A For Anything by Damon Knight

By Damon Knight

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Contestants assemble at the range, if you please. ” A hum and rustle went up, all through the adjacent rooms. There were jubilant whoops and running footsteps in the hall—collisions, curses, and over everything the angry droning of scores of bodyslobs’ call buzzers. Dick took out his own signal box and pressed the button, but the response light did not glow. Probably Sam was A for Anything 52 too far away; the little wave-senders had a range of only about a hundred and fifty yards. . Or it might be that the sender had plonked out sooner than usual.

Dick’s parents would still be lying abed; so would his sister Constance, who had been turning into a sluggard lately. His brothers Adam, Felix and Edward might be up, but there was no telling where. Unfeeling brats, they were probably off riding or boating somewhere by themselves, not caring whether he might want to see them on his last morning. All this, he realized belatedly, was at least partly before-breakfast crankiness. The duped eggs might choke him, but he needed some food in his stomach.

Orville Dabney, the elder, was known for his habit of tossing men over his head when provoked, and worrying about protocol afterward. Glenn dabney, who wore a thick curling mustache, was shorter and quieter, but no less dangerous. The lobe of his right ear was missing—shot off, it was said, in a duel he had fought with a visiting Cornishman in his youth. The Man greeted them formally, invited them to sit. The little room grew croweded and hot. The Man opened the humidor on his desk and passed it around.

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