The Static of the Spheres
Chapter 19: Exactly Right
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YOU CAN ORDER THE
I DIDN’T HAVE TO, thanks to Gumma. When I told her what had happened,
she got her slide rule and marched downstairs. She had Guppa and
Mr. Beaker and me count and recount the number of windings we could see
on the outside of the coil. She looked through the instructions and
mumbled to herself. She measured the thickness of the windings on
the coil and the thickness of the wire itself. Then she went to work
with her slide rule. Guppa, Mr. Beaker, and I held our breath.
If my heart hadn’t been thumping so loudly, I would have been able to hear
the slide whispering through the stock.
Gumma took a deep breath. She smiled and let the breath out.
“It’s exactly right,” she said.
Mr. Beaker looked puzzled. “How many—” he began.
“Exactly right,” Gumma repeated in a soft voice that reverberated through the cellar as if she had shouted.
“Yahoo!” I cheered.
Gumma gave Guppa a big hug, and so did I. Mr. Beaker gave him a pat on the back and said, “Well, you’ll want to celebrate without me, so I’ll head for home.” No one said anything to him, so he left.
Gumma went back upstairs, and Guppa turned toward the workbench, but he was not close enough to it to read the instructions. I walked over to the workbench and closed the magazine.
“I’ll help you straighten up, Guppa,” I said, “and then we can go upstairs and try it out.”
He didn’t say anything. Hesitantly, I looked at him over my shoulder. He stood with his mouth in a rictus.
“I’ll go put the magazine back,” I said. “Why don’t you clean the radio up with a rag so that it’s nice and shiny when we take it upstairs?”
I walked upstairs with the magazine, and at the head of the stairs turned left, toward the back door, instead of right, toward the dining room, where Guppa had built the concealed bookcases that held his back issues of Impractical Craftsman. I went outside, onto the back porch, down the porch steps, and over to the trash cans. I lifted the lid of one and dropped the magazine in.
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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.