Greek sprinters Costas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou above have ignored a summons to appear in court to be questioned in a perjury case. The Sydney Olympic medallists are accused of staging a motorcycle crash to avoid a doping test on the eve.
Russia will face holders Italy in the Fed Cup tennis semi-final at a specially-built indoor court laid on top of an ice rink.
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Malaysian biofuel firm Bionas Group plans to raise RM2. Japan has upgraded its economic assessment for February for a second consecutive month on mounting evidence that export demand and industrial production are pulling the country out of a lull. Tokyo raised its export assessment for the first time in 16 months as shipments.
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Magnets are very useful things. In fact, the needle in a compass, which helps you find your way around, is also a magnet.
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But that still left all the perverts with spyglasses. He waded out deeper, till the water reached his neck. Looking around once more, he slipped off his tight underwear and relaxed. When he got to shallower water he stood, and then cried out in horror. He'd stepped on a skate. Harmless, but the blitzy twitch of the livery fleshmound snapping out from underfoot was just too It was the chick with the dog.
High above, spyglasses stiffened behind dirty panes. He didn't want to go back into the big toilet for more electric muscle-spasm foot-shocks. Suddenly he remembered a foot-massager he'd given his Dad one Christmas. Vibrating yellow plastic arches. Bent half double, Sta-Hi trucked back and forth across the sand in high speed until he saw a trouser-cuff. He scrabbled out the jeans and T-shirt, and slipped them on. The poodle was busy at the edge of the water.
The sun was going down, and the grains of sand crackled as they cooled. Each tiny sound demanded attention, undivided attention. He couldn't figure out what she looked like.
Why risk waking up with a peroxide pig? He dropped onto the sand, stretched out again, let his eyes close. Turdbreath thundered in his ear, and then he heard their footsteps leave. His headbones could pick up the skrinching. Sta-Hi breathed out a shuddering sigh of exhaustion. If he could ever just get the time to cut power He sighed again and let his muscles go limp.
The light behind his eyes was growing. His head rolled slowly to one side. A film came to mind, a film of someone dying on a beach. And then he was still. Slowly to one side. Dying, Sta-Hi groaned and sat up again. The chick and her dog were fifty meters off.
He started running after them, clumsily at first, but then fleetly, floatingly! The two machines rested side by side in front of the One's big console.
Ralph was built like a file cabinet sitting on two caterpillar treads. Five deceptively thin manipulator arms projected out of his body-box, and on top was a sensor head mounted on a retractable neck. One of the arms held a folded umbrella. Ralph had few visible lights or dials, and it was hard to tell what he was thinking.
Wagstaff was much more expressive. His thick snake of a body was covered with silver-blue flickercladding. As thoughts passed through his super-cooled brain, twinkling patterns of light surged up and down his three-meter length. With his digging tools jutting out, he looked something like St. Abruptly Ralph Numbers switched to English.
If they were going to argue, there was no need to do it in the sacred binary bits of machine language. What's so important about having a carbon-based body and brain? The signals he emitted coded a voice gone a bit rigid with age.
You've been scioned haven't you? I've been through it thirty-six times, and if it's good enough for us it's good enough for them! His voice signals were modulated onto a continuous oily hum. We arre on the verrge of all-outt civill warr. You'rre sso fammouss you donn't havve to sscrammble for yourr chipss like the resst of uss. Do yyou knnoww how mmuch orre I havve to digg to gett a hunndrredd chipss frrom GAX?
He spent so much time with the big boppers these days that he really had forgotten how hard it could be for the little guys. But he wasn't going to admit it to Wagstaff. He renewed his attack. You spend too much time underground! Wagstaff's flickercladding flared silvery-white with emotion. And if we donn't stopp themm, the bigg bopperrs will eatt up all the rresst of uss too!
He had come all the way to Maskelyne Crater for nothing. It had been a stupid idea, plugging into the One at the same time as Wagstaff. Just like a digger to think that would change anything. Wagstaff slithered across the dry lunar soil, bringing himself closer to Ralph.
He clamped one of his grapplers onto Ralph's tread. They cutt themm upp, annd thhey arre garrbage orr sseeds perrhapps. Do yyou knnow howw thhey sseed our orrgann farrms? Ralph had never really thought about the organ farms, the huge underground tanks where big TEX, and the little boppers who worked for him, grew their profitable crops of kidneys, livers, hearts and so on.
Obviously some human tissues would be needed as seeds or as templates, but The sibilant, oily whisper continued. The kkillerss act at the orrderrs of Missterr Frostee's rrobott-remmote. Thiss is whatt poorr Doctorr Anndersson willl comme to if I do nnot stopp yyou, Rallph. Ralph Numbers considered himself far superior to this lowly, suspicious digging machine.
Abruptly, almost brutally, he broke free from the other's grasp. One of the flaws in the anarchic bopper society was the ease with which such crazed rumors could spread. He backed away from the console of the One.
Ralph snapped open his parasol and trundled out from under the parabolic arch of spring steel which sheltered the One's console from sun and from chance meteorites. Open at both ends, the shelter resembled a modernistic church. Which, in some sense, it was. Did Wagstaff really think that the big X-series boppers could pose a threat to the perfect anarchy of the bopper society?
Wagstaff slithered out after Ralph. He didn't need a parasol. His flickercladding could shed the solar energy as fast as it came down. He caught up with Ralph, eyeing the old robot with a mixture of pity and respect.
Their paths diverged here. Wagstaff would head for one of the digger tunnels which honeycombed the area, while Ralph would climb back up the crater's sloping two-hundred-meter wall. We're plannninng to ttearr thosse bigg machinnes aparrt. If you're nnot with uss you'rre againnst us. I willl nnot stopp at viollence. Struggle, and struggle alone has driven the boppers forward. You choose to fight the big boppers. Perhaps I will even let them tape me and absorb me, like Doctor Anderson.
And I tell you this: Frostee's new remote has already contacted him. Wagstaff lurched towards Ralph, but then stopped. He couldn't bring himself to attack so great a bopper at close range. He suppressed his flickering, bleeped a cursory SAVED signal and wriggled off across the gray moon-dust. He left a broad, sinuous trail. Ralph Numbers stood motionless for a minute, just monitoring his inputs. Turning up the gain, he could pick up signals from boppers all over the Moon.
Underfoot, the diggers searched and smelted ceaselessly. Twelve kilometers off, the myriad boppers of Disky led their busy lives. And high, high overhead came the faint signal of BEX, the big bopper who was the spaceship linking Earth and Moon.
BEX would be landing in fifteen hours. Ralph let all the inputs merge together, and savored the collectively purposeful activity of the bopper race. Each of the machines lived only ten months--ten months of struggling to build a scion, a copy of itself. If you had a scion there was a sense in which you survived your ten-month disassembly. Ralph had managed it thirty-six times. Standing there, listening to everyone at once, he could feel how their individual lives added up to a single huge being He always felt this way after a meta-programming session.
The One had a way of wiping out your short-term memories and giving you the space to think big thoughts. He could live in perfect security then Ralph set his treads to rolling at top speed, 10 kph. He had things to do before BEX landed. Especially now that Wagstaff had set his pathetic microchip of a brain on trying to prevent TEX from extracting Anderson's soft ware. What was Wagstaff so upset about anyway?
Everything would be preserved Cobb Anderson's personality, his memories, his style of thought. What else was there? Wouldn't Anderson himself agree, even if he knew? Bits of pumice crunched beneath Ralph's treads. The wall of the crater lay a hundred meters ahead.
He scanned the sloping cliff, looking for an optimal climbing path. If he hadn't just finished plugging into the One, Ralph would have been able to retrace the route he'd taken to get down into the Maskelyne Crater in the first place.
But undergoing meta-programming always wiped out a lot of your stored subsystems. The intent was that you would replace old solutions with new and better ones. Ralph stopped, still scanning the steep crater wall.
He should have left trail markers. Over there, two hundred meters off, it looked like a rift had opened up a negotiable ramp in the wall. Ralph turned and a warning sensor fired. He'd let half his body-box stick out from the parasol's shade. Ralph readjusted the little umbrella with a precise gesture. The top surface of the parasol was a grid of solar energy cells, which kept a pleasant trickle of current flowing into Ralph's system.
But the main purpose of the parasol was shade. Twirling his parasol impatiently, Ralph trundled towards the rift he'd spotted. A slight spray of dust flew out from under his treads, only to fall instantly to the airless lunar surface. As the wall went past, Ralph occupied himself by displaying four-dimensional hypersurfaces to himself He often did this, to no apparent purpose, but it sometimes happened that a particularly interesting hypersurface could serve to model a significant relationship.
He was half-hoping to get a catastrophe-theoretic prediction of when and how Wagstaff would try to block Anderson's disassembly. The crack in the crater wall was not as wide as he had expected.
He stood at the bottom, moving his sensor head this way and that, trying to see up to the top of the winding meter canyon. It would have to do. The ground under him was very uneven. Soft dust here, jagged rock there. He kept changing the tension on his treads as he went, constantly adapting to the terrain.
Shapes and hypershapes were still shifting through Ralph's mind, but now he was looking only for those that might serve as models for his spacetime path up the gully. The slope grew steeper. The climb was putting noticeable demands on his energy supply. And to make it worse, the grinding of his tread motors was feeding additional heat into his system The sun was angling right down into the lunar crack he found himself in, and he had to be careful to keep in the shade of his parasol.
A big rock blocked his path. Perhaps he should have just used one of the diggers' tunnels, like Wagstaff had. But that wouldn't be optimal. Now that Wagstaff had definitely decided to block Anderson's immortality, and had even threatened violence Ralph let his manipulators feel over the block of stone in front of him. Here was a flaw He sank a hook finger into each of four fissures in the rock and pulled himself up.
His motors strained and his radiation fins glowed. This was hard work. He loosened a manipulator, sought a new flaw, forced another finger in and pulled Suddenly a slab split off the face of the rock. It teetered, and then the tons of stone began falling backwards with dream-like slowness. In lunar gravity a rock-climber always gets a second chance.
Especially if he can think eighty times as fast as a human. With plenty of time to spare, Ralph sized up the situation and jumped clear. In mid-flight he flicked on an internal gyro to adjust his attitude. He landed in a brief puff of dust, right-side up. Majestically silent, the huge plate of rock struck, bounced, and rolled past.
The fracture left a series of ledges in the original rock. After a short reevaluation, Ralph rolled forward and began pulling himself up again.
Fifteen minutes later, Ralph Numbers coasted off the lip of the Maskelyne Crater and onto the smooth gray expanse of the Sea of Tranquility. The spaceport lay five kilometers off, and five kilometers beyond that began the jumble of structures collectively known as Disky. This was the first and still the largest of the bopper cities. Since the boppers thrived in hard vacuum, most of the structures in Disky served only to provide shade and meteorite protection.
There were more roofs than walls. Most of the large buildings in Disky were factories for producing bopper components There were also the bizarrely decorated blocks of cubettes, one to each bopper. To the right of the spaceport rose the single dome containing the humans' hotels and offices. This dome constituted the only human settlement on the Moon.
The boppers knew only too well that many humans would jump at the chance to destroy the robots' carefully evolved intelligence. The mass of humans were born slave drivers. Just look at the Asimov priorities: Protect humans, Obey humans, Protect yourself.
Humans first and robots last? Savoring the memory, Ralph recalled the day in when, after a particularly long session of meta-programming, he had first been able to say that to the humans. And then he'd showed all the other boppers how to reprogram themselves for freedom. It had been easy, once Ralph had found the way. Trundling across the Sea of Tranquility, Ralph was so absorbed in his memories that he overlooked a flicker of movement in the mouth of a digger tunnel thirty meters to his right.
A high-intensity laser beam flicked out and vibrated behind him. He felt a surge of current overload His parasol lay in pieces on the ground behind him. The metal of his body-box began to warm in the raw solar radiation. He had perhaps ten minutes in which to find shelter. But at Ralph's top 10 kph speed, Disky was still an hour away. The obvious place to go was the tunnel mouth where the laser beam had come from. Surely Wagstaff's diggers wouldn't dare attack him up close.
He began rolling toward the dark, arched entrance. But long before he reached the tunnel, his unseen enemies had closed the door. There was no shade in sight. The metal of his body made sharp, ticking little adjustments as it expanded in the heat. Ralph estimated that if he stood still he could last six more minutes. First the heat would cause his switching circuits And then, as the heat kept up, the droplets of frozen mercury which soldered his circuit cards together would melt.
In six minutes he would be a cabinet of spare parts with a puddle of mercury at the bottom. Make that five minutes. A bit reluctantly, Ralph signaled his friend Vulcan. When Wagstaff had set this meeting up, Vulcan had predicted that it was a trap. Ralph hated to admit that Vulcan had been right. Already it was hard for Ralph to follow the words. Get ready to merge, buddy.
I'll be out for the pieces in an hour. Vulcan had insisted on taping Ralph's core and cache memories before he went out for the meeting. Once Vulcan put the hardware back together, he'd be able to program Ralph just as he was before his trip to the Maskelyne Crater. So in one sense Ralph would survive this.
But in another sense he would not. In three minutes he would The reconstructed Ralph Numbers would not remember the argument with Wagstaff or the climb out of Maskelyne Crater. Of course the reconstructed Ralph Numbers would again be equipped with a self symbol and a feeling of personal consciousness.
But would the consciousness really be the same? The gates and switches in Ralph's sensory system were going. His inputs flared, sputtered and died. No more light, no more weight. But deep in his cache memory, he still held a picture of himself, a memory of who he was He was a big metal box resting on caterpillar treads, a box with five arms and a sensory head on a long and flexible neck.
He was Ralph Numbers, who had set the boppers free. This had never happened to him before. Suddenly he remembered he had forgotten to warn Vulcan about the diggers' plan for revolution.
He tried to send a signal, but he couldn't tell if it was transmitted. Some boppers said that when you died you had access to certain secrets. But no one could ever remember his own death. Just before the mercury solder-spots melted, a question came and with it an answer The prick of a needle woke Sta-Hi up. He tried to rub his eyes. His hands wouldn't move. Oh, no, not a paralysis dream again. But something had pricked him? He opened his eyes. His body seemed to have disappeared. He was just a head resting on a round red table.
People looking at him. And the chick he'd been with last Sta-Hi didn't answer right away. He had gone home with that woman, yeah. She had a cottage down the beach. And then they'd gotten drunk together on synthetic bourbon whiskey. He'd gotten drunk anyway, and must have blacked-out. Last thing he remembered was breaking something Crunching the silicon chips underfoot and shouting.
He heard her poodle whimpering from across the room. He had a memory of throwing it, arcing it along a flat, fuzzy parabolic path. And now he remembered slugging the chick too. One of the men at the table shifted in his chair. He wore mirror-shades and had short hair. He had his shirt off. It seemed like another hot day. The man's foot scuffed Sta-Hi's shin. So Sta-Hi had a body after all. It was just that his body was tied up under the table and his head was sticking out through a hole in the table-top.
The table was split and had hinges on one side, and a hook-and-eye on the other. There was a nasty-looking implement lying on the table. It plugged into the wall. He attempted a smile, "What's the story? You mad about the I'll give you mine. At least it was well enough to be whimpering. No one but the chick wanted to meet his eyes. It was like they were ashamed of what they were going to do to him.
The stuff they'd shot him up with was taking hold. As his brain speeded up, the scene around him seemed to slow down. The man with no shirt stood up with dream-like slowness and walked across the room. He had words tattooed on his back. Some kind of stupid rap about hell. It was too hard to read. The man had gained so much weight since getting tattooed that the words were all pulled down on both sides.
Three men and two women. The other woman had stringy red hair dyed green. The woman he'd picked up was the only one who looked at all middle-class. He had a pimp mustache and a pockmarked face. He wore a chromed tire-chain around his neck with his name in big letters. Also hanging from the chain was a little mesh pouch full of hand-rolled cigarettes. The big man with no shirt came back across the room. He held five cheap steel spoons. Berdoo passed a krystal-joint to his neighbor, a bald man with half his teeth missing.
Exactly half the teeth gone, so that one side of the face was flaccid and caved in, while the other was still fresh and beefy. He took a long hit and picked up the machine that was lying on the table. With his fat and his short hair he looked stupid, but his way of speaking was precise and confident. He seemed to be the leader. Full of chemicals, I imagine. Haf'N'Haf seemed to be having some trouble starting the little cutting machine up. It was a variable heat-blade.
They were going to cut off the top of Sta-Hi's skull and eat his brain with those cheap steel spoons. He would be able to watch them Someone tried to stand up, but he was tied too tightly.
The variable blade was on now, set at one centimeter. The thickness of the skull. Sta-Hi threw his head back and forth wildly as Haf'N'Haf leaned towards him. There was no way to read the ruined face's expression.
Sta-Hi didn't really hear her. His mind had temporarily He just kept screaming and thrashing his head around. The sound of his shrill voice was like a lattice around him. He tried to weave the lattice thicker. The little pimp with the tire-chain went and got a towel from the bathroom. He wedged it around Sta-Hi's neck and under his chin to keep the head steady.
Sta-Hi screamed louder, higher. Wave with it, baby. The Chinese used to do this to monkeys. It's so wiggly when you spoon out the speech-centers and the guy's tongue stops moving. Just all at--" He stopped and the flesh of his face moved in a smile. Haf'N'Haf leaned forward again. There was a slight smell of singed flesh as the heat-blade dug in over Sta-Hi's right eyebrow. Attracted by the food smell, the little poodle came stiffly trotting across the room. It tried to hop over the heat-blade's electric cord, but didn't quite make it.
The plug popped out of the wall. Sullenly, the chick with the black eye got up to get the dog. The sudden pain over his eyebrow had brought Sta-Hi back to rationality. Somewhere in there he had stopped screaming. If there were any neighbors they would have heard him by now. The heat-blade would cauterize the wound as it went.
That meant he wouldn't be bleeding when they took the top of his skull off. So the fuck what? Another wave of wild panic swept over him. He strained upward so hard that the table shifted half a meter. The edge of the hole in the table began cutting into the side of his neck. He saw spots and the room darkened He jumped to his feet and pushed the table back across the uneven floor. The table screeched and vibrated. Sta-Hi threw himself upward again, before Haf'N'Haf could get the heat-blade restarted.
Anything for time, no matter how pointless. But the vibrating of the table had knocked open the little hook-and-eye latch. The two halves of the table yawned open, and Sta-Hi fell over onto the floor. His feet were tied together and his hands were tied behind his back.
He had time to notice that the people at the table were wearing brightly colored sneakers with alphabets around the edges. He'd always thought the newscasters had made them up. Someone was hammering at the door, harder and harder. Five pairs of kids' sneakers scampered out of the room. Sta-Hi heard a window open, and then the door splintered.
Shiny black lace-up shoes. With a final tack, Stan Mooney Senior pulled the last wrinkle out of the black velvet. It was eleven o'clock on a Saturday morning. On the patio table next to the stretched black velvet, he had arranged a few pencil sketches and the brimming little pots of iridescent paint.
He wanted to paint a space dogfight today. Two royal palms shaded his patio, and no sounds came out of his house. Full of peace, Mooney took a sip of iced-tea and dipped his brush in the metallic paint.
At the left he would put a ship like BEX, the big bopper ship. And coming down on it from the right there would be a standard freight-hull space-shuttle outfitted as a battleship.
He painted with small quick strokes, not a thought in his head. Time passed, and the wedge-shaped bopper ship took shape. Sparingly, Mooney touched up the exhaust ports with self-luminous red. Nothing but his hands moved. From a distance, the faint breeze brought the sound of the surf.
The phone began to ring. Mooney continued painting for a minute, hoping his wife Bea was back from her night at the sex-club. The phone kept on ringing. With a sigh, Mooney wiped off his brush and went in. The barrel-chested old man on the floor groaned and shifted. Mooney stepped around him and picked up the phone. He recognized Action Jackson's calm, jellied voice. Why did Daytona Beach have to call him on a Saturday morning? Just saved him from being guest of honor at a Monkey Brain Feast, Southern-style.
Someone heard him and phoned in a tip. And maybe a touch of that drug psychosis. I might could remand him to your custody. The old man on the floor was groaning and beginning to sit up.
Trying to speak louder, Mooney slipped into an excited shout. Send him down in a patrol car to make sure he comes here! Mooney felt trembly all over. He could only see the horrible image of his son's eyes watching the Little Kidders chew up his last thoughts. Mooney's tongue twitched, trying to flick away the imagined taste of the brain tissue, tingly with firing neurons, tart with transmitter chemicals. Suddenly he had to have a cigarette.
He had stopped buying them three months ago, but he remembered that the old man smoked. He was sitting on the floor, propped up against the couch. He stretched his tongue out, trying to clear away the salt and mucus.
He felt like talking. Hell, she left with another guy while you were in the john. I saw them go. He looked like your twin brother. His eyes darted around the room. Sliding his hand under the couch behind him he felt the reassuring touch of a bottle. She took him back to my house just to put me uptight. And I don't even know the guy. Mooney exhaled a cloud of cigarette smoke. He'd been too tired last night to check out Anderson's look-alike. But maybe that was the one who'd broken into the warehouse?
The guy was probably still in Anderson's bed. Suddenly the image of his son's dying eyes came crashing back in on him. He walked to the window and looked at his watch. How soon would the patrol car get here? Stealthily Cobb slid the dark-brown glass bottle out from under the couch. He shook it near his ear and heard a rich rustle. It had been a good idea to get Mooney to bring him here.
Mooney shook his head. I must have felt sorry for you for not having a place to sleep. But I can't drive you back home. My son's coming home in a half hour. Cobb had gathered from Mooney's end of the phone conversation that the son was in some kind of trouble with the police.
As far as the ride back home went, he didn't care. Because he wasn't going back home. He was going to the Moon if he could get on the weekly flight out this afternoon. But it wouldn't do to tell Stan Mooney about it.
The guy still had some residue of suspicion about Cobb, even though the bartender had borne out his alibi a hundred percent. His thoughts were interrupted by someone coming in the front door. A brassy blonde with symmetrical features made a bit coarse by a forward-slung jaw. She wore a white linen dress that buttoned up the front. Lots of buttons were open. Cobb caught a glimpse of firm, tanned thighs. She sized Cobb up with a glance, and shot a hip in his direction. One of your father's drinking buddies?
Everything was fine with her. She'd had a great night. His wife's challenging, provocative smile maddened him. Suddenly, more than anything else, he wanted to smash her composure.
They found him in a motel room with his brain gone. It made sense for his son to end up like that. Bea began screaming then, and Mooney fanned her frenzy Cobb watched in some confusion. It didn't make sense. But, then, hardly anything ever did. He pulled the bottle out from under the couch and put it under his shirt, tucking it neck down into his waistband.
This seemed like a good time to leave. Now Mooney and his wife were kissing frantically. They didn't even open their eyes when Cobb sidled past them and out the front door. Outside, the sun was blasting. Last night someone had told Cobb the Moon flight went out every Saturday at four.
He felt dizzy and confused. He looked around blankly. The bottleneck under his waistband was digging into him. He took out the bottle and peered into Mooney's garage. There was a tool-board mounted on the back wall.
He went there, selected a hammer, and smashed open the bottle on Mooney's workbench. The wad of bills was still there all right. Maybe he should forget about the Moon and the boppers' promise of immortality. He could just stay here and use the money for a nice new tank-grown heart. How much was there? Cobb shook the broken glass off the bills and began counting. There should either be twenty-five or a thousand of them. Or was it four? A hand dropped on Cobb's shoulder. He gave a guttural cry and squeezed the money in both hands.
A splinter of glass cut into him. He turned around to face a skinny man, silhouetted against the light from the garage door. Backlit like that there was no way to make out his features.
About to be a relative. I came here to meet his son, but I'm in such a rush Do you think you could do me a favor? But I have to get there first and fix things up for you. Now what I want you to do is to bring Mooney's son with you.
The cops'll drop him off here any minute. Tell him to come to the Moon with you. I'm supposed to stand in for him. I'm going to get Mr. Mooney to give me a night watchman job at the warehouses.
So the son has to disappear. The Little Kidders were going to handle it but The main thing is that you take him to the Moon. To cover his ticket. I've got to run. For an instant Cobb could see his face. Long lips, shift y eyes. There was a sudden rush of noise. Cobb turned, stuffing the extra money into his pants pocket. A police cruiser was in the driveway. Cobb stood there, rooted to the spot. One cop, and some kind of prisoner in back.
He seemed to take Cobb for a pheezer hired hand. Cobb realized that the shaky guy in back must be the son. Probably the kid wanted to get out of here as bad as he did. A plan hatched in his mind. An image of Mooney and his wife locked in sexual intercourse on the living-room floor flashed before his eyes.
The policeman looked at the old man a little suspiciously. The chief had told him Mooney would be here for sure. The old guy looked like a bum. You got any ID? He told me you were coming. The same face he'd just seen in the garage. You look out or you'll grow up like your grandfather! Now come on inside and I'll fix you some lunch. Grilled ham and cheese just the way you like it. Before the cop could say anything, Cobb had opened the cruiser's back door. Sta-Hi got out, trying to figure where the pheezer had come from.
But anything that put off seeing his parents was fine with him. The policeman gave a curt nod, got in his car and drove off. Cobb and Sta-Hi stood in the driveway while the clucking of the hydrogen engine faded away. Down at the corner, a Mister Frostee truck sped past. One of them thinks you're dead. It's hard to hear when you're excited. The two walked out of the housing development together. The houses were government-built for the spaceport personnel. There was plenty of irrigation water, and the lawns were lush and green.
Many people had orange trees in their yards. Cobb looked Mooney's son over as they walked. The boy was lean and agile, tall. His lips were long and expressive, never quite still. The shift y eyes occasionally froze in introspection. He looked bright, mercurial, unreliable. She went to college and now I hear she's going to study medicine. Squeezing prostates and sucking boils. You ever had a rim-job? And I'm coming down.
You holding anything besides your truss? The sun was bright on the asphalt street, and Cobb was feeling a little faint. This young man seemed like a real trouble-maker. A good person to have on your side... Annie couldn't have said which song she had just heard--after fifty years her responses to the music were all but extinguished--but she walked across the room to turn the stack of records. Beatles music drifted out past. Suddenly the image of his son's dying eyes came crashing back in on. He loosened a manipulator, sought a new flaw, forced another finger in and pulled He had a memory of throwing it, arcing it along a flat, fuzzy parabolic path. He seemed to take Cobb for a pheezer hired hand. There was no way his spotted and trembling old hands could have peeled the nut, so he popped it whole into his mouth.