by Ralph Milne Farley:
“It’s too bad that Myles Cabot can’t see this!” I exclaimed, as my eye fell on the following item:
SIGNALS FROM MARS FAIL TO REACH HARVARD
Cambridge, Massachusetts, Wednesday. The Harvard College Radio Station has for several weeks been in receipt of fragmentary signals of extraordinarily long wave-length, Professor Hammond announced yesterday. So far as it has been possible to test the direction of the source of these waves, it appears that the direction has a twenty-four hour cycle, thus indicating that the origin of these waves is some point outside the earth.
The university authorities will express no opinion as to whether or not these messages come from Mars.
Myles, alone of all the radio engineers of my acquaintance, was competent to surmount these difficulties, and thus enable the Cambridge savants to receive with clearness the message from another planet.
Twelve months ago he would have been available, for he was then quietly visiting at my farm, after five earth-years spent on the planet Venus, where, by the aid of radio, he had led the Cupians to victory over their oppressors, a human-brained race of gigantic black ants. He had driven the last ant from the face of continental Poros, and had won and wed the Princess Lilla, who had borne him a son to occupy the throne of Cupia.
While at my farm Cabot had rigged up a huge radio set and a matter-transmitting apparatus, with which he had (presumably) shot himself back to Poros on the night of the big October storm which had wrecked his installation.
I showed the newspaper item to Mrs. Farley, and lamented on Cabot’s absence. Her response opened up an entirely new line of thought.
Said she: “Doesn’t the very fact that Mr. Cabot isn’t here suggest to you that this may be a message, not from Mars, but from him? Or perhaps from the Princess Lilla, inquiring about him in case he has failed in his attempted return?”
That had never occurred to me! How stupid!
“What had I better do about it, if anything?” I asked. “Drop Professor Hammond a line?”
But Mrs. Farley was afraid that I would be taken for a crank.
That evening, when I was over in town, the clerk in the drug store waylaid me to say that there had been a long-distance phone call for me, and would I please call a certain Cambridge number.
So, after waiting an interminable time in the stuffy booth with my hands full of dimes, nickels, and quarters, I finally got my party.