Cory Doctorow’s Makers, Part 72 (of 81)


Illustration by Idiots’Books

Sammy was glad he was driving. The mood Guignol was in, he’d have wrecked the car. “That was not the plan, Sammy,” he said. “The plan was to get the data, talk it over—”

“The first casualty of any battle is the battle-plan,” Sammy said, threading them through the press of tourist buses and commuter cars.

“I thought the first casualty was the truth.”

They’d spent too long at the ride, then gotten stuck in the afternoon rush hour out of Miami. “That too. Look, I’m proposing to spend a tenth of the profits from the DiaB on this venture. In any other circumstance, I would do it with a purchase order. The only reason it’s a big deal is—”

“That it carries enough legal liability to destroy the company. Sammy, didn’t you listen to Hackelberg?”

“The reason I still work at Disney is that it’s the kind of company where the lawyers don’t always set the agenda.”

Guignol drummed his hands on the dashboard. Sammy pulled over and gassed up. At the next pump was a minivan with Kansas plates. Dad was a dumpy Korean guy, Mom was a dumpy white midwesterner with a country-and-western denim jacket, and the back seat was filled with vibrating children, two girls and a boy. The kids were screaming and fighting, the girls trying to draw on the boy’s face with candy-flavored lipstick and kiddie mascara, the boy squirming mightily and lashing out at them with his gameboy.

Dad and Mom were having their own heated discussion as Dad gassed up, Sammy eavesdropped enough to hear that they were fighting over Dad’s choice of taking the toll roads instead of the cheaper, slower alternative route. The kids were shouting so loud, though—

“You keep that up and we’re not going to Disney World!”

It was the magic sentence, the litmus test for Disney’s currency. As it rose and fell, so did the efficacy of the threat. If Sammy could, he’d take a video of the result every time this was uttered.

The kids looked at Dad and shrugged. “Who cares?” the eldest sister said, and grabbed the boy again.

Sammy turned to Guignol and waggled his eyebrows. Once he was back in the car, he said, “You know, it’s risky doing anything. But riskiest of all is doing nothing.”

Guignol shook his head. “Give me the postcard,” he said, pulling out his computer.

He spent a lot of time looking at the numbers while Sammy fought traffic. Finally he closed his computer, put his head back and shut his eyes. Sammy drove on.

“You think this’ll work?” Guignol said.

“Which part?

“You think if you buy these guys out—”

“Oh, that part. Sure, yeah, slam dunk. They’re cheap. Like I say, we could make back the whole nut just by settling the lawsuit. The hard part is going to be convincing them to sell.”

“And Hackelberg.”

“That’s your job, not mine.”

Guignol slid the seat back so it was flat as a bed. “Wake me when we hit Orlando.”

<<< Back to Part 71

Continue to Part 73>>>

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 is now available in print from Tor Books. You can read all previous installments of Makers on on our index page.


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