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Prologue to an Analogue   By: (1911-1996)

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Transcriber's Note:

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



Finnagle's Law shows that many times we don't get the effect we planned on. But ... there's an inverse to that famous law, too....

Illustrated by Schoenherr

The IWC program was a newscast by Bill Howard, and the news was particularly vicious that night.

Bill, his big homely face leaning across a desk toward the viewer, talked in horrified tones of the "pest sub" that had reputedly got stuck in the Suez and spread epidemic across Cairo.

It was easy to assume, Bill told his audience, that the nations most interested in creating a crisis in the world right now had put the sub there to make an excuse to accuse us of the terror. It was undoubtedly really there, and was undoubtedly really of American make, and the epidemic was undoubtedly very real indeed, he said. The United Nations investigating team, due to go into the Canal Zone the next day and make their report to the world, would find that the epidemic was caused by laboratory developed bacteria, carried in by an American made sub. It would be at least as bad, if not worse, than reported.

The question before the world, Bill said, was not whether bacteriological warfare had started, but who had started it and the fact that the sub carried United States markings and was of United States make did not at all answer the question.

Bacteriological warfare had broken out and where it would strike next was anybody's guess.

"But let there be no mistake," Bill said. "This is war."

It was on that note that the station break came, and the thirteen witches, trademark of the International Witch Corporation, came on.

Harvey Randolph, manufacturer of the Witch line of products, leaned toward the screen intently. He had just transferred his account to Burton, Dester, Duston & Oswald, and they had dreamed up a new type commercial for the products.

The thirteen witches were long legged, slender dancing gals, in tall black witch caps and long black capes, crimson lined, and very little else. Each had long hair that swirled as she danced.

Randolph chewed his lip, watching them thoughtfully.

They came on with what was almost a valkyrie cry "Witches of the world, unite to make it clean, clean, clean, Witch clean NOW!"

"Hm m m," thought Randolph. The cry struck rather sourly at the end of that "this is war" sentence from the newscast, he thought, but then that dramatic newscast ending was rather unusual.

The witches were singing a jingling chorus as they danced. "No task is too big, no task is too small," they sang. "Which Witch do you need? You should have them all "

Each witch, of course, displayed her particular product from the Witch line detergent, soap, shampoo, cleanser, cleaning fluid....

"Witch soap or detergent....

"Witch cleanser upsurgent....

"Which Witch do you need? You should have them all...."

This was fairly average as commercials go, thought Randolph. The big BDD&O radical innovation would be next.

It was. On the screen behind the witches appeared a map of the Suez Canal, and then a papier maché model of the nose of a sub, and a dockside shanty, a gray pall hanging over them.

As the witches turned and began dancing towards it, the deep voice of the announcer spoke over the muted jingle. "Witches of the world, unite! If Nasser had enough Witches, he could solve the crisis which has us all in stitches...."

And the witches, in a united dance step, approached the sub and shanty singing "Make it clean, clean, clean, Witch clean, NOW!" Each sprayed it with a Witch product, and as they sprayed the pall lifted, the sub and shanty showed shining bright, new painted... Continue reading book >>

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