status quo by mack reynolds in his income bracket and in the suburb inwhich he lived, government employees in the twenty-five to thirty-five age group werecurrently wearing tweeds. tweeds were in. not to wear tweeds was non-u. lawrence woolford wore tweeds. his suit, thismorning, had first seen the light of day on a hand loom in donegal. it had been cut bya swede widely patronized by serious young career men in lawrence woolford's status group;english tailors were out currently and italians unheard of. woolford sauntered down the walk before hisauto-bungalow, scowling at the sportscar at
the curbâ€”wrong year, wrong make. he'd haveto trade it in on a new model. which was a shame in a way, he liked the car. however,he had no desire to get a reputation as a weird among colleagues and friends. what wasit senator carey macarthur had said the other day? show me a weird and i'll show you a personwho has taken the first step toward being a commie. woolford slid under the wheel, dropped thelift lever, depressed gently the thrust pedal and took off for downtown greater washington.theoretically, he had another four days of vacation coming to him. he wondered what theboss wanted. that was the trouble in being one of the boss' favorite trouble shooters,when trouble arose you wound up in the middle
of it. lawrence woolford was to the pointwhere he was thinking in terms of graduating out of field work and taking on a desk jobwhich meant promotion in status and pay. he turned over his car to a parker at thedepartmental parking lot and made his way through the entrance utilized by second-gradedepartmental officials. in another year, he told himself, he'd be using that other door. the boss' reception secretary looked up whenlawrence woolford entered the anteroom where she presided. â€œhello, larry,â€ she said.â€œhear they called your vacation short. darn shame.â€ laverne polk was a cute little whizz of efficiency.like napoleon and his army, she knew the name
of every member of the department and wason a first-name basis with all. however, she was definitely a weird. for instance, stylesmight come and styles might go, but laverne dressed for comfort, did her hair the wayshe thought it looked best, and wore low-heeled walking shoes on the job. in fact, she wasready and willing to snarl at anyone, no matter how kindly intentioned, who even hinted thather nonconformity didn't help her promotion prospects. woolford said, â€œhi, laverne. i think theboss is expecting me.â€ â€œthat he is. go right in, larry.â€ she looked after him when he turned and lefther desk. lawrence woolford cut a pleasant
figure as thirty year old bachelors go. the boss looked up from some report on hisdesk which he'd been frowning at, nodded to his field man and said, â€œsit down, lawrence.i'll be with you in a minute. please take a look at this while you're waiting.â€ hehanded over a banknote. larry woolford took it and found himself acomfortable chair. he examined the bill, front and back. it was a fifty dollar note, almostnew. finally the boss, a stocky but impeccablecareer bureaucrat of the ultra-latest school, scribbled his initials on the report and tossedit into an out chute. he said to woolford, â€œi am sorry to cut short your vacation,lawrence. i considered giving walter foster
the assignment, but i think you're the betterchoice.â€ larry decided the faint praise routine wasthe best tactic, said earnestly about his closest rival. â€œwalt's a good man, sir.â€and then, â€œwhat's the crisis?â€ â€œwhat do you think of that fifty?â€ his trouble shooter looked down at it. â€œwhatis there to think about it?â€ the boss grunted, slid open a desk drawerand brought forth another bill. â€œhere, look at this, please.â€ it was another fifty. larry woolford frownedat it, not getting whatever was going on. â€œobserve the serial numbers,â€ the bosssaid impatiently.
they were identical. woolford looked up. â€œcounterfeit. whichone is the bad one?â€ â€œthat is exactly what we would like to know,â€the boss said. larry woolford stared at his superior, blinkedand then examined the bills again. â€œa beautiful job,â€ he said, â€œbut what's it got to dowith us, sir? this is secret service jurisdiction, counterfeiting.â€ â€œthey called us in on it. they think itmight have international ramifications.â€ now they were getting somewhere. larry woolfordput the two bills on the boss' desk and leaned back in his chair, waiting.
his superior said, â€œremember the nazis turningout american and british banknotes during the second war?â€ â€œi was just a kid.â€ â€œi thought you might have read about it.at any rate, obviously a governmentâ€”with all its resourcesâ€”could counterfeit perfectlyany currency in the world. it would have the skills, the equipment, the funds to accomplishthe task. the germans turned out hundreds of millions of dollars and pounds with theidea of confounding the allied financial basics.â€ â€œand why didn't it work?â€ â€œthe difficulty of getting it into circulation,for one thing. however, they did actually
use a quantity. for a time our people wereso alarmed that they wouldn't allow any bills to come into this country from mexico excepttwo-dollar denominationâ€”the one denomination the germans hadn't bothered to duplicate.oh, they had the secret service in a dither for a time.â€ woolford was frowning. â€œwhat's this gotto do with our current situation?â€ the boss said, â€œit is only a conjecture.one of those bills is counterfeit but such an excellent reproduction that the skill involvedis beyond the resources of any known counterfeiter. secret service wants to know if it might becoming from abroad, and, if so, from where. if it's a governmental project, particularlya soviet complex one, then it comes into the
ken of our particular cloak-and-dagger department.â€ â€œyes, sir.â€ woolford said. he got up andexamined the two bills again. â€œhow'd they ever detect that one was bad?â€ â€œpure fortune. a bank clerk with an allbut eidetic memory was going through a batch of fifties. it's not too commonly used a denomination,you know. coincidence was involved since in that same sheaf the serial number was duplicated.â€ â€œand then?â€ â€œthe reproduction was so perfect that secretservice was in an immediate uproar. short of the nazi effort, there has never been anythinglike it. a perfect duplication of engraving
and paper identically the same. the counterfeitershave even evidently gone to the extent of putting a certain amount of artificial wearon the bills before putting them into circulation.â€ larry woolford said, â€œthis is out of myline. how were they able to check further, and how many more did they turn up?â€ â€œthe new i.b.m. sorters help. secret servicechecked every fifty dollar bill in every institution in town both banking and governmental. thusfar, they have located ten bills in all.â€ â€œand other cities?â€ â€œnone. they've all been passed in greaterwashington, which is suspicious in itself. the amount of expense that has gone into themanufacture of these bills does not allow
for only a handful of them being passed. theyshould be turning up in number. lawrence, this reproduction is such that a pusher couldwalk into a bank and have his false currency changed by any clerk.â€ â€œwow,â€ larry whistled. â€œindeed.â€ â€œso you want me to work with secret serviceon this on the off chance that the soviet complex is doing us deliberate dirt.â€ â€œthat is exactly the idea, lawrence. getto work, please, and keep in touch with me. if you need support, i can assign walter fosteror some of the other operatives to assist
you. this might have endless ramifications.â€ back in the anteroom, woolford said to theboss' receptionist, â€œi'm on a local job, laverne, how about assigning me a girl?â€ â€œcan do,â€ she said. â€œand, look, tell her to get hold of everyavailable work on counterfeiting and pile it on my desk.â€ â€œright. thinking of going into business,larry?â€ he grinned down at her. â€œthat's the idea.keeping up with the jones clan in this man's town costs roughly twice my income.â€
laverne said disapprovingly, â€œthen why notgive it up? with the classification you've got a single man ought to be able to savehalf his pay.â€ she added, more quietly, â€œor get married and support a family.â€ â€œsave half my pay?â€ larry snorted. â€œandget a far out reputation, eh? no thanks, you can't afford to be a weird these days.â€ she flushedâ€”and damn prettily, larry woolforddecided. she could be an attractive item if it wasn't for obviously getting her kicksout of being individualistic. larry said suddenly, â€œlook, promise likea good girl not to make us conspicuous and i'll take you to the swank room for dinnertonight.â€
â€œis that where all the bright young mencurrently have to be seen once or twice a week?â€ she snapped back at him. â€œget lost,larry. being a healthy, normal woman i'm interested in men, but not necessarily in walking status-symbols.â€ it was his turn to flush, and, he decidedwryly, he probably didn't do it as prettily as she did. on his way to his office, he wondered whythe boss kept her on. classically, a secretary-receptionist should have every pore in place, but in hertime laverne polk must have caused more than one bureaucratic eyebrow to raise. efficiencywas probably the answer; the boss couldn't afford to let her go.
larry woolford's office wasn't much more thana cubicle. he sat down at the desk and banged a drawer or two open and closed. he likedthe work, liked the department, but theoretically he still had several days of vacation andhated to get back into routine. had he known it, this was hardly going tobe routine. he flicked the phone finally and asked foran outline. he dialed three numbers before getting his subject. the phone screen remainedblank. â€œhans?â€ he said. â€œlawrence woolford.â€ the teutonic accent was heavy, the voice bluff.â€œah, larry! you need some assistance to make your vacation? perhaps a sinister, exoticyoung lady, complete with long cigarette holder?â€
larry woolford growled, â€œhow'd you knowi was on vacation?â€ the other laughed. â€œyou know better thanto ask that, my friend.â€ larry said, â€œthe vacation is over, hans.i need some information.â€ the voice was more guarded now. â€œi owe youa favor or two.â€ â€œdon't you though? look, hans, what's newin the russkie camp?â€ the heartiness was gone. â€œhow do you mean?â€ â€œis there anything big stirring? is thereanyone new in this country from the soviet complex?â€ â€œwell nowâ€”â€ the other's voice driftedaway.
larry woolford said impatiently, â€œlook,hans, let's don't waste time fencing. you run a clearing agency for, ah, information.you're strictly a businessman, nonpartisan, so to speak. fine, thus far our departmenthas tolerated you. perhaps we'll continue to. perhaps the reason is that we figure weget more out of your existence than we lose. the russkies evidently figure the same way,the proof being that you're alive and have branches in the capitals of every power onearth.â€ â€œall right, all right,â€ the german said.â€œlet me think a moment. can you give me an idea of what you're looking for?â€ therewas an undernote of interest in the voice now.
â€œno. i just want to know if you've heardanything new anti-my-side, from the other side. or if you know of any fresh personnelrecently from there.â€ â€œfrankly, i haven't. if you could give mea hint.â€ â€œi can't,â€ larry said. â€œlook, hans,like you say, you owe me a favor or two. if something comes up, let me know. then i'llowe you one.â€ the voice was jovial again. â€œit's a bargain,my friend.â€ after woolford had hung up, he scowled atthe phone. he wondered if hans distelmayer was lying. the german commanded the largestprofessional spy ring in the world. it was possible, but difficult, for anything in espionageto develop without his having an inkling.
the phone rang back. it was steve hackettof secret service on the screen. hackett said, â€œwoolford, you coming over?i understand you've been assigned to get in our hair on this job.â€ â€œhuh,â€ larry grunted. â€œthe way i hearit, your whole department has given up, so i'm assigned to help you out of your usualfumble-fingered confusion.â€ hackett snorted. â€œat any rate, can you dropover? i'm to work in liaison with you.â€ â€œcoming,â€ larry said. he hung up, gotto his feet and headed for the door. if they could crack this thing the first day, he'dtake up that vacation where it'd been interrupted and possibly be able to wangle a few moredays out of the boss to boot.
at this time of day, parking would have beena problem, in spite of automation of the streets. he left his car in the departmental lot andtook a cab. the counterfeit division of the secret serviceoccupied an impressive section of an impressive governmental building. larry woolford flashedhis credentials here and there, explained to guards and receptionists here and there,and finally wound up in steve hackett's office which was all but a duplicate of his own insize and decor. steve hackett himself was a fairly accuratecarbon copy of woolford, barring facial resemblance alone. the fact was, steve was almost lincolnesquein his ugliness. career man, about thirty, good university, crew cut, six foot, one hundredand seventy, earnest of eye. he wore harris
tweed. larry woolford made a note of that;possibly herringbone was coming back in. he winced at the thought of a major change inhis wardrobe; it'd cost a fortune. they'd worked on a few cases together beforewhen steve hackett had been assigned to the presidential bodyguard and co-operated well. steve came to his feet and shook hands. â€œthoughtthat you were going to be down in florida bass fishing this month. you like your workso well you can't stay away, or is it a matter of trying to impress your chief?â€ larry growled, â€œfine thing. secret servicebogs down and they've got to call me in to clean up the mess.â€
steve motioned him to a chair and immediatelywent serious. â€œdo you know anything about pushing queer, woolford?â€ â€œthat means passing counterfeit money, doesn'tit? all i know is what's in the trid crime shows.â€ â€œi can see you're going to be a lot of help.have you got anywhere at all on the possibility that the stuff might be coming from abroad?â€ â€œnothing positive,â€ larry said. â€œareyou people accomplishing anything?â€ â€œwe're just getting underway. there's somethingoff-trail about this deal, woolford. it doesn't fit into routine.â€
larry woolford said, â€œi wouldn't think soif the stuff is so good not even a bank clerk can tell the difference.â€ â€œthat's not what i'm talking about now.let me give you a run down on standard counterfeiting.â€ the secret service agent pushed back in hisswivel chair, lit a cigarette, and propped his feet onto the edge of a partly open deskdrawer. â€œbriefly, it goes like this. some smart lad gets himself a set of plates anda platen press andâ€”â€ larry interrupted, â€œwhere does he get theplates?â€ â€œthat doesn't matter now,â€ steve said.â€œvarious ways. maybe he makes them himself, sometimes he buys them from a crooked engraver.but i'm talking about pushing green goods
once it's printed. anyway, our friend runsoff, say, a million dollars worth of fives. but he doesn't try to pass them himself. hewholesales them around netting, say, fifty thousand dollars. in other words, he sellstwenty dollars in counterfeit for one good dollar.â€ larry pursed his lips. â€œquite a discount.â€ â€œum-m-m. but that's safest from his angle.the half dozen or so distributors he sold it to don't try to pass it either. they alsoare playing it carefully. they peddle it, at say ten to one, to the next rung down theladder.â€ â€œand these are the fellows that pass it,eh?â€
â€œnot even then, usually. these small timerstake it and pass it on at five to one to the suckers in the trade, who take the biggestrisks. most of these are professional pushers of the queer, as the term goes. some, however,are comparative amateurs. sailors for instance, who buy with the idea of passing it in someforeign port where seamen's money flows fast.â€ larry woolford shifted in his chair. â€œsowhat are you building up to?â€ steve hackett rubbed the end of his pug nosewith a forefinger in quick irritation. â€œlike i say, that's standard counterfeit procedure.we're all set up to meet it, and do a pretty good job. where we have our difficulties iswith amateurs.â€ woolford scowled at him.
hackett said, â€œsome guy who makes and passesit himself, for instance. he's unknown to the stool pigeons, has no criminal record,does up comparatively small amounts and dribbles his product onto the market over a periodof time. we had one old devil up in new york once who actually drew one dollar bills. hewas a tremendous artist. it took us years to get him.â€ larry woolford said, â€œwell, why go intoall this? we're hardly dealing with amateurs now.â€ steve looked at him. â€œthat's the trouble.we are.â€ â€œare you batty? not even your own expertscan tell this product from real money.â€
â€œi didn't say it was being made by amateurs.it's being pushed by amateursâ€”or maybe amateur is the better word.â€ â€œhow do you know?â€ â€œfor one thing, most professionals won'ttouch anything bigger than a twenty. tens are better, fives better still. when you passa fifty, the person you give it to is apt to remember where he got it.â€ steve hackettsaid slowly, â€œparticularly if you give one as a tip to the maã®tre d'hã´tel in a first-classrestaurant. a maã®tre d' holds his job on the strength of his ability to remember facesand names.â€ â€œwhat else makes you think your pushersare amateurs?â€
â€œamateur,â€ hackett corrected. â€œideally,a pusher is an inconspicuous type. the kind of person whose face you'd never remember.it's never a teenage girl who's blowing money.â€ it was time to stare now, and larry woolfordobliged. â€œa teenager!â€ â€œwe've had four descriptions of her, oneof them excellent. fredrick, the maã®tre d' over at la calvados, is the one that counts,but the others jibe. she's bought perfume and gloves at michel swiss, the swankiestshop in town, a dress at chez marieâ€”she passed three fifties thereâ€”and a hat atpaulette's over on monroe street. â€œthat's another sign of the amateur, bythe way. a competent pusher buys a small item and gets change from his counterfeit bill.our girl's been buying expensive items, obviously
more interested in the product than in herchange.â€ â€œthis doesn't seem to make much sense,â€larry woolford protested. â€œyou have any ideas at all?â€ â€œthe question is,â€ hackett said, â€œwheredid she get it? is she connected with one of the embassies and acquired the stuff overseas?if so, that puts it in your lap again possiblyâ€”â€ the phone rang and steve flicked the switchand grumbled, â€œyeah? steven hackett speaking.â€ he listened for a moment then banged the phoneoff and jumped to his feet. â€œcome on, larry,â€ he snapped. â€œthis is it.â€ larry stood, too. â€œwho was that?â€
â€œfredrick, over at la calvados. the girlhas come in for lunch. let's go!â€ la calvados was the swankiest french restaurantin greater washington, a city not devoid of swank restaurants. only the upper-echelonsin governmental circles could afford its tariffs; the clientele was more apt to consist of businessmucky-mucks and lobbyists on the make. larry woolford had eaten here exactly twice. youcould get a reputation spending money far beyond your obvious pay status. fredrick, the maã®tre de hã´tel, however,was able to greet them both by name. â€œmonsieur hackett, monsieur woolford,â€ he bowed. heobviously didn't approve of la calvados being used as a hangout where counterfeiters werepicked up the authorities.
â€œwhere is she?â€ steve said, looking outover the public dining room. fredrick said, unprofessionally agitated,â€œsee here, monsieur hackett, you didn't expect to, ah, arrest the young lady hereduring our lunch hour?â€ steve looked at him impatiently. â€œwe don'texactly beat them over the head with blackjacks, slip the bracelets on and drag them screamingto the paddywagon.â€ â€œof course not, monsieur, butâ€”â€ larry woolford's chief dined here severaltimes a week and was probably on the best of terms with fredrick whose decisions ontables and whose degree of servility had a good deal of influence on a man's status ingreater washington. larry said wearily, â€œwe
can wait until she leaves. where is she?â€ fredrick had taken them to one side. â€œdo you see the young lady over near thewindow on the park? the rather gauche appearing type?â€ it was a teenager, all right. a youngsterup to her eyebrows in the attempt to project sophistication. steve said, â€œdo you know who she is?â€ â€œno,â€ fredrick said. â€œhardly our usualclientele.â€ â€œoh?â€ larry said. â€œshe looks like money.â€
fredrick said, â€œthe dress appears as thoughit is of chez marie, but she wears it as though it came from klein's. her perfume is chanel,but she has used approximately three times the quantity one would expect.â€ â€œthat's our girl, all right,â€ steve murmured.â€œwhere can we keep an eye on her until she leaves?â€ â€œwhy not at the bar here, messieurs?â€ â€œwhy not?â€ larry said. â€œi could usea drink.â€ fredrick cleared his throat. â€œah, messieurs,that fifty i turned over you. i suppose it turned out to be spurious?â€
steve grinned at him. â€œafraid so, fredrick.the department is holding it.â€ larry took out his wallet. â€œhowever, wehave a certain leeway on expenses on this assignment and appreciate your co-operation.â€he handed two twenties and a ten to the maã®tre d'. fredrick bowed low, the money disappearinginto his clothes magically. â€œmerci bien, monsieur.â€ at the bar, steve scowled at his colleague.â€œha!â€ he said. â€œwhy didn't i think of that first? he'll get down on his knees andbump his head each time he sees you in the joint from now on.â€ larry woolford waggled a finger at the other.â€œthis is a status conscious town, my boy.
prestige means everything. when i take overmy boss' job, maybe we can swing a transfer and i'll give you a position suitable to yourattainments.â€ he pursed his lips judiciously. â€œalthough, come to think of it, that mightmean a demotion from the job you're holding â€œvodka martini,â€ steve told the bartender.â€œpolish vodka, of course.â€ â€œof course, sir.â€ larry said, â€œsame for me.â€ the bartender left and steve muttered, â€œihate vodka.â€ â€œyeah,â€ larry said, â€œbut what're yougoing to do in a place like this, order some weird drink?â€
steve dug into his pocket for money. â€œwe'renot going to have to drink them. here she comes.â€ she walked with her head held high, hauteurin every step. ignoring the peasants at the tables she passed. â€œholy smokes,â€ steve grunted. â€œit'sa wonder fredrick let her in.â€ she hesitated momentarily before the doorwayof the prestige restaurant allowing the passers-by to realize she'd just emerged, and then turnedto her right to promenade along the shopping street. fifty feet below la calvados, steve said,â€œlet's go, woolford.â€
one stepped to one elbow, the other to theother. steve said quietly, â€œi wonder if we could ask you a few questions?â€ her eyebrows went up, â€œi beg your pardon!â€ steve sighed and displayed the badge pinnedto his wallet, keeping it inconspicuous. â€œsecret service, miss,â€ he murmured. â€œoh, devil,â€ she said. she looked up atlarry woolford, and then back at steve. steve said, â€œamong other things, we're incharge of counterfeit money.â€ she was about five foot four in her heels,had obviously been on a round of beauty shops and had obviously instructed them to glamorizeher. it hadn't come off. she still looked
as though she'd be more at home as cheerleaderof the junior class in small town high school. she was honey blond, green-blue of eye, andhad that complexion they seldom carry even into the twenties. â€œi ... i don't know what you're talkingabout.â€ her chin began to tremble. larry said gently, â€œdon't worry. we justwant to ask you some questions.â€ â€œwell ... like what?â€ she was going tobe blinking back tears in a moment. at least larry hoped she'd blink them back. he'd hateto have her start howling here in public. larry said, â€œwe think you can be of assistanceto the government, and we'd like your help.â€ steve rolled his eyes upward, but turned andwaved for a street level cab.
in the cab, larry said, â€œsuppose we go overto my office, steve?â€ â€œo.k. with me,â€ steve muttered, â€œbutby the looks of the young lady here, i think it's a false alarm from your angle. she'sobviously an american. what's your name, miss?â€ â€œit's zusanette. well, really, susan.â€ â€œsusan what?â€ â€œi ... i'm not sure i want to tell you.i ... i want a lawyer.â€ â€œa lawyer!â€ steve snorted. â€œyou meanyou want the juvenile authorities, don't you?â€ â€œoh, what a mean thing to say,â€ she sputtered. in the corridor outside the boss' suite ofoffices, larry said to steve, â€œyou take
miss ... ah, zusanette to my office, willyou steve. i'll be there in a minute.â€ he opened the door to the anteroom and said,â€œlaverne, we've got a girl in my officeâ€”â€ â€œwhy, larry!â€ he glowered at her. â€œa suspect. i want acomplete tape of everything said. as soon as we're through, have copies made, at leastthree or four.â€ â€œand, who, mr. woolford, was your girl fridaylast year?â€ â€œthis is important, honey. i suppose you'vesupplied me with a secretary but i haven't even met her yet. take care of it, will you?â€ â€œsure enough, larry.â€
he followed steve and the girl to his office. once seated, the girl and steve in the onlytwo extra chairs the cubicle boasted and larry behind his desk, he looked at her in whathe hoped was reassurance. â€œjust tell us where you got the money, zusanette.â€ steve reached out a hand suddenly and tookher bag from her lap. she gasped and snatched at it, but he eluded her and she sat back,her chin trembling again. steve came up with a thick sheaf of bills,the top ones, at least, all fifties and tossed them to larry's desk. he took out a schoolpass and read, â€œsusan self, elwood avenue.â€ he looked up at larry and said, â€œthat'sright off eastern, near paterson park in the
baltimore section of town, isn't it?â€ larry said to her, â€œzusanette, i think you'dbetter tell us where you got all this money.â€ â€œi found it,â€ she said defiantly. â€œyoucan't do anything to me if i simply found it. anybody can find money. finders keepersâ€”â€ â€œbut if it's counterfeit,â€ steve interrupteddryly, â€œit might also be, finders weepers.â€ â€œwhere did you find it, zusanette?â€ larrysaid gently. she tightened her lips, and the tremblingof her chin disappeared. â€œi ... i can't tell you that. but it's not counterfeit. daddy... my father said it was as good as any money the government prints.â€
â€œthat it is,â€ steve said sourly. â€œbutit's still counterfeit, which makes it very illegal indeed to spend, miss self.â€ she looked from one of them to the other,not clear about her position. she said to larry, â€œyou mean it's not real money?â€ he kept his tone disarming, but shook hishead, â€œi'm afraid not, zusanette. now, tell us, where did you find it?â€ â€œi can't. i promisedâ€ â€œi see. then you don't know to whom it originallybelonged?â€ â€œit didn't belong to anybody.â€
steve hackett made with a disbelieving whistle.he was taking the part of the tough, suspicious cop; larry the part of the understanding,sympathetic officer, trying to give the suspect a break. susan self turned quickly on steve. â€œwell,it didn't. you don't even know.â€ larry said, â€œi think she's telling the truth,steve. give her a chance. she's playing fair.â€ he looked back at the girl, and frowned hispuzzlement. â€œall money belongs to somebody doesn't it?â€ she had them now. she said superiorly. â€œnotnecessarily to somebody. it can belong to, like, an organization.â€
steve grunted skepticism. â€œi think we oughtto arrest her,â€ he said. larry held up a hand, his face registeringopposition. â€œi'll handle this,â€ he said sharply. â€œzusanette is doing everythingshe can to co-operate.â€ he turned back to the girl. â€œnow, the question is, what organizationdid this money belong to?â€ she looked triumphantly at steve hackett.â€œit belonged to the movement.â€ they both looked at her. steve said finally, â€œwhat movement?â€ she pouted in thought. â€œthat's the onlyname they call it.â€ â€œwho's they?â€ steve snapped nastily.
â€œi ... i don't know.â€ larry said, â€œwell, you already told us yourfather was a member, zusanette.â€ her eyes went wide. â€œi did? i shouldn'thave said that.â€ but she evidently took him at his word. larry said encouragingly, â€œwell, we mightas well go on. who else is a member of this movement besides your father?â€ she shifted in her chair uncomfortably. â€œidon't know any of their names.â€ steve looked down at the school pass in hishands. he said to larry, â€œi'd better make a phone call.â€
he left. larry said, â€œdon't worry about him, zusanette.now then, this movement. that's kind of a funny name, isn't it? what does it mean?â€ she was evidently glad that the less thanhandsome steve hackett had left the room. her words flowed more freely. â€œwell, daddysays that they call it the movement rather than a revolution....â€ an ice cube manifested itself in the stomachof lawrence woolford. â€œ... because people get conditioned, like,to words. like revolution. everybody is against the word because they all think of killingand everything, and, daddy says, there doesn't
have to be any shooting or killing or anythinglike that at all. it just means a fundamental change in society. and, daddy says, take theword propaganda. everybody's got to thinking that it automatically means lies, but it doesn'tat all. it just means, like, the arguments you use to convince people that what you standfor is right and it might be lies or it might not. and, daddy says, take the word socialism.so many people have the wrong idea of what it means that the socialists ought to scrapthe word and start using something else to mean what they stand for.â€ larry said gently, â€œyour father is a socialist?â€ â€œoh, no.â€
he nodded in understanding. â€œoh, a communist,eh?â€ susan self was indignant. â€œdaddy thinksthe communists are strictly awful, really weird.â€ steve hackett came back into the office. hesaid to larry, â€œi sent a couple of the boys out to pick him up.â€ susan was on her feet, a hand to mouth. â€œyoumean my father! you're going to arrest him!â€ larry said soothingly, â€œsit down, zusanette.there's a lot of things about this that i'm sure your father can explain.â€ he said tosteve, â€œshe tells me that the money belonged to a movement. a revolutionary movement whichdoesn't use the term revolutionary because
people react unfavorably to that word. it'snot commie.â€ susan said indignantly, â€œit's american,not anything foreign!â€ steve growled, â€œlet's get back to the money.what's this movement doing with a lot of counterfeit bills and where did you find them?â€ she evidently figured she'd gone too far nowto take a stand. â€œit's not daddy's fault,â€ she said. â€œhe took me to headquarters twice.â€ â€œwhere's headquarters?â€ larry said tryingto keep his voice soothing. â€œwell ... i don't know. daddy was awfullysilly about it. he tied his handkerchief around my eyes near the end. but the others complainedabout me anyway, and daddy got awfully mad
and said something about the young peopleof the country participating in their emancipation and all, but the others got mad too, and saidthere wasn't any kind of help i could do around headquarters anyway, and i'd be better offin school. everybody got awfully mad, but after the second time daddy promised not totake me to headquarters any more.â€ â€œbut where did you find the money, zusannette?â€larry said. â€œat headquarters. there's tons and tonsof it there.â€ larry cleared his throat and said, â€œwhenyou say tons and tons, you mean a great deal of it, eh?â€ she was proudly definite. â€œi mean tons andtons. a ton is two thousand pounds.â€
â€œlook, zusanette,â€ larry said reasonably.â€œi don't know how much money weighs, exactly, but let's say a pound would be, say, a thousandbills.â€ he took up a pencil and scribbled on a pad before him. â€œa pound of fiftieswould be $50,000. then if you multiply that by 2,000 pounds to make a ton, you'd have$100,000,000. and you say there's tons and tons?â€ â€œand that's just the fifties,â€ susan saidtriumphantly. â€œso you can see the two little packages i picked up aren't really importantat all. it's just like i found them.â€ â€œi don't think there's quite a thousandbills in a pound,â€ steve said weakly. larry said, â€œhow much other money is there?â€
â€œoh, piles. whole rooms. rooms after rooms.and hundred dollar bills, and twenties, and fives, and tensâ€”â€ larry said, â€œlook, zusanette, i don't thinkyou're in any position to be telling us whoppers. this whole story doesn't make much sense,does it?â€ her mouth tightened. â€œi'm not going to sayanything more until daddy gets here, anyway,â€ she said. which was when the phone rang. â€œi have an idea that's for me,â€ stevesaid. the screen lit up and laverne polk said, â€œcallfor steve hackett, larry.â€
larry pushed the phone around so steve couldlook into it. laverne flicked off and was replaced by a stranger in uniform. steve said,â€œyeah?â€ the cop said, â€œhe's flown the coop, sir.must have got out just minutes before we arrived. couldn't have taken more than a suitcase.few papers scattered around the room he used for an office.â€ susan gasped, â€œyou mean daddy?â€ steve hackett rubbed a hand over his flattenednose. â€œholy smokes,â€ he said. he thanked the cop and flicked off. larry said, â€œlook zusanette, everything'sgoing to be all right. nothing will happen
to you. you say you managed to pick up twopackets of all this money they have at headquarters. o.k. so you thought it wouldn't be missedand you've always wanted to spend money the way you see the stars do on trid and in themovies.â€ she looked at him, taken back. â€œhow didyou know?â€ larry said dryly, â€œi've always wanted tomyself. but i would like to know one more thing. the movement. what was it going todo with all this money?â€ that evidently puzzled her. â€œthe professorsaid they were going to spend it on chorus girls. i guess ... i guess he was joking orsomething. but daddy and i'd just been up to new york and we saw those famous precisiondancers at the new roxy theatre and all and
then when we got back the professor and daddywere talking and i heard him say it.â€ steve said, carefully, â€œprofessor who?â€ susan said, â€œjust the professor. that'sall we ever call him.â€ her chin went to trembling still again. larry summed it up for the boss later. his chief scoffed his disbelief. â€œthe childis full of dreams, lawrence. it comes from seeing an over-abundance of these trid shows.i have a girl the same age. i don't know what is happening to the country. they have nosense of reality.â€ larry woolford said mildly, â€œwell, she mightbe full of nonsense, but she did have the
fifties, and she's our only connection withwhoever printed them whether it's a movement to overthrow the government, or what.â€ the boss said tolerantly, â€œmovement, indeed.obviously, her father produced them and she purloined a quantity before he was ready toattempt to pass them. have you a run down on him yet?â€ â€œsusan self says her father, ernest self,is an inventor. steve hackett is working on locating him.â€ â€œhe's an inventor indeed. evidently, hehas invented a perfect counterfeiting device. however, that is the secret service's headache,not ours. do you wish to resume that vacation
of yours, lawrence?â€ his operative twisted his face in a grimace.â€œsure, i do, but i'm not happy about this, sir. what happens if there really is an organization,a movement, like she said? that brings it back under our jurisdiction, anti-subversion.â€ the other shook his head tolerantly. â€œseehere, lawrence, when you begin scheming a social revolution you can't plan on an organizationcomposed of a small number of persons who keep their existence secret. in spite of whata good many persons seem to believe, revolutions are not accomplished by handfuls of conspiratorshiding in cellars and eventually overthrowing society by dramatically shooting the president,or king, or czar, or whoever. revolutions
are precipitated by masses of people. peoplewho have ample cause to be against whatever the current government happens to be. usually,they are on the point of actual starvation. have you ever read machiavelli?â€ niccolo machiavelli was currently the thingto read. larry said with a certain dignity, â€œi've gone through â€˜the prince,â€™ theâ€˜discoursesâ€™ and currently i'm amusing myself with his â€˜history of florence.â€™â€‰â€ â€œanybody who can amuse himself reading machiavelli,â€the boss said dryly, â€œhas a macabre sense of humor. at any rate, what i was alludingto was where he stated that the prince cannot rule indefinitely in the face of the activeopposition of his people. therefore, the people
always get a government that lies within thelimits of their tolerance. it may be on one edge or the other of their limits of toleranceâ€”butit's always within their tolerance zone.â€ larry frowned and said, â€œwell, what's yourpoint, sir?â€ the boss said patiently, â€œi'm just observingthat cultures aren't overthrown by little handfuls of secret conspirators. you mighteliminate a few individuals in that manner, in other words change the personnel of thegovernment, but you aren't going to alter a socio-economic system. that can't be doneuntil your people have been pushed outside their limits of tolerance. very well then.a revolutionary organization must get out and propagandize. it has got to convince thepeople that they are being pushed beyond endurance.
you have got to get the masses to moving.you have to give speeches, print newspapers, books, pamphlets, you have got to send yourorganizers out to intensify interest in your program.â€ larry said, â€œi see what you mean. if thisso-called movement actually existed it couldn't expect to get anywhere as long as remainedsecret.â€ the boss nodded. â€œthat is correct. the leadersof a revolutionary movement might be intellectuals, social scientists, scholarsâ€”in fact theyusually areâ€”take our own american revolution with jefferson, madison, franklin, washington.or the french revolution with robespierre, danton, marat, engels and lenin. all werewell educated intellectuals from the middle
class. but the revolution itself, once itstarts, comes from below, from the mass of people pushed beyond tolerance.â€ it came to lawrence woolford that his superiorhad achieved to his prominent office not through any fluke. he knew what he was talking about. the boss wound it up. â€œif there was suchan organization as this movement, then this department would know about it. you don'tkeep a revolutionary movement secret. it doesn't make sense to even try. even if it is forcedunderground, it makes as much noise as it can.â€ his trouble shooter cleared his throat. â€œisuppose you're right, sir.â€ he added hesitantly.
â€œwe could always give susan self a few dropsof scop-serum, sir.â€ the boss scowled disapprovingly. â€œyou knowhow the supreme court ruled on that, lawrence. and particularly since the medics revealedits effect on reducing sexual inhibitions. no, mr. hackett and secret service will haveto get the truth out of the girl by some other means. at any rate, it is out of our hands.â€ larry came to his feet. â€œwell, then, i'llresume my vacation, eh?â€ his chief took up a report from his desk anfrowned at it, his attention already passing to other matters. he grunted, â€œclear itwith laverne, please. tell her i said to take another week to make up for our intrudingon you in this manner.â€
in the back of his head, larry woolford hadmisgivings. for one thing, where had the kid, who on the face of her performance was nogreat brain even as sixteen or seventeen old's go, picked up such ideas as the fact thatpeople developed prejudices against words like revolution and propaganda? however, he was clear of it now. let stevehackett and his people take over. he, lawrence woolford, was due for a quick return to astor,florida and the bass fishing on the st. john's river. he stopped at laverne's desk and gave herhis address to be, now that his vacation was resumed.
she said, smiling up at him. â€œright. theboss already told me to get in touch with secret service and let them know we're pullingout. what happened to susan self?â€ larry looked at her. â€œhow'd you know aboutsusan?â€ her tone was deprecating. â€œremember? youhad me cut some tapes on you and that hulking steve hackett grilling the poor kid.â€ larry snorted. â€œpoor kid, yet. with hertastes for living-it-up, and that father she has, she'll probably spend the rest of herlife getting in steve's hair as a counterfeit pusher.â€ â€œwhat are they going to do with her? she'sjust a child.â€
the agent shrugged. â€œi feel sorry for her,too, laverne. steve's got her in a suite at the greater washington hilton, until thingsare cleared up. they don't want the newspapers to get wind of this until they've got thatinventor father of hers and whatever he's cooked up to turn out perfect reproductionsof uncle sam's money. look, i won't be leaving until tomorrow. what'd you say we go out onthe town tonight?â€ â€œwhy, larry woolford! how nice of you toask me. poor little, non-u me. what do you have in mind? i understand mort lenny's atone of the night clubs.â€ larry winced. â€œyou know what he's been sayingabout the administration.â€ she smiled sweetly at him.
larry said, â€œlook, we could take in thebrahms concert, thenâ€”â€ â€œdo you like brahms? i go for popular musicmyself. preferably the sort of thing they wrote back in the 1930s. something you candance to, something you know the words to. corny, they used to call it. remember â€˜sunnyside of the street,â€™ and â€˜just the way you look tonightâ€™.â€ larry winced again. he said, â€œlook, i admit,i don't go for concerts either but it doesn't hurt you toâ€”â€ â€œi know,â€ she said sweetly. â€œit doesn'thurt for a bright young bureaucrat to be seen at concerts.â€
â€œhow about dixieland?â€ he said. â€œit'sall the thing now.â€ â€œi like corn. besides, my wardrobe is allout of style. paris, london, and rome just got in a huddle a couple of weeks ago andantiquated everything i own. you wouldn't want to be seen with a girl a few weeks outof date, would you?â€ â€œoh, now, laverne, get off my back.â€ hethought about it. â€œlook, you must have something you could wear.â€ â€œget out of here, you vacant minded conformist!i like mort lenny, he makes me laugh; i hate vodka martinis, they give me sour stomach;i don't like the current women's styles, nor the men's either.â€ laverne spun back toher auto-typer and began to dictate into it.
larry glared down at her. â€œall right. o.k.what do you like?â€ she snapped back irrationally, â€œi like whati like.â€ he laughed at her in ridicule. this time she glared at him. â€œthat makesmore sense than you're capable of assimilating, mr. walking status symbol. my likes and dislikesaren't dictated by someone else. if i like corny music, i'll listen to it and the devilwith brahms or dixieland or anything else that somebody else tells me is all the thing!â€ he turned on his heel angrily. â€œo.k., o.k.,it takes all sorts to make a world, weirds and all.â€
â€œone more label to hang on people,â€ shesnarled after him. â€œeverything's labels. be sure and never come to any judgments ofyour own!â€ what a woman! he wondered why he'd ever botheredto ask her for a date. there were so many women in this town you waded through them,and here he was exposing himself to be seen in public with a girl everybody in the departmentknew was as weird as they came. it didn't do your standing any good to be seen aroundwith the type. he wondered all over again why the boss tolerated her as his receptionist-secretary. he got his car from the parking lot and drovehome at a high level. ordinarily, the distance being what it was, he drove in the lower andslower traffic levels but now his frustration
demanded some expression. back at his suburban auto-bungalow, he threwall except the high priority switch and went on down into his small second cellar den.he didn't really feel like a night on the town anyway. a few vodka martinis under hisbelt and he'd sleep late and he wanted to get up in time for an early start for florida.besides, in that respect he agreed with the irritating wench. vermouth was never meantto mix with polish vodka. he wished that sidecars would come back. in his den, he shucked off his jacket, kickedoff his shoes and shuffled into moroccan slippers. he went over to his current reading rack andscowled at the paperbacks there. his culture
status books were upstairs where they couldbe seen. he pulled out a western, tossed it over to the cocktail table that sat next tohis chair, and then went over to the bar. up above in his living room, he had one ofthe new autobars. you could dial any one of more than thirty drinks. autobars were allthe rage. the boss had one that gave a selection of a hundred. but what difference did it makewhen nobody but eccentric old-timers or flighty blondes drank anything except vodka martinis?he didn't like autobars anyway. a well mixed drink is a personal thing, a work of competence,instinct and art, not something measured to the drop, iced to the degree, shaken or stirredto a mathematical formula. out of the tiny refrigerator he brought afour-ounce cube of frozen pineapple juice,
touched the edge with his thumbnail and letthe ultra thin plastic peel away. he tossed the cube into his mixer, took up a bottleof light rum and poured in about two ounces. he brought an egg from the refrigerator andadded that. an ounce of whole milk followed and a teaspoon of powdered sugar. he flickedthe switch and let the conglomeration froth together. he poured it into a king-size highball glassand took it over to his chair. vodka martinis be damned, he liked a slightly sweet longdrink. he sat down in the chair, picked up the bookand scowled at the cover. he ought to be reading that florentine history of machiavelli's,especially if the boss had got to the point
where he was quoting from the guy. but theheck with it, he was on vacation. he didn't think much of the italian diplomat of therenaissance anyway; how could you be that far back without being dated? he couldn't get beyond the first page or two. and when you can't concentrate on a western,you just can't concentrate. he finished his drink, went over to his phoneand dialed department of records and then information. when the bright young thing answered,he said, â€œi'd like the brief on an ernest self who lives on elwood avenue, baltimoresection of greater washington. i don't know his code number.â€
she did things with switches and buttons fora moment and then brought a sheet from a delivery chute. â€œdo you want me to read it to you,sir?â€ â€œno, i'll scan it,â€ larry said. her face faded to be replaced by the briefon ernest self. it was astonishingly short. records seemedto have slipped up on this occasion. a rare occurrence. he considered requesting the fulldossier, then changed his mind. instead he dialed the number of the sun-post and askedfor its science columnist. sam sokolski's puffy face eventually fadedin. larry said to him sourly, â€œyou drink toomuch. you can begin to see the veins breaking
in your nose.â€ sam looked at him patiently. larry said, â€œhow'd you like to come overand toss back a few tonight?â€ â€œi'm working. i thought you were on vacation.â€ larry sighed. â€œi am,â€ he said. â€œo.k.,so you can't take a night off and lift a few with an old buddy.â€ â€œthat's right. anything else, larry?â€ â€œyes. look, have you ever heard of an inventornamed ernest self?â€ â€œsure i've heard of him. covered a hasslehe got into some years ago. a nice guy.â€
â€œi'll bet,â€ larry said. â€œwhat does heinvent, something to do with printing presses, or something?â€ â€œprinting presses? don't you remember thestory about him?â€ â€œbrief me,â€ larry said. â€œwellâ€”briefly does itâ€”it got out a coupleof years ago that some of our rocketeers had bought a solid fuel formula from an italianresearch outfit for the star probe project. paid them a big hunk of uncle's change forit. so self sued.â€ larry said, â€œyou're being too brief. whatd'ya mean, he sued? why?â€ â€œbecause he claimed he'd submitted the sameformula to the same agency a full eighteen
months earlier and they'd turned him down.â€ â€œhad he?â€ â€œprobably.â€ larry didn't get it. â€œthen why'd they turnhim down?â€ sam said, â€œoh, the government boys had agood alibi. crackpots turn up all over the place and you have to brush them off. everycellar scientist who comes along and says he's got a new super-fuel developed from oldcoffee grounds can't be given the welcome mat. something was wrong with his math orsomething and they didn't pay much attention to him. wouldn't even let him demonstrateit. but it was the same formula, all right.â€
larry woolford was scowling. â€œsomethingwrong with his math? what kind of a degree does he have?â€ sam grinned in memory. â€œi got a good quoteon that. he doesn't have any degree. he said he'd learned to read by the time he'd reachedhigh school and since then he figured spending time in classrooms was a matter of interferingwith his education.â€ â€œno wonder they turned him down. no degreeat all. you can't get anywhere in science like that.â€ sam said, â€œthe courts rejected his suitbut he got a certain amount of support here and there. peter voss, over at the university,claims he's one of the great intuitive scientists,
whatever that is, of our generation.â€ â€œwho said that?â€ â€œprofessor voss. not that it makes any differencewhat he says. another crackpot.â€ after sam's less than handsome face was gonefrom the phone, larry walked over to the bar with his empty glass and stared at the mixerfor several minutes. he began to make himself another flip, but cut it short in the middle,put down the ingredients and went back to the phone to dial records again. he went through first the brief and then thefull dossier on professor peter luther voss. aside from his academic accomplishments, particularlyin the fields of political economy and international
law, and the dozen or so books accreditedto him, there wasn't anything particularly noteworthy. a bachelor in his fifties. nocriminal record of any kind, of course, and no military career. no known political affiliations.evidently a strong predilection for thorstein veblen's theories. and he'd been a friendof henry mencken back when that old nonconformist was tearing down contemporary society seeminglylargely for the fun involved in the tearing. on the face of it, the man was no radical,and the term â€œcrackpotâ€ which sam had applied was hardly called for. larry woolford went back to the bar and resumedthe job of mixing his own version of a rum flip.
but his heart wasn't in it. the professor,susan had said. before he'd gone to bed the night before,larry woolford had ordered a seat on the shuttle jet for jacksonville and a hover-cab thereto take him to astor, on the st. johns river. and he'd requested to be wakened in ampletime to get to the shuttleport. but it wasn't the saccharine pleasant faceof the personal service operator which confronted him when he grumpily answered the phone inthe morning. in fact, the screen remained blank. larry decided that sweet long drinks werefine, but that anyone who took several of them in a row needed to be candied. he grumbledinto the phone, â€œall right, who is it?â€
a teutonic voice chuckled and said, â€œyou'regoing to have to decide whether or not you're on vacation, my friend. at this time of day,why aren't you at work?â€ larry woolford was waking up. he said, â€œwhatcan i do for you, distelmayer?â€ the german merchant-of-espionage wasn't the type to makepersonal calls. â€œhave you forgotten so soon, my friend?â€the other chuckled. â€œit was i who was going to do you a favor.â€ he hesitated momentarily,before adding, â€œin possible return for futureâ€”â€ â€œyeah, yeah,â€ larry said. he was fullyawake now. the german said slowly, â€œyou asked if anyof your friends from, ah, abroad were newly in the country. frol eivazov has recentlyappeared on the scene.â€
eivazov! in various respects, larry woolford'scounterpart. hatchetman for the chrezvychainaya komissiya. woolford had met him on occasionwhen they'd both been present at international summit meetings, busily working at counter-espionagefor their respective superiors. blandly shaking hands with each other, blandly drinking toaststo peace and international co-existence, blandly sizing each other up and wondering if it'dever come to the point where one would blandly treat the other to a hole in the head, possiblyin some dark alley in havana or singapore, leopoldville or saigon. larry said sharply, â€œwhere is he? how'dhe get in the country?â€ â€œmy friend, my friend,â€ the german gruntedgood-humoredly. â€œyou know better than to
ask the first question. as for the second,frol's command of american-english is at least as good as your own. do you think his komissiyaless capable than your own department and unable to do him up suitable papers so thathe could be, perhaps, a â€˜returning touristâ€™ from europe?â€ larry woolford was impatient with himselffor asking. he said now, â€œit's not important. if we want to locate frol and pick him up,we'll probably not have too much trouble doing it.â€ â€œi wouldn't think so,â€ the other saidhumorously. â€œsince 1919, when they were first organized, the so-called communistsin this country, from the lowest to the highest
echelons, have been so riddled with policeagents that a federal judge in new england once refused to prosecute a case against themon the grounds that the party was a united states government agency.â€ larry was in no frame of mind for the other'sheavy humor. â€œlook, hans,â€ he said, â€œwhat i want to know is what frol is over here for.â€ â€œof course you do,â€ hans distelmayer said,unable evidently to keep note of puzzlement from his voice. â€œlarry,â€ he said, â€œiassume your people know of the new american underground.â€ â€œwhat underground?â€ larry snapped.
the professional spy chief said, his voicestrange, â€œthe soviets seem to have picked up an idea somewhere, possibly through theirmembership in this country, that something is abrewing in the states. that a change isbeing engineered.â€ larry stared at the blank phone screen. â€œwhat kind of a change?â€ he said finally.â€œyou mean a change to the soviet system?â€ surely not even the self-deluding russkiescould think it possible to overthrow the american socio-economic system in favor of the sovietbrand. â€œno, no, no,â€ the german chuckled. â€œofcourse not. it's not of their working at all.â€ â€œthen what's frol eivazov's interest, ifthey aren't engineering it?â€
distelmayer rumbled his characteristic chucklewith humor. â€œmy dear friend, don't be naive. anything that happens in america is of interestto the soviets. there is delicate peace between you now that they have changed their directionand are occupying themselves largely with the economic and agricultural developmentof asia and such portions of the world as have come under their hegemony, and whileyou put all efforts into modernizing the more backward countries among your satellites.â€ larry said automatically, â€œour allies aren'tsatellites.â€ the spy-master went on without contestingthe statement. â€œthere is immediate peace but surely governmental officials on bothsides keep careful watch on the internal developments
of the other. true, the current heads of thesoviet complex would like to see the governments of all the western powers changedâ€”but onlyif they are changed in the direction of communism. they are hardly interested in seeing changesmade which would strengthen the west in the, ah, battle for men's minds.â€ larry snorted his disgust. â€œwhat sort ofchange in government would strengthen the united states inâ€”â€ the german interrupted smoothly, â€œevidently,that's what frol seems to be here for, larry. to find out more about this movement andâ€”â€ â€œthis what?â€ larry blurted.
â€œthe term seems to be movement.â€ larry woolford held a long silence beforesaying, â€œand frol is actually here in this country to buck this ... this movement.â€ â€œnot necessarily,â€ the other said impatiently.â€œhe is here to find out more about it. evidently peking and moscow have heard just enough tomake them nervous.â€ larry said, â€œyou have anything more, hans?â€ â€œi'm afraid that's about it.â€ â€œall right,â€ larry said. he added absently,â€œthanks, hans.â€ â€œthank me some day with deeds, not withwords,â€ the german chuckled.
larry woolford looked at his watch and grimaced.he was either going to get going now or forget about doing any fishing in florida this afternoon. grudgingly, he dialed the phone company'spersonal service and said to the impossibly cheerful blonde who answered, â€œwhere cani find professor peter voss who teaches over at the university in baltimore? i don't wantto talk with him, just want to know where he'll be an hour from now.â€ while waiting for his information, he dressed,deciding inwardly that he hated his job, the department in which he was employed, the bossand greater washington. on top of that, he hated himself. he'd already been taken offthis assignment, why couldn't he leave it
lay? the blonde rang him back. professor petervoss was at home. he had no classes today. she gave him the address. larry woolford raised his car from his auto-bungalowin the brandywine suburb and headed northwest at a high level for the old baltimore sectionof the city. the professor's house, he noted, was of anearlier day and located on the opposite side of paterson park from elwood avenue, the streeton which susan self and her father had resided. that didn't necessarily hold significance,the park was a large one and the professor's section a well-to-do neighborhood, while self'swas just short of a slum these days.
he brought his car down to street level, andparked before the scholar's three-story, brick house. baltimore-like, it was identical toevery other house in the block; larry wondered vaguely how anybody ever managed to find hisown place when it was very dark out. there was an old-fashioned bell at the sideof the entrance and larry woolford pushed it. there was no identification screen inthe door, evidently the inhabitants had to open up to see who was calling, a tiring choreif you were on the far side of the house and the caller nothing more than a salesman. it was obviously the professor himself whoanswered. he was in shirtsleeves, tieless and with age-oldslippers on his stockingless feet. he evidently
hadn't bothered to shave this morning andhe held a dog-earred pamphlet in his right hand, his forefinger tucked in it to markhis place. he wore thick-lensed, gold-rimmed glasses through which he blinked at larrywoolford questioningly, without speaking. professor peter voss was a man in his midfifties, and, on the face of it, couldn't care less right now about his physical appearance. a weird, larry decided immediately. he wonderedat the university, one of the nation's best, keeping on such a figure. â€œprofessor voss?â€ he said. â€œlawrencewoolford.â€ he brought forth his identification. the professor blinked down at it. â€œi see,â€he said. â€œwon't you come in?â€
the house was old, all right. from the outside,quite acceptable, but the interior boasted few of the latest amenities which made allthe difference in modern existence. larry was taken back by the fact that the phonewhich he spotted in the entrada hadn't even a screenâ€”an old model for speaking only. the professor noticed his glance and saiddryly, â€œthe advantages of combining television and telephone have never seemed valid to me.in my own home, i feel free to relax, as you can observe. had i a screen on my phone, itwould be necessary for me to maintain the same appearance as i must on the streets orbefore my classes.â€ larry cleared his throat without saying anything.this was a weird one, all right.
the living room was comfortable in a blatantlyprimitive way. three or four paintings on the walls which were probably originals, larrydecided, and should have been in museums. not an abstract among them. a grant wood,a marin, and that over there could only be a grandma moses. the sort of things you mightkeep in your private den, but hardly to be seen as culture symbols. the chairs were large, of leather, and comfortableand probably belonged to the period before the second war. peter voss, evidently, waslittle short of an exhibitionist. the professor took up a battered humidor.â€œcigar?â€ he said. â€œmanila. hard to get these days.â€
a cigar? good grief, the man would be offeringhim a chaw of tobacco next. â€œthanks, no,â€ larry said. â€œi smoke apipe.â€ â€œi see,â€ the professor said, lightinghis stogie. â€œdo you really like a pipe? personally, i've always thought the cigarby far the most satisfactory method of taking tobacco.â€ what can you say to a question like that?larry ignored it, as though it was rhetorical. actually, he smoked cigarettes in the privacyof his den. a habit which was on the proletarian side and not consistent with his status level. he said, to get things under way, â€œprofessorvoss, what is an intuitive scientist?â€
the professor exhaled blue smoke, shook outthe old-time kitchen match with which he'd lit it, and tossed the matchstick into anashtray. â€œintuitive scientist?â€ â€œyou once called ernest self a great intuitivescientist.â€ â€œoh, self. yes, indeed. what is he doingthese days?â€ larry said wryly, â€œthat's what i came toask you about.â€ the professor was puzzled. â€œi'm afraid youcame to the wrong place, mr. woolford. i haven't seen ernest for quite a time. why?â€ â€œsome of his researches seem to have takenhim rather far afield. actually, i know practically nothing about him. i wonder if you could fillme in a bit.â€
peter voss looked at the ash on the end ofhis cigar. â€œi really don't know the man that well. he lives across the park. why don'tâ€”â€ â€œhe's disappeared,â€ larry said. the professor blinked. â€œi see,â€ he said.â€œand in view of the fact that you are a security officer, i assume under strange circumstances.â€larry woolford said nothing and the professor sank back into his chair and pursed his lips.â€œi can't really tell you much. i became interested in self two or three years agowhen gathering materials for a paper on the inadequate manner in which our country rewardsits inventors.â€ larry said, â€œi've heard about his suit againstthe government.â€
the professor became more animated. â€œha!â€he snorted. â€œone example among many. self is not alone. our culture is such that thegenius is smothered. the great contributors to our society are ignored, or worse.â€ larry woolford was feeling his way. now hesaid mildly, â€œi was under the impression that american free enterprise gave the individualthe best opportunity to prove himself and that if he had it on the ball he'd get tothe top.â€ â€œwere you really?â€ the professor saidsnappishly. â€œand did you know that edison died a comparatively poor man with an estatesomewhere in the vicinity of a hundred thousand dollars? an amount that might sound like agood deal to you or me, but, when you consider
his contributions, shockingly little. didyou know that eli whitney realized little, if anything, from the cotton gin? or thatmccormick didn't invent the reaper but gained it in a dubious court victory? or take robertgoddard, one of the best examples of modern times. he developed the basics of rocket technologyâ€”gyroscopicstabilizers, fuel pumps, self-cooling motors, landing devices. he died in 1945 leaving behindtwenty-two volumes of records that proved priceless. what did he get out of his researches?nothing. it was fifteen years later that his widow won her suit against the governmentfor patent infringements!â€ larry held up a hand. â€œreally,â€ he said.â€œmy interest is in ernest self.â€ the professor relaxed. â€œsorry. i'm afraidi get carried away. self, to get back to your
original question, is a great intuitive scientist.unfortunately for him, society being what it is today, he fits into few grooves. oureducational system was little more than an irritation to him and consequently he holdsno degrees. needless to say, this interfered with his gaining employment with the universitiesand the large corporations which dominate our country's research, not to mention governmentalagencies. â€œernest self holds none of the status labelsthat count. the fact that he is a genius means nothing. he is supposedly qualified no morethan to hold a janitor's position in laboratories where his inferiors conduct experiments infields where he is a dozenfold more capable than they. no one is interested in his genius,they want to know what status labels are pinned
to him. ernest has no respect for labels.â€ larry woolford figured he was picking up backgroundand didn't force a change of subject. â€œjust what do you mean by intuitive scientist?â€ â€œit's a term i have used loosely,â€ theprofessor admitted. â€œpossibly a scientist who makes a break-through in his field, destroyingformerly held positionsâ€”in self's case, without the math, without the accepted theoriesto back him. he finds something that works, possibly without knowing why or how and byusing unorthodox analytical techniques. an intuitive scientist, if i may use the term,is a thorn in the side of our theoretical physicists laden down with their burden ofa status label but who are themselves short
of the makings of a leonardo, a newton, agalileo, or even a nicholas christofilos.â€ â€œi'm afraid that last name escapes me,â€larry said. â€œsimilar to self's case and robert goddard's,â€voss said, his voice bitter. â€œalthough his story has a better ending. christofilos inventedthe strong-focusing principle that made possible the multi-billion-volt particle acceleratorscurrently so widely used in nuclear physics experimentation. however, he was nothing buta greek elevator electrical system engineer and the supposed experts turned him down onthe grounds that his math was faulty. it seems that he submitted the idea in straight-algebraterms instead of differential equations. he finally won through after patenting the discoveryand rubbing their noses in it. previously,
none of the physics journals would publishhis paperâ€”he didn't have the right status labels to impress them.â€ larry said, almost with amusement, â€œyouseem to have quite a phobia against the status label, as you call it. however, i don't seehow as complicated a world as ours could get along without it.â€ the professor snorted his contempt. â€œtellme,â€ he said, â€œto which class do you consider yourself to belong?â€ larry woolford shrugged. â€œi suppose individualsin my bracket are usually thought of as being middle-middle class.â€
â€œand you have no feeling of revolt in havingsuch a label hung on you? consider this system for a moment. you have lower-lower, middle-lower,and upper-lower; then you have lower-middle, middle-middle, upper-middle; then you havelower-upper, middle-upper, and finally we achieve to upper-upper class. now tell me,when we get to that rarified category, who do we find? do we find an einstein, a schweitzer,a picasso; outstanding scientists, humanitarians, the great writers, artists and musicians ofour day? certainly not. we find ultra-wealthy playboys and girls, a former king and hisduchess who eke out their income by accepting fees to attend parties, the internationalborn set, bearers of meaningless feudalistic titles. these are your upper-upper class!â€
larry laughed. the professor snapped, â€œyou think it funny?let me give you another example of our status label culture. i have a friend whom i haveknown since childhood. i would estimate that charles has an i.q. of approximately 90, certainlyno more. his family, however, took such necessary steps as were needed to get charles throughpublic school. no great matter these days, you'll admit, although on occasion he neededa bit of tutoring. on graduation, they recognized that the really better schools might be abit difficult for charles so he was entered in a university with a good name but withoutâ€”shallwe say?â€”the highest of scholastic ratings. charles plodded along, had some more tutoring,probably had his thesis ghosted, and eventually
graduated. at that point an uncle died andleft charles an indefinite amount to be used in furthering his education to any extenthe wished to go. charles, motivated probably by the desire to avoid obtaining a job andcompeting with his fellow man, managed to wrangle himself into a medical school andeventually even graduated. since funds were still available, he continued his studiesabroad, largely in vienna.â€ the professor wound it up. â€œeventually,he ran out of schools, or his uncle's estate ran outâ€”i don't know which came first. atany rate, my friend charles, laden down with status labels, is today practicing as a psychiatristin this fair city of ours.â€ larry stared at him blankly.
the professor said snappishly, â€œso any timeyou feel you need to have your brains unscrambled, you can go to his office and expend twenty-fivedollars an hour or so. his reputation is of the highest.â€ the professor grunted hiscontempt. â€œhe doesn't know the difference between an aspirin tablet and a rorschachtest.â€ larry woolford stirred in his chair. â€œweseem to have gotten far off the subject. what has this got to do with self?â€ the professor seemed angry. â€œi repeat, i'mafraid i get carried away on this subject. i'm in revolt against a culture based on thestatus label. it eliminates the need to judge a man on his merits. to judge a person bythe clothes he wears, the amount of money
he possesses, the car he drives, the neighborhoodin which he lives, the society he keeps, or even his ancestry, is out of the questionin a vital, growing society. you wind up with nonentities as the leaders of your nation.in these days, we can't afford it.â€ he smiled suddenly, rather elfishly, at thesecurity agent. â€œbut admittedly, this deals with self only as one of many victims of aculture based on status labels. just what is it you wanted to know about ernest?â€ â€œwhen you knew him, evidently he was workingon rocket fuels. have you any idea whether he later developed a method of producing perfectcounterfeit?â€ the professor said, â€œernest self? surelyyou are jesting.â€
larry said unhappily, â€œthen here's anotherquestion. have you ever heard him mention belonging to a movement, or, i think, he mightword it the movement.â€ â€œmovement?â€ the professor said emptily. â€œevidently a revolutionary group interestedin the overthrow of the government.â€ â€œgood heavens,â€ the professor said. â€œjusta moment, mr. woolford. you interrupted me just as i was having my second cup of coffee.do you mind if iâ€”â€ â€œcertainly not,â€ woolford shook his head. â€œi simply can't get along until after mythird cup,â€ the professor said. â€œyou just wait a moment and i'll bring the pot in here.â€
he left larry to sit in the combined studyand living room while he shuffled off in his slippers to the kitchen. larry woolford decidedthat in his school days he'd had some far out professors himself, but it would reallybe something to study under this one. not that the old boy didn't have some points,of course. almost all nonconformists base their particular peeves on some actuality,but in this case, what was the percentage? how could you buck the system? particularlywhen, largely, it worked. the professor returned with an old-fashionedcoffeepot, two cups, and sugar and cream on a tray. he put them on a side table and saidto larry, â€œyou'll join me? how do you take it?â€
larry still had the slightest of hang-oversfrom his solitary drinking of the night before. â€œthanks. make it black,â€ he said. the professor poured, served, then did upa cup for himself. he sat back in his chair and said, â€œnow, where were we? somethingabout a revolutionary group. what has that to do with counterfeiting?â€ larry sipped the strong coffee. â€œit seemsthere might be a connection.â€ the professor shook his head. â€œit's hardto imagine ernest self being connected with a criminal pursuit.â€ larry said carefully, â€œsusan seemed to beof the opinion that you knew about a large
amount of counterfeit currency that this movementhad on hand and that you were in favor of spending it upon chorus girls.â€ the professor gaped at him. larry chuckled uncomfortably. professor voss said finally, his voice veryeven, â€œmy dear sir, i am afraid that i evidently can be of little assistance to you.â€ â€œadmittedly, it doesn't seem to make muchsense.â€ â€œsusanâ€”you mean that little sixteen yearold?â€”said i was in favor of spending counterfeit money on chorus girls?â€
larry said unhappily, â€œshe used the termthe professor.â€ â€œand why did you assume that the title mustnecessarily allude to me? even if any of the rest of the fantastic story was true.â€ larry said, â€œin my profession, professorvoss, we track down every possible clue. thus far, you are the only professor of whom weknow who was connected with ernest self.â€ voss said stiffly, â€œi can only say, sir,that in my estimation mr. self is a man of the highest integrity. and, in addition, thati have never spent a penny on a chorus girl in my life and have no intention of beginning,counterfeit or otherwise.â€ larry woolford decided that he wasn't doingtoo well and that he'd need more ammunition
if he was going to return to this particularattack. he was surprised that the old boy hadn't already ordered him from the house. he finished the coffee preparatory to comingto his feet. â€œthen you think it's out of the question, ernest self belonging to a revolutionaryorganization?â€ the professor protested. â€œi didn't say thatat all. mr. self is a man of ideals. i can well see him belonging to such an organization.â€ larry woolford decided he'd better hang onfor at least a few more words. â€œyou don't seem to think, yourself, that a subversiveorganization is undesirable in this country.â€ the professor's voice was reasonable. â€œisn'tthat according to what it means to subvert?â€
â€œyou know what i mean,â€ woolford saidin irritation. â€œi don't usually think of revolutionists, even when they call themselvessimply members of a movement, as exactly idealists.â€ â€œthen you're wrong,â€ the professor saiddefinitely, pouring himself another cup of coffee. â€œhistory bears out that almost invariablyrevolutionists are men of idealism. the fact that they might be either right or wrong intheir revolutionary program is beside the point.â€ larry woolford began to say, â€œare you surethat you aren't interested in this moveâ€”â€ but it was then that the knockout drops hithim. he came out of the fog feeling nausea andwith his head splitting. he groaned and opened
one eye experimentally. steve hackett, far away, said, â€œhe's snappingout of it.â€ larry groaned again, opened the other eyeand attempted to focus. â€œwhat happened?â€ he muttered. â€œnow that's an original question,â€ stevesaid. larry woolford struggled up into a sittingposition. he'd been stretched out on a couch in the professor's combined living room andstudy. steve hackett, his hands on his hips, waslooking down at him sarcastically. there were two or three others, one of whom larry vaguelyremembered as being a secret service colleague
of steve's, going about and in and out ofthe room. larry said, his fingers pressing into hisforehead, â€œmy head's killing me. damn it, what's going on?â€ steve said sarcastically, â€œyou've been slippeda mickey, my cloak and dagger friend, and the bird has flown.â€ â€œyou mean the professor? he's a bird allright.â€ â€œhumor we get, yet,â€ hackett said, hisugly face scowling. â€œlisten, i thought you people had pulled out of this case.â€ larry sat up and swung his two feet aroundto the floor. â€œso did i,â€ he moaned, â€œbut
there were two or three things that botheredme and i thought i'd tidy them up before leaving.â€ â€œyou tidied them up all right,â€ stevegrumbled. â€œthis professor voss was practically the only lead i've been able to discover.an old friend of self's. and you allowed him to get away before we even got here.â€ one of hackett's men came up and said, â€œnota sign of him, steve. he evidently burned a few papers, packed a suitcase, and tookoff. his things look suspiciously as though he was ready to go into hiding at a moment'snotice.â€ steve growled to him, â€œgive the place theworks. he's probably left some clues around that'll give us a line.â€
the other went off and steve hackett sat downin one of the leather chairs and glowered at larry woolford. â€œlisten,â€ he said,â€œwhat did you people want with susan self?â€ larry shook his head for clarity and lookedat him. â€œsusan? what are you talking about? you don't have any aspirin, do you?â€ â€œno. what'd you mean, what am i talkingabout? you called betsy hughes and then sent a couple of men over to pick the self kidup.â€ â€œwho's betsy hughes?â€ steve shook his head. â€œi don't know whatkind of knockout drops the old boy gave you, but they sure worked. betsy's the operativewe had minding susan self over in the greater
washington hilton. about an hour ago you gother on the phone, said your department wanted to question susan, and that you were sendingtwo men over to pick her up. the two men turned up with an order from you, and took the girl.â€ larry stared at him. finally he said, â€œwhattime is it?â€ â€œabout two o'clock.â€ larry said, â€œi came into this house in themorning, talked to the professor for about half an hour and then was silly enough tolet him give me some loaded coffee. he was such a weird old buzzard that it never occurredto me he might be dangerous. at any rate, i've been unconscious for several hours. icouldn't've called this betsy hughes operative
of yours.â€ it was steve hackett's turn to stare. â€œyou mean your department doesn't have susanself?â€ â€œnot so far as i know. the boss told meyesterday that we were pulling out, that it was all in your hands. what would we wantwith susan?â€ â€œoh, great,â€ steve snarled. â€œthere goesour last contact. ernest self, professor voss, and now susan self; they've all disappeared.â€ â€œlook,â€ larry said unhappily, â€œlet'sget me some aspirin and then let's go and see my chief. i have a sneaking suspicionour department is back on this case.â€
steve snorted sarcastically. â€œif you canfoul things up this well when you're off the case, god only knows what you'll accomplishusing your facilities on an all-out basis.â€ the boss said slowly, â€œwhoever we are workingagainst evidently isn't short of resources. abducting that young lady was no simple matter.â€the career diplomat worked his lips in and out, in all but a pout. larry woolford, who'd taken time out to gohome, shower, change clothes and medicate himself out of his dope induced hangover,sat across the desk from him, flanked by steve hackett. the boss said sourly, â€œit would seem thati was in error. that our young susan self
was not spouting fantasy. there evidentlyactually is an underground movement interested in changing our institutions.â€ he stirredin his chair and his scowl went deeper. â€œand evidently working on a basis never conceivedof by subversive organizations of the past. the fact that they have successfully remainedsecret even to this department is the prime indication that they are attempting to maketheir revolutionary changes in a unique manner.â€ larry said, â€œthe trouble is, we don't evenknow what it is they want.â€ â€œhowever,â€ his superior said slowly, â€œweare beginning to get inklings.â€ steve hackett said, â€œwhat inklings, sir?this sort of thing might be routine for you people, but my field is counterfeit. i, frankly,don't know what it's all about.â€
the boss looked at him. â€œwe have a clueor two, mr. hackett. for one thing, we know that this movement of ours has no affiliationswith the soviet complex, nor, so far as we know, any foreign element whatsoever. if wetake miss self's word, it is strictly an american phenomenon. from what little we know of ernestself and peter voss they might be in revolt against some of our current institutions butthere is no reason to believe them, ah, un-american in the usually accepted sense of the word.â€ the two younger men looked at him as thoughhe was joking. he shook his heavy head negatively. â€œactually,what do we have on this so-called movement thus far? aside from treating lawrence, here,to some knockout dropsâ€”and let us remember
that lawrence was present in the professor'shome without a warrantâ€”all we have is the suspicion that they have manufactured a quantityof counterfeit.â€ â€œa quantity is right,â€ steve hackett blurted.â€œif we're to accept what that self kid told us, they have a few billion dollars worthof perfect bills on hand.â€ â€œa strange amount for counterfeiters toproduce,â€ the boss said uncomfortably. â€œthat is what puzzles me. any revolutionary movementneeds funds. remember stalin as a young man? he used to be in charge of the bolshevik gangwhich robbed banks to raise funds for their underground newspapers. but a billion dollars?what in the world can they expect to need that amount for?â€
larry said, â€œsir, you keep talking as thoughthese characters were a bunch of idealistic do-gooders bleeding for the sake of the country.actually, from what we know, they're nothing but a bunch of revolutionists.â€ the boss was shaking his head. â€œyou're notthinking clearly, lawrence. revolution, per se, is not illegal in the united states. ourconstitution was probably the first document of its kind which allowed for its own amendment.the men who wrote it provided for changing it either slightly or in toto. whenever themajority of the american people decide completely to abandon the constitution and govern themselvesby new laws, they have the right to do it.â€ â€œthen what's the whole purpose of this department,sir?â€ larry argued. â€œwhy've we been formed
to combat foreign and domestic subversion?â€ his chief sighed. â€œyou shouldn't have toask that, lawrence. the present government cannot oppose the will of the majority ifit votes, by constitutional methods, to make any changes it wishes. but we can, and do,unmask the activities of anyone trying to overthrow the government by force and violence.any culture protects itself against that.â€ â€œwhat are we getting at, sir?â€ steve hackettsaid, impatiently. the boss shrugged. â€œi'm trying to pointout that so far as my department is concerned, thus far we have little against this movement.secret service may have, what with this wholesale counterfeiting, even though thus far theyseem to have made no attempt to pass the currency
they have allegedly manufactured. we wouldn'teven know of it, weren't it for our young susan pilfering an amount.â€ larry said, desperately, â€œsir, you justpointed out a few minutes ago that this movement is a secret organization trying to make changesin some unique manner. in short, they don't figure on using the ballot to put over theirrevolution. that makes them as illegal as the commies, doesn't it?â€ the boss said, â€œthat's the difficulty; wedon't know what they want. from your conversations with susan self and especially professor voss,evidently they think the country needs some basic changes. what these changes are, andhow they expect to accomplish them, we don't
know. unless a foreign government is involved,or unless they plan to alter our institutions by violence, this department just doesn'thave much jurisdiction.â€ steve hackett snorted, â€œsecret service does!if those bales of money the self kid told us about are ever put into circulation, there'llbe hell to pay.â€ the boss sighed. â€œwell,â€ he said, â€œlawrencecan continue on the assignment. if it develops in such manner as to indicate that this departmentis justified in further investigation, we'll put more men on it. meanwhile, it is obviouslymore a secret service matter. i am sorry to intrude upon your vacation again, lawrence.â€ on awakening in the morning, larry woolfordstared glumly at the ceiling for long moments
before dragging himself from bed. this was,he decided, the strangest assignment he'd ever been on. in his day he'd trekked throughsouth america, common europe, a dozen african states, and even areas of southern asia, combattingcommie pressures here, fellow-traveler organizations there, disrupting plots hatched in the sovietcomplex in the other place. on his home grounds in the united states he'd covered everythingfrom out and out soviet espionage, to exposing communist activities of complexions from thefaintest of pinks to the rosiest trotskyite red. but, he decided he'd never expected towind up after a bunch of weirds whose sole actionable activity to date seemed to be thecounterfeiting of a fantastic amount of legal tender which thus far they were making noattempt to pass.
he got out of bed and went through the ritualsof showering, shaving and clothing, of coffee, sausage, and eggs, toast and more coffee. what amazed larry woolford was the shrug-it-offmanner in which the boss seemed to accept this underground movement and its admittedsubversive goalsâ€”whatever they were. carry the boss' reasoning to its ultimate and subversionwas perfectly all right, just as it didn't involve force and violence. if he was in hischief's position, he would have thrown the full resources of the department into trackingdown these crackpots. as it was, he, larry woolford was the only operative on the job. he needed a new angle on which to work. stevehackett was undoubtedly handling the tracing
down of the counterfeit with all the resourcesof the secret service. possibly there was some way of detecting the source of the paperthey'd used. he finished his final cup of coffee in theliving room and took up the pipe he was currently breaking in. he loaded it automatically froma humidor and lit it with his pocket lighter. three drags, and he tossed it back to thetable, fumbled in a drawer and located a pack of cigarettes. possibly his status group wascurrently smoking british briars in public, but, let's face it, he hated the confoundedthings. he sat down before the phone and dialed theoffices of the sun-post and eventually got sam sokolski who this time beat him to thepunch.
sam said, â€œyou shouldn't drink alone. listen,larry, why don't you get in touch with alcoholics anonymous. it's a great outfit.â€ â€œyou ought to know,â€ larry growled. â€œlook,sam, as science columnist for that rag you work for you probably come in touch with alot of eggheads.â€ â€œladdy-buck, you have said it,â€ sam said. â€œfine. now look, what i want to know ishave you ever heardâ€”even the slightest of rumorsâ€”about an organization called themovement?â€ â€œwhat'd'ya mean, slightest of rumors? halfthe weirds i run into are interested in the outfit. get two or three intellectuals, scientists,technicians, or what have you, together and
they start knocking themselves out on thepros and cons of the movement.â€ larry woolford stared at him. â€œare you kidding,sam?â€ the other was mystified. â€œwhy should i kidyou? as a matter of fact, i was thinking of doing a column one of these days on voss andthis movement of his.â€ â€œvoss and this movement of his!â€ â€œsure,â€ sam said, â€œhe's the top leader.â€ â€œoh, great,â€ larry growled. â€œlook, sam,eventually there is probably a story in this for you. right now, though, we're trying tokeep the lid on it. could you brief me a little on this movement? what are they trying toput over?â€
â€œi seem to spend half my time briefing youin information any semi-moron ought to be up on,â€ sam said nastily. â€œhowever, briefly,they're in revolt against social-label judgments. they think it's fouling up the country andthat eventually it'll result in the russkies passing us in all the fields that really count.â€ â€œi keep running into this term,â€ larrycomplained. â€œwhat do you mean, social-label judgments, and how can they possibly louseup the country?â€ sam said, â€œi was present a month or so agowhen voss gave an informal lecture to a group of twenty or so. here's one of the exampleshe used. â€œeverybody today wants to be rated on a(1) personal, or, (2) social-label basis,
depending on which basis is to his greatestadvantage. the negro who is a no-good, lazy, obnoxious person demands to be accepted becausenegroes should not be discriminated against. the highly competent, hard working, honestand productive negro wants to be accepted because he is hard-working, honest and productiveâ€”andshould be so accepted. â€œsee what i mean? this social-label systemis intended to relieve the individual of the necessity of judging, and the consequencesof being judged. if you have poor judgment, and are forced to rely on your own judgment,you're almost sure to go under. so persons of poor judgment support our social-labelsystem. if you're a louse, and are correctly judged as being a louse, you'd prefer thatthe social dictum â€˜human beings are never
liceâ€™ should apply.â€ larry said, â€œwhat in the devil's this gotto do with the race between this country and the russkies?â€ sam said patiently, â€œvoss and the movementhe leads contend that a social-label system winds up with incompetents running the countryin all fields. often incompetent scientists are in charge of our research; incompetentdoctors, in charge of our health; incompetent politicians run our government; incompetentteachers, laden with social-labels, teach our youth. our young people are going to collegeto secure a degree, not an education. it's the label that counts, not the reality.
â€œvoss contends that it's getting progressivelyworse. that we're sinking into an equivalent of a ritual-taboo, tribal social-like situation.this is the system the low-level human being wants, yearns for and seeks. a situation inwhich no one's judgment is of any use. then his lack of judgment is no handicap. â€œaccording to members of the movement, todaythe tribesman type is seeking to reduce civilization back to ritual-taboo tribalism wherein noone man's judgment is of any value. the union wants advancement based on seniority, noton ability and judgment. the persons with whom you associate socially judge you by theamount of money you possess, the family from which you come, the degrees you hold, by social-labelsâ€”notby your proven abilities. down with judgment!
is the cry.â€ â€œit sounds awfully weird to me,â€ larrygrumbled in deprecation. sam shrugged. â€œthere's a lot of sense init. what the movement wants is to develop a socio-economic system in which judgmentproduces a maximum advantage.â€ larry said, â€œwhat gets me is that you talkas though half the country was all caught up in debating this movement. but i haven'teven heard of it, neither has my department chief, nor any of my colleagues, so far asi know. why isn't anything about it in the papers or on the trid?â€ sam said mildly, â€œas a matter of fact, itook in mort lenny's show the other night
and he made some cracks about it. but it'snot the sort of thing that's even meant to become popular with the man in the street.to put it bluntly, voss and his people aren't particularly keen about the present conceptionof the democratic ideal. according to him, true democracy can only be exercised by peersand society today isn't composed of peers. if you have one hundred people, twenty ofthem competent, intelligent persons, eighty of them untrained, incompetent and less thanintelligent, then it's ridiculous to have the eighty dictate to the twenty.â€ larry looked accusingly at his long-time friend.â€œyou know, sam, you sound as though you approve of all this.â€
sam said patiently, â€œi listen to it all,larry my boy. i think voss makes a lot of sense. there's only one drawback.â€ â€œand that is?â€ â€œhow's he going to put it over? this social-labelsystem the movement complains about was bad enough ten years ago. but look how much worseit is today. it's a progressive thing. and, remember, it's to the benefit of the incompetent.since the incompetent predominates, you're going to have a hard time starting up a systembased on judgment and ability.â€ larry thought about it for a moment. sam said, â€œlook, i'm working, larry. wasthere anything else?â€
larry said, â€œyou wouldn't know where i couldget hold of voss, would you?â€ â€œat his home, i imagine, or at the university.â€ â€œhe's disappeared. we're looking for him.â€ sam laughed. â€œgone underground, eh? theold boy is getting romantic.â€ â€œdoes he have any particular friends whomight be putting him up?â€ sam thought about it. â€œthere's frank nostrand.you know, that rocket expert who was fired when he got in the big hassle with senatormccord.â€ when sam sokolski had flicked off, larry staredat the vacant phone screen for a long moment, assimilating what the other had told him.he was astonished that an organization such
as the movement could have spread to the extentit evidently had through the country's intellectual circles, through the scientifically and technicallytrained, without his department being keenly aware of it. one result, he decided glumly, of labelingeverything contrary to the status quo as weird and dismissing it with contempt. admittedly,that would have been his own reaction only a week ago. suppose that he'd been at a cocktail party,and had drifted up to a group who were arguing about social-label judgments and the needto develop a movement to change society's use of them. the discussion would have gonein one ear, out the other, and he would have
muttered inwardly, â€œweirds,â€ and havedrifted on to get himself another vodka martini. larry snorted and dialed the department ofrecords. he'd never heard of frank nostrand before, so he got information. the bright young thing who answered seemedto have a harried expression untypical of records employees. larry said to her, â€œi'dlike the brief on a mr. frank nostrand who is evidently an expert on rockets. the onlyother thing i know about him is that he recently got in the news as the result of a controversywith senator mccord.â€ â€œjust a moment, sir,â€ the bright youngthing said. she touched buttons and reached into a deliverychute. when her eyes came up to meet his again,
they were more than ever harried. they wereabsolutely confused. â€œmr. franklin howard nostrand,â€ she said,â€œcurrently employed by madison air as a rocket research technician.â€ â€œthat must be him,â€ larry said. â€œi'min a hurry, miss. what's his background?â€ her eyes rounded. â€œit says ... it says he'san archbishop of the anglican church.â€ larry woolford looked at her. she looked back, pleadingly. larry scowled and said, â€œhis universitydegrees, please.â€ her eyes darted to the report and she swallowed.â€œa bachelor in home economics, sir.â€
â€œlook here, miss, how could a home economicsdegree result in his becoming either an archbishop or a rocket technician?â€ â€œi'm sorry, sir. that's what it says.â€ larry was fuming but there was no point intaking it out on this junior employee of the department of records. he snapped, â€œjustgive me his address, please.â€ she said agonizingly, â€œsir, it says, lhasa,tibet.â€ a red light flicked at the side of his phoneand he said to her, â€œi'll call you back. i'm getting a priority call.â€ he flicked her off, and flicked the incomingcall in. it was laverne polk. she seemed to
be on the harried side, too. â€œlarry,â€ she said, â€œyou better get overhere right away.â€ â€œwhat's up, laverne?â€ â€œthis movement,â€ she said, â€œit seemsto have started moving! the boss says to get over here soonest.â€ the top of his car was retracted. larry woolfordslammed down the walk of his auto-bungalow and vaulted over the side and into the seat.he banged the start button, dropped the lift lever, depressed the thrust pedal and tookoff at maximum acceleration. he took the police level for maximum speedand was in downtown greater washington in
flat minutes. so the movement had started moving. that couldmean almost anything. it was just enough to keep him stewing until he got to the bossand found out what was going on. he turned his car over to a parker and madehis way to the entrance utilized by the second-grade department officials. in another year, orat most two, he told himself all over again, he'd be using that other door. he had an intuitivefeeling that if he licked this current assignment it'd be the opening wedge he needed and he'dwind up in a status bracket unique for his age. laverne looked up when he hurried into heranteroom. she evidently had two or three calls
going on at once, taking orders from one phone,giving them in another. something was obviously erupting. she didn't speak to him, merelynodded her head at the inner office. in the boss' office were six or eight othersbesides larry's superior. their expressions and attitudes ran from bewilderment to shock.they weren't the men you'd expect to have such reactions. at least not those that larrywoolford recognized. three of them, ben ruthenberg, bill fraina and dave moskowitz were f.b.i.men with whom larry had worked on occasion. one of the others he recognized as being asupervisor with the c.i.a. walt foster, larry's rival in the boss' affections, was also present. the boss growled at him, â€œwhere in the heavenshave you been, lawrence?â€
â€œfollowing our leads on this so-called movement,sir,â€ larry told him. â€œwhat's going on?â€ ruthenberg, the department of justice man,grunted sour amusement. â€œso-called movement, isn't exactly the correct phrase. it's a movement,all right.â€ the boss said, â€œplease dial records andget your dossier, lawrence. that'll be the quickest way to bring you up on developments.â€ mystified, but already with a growing premonition,larry dialed records. knowing his own classification code, he had no need of information this time.he got the hundred-word brief and stared at it as it filled the screen. the only itemsreally correct were his name and present occupation. otherwise his education was listed as grammarschool only. his military career had him ending
the war as a general of the armies, and hiscriminal career record included four years on alcatraz for molesting small children. blankly, he faded the brief and dialed hisfull dossier. it failed to duplicate the brief, but that was no advantage. this time he hadan m.d. degree from johns hopkins, but his military career listed him as a dishonorabledischarge from the navy where he'd served in the steward department. his criminal recordwas happily nil, but his religion was listed as holy roller. political affiliations hadhim down as a member of the dixiecrats. the others were looking at him, most of themblankly, although there were grins on the faces of moskowitz and the c.i.a. man.
moskowitz said, â€œwith a name like mine,yet, they have me a bishop of the orthodox greek catholic church.â€ larry said, â€œwhat's it all about?â€ ruthenberg said unhappily, â€œit started earlythis morning. we don't know exactly when as yet.â€ which didn't seem to answer the question. larry said, â€œi don't get it. obviously,the records department is fouled up in some manner. how, and why?â€ â€œhow, we know,â€ the boss rumbled disgustedly.â€œwhy is another matter. you've spent more time than anyone else on this assignment,lawrence. perhaps you can tell us.â€ he grabbed
up a pipe from his desk, tried to light itnoisily, noticed finally that it held no tobacco and threw it to the desk again. â€œevidently,a large group of these movement individuals either already worked in records or wriggledthemselves into key positions in the technical end of the department. now they've sabotagedthe files.â€ â€œwe've caught most of them already,â€ oneof the f.b.i. men growled, â€œbut damn little good that does us at this point.â€ the c.i.a. supervisor made a gesture indicatingthat he gave it all up. â€œnot only here but in chicago and san francisco as well. allat once. evidently perfectly rehearsed. personnel records from coast to coast are bollixed.why?â€
larry said slowly, â€œi think i know thatnow. yesterday, i wouldn't have but i've been picking up odds and ends.â€ they all looked at him. larry sat down and ran a hand back throughhis hair. â€œthe general idea is to change the country's reliance on social-label judgments.â€ â€œon what,â€ the boss barked. â€œon one person judging another accordingto social-labels. voss and the othersâ€”â€ â€œwho did you say?â€ ruthenberg snapped. â€œvoss. professor peter voss from the universityover in baltimore section. he's the ring leader.â€
ruthenberg snapped to fraina, â€œget on thephone and send out a pick-up order for him.â€ fraina was on his feet. â€œwhat charge, ben?â€ ben ruthenberg snorted. â€œrape, or something.get moving, we'll figure out a charge later. the guy's a fruitcake.â€ larry said wearily, â€œhe's evidently goneinto hiding. i've been trying to locate him. he managed to slip me some knockout dropsand got away yesterday.â€ the boss looked at him in disgust. ruthenberg said evenly, â€œwe've had men gointo hiding before. get going, fraina.â€ fraina left the office and the others lookedback to larry.
the boss said, â€œabout this social-labelnonsenseâ€”â€ larry said, â€œthey think the country is goingto pot because of it. people hold high office or places of responsibility not because ofsuperior intelligence, or even acquired skill, but because of the social-labels they've accumulated,and these can be based on something as flimsyâ€”from the movement's viewpointâ€”as who your grandparentswere, what school you attended, how much seniority you have on the job, what part of town youlive in, or what tailor cuts your clothes.â€ their expressions ran from scowls and frownsto complete puzzlement. walt foster grumbled, â€œwhat's all this gotto do with sabotaging the country's records tapes?â€
larry shrugged. â€œi don't have the completepicture, but one thing is sure. it's going to be harder for a while to base your opinionson a quick hundred-word brief on a man. yesterday, an employer, considering hiring somebody,could dial the man's dossier, check it, and form his opinions by the status labels thewould-be employee could produce. today, he's damn well going to have to exercise his ownjudgment.â€ laverne's face lit up the screen on the boss'desk and she said, â€œthose two members of the movement who were picked up in alexandriaare here, sir.â€ â€œsend them in,â€ the boss rumbled. he lookedat larry. â€œthe f.b.i. managed to arrest almost everyone directly involved in the sabotage.â€
the two prisoners seemed more amused thanotherwise. they were young men, in their early thirtiesâ€”well dressed and obviously intelligent.the boss had them seated side by side and glared at them for a long moment before speaking.larry and the others took chairs in various parts of the room and added their own staresto the barrage. the boss said, â€œyour situation is an unhappyone, gentlemen.â€ one of the two shrugged. the boss said, â€œyou can, ah, hedge yourbets, by co-operating with us. it might make the difference between a year or two in prisonâ€”andlife.â€ one of them grinned and then yawned. â€œidoubt it,â€ he said.
the boss tried a slightly different tack.â€œyou have no reason to maintain a feeling of obligation to voss and the others. youhave obviously been abandoned. had they any feeling for you there would have been moreefficacious arrangements for your escape.â€ the more articulate of the two shrugged again.â€œwe were expendable,â€ he said. â€œhowever, it won't be long before we're free again.â€ â€œyou think so?â€ ruthenberg grunted. the revolutionist looked at him. â€œyes, ido,â€ he said. â€œsix months from now and we'll be heroes since by that time the movementwill have been a success.â€ the boss snorted. â€œjust because you derangedthe records? why that's but temporary.â€
â€œnot so temporary as you think,â€ the technicianreplied. â€œthis country has allowed itself to get deeply enmeshed in punch-card and taperecords. oh, it made sense enough. with the population we have, and the endless filesthat result from our ultra-complicated society, it was simply a matter finally of developinga standardized system of records for the nation as a whole. now, for all practical purposes,all of our records these days are kept with the department of records, confidential aswell as public records. why should a university, for instance, keep literally tons of files,with all the expense and space and time involved, when it can merely file the same records withthe governmental department and have them safe and easily available at any time? now,the movement has completely and irrevocably
destroyed almost all files that deal withthe social-labels to which we object. an excellent first step, in forcing our country back intojudgment based on ability and intelligence.â€ â€œfirst step!â€ larry blurted. the two prisoners looked at him. â€œthat'sright,â€ the quieter of the two said. â€œthis is just the first step.â€ â€œdon't kid yourselves,â€ ben ruthenbergsnapped at them. â€œit's also the last!â€ the two members of the movement grinned athim. when the others had gone, the boss lookedat larry woolford. he said sourly, â€œwhen this department was being formed, i doubtanyone had in mind this particular type of
subversion, lawrence.â€ larry grunted. â€œgive me a good old-fashionedcommie, any time. look, sir, what are the department of justice boys going to do withthose prisoners?â€ â€œhold them on any of various charges. we'veconflicted with the f.b.i. in the past on overlapping jurisdiction, but thank heavensfor them now. their manpower is needed.â€ larry leaned forward. â€œsir, we ought totake all members of the movement we've already arrested, feed them a dose of scop-serum,and pressure them to open up on the organization's operations.â€ his superior looked at him, waiting for himto continue.
larry said urgently, â€œthose two we justhad in here thought the whole thing was a big joke. the first step, they called it.sir, there's something considerably bigger than this cooking. uncle sam might pride himselfon the personal liberties guaranteed by this country, but unless we break this organization,and do it fast, there's going to be trouble that will make this fouling of the recordslook like the minor matter those two jokers seemed to think it.â€ the boss thought about that. he said slowly,â€œlawrence, the supreme court ruled against the use of scop-serum. not that it is overefficient, anyway. largely, these so-called truth serums don't accomplish much more thanto lower resistance, slacken natural inhibitions,
weaken the will.â€ â€œsure,â€ larry said. â€œbut give a mana good dose of scop-serum and he'd betray his own mother. not because he's helplessto tell a lie, but because under the influence of the drug he figures it just isn't importantenough to bother about. sir, supreme court or not, i think those two ought to be givenscop-serum along with all other movement members we've picked up.â€ the boss was shaking his head. â€œlawrence,these men are not wide-eyed radicals picked up in a street demonstration. they're highlyrespected members of our society. they're educators, scientists, engineers, technicians.anything done to them is going to make headlines.
those that were actually involved in the sabotagewill have criminal charges brought against them, but they're going to get a considerableamount of publicity, and we're going to be in no position to alienate any of their constitutionalrights.â€ larry stood up, approached his chief's deskand leaned over it urgently. â€œsir, that's fine, but we've got to move and move fast.something's up and we don't even know what! take that counterfeit money. from susan self'sdescription, there's actually billions of dollars worth of it.â€ â€œoh, come now, lawrence. the child exaggerated.besides, that's a problem for steven hackett and the secret service, we have enough onour hands as it is. forget about the counterfeit,
lawrence. i think i shall put you in completecontrol of field work on this, to co-operate in liaison with ben ruthenberg and the f.b.i.so far as we're concerned, the counterfeit angle belongs to secret service, we're workingon subversion, and until the civil liberties union or whoever else proves otherwise, we'llconsider this movement an organization attempting to subvert the country by illegal means.â€ larry woolford made a hard decision quickly.he was shaking his head. â€œsir, i'd rather you gave the administrative end to someoneelse and let me continue in the field. i've got some leadsâ€”i think. if i get boggeddown in interdepartmental red tape, and in paper work here at headquarters, i'll neverget to the heart of this and i'm laying bets
that we either crack this within days or thereare going to be some awfully big changes in this country.â€ the boss glared at him. â€œyou mean you'rerefusing this assignment, woolford. confound it, don't you realize it's a promotion?â€ larry was worriedly dogged. â€œsir, i'd ratherstay in the field.â€ â€œvery well,â€ the other snapped disgustedly,â€œi hope you deliver some results, woolford, otherwise i am afraid i won't feel particularlyhappy about your somewhat cavalier rejection of this opportunity.â€ he flicked on thephone and snapped to laverne polk, â€œmiss polk, locate walter foster for me. he is totake over our end of this movement matter.â€
laverne said, â€œyes, sir,â€ and her facewas gone. the boss looked up, still scowling. â€œwhatare you waiting for, woolford?â€ â€œyes, sir,â€ larry said. it was just cominghome to him now, what he'd done. there possibly went his yearned for promotion in the department.there went his chance of an upgrading in status. and walt foster, of all people, in his place. at laverne's desk, larry stopped off longenough to say, â€œdid you ever assign that secretary to me?â€ laverne shook her head at him. â€œshe's comeand gone, larry. she sat around for a couple of days, after seeing you not even once, andthen i gave her another assignment.â€
â€œwell, bring her back again, will you? iwant her to do up briefs for me on all the information we accumulate on the movement.it'll be coming in from all sides now. from the press, from those members we've arrested,from our f.b.i. pals, now that they're interested, and so forth.â€ â€œi'll give you irene day,â€ laverne said.â€œwhere are you off to now, larry?â€ â€œprobably a wild goose chase,â€ larry growled.â€œwhich reminds me. do me a favor, laverne. call personal service and find out where franknostrand is. he's some kind of rocket technician at madison air laboratories. i'll be in myoffice.â€ â€œfrank nostrand,â€ laverne said briskly.â€œwill do, larry.â€
back in his own cubicle, larry stood for amoment in thought. he was increasingly aware of the uncomfortable feeling that time wasrunning out on them. that things were coming to a dangerous head. he stared down at the dozen or more booksand pamphlets that his never seen secretary had heaped up for him. well, he certainlydidn't have time for them now. he sat down at the desk and dialed an inter-officenumber. the harassed looking face of walter fosterfaded in. on seeing larry woolford he growled accusingly, â€œmy pal. you've let them dumpthis whole thing into my lap.â€ larry grinned at him. â€œbetter you than me,old buddy. besides, it's a promotion. pull
this off and you'll be the boss' right-handman.â€ â€œthat's a laugh,â€ foster said. â€œit'sa madhouse. this movement gang is as weird as they come.â€ â€œi bleed for you,â€ larry said. â€œhowever,here's a tip. frol eivazov, of the chrezvychainaya komissiya is somewhere in the country.â€ â€œfrol eivazov!â€ foster blurted. â€œwhat'vethe commies got to do with this? is this something the boss knows about?â€ â€œhaven't had time to go into it with him,â€larry said. â€œhowever, it seems that friend frol is here to find out what the movementis all about. evidently the big boys in peking
and moscow are nervous about any changes thatmight take place over here. i suggest you have him picked up, walt.â€ walt foster said, â€œo.k. i'll put some peopleon it. maybe the f.b.i. can help.â€ larry flicked off as he saw the red prioritylight on his phone shining. he pushed it and laverne's face faded in. she said, â€œthis franklin nostrand you wantedto know about. he's evidently working at the laboratories over in newport news, larry.he'll be on the job until five this afternoon.â€ â€œfine,â€ he said. larry grinned at her.â€œwhen are we going to have that date, laverne?â€ she made a face. â€œsome day when the programinvolves having fun instead of parading around
in the right places, driving the right modelcar, dressed in exactly the right clothes, and above all associating with the right people.â€ it was his turn to grimace. â€œi'm beginningto think you ought to sign up with voss and this movement of his. you'd be right at homewith his weirds.â€ she stuck out her tongue at him, and flickedoff. he looked at the empty screen and chuckled.he had half a mind to get a record of their conversation, strip out just the section whereshe'd stuck out her tongue, and then play it back to her. she'd be taken aback by beingconfronted by her own image making faces at her.
as he made his way to the parking lot forhis car, something in their conversation nagged at him, but he couldn't put his finger onit. he considered the girl, all over again. she had almost all the qualities he lookedfor. she was attractive, without being overly so. he disliked women out of the ordinarilybeautiful, it became too much to live up to. she was sharp, but not objectionably so. notto the point of giving you an inferiority complex. but, holy smokes, she'd never do as a careerman's wife. he could just see the boss' ultraconservative better half inviting them to dinner. it wouldhappen exactly once, never again. he obtained his car, lifted it to one of thehigher levels and headed for newport news.
it was a half-hour trip and he wasn't particularlyexpectant of results. the tip sam sokolski had given him, wasn't much to go by. evidently,frank nostrand was a friend of the professor's but that didn't necessarily mean he was connectedwith the movement, or that he knew voss' whereabouts. he might have saved himself the trip. the bird had flown again. not only was franknostrand not at the madison air laboratories, but he wasn't at home either. larry woolford,mindful of his departmental chief's words on the prestige these people carried, tooka full hour in acquiring a search warrant before breaking into the nostrand home. nostrand was supposedly a bachelor, but theauto-bungalow, similar to larry woolford's
own, showed signs of double occupancy, andthere was little indication that the guest had been a woman. disgruntled, larry woolford dialed the offices,asked for walt foster. it took nearly ten minutes before his colleague faded in. â€œi'm up to my eyebrows, larry. what'd youwant?â€ larry gave him frank nostrand's address. â€œthisguy's disappeared, walt.â€ â€œso?â€ â€œhe was a close friend of professor voss.i got a warrant to search his house. it shows signs that he had a guest. possibly it wasthe professor. do you want to get some of
the boys down here to go through the place?possibly there's some clue to where they took off for. the professor's on the run and he'sno professional at this. if we can pick him up, i've got a sneaking suspicion we'll havethe so-called movement licked.â€ walt foster slapped a hand to his face inanguish. â€œyou knew where the professor was hiding, and you tried to pick him up on yourown and let him get away. why didn't you discuss this with either the boss or me? i'm in chargeof this operation! i would have had a dozen men down there. you've fouled this up!â€ larry stared at him. already walt foster wasmaking sounds like an enraged superior. he said mildly, â€œsorry, walt. i came downhere on a very meager tip. i didn't really
expect it to pan out.â€ â€œwell, in the future, clear with eitherme or the boss before running off half cocked into something, woolford. yesterday, you hadthis whole assignment on your own. today, it's no longer a minor matter. our departmenthas fifty people on it. the f.b.i. must have five times as many and that's not even countingthe secret service's interest. it's no longer your individual baby.â€ â€œsorry,â€ larry repeated mildly. then,â€œi don't imagine you've got hold of frol eivazov yet?â€ the other was disgusted. â€œyou think we'remagicians? we just put out the call for him
a few hours ago. he's no amateur. if he doesn'twant to be picked up, he'll go to ground and we'll have our work cut out for us findinghim. i can't see that it's particularly important anyway.â€ â€œmaybe you're right,â€ larry said. â€œbutyou never know. he might know things we don't. see you later.â€ walt foster stared at him for a moment asthough about to say something, but then tightened his lips and faded off. larry looked at the phone screen for a moment.â€œdid that phony expect me to call him sir,â€ he muttered.
the next two days dissolved into routine. frustrated, larry woolford spent most of histime in his office digesting developments, trying to find a new line of attack. for want of something else, he put his newsecretary, a brightly efficient girl, as style and status conscious as laverne polk wasn't,to work typing up the tapes he'd had cut on susan self and the various phone calls he'dhad with hans distelmayer and sam sokolski. from memory, he dictated to her his conversationwith professor peter voss. he carefully read the typed sheets over andover again. he continually had the feeling in this case that there were loose ends danglingaround. several important points he should
be able to put his finger upon. on the morning of the third day he dialedsteve hackett and on seeing the other's worried, pug-ugly face fade in on the phone, decidedthat if nothing else the movement was undermining the united states government by dispensingulcers to its employees. steve growled, â€œwhat is it woolford? i'mas busy as a whirling dervish in a revolving door.â€ â€œthis is just the glimmer of an idea, steve.look, remember that conversation with susan, when she described her father taking her toheadquarters?â€ â€œso?â€ steve said impatiently.
â€œremember her description of headquarters?â€ â€œgo on,â€ steve rapped. â€œwhat did it remind you of?â€ â€œwhat are you leading to?â€ â€œthis is just a hunch,â€ larry persisted,â€œbut the way she described the manner in which her father took her to headquarterssuggests they're in the greater washington area.â€ steve was staring at him disgustedly. howobvious could you get? larry hurried on. â€œwhat's the biggest businessin this area, steve?â€
â€œgovernment.â€ â€œright. and the way she described headquartersof the movement, was rooms, after rooms, after rooms into which they'd stored the money.â€ â€œand?â€ larry said urgently, â€œsteve, i think insome way the movement has taken over some governmental buildings, or storage warehouse.possibly some older buildings no longer in use. it would be a perfect hideout. who wouldexpect a subversive organization to be in governmental buildings? all they'd need wouldbe a few officials here and there who were on their side andâ€”â€
steve said wearily, â€œyou couldn't have thoughtof this two days ago.â€ larry cut himself off sharply, â€œeh?â€ steve said, â€œwe found their headquarters.one of their members cracked. ben ruthenberg of the f.b.i. found he had a morals rap againsthim some years ago and scared him into talking by threats of exposure. at any rate, you'reright. they had established themselves in some government buildings going back to spanish-americanwar days. we've arrested eight or ten officials that were involved.â€ â€œbut the money?â€ â€œthe money was gone,â€ steve said bitterly.â€œbut susan was right. there had evidently
been room after room of it, stacked to theceiling. literally billions of dollars. they'd moved out hurriedly, but they left kickingaround enough loose hundreds, fifties, twenties, tens and fives to give us an idea. look, woolford,i thought you'd been pulled off this case and that walt foster was handling it.â€ larry said sourly, â€œi'm beginning to thinkso, too. they're evidently not even bothering to let me know about developments like this.see you later, steve.â€ the other's face faded off. larry woolford looked across the double deskat irene day. â€œlook,â€ he said, â€œwhen you're offered a promotion, take it. if youdon't, someone else will and you'll be out
in the cold.â€ irene day said brightly, â€œi've always knowthat, sir.â€ he looked at her. the typical eager beaver.sharp as a whip. bright as a button. â€œi'll bet you have,â€ he muttered. â€œi beg your pardon, mr. woolford?â€ the phone lit as laverne said, â€œthe bosswants to talk to you, larry.â€ her face faded and larry's superior was scowling at him. he snapped, â€œdid you get anything on thismedical records thing, woolford?â€ â€œmedical records?â€ larry said blankly.
the boss grunted in deprecation. â€œno, isuppose you haven't. i wish you would snap into it, woolford. i don't know what has happenedto you of late. i used to think that you were a good field man.â€ he flicked off abruptly. larry dialed laverne polk. â€œwhat in theworld was the boss just talking about, laverne? about medical records?â€ laverne said, frowning, â€œdidn't you know?the movement's been at it again. they've fouled up the records of the state medical licensingbureaus, at the same time sabotaging the remaining records of most, if not all, of the country'smedical schools. they struck simultaneously, throughout the country.â€
he looked at her, expressionlessly. laverne said, â€œwe've caught several hundredof those responsible. it's the same thing. attack of the social-label. from now on, ifa man tells you he's an ear, eye and throat specialist, you'd better do some investigationbefore letting him amputate your tongue. you'd better use your judgment before letting anydoctor you don't really know about, work on you. it's a madhouse, larry.â€ larry woolford, for long moments after lavernehad broken the connection, stared unseeingly at his secretary across from him until shestirred. he brought his eyes back to the present. â€œanotherpreliminary move, not the important thing,
yet. not the big explosion they're figuringon. where have they taken that money, and why?â€ irene day blinked at him. â€œi don't know,i'm sure, sir.â€ larry said, â€œget me mr. foster on the phone,irene.â€ when walt foster's unhappy face faded in,larry said, â€œwalt did you get frol eivazov?â€ â€œeivazov?â€ the other said impatiently.â€œno. we haven't spent much effort on it. i think this hunch of yours is like the otherones you've been having lately, woolford. frol eivazov was last reported by our operativesas being in north korea.â€ â€œit wasn't a hunch,â€ larry said tightly.â€œhe's in this country on an assignment dealing
with the movement.â€ â€œwell, that's your opinion,â€ foster saidsnappishly. â€œi'm busy, woolford. see here, at present you're under my orders on thisjob. in the way of something to do, instead of sitting around in that office, why don'tyou follow up this eivazov thing yourself?â€ he considered it a moment. â€œthat's an order,woolford. even if you don't locate him, it'll keep you out of our hair.â€ after the other was gone, larry woolford leanedback in his chair, his face flushed as though the other had slapped it. in a way, he had. larry said slowly, â€œmiss day, dial me hansdistelmayer. his offices are over in the belmont
building.â€ as always, the screen remained blank as thegerman spy master spoke. larry said, â€œhans, i want to talk to froleivazov.â€ â€œah?â€ â€œi want to know where i can find him.â€ the german's voice was humorously gruff. â€œmyfriend, my friend.â€ larry said impatiently, â€œi'm not interestedin arresting him at this time. i want to talk to him.â€ the other said heavily. â€œthis goes beyondfavors, my friend. on the face of it, i am
not in business for my health. and what youask is dangerous from my viewpoint. you realize that upon occasion my organization does smalltasks for the soviets....â€ â€œha!â€ larry said bitterly. â€œ... and,â€ the german continued, unruffled,â€œit is hardly to my interest to gain the reputation of betraying my sometimes employers.were you on an assignment in, say, bulgaria or hungary, would you expect me to betrayyou to the chrezvychainaya komissiya?â€ â€œnot unless somebody paid you enough tomake it worth while,â€ larry said dryly. â€œexactly,â€ the espionage chief said. â€œlook,â€ larry said. â€œsend your billto this department, hans. i've been given
carte blanche on this matter and i want totalk to frol. now, where is he?â€ the german chuckled heavily. â€œat the sovietembassy.â€ â€œwhat! you mean they've got the gall tohouse their top spy right inâ€”â€ distelmayer interrupted him. â€œfriend eivazovis currently accredited as a military attachã© and quite correctly. he holds the rank ofcolonel, you know. he entered this country quite legally, the only precaution taken wasto use his second name, kliment, instead of frol, on his papers. evidently, your peoplepassed him by without a second look. ah, i understand he went to the trouble of makingsome minor changes in his facial appearance.â€ â€œwe'll expect your bill, distelmayer,â€larry said. â€œgood-by.â€
he got up and reached for his hat, sayingto irene day, â€œi don't know how long i'll be gone.â€ he added, wryly, â€œif eitherfoster or the boss try to get in touch with me, tell them i'm carrying out orders.â€ he drove over to the soviet embassy, parkedhis car directly before the building. the american plainclothesmen stationed nearthe entrance, gave him only a quick onceover as he passed. inside the gates, the impassiverussian guards didn't bother to flicker an eyelid. at the reception desk in the immense entrada,he identified himself. â€œi'd like to see colonel frol eivazov.â€
â€œi am afraidâ€”â€ the clerk began stiffly. â€œi suppose you have him on the records askliment eivazov.â€ the clerk had evidently touched a concealedbutton. a door opened and a junior embassy official approached them. larry restated his desire. the other beganto open his mouth in denial, then shrugged. â€œjust a moment,â€ he said. he was gone a full twenty minutes. when hereturned, he said briefly, â€œthis way, please.â€ frol eivazov was in an inner office, in fulluniform. he came to his feet when larry woolford entered and said to the clerk, â€œthat willbe all, vova.â€ he was a tall man, as slavs
go, but heavy of build and heavy of face. he shook hands with larry. â€œit's been along time,â€ he said in perfect english. â€œthat conference in warsaw, wasn't it? havea chair, mr. woolford.â€ larry took the offered chair and said, â€œhowin the world did you expect to get by with this nonsense? we'll have you declared personanon grata in a matter of hours.â€ â€œit's not important,â€ eivazov shrugged.â€œi have found what i came to find. i was about to return to report any way.â€ â€œwe won't do anything to hinder you, colonel,â€larry said dryly. eivazov snapped his fingers. â€œit's all amusing,â€he said. â€œin our country we would quickly
deal with this movement nonsense. you americanswith your pseudo-democracy, your labels without reality, yourâ€”â€ larry said wearily, â€œplease, frol, i promisenot to convert you if you promise not to convert me. needless to say, my department isn't happyabout your presence in this country. you'll be watched from now on. we've been busy withother matters....â€ here the russian laughed. â€œ... or we'd already have flushed you.â€he allowed his voice to go curious. â€œwe've wondered about your interest in this phaseof our internal affairs.â€ the russian agent let his facade slip overfarther, his heavy lips sneering. â€œwe are
interested in all phases of your antiquatedsocio-economic system, mr. woolford. in the present peaceful economic competition betweeneast and west, we would simply loathe to see anything happen to your present culture.â€he hesitated deliberately. â€œif you can call it a culture.â€ larry said, unprovoked, â€œif i understandyou correctly, you are not in favor of the changes the movement advocates.â€ the russian shrugged hugely. â€œi doubt ifthey are possible of achievement. the organization is a sloppy one. revolutionary? nonsense,â€he scoffed. â€œthey have no plans to change the government. no plans for overthrowingthe regime. ultimately, what this country
needs is true communism. this so-called movementdoesn't have that as its eventual goal. it is laughable.â€ larry said, interestedly, â€œthen perhapsyou'll tell me what little you've found out about the group.â€ â€œwhy not?â€ the russian pursed his lips.â€œthey are composed of impractical idealists. scientists, intellectuals, a few admittedscholars and even a few potential leaders. their sabotage of your department of recordswas an amusing farce, but, frankly, i have been unable to discover the purpose of theirinterest in rockets. for a time i contemplated the possibility that they had a scheme todevelop a nuclear bomb, and to explode it
over greater washington in the belief thatin the resulting confusion they might seize power. but, on the face of it their membershipis incapable of such an effort.â€ â€œtheir interest in rockets?â€ larry saidsoftly. â€œyes, as you've undoubtedly discovered,half the rocket technicians of your country seem to have joined with them. we got thetip throughâ€â€”the russian cleared his throatâ€”â€œseveral of our converts who happen to be connectedwith your space efforts groups.â€ â€œis that so?â€ larry said. â€œi wonderedwhat you thought about their interest in money.â€ it was the other's turn to look blank. â€œmoney?â€he said. â€œthat's right. large quantities of money.â€
the russian said, frowning, â€œi suppose mostcitizens in your capitalist countries are interested largely in money. one of your basicfailings.â€ driving back to the office, larry woolfordlet it pile up on him. ernest self had been a specialist in solidfuel for rockets. when larry had questioned professor voss that worthy had particularlystressed his indignation at how professor goddard, the rocket pioneer, had been treatedby his contemporaries. franklin nostrand had been employed as a technician on rocket researchat madison air laboratories. it was too darn much for coincidence. and now something else that had been naggingaway at the back of his mind suddenly came
clear. susan self had said that she and her fatherhad seen the precision dancers at the new roxy theater in new york and later the professorhad said they were going to spend the money on chorus girls. susan had got it wrong. therockettesâ€”the precision chorus girls. the professor had said they were going to spendthe money on rockets, and susan had misunderstood. but billions of dollars expended on rockets?how? but, above all, to what end? if he'd only been able to hold onto susan,or her father; or to voss or nostrand, for that matter. someone to work on. but eachhad slipped through his fingers. which brought something else up from his subconscious.something which had been tugging at him.
at the office, irene day was packing her thingsas he entered. packing as though she was leaving for good. â€œwhat goes on?â€ larry growled. â€œi'mgoing to be needing you. things are coming to a head.â€ she said, a bit snippishly, larry thought,â€œmiss polk, in the boss' office, said for you to see her as soon as you came in, mr.woolford.â€ â€œoh?â€ he made his way to laverne's office, his attentionactually on the ideas churning in his mind. she looked up when he entered.
larry said, â€œthe boss wanted to see me?â€ laverne ducked her head, as though embarrassed.â€œnot exactly, larry.â€ he gestured with his thumb in the directionof his own cubicle office. â€œirene just said you wanted me.â€ laverne looked up into his face. â€œthe bossand mr. foster, too, are boiling about your authorizing that distelmayer man to bill thisdepartment for information he gave you. the boss hit the roof. something about the senateappropriations committee getting down on him if it came out that we bought informationfrom professional espionage agents.â€ larry said, â€œit was information we needed,and foster gave me the go ahead on locating
frol eivazov. maybe i'd better see the boss.â€ laverne said, â€œi don't think he wants tosee you, larry. they're up to their ears in this movement thing. it's in the papers nowand nobody knows what to do next. the president is going to make a speech on trid, and theboss has to supply the information. his orders are for you to resume your vacation. to takea month off and then see him when you get back.â€ larry sank down into a chair. â€œi see,â€he said, â€œand at that time he'll probably transfer me to janitor service.â€ â€œlarry,â€ laverne said, almost impatiently,â€œwhy in the world didn't you take that job
walt foster has now when the boss offeredit to you?â€ â€œbecause i'm stupid, i suppose,â€ larrysaid bitterly. â€œi thought i could do more working alone than at an administrative posttangled in red tape and bureaucratic routine.â€ she said, â€œsorry, larry.â€ she soundedas though she meant it. larry stood up. â€œwell, tonight i'm goingto hang one on, and tomorrow it's back to florida.â€ he said in a rush, â€œlook laverne,how about that date we've been talking about for six months or more?â€ she looked up at him. â€œi can't stand vodkamartinis.â€ â€œneither can i,â€ he said glumly.
â€œand i don't get a kick out of prancingaround, a stuffed shirt among fellow stuffed shirts, at some goings-on that supposedlyimproves my culture status.â€ larry said â€œat the house i have every knownbrand of drinkable, and a stack of ... what did you call it? ... corny music. we can mixour own drinks and dance all by ourselves.â€ she tucked her head to one side and lookedat him suspiciously. â€œare your intentions honorable?â€ â€œwe can even discuss that later,â€ he saidsourly. she laughed. â€œit's a date, larry.â€ he picked her up after work, and they droveto his brandywine auto-bungalow, largely quiet
the whole way. at one point she touched his hand with hersand said, â€œit'll work out, larry.â€ â€œyeah,â€ he said sourly. â€œi've put tenyears into ingratiating myself with the boss. now, overnight, he's got a new boy. i supposethere's some moral involved.â€ when they pulled up before his auto-bungalow,laverne whistled appreciatively. â€œquite a neighborhood you're in.â€ he grunted. â€œa good address. what our friendprofessor voss would call one more status symbol, one more social-label. for it i payabout fifty per cent more rent than my budget can afford.â€
he ushered her inside and took her jacket.â€œlook,â€ he said, indicating his living room with a sweep of hand. â€œsee that volumeof klee reproductions there next to my reading chair? that proves i'm not a weird. indicatesmy culture status. actually, my appreciation of modern art doesn't go any further thanthe impressionists. but don't tell anybody. see those books up on my shelves. same thing.you'll find everything there that ought to be on the shelves of any ambitious young careerman.â€ she looked at him from the side of her eyes.â€œyou're really soured, larry.â€ â€œcome along,â€ he said. â€œi want to showyou something.â€ he took her down the tiny elevator to hisden.
â€œhow hypocritical can you get?â€ he askedher. â€œthis is where i really live. but i seldom bring anyone here. wouldn't want toget a reputation as a weird. sit down, laverne, i'll make a drink. how about a sidecar?â€ she sank onto the couch, kicked her shoesoff and slipped her feet under her. â€œi'd love one,â€ she said. his back to her, he brought brandy and cointreaufrom his liquor cabinet, lemon and ice from the tiny refrigerator. â€œwhat?â€ laverne said mockingly. â€œnoauto-bar?â€ â€œupstairs with the rest of the status symbols,â€larry grunted.
he put her drink before her and turned andwent to the record player. â€œin the way of corny music, how do you likethat old-timer, nat cole?â€ â€œking cole? love him,â€ laverne said. the strains of â€œfor all we knowâ€ penetratedthe room. larry sat down across from her, finished halfhis drink in one swallow. â€œi'm beginning to wonder whether or notthis movement doesn't have something,â€ he said. she didn't answer that. they sat in silencefor a while, appreciating the drink. nat cole was singing â€œthe very thought of youâ€now. larry got up and made two more cocktails.
this time he sat next to her. he leaned hishead back on the couch and closed his eyes. finally he said softly, â€œwhen steve hackettand i were questioning susan, there was only one other person who knew that we'd pickedher up. there was only one person other than steve and me who could have warned ernestself to make a getaway. later on, there was only one person who could have warned franknostrand so that he and the professor could find a new hideout.â€ she said sleepily, â€œhow long have you knownabout that, darling?â€ â€œa while,â€ larry said, his own voice quiet.â€œi figured it out when i also decided how susan self was spirited out of the greaterwashington hilton, before we had the time
to question her further. somebody who hadaccess to tapes made of me while i was making phone calls cut out a section and dubbed ina voice so that betsy hughes, the secret service matron who was watching susan, was fooledinto believing it was i ordering the girl to be turned over to the two movement memberswho came to get her.â€ laverne stirred comfortably and let her headsink onto his shoulder. â€œyou're so warm and ... comfortable,â€ she said. larry said softly, â€œwhat does the movementexpect to do with all that counterfeit money, laverne?â€ she stirred against his shoulder, as thoughbothered by the need to talk. â€œgive it all
away,â€ she said. â€œdistribute it all overthe country and destroy the nation's social currency.â€ it took him a long moment to assimilate that. â€œwhat have the rockets to do with it?â€ she stirred once again, as though wishinghe'd be silent. â€œthat's how it will be distributed. about twenty rockets, strategically placed,each with a warhead of a couple of tons of money. fired to an altitude of a couple ofhundred miles and then the money is spewed out. in falling, it will be distributed overcities and countryside, everywhere. billions upon billions of dollars worth.â€
larry said, so softly as hardly to be heard,â€œwhat will that accomplish?â€ â€œmoney is the greatest social-label of themall. the professor believes that through this step the movement will have accomplished itspurpose. that people will be forced to utilize their judgment, rather than depend upon social-labels.â€ larry didn't follow that, but he had no timeto go further now. he said, still evenly soft, â€œand when is the movement going to do this?â€ la verne moved comfortably. â€œthe trucksgo out to distribute the money tonight. the rockets are waiting. the firing will takeplace in a few days.â€ â€œand where is the professor now?â€
â€œwhere the money and the trucks are hidden,darling. what difference does it make?â€ laverne said sleepily. â€œand where is that?â€ â€œat the greater washington trucking corporation.it's owned by one of the movement's members.â€ he said. â€œthere's a password. what is it?â€ â€œjudgment.â€ larry woolford bounced to his feet. he lookeddown at her, then over at the phone. in three quick steps he was over to it. he graspedits wires and yanked them from the wall, silencing it. he slipped into the tiny elevator, lockingthe door to the den behind him.
as the door slid closed, her voice wailed,still sleepily husky, â€œlarry, darling, where are youâ€”â€ he ran down the walk of the house, vaultedinto the car and snapped on its key. he slammed down the lift lever, kicked the thrust pedaland was thrown back against the seat by the acceleration. even while he was climbing, he flicked onthe radio-phone, called personal service for the location of the greater washington truckingcorporation. fifteen minutes later, he parked a block awayfrom his destination, noting with satisfaction that it was still an hour or more to go untildark. his intuition, working doubletime now,
told him that they'd probably wait until nightfallto start their money-laden trucks to rolling. he hesitated momentarily before turning onthe phone and dialing the boss' home address. when the other's face faded in, it failedto display pleasure when the caller's identity was established. his superior growled, â€œconfoundit, woolford, you know my privacy is to be respected. this phone is to be used only inextreme emergency.â€ â€œyes, sir,â€ larry said briskly. â€œit'sthe movementâ€”â€ the other's face darkened still further. â€œyou'renot on that assignment any longer, woolford. walter foster has taken over and i'm sympatheticto his complaints that you've proven more a hindrance than anything else.â€
larry ignored his words, â€œsir, i've trackedthem down. professor voss is at the greater washington trucking corporation garages herein the alexandria section of town. any moment now, they're going to start distribution ofall that counterfeit money on some scatterbrain plan to disrupt the country's exchange system.â€ suddenly alert, the department chief snapped,â€œwhere are you, woolford?â€ â€œoutside the garages, sir. but i'm goingin now.â€ â€œyou stay where you are,â€ the other snapped.â€œi'll have every department man and every secret service man in town over there withintwenty minutes. you hang on. those people are lunatics, and probably desperate.â€
inwardly, larry woolford grinned. he wasn'tgoing to lose this opportunity to finish up the job with him on top. he said flatly, â€œsir,we can't chance it. they might escape. i'm going in!â€ he flicked off the set, dialedagain and raised sam sokolski. â€œsam,â€ he said, his voice clipped. â€œi'vecornered the movement's leader and am going in for the finish. maybe some of you journalistboys better get on over here.â€ he gave the other the address and flicked off before therewere any questions. from the dash compartment he brought a heavyautomatic, and checked the clip. he put it in his hip pocket and left the car and walkedtoward the garages. time was running out now. he strode into the only open door, withoutshift of pace. two men were posted nearby,
neither of them truckmen by appearance. theylooked at him in surprise. larry clipped out, â€œthe password is judgment.i've got to see professor voss immediately.â€ one of them frowned questioningly, but theother was taken up with the urgency in woolford's voice. he nodded with his head. â€œhe's overthere in the office.â€ now ignoring them completely, larry strodepast the long rows of sealed delivery vans toward the office. he pushed the door open, entered and closedit behind him. professor peter voss was seated at a paper-littereddesk. there was a cot with an army blanket in a corner of the room, some soiled clothingand two or three dirty dishes on a tray. the
room was being lived in, obviously. at the agent's entry, the little man lookedup and blinked in distress through his heavy lenses. larry snapped, â€œyou're under arrest, voss.â€ the professor was obviously dismayed, buthe said in as vigorous a voice as he could muster, â€œnonsense! on what charge?â€ â€œcounterfeiting, among many. your wholescheme has fallen apart, voss. you and your movement, so-called, are finished.â€ the professor's eyes darted, left, right.to larry woolford's surprise, the movement's
leader was alone in here. undoubtedly, hewas awaiting others, drivers of the trucks, technicians involved in the rockets, othersubordinates. but right now he was alone. if woolford correctly diagnosed the situation,voss was playing for time, waiting for the others. good enough, so was larry woolford.had the professor only known it, a shout would have brought at least two followers and thegovernment agent would have had his work cut out for him. woodford played along. â€œjust what is thisfantastic scheme of yours for raining down money over half the country, voss? the veryinsanity of it proves your whole outfit is composed of a bunch of nonconformist weirds.â€
the professor was indignantâ€”and stallingfor time. he said, â€œnonconformists is correct! he who conforms in an incompetent societyis an incompetent himself.â€ larry stood, his legs apart and hands on hips.he shook his head in simulated pity at the angry little man. â€œwhat's all this aboutraining money down over the country?â€ â€œdon't you see?â€ the other said. â€œtheperfect method for disrupting our present system of social-labels. with billions ofdollars, perfect counterfeit, strewing the streets, the fields, the trees, availablefor anyone to pick up, all social currency becomes worthless. utterly unusable. and it'sno use to attempt to print more with another design, because we can duplicate it as well.our experts are the world's best, we're not
a group of sulking criminals but capable,trained, dedicated men. â€œvery well! we will have made it absolutelyimpossible to have any form of mass-produced social currency.â€ larry stared at him. â€œit would completelyfoul the whole business system! you'd have chaos!â€ â€œat first. private individuals, once thevalue of money was seen to be zero, would have lost the amount of cash they had on hand.but banks and such institutions would lose little. they have accurate records that showthe actual values they held at the time our money rains down.â€
larry was bewildered. â€œbut what are yougetting at? what do you expect to accomplish?â€ the professor, on his favorite subject, saidtriumphantly, â€œthe only form of currency that can be used under these conditions isthe personal check. it's not mass produced, and mass-production can't duplicate it. it'simmune to the attack. business has to go on, or people will starveâ€”so personal checkswill have to replace paper money. credit cards and traveler's checks won't doâ€”we can counterfeitthem, too, and will, if necessary. realize of course that hard money will still be valid,but it can't be utilized practically for any but small transactions. try taking enoughsilver dollars to buy a refrigerator down to the store with you.â€
â€œbut what's the purpose?â€ larry demanded,flabbergasted. â€œisn't it obvious? our whole movement isdevoted to the destruction of social-label judgments. it's all very well to say: youshould not judge your fellow men but when it comes to accepting another man's personalcheck, friend, you damn well have to! the bum check artist might have a field day tobegin withâ€”but only to begin with.â€ larry shook his head in exasperation. â€œyoupeople are a bunch of anarchists,â€ he accused. â€œno,â€ the professor denied. â€œabsolutelynot. we are the antithesis of the anarchist. the anarchist says, â€˜no man is capable ofjudging another.â€™ we say, â€˜each man must judge his fellow, must demand proper evaluationof him.â€™ to judge a man by his clothes,
the amount of money he owns, the car he drives,the neighborhood in which he lives, or the society he keeps, is out of the question ina vital culture.â€ larry said sourly, â€œwell, whether or notyou're right, voss, you've lost. this place is surrounded. my men will be breaking inshortly.â€ voss laughed at him. â€œnonsense. all you'vedone is prevent us from accomplishing this portion of our program. what will you do aftermy arrest? you'll bring me to trial. do you remember the scopes' monkey trial back inthe 1920s which became a world appreciated farce and made tennessee a laughingstock?well, just wait until you get me into court backed by my organization's resources. we'llbring home to every thinking person, not only
in this country, but in the world, the fantasticqualities of our existing culture. why, mr.-secret-agent-of-anti-subversive-activity you aren't doing me an injury by giving methe opportunity to have my day in court. you're doing me a favor. newspapers, radios, tridwill give me the chance to expound my program in the home of every thinking person in theworld.â€ there was a fiery dedication in the littleman's eyes. â€œthis will be my victory, not my defeat!â€ there were sounds now, coming from the otherroomsâ€”the garages. some shouts and scuffling. faintly, larry woolford could hear steve hackett'svoice. he was staring at the professor, his eyesnarrower.
the professor was on his feet. he said indefiant triumph, â€œyou think that you'll win prestige and honor as a result of trackingthe movement down, don't you, mr. woolford? well, let me tell you, you won't! in six monthsfrom now, mr. woolford, you'll be a laughingstock.â€ that did it. larry said, â€œyou're under arrest. turn aroundwith your back to me.â€ the professor snorted his contempt, turnedhis back and held up his hands, obviously expecting to be searched. in a fluid motion, larry woolford drew hisgun and fired twice. the other with no more than a grunt of surprise and pain, stumbledforward to his knees and then to the floor,
his arms and legs akimbo. the door broke open and steve hackett, gunin hand, burst in. â€œwoolford!â€ he barked. â€œwhat's up?â€ larry indicated the body on the floor. â€œthereyou are, steve,â€ he said. â€œthe head of the counterfeit ring. he was trying to escape.i had to shoot him.â€ behind steve hackett crowded ben ruthenbergof the f.b.i. and behind him half a dozen others of various departments. the boss came pushing his way through. he glared down at the professor's body, thenup at larry woolford.
â€œgood work, lawrence,â€ he said. â€œhowdid you bring it off?â€ larry replaced the gun in his holster andshrugged modestly. â€œthe polk girl gave me the final tip-off, sir. i gave her some scop-serumin a drink and she talked. evidently, she was a member of the movement.â€ the boss was nodding wisely. â€œi've had myeye on her, lawrence. an obvious weird. but we will have to suppress that scop-serum angle.â€he slapped his favorite field man on the arm jovially. â€œwell, boy, this means promotion,of course.â€ larry grinned. â€œthanks, sir. all in a day'swork. i don't think we'll have much trouble with the remnants of this movement thing.the pitch is to treat them as counterfeiters,
not subversives. try them for that. theirsilly explanations of what they were going to do with the money will never be taken seriously.â€he looked down at the small corpse. â€œparticularly now that their kingpin is gone.â€ a new wave of agents, f.b.i. men and prisonerswashed into the room and steve hackett and larry were for a moment pushed back into acorner by themselves. steve looked at him strangely and said, â€œthere'sone thing i'd like to know: did you really have to shoot him, woolford?â€ larry brushed it off. â€œwhat's the difference?he was as weird as they come, wasn't he?â€