“The Handler,” Damon Knight, 1960 — Pete is the dashing man of the hour–a television star able to charm a room merely by walking through the door. True to form, after a show he arrives at a post-party, amiable and magnificent, big and handsome, and everyone draws near to bask in his good looks and charisma. Suddenly, Pete’s torso opens. A little person opens a hatch and climbs out to chat for a moment. The crowd is suddenly disinterested and wanders away. Pete’s girlfriend is appalled. The little man is saddened, explaining that he just wanted to “take it easy for a while,” but the party-goers make their displeasure clear. Dutifully, sadly, he climbs back into the suit and the party is saved.
Comments: Read in Best of the Best and the Norton Anthology of Science Fiction. Note to instructors: The story seems to figure in quite a few class presentations that are available on the Internet.
Author: Wikipedia: “Damon Francis Knight (September 19, 1922 – April 15, 2002) was an American science fiction author, editor, critic and fan. His forte was short stories and he is widely acknowledged as having been a master of the genre.”