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Indirection   By: (1918-1977)

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The best way to keep a secret is to publish it in a quite unbelievable form and insist that it is the truth.


Illustrated by Freas

Elwar Forell leaned back in his chair, looking about the small dining salon. The usual couples were there, he noticed. Of course, the faces were different from those of last evening, but the poses were similar. And the people were there for the same reasons. They were enjoying the food and drinks, just as many others had enjoyed them before. But like all those others, their greater enjoyment was in the company of one another. Forell glanced at the vacant chair across the table from him and sighed.

It would be nice, he thought, if But any arrangement involving a permanent companion would be hardly practical under his circumstances. After all, prudence dictated limits.

He picked up his cup and drained it, then leaned back and beckoned the waiter over.

"The reckoning, please," he ordered.

He looked again at the letter on the table before him, then folded it and put it in his pocket. It was well, he thought. His latest book of fairy tales and fantasy had enjoyed good acceptance. And the check in the letter had been of satisfactory size. He smiled to himself. There were compensations in this job of his. It seemed to be profitable to have a purpose other than the obvious and usual one.

He paid his bill and left the restaurant, to walk slowly along the street, enjoying the mild, spring air.

As he passed a sidewalk café, a man beckoned from one of the tables.

"Oh, Forell," he called. "I was hoping I'd see you this evening." He held up a book.

"Just finished your 'Tales of the Sorcerers,'" he added. "Some of those yarns of yours seem almost real."

Elwar Forell nodded. They should, he thought. Factual material, however disguised, often shines through its fictional background. And he had an inexhaustible source of material, drawn from many sources. He twisted his face into a gratified smile.

"That's my objective," he said aloud. "I do all in my power to place the reader inside the story."

Charo Andorra nodded. "It's the secret of good fiction, I know," he admitted, "and every storyteller tries to do it. But I seem to see more than that in your stuff. There's an almost believable pattern." He hesitated. "You know, while I'm reading it, I can almost see beings of superior powers walking the earth. And sometimes, I visualize us working with them." He laughed shortly.

"Of course, I may be more credulous and imaginative than most. Probably why I'm a critic. And I really should know better." He looked down at the book in his hands.

"But that stuff of yours can be mighty convincing." He tilted his head. "Somehow, I can't help but look at some of the old legends and some of the things that have happened in more recent years, too. Can't help but wonder if we actually are babes of the cosmos, and if we haven't been visited and watched by some form of extra planetary life at one time or another."

Forell looked closely at his friend. Andorra, he knew, was a clear thinker in his own right. And he just might start a serious analysis and publish it. He grimaced. It wasn't time for that, he knew. Many years must pass before it would be time.

He placed a hand on the back of Andorra's chair, remembering the words of one of the teachers.

"Remember, Elwar," he had been told, "your objective is clear, but your methods must be most indirect even unclear. Some things you must obscure in a mass of obviously imaginative detail, while you bring others to the fore. You must hint. You must suggest. You should never fully explain or deny. And you must never be guilty of definite, direct falsehood.

"There may come a time when you will be directly questioned when discovery of your real background and purpose seems imminent, and you will have to take positive action. For such an eventuality, I cannot outline any steps, or even any definite plan of action, since I neither fully understand many of the factors involved, nor have any way of knowing the circumstances which may arise... Continue reading book >>

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