Clamm Moves

Clamm pondered. It was true; there actually was too much grubbage. Things were out of hand and the situation was deteriorating. The more he pondered, the less it seemed he could stay in his office. It required a personal visit.

Clamm was a man of great bulk (and a man who wore large, dogmatic glasses). He was nimble on his feet, of course, and extremely astute. But the only way to get to earth without wasting a lifetime or two, without the other alternative of cryostasis—something about which Clamm had his doubts anyway—the only way was by means of the Transcendental Arrangement. A man of Clamm’s bulk could find some of the trap doors quite awkward.

He thought of this with little relish. he eyed the mirror over the wash stand in his personal lavatory. His personal trap door was behind the mirror, and it was ample enough. It was the other end that he worried about.

But duty called, and to earth he must go. He heaved himself out of his chair, went over to his door and changed his status from ‘Busy’ to ‘Nobody Disturbs,’ and then he locked the door. After this he went into the lavatory, slid the mirror aside and opened the trap door.

When Clamm tumbled out of the trap door and into the midst of the hurly-burly in the kitchen yard, the chickens assumed that reinforcements had arrived for the other side. They retreated and took up defensive positions inside of the coop. The brethren stood back, watching the chickens carefully and eyeing Clamm curiously. Clamm cursed, got up, and begin to brush himself off.

* * *
No longer anybody’s temporary superior, brother Anopheles stood peering out of the kitchen window into the yard in the grey, early light of dawn. Clamm was beside him, breathing through his mouth. They were watching the chickens, and the chickens were once again forming their pyramid under the open trap door.

“So they want to get into this—what did you say it was, sir?”

“It’s called the Transcendental Arrangement,” Clamm said. “It’s kind of like a wormhole based hyperspace; though I like to think of it as a cosmic attic, myself. It isn’t fully understood, apparently.”

“But what are they after?”

“We’ll have to follow them and see.”

Anopheles swallowed and said, “All of us?”

“No,” Clamm replied, “Just you and me.”

“Look!” Trenchwater shouted, “one of the chickens just went into the attic.”

Two more followed the first. After that, and with a lot of squawking, the remaining chickens tumbled back down to the yard and began to hunt and peck just like any other day.

“Quick, get a stepladder,” Clamm said. “We have to follow them.”

Potts brought one and set it up under the trap door.

As he was getting ready to ascend, Clamm paused and said, “Wait!” He ran into the kitchen and grabbed a knife. Returning, he grabbed a chicken and murdered it hideously. Blood spouted everywhere, and the brethren cringed. Then, and completely to their horror, Clamm began to smash the chicken’s head with a stone, and after a few grisly moments he gave a cry of joy. He pointed at a green chip gleaming in the gore.

“Come on,” Clamm said, and he sprang nimbly up the ladder.

Anopheles hesitated, but Trenchwater, looking at him with round eyes said, “It’s orders.”

It was, and Anopheles had to obey. He followed Clamm into the Transcendental Arrangement. In the yard, Trenchwater tried to calm the hysterical Potts.

“Maybe we can have the chicken for lunch,” he suggested.

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