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Sam, This is You   By: (1896-1975)

Sam, This is You by Murray Leinster

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Illustrated by MEL HUNTER

[Transcriber Note: This etext was produced from Galaxy Science Fiction May 1955. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.]

[Sidenote: Sam had led a peaceful and impecunious life until a voice cut in on a phone and said: Sam, this is You]

You are not supposed to believe this story, and if you ask Sam Yoder about it, he is apt to say that it's all a lie. But Sam is a bit sensitive about it. He does not want the question of privacy to be raised again especially in Rosie's hearing. And there are other matters. But it's all perfectly respectable and straightforward.

It could have happened to anybody well, almost anybody. Anybody, say, who was a telephone lineman for the Batesville and Rappahannock Telephone Company, and who happened to be engaged to Rosie, and who had been told admiringly by Rosie that a man as smart as he was ought to make something wonderful of himself. And, of course, anybody who'd taken that seriously and had been puttering around on a device to make private conversations on a party line telephone possible, and almost had the trick.

It began about six o'clock on July second, when Sam was up a telephone pole near Bridge's Run. He was hunting for the place where that party line had gone dead. He'd hooked in his lineman's phone and he couldn't raise Central, so he was just going to start looking for the break when his phone rang back, though the line had checked dead.


Startled, he put the receiver to his ear. "Hello. Who's this?"

"Sam, this is you," a voice replied.

"Huh?" said Sam. "What's that?"

"This is you," the voice on the wire repeated. "You, Sam Yoder. Don't you recognize your own voice? This is you, Sam Yoder, calling from the twelfth of July. Don't hang up!"

Sam hadn't even thought of hanging up. He was annoyed. He was up a telephone pole, trying to do some work, resting in his safety belt and with his climbing irons safely fixed in the wood. Naturally, he thought somebody was trying to joke with him, and when a man is working is no time for jokes.

"I'm not hanging up," said Sam dourly, "but you'd better!"

The voice was familiar, though he couldn't quite place it. If it talked a little more, he undoubtedly would. He knew it just about as well as he knew his own, and it was irritating not to be able to call this joker by name.

The voice said, "Sam, it's the second of July where you are, and you're up a pole by Bridge's Run. The line's dead in two places, else I couldn't talk to you. Lucky, ain't it?"


"Whoever you are," Sam said formidably, "it ain't going to be lucky for you if you ever need telephone service and you've kept wasting my time. I'm busy!"

"But I'm you!" insisted the voice persuasively. "And you're me! We're both the same Sam Yoder, only where I am, it's July twelfth. Where you are, it's July second. You've heard of time traveling. Well, this is time talking. You're talking to yourself that's me and I'm talking to myself that's you and it looks like we've got a mighty good chance to get rich."

Then something came into Sam's memory and every muscle in his body went taut and tight, even as he was saying to himself, "It can't be!"

But he'd remembered that if a man stands in a corner and talks to the wall, his voice will sound to him just the way it sounds to somebody else. Being in the telephone business, he'd tried it and now he did recognize the voice. It was his. His own. Talking to him. Which, of course, was impossible.

"Look," said hoarsely, "I don't believe this!"

"Then listen," the voice said briskly. And Sam's face grew red. It burned. His ears began to feel scorched. Because the voice his voice was telling him strictly private matters that nobody else in the world knew... Continue reading book >>

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