The conversation had surfaced in New Iberia, Louisiana. Tempe, Arizona, had lost two-thirds of the audience to an avant-garde film festival in the entertainment classroom at Arizona State University before a sober caretaker shut down the entire building. Gentle hadn’t heard of the matter until after she showed up here in Boston, Massachusetts, last spring, and turned off a diplomatic-immunity Middle Eastern health attache and a dozen little lights. All of these people are now in closed institutions. Docile and continent, but empty like the depths of a reptilian brain that is cut off by the spinal cord. Tine had gone to an institution. The meaning of these people’s lives had shrunk to such a tiny focus that no other activity or relationship could claim their attention. Now had roughly the mental horizon

a kneeling wood ant, a diagnostician from the C. D. C. had said. The Berkeley cartridge was from an evidence room at the S.F.P.D. disappeared where the electron microscopic forensics had discovered flannel fibers. The D.E.A. had lost four field researchers and one appraiser before bowing to the unruly problems that arose when trying to get someone to look at the confiscated Tempe cartridge and put its deadly charm into words. It had taken the clearest words to prevent a certain famous Schnulzier from seeing the qualities of the thing himself. Neither the c. D. C. nor the entertainment professionals wanted to participate in the controlled viewing tests. Three members of the Academy of D.A. S. had received blank copies in the mail, and the one who actually looked at them now needed a drool cup under her chin 24/7. Reports that the thing turned up again in Boston, Massachusetts have not yet been verified. Tine is

partially summoned to coordinate the verification attempts. He also has a special pocket Franklin Planner-sized table in which he records his morning penis measurements, every day, although the leather notebook for the uninitiated is unlikely to be any different from other statistics. Meanwhile, the loss of several B.U.D. test subjects, volunteers from federal and military penal institutions, tried to describe the contents of the cartridge. The cartridges from Tempe and New Iberia are in custody, under lock and key. An anti-social and mentally handicapped Lance Corporal from Leavenworth, strapped down, with electrodes applied and a headset dictaphone, could report that the thing apparently began with an engaging and first-class shot of a veiled woman walking through the revolving door of a large building and someone saw differently in the revolving door, at the sight of which her veil billowed before the mental and spiritual horizon of the test subject suddenly shrank and even almost fatal electrical surges through the electrodes could not draw him to the attention of

to avert the conversation.

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