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The Crime


A biologist in the making was doing penance one Saturday morning for his sins of omission. He was laboriously copying a vast chart, spread over two or three large tables, that was designed to explain to Anti-Clerics the Evolution of animal life, from the little Protozoa to the lower Chordates (a large group ranging all the way from she-flirts to sea-squirts). All of a sudden, into the privacy of the lonely laboratory came a troupe of smiling adults, all intent on edification. Solemnly and yet enthusiastically they took their places at the shining black tables. Then, as if an assembly of priests and priestesses had come to some pagan ritual consecrated to Mammon, each took out a handful of pennies. scattered them before him on the table, scooped them in, made a cryptic notation, and sent them rolling and bouncing once again. Time and again the outlandish ceremony was repeated and the once silent hall echoed with the sounds of tiny thinking cymbals.

The biologist stood aghast. In particular he fixed his stare upon a Roman Catholic priest who was handling the little coppers as merrily and as diligently as the best of them. The biologist began to suspect a Moonface Munn and wondered if that collar was really continuous or merely put on backwards. The ecclesiastic looked up from his unholy rites met the challenging gaze of the interloper and smiled sheepishly. The biologist felt his fears confirmed.

He went back to his tree of decent but the grownups with the hungry brains were not through with him. Having established for all time the laws of chance, they decided to master the science of life. Two matrons both bursting with parent-teacher projects and the promotion of culture, walked up to the tree of descent. The younger of the two studied it intently for all of fifteen seconds, and then announced authoritatively. "The circulatory system of the frog." There were a lot of tangled lines, so the elderly lady nodded. And the biologist nodded, too.

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