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Lighter Than You Think   By: (1908-2006)

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It's possible that you won't agree with us that Pat Pending's latest adventure is a delightful story possible IF you haven't been used to laughing in recent years. Blue Book printed more than a dozen of these stories by Nelson Bond about the "greatest inventulator of all time".

lighter than you think


Sandy's eyes needed only jet propulsion to become flying saucers. Wasn't Pat wonderful? she beamed, at everyone.

Some joker in the dear, dead days now virtually beyond recall won two bit immortality by declaring that, "What this country needs is a good five cent cigar."

Which is, of course, Victorian malarkey. What this country really needs is a good five cent nickel. Or perhaps a good cigar shaped spaceship. There's a fortune waiting somewhere out in space for the man who can go out there and claim it. A fortune! And if you think I'm just talking through my hat, lend an ear ...

Joyce started the whole thing. Or maybe I did when for the umpteenth time I suggested she should marry me. She smiled in a way that showed she didn't disapprove of my persistence, but loosed a salvo of devastating negatives.

"No deal," she crisped decisively. "Know why? No dough!"

"But, sugar," I pleaded, "two can live as cheaply as one "

"This is true," replied Joyce, "only of guppies. Understand, Don, I don't mind changing my name from Carter to Mallory. In fact, I'd rather like to. But I have no desire whatever to be known to the neighbors as 'that poor little Mrs. Mallory in last year's coat.'

"I'll marry you," she continued firmly, "when, as and if you get a promotion."

Her answer was by no stretch of the imagination a reason for loud cheers, handsprings and cartwheels. Because I'm a Federal employee. The United States Patent Office is my beat. There's one nice thing to be said about working for the bewhiskered old gentleman in the star spangled stovepipe and striped britches: it's permanent. Once you get your name inscribed on the list of Civil Service employees it takes an act of Congress to blast it off again. And of course I don't have to remind you how long it takes that body of vote happy windbags to act. Terrapins in treacle are greased lightning by comparison.

But advancement is painfully slow in a department where discharges are unheard of and resignations rare. When I started clerking for this madhouse I was assistant to the assistant Chief Clerk's assistant. Now, ten years later, by dint of mighty effort and a cultivated facility for avoiding Senatorial investigations, I've succeeded in losing only one of those redundant adjectives.

Being my secretary, Joyce certainly realized this. But women have a remarkable ability to separate business and pleasure. So:

"A promotion," she insisted. "Or at least a good, substantial raise."

"In case you don't know it," I told her gloomily, "you are displaying a lamentably vulgar interest in one of life's lesser values. Happiness, not money, should be man's chief goal."

"What good is happiness," demanded Joyce, "if you can't buy money with it?"

"Why hoard lucre?" I sniffed. "You can't take it with you."

"In that case," said Joyce flatly, "I'm not going. There's no use arguing, Don. I've made up my mind "

At this moment our dreary little impasse was ended by a sudden tumult outside my office. There was a squealing shriek, the shuffle of footsteps, the pounding of fists upon my door. And over all the shrill tones of an old, familiar voice high pitched in triumph.

"Let me in! I've got to see him instantaceously. This time I've got it; I've absolutely got it!"

Joyce and I gasped, then broke simultaneously for the door as it flew open to reveal a tableau resembling the Laocoon group sans snake and party of the third part. Back to the door and struggling valiantly to defend it stood the receptionist, Miss Thomas. Held briefly but volubly at bay was a red thatched, buck toothed individual and I do mean individual! with a face like the map of Eire, who stopped wrestling as he saw us, and grinned delightedly... Continue reading book >>

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