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It could—or so he had decided from the utterances of the 6 P. radio—be that it consisted of both; it depended on the place. “ ‘I think I do,’ “ he wailed back, finishing the quotation. The coffee cup was set down, an elaborate rejection costing the use of many surge-gates opening and closing. Even I, if I felt it was right.” But he would never; he had long ago decided, and taken a secret binding oath on it. does.” Father Handy said, “We know this: you can find many jobs, at any place; you could be anywhere working. “Do you know,” Father Handy said, “what the oldest word in the English language is? Five times, moving very slowly, the ram walked toward the dog, leaving the flock behind. Those happy days in the sixties.” “If I can’t do my job,” Tibor said, “its your fault.” “ ‘A poor workman always blames—’ “ “You’re not a box of tools.” Both manual extensors slapped at the cart. At the stove, Ely said, “Fire him.” To her, Father Handy said, “I fire no one. The room became still and even Ely, the woman, did not chatter. We must have the mural; he must travel over a thousand miles, and ifhis cow dies or his battery gives out, then we expire with him; Neither man knew who had written the old poem, the medieval German words which could not be found in their Cassell’s dictionary; they together, the two of them, had imagined out, summoned, found, the meaning of the words; they were certain they were right and understood. “Carl Lufteufel,” the Dominus Mc Comas said, “was a son of a bitch.
“ ‘The rule,’ “ Father Handy said, “ ‘applies to everyone.’ “ Half to himself, with real bitterness, Tibor said, “ ‘To shirk the task.’ “ He turned his head, licked rapidly with his expert tongue, and gazed in deep, prolonged study at the priest. ” It is, Father Handy thought, the fact that I am linked; I am part of a network that whips and quivers with the whole chain, shivered from above. Despite your—handicap.” “The Dresden Amen,” Tibor said. The dog, of course, stopped and stood still when he saw the ram coming toward him, and so the ram halted and pretended; he cropped.” Father Handy smiled as he remembered. I had to.” “If it was me,” Tibor said, “if I was that ram, and I saw that, I saw the dog get by me and run the flock and all I could do was watch—” He hesitated. ’ You see my point.” Tibor said slowly, “If you can’t do your job, better to be dead. ” In your mural, Father Handy thought, you must create His face. “And as He actually is.” After a puzzled pause Tibor said, “You mean His exact physical appearance? To be shown to you.” Staring at him, Tibor said, “You mean you have a of the Deus Irae? Outdoors, the cow which pulled Tiber’s cart groaned huskily, shifted; perhaps, Father Handy thought, it is looking for, hoping for, food. As a man.” He added that because of course one did not speak of the god part of the god-man, the Deus Irae, like that.
No; he had his own favorite, and, although it had killed only a relatively few million people, it impressed him: its evil was so blatant; it glowed and stank, as a U. Congressman had once said, like a dead mackerel in the night’s dark. and yet, the color photo had shown a man with pain-smeared eyes, a man who seemed ill in a deep and dreadful way even as he gorged on roast chicken with a lei around his neck and a girl—not pretty—to his right… Three weeks before, he had brought Alice home to the digs—an idiot girl whom the inhabitants of Stuttgart had expelled from their midst. “For a time,” he told them, and then the sky burst and there were slow-swimming, shapeless forms all about him, mainly red, though some were colorless, and he existed indifferently as they flowed by him, and then—or before or after, he could not be certain, and he knew that it did not matter—he heard and felt, rather than saw, a light within his head, pulsing, and it was a pleasant thing and he let it soak deep into him for a time, for a time that could have been hours or seconds (it did not matter), and while he felt, suddenly, that his lips had been moving, he had heard no words, there where he was, until a voice said, “What’s a D-III, Daddy?
a man with shiny, heavy, tumbled black hair and too much stubble, even though no doubt he carefully shaved; it was subdermal, showing through: not his fault, and yet it was that was it. As a matter of fact, your suggestions have given me second thoughts about your religion. Whether out of sympathy for her condition or the desire for companionship, he could not say. Go to sleep, like I told you.” The figure withdrew, and he found the strength to unsnap his ammo belts and tear off his clothing, for he no longer felt like a glass of ice water, and he pushed these items over the edge of the bed.
And the dog—you know how they do, learn to do—cut off one ewe, to run her down; they kill the ewe, then, or maim them, they get them from the belly.” He was silent. “Yeah, passing sugar.” Mc Comas grunted a ha-ha; his round, red—red as if they had short-circuited and the metal in them had heated up, dangerous and improper—eyes sparked; but this was normal, as was his half-zipped fly. He cowered, cringed, abased himself before it, but it began its eternally slow descent nevertheless. ” came the strangled cry from his entire being, but it drew nearer, nearer, was upon him.
“So your inc,” Mc Comas grated, “is going to roll all the way to Los Angeles. ” And this time he laughed so that he spat onto the table. A crown of iron came down, settled upon his brow, drew tighter, fit him. If so, he used them to try to drag if away, but to no avail.
The great, grand corporation which had sold the Pentagon and the White House on the funny hats—it too had disappeared, gotten not by bone-marrow-destroying fallout but by direct hits from missiles which ducked and wove faster than the anti-ms twisted and darted. Adjusting his side-pack, which contained a new supply of herbicides, he paused for a moment to touch the lump which had grown between his left temple and forehead. He gulped another tablet from his new supply, knowing that it would have less than the desired effect. He was glowing like a neon tube, pulsing like one, too.
Don’t look back, Satchel Paige had once said; something may be gaining on you. Abernathy said, “I will disclose something more to you which you should know. It throbbed, it drove a shaft of pain through his head, as he knew it would. Turning, then, he moved down the perpetually lit, perpetually poorly lit tunnel that led to the bunkers. He dropped his pack upon the nearest table and collapsed onto the bed, pressing the back of his right wrist to his forehead.
And that was a dreadful harbinger, because nowhere in the Wyoming-Utah area could a lensman be found; no refractive glasswork had been lately possible, at least as near as Father Handy knew. The sheep.” He had, behind the church in a five-acre pasture, six ewes. He’s an old ram; he has gray on his muzzle.” “Hmmm.” “A dog came and tried to run the flock, that red Irish-setter thing of the Yeats’. on this, the Servants of Wrath agreed with the Christians: the good power lay Above, the stars; this they were clear on; this was modern German. Get the little one on top of the john and bring it to me! God damn it, he said fiercely to himself, baffled by the tricks of his own mind. Even the wild weeds possessed it, this abandonment. What if there were highwaymen invisible now, due to mutation? The boys, having pushed him and the Holstein past the logs, the remnants of former trees, trotted off. Thank god he had; thank god that Father Handy had prepared him.
And the sinker—it had actually been called that even though it did just the opposite; it in fact lifted—carried the biplane and the man within toward the manned bomber, and all at once the two objects met. But “everyone” was only three men in all: two in the bomber, one in the D-III. would in some mysterious fashion survive and prosper, perhaps because of a New Year’s Eve funny-hat artifact distributed to the multi-millions of patriotic USers; it connected to cephalic veins and gave restitution to a bloodstream rapidly losing red corpuscles. That is our God.” Outside, all magic had fled from the noonday world, the sun had hidden its face behind a brief cloud, and Darlin’ Corey had eaten a bumblebee and was ill. The door grumbled when he inserted his finger, but it recognized the loops and whorls and slid halfway to the right.
And, below, a city lived on, lit up, composedly functioning. While other D-IIIs circled, circled, month after month; like certain raptors, they hovered for a seeming eternity. The antimissiles and the D-IIIs had kept off the fatal wasps for a finite time, and then at last the Dies Irae had come—for everyone, because of the gob, the great objectless device which Carleton Lufteufel had detonated from a satellite at an apogee of five thousand miles. The vacuum-cleaner salesmen’s convention-style headgear, however, had been finite, too; it had failed for many people long before the Krankheit—the sickness—had faded. He sidled through and kicked it, and it closed behind him.
In the hind yard, Tibor detached his cart from the cow. Ely Handy said dustily as she did not face the limbless man, “Good morning, Tibor. Hate, Father Handy thought, can take marvelous exceeding attenuated forms; he all at once yearned for it direct, open and ripe and directed properly. Like you, he thought, I am, although a Complete, having trouble with my body this morning: with glands and hormones. The rats fell back and there came another pain within his head. He gazed up at the clouded sky and gave thanks to the God of Wrath for sparing him this; trials of exceptional vividness lay on every hand. Extending his front right extensor, Tibor plucked a leaf from the tree and examined it. He felt all at once terribly tired, as well as frightened. “So we see.” He slapped the cow on its flank; the cow mooed and raised her head. “Fast enough.” In his front left gripper he held his single-shot pistol; if they tried to kill him he would get one of them.
Then, on battery power, the cart rolled up its special wood-plank ramp and into the church; Father Handy felt it within the building, the arrival of the man without limbs, who, retching, fought to control his abridged body so that he could resume work where he had left off at sunset yesterday. Right here.” He stood aside so that the cart, which was massive for an indoor construct, could roll on through the corridor and into the church’s kitchen. Pax be with you and with thy saintly spark.” “Pax or pox? He lit a cigarette, his first of the day, tasted the loose genuine tobacco, purled, and felt much better; one chemical checked the overproduction of another, and now he seated himself at the table as Tibor, smiling cheerfully still, drank the heated-over coffee without complaint. There was an especially violent throbbing in the vicinity of his left temple. These men and women were being tempered in a hot crucible; their souls were probably purified to an astonishing degree. ” Her tone was scathing, in an abstract sort of way. “We have bullets, but I don’t know if they still work.” “What is your name? I’m an incomplete; I have no arms or legs.” “A phocomelus,” the Great C said. I’m getting out of here, he said to himself, and nudged the cow into motion. Her tail, in the evening gloom, switched from side to side.
Ely, seated off in a corner, knitting, stared at him with such flat hate that Father Handy felt uncomfortable and turned his attention to the creased gas-station maps. It tightened and felt like a circlet of dry ice about his head. It clung there and throbbed, and he was back in his bunker in the digs, feeling it.