Captive Market

PHILIP K. DICK
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Philip K. Dick is another outstanding writer of short fiction whose work at this length has been ignored because of his more famous novels, such as the Hugo Award-winning The an in the High !astle. He en"o#s a high reputation among academic and other $serious$ critics of science fiction and is particularl# well known in %astern and &estern %urope. Dick has alwa#s stressed the ambiguous nature of $realit#$ in his work, and this trend has intensified in recent #ears. &ebster's (eventh defines monopol# as $e)clusive ownership through legal privilege, command of suppl#, or concerted action.$ To a considerable e)tent, modern corporate capitalism was built on monopol# and monopolistic practices. *ut monopol#, especiall# in terms of $command of suppl#,$ can also be situational. +f the conditions are right, an individual with the proper skills and resources can find him,herself in control of a well-defined market whose members have no alternative but to do business. (at)rda# morning, abo)t e!even o*+!o+k, Mr . ,dna -erthe! on $a read# to make her !itt!e trip. .!tho)gh it $a a $eek!# affair, +on )ming fo)r ho)r of her va!)ab!e b) ine time, he made the profitab!e trip a!one, pre erving for her e!f the integrit# of her find. -e+a) e that $a $hat it $a . . find, a troke of in+redib!e !)+k. /here $a nothing e! e !ike it, and he had been in b) ine fift#three #ear . More, if the #ear in her father* tore $ere +o)nted-b)t the# didn*t rea!!# +o)nt. /hat had been for the experien+e 0her father made that +!ear1" no pa# $a invo!ved. -)t it gave her the )nder tanding of b) ine , the fee! of operating a ma!! +o)ntr# tore, d) ting pen+i! and )n$rapping f!#paper and erving )p dried bean and +ha ing the +at o)t of the +ra+ker barre! $here he 2ed to !eep. 3o$ the tore $a o!d, and o $a he. /he big, heav# et, b!a+k bro$ed man $ho $a her father had died !ong ago" her o$n +hi!dren and grand+hi!dren had been pa$ned, had +rept o)t over the $or!d, $ere ever#$here. 4ne b# one the# had appeared, !ived in 5a!n)t Creek, $eated thro)gh the dr#, )n-baked )mmer , and then gone on, !eaving one b# one a the# had +ome. (he and the tore agged and ett!ed a !itt!e more ea+h #ear, be+ame a !itt!e more frai! and tem and grim. . !itt!e more them e!ve . /hat morning ver# ear!# 6a+kie aid7 89randma$, $here are #o) going:8 .!tho)gh he kne$, of +o)r e, $here he $a going. (he $a going o)t in her tr)+k a he a!$a# did" thi $a the (at)rda# trip. -)t he !iked to a k" he $a p!ea ed b# the tabi!it# of the an $er. He !iked having it a!$a# the ame. /o another ;)e tion there $a another )nvar#ing an $er, b)t thi one didn*t p!ea e him o m)+h. It +ame in an $er to the ;)e tion. 8Can I +ome a!ong:8 /he an $er to that $a a!$a# no. ,dna -erthe! on !aborio) !# +arried pa+kage and boxe from the ba+k of the tore to the r) t#, )pright pi+k)p tr)+k. D) t !a# over the tr)+k" it red-meta! ide $ere bent and +orroded. /he motor

8 6a+kie trai!ed p!aintive!# after her. in the deep re+e e of hi +hi!d* mind. $a omething a$e ome and $onderf)!. Mo t of the !oading had been done the night before b# . hand t)+k deep in the po+ket of hi ?ean .t !a t. He breathed a igh of re!ief and ett!ed gratef)!!# do$n. farmer and their $ive . p)mping the +!)t+h )p and do$n. and de perate!# o)ght to keep from being f!)ng off. a he reentered the tore to !ook for her order book.8 Mr . -erthe! on bent tiff!# over to !ift the !a t arm!oad of boxe . not taking part in omething that $a denied him. =nder him the tr)+k bo)n+ed and b)mped.rnie the ($ede. he retired to a +omer. -erthe! on on her e+ret $eek!# trip.8 6a+kie didn*t !ike the o)nd of that. -erthe! on g)nned the motor and re!ea ed the hand brake. ome +it# $omen in their ga)d# !a+k and print hirt .)atted. .8 6a+kie exp!ained. p)!!ed the +reen door h)t after her.8 6a+kie aid righteo) !#. +an I +ome a!ong: >o) never !et me +ome-#o) never !et an#bod# +ome.++ompan#ing Mr . 3o$ $a the be t time he had ever had. fe$ drab +hi+ken pe+ked in the d) t aro)nd it $hee! . 9etting the tr)+k into gear $a an intri+ate pro+e . .tained hand tremb!ing. -erthe! on aid harp!#. 6a+kie deta+hed him e!f from the hade b# the ho) e and fo!!o$ed a!ong after it. /e!!man prepared him e!f a +)p of 8+offee. he . her gra#. Car and tr)+k ro!!ed a!ong Mo)nt Diab!o -o)!evard. Mr . 8 84f +o)r e not. @or a time he at t)gging +ro !# at the hift. Dirt. 8 8-)t I $ant to +ome a!ong.8 Mr . bandanna . 3o$ $a a fine time. and trode bri k!# to the tr)+k. her trange +overt enterpri e from $hi+h-he had heard. (he p)!!ed her fra#ed b!)e $eater aro)nd her thin ho)!der . 8>o) kno$ perfe+t!# $e!! $here I*m going. 8(o doe ever#bod# e! e.)e dimini hed. -erthe! on ignored him. 8I a ked #o) a . 6a+kie h)ng on for dear !ife" +!)t+hing at the boxe he p)!!ed hi !eg )nder him. 6a+kie hoi ted him e!f )p and !anded fa+edo$n on the tight!# pa+ked heap of pa+kage and boxe . Hi mother $a no$here in ight.rnie the ($ede $a gone.he made a fab)!o) profit.the !itt!e o!d $oman t)rned her gra# head and peered ba+k at him. and Mr . farmhand . He $a on hi $a#. trip $hi+h nobod# )nder tood. the tr)+k roared ?erki!# do$n the drive$a#. indifferent!# $at+hing the a+tivit# of the da#. . 9rad)a!!#. Mr . . 4n!# the do<ing heep and the t$o +rat+hing +hi+ken $ere vi ib!e. be+a) e he $a determined to +ome a!ong. He $a a!ong. =nder the por+h of the tore a p!)mp $hite hagg# heep . 5ith infinite +are. +o!or!e bird taking in a $or!d perfe+t!# )nder tood. 8Can I +ome: P!ea e. -erthe! on aid oft!#7 8-)t nobod# +an. $rink!ed fa+e t$i ting $ith +on+entration. and $hi+h he kne$. omething that $o)!d be $e!! $orth the tro)b!e. not approving of omething in $hi+h he +o)!d not hare. he h)rried to add a handf)! of +hi+or# and a fe$ fragment of dried bran. +ro)+hed do$n. the h)!king. $aiting impatient!# for the teeth to fa!! into p!a+e. He had hoped fervent!# that he $o)!dn*t top to +he+k her !oad a!ong the $a#. . it fa+e vapid. In the front of the tore the radio tinni!# p!a#ed pop)!ar ong . 9rabbing ho!d of the tai!board of the tr)+k. . anda! . 8 @ir t. ()!!en!#.8 /hin !ip t$it+hing in a e+ret mi!e. . D)mping it in.)e tion. indo!ent. +ree+hing and +hattering. $hite-haired hired man $ho did the heav# $ork aro)nd the tore. and the tor. fina!!#. pett# b) ine men.nd it $a going to be ooner or !ater an#ho$. probab!# getting a +o!d Coke. (!#!#.ven)e a fe$ hopper tro!!ed. 8It* nobod#* b) ine . he +arried a tin +)p of roa ted grain over to the ga o!ine dr)m the +o!on# ) ed a a mixing bo$!.$a a!read# on" it $a $hee<ing and heating )p in the midda# )n. 8I a ked #o) $here #o)*re going. a $orn. !o+ated her )ng!a e . 85hat:8 he m)rm)red vag)e!#.. the tr)+k righted it e!f. .!ong Lafa#ette . the gear me hed" the tr)+k !eaped a !itt!e.ven .

managed to get a fire tarted among the a he and +oa! )nder the pitted meta! grate. hi voi+e took on a nagging $hine. don*t I: . b)t the )n. Hi thin. /e!!man p!)nged o)t of the ha+k. Hi heav# feat)re t$it+hed )nea i!#.8 /e!!man m)ttered. paring nobod#.8 8I $a . the nat)ra! enem# of in e+t . 5ere the# $orth aving: He do)bted it.8 84ne more !oad. /he -ig -!a t had i<<!ed the $ater vapor from the air" the )n beat do$n piti!e !#. /hat $a the harde t part7 the )n hie!ded )n. /o hi right $a the +!) ter of ha+k that made )p the +amp. )pright +on+rete b!o+k . He et a pan of tepid $ater on the f!ame and ear+hed for a poon. he !it )p. 8I have a right to fix m# e!f omething. into the b!inding !ate afternoon )n!ight. 4ne ide $a he!tered b# the t)mb!ed r)in of $hat had on+e been a minor mo)ntain range. the +harred fa+e of the $or!d. $itho)t !ife. he retreated to$ard the door of the ha+k.8 /e!!man f!) hed re entf)!!#. /e!!man hadn*t een a bird in t$o #ear -and he didn*t expe+t to ee one again. C!oth b!anket f!apped di ma!!# in door$a# .8 8>o) o)ght to be over he!ping. 85hat are #o) )p to:8 hi $ife demanded from behind him. 8It $on*t he !ong.8 he aid. More peop!e had died of thir t and deh#dration and b!ind in anit# than from toxi+ poi on . 8 . /he +amp had been et )p in a nat)ra! ho!!o$. He ta!ked tiff-!egged over to $here -arne and Ma ter on tood ta!king. part!# from fatig)e. (haki!#. He !oathed ever#bod# in it. -ird . I $ren+hed omething in m# ba+k. $itho)t feat)re . midd!e-aged man d)+ked )nea i!# a$a# from hi $ife" t)gging at the remain of hi oi!ed $hite hirt. 8I hope nothing get fo)!ed )p. -e#ond the +amp began the eterna! dead b!a+k a h.8 9!ad# $eari!# br) hed ba+k her thi+k. prote+tion again t the va t ho t of in e+t that $ept a+ro the +amp ite from time to time. ometime .nraged. (he o)ght to be here an# min)te. @rom hi brea t po+ket. 8@ine. 8Ho$* it +oming:8 he demanded gr)ff!#. 8()ppo e ever#bod# $a !ike #o). +!a$!ike hand $ere tremb!ing. he edged bet$een 9!ad# and the mea!. dark-b!onde hair. a!read#" $hat did it matter if the# got the hip off or not: He $a $eating a$a# hi mind and !ife.8 . /he +on+) ion of the b!a t had b)r t the to$ering +!iff " ro+k had +a +aded into the va!!e# for da# .8 -arne an $ered. $ere gone. Mo t of them $ere barbarian . 8/hen $e*!! ta!k abo)t it. hi $ife in+!)ded. faint ironi+ mi!e to)+hed hi $ife* +happed !ip . heet of tin. a per on ha to re t. not the f!a hing $hite f)r# of the b!a t . /he he!! $ith them. 3ot the in e+t . !ooking for a p!a+e to hide from the )n. an#thing and ever#thing dragged from the (an @ran+i +o r)in .8 82e t $hen $e get there. /e!!man got a pre+io) pa+kage of +igarette . 85e*!! ee ho$ #o)r +hart $ork o)t. m)+h right a an#bod# e! e.8 In pite of him e!f. 8=h. )rvivor had +rept into the heap of bo)!der . . 3ervo) !#. no$. -)t then. hi o$n afet# $a invo!ved $ith their .fter (an @ran+i +o had been fired o)t of exi ten+e. 8Damn it. 85ho p!otted o)r tra?e+tor#: 5ho* done a!! the navigation $ork:8 . Ho$ he hated the +amp. fort# mi!e $e t. not the radioa+tive +!o)d of a h. 86) t foo!ing aro)nd. -)t there $ere fe$ !eft to +are.8 Ma ter on aid. the teri!e $hite g!are that began at five in the morning and !a ted )nti! nine in the evening. $ire and tar paper. part!# from rage and ten ion. .n e+!e+ti+ hodgepodge of board . tr#ing to ave them. He hated the )n.8 /he $ir#.

. He* a!$a# po)ting idea!i ti+ t$add!e. thi make the differen+e bet$een !ife and death. . /ake @!anner#. (ati fied. . prett# fa+e $a treaked $ith fatig)e and e#e train. @!anner# $a top dog.8 he aid to @!anner#. /e!!man brooded over the ree tab!i hment of the rightf)! order.8 /e!!man g)ffa$ed. !oaded $ith an H-$arhead. /e!!man tro!!ed a$a# from -arne and Ma ter on. for examp!e. not #et tota!!# ob!iterated b# drifting a h and the earing heat of the )n. . 8>o) and @!anner#. it $a ti!! there $hen the fir t ref)gee tragg!ed into the he!ter of the demo!i hed mo)ntain .3C. 82adiation.(. 8It* toxi+ +r# ta!!ine poi oning" that t)ff* knee-deep )p in the hi!! . anima!-!ike +ent that ro!!ed from Ma ter on* beef# bod#. temperat)re.8 /e!!man +orre+ted. over to the hip it e!f.8 8M# 9od. . ome of the e re!a# are tin#.8 Cro$!e# $a a#ing emphati+a!!#. .8 @!anner# +orre+ted in hi )!timate!# +ertain voi+e. inva!)ab!e in ervi+ing the t)rbine and ?et of the hip.8 8/hank . 8/o the h)man ra+e.+ro it m)<<!e the ten+i!ed identifi+ation ti!! remained. . Con o!ed.8 (he he!d )p a mi+ro +opi+ $afer of tran parent p!a ti+. b)t it $o)!d be ba+k trong a ever. 8 8. /he hierar+h# had +o!!ap ed in the r)in of the +itie . It* ett!ing a h that doe it. $e*re done. Her ma!!. (he g!an+ed )p from her $ork and mi!ed b!eari!# at /e!!man. 85hi!e $e*re a!! o)t +o!d. no$" he $a an experien+ed me+hani+. the +igarette bet$een her !ip . 5hen !a)n+hing da# arrived. 8Here-#o) !ook !ike #o) +o)!d ) e it.8 Patri+ia an $ered. (oviet toxi+ +r# ta! had b!o$n . trange. no$ the nomina! !eader of the +o!on#. Ma ter on $a ) ef)!. (. . @!anner# $a nothing b)t a fo)!-mo)thed. =. 83i+e. 8#o) remember that:8 8I $a on!# eight. /heir it)ation $a n*t an ex+) e to +reep aro)nd fi!th# a a pig . 8-)t I*!! never forget it. It had to +hange. If $e don*t get o)t oon. a$ed !ook +rept into her dark-b!)e e#e . read# to +arr# indi +riminate death to the enem#. . hant#-Iri h tevedore . !ot to the t$ent# of ) . thing $o)!d be different. b)t that $o)!d +hange. /he pro?e+ti!e had never been !a)n+hed.8 Patri+ia +ontin)ed $ith her $ork. In the hado$ of the hip he $a +aref)!!# +he+king the a)tomati+ re!a# that $o)!d maintain the air.2I. i n*t it:8 Patri+ia (he!b# aid. 8>o)*re right. -)t $hen the hip had !anded and been pi!!aged . 8I*m a!mo t done-o#. He* been p!a#ing aro)nd )p there. /he ro+ket had tood on it b)tto+k for month . there $a no +re$ to end it off. the greate t ?ob at the moment. 8(ort of !ike the tr#!on at the 3e$ >ork 5or!d* @air. on+e head of the hi tor# department at (tanford.8 8It* not radiation. /he hip $a h)ge. .( . 6) t think. at $ith @!anner# and 6ean Dobb . .)iet!# into the $indo$ and door of the !o+a! +ommand barra+k .8 . either. examining the )pp)rating arm of a ten#ear-o!d bo#. . -)t it didn*t matter-there $a no enem#.2M> 42D3. Ma#be I $a a pre+og-$hen I a$ it ti+king )p I kne$ omeda# it $o)!d mean a !ot to ever#bod#. 8 Profe or 6ohn Cro$!e#. /he bo# nodded hi head not daring to !ook at her.-3 0b1 4rigina!!#. . on Aen) .8 /e!!man aid. and h)midit# of the hip. 8/he overa!! !eve! i ri ing dai!#. ()dden!# he offered her the remain of hi +igarette. it had been a high-ve!o+it# 8ma ive reta!iation8 $eapon. for the time being .8 8I that o:8 6ean Dobb demanded./e!!man !oathed the $eat#. b)t he $a in +harge of !oading the hip.

@!anner# )dden!# be!!o$ed7 8/hen get o)t the mone#B 8 Cro$!e# grinned.dna -erthe! on and her battered red pi+k)p tr)+k. /ake them a!!. /e!!man aid. thing $o)!d revert to their !egitimate order-$ith @!anner# digging e$er $here he be!onged. . =ke pi+k . etting )p )b)rban home . /e!!man tho)ght. .t one inter e+tion tood a $ank tavern. va t )pright t)be of a!!o# and prote+tive fiber me h ri ing )p above the t)mb!e of $ret+hed ha+k . o $e +an !ie in o)r hammo+k a!! da#. topping in the midd!e of the da# for a $hi ke# o)r and then driving +heerf)!!# on. he $o)!d never have had time to pa# attention to that odd abi!it# he had fo)nd in her . 4n Aen) $e $on*t need it. $e*re taking off. 8-e +aref)! $ith that. 2)ra! dog $andered here and there.nd hope he*!! !ive. 5hat kind of moron and !)nati+ $ere the#: 6oking at a time !ike thi . again. In drive$a# tood parked -)i+k and 4!d mobi!e . )ndamaged pa t.8 2)bbing hi hand .nd harmoni+a . mo!dering )nder thi ne$ h)mi!iation. operated b# omnamb)!i ti+ +hi!dren. it neon ign b!inking on and off.dna -erthe! on g!ared ho ti!e!# at the tavern. the h)ge hip himmered and g!o$ed. )dden!# ten e. ignoring @!anner#. ta!!. Ho!ding a heaf of bi!! )p to /e!!man he fanned them o)t inviting!#. toda#. 4n both ide of the road !a# grove of !) h apri+ot tree . Driving at event#-five mi!e an ho)r in their $ept-ba+k Chr# !er . 85hat* the !a t !oad made )p of:8 8Comi+ book . If he a!$a# h)rried !ike that.8 He g!an+ed at hi $at+h. a!mo t a++) ing!#. /e!!man t)rned to a$ait the arriva! of Mr . 8. gho t!# pa!e in the midmorning )n. and the# $ere off. Pra#ing that nothing $o)!d go $rong. . 82ight. 8 he*!! never bring it. +o!)mn of +ar that had pi!ed )p behind her tr)+k )dden!# b)r t forth and $)ng pa t her. 8/here* mone# b!o$ing a!! over the $or!d. ton#-fa+ed. Mr . avage!#. 4)t ide of )!fathia<o!e there* not m)+h $e have. 4ne more tr)+kf)! of )pp!ie from their on!# o)r+e. the an+ient fr)it or+hard . and /e!!man ta!ked off. dark-haired #o)ng man. 4ne more !oad. 85hat* he bringing mo t!#:8 he a ked Cro$!e# and 6ean Dobb .8 Cro$!e# aid. 8=n!e he bring the peni+i!!in. /heir fragi!e )mbi!i+a! +ord.he might a $e!! have it a!!. .8 3ervo) !#. He peered mi erab!#. 8In order that $e ma# a!! the more proper!# f!atten the b)bb!e of o)r vintage *3C +hampagne.8 85e*ve got p!ent#.8 Cro$!e# $inked at him. +)tting do$n the o!d oak tree .8 8If he doe n*t bring it toda#. . /hi i the !a t !oad" a oon a it* tored. indifferent. -ee and f!ie b)<<ed !eepi!# among the rotting fr)it +attered over the oi!" ever# no$ and then a road ide tand appeared. 8/ake #o)r pi+k. 8 /e!!man boi!ed.8 @!anner# reminded him. 8. on it $a# to the hip.nd $i<<!e ti+k . $iping per piration from hi ba!ding forehead" he $a a !ean. . (erved them right for being in )+h a h)rr#.8 @!anner# took ome and t)ffed it into a part!# fi!!ed !oad being $hee!ed b#. +onne+ting them $ith the op)!ent. . (he !et them go.8P)t ome a!ve on it.8 @!anner# aid dreami!#.8 @!anner# aid. a!ong $ith the a h and parti+!e of bone. 5a thi the kind of $or!d the# $ere going to fo)nd: In the piti!e $hite-hot )n. the meager tri+k!e of )n+ontaminated good that meant the differen+e bet$een !ife and death. tr)mming *(omeone* in the Kit+hen $ith Dinah. (he* probab!# rai ed the pri+e on ever#thing.* 8 8. and at the +ar parked aro)nd it. Cit# peop!e $ere moving o)t into the va!!e#. at the hip. 8>o)-degenerateB8 Cro$!e# and @!anner# roared $ith !a)ghter.8 He f)mb!ed in one of the tee! torage !o+ker and #anked o)t a handf)! of paper bi!! .8 4n Aen) .

the ri+h or+hard fe!! behind and gave $a# to f!at bro$n fie!d . the bo# $ondered $h# Mr . . /he b!a+k road $a vi ib!e )nderneath. . rabbit hopped ki!!f)!!# a+ro the ha!f-de+a#ed road. . da<ed $ith di be!ief and pain. an expan e of +o!d ro+k. ee intere ting ight . /he heav# !oad in the ba+k of the tr)+k ?ogged rh#thmi+a!!#. . He $a tota!!# a!one.intro pe+tive. .br)pt!# the tr)+k t)rned off the tate high$a# and onto a b!a+k )rfa+ed ide road. 3o$-hideo) !#-he $a ) pended momentari!# ha!f$a# thro)gh the tr)+k. . grad)a!!#. . He made a fa+e at a dog tanding indo!ent!# at the ide of the road.nd then he noti+ed it. -erthe! on. /om ign . $aiting to +ro . .n edge of fear to)+hed the bo#.8 never have di +overed that ho!e in the $arp of time $hi+h enab!ed her to trade o ea i!# at her o$n exorbitant pri+e . the tr)+k $a beginning to fade a$a#. -erthe! on* !itt!e trip took her in thi dire+tion. the !a t image of the tr)+k faded. on!# +r)b gra and b) he . Mr . Id!#. (ome$here far off a bird +ried hri!!#" 6a+kie !i tened to it thin o)nd e+hoing di ma!!# a$a# and $ondered ho$ he +o)!d attra+t hi grandmother* attention. b!)e and $hite. a!mo t nobod# +ame thi $a#. Hi hand pa ed thro)gh them" he $a riding pre+ario) !# on an )neven ea of dim hape . no other man-made tr)+t)re fo!!o$ed. on+e maintained b# the tate. on!# abandoned emptine . tr#ing feeb!# to p)!! him e!f )p. . In $i!d pani+. . had vani hed. he !a# ga ping. . . the tr)+k +rept )p a teep a +ent. among ?agged bo)!der . i!ent and foreboding. /here $a on!# i!en+e" the tr)+k. . /he tr)+k began to +!imb . $ondering ho$ o!d it $a . 3o$ there $ere fe$er +ar . 8He!pB8 he ho)ted. ?) t above the tai! pipe. tringing $ire from a h)ge ree!. he had been po itive the battered red pi+k)p tr)+k $o)!d head dire+t!# into to$n. It faded !o$!#. /rai! of mi t +!)ng to the peak" Mo)nt Diab!o $ent a !ong $a# )p. t)pefied $ith fright. there $a nothing here b)t a tate fire to$er. 3obod# !ived here" )dden!# there $ere no fie!d . 3o +) tomer !ived o)t thi $a# . It $o)!d be ni+e to be in front. repairman. the bo# +!)t+hed at the pi!e of boxe . -erthe! on !o$ed the tr)+k and hifted noi i!# into !o$. . /he fie!d be+ame )nkempt. . He $aved gai!# at a Pa+ifi+ /e!ephone Co. the bo# dropped to the road. 6a+kie !a# tret+hed o)t among the +arton and boxe . . a +it# $here he +o)!d get o)t and r)n aro)nd. =nder him. en?o#ing the ride. di!apidated farmho) e !a# to the right" he $at+hed it $ith intere t. . . It $o)!d be ni+e. 9roping de perate!#. he tr)gg!ed to +at+h ho!d of the boxe dire+t!# above him. no$ forgotten. among a!mo t invi ib!e phantom . take him and the !oad to (an @ran+i +o or 4ak!and or -erke!e#. /here $a nothing here. -roken. the roar of the tr)+k $a fading. and ma#be a $ater hed. Dimmer and dimmer the tr)+k gre$" it r) t# red ide be+ame gra#. /he tr)+k $a approa+hing the ba e of Mo)nt Diab!o . agging fen+e $ere vi ib!e o++a iona!!#. Hi voi+e e+hoed aro)nd him" it $a the on!# o)nd . . a broad expan e of tree and tre$n bo)!der . 5ith a roar and an exp!o ive be!+h of exha) t ga e .t fir t he didn*t be!ieve it . in the +abin. !one!# drive " never have di +overed that he +o)!d !ook 8ahead. a!mo t imper+eptib!#. b)t he had to be!ieve it. ga<ing +omp!a+ent!# at the apri+ot tree and +ar . then +o!or!e . He hivered. .gain t the hot k# the peak of Mo)nt Diab!o ro e. @or a moment he +!)t+hed at the retreating hape of the tr)+k" then. He !)r+hed and !id do$n. He +!o ed hi e#e and !a# ba+k. In the hado$ of the mo)ntain. no !onger !egib!e.gain t the ba+k $indo$ a ha!f-dead f!# b)<<ed. the t)mb!ed !ope of the mo)ntain. Let them h)rr# if the# $anted. (t)nned.nd an abandoned pi+ni+ area. . 2o!!ing hi!! . /he impa+t ent him ro!!ing into the dr# $eed be#ond the drainage dit+h.!! at on+e he $i hed he hadn*t +ome. 5hen it $a o)t of ight. and $ith a i+kening +r)n+h. omino) and harp. gent!#. . /he motor $hee<ed. $i!d +o)ntr# ide. the air $a +hi!!. Mr .

there $a no +ompetition here. the men approa+hed. . . no$" the# tood at the end of the $ooden p!atform. me!!# ha+k . 8. -erthe! on had gone. hi e#e harp and keen a he peered eager!# into the ba+k of the tr)+k. . /he fir t time he had gone 8ahead8 he had fo)nd the o!d tr)+k f!o)ndering in a ea of b!a+k a h.8 the +)!vert a! o exi ted . /he# . he thre$ the tr)+k into ne)tra! and +oa ted to a top. on!# a vag)e ?)mb!e of hattered tone. and da hed head!ong thro)gh the $arp to get there fir t.8 he to!d him. he began p)!!ing on the hand brake. 4n+e again. .nd the road $a )tter!# b)ried. /he# grabbed him )p. a ort of $ooden p!atform onto $hi+h the tr)+k no$ ro!!ed. their food and medi+ine and +!othing and in tr)ment and too! and ra$ materia! . (he mi!ed +omp!a+ent!# . a!read# beginning to p!)+k them o)t onto the b!a+k gro)nd. the# $o)!dn*t be ab!e to !eave in their hip. 9ripping the teering $hee! of the tr)+k. he $a making her trip a!one. $aiting impatient!# for her. b)t ome of them +o)!d fix it. /he# $ere a!$a# $orking" one !itt!e additiona! ta k $o)!dn*t make m)+h differen+e.8 85hat tr)+k:8 the# demanded. ro+k and green +r)b b) he had faded o)t. .8 /heir hand darted ba+k a if eared. 8/ho e have to be +he+ked off. Here. he needn*t have h)rried. He $o)!d never kno$ $here he $ent" he $o)!d never find o)t $ho her +) tomer $ere. -e#ond them $a their ?)mb!e of +r)de.!! he kne$ $a that Mr . that there $a no other $a# the# +o)!d get their )pp!ie . -erthe! on $a +on +io) that the tran ition had taken p!a+e. poking hopef)!!# at the pa+kage . dirt#. . !i+ked hi dr# !ip . (he didn*t !ike an# of them . and be#ond that. Aag)e!#. (he kne$ $hat it $a 7 to!en arm# propert#. (he had !earned the exa+t moment to 8go ahead8" it $a the in tant that the tr)+k pa ed the drainage +)!vert a . (he had been o ex+ited b# her di +over# that da# that he had neg!e+ted to 8 +an8 +ondition on the other ide of the ho!e. me!!ing of $eat and fear.8 Profe or Cro$!e# m)ttered. He hadn*t made it. $aited. the# had done virt)a!!# ever#thing in their po$er to make thing ea ier for her. !ot he +ared abo)t their hip. . 84ff the tr)+k. -erthe! on gr)nted a non+ommitta! an $er. their hip. .(ometime !ater. b)t there $a !itt!e !eft of it. (etting her bon# hand rigid!# aro)nd the gear hift knob.8 he m)ttered. and he kne$. grabbed )p her inventor# heet and p!odded )p to Cro$!e#. . Mr . Like a$ed. after a!!. Mr . orange tate maintenan+e tr)+k had !)r+hed to a top" t$o men in khaki $ork +!othe $ere +!imbing do$n and h)rr#ing over. -erthe! on tern!# +!imbed from the tr)+k. (he had kno$n there $ere +) tomer . .)arter mi!e in ide the tate park.fternoon. pitif)! +hi!dren the# +!) tered aro)nd the tr)+k. . probab!# not m)+h !ater. (he +o)!d ee them. .nd if the# didn*t get their )pp!ie . . . dirt# men. g!an+ed at Ma ter on. their bodie and +!othe treaked $ith grime.8 He nodded. 8ahead. and $aited.)ea! of brake . . /he men had b)i!t a +r)de trip of road o)t into the a h. =nder the $hee! of the tr)+k the ro)gh board th)mped and banged. 85hat are #o) doing here:8 8@e!!. 8Ho$:8 He +o)!dn*t te!! them. he $a aro) ed b# the . It had a!$a# been that $a#" the# kne$. fa+e erio) and a!armed. Mr . . the +) tomer $ere o eager to dea! $ith her. . and the an+ient +oating of de peration that never eemed to !eave them. he $a a$are that the ro!!ing bro$n fie!d . 85hat* the matter:8 one #e!!ed at him. 8Here no$. In fa+t. It $o)!d be bad if he had a f!at tire .8 he aid harp!#. 8>o) !eave tho e a!one. 8>o) ?) t $ait.

8 Pat aid apprehen ive!#.)ite a va!)ab!e fa+)!t#. (he had never been m)+h intere ted in the re!ation hip bet$een their $or!d and her . . ma#be he i a $it+h.8 he aid +ri p!#. in the 8ahead. Ho$ +an he not kno$:8 @!anner# hr)gged. he began +he+king off ea+h box a it $a +arried from the tr)+k.8 Ma ter on aid brief!#. 8.8 5i tf)!!#. @!anner# and Patri+ia (he!b# tood together at one ide" @!anner# he!d the mone#. . (evera! time . Doe he: Doe he kno$ $hat he* doing: /hat he +o)!d ave ) a!! thi b# haring her abi!it#. t)rned it into b!a+k a h and r)in. )nder hi breath. not o an#bod# +o)!d ) e them. 83o$ $e +an get ro!!ing.)e ta!ent. $hat I*d give to be ab!e to go ba+k $ith her. If he +o)!d ee. Her ro)tine $a exa+t and +ertain" it $a part of her !ife. 8.he $a g!ad of that. 8(ome gingerbread. 8(he +an ee the a h. 8(he probab!# doe n*t +onne+t it $ith her o$n !ife. He aid the tr)+k faded o)t. 8-)t he doe n*t )nder tand it. b) ine and profitgetting exorbitant rate from ) . and he ha that )ni. It $a her po$er. +)r or# g!an+e had to!d her that" he +o)!d ee the r)in $ith her o$n e#e .8 Ma ter on trode over. the hip* +rammed to the gi!! . 5e ma# even have to it do$n and eat ome of that no$. . Doe he kno$ $hat* happened to o)r $or!d:8 @!anner# +on idered. . the r)in. 8It $o)!d be ni+e.8 @!anner# +orre+ted. e!!ing thi t)ff to ) at an in+redib!e premi)m. . I mean. 5ith thi t)ff. and that he +o)!d go from one to the other and ba+k. not her .8 @!anner# grinned tark!# and ran a tremb!ing hand thro)gh hi thinning b!a+k hair. ma#be that* $hat $it+he $ere . .8 He hook hi head. member of thi gro)p. mi!k. . he*!! be dead in a +o)p!e of #ear . !ong a he +o)!d remember he had tran a+ted b) ine in a di tin+t $a#. her fa+)!t#. Ma#be $e o)ght to have a !a t-mea!-before-the-f!ight org#.8 8. 8no$ $e +an te!! her to go !eap in the river. . peop!e from thi $or!d. mind 2e her .8 8It* been tried. rea! +offee.8 he aid.t !ea t. it $a their b) ine . he $on*t ee the $ar in her rea! time.nd he +ame $a!king ba+k. . (kinn# o!d $it+h. It* been a !ong time in+e $e*ve had food !ike that.8 8-)t he +an ee. 8/hat !i<ardhead /e!!man tried it. profit.8 8Damn !)+k# for ) . he*d kno$ that. -) ine . to take a!ong $ith ) . . Her father had ta)ght her ho$ to !ive in a b) ine $or!d" he had !earned hi tem prin+ip!e and r)!e . o!d $omen $ith trange ta!ent . 3ot a hared fa+)!t#.nd he $a the on!# one $ho kne$ ho$. he made the tran ition.he might make good o)p. +overed $ith a h. .nd for a per on in b) ine . in thi $or!d. (he $a fo!!o$ing them no$. pa#ment for the de!iver#.8 . 8/he !a t !oad* here.i<ed mind . mind !ike that. 8-a+on. Like her-being ab!e to pa thro)gh time. (he*!! on!# ee it thi $a#. 8Probab!# he doe n*t kno$-or +are. had tried to go 8ba+k there8 $ith her. /he# hadn*t taken ver# good +are of their $or!d.re #o) )re:8 Pat a ked nervo) !#. 8Let* ki!! her and boi! her in a big kett!e. It m) t give #o) a damn fine en e of e+)rit# to be ab!e to $a!k o)t of one $or!d into another. .!! right. It* ?) t paper. .8 8In the oven.8 Ma ter on pointed o)t. 8(he* o-$e!!. ort of trave!og)e of trange !and . a $arped.In thi $or!d.nd the ?oke i that mone#* $orth nothing to ) . .fter a!!. mi erab!e f!ea. (he $a +ontent to kno$ that both exi ted. egg . 9od. the# $ere !eft behind. -)t he* +a)ght in a narro$ !itt!e ro)tine. .8 Pat per i ted. /he# had $a ted it a!!. Ma#be $e $on*t hove it in deep-free<e. (tanding $here he +o)!d keep her e#e on them. (he +an enter and !eave-b)t $e*re t)+k.8 8I $i h #o) $o)!dn*t ta!k !ike that. . . a a region into $hi+h he +an trave!.8 )+h thing didn*t exi t. Pat aid. It had a!$a# fai!ed. 85e!!.8 He indi+ated a b)!ging pa teboard +arton of gro+erie . . 5e!!.

. /he member of the +o!on# $ere toi!ing )p the !ope.8 @!anner# aid oft!#. 85hat am I )ppo ed to do $ith them:8 . 8(he drove it ba+k to 5a!n)t Creek. /he vio!ent pa m of $rath had vani hed" no$ a +o!d.8 he aid to the o!d $oman.8 .no)gh* eno)gh. high-fre.)iet!#. /he# $eren*t dependent on the r) t# red tr)+k.8 @!anner# aid. -)t $e rea!!# have to go. handing her the mone#. +o!d!# am) ed. +hi!! g!a<e !a# over the aged feat)re . 5e*ve got to take off. /here $a an expre ion on her fa+e that none of the gro)p had ever een before. 8. 8I mean. 8Here* #o)r !oot. 8. Her e#e $ere !ike gra# ro+k . /he o!d re!ation hip had ended. )tter!# $itho)t fee!ing. /he toxi+ !eve! i ri ing-if $e ta# an# !onger it*!! tart de tro#ing ) . the inf!exib!e ro)tine of . /he# had their hipment" the# $ere read# to !eave. 83o more hipment . @!anner# $a n*t impre ed. $e +o)!dn*t have got together eno)gh )pp!ie .t fir t her fa+e ho$ed nothing. . 8Mr .8 4n the $ithered fa+e.8 Cro$!e# napped. 8/he#*!! be hipped to me.8 @!anner# aid mi!d!#. 8-)t I p!a+ed order for tho e thing .8 Her voi+e $a thin. . 8$e +an*t ta# an# !onger. I*!! have to pa# for them. 5itho)t emotion. 8(ome of the e $eren*t avai!ab!e.8 Ma ter on aid apprehen ive!#. +ertain ten ion faded from them" for the fir t time. It $o)!d be intere ting to ee a +o)ntr# tore that to+ked bino+)!ar mi+ro +ope . -a+k to DE&F. -erthe! on. !)gging the +arton to the +he+k area beneath the hip. +)nning !ook !id over the an+ient gra# e#e . 8M# 9od.8 Mr .8 @!anner# aid.8 He t)rned to Cro$!e#.nd the#*!! be ver# expen ive. 85e*re taking off. >o) kno$. . and more of it ift do$n a!! the time. then ret)rned the ten-page t#pe$ritten !i t that Cro$!e# had given her on the previo) vi it. 8>o) ordered tho e thing B >o) have to take themB8 Her hri!! voi+e ro e to a +ree+h of f)r#. @!anner# framed hi bitter an $er. 8i n*t that too damn bad. I don*t to+k a!! that in m# tore. .8 Cro$!e# exp!ained. 8#o)*ve done a !ot for ) . b!eak. /hat b)n+h of meta! from tho e !aboratorie ba+k . Do #o) ee a!! that b!a+k a h: It* radioa+tive. 8(o that* $h# I have to +harge #o) a !itt!e dearer. @!anner# ank re entf)!!# ba+k. 84n item I bring in-8 (he examined her inventor#.a t-the# aid ma#be !ater. t)rret !athe . 8>o) +an +an+e! a!! the ba+k order .8 85e!!. If it $a n*t for #o). 4n!# a vag)e inabi!it# to )nder tand. 85e +an*t ti+k aro)ndthi p!a+e i getting hot.8 8(h)t )p. fro<en pa+k of antibioti+ . #o) +an*t expe+t ) to ta# aro)nd here forever. grinning tark!#. Pat (he!b# intervened.dna -erthe! on tood +!)t+hing her inventor# !i t.)en+# radio tran mitter .8 8It doe n*t matter. advan+ed textbook in a!! fie!d . Ma ter on and Cro$!e# !ooked )nea i!# at ea+h other.8 he aid . I marked them ba+k order. $hether $e $ant to or not.8 he aid bri k!#. di ma# t)rned to gro$ing $rath. the o!d $oman t)rned and trode i!ent!# ba+k to her tr)+k. 8(orr#. Mr .8 the o!d $oman +ontin)ed.8 85e kno$. 8Let* to in the re t. 8 Comprehen ion +ame.8 he aid. -erthe! on trode over to @!anner#. Let* t)ff it do$n her goddamn throat.8 Pat fini hed a$k$ard!#. I have to end o)t for mo t of it.nd $e*re ver# gratef)!. +an #o):8 /here $a no re pon e.br)pt!#. the# $eren*t afraid of her. thr) ting o)t the handf)! of bi!! .)ee<e.8 Cro$!e#. b)t the o!d $oman ?erked f)rio) !# a$a#.8 (he rea+hed o)t her hand to to)+h the frai! ho)!der. $orried and ten e.8 Cro$!e# hot him a $arning g!an+e.8 .8 @!anner# aid.84f +o)r e it did. 85ho are #o) ta!king to:8 8. fe$ item +o)!dn*t be fo)nd. 85e*re f)!! )p. 8Here* the inventor#. 85hat the he!!. 8 /he )n!oading had been +omp!eted. a++ompanied b# Profe or Cro$!e#. tried to peak to the o!d $oman. even if #o) $o)!dn*t he!p ) thro)gh the ho!e in #o)r time. 8(he )re i mad.

4ne tep !ed to the next . 8 . an intri+ate $eb of $or!d into $hi+h he +o)!d tep. !ooking thi $a# and that. the# $ere ab!e to e +ape. . . . 8Look. 3o$ he needed to dredge another. into the vario) 8 ahead . of +o)r e. he kne$ it $a the one. rationa!!#. peering $ith her deep inner en e.$ept p!ain of darkne remained. !ithered for a hort di tan+e. pa ing bright tore and ho) e and )permarket . )n. 5ith a m)ff!ed roar. It $a a perfe+t market" the gro)p $a a perfe+t +) tomer. It ro!!ed off into the a h. /he hip $a $e!!-b)i!t. there $o)!d be no more market. Hopef)!!#. (he had. taken in over the month . Chi!di h greed f!) hed a+ro hi thin fa+e. He to ed the bright meta! +an high in the air and +!)m i!# +a)ght it again. and her mind $a o!d . no other o)r+e of )pp!#.nd $hen the# !eft. . 5hat he $anted $a !a+king7 the# $ere ea+h $itho)t +) tomer . 8. /he market had petered o)t. -e+a) e of her hort ightedne . fort)ne. 5itho)t her. /he pattern of 8ahead 8 $a +omp!ex. made it manife t. Her innate b) ine in tin+t +ertified it" the parti+)!ar 8ahead8 +!i+ked. Can $e open ome: Can $e get one tin open. from among the m)!tit)de of po ibi!itie . -)t the# $ere !eaving.nd it $a her po$er to e!e+t" he had tepped into that one. Her thin !ip $rithed" in her mo)th an a+id ta te of bi!e ro e. . . /here $ere man# of them . . (e. before he !o+ated it. and then faded o)t. .arthB8 It $a tr)e. he itated a a)tomati+ ma+hiner# !o+ked. 8CoffeeB8 /e!!man ho)ted g!eef)!!#. and thoro)gh!# te ted. It $a tota!!# be+a) e of her7 he $a the on!# one $ho had po e ed the po$er to bring them their )pp!ie . the parti+)!ar +hain in $hi+h the h)dd!ed +o!on# had !abored to +on tr)+t it hip. (he $o)!d never find a market that ati fa+tor#.!! ho$ed b!eak p!ain of b!a+k a h. (he $a re pon ib!e for !etting them get a$a# after a!!. the tr)+k t)rned in a $ide ar+ and r)mb!ed off do$n the +r)de p!atform. b)t not to a!ternate +hain . (he had taken it for granted that the# $o)!d +ontin)e to b)#-there $a no +ompetition. . b)t no$ he had pi+ked it o)t. thi one $a )ni.nd he had made it po ib!e. the# $ere he!p!e . if he +ared. he drove ba+k to to$n he meditated +a!m!#. -)t a!! $ere empt# of $hat he $anted. 8 /here $a more than one. 8Coffee-fifteen po)nd of it. . the red pi+k)p tr)+k ?ogged meta!!i+a!!# a!ong the road. @ro<en it into rea!it#. to$ard the a h. In the !o+ked box at the ba+k of the tore. In 8ahead8 after 8ahead8 the hip ro e. re+eived from the impri oned +o!on# a it toi!ed to +on tr)+t it hip.)e.nd a oon a he fo)nd it. $ith great pre+i ion. Mr -erthe! on +anned 8ahead8 and a$ that the men $ere te!!ing the tr)th. hidden do$n )nder the re erve a+k of grain. . 4f the po ibi!itie . he began the ?ob of ear+hing thro)gh ea+h of the +hain . . /he 8ahead 8 !a# !ike a pattern of .8 Cro$!e# aid tone!e !#. he +a t abo)t. b# entering it. +e!ebrationB 4)r !a t night-!a t mea! on . and then b)r t from . /here $ere o man#. . Caref)!!#./e!!man h)rried )p.8 he ga ped. /hat parti+)!ar 8ahead8 had proven )n ati fa+tor#. 4n!# the b!eak. g!an+ed at the o!d $oman getting into her tr)+k. to +e!ebrate:8 8()re.)en+e $ere +onne+ted !ike bead on a tring" there $ere +hain of 8ahead 8 $hi+h formed inter$oven !ink . /he tr)+k $a entering the p!ea ant to$n of 5a!n)t Creek. Dredged it )p from among the man#. devoid of h)man habitation. $a a!mo t t$o h)ndred and fift# tho) and do!!ar . (he hadn*t ) ed her head. and then bent do$n to root aro)nd in one of the +arton of gro+erie .)are . a virt)a! infinit# of po ib!e 8 ahead . hi e#e on the tr)+k.

It ?) t +o)!dn*t.nd a!! he had to do.8 Cro$!e# repeated. and then +ra hed into the heap of r)bb!e that had been Mo)nt Diab!o. /he hip f!o)ndered. . to$ard the morning tar. Cro$!e# managed to p)!! him e!f to hi knee . t$i ted meta! heet . the hot a!t# ta te of hi o$n bod# f!)id !eaking he!p!e !# o)t. 85e*re do$n. haken and m)te. t)mb!ed.8 Ma ter on . and p!)nged ba+k to$ard the . making hi $a# +!)m i!# over the tattered remain of their $or!d. . the rear ?et tore !oo e. @!anner# tirred. moking in the di ma! i!en+e.)avered. . /he t)rbine fired. .8 Ma ter on began to gigg!e. .tart over.)en+e of fai!)re. b)t there $a no en ation. too be$i!dered $ith de pair. 5hen he took her !itt!e b) ine trip. ro e from the p!ain of b!a+k a h. It $a /e!!man.n artifi+ia! !ight f!i+kered.)+h a !itt!e thing$a e!e+t that e. the damage $a repaired. It +o)!dn*t be. ea+h !ink. and the hip $a ea!ed. and pit+hed over. /hat $o)!d do perfe+t!#. -)t one +hain $a +orre+t. .mergen+# !anding ?et . Hi kinn# bod# t$it+hed aim!e !#. /ear treaked the grime of hi +heek " drop of thi+k moi t)re dripped do$n hi ne+k into hi +harred +o!!ar. ne hip !o$ed. -roken. . (he $ant ) to ta# here. hovered for an agoni<ing in tant. 8I*m a!! right. -)t then the men +ampered o)t. 85e*!! get a$a#. He gaped foo!i h!# at Cro$!e#" hi g!a e h)ng from one ear and part of hi !o$er ?a$ $a mi ing. 8Do #o) think-8 83o. deve!oped perfe+t!#. a#ing omething again and again. . he ignored" he a$ no advantage in that. /here the remain of the hip !a#.br)pt!# he +o!!ap ed fa+e-for$ard into a moking mo)nd of )pp!ie .8 4n Ma ter on* hattered fa+e g!ittered the fir t tirring of h# teria. . (ome$here in the ha!f-darkne .)en+e $hen he made her next trip. /he pre )re !o+k +!o ed. and began going over the t)rbine . pa$ing feeb!# at a deep ga h in hi +heek. C) tomer B8 . (he fixed ) . and the hip. /he t)rbine !a hed" exha) t po)red o)t .the ?a+ket of atmo phere. $oman groaned" +attered among the ro+k and b)+k!ed e+tion of the hip !a# the in?)red and d#ing.arth. 8(he did it. ear+hing for the fa)!t# part . 8It i n*t po ib!e.)ent !ink .8 he aid. 85e*!! a emb!e the remain . In a fe$ 8ahead 8 the hip fai!ed to take off at a!!. f)ti!e ta k a!! over again. $ith a h)dder. 8(he kno$ $e*!! be here $aiting for her. broken tooth throbbed. pat+hing the ro+ket )p . . /o begin the mi erab!e. the fo!!o$ing (at)rda#. to in pe+t the damage. Hi mind $a too da<ed.8 83o. He h)t o)t the tho)ght. in )b e. /hat $a $hat he $anted. /ho e. @rom the hip the men emerged. and the hip remained a it $a . .a+h e!ement. thi+k oo<e of b!ood dripped into hi mo)th. . Cro$!e# m)ttered. Cro$!e# !a# ha!f b)ried in the b!a+k a h.8 8(he*!! be ba+k. Ma ter on $a bending over him. He tried to move hi !eg. In a fe$ 8ahead . /he o!d $oman mi!ed to her e!f.n )pright hape ro e.8 Cro$!e# ra ped. In !ater egment a!ong the +hain. the hip exp!oded into $hite-hot fragment . /hree mi!e )p. . $ere franti+a!!# thro$n on. dropped in a +reaming dive. 5re+ked. (o nothing $a gained.8 8I kno$. and the takeoff $a ati fa+tori!# +omp!eted.8 the $a ted e. to +omprehend. Co!!e+ting )pp!ie . de igned for Aen) .

8 Cro$!e# aid. He didn*t be!ieve it" he made him e!f not be!ieve it. 85e*!! get a$a#. 5e*ve got to get a$a#B8 .83o.

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