Raphael Lafferty: Hog-Belly Honey

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Raphael Lafferty Hog-Belly Honey
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    Hog-Belly Honey
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Hog-Belly Honey: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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Raphael Aloysius Lafferty

Hog-Belly Honey

I’m Joe Spade — about as intellectual a guy as you’ll find all day.

I invented Wotto and Voxo and a bunch of other stuff that nobody can get along without anymore. It’s on account of I have so much stuff in my head that I sometimes go to a head-grifter. This day all of them I know is out of town when I call. Lots of times every. body I know is out of town when I call. I go to a new one. The glass in his door says he is a anapsychologist, which is a head-grifter in the popular speech.

“I’m Joe Spade the man that got everything,” I tell him and slap him on the back in that hearty way of mine. There is a crunch sound and at first I think I have crack his rib. Then I see I have only broke his glasses so no harm done. “I am what you call a flat-footed genius, Doc,” I tell him, “with plenty of the crimp-cut greenleaf.”

I take the check card away from him and mark it up myself to save time. I figure I know more about me than he does.

“Remember, I can get them nine-dollar words for four eighty-five wholesale, Doc,” I josh him and he looks me painful.

“Modesty isn’t one of your failings,” this head-grifter tell me as he scun my card. “Hum. Single… Significant.”

I had written down the “single” in the blank for it, but he had see for himself that I am a significant man.

“Solvent,” he read for the blank about the pecuniary stuff; “I like that in a man. We will arrange for a few sessions.”

“One will do it,” I tell him. “Time is running and I am paying. Give me a quick read, Doc.”

“Yes, I can give you a very rapid reading,” he says. “I want you to ponder the ancient adage: It is not good for Man to be alone. Think about it a while, and perhaps you will be able to put one and one together.”

Then he add kind of sad, “Poor woman!” which is either the non-secular of the year or else he is thinking of some other patient. Then he add again, “That will be three yards, in the lingo.”

“Thanks, Doc,” I say. I pay the head-grifter his three hundred dollars and leave. He has hit the nail on the noggin and put his toe on the root of my trouble.

I will take me a partner in my business.

I spot him in Grogley’s, and I know right away he’s the one. He’s about half my size but otherwise he’s as much like me as two feet in one shoe. He’s real good-looking — just like me. He’s dressed sweet, but has a little blood on his face like can happen to anyone in Grogley’s for five minutes. Man, we’re twins! I know we will talk alike and think alike just like we look alike.

“Eheu! Fugaces!” my new partner says real sad. That means “Brother, this has been one day with all the bark on it!” He is drinking the Fancy andhis eyes look like cracked glass.

“He’s been having quite a few little fist fights,” Grogley whispers to me, “but he don’t win none. He isn’t fast with his hands. I think he’s got troubles.”

“Not no more he don’t,” I tell Grogley; “he’s my new partner.”

I slap my new partner on the back in that hearty way I have, and the tooth that flew out must have been a loose one.

“You don’t have no more troubles, Roscoe,” I tell him, “you and me is just become partners.” He looks kind of sick at me.

“Maurice is the name,” he says, “Maurice Maltravers. How are things back in the rocks? You, sir, are a troglodyte. They always come right after the snakes. That’s the only time I wish the snakes would come back.”

Lots of people call me a troglodyte.

“Denied the sympathy of humankind,” Maurice carries on, “perhaps I may find it in an inferior species. I wonder if I could impose on your ears — gahhhh!” (he made a humorous sound there) “are those things ears? — What a fearsome otological apparatus you do have! — the burden of my troubles.”

“I just told you you don’t have none, Maurice,” I say. “Come along with me and we’ll get into the partner business.”

I pick him up by the scruff and haul him out of Grogley’s.

“I see right away you are my kind of man,” I say. “My kind of man — putridus ad volva,” Maurice gives me the echo. Hey, this guy is a gale! Just like me.

“My cogitational patterns are so intricate and identatic oriented,”

says Maurice when I set him down and let him walk a little, “that I become a closed system — unintelligible to the exocosmos and particularly to a chthonian like yourself.”

“I’m mental as hell myself, Maurice,” I tell him, “there ain’t nothing the two of us can’t do together.”

“My immediate difficulty is that the University has denied me further use of the computer,” Maurice tells me. “Without it, I cannot complete the Ultimate Machine.”

“I got a computer’ll make that little red schoolhouse turn green,” I tell him.

We come to my place which a man have call in print “a converted horse barn, probably the most unorthodox and badly appointed scientific laboratory in the world.” I take Maurice in with me, but he carries on like a chicken with its hat off when he finds out the only calculator I got is the one in my head.

“You livid monster, I can’t work in this mares’-nest,” he screeches at me. “I’ve got to have a calculator, a computer.”

I tap my head with a six-pound hammer and grin my famous grin. “It’s all inside here, Maurice boy,” I tell him, “the finest calculator in the world. When I was with the carnivals they billed me as the Idiot Genius. I run races with the best computers they had in a town, multiplying twenty-place numbers and all the little tricks like that. I cheated though.

I invented a gadget and carried it in my pocket. It’s jam the relays of the best computers and slow them down for a full second. Give me a one-second hop and I can beat anything in the world at anything. The only things wrong with those jobs is that I had to talk and act kind of dumb to live up to my billing the idiot Genius, and that dumb stuff was hard on an intellectual like I.”

“I can see that it would be,” Maurice said. “Can you handle involuted matrix, Maimonides-conditioned, third-aspect numbers in the Cauchy sequence with simultaneous non-temporal involvement of the Fieschi manifold?”

“Maurice, I can do it and fry up a bunch of eggs to go with it at the same time,” I tell him. Then I look him right in the middle of the eye.

“Maurice,” I say, “you’re working on a nullifier.”

He look at me like he take me serious for the first time. He pull asheaf of papers out of his shirt, and sure enough he is working on a nullifier — a sweet one. “This isn’t an ordinary nullifier,” Maurice points out, and I see that it ain’t. “What other nullifier can posit moral and ethical judgments?

What other can set up and enforce categories? What other can really discern?

This will be the only nullifier able to make full philosophical pronouncements. Can you help me finish it, Proconsul?”

A proconsul is about the same as an alderman, so I know Maurice think high of me. We throw away the clock and get with it. We work about twenty hours a day. I compute it and build it at the same time — out of Wotto-metal naturally. At the end we use feedback a lot. We let the machine decide what we will put in it and what leave out. The main difference between our nullifier and all others is that ours will be able to make decisions. So, let it make them!

We finish it in about a week. Man, it is a sweet thing. We play with it a while to see what it can do. It can do everything.

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