Suite Mentale

Gordon Randall Garrett
Suite Mentale, by Gordon
Randall Garrett

The Project Gutenberg EBook of Suite Mentale, by Gordon Randall
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Title: Suite Mentale
Author: Gordon Randall Garrett
Illustrator: EMSH
Release Date: September 25, 2007 [EBook #22763]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1

Produced by Greg Weeks, Stephen Blundell and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at

Just about a year ago, two enthusiastic young men came to see me, and
during the course of the visit announced that they were starting a

campaign to make their living in science fiction--and also to become
"names" in the best science fiction magazines. They planned to
collaborate on some material, and write on their own as well, intending
to make the grade both ways.
One of the pair was a well-known science fiction fan, who had
appeared once or twice in the "pro mags," as fans designate journals
like this one. The other was Randall Garrett, who had previously sold a
respectable number of stories to various magazines in the science
fiction and fantasy field.
I shall not try to insult your intelligence by stating that I told them I
knew they could do it; on the contrary, I larded doubt with sympathy.
However, this story, and Robert A. Madle's "Inside Science Fiction"
will show how wrong I was!

by Randall Garrett
Illustrated by EMSH

The neurosurgeon peeled the thin surgical gloves from his hands as the
nurse blotted the perspiration from his forehead for the last time after
the long, grueling hours.
"They're waiting outside for you, Doctor," she said quietly.
The neurosurgeon nodded wordlessly. Behind him, three assistants
were still finishing up the operation, attending to the little finishing
touches that did not require the brilliant hand of the specialist. Such
things as suturing up a scalp, and applying bandages.
The nurse took the sterile mask--no longer sterile now--while the

doctor washed and dried his hands.
"Where are they?" he asked finally. "Out in the hall, I suppose?"
She nodded. "You'll probably have to push them out of the way to get
out of Surgery."
* * * * *
Her prediction was almost perfect. The group of men in conservative
business suits, wearing conservative ties, and holding conservative, soft,
felt hats in their hands were standing just outside the door. Dr. Mallon
glanced at the five of them, letting his eyes stop on the face of the
tallest. "He may live," the doctor said briefly.
"You don't sound very optimistic, Dr. Mallon," said the FBI man.
Mallon shook his head. "Frankly, I'm not. He was shot laterally, just
above the right temple, with what looks to me like a .357 magnum
pistol slug. It's in there--" He gestured back toward the room he had
just left. "--you can have it, if you want. It passed completely through
the brain, lodging on the other side of the head, just inside the skull.
What kept him alive, I'll never know, but I can guarantee that he might
as well be dead; it was a rather nasty way to lobotomize a man, but it
was effective, I can assure you."
The Federal agent frowned puzzledly. "Lobotomized? Like those
operations they do on psychotics?"
"Similar," said Mallon. "But no psychotic was ever butchered up like
this; and what I had to do to him to save his life didn't help anything."
The men looked at each other, then the big one said: "I'm sure you did
the best you could, Dr. Mallon."
The neurosurgeon rubbed the back of his hand across his forehead and
looked steadily into the eyes of the big man.

"You wanted him alive," he said slowly, "and I have a duty to save life.
But frankly, I think we'll all eventually wish we had the common
human decency to let Paul Wendell die. Excuse me, gentlemen; I don't
feel well." He turned abruptly and strode off down the hall.
* * * * *
One of the men in the conservative suits said: "Louis Pasteur lived
through most of his life with only half a brain and he never even knew
it, Frank; maybe--"
"Yeah. Maybe," said the big man. "But I don't know whether to hope he
does or hope he doesn't." He used his right thumbnail to pick a bit of
microscopic dust from beneath his left index finger, studying the
operation without actually seeing it. "Meanwhile, we've got to decide
what to do about the rest of those screwballs.
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