Wed
Oct 28 2009 8:00am

Cory Doctorow’s Makers, Part 50 (of 81)

 

Illustration by Idiots’Books

Kettlewell and Tjan looked up when Perry banged through the door of the tea-house they’d turned into their de facto headquarters.

Perry had gone through mad and back to calm on the ride home, but as he drew closer to the tea-house, passing the people in the streets, the people living their lives without lawyers or bullshit, his anger came back. He’d even stopped outside the tea-house and breathed deeply, but his heart was pounding and his hands kept balling into fists and sometimes, man, sometimes you’ve just got to go for it.

He got to the table and grabbed the papers there and tossed them over his shoulder.

“You’re fired,” he said. “Pack up and go, I want you out by morning. You’re done here. You don’t represent the ride and you never will. Get lost.” He didn’t know he was going to say it until he said it, but it felt right. This was what he was feeling—his project had been stolen and bad things were being done in his name and it was going to stop, right now.

Tjan and Kettlewell got to their feet and looked at him, faces blank with shock. Kettlewell recovered first. “Perry, let’s sit down and do an exit interview, all right? That’s traditional.”

Perry was shaking with anger now. These two friends of his, they’d fucking screwed him—committed their dirty work in his name. But Kettlewell was holding a chair out to him and the others in the tea-house were staring and he thought about Eva and the kids and the baseball gloves, and he sat down.

He squeezed his thighs hard with his clenching hands, drew in a deep breath, and recited what Death Waits had told him in an even, wooden voice.

“So that’s it. I don’t know if you instructed the lawyers to do this or only just distanced yourself enough from them to let them do this on their own. The point is that the way you’re running this campaign is victimizing people who believe in us, making life worse for people who already got a shitty, shitty deal on our account. I won’t have it.”

Kettlewell and Tjan looked at each other. They’d both stayed poker-faced through Perry’s accusation, and now Kettlewell made a little go-ahead gesture at Tjan.

“There’s no excuse for what that lawyer did. We didn’t authorize it, we didn’t know it had happened, and we wouldn’t have permitted it if we had. In a suit like this, there are a lot of moving parts and there’s no way to keep track of all of them all of the time. You don’t know what every ride operator in the world is up to, you don’t even know where all the rides in the world are. That’s in the nature of a decentralized business.

“But here’s the thing: the lawyer was at least partly right. Everything that kid blogs, emails, and says will potentially end up in the public record. Like it or not, that kid can no longer consider himself to have a private life, not until the court case is up. Neither can you or I, for that matter. That’s in the nature of a lawsuit—and it’s not something any of us can change at this point.”

Perry heard him as from a great distance, through the whooshing of the blood in his ears. He couldn’t think of anything to say to that.

Tjan and Kettlewell looked at each other.

“So even if we’re ‘fired’—” Tjan said at last, making sarcastic finger-quotes, “this problem won’t go away. We’ve floated the syndicate and given control of the legal case to them. If you try to ditch it, you’re going to have to contend with their lawsuits, too.”

“I didn’t—” Perry started. But he had, he’d signed all kinds of papers: first, papers that incorporated the ride-runners’ co-op; and, second, papers that gave legal representation over to the syndicate.

“Perry, I’m the chairman of the Boston ride collective. I’m their rep on the co-op’s board. You can’t fire me. You didn’t hire me. They did. So stop breathing through your nose like a locomotive and calm down. None of us wanted that lawyer to go after that kid.”

He knew they were making sense but he didn’t want to care. He’d ended up in this place because these supposed pals of his had screwed up.

He knew that he was going to end up making up with them, going to end up getting deeper into this. He knew that this was how good people did shitty things: one tiny rotten compromise at a time. Well, he wasn’t going to go there.

“Tomorrow morning,” he said. “Gone. We can figure out by email how to have a smooth transition, but no more of this. Not on my head. Not on my account.”

He stalked away, which is what he should have done in the first place. Fuck being reasonable. Reasonable sucked.

<<< Back to Part 49

Continue to Part 51>>>

As part of the ongoing project of crafting Tor.com’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 is now available in print from Tor Books. You can read all previous installments of Makers on Tor.com on our index page.

9 comments
Kevin Donnay Clarke
1. Kevin Donnay Clarke
I like the exit from Eden motif of the image. It puts the story in context.
Kevin Donnay Clarke
2. Adam LLL
I like the fact that Adam and Eve leaving Eden are wearing ties.
Kevin Donnay Clarke
3. tcheph
i didn't see ties, i saw an arm on the left figure, and a baby being held by the right.

hmm.
Kevin Donnay Clarke
4. MacFRY
This story has really gone off the deep end. I'm not sure i even understand what's going on anymore, what the point of the story is, or even where it's going. Sorry, but i think this is where i leave it. It's just not interesting or compelling anymore, the characters have completely changed, and it seems to have transformed into a legal thriller detailing copyright violations and other crap i don't care about. Plus, these mega-short "chapters" make for a choppy, unsatisfying reading experience.
Kevin Donnay Clarke
5. CaffeinatedGuy
So, you're saying it's transformed into a legal thriller about copyright violations at the exact point when the business guys, the guys directly responsible for the lawyers, have just been fired?
David Goldfarb
6. David_Goldfarb
They look like ties to me. On the left-hand figure, note the points: there are three things that are unambiguously arms, and all three have rounded outlines. So that's probably not an arm. And a baby makes little sense, since Adam and Eve didn't have any children until after being expelled.
Kevin Donnay Clarke
7. MacFRY
@caffeinatedGuy: But they're obviously NOT fired, or leaving the story. They can't leave it now, they're too invested, and as Tjan points out, it's no longer in Perry's ability to fire him. This has just gone from a neat look at near future inventions and a reimagining of what amusement park rides may morph into, to a tired, convoluted legal story that seems to be going nowhere. Sorry, CD, but ya lost me on this one...
Kevin Donnay Clarke
8. Jess Austin
MacFRY, you're not going to waste your time with the story anymore, but you're commenting on your sense of boredom twice a day? The lady doth protest too much, methinks.
Rob Moffett
9. lizrdgizrd
This is a great read! Reminds me of Down & Out but in a more near-term perspective.

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