Brain Twister

Gordon Randall Garrett
Brain Twister

by Gordon Randall Garrett and Laurence Mark Janifer. This eBook is
for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no
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Title: Brain Twister
Author: Gordon Randall Garrett Laurence Mark Janifer
Release Date: August 16, 2007 [EBook #22332]
Date Last Updated: October 2, 2007
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1

Transcriber's Note:
This etext was produced from the 1962 book publication of the story.
Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the copyright on
this publication was renewed.
Minor spelling and typographical errors have been corrected without

* * * * *
"Mark Phillips" is, or are, two writers: Randall Garrett and Laurence M.
Janifer. Their joint pen-name, derived from their middle names (Philip
and Mark), was coined soon after their original meeting, at a
science-fiction convention. Both men were drunk at the time, which
explains a good deal, and only one has ever sobered up. A matter for
constant contention between the collaborators is which one.
They have been collaborating for some time now, and have devised an
interesting method of work: Mr. Garrett handles the verbs, the adverbs
and the interjections, Mr. Janifer the nouns, pronouns, and adjectives.
Conjunctions are a matter of joint decision, and in the case of a tie, the
entire game is replayed at Fenway Park, Boston, early in the following
BRAIN TWISTER was fifteen years in the making, of which time three
days were spent in the actual writing. When the book was finished,
both authors relaxed in the mutual pleasure of nervous breakdowns,
from which it is not certain that either has ever recovered.
Mr. Garrett is a large, roundish fellow with a beard. He wears flowered
vests and always carries a small talisman which no one has ever seen.
Mr. Janifer is a somewhat shorter and thinner type, with a shorter and
thinner beard. His vests are in solid colors, he wears horn-rimmed
glasses because he has always done so, and he is never found without a
souvenir subway token from the City of New York.
The personal lives of the authors differ widely. Mr. Garrett's hobbies,
for instance, include such sports as close-order drill and river pollution.
Mr. Janifer, a less active type, prefers sedentary games such as
humming or blinking.
Mr. Garrett is engaged to an exotically beautiful creature, and the two
plan to be married as soon as they run out of excuses. Mr. Janifer, on
the other hand, is fascinated by women, and hopes some day to meet

Brain Twister
Mark Phillips
A shorter version of this work appeared in Astounding Science Fiction
under the title of That Sweet Little Old Lady.
In nineteen-fourteen, it was enemy aliens.
In nineteen-thirty, it was Wobblies.
In nineteen-fifty-seven, it was fellow-travelers.
And, in nineteen seventy-one, Kenneth J. Malone rolled wearily out of
bed wondering what the hell it was going to be now.
One thing, he told himself, was absolutely certain: it was going to be
terrible. It always was.
He managed to stand up, although he was swaying slightly when he
walked across the room to the mirror for his usual morning look at
himself. He didn't much like staring at his own face, first thing in the
morning, but then, he told himself, it was part of the toughening- up
process every FBI agent had to go through. You had to learn to stand
up and take it when things got rough, he reminded himself. He blinked
and looked into the mirror.
His image blinked back.
He tried a smile. It looked pretty horrible, he thought--but, then, the
mirror had a slight ripple in it, and the ripple distorted everything.
Malone's face looked as if it had been gently patted with a waffle-iron.
And, of course, it was still early morning, and that meant he was having
a little difficulty in focusing his eyes.
Vaguely, he tried to remember the night before. He was just ending his

vacation, and he thought he recalled having a final farewell party for
two or three lovely female types he had chanced to meet in what was
still the world's finest City of Opportunity, Washington, D.C. (latest
female-to-male ratio, five-and-a-half to one). The party had been a
classic of its kind, complete with hot and cold running ideas of all sorts,
and lots and lots of nice powerful liquor.
Malone decided sadly that the ripple wasn't in the mirror, but in his
head. He stared at his unshaven face blearily.
Blink. Ripple.
Quite impossible, he told himself. Nobody could conceivably look as
horrible as Kenneth
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