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Modus Vivendi   By: (1919-1988)

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Transcriber's Note:

This etext was produced from Analog Science Fact & Fiction September 1961. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.



It's undoubtedly difficult to live with someone who is Different. He must, because he is Different, live by other ways. But what makes it so difficult is that, for some reason he thinks you are Different!

Illustrated by Schoenherr

By the time I got to the office, I was jittery as a new bride. The day started out all wrong. I woke up weak and washed out. I was pathetic when I worked out with the weights they felt as heavy as the Pyramids. And when I walked from the subway to the building where Mike Renner and I have our offices, an obvious telepath tailed me all the way.

I was ready for a scrap. St. Francis himself would have irritated the hell out of me, and I'd have gone speechless with rage at the mere sight of sweet Alice Ben Bolt. The guy sitting with Mike in our law library didn't have a chance.

"What's this?" I growled, seeing Mike seated silent and staring at our caller across the big table. There wasn't a book or sheet of foolscap resting on the walnut. Work hadn't started. They were lying in wait for me. Well, I was lying in wait for the first guy who opened his mouth.

"The Grievance Committee!" Mike said in a tone of stifled fury. "This is Horace Dunn."

" Carpe Diem ," I snarled at Horace, a hammered down heavyweight. "What's Renner done now?"

"Me?" Renner demanded, letting his fat jowls quivver. He's one of those burly types who looks like he should be playing pro ball and instead thrives on showing clients how to keep two sets of books while staying out of jail.

"Not Renner," Horace said. "You, Maragon. The Bar Association gets upset when reputable attorneys successfully defend one of these Stigma cases."

"Forgive me my hobbies," I sneered, sitting down beside my partner. "But I try to win them all. You know I didn't seek that business Judge Passarelli appointed me Public Defender when that Psi, Crescas, bleated that he was destitute."

Mike Renner apparently decided one of us had to be reasonable. "Coincidence, Dunn," he said. "Pure coincidence. You can't hold it against "

"No coincidence," I snapped. It wasn't my day to agree with anybody. Renner's fat little eyes opened wide.

"Judge Passarelli knew I'd be in his courtroom," I said. "His Honor wanted to get my views on a point I'd made in that pleading the previous week."

"Passarelli again! " Horace breathed. "Well, well. What do you know? And two weeks ago he found a Stigma case named Mary Hall 'Not Guilty' of bunco game against the 99th National Bank. You know the case?"

Renner was too upset for speech. He shook his head, looking over at me. I didn't give him the satisfaction. Mike hasn't any patience with my interest in keeping abreast of Psi developments anyway.

"This Mary Hall is a hallucinator," Horace said. He leaned forward and gave it to us in not much more than a whisper. "This witch used her HC to pass five dollar bills off as hundreds, getting change. But they caught her at it." He laughed harshly. "And tried her for it," he added. "Get the picture on that 'Not Guilty' verdict?"

"No," Renner admitted. I slouched down, scowling.

"She used HC on Judge Passarelli, too. Foozled his vision, whatever you want to call it. When the 'cutor handed him the evidence, the five dollar bill she had tried to pass for a hundred, all sealed up in plastic, Passarelli saw a hundred , thanks to her Psi powers."

"Get out of here," I told Horace, getting to my feet.

"Pete! For heaven's sake!" Mike protested. You didn't talk like that to the Grievance Committee. Did you ever see a guy wring his hands? Renner was pathetic.

"Can't you quit pussy footing around, Renner?" I growled... Continue reading book >>

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