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“Believe me, codder,” Gideon said. “Another thing, religion-wise. I’m a Catholic myself. You?”


“Not a Child of X?”

“No, orthodox.”

“Me too, in my own Church. But did you ever hear of a country where Right Catholics weren’t the target for recriminations?”

Norman shook his head.

“Now myself, I’m fully appreciative of the benefits of contraception; I have two fine prodgies and they’re bright and healthy and the rest of it, and that’s sufficient for me. But I used to rail against the heretics until I started to take in the logic of the Beninian attitude.”

“Which is?”

“Well…” Gideon hesitated. “I don’t, even yet, know if it’s cruel of me, or simply sound sense. But, you see, when the schism happened there was a good strong element of dogmatic fanaticism among the Catholics here, who are only a tiny proportion of the people—most of them are heathen or of your own persuasion. It was inevitable that a lot of them would regard the Bull De Progenitate as repugnant. However, you can’t even get an argument started about Right versus Romish over here! People say well, if they don’t plan their prodgies a high enough proportion will be sickly to make them non-competitive in the long run, and what’s more they’ll tend either to bankrupt themselves with too many children or else they’ll get so many psychological hangups from enforced continence they’ll handicap themselves in later life. And the people here don’t just believe this, they act on it! And to cap the lot—!”


“The figures show they’re right,” Elihu said unexpectedly. “There’s not much available here in the way of social analysis apart from what’s run as a commercial venture by the United Africa Company and the Firestone people, who’ve been using their Liberian bridgehead to sound out new markets now automobile rubber is a shrinking outlet. But I don’t need to tell you about that, I guess. Fact remains, though: the percentage of economic influence exerted by Right Catholics has gone down by twenty-odd per cent since the schism and will certainly go further.”

“When both groups were running with the brakes on,” Gideon said, “the competition was loaded their way, thanks to their relative degree of Europeanisation. Now one side has dropped its handicap, and it’s going ahead like an acceleratube entering the vacuum stretch of the tunnel.”

The car swung sharply off the road and along the driveway of the U. S. Embassy building, a somewhat decayed but still handsome relic of the colonial period with tall pseudo-classical porticos on three sides of it.

“What would happen to Beninia if we didn’t intervene?” Norman said as the wheels crunched to a stop on gravel. “I know what Shalmaneser says, but I’d like an on-the-spot answer from you, Gideon.”

About to leave the car, Gideon checked his movement. He said after a pause for thought, “Depends.”

“On what?”

“On how many Shinkas the Dahomalians and the RUNGs left alive when they’d carved up the country.”

“I just don’t catch,” Norman confessed, having turned the statement over in his mind.

“You won’t until you’ve made the acquaintance of a good few Shinkas. It took me a while to realise the truth, but I finally got there.” Gideon paused again. “You’re a Muslim, you say. Have you read the Christian gospels?”

“I’m a convert, raised as a Baptist.”

“I see. In that case, I don’t have to explain the context of the bit about ‘the meek shall inherit the earth.’ The Shinka are the only living proof I know of that promise. Sounds crazy? You wait and you’ll see. They digested the Holaini, who wanted to ship the whole tribe off to the east as slaves. They digested the British so well they were almost the last British colony to be forced into independence. They digested the Inoko and the Kpala when they fled here from the neighbouring countries. Give them a chance and I swear they’d digest the Dahomalians and the RUNGs too. And what’s more—!” A sudden unaccountable fierceness entered Gideon’s tone.

“What’s more,” he concluded, “I think they’re going to digest you. Because they’ve done it to me.”

“And me,” Elihu said lightly. “And I approve. Come on, Norman—I have to take you to see Zad this evening, and we lost a lot of daytime on the flight.”

the happening world (11)


“Hydroxy fuel-cells of the type used to power GM trucks up to 2½-ton capacity and certain foreign imports, notably the Honda series ‘Fuji’ and ‘Kendo’, can be turned into either a flame-gun or a bomb. In the case of the GM version, a file-cut should be made at base of valve A (see diagram) and pipes B and C re-routed to follow the dotted lines. A slow-match attached to a piece of string should be placed at point D, suspending a carborundum whetstone. When this falls into contact with brake-disc E it will spark the leaking gas and …

“The plastic insulation marketed by General Technics as ‘Lo-Hi Sleevolene’ is recognisable by its pink-pearl colour. Macerate each pound weight of the stripped insulation in 1 pt. absolute alcohol. The resultant doughy sludge is heat-stable up to 20° below the average flashpoint of commercial butane but thereafter dissociates with release of approx. 200 times its original volume of gases …

“A large number of recent manufactured products employ honeycomb aluminium sheet bonded with a European adhesive sold here under the name ‘Weldigrip’. This tends to fail when exposed to gamma. Radio Test Sources Inc.’s catalogue item BVZ26 incorporates a cobalt-60 emitter designed for inspecting high-carbon steel castings up to 9" thick. It should be placed close to a critical joint …

“GT’s catalogue item RRR17 is a heavy-weather sealant applied to the underside of public transport vehicles. A little battery acid held in place with a sac of tackythene will cause it to attack the metal it’s in contact with …

“Minnesota Mining’s new sulphur-reclaiming bacterium, strain UQ-141, can be caused to sporulate simply by with-holding sulphur compounds. The organisms can then be kept in a domestic freezer for up to two months. Suggested uses include …

“GT is currently offering lox in quart flasks at a price 10% below its competitors. Wind the flask with magnesium flash-wire (16 turns/inch) and connect suitable igniter and timer. Applications will be numerous …

“Japind’s LazeeLazer monochrome unit can be modified as shown in the diagram. Depending on what grade of multiplier plug is incorporated in the circuit, voltages of up to 30,000 can be obtained. At full load the unit burns out in 1.5 sec., but careful pre-sighting will …

“A tailored bacterium from the British ICI list, catalogue ref. 5-100-244, is exceptional in that it can be mutated at home. A solution of 1/1000 HCl in distilled water breaks one of the RNA bonds. Application of the modified form leads to rapid plasticisation of virtually all thermo-setting plastics …

“‘Sterulose’, Johnson & Johnson’s new medical wadding, makes an ideal stabiliser for home-brewed nitroglycerine. Wrap each wad in paper soaked and dried in a solution of potassium nitrate or use fulminate caps for detonators …

“The soles of Bally of Switzerland’s new ‘Stridex’ shoes are made of a compound that, ignited, emits dense clouds of choking black smoke. Certain grades of pot burn with a hot enough tip for the roach to start the process, to wit …

“Wrap a piece of flexion (preferably blue, as the dye helps) around 1 carton of 12 compressed-air bulbs of the type used in a General Foods whipped-cream dispenser. Coat with ‘Novent’ plugging compound to make a ball about 7" diam. The covering prevents the detectors at the garbage plant from reclaiming the metal of the bulbs. On a test run at Tacoma the resulting shrapnel put the disposal furnaces out of action for six hours …