You dont make wine like.., p.1
You Don't Make Wine Like the Greeks Did, p.1David E. Fisher
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_"Every century has its advantages and its drawbacks," he said. "We, for instance, have bred out sexual desire. And, as for you people ..."_
YOU DON'T MAKE WINE LIKE THE GREEKS DID
By DAVID E. FISHER
ILLUSTRATED by SUMMERS
On the sixty-third floor of the Empire State Building is, among othersof its type, a rather small office consisting of two rooms connected bya stout wooden door. The room into which the office door, which is ofopaque glass, opens, is the smaller of the two and serves to house areceptionist, three not-too-comfortable armchairs, and a disorderly,homogeneous mixture of _Life's_, _Look's_ and _New Yorker's_.
Donald was determined to make Mimi go back to theirworld--dead or alive!]
The receptionist is a young woman, half-heartedly pretty but certainlychic in the manner of New York's women in general and of its workingwomen in particular, perhaps in her middle twenties, with a paucity ofgolden hair which is kept clinging rather back on her skull by anintricate network of tortoise-shell combs and invisible pins. She isengaged to a man who is in turn engaged in a position for an advertisingfirm just thirty-seven stories directly below her. Her name is Margaret.She often, in periods when the immediate consummation of the work on herdesk is not of paramount importance, as is often the case, gazessomnolently at the floor beside her large walnut desk, hoping to catch alurking image of her beloved only thirty-seven stories away. She rarelysucceeds in viewing him through the intervening spaces, but she does nottire of trying; it is a pleasant enough diversion. There is anelectronics firm just five stories above her fiance, and perhaps, shereasons, there is interference of a sort here. Someday maybe she willcatch them with all their tubes off. Margaret is a romantic, but she isengaged and thus is entitled.
* * * * *
Beyond the entrance that is guarded by the stout wooden door is a largerroom, darker, quieter, one step more removed from the hurrying hallway.A massive but neat desk is placed before the one set of windows, theblinds of which are kept closed but tilted toward the sky so that anaura of pale light is continually seeping through. The main illuminationcomes from several lamps placed in strategic corners, their bulbs turnedaway from the occupants of the room.
To one side of the desk is a comfortable-looking deep chair, withleather arms and a back quite high enough to support one's head. Infront of this is the traditional couch, armless but well-upholstered andcomfortable. At the moment Dr. Victor Quink was sitting not in the deepchair but in the swivel chair behind the desk. His glasses were lying onthe desk next to his feet, the chair was pushed back as far as it mightsafely be, his arms were stretched out to their extremity, and his mouthwas straining open, as if to split his cheeks. Dr. Quink was yawning.
His method of quick relaxation was that of the blank mind; he was atthis very moment forcibly evicting all vestiges of thought from hishead; he was concentrating intently on black, on depth, on absolutesilence. He was able to maintain this discipline for perhaps a second,or a second and a half at most, and then his mind began, imperceptiblyat the first, to slip off along a path of its own liking, leading Dr.Quink quietly and unprotestingly along. The path is narrow, crinkly,bending back upon itself. It is not a path for vehicles, but one worn bya single pair of boots, plodding patiently, slowly, wearily. The pathruns, or creeps, through a wild and desolate district where hardly morethan a single blade of grass shoots up at random from the bottomlessdrift-sand. Instead of the garden that normally embellishes a castle(there is in the vague distance a blurred castle), the fortified wallsare approached on the landward side by a scant forest of firs, on theother by the snow-swept Baltic Sea. Spanish moss hangs limply from theevergrays, disdainful of the sun and of its reflection by sea; thescene is somber and restful, serene, and flat.
The buzzer rang once, twice.
Dr. Quink brought his feet down to their more dignified position, out ofsight beneath his desk. His conscious once more took hold of his mind,only vaguely aware that it had not been able to achieve the incognitoserenity it sought. He put on his glasses and the heavy wooden dooropened and a man walked through.
* * * * *
He carried his hat in both hands, he was nervous, he was out of hiselement. He looked to both sides as he came past the doorway, and whenMargaret closed the door behind him he jumped, though nearlyimperceptibly, and advanced toward the desk. "I'm not sure at all Ishould have come here," he said.
Dr. Quink nodded, but said nothing. He judged the man to be on the orderof thirty or thirty-one. His hair was black, curly, and sparse; perhapsbalding, perhaps not.
"You see, I can't be quite candid with you. Nothing personal, of course.It just ... Oh, this is frightfully embarrassing," he said, taking aseat before the desk at Dr. Quink's waved invitation. "I just thoughtthat perhaps, even without knowing all the details, you might be able toeffect merely a _tempo_rary cure. So that I can get her back home, toour _own_ doctors. Nothing personal, of course. I do hope I don't offendyou."
"Not at all, I assure you," Dr. Quink assured him. "Just whom did youmean by her?"
"Why, my wife." He looked at Quink quizzically for a moment, then withsudden fresh embarrassment. "Oh, of course. You naturally assume that itwas _I_ who is ... um, in need of treatment. No, no, you couldn't bemore wrong. No, it is my wife. Yes, I've come to see you on her account.You see, of course, she wouldn't come herself. Ah, this is ratherawkward, I'm afraid."
"Not at all," Quink answered. "If you would just tell me what yourwife's trouble is?"
"Yes, of course. You have to know that, at least, don't you? I mean, doyou? You couldn't possibly just treat her on general principles, so tospeak, without being told of the immediate symptoms? You don't, I takeit, have any technique that would correspond to penicillin, and justsort of clear things up in her head at random?"
Dr. Quink assured him that it was necessary, in psychiatry at least, todetermine the disease before curing it.
"I suppose so," the gentleman said. "Incidentally, my name is Fairfield.Donald Fairfield. Did I mention that? But of course, you have all thaton your little card there, don't you? Yes, I thought so. I do hope yoursecretary's handwriting is legible, it doesn't seem so from this angle.By the way, did you know that she is prone to staring at the floor? Aspot right next to her desk. The right-hand side. I think I never shouldhave come here."
Dr. Quink reassured him that he was free to leave at any moment, neverto return. By a longish glance at the wall clock, in fact, Dr. Quinkgave him to understand that he might do so with no hard feelings leftbehind. Mr. Fairfield, however, gathered his resources and plungedforward.
* * * * *
"I think you'll find this a rather interesting case, Doctor. Mostunusual. Of course, I have little notion of the variety of situationsone comes into contact with in your line of work, still I have everyreason to believe this will come as a bit of a shock. I wonder just howdogmatic you are in your convictions?"
Dr. Quink raised his eyebrows and made no answer; he was desperatelystifling a yawn.
"I mean no intrusion on your religious life, by any means. Not at all.No, that is the furthest thought from my mind, I assure you. No, I amconcerned at the moment with my wife's problems, meaning no disrespectto yourself at all, sir. I merely asked, not out of idle curiosity, butbecause ... Doctor, I suppose there's no way for it but to explain." Hegestured with his hat toward the desk calendar between him and Quink."This is the year 1959, correct? Well, you see, sir, the fact of thematter is that I just wasn't
He stopped there, and the room relapsed into silence.
Dr. Quink looked at him for a few moments, but no explanatory statementwas forthcoming. Dr. Quink removed his eyeglasses, opened his leftdrawer two from the top, removed a white wiper, and wiped his glassescarefully. Mr. Fairfield waited patiently. Dr. Quink replaced theglasses. He leaned forward across the desk.
"Mr. Fairfield," he said, "this may come as some shock to you, but _I_wasn't born this year either."
"You don't understand," Mr. Fairfield wailed. "Oh, I just _knew_ Ishouldn't have come. When I say I wasn't _born_--"
He stopped, at a loss to explain. He wrung his hat in his hands until itwas crumpled probably beyond repair. Then he jumped up, pushed it ontohis head, and quickly
You Don't Make Wine Like the Greeks Did by David E. Fisher / Science Fiction have rating 4.5 out of 5 / Based on18 votes