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New Hire   By: (1915-2003)

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Transcriber's Note:

This etext was produced from the September 1953 issue of Galaxy Science Fiction. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.



Illustrated by BALBALIS

Very admirable rule: Never do tomorrow what you can put off until after the age of forty!

One thing about an electronic awakener: no matter how elaborate its hookup, melodious its music, and important its announced reminders, when it goes on in the morning you can always turn it off again. Boswell W. Budge always did exactly that.

But there's no turning off one's kids, and thus, on the most important morning of his life, February 30, 2054, Bozzy arose, much against his will, promptly at 0800.

His Sophie, eight and ladylike, merely shook the bed with a disdainful gesture. But Howard, six, masculine, and athletic, climbed right up and sat on Bozzy's stomach. Baby Ralph, of the golden smile, gave Bozzy a big kiss, and Bozzy thus shared the gold, which was egg.

"Did your mother send you in here?" Bozzy demanded, gazing suspiciously around with one eye open.

"We came because we love you," Sophie answered.

That opened Bozzy's other eye. "Thank you, dear," he said. "You're very sweet or very clever. Now if you'll coax Howard off my stomach "

"I don't have to be coaxed," Howard announced, sliding to the floor with all the covers. "From now on, you just order me, Daddy. Because you'll be a Senior Citizen tomorrow."

Bozzy didn't want to think of that just then. "Tell your mother I'm up," he said. "And get out so I can bathe and dress."

Sophie minced, Howard ran, Ralph toddled.

Bozzy rose, a pudgy man slightly under average height at six feet two, with blue eyes and thinning brown hair. He was exactly thirty nine years, eleven months, and twenty nine days old.

And that was the point. At forty, he would have to go to work. This was his day for job taking.

He dreaded it.

He put the coming ceremonies out of his mind and concentrated on his supersonic bath, the depilatory cream, the color of his outer clothing. It took time to achieve the right shade of purple in the bathroom plastic dispenser, but no time at all to pour, solidify, and cut the sheet like robe required for the occasion.

In it, he was the sensation of the breakfast room, handsome as a male bird in spring plumage. Kate, his slender wife, who had been up and at work for an hour, looked moth eaten by comparison, as if their nest had been lined with her plucked out down.

"You look very attractive this morning, Kate," Bozzy told her. He gave her an extra warm kiss.

"Well!" she said. "Quite the gallant today, aren't we? Just be sure you're on time today, darling. Remember what Mr. Frewne had to say about promptness."

Frewne. That overinflated windbag. The obesity who was about to become his boss. Without having worked a day in his life, Bozzy found he hated the idea of having a boss.

"Let's think of something pleasant," he grunted, and thought of breakfast.

He took his place at the table. Kate and the kids had already eaten, so Kate served, while the kids, attracted by his finery, stood off and watched him swallow a vitamin pill, a thyroid pill, and a Dexedrine pill.

Solemnly, he opened the three eggs Kate brought. Each was guaranteed by her to have been irradiated for exactly two minutes and fifty five seconds, and guaranteed by the grocer to have been enriched by feeding the hens three kinds of mold.

His mouth was full of the third and last one when Sophie asked, "Why do you have to go to work, Daddy?"

The reminder choked him. Gulping, he said, "To support us all, honey. My pension stops tomorrow."

"Yes, but I read in a book where people used to go to work when they were young."

He was tempted to say, "I am young!" but thought better of it... Continue reading book >>

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