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I Was a Teen-Age Secret Weapon by Richard Sabia


_He could truthfully say that he never hurt anybody. You know--like the eye of a hurricane? It never hurts anybody...._


Illustrated by Freas


"Get away from me!" screamed Dr. Berry at the approaching figure.

"But Ah got to feed an' water the animals an' clean out the cages," drawled the lanky, eighteen-year-old boy amiably.

"Get out of this laboratory, you hoodoo," shrilled Berry, "or I swear I'll kill you! I'll not give you the chance to do me in!"

Tow-headed Dolliver Wims regarded chubby Dr. Berry with his innocent green eyes. "Ah don't know why y'all fuss at me like you do," he complained in aggrieved tones.

"YOU DON'T KNOW WHY!" shrieked two hundred and eighteen pounds of outraged Dr. Berry. "How _dare_ you stand there and say you don't know why?" Berry flung a pudgy hand within an inch of Wims' nose. Slashed across the back of it, like frozen lightning, was a new, jagged scar. "That's why!" he shouted. Berry twisted his head into profile, thrust it at Wims and pointed to a slightly truncated ear lobe. "And that's why!" he roared. He yanked up a trouser leg, revealing a finely pitted patch of skin. "And also why!" he yelled. He paused to snatch a breath and glared at the boy. "And if I weren't so modest I'd show you another why!"

"Kin Ah help it if you're always havin' accidents?" Wims replied with a shrug.

Berry turned a deeper red and a dangerous rumble issued from his throat, as if he were a volcano threatening to erupt. Then quite suddenly, with an obvious effort, he capped his seething anger and subsided somewhat. Through taut lips he said, "I'm not going to stand here and argue with you, Wims; just get out."

"But the animals--"

"You can come back in an hour when I've finished running these rats through the maze."


"I SAID OUT!" Berry leaped at Wims with arms outthrust, intending to push him toward the door, but Wims had stepped aside in slight alarm and the avalanche of meat plunged past and into a bench on which rested a huge, multilevel glass maze which was a shopping-center model being tested to determine a design that would subliminally compel shoppers into bankruptcy. There was a sustained and magnificent tinkling crash as if a Chinese wind-chime factory was entertaining a typhoon. Berry skidded on the shards into a bank of wooden cages and went down in a splintering welter of escaping chimpanzees, Wistar albino rats, ocelots and other assorted fauna.

Wims moved forward to help extricate the stunned Dr. Berry from the Everest of debris in which he sat immersed.

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