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Question of Comfort   By:

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The Gravity Gang was a group of geniuses devoting its brilliance to creating a realistic Solar System for Disneyland. That was the story, anyway. No one would have believed all that stuff about cops and robbers from outer space.

My job, finished now, had been getting them to Disneyland. The problem was bringing one in particular one I had to find. The timing was uncomfortably close.

I'd taken the last of the yellow pills yesterday, tossing the bottle away with a sort of indifferent frustration. I won or lost on the validity of my logic and whether I'd built a better mousetrap.

The pills had given me 24 hours before the fatal weakness took hold; nevertheless, I waited as long as I could. That left me less than an hour, now; strangely, as I walked in the eerie darkness of an early morning, virtually deserted Disneyland, I felt calm. And yet, my life depended on the one I sought being inside the Tour building.

I was seeking a monster of terrible potential, yet so innocuous looking that he'd not stand out. I couldn't produce him, couldn't say where in the world he was. Nevertheless he was the basis, the motivation second only to mine. I took the long, hard way three years making him come to me.

Two years were devoted to acclimatization, learning, and then swinging this job: just to put the idea across.

Assigned to Disneyland Public Relations in the offices at Burbank, I'd begun with the usual low pay, low level jobs. I didn't, couldn't mind; at least I had a foot in the right door. Within six months, I reached a point where I could present the idea.

It had enough merit. My boss 35 years' experience enabled him to recognize a good idea took it to his boss who took it to The Boss.

Tomorrowland is the orphan division of Disneyland, thrown in as sop to those interested more in the future than the past. My idea was to sex up Tomorrowland: Tour the Solar System.

Not really, but we'd bill it that way. The Tour of the Solar System Building was to be large. Its rooms would reproduce environments of parts of the System, as best we knew them.

I'll never forget the first planning session when we realists were underdogs, yet swung the basic direction. By then, the Hollywood Mind had appeared. The Hollywood Mind is definitely a real thing, a vicious thing, a blank thing, that paternalistically insists It knows what the public wants.

There was general agreement on broad outlines. Trouble began over Venus.

"Of course," said one of the Minds, "we'll easily create a swampy environment "

I burst out with quiet desperation: "May I comment?"

The realists were churning. Right there, sides were being chosen. I let all know my side immediately.

"Venus is hot, but it's desert heat. Continuous dust storms with fantastic winds "

"People'd never go for that junk," interrupted the Mind. "Everyone knows Venus is swampy."

"Everyone whose reading tastes matured no further than Edgar Rice Burroughs!"

The Mind, with a if you know so much why aintcha rich look, sneered, "How come you know all about it?"

Speechless, I spread my hands. This joker was leading with his chin, forcing the fight. I had to hit him again; if I lost, I lost good. "A person," I said slowly and rhythmically, "with normal intelligence and a minute interest in the universe, will keep step with the major sciences, at least on an elementary level. I must stress the qualification of normal intelligence."

The Mind, face contorted, was determined to get me. I was in a very vulnerable spot; more important, so was the idea.

Mind began an emotional tirade, and mentally I damned him. It couldn't have mattered to him what environment we used, but he was politicking where he shouldn't.

There was silence when he stopped. This was the crux; The Boss would decide. I held my breath.

He said, "We'll make it hot and dusty." The realists had won; the rest climbed on the bandwagon but quick; and the temple was cleansed... Continue reading book >>

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