JOB: A Comedy of Justice
Robert A. Heinlein
Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth:
Therefore despise not thou the chastening of
When thou walkest through the fire,
thou shalt not be burned.
THE FIRE pit was about twenty-five feet long by ten feet wide, and perhaps two feet deep. The fire had been burning for hours. The bed of coals gave off a blast of heat almost unbearable even back where I was seated, fifteen feet from the side of the pit, in the second row of tourists.
I had given up my front-row seat to one of the ladies from the ship, delighted to accept the shielding offered by her well-fed carcass. I was tempted to move still farther back... but I did want to see the fire walkers close up. How often does one get to view a miracle?
'It's a hoax,' the Well-Traveled Man said. 'You'll see.'
'Not really a hoax, Gerald,' the Authority-on-Everything denied. 'Just somewhat less than we were led to expect. It won't be the whole village - probably none of the hula dancers and certainly not those children. One or two of the young men, with calluses on their feet as thick as cowhide, and hopped up on opium or some native drug, will go down the pit at a dead run. The villagers will cheer and our kanaka friend there who is translating for us will strongly suggest that we should tip each of the fire walkers, over and above what we've paid for the luau and the dancing and this show.
'Not a complete hoax,' he went on