Thayer York

Thayer York was long and gangly and pale, with a noble aquiline nose at odds with the rest of his face. “I don’t know where you get it, Thayer,” his mother said, from the time he was born until the day she died, exasperated. “It’s not from my side.”

“I like my nose,” he said, at first cheerfully, then sullenly, then finally quietly, as he grew older. “It’s different.”

“It is that.” She worked in the city court as a clerk and had a jaundiced view of the parade of petty criminals that passed in front of her recorder, but she liked the opera and people in general.

He had a terrible fear of heights, Thayer did, but he forced himself to climb, trees, buildings, cliffs, bluffs, liking the solitude of terror. He went walking on the beach with his friend Dave.

Dave liked science fiction. “But not Asimov,” he said. “Asimov’s too boy’s-adventure, too glories-of-science.”

“Sure,” said Thayer, who didn’t read much.

“Now Alfred Bester, that’s a writer. Nobody’s heard of him, but he’s great. He wrote this story about the end of the world, see –“

“Sure,” said Thayer, again, and dug the toes of his shoes into the sandy face of the bluff and was up it like a spider, fingers pulling on long grasses and feet kicking steps into the dirt. At the top he laid down and looked at the white blur of Dave.

“And there’s only one man and one woman left, and they don’t like each other!” yelled Dave.

“Sure,” yelled Thayer. “Sure!”