heading straight for the
control window.

Vernher never saw it coming. Probably he did not even hear the glass
crashing as the sharp slivers shot into the room.

       *       *       *       *       *

By the end of May George was still chopping a small clearing in the
Montana woods. George and Charlie's old campsite. It was harder work
than he'd expected. But it was a good site and the tent would be
replaced by a heavy log cabin before winter set in. Sometimes they'd
climb one of the peaks on the Flathead Range and sit gazing at Hungry
Horse Reservoir in the distance.

The trees were stubborn here, blunting the ax. But they'd make it all
right. George sat down to rest.

Rosy waved to him from the potato patch. A strand of smoke rose
peacefully from the stone oven. He waved back and grinned.

Timmy worked his way up bravely to where George sat. He'd gotten used
to his bark shoes and had quite forgotten that he had ever worn any
other kind.

"Can I help you, Daddy?"

Education too, George thought. The _real_ kind. "No, thanks, son," he
said. "You'd better help your mother plant the potatoes."

That evening at supper, as they sat enjoying sundown and the quiet of
woods and mountains, they heard a motor far away. The wind took it away
and then it sounded much nearer, grinding in low gear. George stood up
as a jeep came round the mountain. In it sat a man and a woman.

The jeep came into the clearing, swaying over stones and roots.


"Hi," Charlie said. He helped Beth down.

George yanked Timmy to his feet. "Stand up, son. This is the President
of the United States."

"I got a present for you, George," Charlie said.

"Not another pressure cooker!" Rosy said.

"A peace pipe," Charlie said.

Timmy's big round eyes took him in. "Are _you_ the President?" he asked
in a small, awed voice.

"Not any more," Charlie said.

George stared at him. "You didn't give up the White House?"

"What else could I do?" Charlie said. "I gave it back to the Indians."

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Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.