The Static of the Spheres
Chapter 5: ’Round Midnight
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COULD build me a radio,” I said.
“I’m sure he could,” said Mr. Beaker. He turned toward Eliza, and from the way his ear twitched, and from the flash of anger in Eliza’s eyes, I knew that he had winked.
“And I could help him,” I said, through clenched teeth.
“I’m sure you could,” said Mr. Beaker. He began loading his pipe. He wore a small, twisted grin. It was not until several years later that I learned the word supercilious, but when I did, I found that I already knew exactly what it meant.
I was furious. Mr. Beaker took his pipe tool from his pocket and began tamping his tobacco. If I had been holding the poker, I might have hit him with it. Instead, it occurred to me to use another weapon: Eliza.
“You know, Mr. Beaker,” I began, in a tone that startled me, “Eliza and I—”
Eliza had been looking into the fire. Now she snapped her head around to look at me, and there was on her face an expression of terror so striking that my throat caught when I saw it. She looked as frightened and helpless as I imagine the marooned boy in the radio program must have looked when he realized that he was alone. A chill ran through me, and I actually shuddered. Instantly I lost all desire to hurt Mr. Beaker, because I wanted instead to comfort Eliza.
“Eliza and I could look through Guppa’s magazines,” I said, looking into her eyes as I said it. “I bet one of them tells how to make a shortwave radio.”
Mr. Beaker looked at his watch. “I think it’s a little late for that sort of thing,” he said. “You really should be in bed.”
“My mother said that I could stay up until midnight,” I said.
“And you have,” said Mr. Beaker. “It’s twelve-eighteen.”
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Little Follies 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.
“My Mother Takes a Tumble,” “Do Clams Bite?,” “Life on the Bolotomy,” “The Static of the Spheres,” “The Fox and the Clam,” “The Girl with the White Fur Muff,” “Take the Long Way Home,” and “Call Me Larry” were originally published in paperback by Apple-Wood Books.
Little Follies was first published in hardcover by Crown Publishers, Inc., 201 East 50th Street, New York, New York 10022. Member of the Crown Publishing Group.
For information about publication rights outside the U. S. A., audio rights, serial rights, screen rights, and so on, e-mail the author’s imaginary 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 the smile.