Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Chapter One, Part Two

FOR THE harbor area of Los Angeles, the day was normal enough--or so Dr. Frolov thought as he pulled his little sport job into a parking lot and waited for Dr. Speransky to give him the same special stimulus. Traffic seemed not quite as heavy as usual; perhaps there were fewer people on the streets. The tone D of Max Kohl’s tone variator, damped to different degrees, provided the stimuli for these experiments. But things looked fairly normal. In the bay, a tug had a bone in its teeth; a great liner was coming in from the depths of the blue Pacific; and just beyond the parking lot, a huge concrete warehouse looked to be quite substantial and real.

"Here's your stimul--" So far Dr. Speransky got, then stopped speaking as an intolerably bright light flared in the sky. Up toward Pasadena, the light might be over the Rose City, it might be over downtown Los Angeles. Its distance was hard to estimate but its brightness was not. The experiments were conducted in the following manner. When it flared in the sky, the sunlight seemed to fade away into a dim glow. Dr. Frolov caught only a glimpse of the light out of the corner of his eyes. Dr. Speransky looked straight at it. Dropping the special stimulus, he clapped his hands over his eyes and began to scream, "I'm blind! I'm blind!"

No Sound accompanied the light. On many occasions a phase of equalization of the reflexes was observed after administration of the buzzer, the reflexes often diminshing and the animal declining the food.

Dr. Frolov did not need anyone to tell him what this light was. He knew instantly the source from which it came, knew this better than he knew his own name, knew it with an absolute sureness. A positive effect, in the form of a salivary secretion, was a direct evidence of the tone having definite excitatory properties. "Come on, man! There's no time to waste."

1 comment:

Teresa Carmody said...

"quite substantial and real" -- and so the concreteness of the building is brought into question, like the story, unfolding