Oct 19 2009 9:00am

Cory Doctorow’s Makers, Part 46 (of 81)

Illustration by Idiots’Books

Hilda and Lester sat uncomfortably on the sofa next to each other. Perry had hoped they’d hit it off, but it was clear after Lester tried his Yoko joke again that the chemistry wasn’t there. Now they were having a rare moment of all-look-same-screen, the TV switched on like in an old comedy, no one looking at their own laptop.

The tension was thick, and Perry was sick of it.

He reached for his computer and asked it to find him the baseball gloves. Two of the drawers on the living-room walls glowed pink. He fetched the gloves down, tossed one to Lester, and picked up his ball.

“Come on,” he said. “TV is historically accurate, but it’s not very social.”

Lester got up from the sofa, a slow smile spreading on his face, and Hilda followed a minute later. Outside, by the cracked pool, it was coming on slow twilight and that magic, tropical blood-orange sky like a swirl of sorbet.

Lester and Perry each put on their gloves. Perry’d worn his now and again, but had never had a real game of catch with it. Lester lobbed an easy toss to him and when it smacked his glove, it felt so right, the sound and the vibration and the fine cloud of dust that rose up from the mitt’s pocket, Christ, it was like a sacrament.

He couldn’t lob the ball back, because of his busted wing, so he handed the ball to Hilda. “You’re my designated right arm,” he said. She smiled and chucked the ball back to Lester.

They played until the twilight deepened to velvety warm dark and humming bugs and starlight. Each time he caught a ball, something left Perry, some pain long held in his chest, evanesced into the night air. His catching arm, stiff from being twisted by the weight of the cast on his other hand, unlimbered and became fluid. His mind was becalmed.

None of them talked, though they sometimes laughed when a ball went wild, and both Perry and Lester went “ooh,” when Lester made a jump-catch that nearly tumbled him into the dry pool.

Perry hadn’t played a game of catch since he was a kid. Catch wasn’t his dad’s strong suit, and he and his friends had liked video-games better than tossing a ball, which was pretty dull by comparison.

But that night it was magic, and when it got to full dark and they could barely see the ball except as a second moon hurtling white through the air, they kept tossing it a few more times before Perry dropped it into the pocket of his baggy shorts. “Let’s get a drink,” he said.

Lester came over and gave him a big, bearish hug. Then Hilda joined them. “You stink,” Lester said, “Seriously, dude. Like the ass of a dead bear.”

That broke them up and set them to laughing together, a giggling fit that left them gasping, Lester on all fours. Perry’s arm forgot to hurt and he moved to kiss Hilda on the cheek and instead she turned her head to kiss him full on the lips, a real juicy, steamy one that made his ear-wax melt.

“Drinks,” Hilda said, breaking the kiss.

They went upstairs, holding the mitts, and had a beer together on the patio, talking softly about nothing in particular, and then Lester hugged them good night and then they all went to bed, and Perry put his face into the hair at the back of Hilda’s neck and told her he loved her, and Hilda snuggled up to him and they fell asleep.

<<< Back to Part 45

Continue to Part 47>>>

As part of the ongoing project of crafting’s electronic edition of Makers, the author would like for readers to chime in with their favorite booksellers and stories about them in the comments sections for each piece of Makers, for consideration as a possible addition to a future edition of the novel.

Doctorow’s Makers will be released in print by Tor Books in October. You can read all previous installments of Makers on on our index page.

Rick Snell
1. ricklynnx

I think this shows a lot of growth on Perry's part - Lester, too. I don't think all this is so much about mature or immature - some of that, sure - but different ways that people relate. Perry and Lester are more local, more relational, and Suzanne and Kettlebelly are perhaps more big-picture, more strategic.

What do you guys think?
Russell Dovey
2. Russell Dovey
Awwwwww. :D
Russell Dovey
3. wereviking
Coming on in the middle here, not sure I get it.

Zephyr -- a superhero webcomic in prose
Russell Dovey
4. Brrrr
@3 There's a really simple solution to that (unless you're just here to advertise your website) and that's to START AT THE BEGINNING.Q
Ethan Glasser-Camp
5. glasserc
@4 Brrrr: Be nice! You have to admit, Makers isn't like a webcomic that you can just pick up wherever.

@3 wereviking: That said, if you want to know what a webcomic is about, you start at the beginning. This is the index page for Makers, which may be of use to you.

Russell Dovey
6. meohmy
I just finally caught up from the beginning. This is the first installment I had to "wait" for. Although sweet, I am a little disappointed. With all of the ride chaos and legal trouble, I am eager for some action!
Radcliffe Cutshaw
7. rcutshaw
This is obviously and has been for some time a prequel to Doctorow's Down and Out in the Magic Kingdow
Russell Dovey
8. MishnayicHacker
@7 rcutshaw: That's a fascinating observation. Since Down&Out I've tried to imagine every one of Cory's stories that I read (or listen to) as being in the same universe. "Truncat" is the only true sequel, but most of the others have seemed to dovetail perfectly; others, less so. This one had not "clicked" with me yet, so thank you for pointing that out.
Russell Dovey
9. Mattkins
It's not so much of a prequel as it is an amalgamation of concepts that Cory has developed over the years. The 3D printer, craphounding, theme park wars, online collaboration, social capital, and of course copyright. All of it set in burgeoning post-scarcity.

Just you wait, the bugout will show up at the end.
Russell Dovey
10. MishnayicHacker
@9 Mattkins: I agree completely, and whatever Cory's next real-life discovery is will lead to more interesting and complex themes. But that imagination stretching, setting up a beta time-line for the next couple of centuries, etc, makes the reading more fun. As I said, not all pieces are compatible (bugout: funny!). I think what @rcutshaw was specifically referring to was the weakening of Disney, making it more ready for the advent of the BS. That makes it more than just another big corp.
Russell Dovey
11. Keith Erskine
I wonder what about the letters people wrote to the editors that published Dickens' serialized stories.

This seems to be a nice bridge to the next round of chaos.

Seriously Cory, you could make some coin by selling serialized stories to Metro (free newspaper available at any T stop on Boston).

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