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Crystal Vision

By Alice-Mary Schnirring

I never saw his face. But to tell you the truth, I didn't want to see it; there was
something about him that made me feel—uncomfortable
...

"AH, PAAVONURMI!" said Henry, sarcastically. "Just where the hell have you been for the past two hours, Joe?"

"Delivering the window-cards to Matson's," said Joe, trying in vain to look like injured innocence. "After all, the doctor said I should be careful of my heart, didn't he? No hurrying—no hurrying, Henry—no undue excitement—Hey!" and he ducked the block of drawing-paper that hurtled through the air. "That comes under the heading of excitement!"

"Ten blocks each way and it takes you two hours!" moaned his boss. "If I want real speed I'll have to hire a fleet of snails. Well, go finish the lettering on the hosiery brochure — if it doesn't overtax your strength." Thumbing his nose in answer (the studio was run on democratic lines), Joe sat down at his drawing-board, picked out a pen with a hair-line point, and began to work.

For some fifteen minutes the studio was quiet, except for a short word or two exchanged between Henry, Arthur, and Joe. Then Arthur put down his brush, stretched, and suddenly chuckled.

"Have you heard Fred's latest, Joe?" he asked.

"No—what?"

"He's got a glass marble," said Arthur, convulsed at the thought, "And he's trying to sell Heary and me on the idea that he can see visions when he holds it to his forehead."

"How can he look into it when he holds it on his forehead?" said Joe. "He isn't wall-eyed—or is he?"

Henry joined in. "He doesn't look in it —he just holds it to his forehead, the way Arthur said. Then, he says, he finds himself in another world."

Joe turned to Henry in mock alarm. "Are you feeling all right, Henry dear? Shall I put a cold compress on your head for you?"

"I didn't say it," Henry retorted. "It's his story—and a lemon, if you ask me."

"Some haven't the ability," said a new voice. "Joe might have, though you and Arthur haven't." All three of them turned to the door, which was open to let the heat and dust of a New York July come in unimpeded. "Hi, Fred," said Henry. "Come show Joe your marble trick, then, if you think he can do it."

Fred—tall, rather heavy, with a dreamy round face—ambled in and sat down at his own drawing-board. "Conditions are not too propitious," he suggested, with a smile. "Unbelievers like you two would make even a poltergeist think twice before he bothered with any manifestations. You'd probably say "Mice!" and discourage him."

"Poltergeists! Witches! Marbles! Nuts!" said Arthur disgustedly. "And you, Freddy, are the biggest nut in the bag. How can you believe such stuff?"

FRED smiled again. "Well, poltergeists are pretty generally accepted," he said, "And witches—no, I don't think I can put up much of an argument for them; at least, not spelled that way; but my marble, as you call it—" "What do you call it, Fred?" put in Joe, who had been enjoying the exchange. "Crystal." said Fred. "My crystal vision I believe in the way you believe in—well, in the dinner you ate last night. That is, I was transported into another world, if you want to put it that way. You can't be mistaken about a thing like that."

"No kidding, Fred—does it ready work?" asked Joe, with interest. Before Fred could answer, Henry spoke up. "Don'...

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