The Project Gutenberg eBook of Monster

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Title: Monster

Author: Joseph Samachson

Release date: December 5, 2020 [eBook #63965]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Greg Weeks, Mary Meehan and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at




Colonizing Mars was hell, because of one
thing—large, hungry critters. They flew,
crawled, snarled, howled, burrowed up under
the floors, chewed at doors and windows. And
then, to make things worse, came the Monster....

[Transcriber's Note: This etext was produced from
Planet Stories July 1951.
Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that
the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.]

There was a faint scratching at the door, so faint that Alice Kidd, who had been listening fearfully for precisely that sound, was at first not certain that she heard it. But, as she came close to the doorway, it was no longer possible to doubt, and a chill went through her at the thought of the creature panting eagerly on the other side. Now she could hear it whine, and, despite her knowledge that the gesture was an idle one, she could not help once more feeling the bolt behind the door. Then she made sure that the shutters too were securely barred, although these were usually in less danger; most of the animals could not apply pressure very far above the ground.

Small was staring at her, not particularly frightened, but very much interested. Her face, she thought, must be pale through the radiation tan. Ordinarily, there was nothing timid or fragile about her, or she would never have accompanied her husband to Mars; but all the same, she felt weak and helpless before the danger that threatened. And she shuddered as her five-year-old son asked, "Can it get in, Mommy?"

"I hope not, darling. Come, let's go into the other room and bolt the connecting door. And then I'll call up Daddy."

"Does it want to eat us, Mommy?"

Alice shuddered again. "Don't talk about it," she said, and carried him quickly into the next room. When the door was bolted, she pressed the contact button, asked for Mr. Kidd, and almost at once was speaking to Anthony.

He listened quietly, his dark face in the visor as grave as if he were concerned with some problem of engineering, and then said in a tone of reassurance, "Don't worry, it can't get in. Not under a couple of hours, anyway. And even if it does, you have that gun."

"That explosive thing?"

"It'll do, if you keep your nerve. But I don't think you'll have to put it to the test. I'm coming home now, anyway, and I'll take care of our friend. Have any idea what it is?"

"I haven't seen it. It just whines a little, and keeps scratching, very quietly."

"Probably a badgerine. Hope it doesn't try to tunnel under the floor. All right, sugar, keep your shirt on, and the Mars Marines will be there to the rescue."

"Take care of yourself."

"And how. Think I want you to be left with all that insurance money and fall victim to some fortune-hunter who sees nothing in you but your beautiful bank account?"

He hung up, and Alice waited, trembling. In the room where she was, she could no longer hear the straining animal, but she knew that it hadn't gone away. She tried to get interested in some of Small's childish treasures. The blocks he had long outgrown, and they kept the things only because there was no one to give them to, and it seemed silly to throw anything away here. Besides, Alice had the idea that her son might have a brother or a sister some day soon, if they ever decided it was possible to raise a baby here, and toys were difficult to import. As for Small's magic hypno-ray ring, his imitation teleport bracelet, and his genuine imitation home teleset and similar objects, all obtained either by sending away one quarter credit in stamps plus a cereal box-top or by selling a special perfumed soap to his neighbors—which in this case meant his parents—she had always found it difficult to arouse any interest in them. She had, in fact, been slightly annoyed at Anthony's indulgence of his son's desire to obtain them. And it was impossible to simulate interest now, with that animal at the door.

And then, suddenly, the animal wasn't there any longer. She didn't hear any noise from Anthony's gun. It wasn't that kind. She felt simply the shock of contact as the missile went through the creature's body and shook the house. Then came a long, despairing chorus of yells, and after that, for a moment, silence. She withdrew the bolt of the connecting door, and then the buzzer sounded.

When Anthony came in, she fell into his arms. Small, however, wasn't having any emotional excitement. He said, "What was it, Daddy? Was it really a badgerine?"

"Not this time, son. Just an octerocap."

"As if the other wasn't bad enough," said Alice faintly. The octerocap was an eight-headed wolf, and was as likely to kill newcomers by the fright its appearance induced as much as by its numerous teeth. "Anthony, you must simply get me another gun like yours."

"You can take mine if you really feel unsafe."

"You know I wouldn't take it. You need yours to get home with. And there isn't so much danger as long as you're within calling range. But in case of emergency—"

He nodded. "Do you think I don't realize that? I've been cabling that idiot, Tapling, for another gun ever since we got here. Not a chance."

"But why? Does he think that the government sends engineers to Mars for the purpose of having them killed and eaten by animals?"

"Tapling's is not to reason why, it's but to do according to regulations and let others die. He says that Regulation L34XC3 of Code 3 forbids it."

"The stupid fool!"

"Call him by his right name. That Idiot Tapling, or T. I. Tapling, as we usually denote him at the office."

"Is he the same way to them?"

"And how! Operations have been dragging along at half of capacity because he says we haven't filled out the necessary forms for those spare parts we need. And we can't fill them out, because the forms have to be countersigned by the vice-president in charge of Operation M54, and that gentleman is vacationing somewhere in space with a new bride, and can't be located. So you see, darling, you're cursing him in good company."

Even at that, as Anthony might have pointed out, he was suppressing a good part of what might have been said of Mr. Tapling. At the mines where Anthony and his fellow engineers worked, everything was completely automatic, and the dozen men were needed only for checking and repairs. It was T. I. Tapling who had done his best to ruin their lives.

The houses he had ordered built for them were not too bad. To be reasonably invulnerable to the drill-toothed animals who abounded on these wastes, the walls would have had to be about a dozen feet thick; and Tapling had had no grounds for suspecting that fact, which had not been in any of the reports he had read. But it was unquestionably his fault that the houses were so widely scattered. Dealing with a planet where the sunlight was weak and ultra-violet was obtained chiefly from artificial radiation, a planet where the air was so cold that no one went outdoors unless he had to, T. I. Tapling had been worried about living space and had generously allotted to each engineer and his family territory uninhabited for a couple of miles in every direction. Possibly he expected them to grow vegetables next to their houses. Apparently he had no suspicion that he was making things as easy as possible for the predatory animals.

And of all locations, Anthony and Alice had the worst. Their house was most isolated, was the most difficult to get to from the office, and was in the part of the country most liable to attack. It was little wonder that Alice said, as she had said so often before, "But we must do something. Do you think we could have an electric barrier set up?"

"We could not. That's against regulation something or other too. Might kill friendly animals."

"But there isn't a single animal that's friendly!"

"Tell that to regulations and their guardian, Mr. Tapling."

Small looked up and said, "Mommy, we ought to get a dog."

Anthony nodded. "Our brilliant son is correct. Just as correct as he was when he first suggested it two months ago."

"But, Anthony, you know how much food costs here. He'd eat us out of—"

"Dogs eat animals," announced Small. "Space Dragoneer says so in his television program."

"Small's right," agreed Anthony. "I'll bet an octerocap has eight different kinds of vitamins, one for each head. We ought to try eating one ourselves and save money."


"I want to eat an octerocap," said Small. "He wants to eat me, so I don't see why I shouldn't eat him."

"Never heard more perfect logic in my life," observed Anthony with pride. "That's my boy. However, let's put the lesson in logic aside for a moment, and repair the damage the thing caused. Get the plastic metal, Alice."

But Small was not to be so easily sidetracked. When the repairs to the door had been completed, he said, as if continuing a conversation that had been going on all the time, "Are we getting the dog soon, Daddy?"

"I think we are, Small. Then, for a change, I think your Mommy will feel safe in the house."

"I'll call him, 'Rover'," decided Small.

"'Rover' let it be. He'll be unique—the only dog on Mars with that name. In fact, the only dog on Mars."

"I'm unique too, Daddy. I'm the only boy on Mars called 'Small'."

"It's not your real name, you know."

"It is so," asserted Small. "'Anthony, Jr.' is just a nickname. When I start going to television school, I'm going to tell the teacher that my name is Small Kidd."

Alice had been thinking. She said, "Anthony, dear, instead of writing for a dog, why don't you try again to get one of those new guns? I'm sure that if you did fill out a form—"

"I've filled out thousands. But don't worry, dear, I'll write T. I. Tapling again. Just don't expect too much, though."

Alice tried to pretend that she didn't, but in her heart she felt a pang of disappointment when Tapling wrote back that additional guns were forbidden not only by Regulation L34XC3 of Code 3, but by virtue of certain other regulations as well. He was pleased, however, to reply favorably to Mr. Kidd's other request, and enclosed forthwith a copy of a catalogue published by the Central Terrestrial Dog Breeding Station.

Alice's first thought was that for once Mr. Tapling had done something right, and without wrapping his action up in red tape. Alice's second thought was, "That Idiot Tapling!"—for the catalogue, it turned out, was three hundred years old. It had been published some time before the first Mars expedition had taken off, and she could only wonder from what antique waste-paper pile the bureaucratic T. I. Tapling's bureaucratic subordinates had dug it up.

It was, nonetheless, fascinating reading, and Small was even more fascinated by the pictures it contained. Moreover, with a catalogue actually in the house, he seemed to regard her as definitely committed to get Rover. He wavered in his favorites for that title between Great Danes and Saint Bernards, and Alice, as she contemplated the size of the two breeds, could only think of the enormous quantities of food they would consume, and shudder in dismay.

She put up one final feeble struggle that same night, when Anthony came home, and Small showed him the wonders in the new book. "Look, Daddy, this one looks like a sheep!"

"It's a Bedlington Terrier."

"Can we eat it?"

"No. It may look like a sheep, but it eats like a dog. What kind do you want?"

"He wants a big one," said Alice. "Great Dane or St. Bernard."

"How about an Irish Wolfhound?"

"Is that a big one, Daddy?"

"Tallest in the book."

"Maybe we should choose that," said Alice tentatively. "That is," she corrected herself, "if we choose any at all. And I rather doubt whether we should."

"It's up to you."

"Think of the cost of feeding a big dog!"

"But I told you before, it will probably feed on the animals it kills."

"Suppose it doesn't kill any?"

"It had better," said Anthony. "That's why I sent for the catalogue. We'll have to take a look at the qualities of the different breeds, and not depend entirely on Small's otherwise excellent criterion of size. We want a dog that's kind and affectionate with a child; tough, adaptable, a good hunter; and easy to care for. There are several that seem to fit the bill, but of course it's hard to be sure from a catalogue alone. And a lot depends on the individual dog, too. Why not tell the Dog Breeding Station what we want, and leave the final choice up to them?"

"But we're not sure—"

It was at that moment that for the first time there came a scratching not at the door, but at the shutter.

Alice looked at her husband and her child, and then hugged the latter closely. "Thank God you're home," she told Anthony.

The shutters were not as resistant as the doors, and they both knew it. But for the moment, the creature outside seemed to have trouble making up its mind. The scratching stopped, and then began again, at another shutter.

"As long as it isn't at the door, I have a chance to slip out before it can slip in—I hope," said Anthony. He picked up his gun. "Get Small behind the other door, and bar it."

"Don't be silly. I'll put Small there, but I'm staying here. I'll keep the explosive gun in readiness, just in case."

Anthony nodded, and said, "All right, then. Here I go."

He opened the door and stepped out. At the faint sound the door made, the scratching at the shutter stopped. A second later, something seemed to flash through the air and throw itself at Anthony's face. Anthony, startled, didn't pull the trigger. Instead, he swung the gun upward and caught the creature in the middle, throwing it above the roof. As it rose high, he aimed, giving it a wide beam. The creature split in two and the pieces fell to the ground, where they wriggled spasmodically.

As it rose high, he aimed, giving it a wide beam....

The thing had possessed a long snake's head and neck on a small pseudo-mammalian body. Anthony's shot had cut it at the base of the neck, and as the eyes glared at him, he fired into the head. But even with the head shattered, the neck continued to twitch.

Alice shuddered. "How did it fly?"

"Get a little closer, and you'll see for yourself."

She managed to overcome her repulsion and approached close, still holding her own gun in readiness. And then, as Anthony had said, she saw for herself. All along the neck were small pairs of wings, and on the body two pairs of large ones. They were folded now, but their nature was clearly visible. As if to leave her in no doubt whatever, during one of the twitchings a pair on the body shuddered open, and revealed a five-foot wingspread before it closed again.

"What is it?" she asked.

"Let's get into the house before we talk," replied Anthony, and they withdrew quickly and were about to bolt the door once more.

At that moment, Alice looked around and screamed. "Small!"

Anthony opened the door again, to find that Small had slipped out and was poking with interest in his mind and a stick in his hand at the body-half of the shattered animal. Anthony grabbed him and carried him in. When they had bolted the door again, Alice fell into a chair. "That child gives me heart-failure a dozen times a day."

"That's what kids are for," said Anthony. "About that thing I killed—I've heard of them, but I've never seen one before. I hope they don't turn out to be common around here."

"If one finally found its way to us, others will, sooner or later."

"I'm afraid so," he sighed. "They're known as 'snaffles'—flying snakes. It may make you feel better to learn that they're not poisonous."

"It doesn't make me feel better in the least. They're horrible anyway."

"Well, how about getting a dog?"

"Send away for one—at once. Any kind, so long as it will kill these terrible things."

They sent away, and then they waited. A week later, Anthony killed a badgerine—a vicious, burrowing animal that had the habit of slaughtering for the pure joy of killing. The same day, a report came from T. I. Tapling to the effect that the Central Terrestrial Dog Breeding Station had reported an order for one of their animals, and that, by virtue of the fact that all orders for Government personnel on Government projects must be routed through Government channels, the order had been turned over to Mr. Tapling. However, as Mr. Tapling was strongly opposed to red tape—so said Mr. Tapling, black on white—he would not return a new blank order form to Mr. Anthony Kidd, but would save time, according to the procedure permitted by Regulation MN37VX25, Code 2, and fill out the necessary form himself.

"Why, the guy's human," said Anthony in surprise.

"Maybe he had a dog himself once," suggested Alice.

"Whatever it is, it shouldn't be long now."

But Mr. Tapling, as an expediter, was not quite as efficient as when he played the role of obstructor. Another week passed, during which Anthony killed another octerocap and two snaffles, incurring a slight wound from one of the latter. The wound showed signs, at first, of festering badly, and special biostatic treatment was needed to keep it from getting worse. The week after that, Anthony shot a new animal which he had never even heard described before. It seemed a baggy formless mass, with a tiny, almost invisible head. He tossed it aside, and the other animals, enticed by the meal, came to eat it and then prowl, audibly drooling, around the house. He shot several more, and still no dog.

He spent part of his hard-earned salary for a special cable to Mr. Tapling, and that gentleman, in his hatred of red tape, referred the message to a subordinate, who passed it on for action to a subordinate of his own. Anthony never heard of the cable again.

During the next week he killed no less than five different animals. Alice herself killed a snaffle which tried to get into the house through an imperfectly barred window. The explosive gun was a great success, blowing head and most of the neck to bits with one shot, and knocking Alice to the floor at the same time by means of the recoil. She was bruised for days, and from that moment she lived in almost as great terror of the gun itself as of the animals outside.

In the month that followed, Anthony sent a cable each week, and received no reply to any of them. The number of animals that prowled around the house increased almost daily. There came the day when Alice called up the mine in panic.

"Anthony, there are three of them outside the house, all at once. One at the door, two at different shutters. Rush home! And bring help!"

"Okay," said Anthony, and rushed.

This time he was accompanied by one of his fellow engineers, who was carrying a surprise for Alice. The first surprise, however, was the one that Anthony himself received. Tunneling under the concrete foundation of the house was a badgerine whose presence Alice had not even suspected. But Anthony had no time to tackle it, for the other animals were quickly upon him. The first to arrive were the snaffles, and both Anthony and the engineer with him aimed and shot in a hurry. Anthony's target fell apart as scheduled. The engineer's kept on coming, but fortunately overshot its mark, for its intended victim had fallen to the ground.

Anthony swung his gun around, knocked the snaffle into the air, and fired right into the middle of an octerocap rushing at him. It fell to the ground, eight heads howling, and then managed to lift itself and spring. But by this time the engineer was on his feet again, and while he broke its back with a blow of his own gun, Anthony disposed of the remaining snaffle.

It was only then that they heard the shriek from inside. The badgerine was cutting through the concrete and getting into the house. Anthony rushed to the door. It was bolted; and Alice, terrified as she watched the floor give way, either didn't hear his yells or was unable to get to him. Anthony wasted no time in pounding at the closed door. He rushed to the hole the badgerine had dug and crawled down after it.

The hole was dark, but fortunately fairly wide, as the badgerine was a large animal. Anthony was able to pull himself along at a fair rate of speed. While he was still a dozen feet from the concrete, he heard the explosive gun go off. He almost felt the shock that must have hit Alice, and tried to crawl faster, but only scraped his face against the rock. Actually, it was only a few seconds before he reached the concrete and dragged himself through, but it seemed like hours.

Alice had turned on the brightest lights, and, thoroughly shaken by the recoil, was now trying to aim with an unsteady gun at the badgerine, which had pulled itself together as if gathering strength to spring at her. The explosion had torn a hole in its side, and blood was staining the floor—but it wasn't the wound that had saved Alice from its first attempt to pounce upon her. It was the bright light, which dazzled the eyes so well adjusted to the black of the tunnel. It had leaped by odor and missed, and Alice had been cool enough to hold her fire until she could aim. But this time the animal would not miss.

It sprang, in fact, just as Anthony dragged his own gun to aiming position, and its teeth were about to close on her throat when his blast drilled it through the primary heart. Even as it fell, it knocked her down.

Anthony kicked the animal aside and picked up his wife, who had fainted. Outside, the man who had accompanied him was pounding on the door. From behind the bolted door of the inner room, Small was wailing.

Anthony deposited his wife gently on a sofa, and let his friend in. The man said bitterly, "That Idiot Tapling."

"Never mind Tapling. Let me have your flask."

But Alice didn't need the whisky to revive. She opened her eyes just as Anthony lifted her again, and then, as her gaze met his own, she sighed. "What a wonderful man I married. Always just in time."

"That Idiot Tapling," growled the newcomer.

Alice looked at him questioningly, and Anthony said, "This is Carl Dowley. From the mines. He came along when I told him that I might need help. And look at what he has."

"A new gun!" exclaimed Alice.

"That's what it looks like," said Dowley. "From surplus, courtesy of Regulation ND7-Z5. And that's exactly what it isn't." He said to Anthony, "You saw me aim and fire. But you didn't see anything happen. Because it didn't go off."

"Let me take a look at it." Anthony opened it up, and stared. "No loader, no radiation shield, no charge chamber—the guts are missing!"

They looked at each other, and all three said, at the same moment, almost as if they had rehearsed it, "That Idiot Tapling!"

It was only then that Alice heard Small's wailing and opened the inner door.

They had thought that day was bad enough. The next day topped it.

The hole the badgerine had dug had been filled with quick-setting concrete and had no further attraction for animal visitors. Late in the afternoon, however, something came to the door, and Alice tried to phone the mine. But the line was dead, and she realized that some animal, probably another badgerine, had cut through the concrete and metal shield that protected the phone and visor wires. She was not seriously upset, however—not then. She simply switched to the radio sender, and tried to contact the mine along her private wave-length. It was only when she realized that the power was not on that panic really gripped her.

The creature at the door kept working steadily, as if unaware that a half hour after its arrival a competitor had arrived at one of the shutters, and that a pretty race was on to see which would get Alice as its prey. She stared at her watch and tried to guess when Anthony would be coming home. Probably, as far as she could estimate, a half hour after the first creature had reached her. She might stop it with the explosive gun, and she might not. And then, if another showed up at the same window or door, while she was still unsteady from the recoil....

Her only hope was that they would come after her one by one, not too close together. She considered seriously the possibility of opening the shutter to allow the entrance of the snaffle which she was sure was tearing at it, getting rid of that, and then closing the shutter again while she recovered her steadiness. But she knew that the thing might come at her faster than she could handle it, and decided to leave the shutter alone.

For another half hour the animals worked away, each intent upon its own means of arriving at the victim. Then, for the first time, Alice heard the sound of a struggle between animals outside the house. The scratching at the shutter stopped, there came a thin shriek, a crash against the side, and then silence except for the vibration of the shutter.

The scratching at the door stopped next. This time there came the howling of octerocap heads, and then a crash high up, as if the creature had been hurled with great force against the house. The thing that had hurled it next pounded on the door, and to her horror Alice saw the door yield at the same time both at the bottom and at the top, as if it had been hit by both head and foot at once. Never before had any animal been large enough to accomplish such a feat. This must be a predator of a new type, huger and stronger than the others.

For the second time in two days, Alice fainted.

She was awakened a little later by a great pounding on the door. At first she thought she would faint again, but the unexpected sound of Anthony's voice reassured her. He was yelling to her to open up.

She lifted the bolt, and Anthony stepped toward her. As she fell forward to fling her arms around his neck, however, she caught sight of something over his shoulder ... she closed her eyes and shrieked.

"Take it easy," said Anthony. "He may look frightening, but he's of a breed that's been trained to be gentle with humans."


"It's the thing that smashed the snaffle and trampled the octerocap. It's the dog they sent us."

She drew back, and a monster stepped into the room, its clumsy gait almost knocking the door off its hinges. It gazed at her with saucer eyes, and then, as Small came toward it, his own little eyes wide with a puzzled sort of delight, the dog stretched out a tongue bigger than Small's head and tried to lick Small's face. The boy fell over backward, squalling in fright.

"No, Rover!" said Anthony sternly.

The dog hung its head in shame.

"Down, Rover!"

The dog stood motionless, Anthony smacked him on the rear. The dog squatted down on his haunches, his head somewhere near the ceiling.

"See how gentle he is? He may look like a monster, but he wouldn't lay a paw or a tooth on a human being. They breed his kind for gentleness."

"But—are you sure it's a dog? How—why didn't you—"

"I tried to call you late this afternoon, when he arrived," said Anthony reasonably, "but the wire was cut. And your radio wasn't receiving. So I set out to walk him home. Had him on a leash. Not that I could hold him if he really tried to pull away, but he won't exert his full force against a human who has him on a leash."

"Then how did he get away? If he killed the octerocap and the snaffle, he must have got here before you."

"He did. Fact is, I was careless," confessed Anthony shamefacedly. "I stopped to light a cigaret, and he tugged the leash out of my hand before I could get a good grip on it. He headed for this place because it was the only human-looking habitation in the neighborhood. Good thing, too. He got here in time to take care of those creatures."

Alice stared at the monster. "Good heavens, how big is he, anyway?"

"Seven feet at the shoulder, and weighs 2000 pounds. No wonder he could handle those animals, even though he is a pup."

"A pup!"

"Four months old. Two months when they shipped him out. It seems that the catalogue That Idiot Tapling sent us is a little out of date. In the past few centuries they've bred new kinds of dogs, entirely different from those they used to have on Earth. They've got them small enough to fit into a thimble, and big enough—well, as big as this one will be. Naturally, when we wrote away and asked for a protector type, one of the biggest they had, we didn't have any idea that they'd developed this. If Tapling had only sent us a modern catalogue—"

"I like him," announced Small suddenly. "Is his name Rover?"


"Will he knock me over again?"

"Of course not. That was just an accident."

"Are we going to keep him?"

Anthony looked at Alice and grinned. "I don't think we have any choice in the matter. It's a question of life and death."

"But not in the house," said Alice. "There's no room for him in the house. And he'll be quite safe outside."

"I'm afraid not," said Anthony. "He's strong, but as a pup he's still delicate. Very susceptible to virus infections."

"That elephant?" exclaimed Alice incredulously. "Afraid of little things like viruses?"

Anthony nodded. "His kind catch cold very easily. After he grows older, of course, he'll be different. He'll be able to sleep outside, if you make him a chest protector. The chest has to stay warm. You used to knit well, Alice."

"I can't knit a chest protector for an elephant!"

"You're exaggerating. Even full-grown, he probably won't top 4600 pounds. Some elephants come a lot bigger than that."

"I'll sew him a protector out of an old blanket. I won't knit it."

"I guess that will do. Meanwhile, as I said, we'll have to keep him in the house. And about food—" He coughed delicately. "Later on, he'll be able to supply himself. Meanwhile, he's still a pup, as I must keep on reminding you. We'll have to buy special dog food. And vitamin concentrates. A few gallons a year, no more. He'll be mature at about two."

Alice groaned. "He probably saved my life, but I can't help it, Anthony, I can't welcome him like the guest he should be. Either he'll eat us out of house and home, or he'll crowd us out—"

"I can take him back or give him to someone else," observed Anthony. "I already have an offer."

"No—I'm afraid we need him too much." She looked at the animal grimly, and said, "You win, Rover. You're one of the family."

Rover bent his head, and Anthony scratched it. Small said, "Daddy, could he give me a ride?" and Anthony put the boy on the dog's back, and watched him parade clumsily around the room, knocking over no more than two chairs. A moment later, the boy slipped off, beaming.

"I think it'll work out," said Anthony.

As if in answer, Small's eyes seemed to pop out of his head, while his finger pointed. Alice shrieked, and in her voice there was the expression of stark tragedy such as Aristotle had never known, of the ultimate outrage of a malignant and remorseless fate: "He isn't housebroken!"