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Testing the Hypothesis, Part 2
WAS SITTING IN DUDLEY’S CHAIR, looking into the fire, waiting for a visit
from Patti. The night was warm enough not to require a fire; it might
even have been warm enough to make a fire ridiculous; but I required a
fire for atmosphere. I was Dudlifying myself, putting myself through
a course of Beakerization to prepare myself for Patti’s visit and the resumption
of our experimental investigation into the matter of my paternity.
The transformation seemed to require my sitting in Dudley’s chair before
the fireplace, and it seemed to require a fire in the fireplace.
The fire hadn’t lit right away, so I’d torn pages from the magazines in
the rack beside Dudley’s chair to keep it going. A haze of smoke
still filled the room, even though I’d opened the windows. I had
begun reading a story in one of the magazines, but when I followed the
“continued” line, I found that the page on which the story concluded had
been one of those I’d burned to get the fire going. I was sucking
on one of Dudley’s pipes and trying to decide whether the struggling young
painter in the story would manage to persuade the pretty young waitress—actually
a struggling young actress—to pose for him, and, if so, how he would manage
to do it, when the phone rang.
WHEN THE DEAR GIRL arrived at the front door a few minutes later, I
was in quite a state. All the ardor of a young man in love had set
my heart to pounding and sent my blood pulsing through my veins, while
the wisdom, propriety, and caution of a middle-aged—oh, let us not say
that, not “middle-aged”—let us say rather that the wisdom of a man no longer
quite so young nor nearly so foolish as he once had been counseled me to
calm myself, to still my throbbing heart, cool my ardor, calm my passions:
to behave myself.
Wishing you could find a way to support
Copyright © 2001 by Eric Kraft
Inflating a Dog is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents, dialogues, settings, and businesses portrayed in it are products of the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the author.
Picador USA will publish Inflating a Dog in the summer of 2002.
For information about publication rights outside the U. S. A., audio rights, serial rights, screen rights, and so on, e-mail Kraft’s indefatigable agent, Alec “Nick” Rafter.
The illustration at the top of the page is an adaptation of an illustration
by Stewart Rouse that first appeared on the cover of the August 1931 issue
of Modern Mechanics and Inventions. The boy at the controls of the
aerocycle doesn’t particularly resemble Peter Leroy—except, perhaps, for