By Garry Zaslow
Phillip Stone was adamant. He was not about to cave in to them. Not again.Of course, the pressure was enormous, but he was strong, wasn’t he? At least that’s what he wanted to believe. It did appear, however, that he was about to fold up like acheap lawn chair, letting them get the best of him, once again. It was the usualscenario - three against one - and his back was most definitely to the wall, or at leastsomething like a wall.He tried to move rearward just a little, but it was no use. He was right upagainst the machine, its cold, hulking mass unforgiving and steadfastly refusing tobudge. Other people milled about the room, with its high ceilings and huge windows.Some smiled at him or at each other, and some frowned in serious consideration of themachines that surrounded them, but they all walked blithely past as if nothing of anyimport were happening here. Phillip knew better. This was life-changing stuff.
Okay, so the odds are against me
, he thought,
but should I just let them walk all over me? No way. Not this time. This time, I’m going to put my foot down
.Still, they had him cornered, and he felt like a fox at the end of a hunt, treed bya trio of snarling dogs. They were relentless! One of the three – the leader, apparently – appeared to relax for a moment, seemingly confident that Phillip could not escape,and his mind wandered back to what it was like before they arrived and turned himinto the weak-willed, pathetic man that he was now. The world seemed a place of unlimited opportunity then; a place where a youngman – which he still was, damn it! - could wake on any given morning and decide to go wherever he pleased, or to not go anywhere at all, and there were few consequences, if any. A man in that world had free-will, a mind of his own, and could follow his