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By Janine M. Benyus

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Enjoy myself,” muttered Hartstein darkly. “Thanks, everybody,” said Jotham. His broad smile seemed to have gone a little crooked under the influence of a few cups of wine. “Rabbi Eleazar wanted me to make a few announcements before I introduced our guest. First of all, there will be a charity bazaar next Sunday, at the home of Adaiah, my dear neighbor. Everyone is invited, of course, and if you want to help out I'm sure you'll be welcome; see Rabbi Eleazar or Adaiah about that. Second, please don't leave your wagons in the road outside the temple.

Hartstein continued to watch the men; he grew angrier and more frustrated. “It's Pamrah they're discussing,” he said. ” “But I can't just—” 48 The Bird of Time by George Alec Effinger Brannick put a strong hand on Hartstein's arm. “Yes, you can, soldier. You're going to learn my way or you're going to learn the hard way, so you may as well get used to the idea. Forget about Pamrah and ignore those men. They mean nothing to you. ” Hartstein directed his fury at the Agency man. ” he demanded. ’ I'm going to learn what?

Like hell,” thought Hartstein—and the sun was beating down into the courtyard, right onto Hartstein's cloth-covered head. The air was hot and sultry and still, and he felt as if he were suffocating. His cup of wine was empty and the jug had been passed far down the table, out of his reach. Hartstein was not enjoying himself. He stood up, paying no attention to the disdainful looks he drew from the family members sitting nearby, and crossed toward Pamrah, who had dispensed the 56 The Bird of Time by George Alec Effinger last of her fruit and was now waiting patiently for Asher to shut his mouth at last.

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