triangles meeting at each vertex of a regular
polyhedron form an icosahedron.
moon-suit people were standing close in front of the being. One
of them was holding a large placard up to the eye-level of the
monkey. Then the other man handed him another placard, and held
that one aloft. After several minutes, they turned and placed
the set of placards in a storage box. As they replaced the
cards, Alec and Monty saw that they were large drawings of
various geometric figures—circles, triangles, even congruent
regular polygons like the icosahedron. With his keen eye for observation and detail,
Alec even recognized the small and great stellated
dodecahedrons, which, as he recalled, were discovered by
Johannes Kepler—a full 2,000 years after the first simple
Platonic solids were described.
like those guys are playing show and tell with the monkey,"
Monty observed as other people started stacking blocks on a
small table at the impatient direction of Dr. Crink, the CIA man
who had accompanied the general the day before. After each block
was added, a number was displayed on a large flat panel that
faced the creature.
enough, Monty, they are trying to teach it our number
system!" Alec said with excitement at the prospect that the
communication barrier would soon be removed. "Just think,
Monty, talking with a being from another world!"
ahemm, I’m not so sure it’s from another world there, Buck
Rodgers. Maybe the general is right. Maybe it is some
kind of new gizmo cooked up by the evil Dr. No—maybe someone
James Bond just hasn’t caught yet." Alec chuckled at
watched for several more minutes, then Monty flipped a couple
more switches, closed the cabinet doors, and fingered a small
depression at the side of the mahogany case. He led Alec away
toward the couch. "Just our little secret, eh?"
thing Monty," Alec said seriously.
guards can stop me from entering my own patio, but they can’t
stop me from looking at it," Monty mumbled after a brief
gaze toward the ceiling in the direction of the patio.
"Only one thing missing—sound." He turned toward
Alec on the couch and began mouthing silent words—mimicking
Dr. Crink, under his electronic headgear, barking orders to
that’s too bad," Alec agreed with a shrug.
what’s too bad," Monty said immediately, "is that I
switched off the omni-directional mike on that camera a couple
of months ago."
somehow you can just turn it back on?"
so easy," Monty said with a sigh. "The switch is
inside the birdfeeder housing—you have to unhinge the top to
get to it."
could do that, Monty," Alec blurted in a sudden urge to
return to the patio to see the creature face-to-face again.
gazed intently and silently at the young man sitting in the
corner of his office.
by Jupiter, I’ll bet you could," Monty said slowly,
measuring each word.
called Alec to his desk and retrieved wire-frame drawings of the
birdfeeder enclosure from a computer file. "I want you to
study these drawings while I’m gone, Alec. I’ll be back in a
almost ran out of the room as Alec settled into Monty’s chair
to study the drawings. Just a few minutes later, Monty returned
with a broad smile.
I’ve done it kid. I got the general to agree to let you come
up to the patio to take care of a few maintenance jobs for
me." Monty was obviously pleased with himself as he
withdrew his watch fob and checked the time. "At first she
claimed that the whole patio area was a security zone. But I
told her that you were responsible for maintaining all areas of
the café in good working order and that you could stay out of
the way, under the eaves. Then I reminded her that you already
knew what was up there and had already signed a confidentiality
she said OK?" Alec asked in disbelief.
She said the maintenance jobs would have to wait. So, I said
that they couldn’t; that I am the owner and proprietor; that I
would directly supervise your work; and that we would be done in
she said OK?" Alec asked again in disbelief.
She said it would be too disruptive. So, I said ‘Not nearly as
disruptive as when I call in the local and regional media guys
camped out in their vans out front.’ She said ‘You wouldn’t
do that, would you?’ I said ‘Oh, yes I would and they could
haul me away in handcuffs but not before I got the story out.
That’s when she said OK, OK, OK." Monty rubbed his hands
with relish at his victory.
over the birdfeeder drawings Monty had made with a little CAD
program, the two
men conferred about their strategy.
remember, Alec, the general and her boys know nothing about that
camera up there, and that’s the way I want to keep it. So,
whatever we do, we don’t want to call attention to it. Si
Monty," Alec agreed, "just like in the stealth maze in
the Sarnk’s tenth ring."
of like that," Monty said in a less-than-sure tone.
"Only here, Alec, we’re talking about real world stuff—they
really can haul you off to a hidden facility somewhere and then
promptly lose the directions to find you. And the keys. Sometimes, people just