The Maker of Universes Book 1 of The World of Tiers Series by Philip Jose Farmer. Chapter 1, 2, 3, 4

“Well, how do you like it?” he asked.

“Great,” Wolff replied. “It reminds me of the type of house we have back home.”

“I like it,” Bresson said. “I’m from the Midwest myself. I can appreciate that you might not want to live in a ranchtype home. Not that I’m knocking them. I live in one myself.”

Wolff walked to the window and looked out. The midafternoon May sun shone brightly from the blue Arizona skies. The lawn was covered with the fresh

Bermuda grass, planted three weeks before, new as the houses in this just-built development of Hohokam Homes.

“Almost all the houses are ground level,” Bresson was saying. “Excavating in this hard caliche costs a great deal, but these houses aren’t expensive. Not for what you get.”

Wolff thought. If the caliche hadn’t been dug away to make room for the recreation room, what would the man on the other side have seen when the opening appeared? Would he have seen only earth and thus been denied the chance to get rid of that horn? Undoubtedly.

“You may have read why we had to delay opening this development,” Bresson said. “While we were digging, we uncovered a former town of the Hohokam.”

“Hohokam?” Mrs. Wolff said. “Who were they?”

“Lots of people who come into Arizona have never heard of them,” Bresson replied. “But you can’t live long in the Phoenix area without running across references to them. They were the Indians who lived a long time ago in the Valley of the Sun; they may have come here at least 1200 years ago. They dug irrigation canals, built towns here, had a swinging civilization. But something happened to them, no one knows what. They just up and disappeared several hundred years ago. Some archeologists claim the Papago and Pima Indians are their descendants.”

Mrs. Wolff sniffed and said, “I’ve seen them. They don’t look like they could build anything except those rundown adobe shacks on the reservation.”

Wolff turned and said, almost savagely, “The modern Maya don’t look as if they could ever have built their temples or invented the concept of zero, either. But they did.”

Brenda gasped. Mr. Bresson smiled even more mechanically. “Anyway, we had to suspend digging until the archeologists were through. Held up operations about three months, but we couldn’t do a thing because the state tied our hands.

“However, this may be a lucky thing for you. If we hadn’t been held up, these homes might all be sold now. So everything turns out for the best, eh?”

He smiled brightly and looked from one to the other.

Wolff paused, took a deep breath, knowing what was coming from Brenda, and said, “We’ll take it. We’ll sign the papers right now.”

“Robert!” Mrs. Wolff shrilled. “You didn’t even ask me!”

“I’m sorry, my dear, but I’ve made up my mind.”

“Well, I haven’t!”

“Now, now, folks, no need to rush things,” Bresson said. His smile was desperate. “Take your time, talk it over. Even if somebody should come along and buy this particular house-and it might happen before the day’s over; they’re selling like hotcakes^well, there’s plenty more just like this.”

“I want this house.”

“Robert, are you out of your mind?” Brenda wailed. “I’ve never seen you act like this before.”

“I’ve given in to you on almost everything,” he said. “I wanted you to be happy. So, now, give in to me on this. It’s not much to ask. Besides, you said this morning that you wanted this type of house, and

Hohokam Homes are the only ones like this that we can afford.

“Let’s sign the preliminary papers now. I can make out a check as an earnest.”

“I won’t sign, Robert.”

“Why don’t you two go home and discuss this?” Bresson said. “I’ll be available when you’ve reached a decision.”

“Isn’t my signature good enough?” Wolff replied.

Still holding his strained smile, Bresson said, “I’m sorry, Mrs. Wolff will have to sign, too.”

Brenda smiled triumphantly.

“Promise me you won’t show it to anybody else,” Wolff said. “Not until tomorrow, anyway. If you’re afraid of losing a sale, I’ll make out an earnest.”

“Oh, that won’t be necessary.” Bresson started toward the door with a haste that betrayed his wish to get out of an embarrassing situation. “I won’t show it to anyone until I hear from you in the morning.”

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