Robert anson heinlein "the rolling stones"

Robert A. Heinlein
The Rolling Stones

Robert A. Heinlein
The Rolling Stones


The two brothers stood looking the old wreck over. "Junk," decided Castor.
"Not junk," objected Pollux. "A jalopy — granted. A heap any way you look at it A clunker possibly. But not junk."
"You're an optimist, Junior." Both boys were fifteen; Castor was twenty minutes older than his brother.
"I'm a believer, Grandpa — and you had better be, too. Let me point out that we don't have money enough for anything better. Scared to gun it?"
Castor stared up the side of the ship. "Not at all — because that ­thing will never again rise high enough to crash. We want a ship that will take us out to the Asteroids — right? This super­annuated pogo stick wouldn't even take us to Earth."
"It will when I get through hopping it up — with your thumb-fingered help. Let's look through it and see what it needs."
Castor glanced at the sky. "It's getting late." He looked not at the Sun making long shadows on the lunar plain, but at Earth, reading the time from the sunset line now moving across the Pacific.
"Look, Grandpa, are we buying a ship or are we getting to supper on time?"
Castor shrugged. "As you say, Junior." He lowered his antenna, then started swarming up the rope ladder left there for the accommodation of prospective customers. He used his hands only and despite his cumbersome vacuum suit his move­ments were easy and graceful. Pollux swarmed after him. Castor cheered up a bit when they reached the control room. The ship had not been stripped for salvage as completely as had many of the ships on the lot. True, the ballistic computer was missing but the rest of the astrogation instruments were in place and the controls to the power room seemed to be complete. The space-battered old hulk was not a wreck, but merely ob­solete. A hasty look at the power room seemed to confirm this.
Ten minutes later Castor, still mindful of supper, herded Pollux down the ladder. When Castor reached the ground Pollux said, "Well?"
"Let me do the talking."
The sales office of the lot was a bubble dome nearly a mile away; they moved toward it with the easy, fast lope of old Moon hands. The office airlock was marked by a huge sign:

(AEC License No. 739024)

They cycled through the lock and unclamped each other's helmets. The outer office was crossed by a railing; back of it sat a girl receptionist. She was watching a newscast while buffing her nails. She spoke without taking her eyes off the TV tank:
"We're not buying anything, boys — nor hiring anybody."
Castor said, "You sell spaceships?"
She looked up. "Not often enough."
"Then tell your boss we want to see him."
Her eyebrows went up. "Whom do you think you are kidding, sonny boy? Mr. Ekizian is a busy man."
Pollux said to Castor, "Let's go over to the Hungarian, Cas. These people don't mean business."
"Maybe you're right."
The girl looked from one to the other, shrugged, and flipped a switch. "Mr. Ekizan — there are a couple of Boy Scouts out here who say they want to buy a spaceship. Do you want to bother with them?"
A deep voice responded, "And why not? We got ships to sell." Shortly a bald-headed, portly man, dressed in a cigar and a wrinkled moonsuit came out of the inner office and rested his hands on the rail. He looked them over shrewdly but his voice was jovial. "You wanted to see me?"
"You're the owner?" asked Castor.