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Rated: 18+ · Prose · Supernatural · #2278432
This is a true story
Heinlein’s Lesson

A True Story

To start with, you need to know that I’m a rationalist.  I love tales of the supernatural as much as anyone, but in my heart I know that they’re not real.  So, while this is a true story, it makes me pause to think.

         I’ve been to many math conferences.  I have stories to tell about those too, but this one’s about the one and only time I went to a science fiction conference.  It was in Kansas City and celebrated the centennial of Robert Heinlein’s birth. 

         I grew up reading Heinlein’s juveniles, and have probably read everything he ever wrote.  So, when I saw that there was going to be a conference dedicated to his works and that it was close to Tulsa, where we live, I had to go.  My spouse, Gene, didn’t share my obsession with Heinlein, but was game for a trip.  He scouted the location online and found a yarn store nearby, so while I spent the day at the conference  hotel, he planned the day gossiping, er, I mean knitting at the yarn store.

         Anyway,  conference was great fun.  Gene dropped me off that morning outside the conference hotel and we agreed I’d call him when I was done.  He departed for yarn heaven and I registered for the conference.  There were talks galore on the schedule.  Talks on Heinlein’s novels, on his relationships with other authors, on his travails with editors, and many other interesting topics. 

         Late in the afternoon, I attended a talk about Heinlein's life with his second wife, Ginny.  It seems that Ginny and Robert were both convinced they had a telepathic relationship. They truly thought they were so close that they could send thoughts to each other.  The story goes that Ginny would lounge in her bubble bath while Robert labored outside on masonry for their garden—he was a master mason.  Anyway, they said that Ginny would lean back, palm to her forehead, and think, “Robert, bring me my cigarettes.”  And, sure enough, he’d stop what he was doing and bring her cigarettes.

         Everyone else at the talk murmured in wonder at this improbable account.  I,in contrast, had to struggle to keep my eyes from rolling out of my head.  I was sitting in the back, so I was able to sneak out.  It was late in the afternoon, and I was hungry, so I decided to head to the lobby where I’d call Gene to come and get me.  It was a big hotel, and it took me about fifteen minutes to get to the lobby. Once there, I called Gene on my mobile phone.

         He answered at once, and I told him I needed picked up. 

         He said, “I know.  I’m just now pulling in to the hotel where I dropped you off this morning.”

         You see, he had “gotten a feeling” at the knitting store that I wanted  picked up, so he’d left for the hotel.  He’d arrived in front of the lobby at exactly the time I got there.

         I don’t know what to make of this little story.  It was late afternoon, after all.  We were both hungry and were both thinking about the sushi place we’d passed that morning.  So maybe this was just a coincidence. 

         Or maybe, just maybe, there was something to Ginny and Robert’s idea about being close and having a telepathic relationship.


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