are undone.' That's the kind of success we had."

Hollerith had brains. "A Pyrrhic victory," I said.

"And you know all about it," he said. "You planned it this way."

I shrugged. "By doing what you wanted done," I said.

He nodded, very slowly.

"What now?" I said quietly.

He acted, for a second, as if he didn't hear me. Then he spoke. "Now,"

he said, "we go back. Democracy--it's a limited tool, like anything

else. No tool is so good that it can be used in every case, on every

problem. We were wrong. We'd better admit it and go back."

"But your men--"

"The good ones know the truth now," he said, "just as I do. The others ...

there's nothing else they can do, without me and without the rest of the


I took a deep breath. It was all over.

"And now," he said suddenly, "I want you to tell me just who you



"Not James Carson," he said. "And not from Ancarta. Not even from


"How do you know?" I said.

"Nobody on this planet," he said, "would do this job in just this way.

I'm familiar enough with the top men to be sure of that. You're from

the Comity."

"That's right," I said.

"But ... who are you? What force? What army?"

"No army," I said. "You might call me a teacher; my corps is made up

of teachers. We give lessons--where lessons are needed."

"A teacher," he said quietly. A long time passed. "Well," he asked,

"do I pass the course?"

"You pass," I told him. "You pass--with high marks, General."

* * * * *

I was off-planet within twenty-four hours. Not that Santa Claus didn't

want me to stay longer, when I told him what had happened. Hell, he

wanted to throw a banquet and sixteen speeches in my honor. I was a

holy Idol all over again. I was superhuman.

I was glad to get away. What makes them think a man's special, just

because he uses his brain once in a while?


* * * * *

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of The Man Who Played to Lose, by

Laurence Mark Janifer


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