Жанр книги: Научная Фантастика
Robert A Heinlein To Sail Beyond The Sunset

Pixel went away, wherever it is that www.dvdcheap.ru he goes, with my first attempt to call for help. Now I can only keep my fingers crossed.

I once heard my beloved friend and shared husband Dr Jubal Harshaw define happiness. ‘Happiness, ' Jubal stated, ‘lies in being privileged to work hard for long hours in doing whatever you think is worth doing.

‘One man may find happiness in supporting a wife and children. Another may find it in robbing banks. Still another may labour mightily for years in pursuing pure research with no discernible result.

‘Note the individual and subjective nature of each case. No two are alike and there is no reason to expect them to be. Each man or woman must find for himself that occupation in which hard work and long hours make him happy. Contrariwise, if you are looking for shorter hours and longer vacations and early retirement, you are in the wrong job. Perhaps you need to take up bank robbing. Or geeking in a sideshow. Or even politics. '

For the decade 1907-1917 I was privileged to enjoy perfect happiness by Jubal's definition. By 1916 I had borne eight children. During those years I worked harder and for longer hours than I ever have before or since, and I was bubbling with happiness the whole time save for the fact that my husband was away oftener than I liked. Even that had its compensations, as it made our marriage a series of honeymoons. We prospered, and the fact that Briney was oftenest away when business was best resulted in our never experiencing what the Bard called so aptly: ‘- the tired marriage sheets. '

Briney always tried to telephone to let me know exactly when he would be home. .. and then he would tell me: B. i. b. a. w. y. l. o. and I w. w. y. t. b. w. '

Day or night I would do my best to follow his instructions exactly; I would be in bed asleep with my legs open and wait for him to wake me the best way, but I always took the precaution of bathing first and my sleep might be only that I closed my eyes and held still when I heard him unlock the front door. Then as he got into bed with me he might call me by some outlandish name, ‘Mrs Krausemeyer, ' or ‘Battleship Kate, ' or ‘Lady Pushbottom' - and I would pretend to wake up, and call him anything but Brian - ‘Hubert' or ‘Giovanni' or ‘Fritz' - and perhaps enquire, still with my eyes closed, whether or not he had placed five dollars on the dresser. .. whereupon he would scold me for trying to run up the price of tail in Missouri and I would get busier than ever, trying to prove that I was so worth five dollars.

Then, sated but still coupled, we would argue over whether or not I had put on a five-dollar performance. Which could result in tickling, biting, wrestling, spanking, laughing, and another go at it, with much bawdy joking throghout. I delighted in trying to be that duchess in the drawing-room, economist in the kitchen, and whore in the bedroom that is the classic definition of the ideal wife. Perhaps I was never perfect at it, but I was happiest working hard at all three aspects of that trinity.

Brian also enjoyed singing bawdy songs while coupling, songs with plenty of rhythm to them, a beat that could be matched to the tempo of coition and speeded up or slowed down at will, songs like:

Bang away, my Lulu!

Bang away good and strong!

Oh, what'll I do for a bang away

When my Lulu's dead and gone!

Then endless verses, each bawdier than the last:

My Lulu had a chicken,

My Lulu had a duck.

She took them into bed with her

And taught them how to -

BANG! away my Lulu!

Bang away good and strong!

Until at last Briney couldn't stretch it out any longer and had to spend.

While he was resting and recovering, he might demand of me a bedtime story, wanting to know how I had improved each shining hour with a little creative adultery.

He didn't mean what I may have done with Nelson and or Betty Lou; that was all in the family and didn't count. ‘What's new, Mo? Are you getting to be a dead arse in your old age? You, the Scandal of Thebes County? Tell me it's not true! '

Now believe me, friends, between dishes and nappies, cooking and cleaning, sewing and darning, wiping poses and soothing children's tragedies, I didn't have time to commit enough adultery to interest even a young priest. After that ridiculous and embarrassing contretemps with Reverend Zeke I can't recall any illicit bed-bouncing Maureen did between 1906 and 1918 that my husband did not initiate and condone in advance. .. and not much of that as Briney was if anything even busier than I.

I must have been a great disappointment to Mrs Grundy (several of her lived in our block, many of her went to our church) as, during those ten years leading up to the war that eventually was called World War One or War of the Collapse, First Phase - during that decade I not only tried to simulate the perfect, conservative, Bible-belt lady and housewife, I actually was that sexless, modest, church-oriented creature - except in bed with the door locked, alone or with my husband or, on rare and utterly safe occasions, in bed with someone else but with my husband's permission and approval and usually with his chaperonage.

Besides which, only a robot can stay coupled enough hours out of the year to matter. Even Galahad, tireless as he is, spends most of his time being the leader of Ishtar's best surgical team. (Galahad. .. Galahad reminds me of Nelson. Not just in appearance; the two are twins in temperament and attitudes - even in body odour now that I think of it. When I get home, I must ask Ishtar and Justin how much of Galahad derives from Nelson. Since we Howards started with a limited gene pool, convergence, along with probability and chance, often comes close to physically reincarnating a remote ancestor in some descendant on Tertius or Secundus. )

Which reminds me of what I did with part of my time and how Random Numbers got his name.

I don't think there was ever a month in the first half of the twentieth century but what both Briney and I were studying something. .. and usually studying a language besides, which hardly counts; we had to stay ahead of our children. We usually did not study the same thing - Briney did not study shorthand or ballet; I did not study petroleum extraction methods or evaporation control in irrigation. But study we did. I studied because I had been left with a horrid feeling of intellectual coitus interruptos through not being able to go on to college at least through a bachelor's degree, and Brian studied because, well, because he was a Renaissance man with all knowledge his field. According to the Archives my first husband lasted one hundred and nineteen years. It is a cinch bet that he was studying some subject new to him the last few weeks of his life.

Sometimes we studied together. In 1906 he started in on statistics, probability and chance by mail, the ICS school - and here were the books and the lessons in our house, so Maureen did them, too, all but mailing my work in. So we were both immersed in this most fascinating field of mathematics when our kitten, Random Numbers, joined our lives, courtesy of Mr Renwick, driver salesman for the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company.