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The Chameleon Man   By:

The Chameleon Man by William P. McGivern

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Transcriber's Note:

This etext was produced from Amazing Stories January 1943. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.

The Chameleon Man


Perfect adaptation, that's what it was. When a human being can blend with his surroundings, funny things can happen!


I've got an office in the Daily Standard building and sometimes when things are slow in my line theatrical bookings I drift upstairs and talk to the guy who writes the column, The Soldier's Friend, for the Standard .

On this particular morning I walked into his office and found it empty so I sat down and waited, figuring he was downstairs getting a mug of coffee. After I cleaned my nails and glanced through Jake's mail I propped my feet up on the desk and relaxed.

Things in my line were strictly stinkeroo. With the army taking an option on every available hunk of male flesh, it made it pretty tough to get acts together. Of course, I still had a few dollies to peddle, but the situation don't look too good there, what with the WAVES and the WAACS and the demand from factories for powder puff riveters.

I sighed and moodily contemplated my uncreased trouser legs and thought of my non existent bank balance. Whoever said war was hell, sure hit the nail on the head.

The door opened and I heard a shuffle of footsteps on the floor. I tipped my derby back and looked up, expecting to see Jake, but the office was empty.

The door was standing open and I scratched my head. Maybe it had blown open. Then I remembered the sound of footsteps I'd heard and my bewilderment increased.

"Hello," a voice said.

My feet came down from the desk with a crash. I sat up straight and stared about the small room.

"Who said that?" I demanded.

"I did. I'm right here." It was the same voice and I jerked my head in the direction of the sound.

For an instant I didn't see a thing. But then, my eyes seemed suddenly to focus, and I saw a tall, lanky young man standing a few feet from me. He had a shock of straw colored hair and mild blue eyes. He wore a light suit.

"Can you see me now?" he asked, and his voice sounded strained, as if he were exerting himself in some manner.

"Yes, I can see you," I said. I was a little nettled. "What do you mean coming in and scaring people that way?"

"I'm sorry," he said. "I didn't mean to scare you. I just can't help it. I'll have to relax now."

"You'll have to what? Are you "

I broke off and goggled. The young man had completely disappeared. My forehead was suddenly damp with nervous perspiration. I closed my eyes and forced myself to think calmly. This was some trick of my imagination. I'd been working too hard. My nerves were shot. I'd have to take a rest.

I opened my eyes cautiously. The room was empty. I drew a relieved breath.

"I'm sorry if I frightened you," a familiar voice said apologetically. "But, you see, I can't help it."

I stood up warily and peered about the room.

"Where are you?" I whispered.

"Right here in front of you."

"If you're a mahout for pink elephants, I don't want to see you," I said. "Go away."

"Please," the young man's voice was plaintive, "I need your advice. I'm in trouble."

"That's too bad," I said, edging toward the door.

"Please listen to me. There's nothing to be afraid of."

"From your viewpoint, no," I said.

"If you'll look carefully you can see me," the voice said. "That's what bothers most people. I mean not being able to see me."

"How stupid of them to be bothered by a little thing like that," I said, trying not to gibber. But in spite of my common sense I did peer closely at the area the young man had occupied and I saw a very remarkable thing.

I saw the vague, indistinct shape of the straw haired, blue eyed young man standing exactly where I had seen him the first time... Continue reading book >>

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