Written by Fred Patten and published on the LASFS Rex Rotary, December 30, 1964. Intended for Apa L, Eleventh Distribution, LASFS Meeting #1429, December 31, 1964. Address: 1825 Greenfield Avenue, Los Angeles, California, 90025. Phone: GR 3-6321.
|LONCON II in 1965!||Jock Root for TAFF!||Salamander Press #67.|
It's a long drive from here to the Trimbles' in Garden Grove and back, and as I was returning home with Phil Salin about 11:00 p.m. from the Christmas Party, I noticed that my car was almost out of gas. No sooner noted than remedied, and I pulled into a gas station, which shall be nameless at the attendant's request.
The attendant walked over. "Fill 'er up", I told him.
"Yes, sir", he answered. "Do you save trading stamps?"
"Sure", I replied. With that, he handed me a long string of Blue Chip stamps, and disappeared to attend to filling the tank. I looked down at the stamps a moment. He's giving me the stamps before he knows how much gas the tank'll take? I wondered. Well, maybe he's new and doesn't have the ropes down yet. I shrugged and put the stamps on the seat beside me.
At this point, the other attendant came over. "Say, did he give you your stamps yet?" Before I could answer, this one thrust his arm in through my window and deposited yet another long string of Blue Chip stamps into my lap -- this time, of the "Big Ten" variety. As a mad vision of a new policy in which they gave free gas as a premium for buying Blue Chip stamps whirled through my mind, the attendant clarified matters. "For God's sake, get 'em out of sight before the manager comes over", he hissed to me. "Put us on all day Christmas, will he?" I hurriedly stashed the stamps, as Phil asked goggle-eyed whether the attendants were friends of mine. "Never saw 'em before in my life", I answered, equally in a daze.
The second attendant left abruptly as the manager wandered past, and the first attendant softly explained, as he polished my windows, that since they were having to work all day Christmas and couldn't express their seasonal feelings of generosity in any other way, they had been distributing largess all day in the form of knocked-down prices and added bonuses of trading stamps, to everybody who'd come in, as long as the manager was out of sight. "Another hour -- hell, another five minutes, maybe, and we may change our minds and cut this off, so take advantage of it, man! Tomorrow's back to the old deal, but that s.o.b.'s not gonna make any money outa working us all day on Christmas. Besides, --- Oil can afford it. Only don't go spreading this around, or we'll both get fired!" "Gosh, no!" I assured him; "I want to keep you guys around as long as possible!" Phil was cracking up.
My gas tank was now filled, and a quart of oil added to the motor. As the first attendant placed the gas hose back on its catch, the second attendant strolled up and flipped the register, which said $3.85, back to zero. "Aw, now look what you done", no. 1 complained. "Did you see what it read?"
"Couldn't have been over $2.25", no. 2 deducted. "Hell, it wasn't that much -- $2.00 at best", no. 1 declared positively. Still not quite believing it, and wondering what would happen if I mentioned it, I discreetly touched on the 60¢ quart of oil. "Oil? I don't remember any oil", the first attendant waved the matter aside. "Look, man, seein's we don't know how much the bill was, and we wouldn't want to cheat you any" ("Heavens, no!" no. 2 solemnly agreed) "How about saying $1.75 takes care of everything?"
Needless to say, I had no objections to these mathematics, and handed over my credit card while the attendant volubly figured out how much gas $1.75' worth would be, for the credit slip. He wrote down "5 gal. - $1.75"; I signed it, and we drove away with our spoils, Phil still not quite convinced that all this hadn't really been an elaborate put-up job on my part with some friends to initiate him into LA Fandom. Back home, I filled over seven pages in my trading stamp book with the long strings of Blue Chip stamps.
I'll have to make a note to go back there next Christmas. I hope the manager doesn't find out what's been going on before then.
--BEING COMMENTS ON THE TENTH DISTRIBUTION
Jack Harness -- This is your best Apa L cover yet. ## Here, now, there's no need to lock me in any back room to collate the Distribution. Last week worked out fine, with the Distribution in your apartment and the Meeting downstairs in Ted's apartment. You're right; assembling the Distributions is hard work: witness what happened last week, when Tom & I took time out to attend the Xmas Gift Exchange, with the result that the Distribution wasn't ready to go until quarter of midnight, when almost everybody had left. (So we brought their copies to the Trimbles' Xmas Party the next day.) If you're going to get the Distributions out on time, you're going to have to miss a lot of the Meeting. The least you can do is to let us leave the door open between the Meeting and the collating room.
Tom Gilbert -- Yes, 35 copies does seem to be a stable number, so we can leave it at that. Those interested in how many copies actually get handed out can check the Handout Record. It's members like Blake, who don't know about Apa L, that we want extra copies of the Distribution for when they show up to entice them back more regularly. ## For inclusions, I am considering just putting them all out on a table in the back of the room when the Distribution is handed out, and telling people to select their own copies if they want them. I suspect that this would mean that at least 20 copies of all inclusions would remain on the table to be thrown out by the janitor after we leave. ## I stand by my opinion of the Ballantine Davy. I consider it a much better job of packaging than The Lad and the Lion, which didn't look particularly dignified to me. As to the 75¢ "serious" Bantam novels, I don't recall any offhand that admitted they were science fiction; they were marketed as mainstream novels. Davy managed to look dignified and adult, with a tastefully-designed cover denoting a work of literary quality, without making any bones over the fact that it was a straight science fiction novel, or avoiding the issue.
Dave Van Arnam -- The reason that the dropping of the Best Dramatic Production "Hugo" seems particularly pointless this year is a combination of this year's offerings combined with past years' records. For years now, the "Hugo" has gone to bad sf movies or been voted No Award, simply because there was nothing worthwhile. Why, then, wait until the first year that there is material worth awarding a "Hugo" to, and then arbitrarily kill it off? Possibly the British fans won't get a chance to see these, and they may not have any worthwhile Drama of their own, but we may have something worth voting for. The "Hugo", given at the Worldcon, is supposed to be an international award, after all.