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

(List of investments that add up to $4823. 17. )

If you want to see for yourself the details of how a thousand dollars grows to (current figure) in only (fill in) years and (blank) months, send ($1. oo, $2. 50, $4. 00 - the price went steadily up) to Pinch-Penny Publications, Suite 8600, Harriman Tower, New York, NY HKL030 (that being a drop box that caused mail to be routed, eventually, to Eleanor's stooge in Toronto) or buy it at your local bookstore: The Housewife's Guide to Thrifty Investing by Prudence Penny.

The hugger-mugger about the address was intended to keep the Securities Exchange Commission from learning that ‘Prudence Penny' was a director of Harriman Industries. The SEC takes a jaundiced view of ‘Inside Information'. So far as I could tell, it would matter not at all to them that my advice was truly beneficial to anyone who followed it. In fact, that might get me beheaded even more quickly.

The column spread from country weeklies to city dailies and did make money after the first year, and quite a lot of money in the thirteen years that I wrote it. Women read it and followed it - so my mail indicated - but I think even more men read it, not to follow my advice, but to try to figure out how this female bear could waltz at all.

I knew that I had succeeded when one day George Strong quoted ‘Prudence Penny' to me.

My ultimate purpose was not to make money and not to impress anyone but to establish a reputation that let me write a special column in April 11964, one headed ‘THE MOON BELONGS TO EVERYONE - but the first Moonship will belong to Harriman Industries. '

I advised them to hang onto their Prudence Penny portfolio. .. but to take every other dime they could scrape up and bet it on the success of D. D. Harriman's great new venture, placing a man on the Moon.

From then on ‘Prudence Penny' always had something to say about space travel and Harriman Industries in every column. I freely admitted that space was a long-term investment (and I continued to recommend other investments, all backed by Theodore's predictions) but I kept on pounding away at the notion that untold riches awaited those farsighted investors who got in early in space activities and hung on. Don't buy on margin, don't indulge in profit-taking - buy Harriman stock outright, put it away in your safety deposit box and forget it - your grandchildren will love you.

In the spring of 1965 I moved my household to the Broadmoor Hotel south of Colorado Springs because Mr Harriman was building his Moonship on Peterson Field. In 1952 I had tried half-heartedly to drop my lease in Kansas City after Brian had taken Priscilla and Donald back to Dallas (another story and no t a good one). But George had outflanked me. Title to that house was in George, not Harriman and Strong, not Harriman Industries. When I told him that I no longer needed a four-bedroom house (counting the maid's room), he asked me to keep it, rent free.

I pointed out that, if I was to become his paid mistress, it wasn't enough, but if I was to continue the pretence of being a respectable woman, it was too much. He said, all right, what was the going rate for mistresses? - he would double it.

So I kissed him and took him to bed and we compromised. The house was his and he would put his driver and wife in the house, and I could stay in it any time I wished. .. and the resident couple would take care of Princess Polly.

George had spotted my weak point. I had once subjected this little cat to the trauma of losing her Only Home; I grabbed this means of avoiding doing it to her again.

But I did take an apartment at the Plaza, moved my most necessary books there; got my mail there, and occasionally took Polly there - subjecting her to the indignity of a litter box, true, but she did not fuss. (The new clay pellets were a vast improvement over sand or soil. ) Moving back and forth this short distance got her used to a carrying cage and to being away from home now and then. Eventually she got to be a true travelling cat, dignified and at home in the best hotels, a sophisticated guest who would never think of scratching the furniture. This made it much easier for Elijah and Charlene to take vacations or go elsewhere if George needed them elsewhere.

So in the spring of 1965 a few weeks before the historic first flight to the Moon, Princess Polly and I moved into the Broadmoor. I arrived with Polly in her carrying case, baggage to follow from the terminal of the Harriman Prairie Highway fifty miles north of there - I hated those rolling roads from the first time I rode one; they gave me headaches. But I had been told that the noise problem had been overcome on the Prairie Highway. Never trust a flack!

The desk clerk at the Broadmoor told me, ‘Madam, we have an excellent kennel at the back of the tennis club. I'll have a bellman take your cat there. '

‘Just a moment, ' I got out my Harriman Industries card - mine had a gold band.

The clerk took one look at it, got the assistant manager on duty. He hurried over, gardenia and striped pants and professional smile. ‘Mrs Johnson! So happy to welcome you! Do you prefer a suite? Or a housekeeping apartment? '

Princess Polly did not have to go to a kennel. She dined on chopped liver, courtesy of the management, and had her own cat bed and litter box, both guaranteed sterilised - so said the paper band around each of them, like the one around the toilet seat in my bathroom.

No bidet - aside from that the Broadmoor was a first-class hotel.

After a bath and a change - my luggage arrived while I was in the bath (of course) - I left Princess Polly to watch television (which she liked, especially the commercials) and went to the bar, to have a solitary drink and see what developed.

And found my son Woodrow.

He sported me as I walked in. ‘Hi, Mom! '

‘Woodrow! ' I was delighted! I kissed him and said, ‘Good to see you, son! What are you doing here? The last I heard you were at Wright Patterson. '

‘Oh, I quit that; they didn't appreciate genius. Besides, they expected me to get up too early. I'm with Harriman Industries now, trying to keep ‘em straight. It ain't easy. '

(Should I tell Woodrow that I was now a director of Harriman Industries? I had avoided telling anyone who did not need to know - so wait and sec. ) ‘I'm glad you're keeping them straight. This Moonship of theirs - Do you have something to do with it? '

‘Sit down first. What'll you drink? '

‘Whatever you're having, Woodrow. '

‘Well, now, I'm having Manitou Water, with a twist. '

‘It looks like vodka tonic. Is that what it is? '

‘Not exactly. Manitou water is a local mineral water. Something like skunk, but not as tasty. '

‘Hmm. .. Make mine vodka tonic with lime. Is Heather here? '