Death of a Foy
It was extremely unusual for a Foy to be dying on Earth. They were
the highest social class on their planet (with a name which was
pronounced--as nearly as Earthly throats could make the sounds--
Sortibackenstrete) and were virtually immortal.
Every Foy, of course, came to voluntary death eventually, and this
one had given up because of an ill-starred love affair, if you can
call it a love affair where five individuals, in order to reproduce,
must indulge in a year-long mental contact. Apparently, he himself
had not fit into the contact after several months of trying and it
had broken his heart--or hearts, for he had five.
All Foys had five large hearts and there was speculation that it was
this that made them virtually immortal.
Maude Briscoe, Earth's most renowned surgeon, wanted those hearts.
"It can't be just their number and size, Dwayne," she said to her
chief assistant. "It has to be something physiological or
biochemical. I must have them."
"I don't know if we can manage that," said Dwayne Johnson. "I've
been speaking to him earnestly, trying to overcome the Foy taboo
against dismemberment after death. I've had to play on the feeling
of tragedy any Foy would have over death away from home. And I've
had to lie to him, Maude."
"I told him that after death, there would be a dirge sung for him by
the world-famous choir lead by Harold J. Gassenbaum. I told him
that by Earthly belief this would mean that his astral essence would
be instantaneously wafted back, through hyperspace to his home
planet of Sortib--what's its name. Provided he would sign a release
allowing you, Maude, to have his hearts for scientific
Don't tell me he believed that horse excrement!" said Maude. "Well,
you know this modern attitude about accepting the myths and beliefs
of intelligent aliens. It wouldn't have been polite for him not to
believe me. Besides, the Foys have a profound admiration for
terrestrial science and I think this one is a little flattered that
we should want his hearts. He promised to consider the suggestion,
and I hope he decides soon because he can't live more than another
day or so, and we must have his permission by interstellar law, and
the hearts must be fresh, and--Ah, his signal."
Dwayne Johnson moved in with smooth and noiseless speed.
"Yes?" he whispered, unobtrusively turning on the holographic
recording device in case the Foy wished to grant permission.
The Foy's large, gnarled, rather tree-like body lay motionless on
the bed. The bulging eyes palpitated (all five of them) as they
rose, each on its stalk, and turned towards Dwayne. The Foy's voice
had a strange tone and the lipless edges of his open, round mouth
did not move, but the words formed perfectly. His eyes were making
the Foyan gesture of assent as he said:
"Give my big hearts to Maude, Dwayne. Dismember me for Harold's
choir. Tell all the Foys on Sortibackenstrete that I will soon be
there. . . ."
Note: Should there be anyone out there going, huh?
The punch line refers to an old song, places are in New York City:
Give my regards to Broadway. Remember me to Herald Square.
Tell all the boys on Forty Second Street that I will soon be there..
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