How does a person come to be scratched from the human race? Psychiatry did not have the answer—perhaps Clocker's turf science did!
Clocker pushed away from the table. "So help me, I'll do it if I can't come up with something cheaper than paying freight from Oklahoma."
"Get Zelda out, I pay and put her in show."
"Then if I haul the guy here and it don't work, I'm in hock to you. Thanks, Oil Pocket, but I'll try my way first."
* * * * *
Back in his hotel room, waiting for the next day so he could visit Zelda, Clocker was like an addict at the track with every cent on a hunch. After weeks of neglecting his tip sheet to study catatonia, he felt close to the payoff.
He spent most of the night smoking and walking around the room, trying not to look at the jars and hairbrushes on the bureau. He missed the bobbypins on the floor, the nylons drying across the shower rack, the toothpaste tubes squeezed from the top. He'd put her perfumes in a drawer, but the smell was so pervasively haunting that it was like having her stand invisibly behind him.
As soon as the sun came up, he hur
Clocker's wife Zelda used to be a great exotic dancer; now she is catatonic and does the time step all day long. The doctors have called her hopeless, but Clocker handicaps horses, and, using his statistical analysis skills, thinks he's found the real reason behind catatonia. And he's damn well going to bust up the racket.
A pretty good story.
Clever SF novelette around the Cold War trauma. Recommended. Yes, it was only 25 years ago when we were on the edge to global destruction.
2013 SFR GALAXY AWARD WINNER
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