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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Happy Unfortunate, by Robert Silverberg This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net Title: The Happy Unfortunate Author: Robert Silverberg Release Date: April 10, 2008 [EBook #25035] Language: English Character set encoding: ASCII *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE HAPPY UNFORTUNATE *** Produced by Greg Weeks, Stephen Blundell and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net THE HAPPY UNFORTUNATE By ROBERT SILVERBERG _Dekker, back from space, found great physical changes in the people of Earth; changes that would have horrified him five years before. But now, he wanted to be like the rest--even if he had to lose an eye and both ears to do it._ Rolf Dekker stared incredulously at the slim, handsome young Earther who was approaching the steps of Rolf's tumbling-down Spacertown shack. _He's got no ears_, Rolf noted in unbelief. After five years in space, Rolf had come home to a strangely-altered world, and he found it hard to accept. Another Earther appeared. This one was about the same size, and gave the same impression of fragility. This one had ears, all right--and a pair of gleaming, two-inch horns on his forehead as well. _I'll be eternally roasted_, Rolf thought. _Now I've seen everything._ Both Earthers were dressed in neat, gold-inlaid green tunics, costumes which looked terribly out of place amid the filth of Spacertown, and their hair was dyed a light green to match. He had been scrutinizing them for several moments before they became aware of him. They both spotted him at once and the one with no ears turned to his companion and whispered something. Rolf, leaning forward, strained to hear. "... beautiful, isn't he? That's the biggest one I've seen!" "Come over here, won't you?" the horned one called, in a soft, gentle voice which contrasted oddly with the raucous bellowing Rolf had been accustomed to hearing in space. "We'd like to talk to you." Just then Kanaday emerged from the door of the shack and limped down to the staircase. [Illustration:
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