Philip kindred dick – fair game

Fair Game

Professor Anthony Douglas lowered gratefully into his red-leather easy chair and sighed. A long
Sigh, accompanied by labored removal of his shoes and numerous grunts as he kicked them into the
Corner. He folded his hands across his ample middle and lay back, eyes closed.

“Tired?” Laura Douglas asked, turning from the kitchen stove a moment, her dark eyes
Sympathetic.

“You’re darn right.” Douglas surveyed the evening paper across from him on the couch. Was it
Worth it? No, not really. He felt around in his coat pocket for his cigarettes and lit up slowly, leisurely.
“Yeah, I’m tired, all right. We’re starting a whole new line of research. Whole flock of bright young men
In from Washington today. Briefcases and slide rules.”

“Not – “

His wife smiled and continued preparing dinner. Maybe it was the atmosphere
Of the little


Colorado town. The sturdy, impassive mountain peaks around them. The thin, chill air. The quiet citizens.
In any case, her husband seemed utterly unbothered by the tensions and doubts that pressured other
Members of his profession. A lot of aggressive newcomers were swelling the ranks of nuclear physics
These days. Old-timers were tottering in their positions,
Abruptly insecure. Every college, every physics
Department and lab was being invaded by the new horde of skilled young men. Even here at Bryant
College, so far off the beaten track.

But if Anthony Douglas worried, he never let it show. He rested happily inhis easy chair, eyes
Shut, a blissful smile on his face. He was tired – but at peace. He sighed again, this time more from
Pleasure than fatigue.

“It’s true,” he murmured lazily. “I may be old enough to be their father, but I’m still a few jumps
Ahead of them. Of course, I know the ropes better. And – “

“And the wires. The ones worth pulling.”

“Those, too. In any case, I think I’ll come off from this new line we’re doing just about. . .”

His voice trailed off.

“What’s the matter?” Laura asked.

Douglas half rose from his chair. His face had gone suddenly white. He stared in horror, gripping
The arms of his chair, his mouth opening and closing.

At the window was a great eye. An immense eye that gazed into the room intently, studying him.
The eye filled the whole window.

“Good God!” Douglas cried.

The eye withdrew. Outside there was only the evening gloom, the dark hills and trees, the street.
Douglas sank down slowly in his chair.

“What was it?” Laura demanded sharply. “What did you see? Was somebody
Out there?”

Douglas clasped and unclasped his hands. His lips twitched violently. “I’m telling you the truth,
Bill. I saw it myself. It was real. I wouldn’t say so, otherwise. You know that. Don’t you believe me?”

“Did anybody else see it?” Professor William Henderson asked, chewing his pencil thoughtfully.
He had cleared a place on the dinner table, pushed back his plate and silver and laid out his notebook.
“Did Laura see it?”

“No. Laura had her back turned.”

“Half an hour ago. I had just got home. About six-thirty. I had my shoes off, taking it easy.”

Douglas wiped his forehead with a shaking hand.

“You say it was unattached? There was nothing else? Just the – eye?”

“Just the eye. One huge eye looking in at me. Taking in everything. As if. . .”

“As if what?”

“As if it was looking down a microscope.”

Silence.

From across the table, Henderson’s red-haired wife spoke up. “You always were a strict

Empiricist, Doug.



Philip kindred dick – fair game