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´╗┐Title: Hold Onto Your Body!
Author: Lewis, Richard O.
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 "Hold Onto Your Body!" ***

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                         HOLD ONTO YOUR BODY!

                         _By Richard O. Lewis_

                 People do strange things--an example,
              committing suicide for no apparent reason.
              Unless it's time for a change of identity!

           [Transcriber's Note: This etext was produced from
              Imagination Stories of Science and Fantasy
                              October 1953
         Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that
         the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.]


"Fidwell," I said, "why don't you go lose yourself!"

He stared at me uncomprehendingly for a full three seconds. Then a
glimmer of understanding leaped into his beady little eyes and he got
up from the chair before my desk and started happily toward the outer
door of the office.

"Okay, Mr. Nelson," he said over a thin shoulder. "Just whatever you
say."

"Better still," I amended, tapping the glass top of my desk with
manicured nails, "go shoot yourself."

He nodded blithely. "Just as you say, T. J. Just as you say." He
always called me T. J. when he felt that I was giving him a measure of
attention.

"Wait," I said, as he reached the door. "Do you by any chance own a
gun?"

He turned, a frown spreading between his mousy brows. "No," he said,
slowly, "I don't." Then he brightened. "But I could purchase one!"

"Fine," I said, tossing him a bill. "Buy a couple bullets for it, too."

He caught the money, smiled, nodded, and left--closing the door softly
and respectfully behind him.

Humming a merry little tune, I turned to the papers upon my desk. The
partnership contract between James Fidwell and T. J. Nelson. _If one of
the partners should die from any cause, the other partner would become
sole owner of the Remey Company...._

They seemed quite in order. I shuffled them into a neat pile and cut
an intricate little dance step on my way to the files with them. The
partnership was soon to reach a happy culmination.

Suicide has it all over murder, you know. No silly questions from the
police. No mess to clean up. No body to get rid of. (The relatives
usually take care of all that.) No bother at all, really.

I skipped back to the desk, flipped up the telephone, and began poking
a finger into the little holes in the dial.

"Mr. Pasquamine?" I chimed, after hearing the faint click at the other
end of the wire.

"Yes."

"This is T. J.," I said, chummily. "You still own that block of
floating stock in the Remey Company, don't you?"

"Yes."

"Fine! Fine!" I complimented. "Bring it over to my office as soon as
possible. And, by the way," I added, casually, "have it transferred to
my name, you know."

"Yes."

He was in my office in less than an hour, his fat hulk sweating and
panting in the chair before my desk, the heavy lids drooping over his
black eyes. The stocks were piled neatly before me. I thumbed through
them. They seemed to be quite in order. I skipped across the room to
the files with them.

"Pasquamine," I said, returning to my desk and handing him a cheap
cigar, "do you by chance own a gun?"

He shook his fat head. "No."

"Do you have at home, perchance, a rope?" I glanced at his obese body.
"A good stout one?"

"No."

"A knife, perhaps? A good sharp one?"

His oily face beamed quickly. "Ah, Mr. Nelson! That I have! Sharp for
the salami!" He kissed his thick fingers and made a flipping motion
into the air with them. "Sharp for the good big salami!"

"Excellent!" I nodded quick approbation. "Go home and cut your throat
with it."

       *       *       *       *       *

He pushed his hulk up from the chair and walked toward the door.

"And don't bother about coming back to the office afterwards," I
admonished.

He paused, hand on the knob, and turned. Then his round face lighted
up. "Ah, Mr. Nelson!" he chuckled. "You make with the joke!"

"Sure." I smiled. "And now you go home and make with the knife."

That was the last time I saw Pasquamine. Except at the funeral, of
course. He made a lovely corpse--considering everything.

It was the day following the funeral when there came a gentle tapping
at my office door.

"Come in," I said, tossing the half-finished bottle of gin back into
the lower drawer.

They didn't bother about opening the door; they just crawled under it.
A moment later, they had slithered across the floor, had wiggled their
way up to the top on my desk, and had flattened out upon its polished
surface in complete pseudopod relaxation. Gyf and Gyl. My two very good
friends.

"Sorry, boys," I said, after we had exchanged the usual amenities,
"that I had to get rid of your symbiotics in such a messy fashion. But
business is business, you know; and I felt that the time was right...."

Gyf shrugged gelatinously. "I was getting tired of occupying Fidwell,
anyway," he vibrated. "Regular old pussyfoot. Never had no fun."

Gyl burped resoundingly in the middle. "I hope the next body I get
doesn't turn out to be another wine-guzzling, garlic eater." A tremor
ran through him. "It upsets me frightfully."

"Time and the rising tide of accidents will tell," I soothed.

"I'm cold," trembled Gyf, "since I ain't got no body to keep me warm."

"You might try my secretary," I offered, playfully. "There's a body for
you!"

"You know I can't," he vibrated. "She ain't even dead yet!"

"Nearest thing to it," I commented, "this side of the precinct morgue."

That brought a shake of mirth from Gyl who really has a truly
remarkable sense of humor.

Gyf, ignoring the levity, slid over to the little intercom box at one
side of the desk, crawled in through one of the slits, curled up, and
promptly went to sleep. It seems that Fidwell, along with his other
faults, had also been a sufferer of insomnia.

"I suppose," I said to Gyl, conversationally, "you'll be wanting a new
body now...."

"Not necessarily. Not right away." He edged away from the blotter
my desk fan was blowing in his direction. "Want to wait--" A burp
nearly flipped him again. "--until these garlic fumes effervesce more
completely from my system."

"It worked out wonderfully well, though," I said, "even though you
did have to put up with the garlic for awhile." I brought out the gin
bottle from the lower drawer. "It was certainly fortunate that Gyf
was on hand to occupy Fidwell just after his wife murdered him." I
unstoppered the bottle and raised it to my lips. "To Fidwell, departed
partner and erstwhile owner of the Remey Company!"

"And the joke was on Mrs. Fidwell," sparkled Gyl's sense of humor.
"Just imagine: seeing her husband up walking around, hale and hearty,
just a half hour after she had throttled the life out of him with her
own two hands!"

"No wonder she had to be locked up," I chuckled, pouring a few drops of
gin on the polished glass near my companion.

"My getting the body of Pasquamine, owner of the floating stock, wasn't
so bad either," he reminded me, isolating a drop of gin and flowing
around it.

I admitted the fact.

"He nearly crushed me, too, when he tumbled," Gyl reminded. "I'd been
following him two weeks, waiting for his fat heart to do a flopperoo."

We both laughed. I took another drink, and Gyl osmosed a nip.

       *       *       *       *       *

Finally, I leaned across the desk. "Listen, Gyl," I said, coldly
serious. "Now that this little deal is over, how would you like to get
in on something else? Something really _big_?"

He instantly became all ears. (Naturally, only a pseudopod can do it.)

"After I sell out Remey," I continued, "we'll have ample funds. So-o,
if we moved over to Washington, D. C.... If you and Gyf could get in
touch with a couple tottering congressmen who are about ready to depart
from this vale of tears...."

Gyl caught on immediately. "T. J.," he complimented, "you've _got_
something!"

He fell silent, and I knew he was letting the gin and the thought
trickle through him, savoring both from various angles. Then he
vibrated, dreamily, "I've always wanted to be a congressman. Or--or
a cabinet member. Or--" His vibration dropped to little more than a
whisper, "--or a _president_!"

"Sorry," I said, "but I believe he is already possessed."

Gyl flowed around another drop of gin. "Oh, well," he said dismissing
the ambition, "guess he doesn't have much to say about things, anyway."
Then he brightened. "But there are some mighty fine bureaus and
departments there. We could wiggle our way into one of those. A few
million dollars here and there wouldn't be missed."

"Atta boy! I'll take you and Gyf over to Washington in the morning,
then I'll come back here and dispose of the business while the two of
you are getting established." It sounded like a good idea. Within a few
years we'd be rolling in the filthy stuff.

I poured a few more drops of gin on the glass top, then raised the
bottle. "Here's to happy days in the Pentagon!" I toasted.

Our spirits were soon soaring to great heights, and, as usual under
such circumstances, Gyl began talking about the "good old days" when
you could pick up a likely corpse almost anywhere, anytime.

"Used to be so much simpler then," he commented, flowing around one
of the fresh drops. "Now you have to beat the embalmer!" He chuckled.
"Fairly close race at times, too! But it keeps one on one's pseudotoes,
so to speak!" A combined burp and hiccough nearly flopped him off the
desk.

After he had regained his equilibrium we spent an enjoyable
half-hour talking of cadavers, funeral homes, the comparative merits
of inhabiting youthful or wealthy bodies, and other delightfully
stimulating subjects. Then we began to sing songs, old and new.

We had finished the chorus of "We Have All the Dough of Remey" for the
third time and were just getting warmed up on an extemporization of
"We'll Carry On in the Pentagon" when the office door flew suddenly
open and two Federal boys stepped in, followed by my stupid-looking
secretary.

They came quickly to the desk. One of them grabbed a handful of Gyl
with one hand and pointed a gun at me with the other. "Just stay as you
are," the officer cautioned.

My dumb secretary stared at me with round, innocent eyes. "I couldn't
help hearing everything you said, Mr. Nelson," she chirped, half
apologetically. "Your intercom box was open. Must be a short in it
somewhere. Or a loose connection...."

The other officer picked up the little box and shook it. A surprised
Gyf felt out from between the slats....

       *       *       *       *       *

They have Gyf and Gyl in a little bottle now, tightly stoppered and
ready for shipment back home to Venus. They'll be placed on the next
space ship heading out.

There is a stupid Terrestrial law, you know, which makes it mandatory
that all Venusians be apprehended on sight or extracted from any body
they may be occupying and sent back to Venus in all possible haste.

And so I shall soon be extracted from the body of T. J. Nelson and his
neck will bend double in the middle again just the way it was when I
found him shortly after his accident. Then, in a little bottle of my
own, I shall accompany Gyf and Gyl homeward.

But, don't worry, I'll be back! I'll be back just as soon as I can
hitch a ride on a returning spaceboat!

So take good care of yourself, my friend, and don't catch pneumonia or
step in front of a truck or anything like that--_until I return_.



*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Hold Onto Your Body!" ***

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