Chapter XLIV
by General (Uncle Claude) Xxaxx
& General (E.J. Gold) Nunan PFC 1st Class Ret.

“Sorry to bother you in the evening, sir. This is Professor Woo.”

“I may be getting old, Woo, but I’m not blind yet. I can still make out a face on the vidphone.”

“No slander as to your vision, Mr. Hale. This is a formal call.” Woo’s reference to a formal call was the signal to Alan that this was a contract, and as such, was being recorded in the clear for later cipher-transmission as a contract.

“Okay, son, what can I do for you?” The reference to son was made to indicate that Woo was the solar source of the call, and as such, was the generator of whatever was to follow. Similiar to twentieth century ‘being of sound mind and body blah, blah, blah.’ If Woo did not reject the reference, she was accepting the full responsibility and could not petition for any mitigation.

“Thank you, sir. I am calling to let you know that I probably won’t be playing much basketball in the future.” In one breath, Woo accepted full culpability for his actions and resigned from the Cownsil. Continuing along this line, “Don’t worry about the tea — I’ve met someone that will be excellent on the courts. He dribbles with the best, and is not half-bad down court.”

Given the current circumstances, what with the Earth slowing down and everybody in danger of being squished under their own weight, Hale hadn’t expected the ace-number-one advocate of Project Levity to cut and run. “What in the bloody hell are you talking about? How can we hope to get by in the Cown..court without you?”

Woo thought to herself, “the poor ol’ duffer must be more upset than I thought he would be to almost let a slip like that go on the Vidphone.” More for the cownsil chairman’s benefit than to satisfy the legal requirement of prior notice of resignation, Woo continued — “I’ve watched him play, sir; I know that you will have a good time working with him on the courts. The guy can actually shoot the ball — he almost makes the basket most of the time, at any rate.”

“Why the sudden loss of interest in the game?” It really was bad form for the chairman to ask a resignee for any explanation. It was generally understood that if someone voluntarily gave up a position of power and influence that — in most cases — given the guaranteed funding for personal projects, it was for a damn good reason. The fact that Hale asked was another symptom of his upset and an indication of his general lack of good graces. Not the kind of thing one expected from a cownsil chairman.

Because of the pressing nature of the current situation, Woo cut Alan some slack, but only a bit. “Well, Alan, I’m sure you can understand that there are occasions when another sport captures one’s interest. Maybe you can even appreciate that on some of these occasions the two sports might be incompatible.”

The reference to Alan Hale as simply Alan let him know that his breach of courtesy had not been missed. And the following sentence with its overflowing condensation was enough to ensure that no matter what was happening with Woo, Alan Hale was not about to give it another thought. The mixture of humble-pie and bile in his mouth was not one that he would soon forget or forgive. “Fine, son, that’s that. See you in the bleachers sometime.”

With the reference to the bleachers, Woo knew that she was home free; never would she have to talk to Alan Hale, let alone answer any embarrassing or revealing questions about her resignation. She didn’t like angering him to the extent that he actually broke code over the phone, but she couldn’t risk him ever discovering that she was no longer herself. Even being discovered as a female voguing as a male could eventually have been forgiven. To be forgiven for not being human at all would have been more than she could ask of an egghead. They may be liberal, but no egghead is that liberal.

It’s times like this that caused Woo to wonder what it would have been like to have had a mother and a father who didn’t disown you at birth. No bubbler was happy to see a wrinkled red prune of an egghead when they were looking forward to a blue or pink ball with cute little hands and feet poking out of the sphere along with a little bald head. It was the only way the doctors had to take the children away from their parents in the operating room. Prior to this, egghead babies suffered from a seventy-percent chance of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. After the little prunes were removed at birth, the infant mortality rate for eggheads dropped to ten percent. And after citizins and bubblers were disallowed from serving in neonatal wards for eggheads, the infant mortality dropped to almost zero. It’s a good thing that eggheads are naturally healthy, given all the accidents and misfortunes that tend to plague them throughout their lives.

“Goodbye. It’s been real.” This, of course, being egghead legalese for take the contract as read.


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