No.113: “How can we be sure?”
“Selzman: Be sure?”
“That you are Professor Jacob Seltzman.”
“Because I am.”
“But how do we know?”
“From the photograph in my passport.”
“I don't see what you are getting at.”
“You say you are professor Jacob Seltzman. But how do we know, that the man we see is in actual fact Professor Seltzman?”
“Young man, have you just come here to irritate me?”
“By no means Professor.”
“Ah! You have just called me Professor.”
“Yes. But a moment ago you were questioning if I were in fact Professor Jacob Seltzman.”
“Yes. I know you are Professor Jacob Seltzman. But is the man standing here, Professor Seltzman? I mean, who's to say that you have not used your process on yourself, using some poor unsuspecting person?”
“Jacob, that's a Jewish name.”
“Professor are you in fact Jewish?”
“An Austrian Jew?”
“Wanted for war crimes?”
“Look do you want a shave or not?”
“No Professor. I want to see your laboratory.”
“Well my boy, its down in the basement. If you will just follow me.”
No.113b waited for his colleague to emerge from the cellar, as photographs were prohibited by the Professor. There were some curious colours of light flashing at the foot of the basement door, and weird whirring sounds coming from the basement.
When No.113 finally emerged from the cellar, it was to inform him that Professor Jacob Seltzman had died suddenly from a massive heart attack.
The police came to the Barbers shop, and the body of the white haired Barber, Herr Hallen was taken away on a stretcher by two undertakers. As for my reporter colleague No.113, he seems different somehow. Its difficult to put my finger on it, but as we travelled back to the village together, I caught him writing something down in his note book. I couldn't see all of his notations, but to me it seemed to be the start of some kind of formula!