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Back to Julie   By: (1920-1987)

Back to Julie by Richard Wilson

First Page:

Transcriber's Note:

This etext was produced from Galaxy Science Fiction May 1954. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.

Back to Julie

By RICHARD WILSON

Illustrated by VIDMER

The side shuffle is no dance step. It's the choice between making time ... and doing time!

You can't go shooting off to that dimension for peanuts. I don't want to give you the impression that peanuts are in short supply here, or that our economy is in the fix of having to import them sidewise. What I'm trying to convey is that, if you're one of the rare ones functionally equipped to do the side shuffle, you ought to be well paid for it in any coin.

That's what I told Krasnow. And he wasn't after peanuts. "I'll do it," I said, "if you'll make it worth my while."

"I'd hardly expect you to do it for nothing," he replied reproachfully. "How much do you want?"

I told him. The amount shook him up, but only briefly.

"Okay," he said grudgingly. "I suppose I'll have to give it to you. But the stuff had better be good."

"Oh, it is," I assured him. "And you don't have to be afraid, because I couldn't possibly skip with the loot. I'll have to travel naked. I can't get there with so much as a sandal on one foot or a filling in a single tooth. Fortunately, my teeth are perfect."

Sweat poured off Krasnow's florid face as he worked the combination of his office safe. His fat jowls quivered unhappily around his cigar while he counted out the bills. Ten per cent was cash in advance, and the rest went into a bank account in my name. I paid off a batch of bills, then stripped and did my off to Buffalo.

"Honest" John Krasnow was a crooked District Attorney who wanted to be Governor and then President. He had the Machine, but he didn't have the People. And, because he needed the People, he needed me. I had been to this other dimension the one on the farthest branch of the time tree and I could give him what he wanted.

Krasnow found out about it after I was hauled up in front of him on a check kiting charge. I'd had something of a reputation before I got into difficulties and, in trying to live up to the reputation, I had done some plain and fancy financing. Nothing that fifteen to twenty grand wouldn't have fixed but while I scrounged around, trying to get cash, I kited a few checks. They pyramided me right into the D.A.'s office, where Krasnow was properly sympathetic.

"How," he asked, "could a man of your standing in the scientific world stoop so low?" It developed into quite a lecture and, even coming from Krasnow, it made me feel pretty low.

So I began explaining. I told him where I was born, and where I went to school, and where I had taken my sabbaticals including this other dimension. And Krasnow believed me. I can't account for it, except possibly because he knew he was a crook and knew I wasn't one exactly. Anyway, he believed me, and we made the deal and I did the side shuffle, as agreed.

The journey to that other dimension is not a pleasant one. It does disturbing things to the stomach, and you see everything thin and elongated, as if you're sitting too far to the side in a movie theater.

I got there, however, and waited for the hiccups to subside. Hiccupi laterali , I had called them when I considered writing an article for the Medical Journal after my first trip. With the hiccupi gone, I stole some clothing which was one of the riskiest parts of the program and waited for morning. I didn't have any money, of course, so I had to hitchhike into town.

I could have stolen myself a better fit, but people aren't clothes conscious in that dimension. They're more interested in what you are and what you can do. The driver of the car that gave me a lift asked, "And what is your field of endeavor?"

I told him, "I am able to eliminate the long wait in ivory production by accelerating the growth cycle of elephants... Continue reading book >>




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