The Man with the Strange Head and Other Early Science Fiction Stories

By Miles J. Breuer; Michael R. Page | Go to book overview
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Millions for Defense

“It’s about time you quit fooling around and got down to some real work. You’ve been tinkering long enough.”

The coarse, red face of Jake Bloor spread into an unsympathetic leer and he grunted contemptuously.

“I promised your mother I’d put you through school,” he continued. “Now I’m through with that, and a big bunch of boloney I call it.”

That was the welcome that awaited John Stengel after graduation from college, upon his arrival at the only home he had, that of his uncle, who was a banker in the small country village of Centerville.

“Yes, sir,” replied John, biting his lips.

His uncle screwed his lips into ugly rolls around his cigar, and then took it out and spat on the floor.

“This job I’m giving you in my bank,” he went on, “is not a part of my promise to your mother. That comes out of the kindness of my heart.”

That mind can and does triumph over matter was demonstrated again by the fact that John did not turn on his heel and walk out of the house, never to return. John Stengel, known to his fellow-students for four years as Steinmetz Stengel, stood five burly inches above his stocky uncle; his blue eyes blazed a resentment that was everywhere else concealed by his quiet and respectful bearing. The powerful arm that bent to run his big hand through his yellow hair could have knocked his corpulent uncle off his feet, but it dropped quietly at his side, and he again said:

“Yes, sir!”

For, graduation is a bewildering experience. The world is wide, and one is not sure just which way to turn. A fifteen-dollar a week job as

-350-

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