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I found a box of books in the attic of a new house at age 12, the summer of 1963. It contained 2 sf anthologies. One was Damon Knight stories.

The other one was a hard bound collection of multiple stories by multiple authors with many different themes. The (not Damon Knight) story I recently remembered involved a pathetic guy (with blond roots) who has been trying to seduce a beautiful non-stereotypical blond. She demonstrates, in the last paragraph, a "trick" that causes a fire poker to suddenly sag.

I didn't get at age 12, but when something reminded me of the scene a while back I did and started laughing out loud.

It probably would have been funniest when I was a high school sophomore, but I would like to see if I can locate the story and maybe even the anthology.

Ah, retirement. I think the was yellow.

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"I think the was yellow." The what was yellow? – Andrew Thompson Mar 22 at 1:04
I'm guessing cover. – Paul Mar 22 at 1:22
As soon as I read this, I realized that I had read this at some point and didn't remember the answer either. Thanks for asking. – rosesunhill Mar 22 at 2:10
duplicate of… – Otis Mar 23 at 19:03
up vote 15 down vote accepted

The story is "A Trick or Two" by John Novotny. Quoting the ending from the original publication in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, July 1957:

Jesse walked wonderingly to the fireplace, picked up the poker, and held it out. Laura raised a long slender forefinger and pointed at the brass tool; and in Jesse's hand the poker became pliable, soft, and wilted like wax before a flame. He stared at it in horror.

"Jesse," Laura said, "I discovered my trick long ago."

The anthology was probably A Decade of Fantasy and Science Fiction (Robert P. Mills, ed.); maybe the contents or cover will ring a bell.

The Damon Knight collection, if it was published before 1963, then according to the ISFDB it must be his 1961 collection Far Out. His second collection, In Deep, was published in May, 1963; less likely to be found in a box in an attic in the summer of 1963.

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i probably would have asked this at some point. Good to know. – rosesunhill Mar 22 at 2:11
Fastest gun in the west! – CreationEdge Mar 22 at 2:23

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