“New York is where it is going to begin, I think. You can see it coming. The insect experts have learned how it works with locusts. Until locust population reaches a certain density, they all act like any grasshoppers. When the critical point is reached, they turn savage and swarm, and try to eat the world. We’re nearing a critical point. One day soon two strangers will bump into each other at high noon in the middle of New York. But this time they won’t snarl and go on. They will stop and stare and then leap at each others’ throats in a dreadful silence. The infection will spread outward from that point. Old ladies will crack skulls with their deadly handbags. Cars will plunge down the crowded sidewalks. Drivers will be torn out of their cars and stomped. It will spread to all the huge cities of the world, and by dawn of the next day there will be a horrid silence of sprawled bodies and tumbled vehicles, gutted buildings and a few wisps of smoke. And through that silence will prowl a few, a very few of the most powerful ones, ragged and bloody, slowly tracking each other down.”
I frowned at my sound-proofed ceiling and thought how they could improve the hotel service. Make the rounds – manager, technician and chambermaid. Are you happy enough, sir? Not quite. Gather around the bed, open the compartment in the headboard, pull out the joy tubes and slip them onto the veins, unreel the joy wires and needle them into the happy-making part of the brain. Adjust the volume. Is that better, sir? Enormously. When are you leaving us, sir? Turn me off next Tuesday. Thank you, sir. Enjoy your stay in New York, sir. Happy hallucinations.