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The Special Exhibit [MultiFormat]
eBook by Robert Sheckley

eBook Category: Science Fiction/Humor
eBook Description: The Museum was unusually deserted that morning, Mr. Grant thought, as he led Mrs. Grant across the marble-floored lobby. Which was just as well, under the circumstances. "Good morning, sir," said the red-cheeked old museum attendant. "Good morning, Simmons," Mr. Grant said. "This is Mrs. Grant." Mrs. Grant nodded sulkily, and leaned against a Central American war canoe. Her shoulders were on a level with those of the papier-mache paddler; but broader by far. Looking at them, Mr. Grant wondered, for a moment, if the Special Exhibit would work. Could it succeed on a woman so large, so strong, so set in her ways? Robert Sheckley (1928-2005) was a Hugo and Nebula nominated American author. First published in the science fiction magazines of the 1950s, his numerous quick-witted stories and novels were famously unpredictable, absurdist, and broadly comical. Sheckley was given the Author Emeritus honor by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America in 2001.

eBook Publisher: Wildside Press, Published: Esquire, 1953
Fictionwise Release Date: August 2009


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THE Museum was unusually deserted that morning, Mr. Grant thought, as he led Mrs. Grant across the marble-floored lobby. Which was just as well, under the circumstances.

"Good morning, sir," said the red-cheeked old museum attendant.

"Good morning, Simmons," Mr. Grant said. "This is Mrs. Grant."

Mrs. Grant nodded sulkily, and leaned against a Central American war canoe. Her shoulders were on a level with those of the papier-mâché paddler; but broader by far. Looking at them, Mr. Grant wondered, for a moment, if the Special Exhibit would work. Could it succeed on a woman so large, so strong, so set in her ways?

He hoped so. Failure would be ridiculous.

"Welcome to our museum," the attendant said. "I believe this is the first time we've had the pleasure, Mrs. Grant."

"Haven't been here since I was a kid," Mrs. Grant said, stifling a yawn behind a large hand.

"Mrs. Grant is not particularly interested in the storied past," Mr. Grant explained, leaning on his cane. "My work in ornithology leaves her quite unimpressed. However, she has agreed to accompany me to the Special Exhibit."

"The Special Exhibit, sir?" the attendant asked. He consulted a notebook. "I don't believe--"

"Here is my invitation," Mr. Grant said.

"Yes, sir." The attendant examined the card carefully, then handed it back. "I hope you enjoy it, sir. The Special Exhibit hasn't been shown often. I think that Dr. Carver and his wife were the last to view it."

"Of course," Mr. Grant said. He knew the mild, balding Carver quite well. And Carver's thin, nagging, red-haired wife was a good friend of Mrs. Grant. The Exhibit must have been effective, for Carver had been perceptibly more cheerful at work. The Special Exhibit was, of course, a far more effective problem solver than marriage counseling, psychiatry, psychoanalysis or even simple forbearance.

It was uniquely the Museum's project. The Museum liked to have its employees happy and contented, for only then could they serve Science properly. But aside from that, the Special Exhibit was educational, and filled a distinct gap in the Museum's program.

The general public had not been informed of it, for the general public was exceedingly conservative in the face of scientific necessity. But that was as it should be, Mr. Grant told himself.


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