Paradox Gainedby Mack Reynolds
The closet in Benjamin Farlan's two-room bachelor apartment wasn't particularly large. In fact, it measured three feet wide by four feet deep. And by no stretch of the imagination could it have held three full-grown men. Not as full-grown
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The closet in Benjamin Farlan's two-room bachelor apartment wasn't particularly large. In fact, it measured three feet wide by four feet deep. And by no stretch of the imagination could it have held three full-grown men. Not as full-grown as these were.
Besides that, the closet was already chock full of clothes, half a dozen pair of shoes and two suitcases.
It happened about seven-thirty. Ben Farlan had finished an unsatisfactory day at the laboratory, had his dinner at the automat, and picked up a fifth of brandy on the way home. Little Ben Farlan liked brandy. He liked to sit at night in his hundred-and-fifty-dollar chair and read something not too technical, but not too light, and have a snifter glass of brandy on the coffee table next to him.
On nights when he had nothing on his mind he could sit for hours that way, get through a whole book and possibly a third of his bottle before it was time for bed.
This wasn't one of the nights when he had nothing on his mind. Things were getting on the chaotic side at the lab. Already he had enough work on his shoulders for three men, and now the Army was taking young Robertson. Now it was Robertson! They let a man take eight long years of schooling, eight years of work to become a scientist, preparatory to assuming a useful place in society— and then what happens? They slap him into the Infantry for what would probably be an indefinite period, the world situation being what it was.
Ben had gone through three ounces of brandy and was pouring himself another glass. That was when the closet door opened and a six-footer who must have weighed at least two hundred and twenty pounds stepped into the room. He was wearing a uniform that wouldn't have been out of place on a Guatemalan Rear Admiral and he didn't look particularly friendly.
Not half an hour earlier, Ben Farlan had hung his coat in that closet, and since then he hadn't left the room. He blinked reproachfully through his thick lenses at his brandy glass.
The newcomer took him in with one sweep of his eyes, then strode quickly to the bedroom, opened its door, and gave a quick look around inside.
"Hey!" Ben protested.
Another six-footer, cut in the same 'model as the first, stepped from the closet. This was really out of the question. You couldn't have got the two of them in there with a shoehorn. But that didn't prevent a third one from pressing after the second.
While the third brute was giving the room the onceover, the second headed for the bathroom and gave it a quick glance. They evidently wanted to be sure Ben Farlan was alone. The first had meantime checked the tiny kitchenette.
Ben Farlan let loose with another weak, "Hey!"
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