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chapter 1
 Linton lay down his steel fork beside the massively solid transparency of the restaurant water glass. "Isn't that Rogers Snead at that table?" he heard himself say stupidly.
Howell, the man across the table from him, looked embarrassed without looking. "Not at all. Somebody who looks like him. Twin brother. You know how it is. Snead's dead, don't you remember?"
Linton remembered. Howell had to know that he would remember. What were they trying to pull on him? "The man who isn't Snead is leaving," Linton said, describing the scene over Howell's shoulder. "If that's Snead's brother, I might catch him to pay my respects."
"No," Howell said, "I wouldn't do that."
"Snead came to Greta's funeral. It's the least I could do."
"I wouldn't. Probably no relation to Snead at all. Somebody who looks like him."
"He's practically running," Linton said. "He almost ran out of the restaurant."
"Who? Oh, the man who looked like Snead, you mean."
"Yes," Linton said.
A thick-bodied man at the next table leaned his groaning chair back intimately against Linton's own chair.
"That fellow who just left looked like a friend of yours, huh?" the thick man said.
"Couldn't have been him, though," Linton answered automatically. "My friend's dead."
The thick man rocked forward and came down on all six feet. He threw paper money on the table as if he were disgusted with it. He plodded out of the place quickly.
Howell breathed in deeply and sucked back Linton's attention. "Now you've probably got old Snead into trouble."
"Snead's dead," Linton said.
"Oh, well, 'dead,'" Howell replied.
"What do you say it like that for?" Linton demanded angrily. "The man's dead. Plain dead. He's not Sherlock Holmes or the Frankenstein Monster—there's no doubt or semantic leeway to the thing."
"You know how it is," Howell said.
Linton had thought he had known how death was. He had buried his wife, or rather he had watched the two workmen scoop and shove dirt in on the sawdust-fresh pine box that held the coffin. He had known what he sincerely felt to be a genuine affection for Greta. Even after they had let him out of the asylum as cured, he still secretly believed he had known a genuine affection for her. But it didn't seem he knew about death at all.
Linton felt that his silence was asking Howell by this time.
"I don't know, mind you," Howell said, puffing out tobacco smoke, "but I suppose he might have been resurrected."
"Who by?" Linton asked, thinking: God?
"The Mafia, I guess. Who knows who runs it?"
"You mean, somebody has invented a way to bring dead people back to life?" Linton said.
He knew, of course, that Howell did not mean that. Howell meant that some people had a system of making it appear that a person had died in order to gain some illegal advantage. But by saying something so patently ridiculous, Linton hoped to bring the contradicting truth to the surface immediately.
"An invention? I guess that's how it is," Howell agreed. "I don't know much about people like that. I'm an honest businessman."
"But it's wonderful," Linton said, thinking his immediate thoughts. "Wonderful! Why should a thing like that be illegal? Why don't I know about it?"
"Sh-h," Howell said uneasily. "This is a public place."
"I don't understand," Linton said helplessly.
"Look, Frank, you can't legalize a thing like resurrection," Howell said with feigned patience. "There are strong religious convictions to consider. The undertakers have a lobby. I've heard they got spies right in the White House, ready to assassinate if they have to. Death is their whole life. You got to realize that."
"That's not enough. Not nearly enough."
"Think of all the problems it would cause. Insurance, for one thing. Overpopulation. Birth control is a touchy subject. They'd have to take it up if everybody got resurrected when they died, wouldn't they?"
"But what do they do about it? Against it?"
"There are a lot of fakes and quacks in the resurrection business. When the cops find out about a place, they break in, smash all the equipment and arrest everybody in sight. That's about all they can do. The charges, if any, come under general vice classification."
"I don't understand," Linton complained. "Why haven't I heard about it?"
"They didn't talk much about white slavery in Victorian England. I read an article in Time the other day that said 'death' was our dirty word, not sex. You want to shock somebody, you tell him, 'You're going to be dead someday,' not anything sexual. You know how it is. The opposite of 'live' these days is 'video-taped.'"
"I see," Linton said.
He tried to assimilate it. Of course he had, he reminded himself, been out of touch for some time. It might be true. Then again, they might be trying to trick him. They used to do that to see if he was really well. But the temptation was too strong.
"Tell me, Howell, where could I find a resurrectionist?"
Howell looked away. "Frank, I don't have anything to do with that kind of people and if you're smart, you'll not either."
Linton's fingers imprinted the linen. "Damn you, Howell, you tell me!"
Howell climbed to his feet hurriedly. "I take you out to dinner to console you over the loss of your wife a half a year ago, and to make you feel welcome back to the society of your fellows after being in the hospital for a nervous breakdown. I do all that, and for thanks, you yell at me and curse me. You kooks are all alike!"
Howell threw money on the table with the same kind of disinterest as the thick-set man and stalked out.
I've got to hurry too, Linton thought. It's Resurrection Day!
The doctor fluttered his hands and chirped about the office. "Well, well, Mr. Linton, we understand you've been causing disturbances."
"Not really," Linton said modestly.
"Come, come," the doctor chided. "You started riots in two places, attempted to bribe an officer. That's disturbing, Mr. Linton, very disturbing."
"I was only trying to find out something," Linton maintained. "They could have told me. Everybody seems to know but me."
The doctor clucked his tongue. "Let's not think any such thing. People don't know more than you do."
Linton rubbed his shoulder. "That cop knew more about Judo holds than I did."
"A few specific people know a few specific things you don't. But let me ask you, Mr. Linton, could Einstein bake a pie?"
"I don't know. Who the hell ever wasted Einstein's time asking him a thing like that?"
"People who want to know the answers to questions have to ask them. You can find out anything by asking the right questions of the right person at the right time."
Linton stared suspiciously. "Do you know where I can find a resurrectionist?"
"I am a resurrectionist."
"But the policeman brought me to you!"
"Well, that's what you paid him to do, wasn't it? Did you think a policeman would just steal your money? Cynics—all you young people are cynics."
Linton scooted forward on the insultingly cold metal chair and really looked at the doctor for the first time.
"Doctor, can you really resurrect the dead?"
"Will you stop being cynical? Of course I can!"
"Doctor, I'm beginning to believe in you," Linton said, "but tell me, can you resurrect the long dead?"
"Size has nothing to do with it."
"No, my wife h............
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