Friday, December 20, 2019

"If He Says He Hears Voices, He Hears Voices"

"The Non-Electronic Bug."
By E. Mittleman (?-?).
Illustration by [Gray] Morrow (1934-2001; HERE).
First appearance: Worlds of IF, July 1960.

Short short story (7 pages).
Online at Project Gutenberg (HERE).

     "There couldn't be a better tip-off system than mine—it wasn't possible—but he had one!"

There's one thing all gamblers have in common: They're always trying to take the gamble out of gambling (usually, sad to say, by cheating); however, it's likely they've never been given the opportunity to take the chance out of chance that our central character has handed to 
him on a silver platter . . .

~ Unnamed first-person narrator:

  ". . . everybody has got to like somebody, and I had the edge over most of the human race."
~ Henry:
  "Take your best shot. But mark my words. You're not going to make out on your own."
~ Skippy:

  "He laughed not only when the mark made some crack, but a lot of the time when he 
didn't. It got so the customers were looking at him with a lot of dislike, and that was 
bad for business."
~ Chapo:
  ". . . before I got a chance, this fellow from Chicago came in, a big manufacturer named Chapo; a wheel, and he looked it. He was red-faced, with hanging jowls and a big dollar 

cigar; he announced that he only played for big stakes ... and, nodding toward the kid 
and me, that he didn't like an audience."

- A similar dramatic situation to today's story can be found in an episode of the old Twilight Zone TV series, "The Prime Mover" (1961; SPOILERS; HERE and HERE), with Dane Clark's character corresponding to our unnamed narrator and Buddy Ebsen to Skippy, whose wild talent in the show differs from Skippy's in being psychokinesis (HERE).

- According to the ISFDb (HERE), this was "E. Mittleman's" only writing credit.

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