By Damon Knight
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Additional resources for A For Anything
At length Dick’s two maternal uncles came in, looking grim and wary: tall blond men both, crag-faced, with fierce blue eyes and bairy hands. Orville Dabney, the elder, was known for his habit of tossing men over his head when provoked, and worrying about protocol afterward. Glenn dabney, who wore a thick curling mustache, was shorter and quieter, but no less dangerous. The lobe of his right ear was missing—shot off, it was said, in a duel he had fought with a visiting Cornishman in his youth. The Man greeted them formally, invited them to sit.
True, most of the ingredients were duped to begin with, so the distinction was not crucial; but it was there. He ate hungrily but without satisfaction, pushed the remnants of the yellow-smeared whites around on his plate, crunched off another bite of toast, then gave up and threw the plate, silverware and all, into the waste chute. All the same, having eaten made a difference. Feeling gloomy but less irritable, he went out, down the corridor past the kitchens with their tantalizing odor of roast fowl and pastry, and emerged from the hillside exit.
Trembling, he turned away. He knew he had a temper; he got it from his mother’s family—all the Dabney men were quarrelsome and short-lived. ” Somehow he got through the first event, with a score just above the worst duffer’s. The second went no better, although he took care to put plenty of distance between himself and Cash. Afterward, he went past the scoreboard with only a glance. He didn’t see his own name, but Cash’s was conspicuous, just under the first ten. His bad luck still held: the pause was just long enough for Cashel himself to blunder out of the crowd and fall into step beside him.