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Death of a B.E.M.   By:

Death of a B.E.M. by Berkeley Livingston

First Page:

Transcriber's Note:

This etext was produced from Amazing Stories October 1948. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.

[Illustration: The B. E. M. purred contentedly as the giant stroked his eyeballs]



The writer hated to create bug eyed monsters, but they hated him too!

"Blast them!" the writer groaned in bitter accents. "How I hate those B. E. M's.!"

"Hang them!" the artist yelled. "How I hate those B. E. M's.!"

"Darn them!" the B. E. M. moaned. "How I hate those humans!"

The artist and the writer sat staring at each other in wordless misery, their coffee untasted and their spirits at low ebb. Up above, in the beehive that was the publishing house which gave them their livelihood, the word had gone around. B. E. M'S, B. E. M'S....

Sadly, in accents forlorn, the writer said:

"Bug eyed monsters! Ye gads! Bug eyed monsters! Jack, old boy, do you realize we're setting science fiction back a hundred years?"

"I know just how you feel, Harry," the artist replied. "After all, we too had presumed that we had been freed of these monsters. So back we go to the drawing board, our minds tortured and twisted ..." He sighed disconsolately.

"Oh, well," the writer sighed and blew out his breath. He stared fixedly at his coffee until a something blue slipped into focus. His glance traveled upward from the hem of the girl's apron, past the lovely swell of her charms and on past the sweet throat, to the gay, smiling face and sparkling eyes. Forgotten then were B. E. M's. for both. Diane, the goddess of the restaurant corps of enchanting waitresses, was at their side....

Hiah Leugh was having his eyeballs massaged. It was a delicate and tedious operation for the one doing the massaging; not every Goman was possessed of eight eyeballs. But Hiah Leugh was not an ordinary Goman. Not he! He was chief of all the Gomans, which meant he was head of all the bug eyed monsters on the whole of the planet of XYZ268PDQ.

The four headed slave, one of the giants Hiah Leugh's tribe had captured on one of their forays into the terrible forest of Evil Contractions, scratched himself with one of his six arms. He was quite bored with this peaceful, though tedious pursuit the tribe of Hiah Leugh had given to him as his duties. Especially the massaging of eyeballs. Of course it helped to have six arms. Ooh! His four heads ranged themselves in a single line.

The slave had committed a sin.

There were three cardinal sins on the planet of XYZ268PDQ. Two of them were unmentionable and the third was forgetting to massage all of the eight eyeballs of Hiah Leugh at one and the same time. If it were not for the massage the giants of the planet would all live in peace. But it took a man with six arms to do the job. In fact it was to the regret of Hiah Leugh that the giants did not have eight arms.

Now one of the eyelids was closing. In a second or two it would be closed completely and once a single of the eight eyes closed the others automatically followed suit. There was but a single thing to do in this case. The giant did it.

He poked his finger into the drooping lid.

Hiah Leugh awoke with a suddenness of shock and startled surprise. He howled in pain then leaped from the chair, scuttling about the room of massage on his twelve pairs of crablike legs at a great pace.

"Heavens to Betsy!" Hiah Leugh screamed. "You are the clumsiest giant.... But what can a B. E. M. expect? Oh, well! You're excused. Go and see if there are any children to frighten...."

There were four different expressions on the four heads. One showed pleasure, and another, surprise and a third, gloom and the fourth was blank completely... Continue reading book >>

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