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Leader Magazine
SUMMER 1963.
Both stories are by J/Bdr SMITH, S. 'C' Coy.
Mr. Jones seemed a rather quiet man to the people living round about. He didn't leave his house much and was always polite to people, even if his manner always seemed rather distant. His house was detached from the rest of the village, and people used to wonder why an old man should choose to live there. One day some children were playing near his house. The ball they were playing with went over the high wall which surrounded the place, so one of them was hoisted up by the others to fetch it. As he peered over the top he screamed and fell backwards. Down the road he ran, back to the village. There he gasped out a strange tale of old Mr. Jones lying in pieces on the table in his yard. At first the villagers was sceptical, but the child was obviously terrified so they decided to investigate.
The men of the village banded together and set off in the direction of the house. The gate was not fastened and they went in and walked slowly over to the table in the yard. When they arrived there, the only thing to be seen was an oil stain on the table and another just below it on the ground.
Suddenly a voice snapped, "What do you want? What are you doing on my property?"
The leader of the villagers told him what the child had seen. At this Mr. Jones grinned evilly and said, "So! I have been discovered, have I? It makes no difference, you would have found what I am eventually." The men gaped as Mr. Jones tore open his shirt. Underneath, he was shining just like polished steel. "Yes, you innocent fools, steel! I and my fellows are invincible and we will conquer your planet. You will become our slaves"
The men hesitated, until "Mr. Jones" slowly drew out a gleaming, tube-like pistol. As he raised it they turned in blind panic and rushed for the gate. A few fell but they picked themselves up and ran on. The gate slammed with a crash behind them. The figure left alone in the yard slowly walked back into the house. In the workroom in the basement he slowly unhinged the metal breastplate and put it down with a chuckle amongst the metalworker's tools strewn on the bench. When he had taken off the rest of his metal suit, he got dressed, put the "Supertoys Space Pistol" back in its box, wrapped it and addressed it to his nephew, and humming cheerfully, went off to make some tea.
That night he put the book he had been reading, "Best Science Fiction" back in the bookcase. After a few moments thought, he selected another book, "Werewolves of Mediaeval Europe". Smiling thoughtfully, he went to bed.
"I've done it! I've done it!" cried Bill as he rushed into the kitchen of his home. He hugged his wife and kissed her enthusiastically. She was flabbergasted and more than a little inquisitive as to what had caused this sudden outburst in a normally quiet man. "Now just you calm down," she said, "and tell me what you've done."
Bill just sat there and spluttered, so she took hold of the piece of paper he was waving around and looked at it. After reading the first dozen or so words she reached behind her for a chair and sat down abruptly. "Oh!" was all she could utter. A dreamy look began to settle over her face, and Bill didn't look so happy any more. He knew what his wife was planning, so he decided to speak up: "We haven't got the money yet," he said, "so don't do anything rash."
She came back about two hours later in a taxi, loaded with parcels. "Here you are darling," she sang out as she tossed one of them over to him, "I didn't forget you." Bill grimaced as he caught the neatly wrapped box. He knew, before he opened it, that it would be a shirt. "We still haven't got the money!" he almost shouted "Why do you have to buy all this stuff?"
"It's bound to come, so why not start enjoying ourselves?"
At this, Bill stamped off to his den at the back of the house, being careful to take his parcel with him, just it case it wasn't a shirt.
Three days went by, pleasure-filled for Bill's wife, anguish for Bill. Then on the fourth day something happened, something which had been more or less inevitable from the start. The money arrived.





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