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"Not that kind of conversion," explains Irving. "What Sam is doing is converting Willie's data into index tapes for the Omnivac Computer." He picks up part of the tape running out of Sam's machine and into a slot in the wall and shows me how it's full of holes. "Sam is the boy Omnivac depends on," he tells me. "Without him it's nothing."
From the looks of this Sam I wonder if maybe they're leaning on a reed, but Irving says he's a real genius.
So Sam finishes up with Willie, and then he punches up tapes on all the champions, and pretty soon what they call the memory banks of Omnivac are all loaded up.
This Omnivac thing is two stories high and takes up a city block. It has elevators in it and here and there are little glassed-in rooms with guys sitting at tremendous control panels full of knobs and gauges. They look as if half of them never seen the light of day. It's absolutely fantastic.
Finally the machine is all loaded and ready to answer the question, Has Willie Buffo got what it takes to be Heavyweight Champion of the Universe. Irving waves to a guy in a glass booth and Omnivac goes to work. It made a noise like a factory for about five minutes and then it stops. I figured it must be broke but Irving says no and we hop in an elevator and go up to a little room where a tape starts coming out of a slot in the wall and running through a machine on a desk. It has writin' on it.
I say to Sam, "Well, Mr. J. P. Morgan, how does the market look today?" Sam shakes his head. He says, "Willie has 478642.76 against an optimum 1252721.90!"
"What kind of odds is that?" I say.
"Max," he tells me, "this Willie Buffo is going to have a hell of a reaction to Earth gravity and atmosphere. The tests show that. But the big thing with him is that he's not going to snap out of it. By Earth standards, his motor responses are retarded and his whole musculature is wrong. He could be a cab driver maybe but no boxer!"
When a two-story building tells me a fighter is a bum, that's good enough for me. Irving says, "Uncle Max, be smart. Forget about managing fighters. You don't need it. Aunt Rita doesn't need it. You're up here for your health. Get a cabana over at the Diana Beach Club and relax and live a little."
I felt pretty lousy about Willie but I got cheered up soon after. I'm laying on the beach with a portable telepaper and I'm just pulling the sheets out of the machine when I see the headline KLEIN BOWS OUT. The story goes on to say how Manny Klein for reasons of bad health is giving up managing Benny Messina and going away for a complete rest. He says, "I owe it to the wife." He owes it to the wife. She shouldn't become a widow from the syndicate knocking him off, is what the story means, and I begin to feel maybe there's some justice after all.