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Tillie   By: (1909-1965)

Tillie by Roger Phillips Graham

First Page:

TILLIE

By CRAIG BROWNING

[Transcriber Note: This etext was produced from Amazing Stories December 1948. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.]

[Sidenote: She was just a blob of metal, but she had emotions like any woman. She, too, wanted ROMANCE, and wasn't coy about running after her "guy"]

"There you are!" Judson Taylor, the eccentric physics prof, pulled a metallic object out of his pocket and laid it on the table between us. The object was a solid chunk of some kind of metal, judging from its bright silver color, about the size and shape of a pocket knife.

I looked at it stupidly and said, " Where are we?"

I am Bill Halley. Some of the adolescent undergraduate brats at this one horse college have nicknamed me "Comet" and it burns me up every time some pimply faced baby waves his arm at me and says, "Hiya, Comet." But I smile and don't let them know I don't like it, because if they knew there would be no living with them. Jud is head of the physics department and I am one of the three profs under him. When I first came here last fall he looked at my papers, said "BILL HALLEY?" and since then has treated me with the respect he reserves only for the gods of Physics. Probably assumed I was a direct descendant of the Halley who got his name plastered all over Halley's Comet.

Anyway, between classes this morning he had excitedly asked me to meet him at the Campus Lunch during the noon hour and he would show me his latest discovery and here we were, wherever that was. I picked up the hunk of metal and turned it over in the palm of my hand, sipping my coffee from a cup held in my other hand, and tried to figure out why he was so excited.

There was a peculiar warmth to the stuff. Maybe it was radioactive. But no, it was too light to be one of the heavy elements. I tossed it back to the table top and then nearly rose to the ceiling. The stuff hadn't bounced with a metallic sound at all, but had settled slowly, coming to rest with no sign of a bump.

I picked it up again and looked at Jud, puzzled.

He grinned and said, "Watch this." Then he looked at the lump of metal in a peculiar manner like he might be trying mental telepathy out on it, and suddenly the stuff weighed a ton. It forced my hand down so fast that it bruised as it struck the table. As suddenly the stuff became light again and Judson Taylor had hold of my hand, rubbing it.

"Oh, I'm so sorry, Bill. I am not too good at controlling it yet."

"What the hell IS that stuff?" I ground out.

"I don't know, exactly," he replied. "Mallory, the biochemist, made it and brought it to me. He said he got a lot of chemicals spilled. One of them was a rare enzyme that he didn't want to lose, so he mopped up the mess and put it in a large flask and added some alcohol, getting ready to recover this valuable enzyme. Suddenly this stuff started to form on the sides of the flask, just like silver in the mirror coating process. But all the chemicals were pure hydro carbons with no silver or other metal present. According to Mallory this stuff is some unknown hydro carbon. I've been playing with it for two days now."

Judson Taylor put the stuff back in his pocket and rose.

"Let's go over to my lab. I want to show you some things I've found out about it."

I gulped down the rest of my coffee and followed him. We crossed the campus of good old Puget U to the antique building which housed the physics department. We climbed the creaking stairs to the third floor which was devoted mostly to Jud's own private research and was filled with apparatus that he had accumulated during the thirty years he had been kingpin of this department.

Jud crossed over to a bench on which there was a balance and some other stuff and placed the hunk of mystery on one tray of the balance. On the other tray he placed a ten gram weight... Continue reading book >>




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