A Few Things Ill Considered

The Bottleneck Years

by H.E. Taylor

Chapter 52 Table of Contents Chapter 54

Chapter 53

Carillon, March 8, 2057

When I got home that afternoon I discovered that one of my new students had surreptitiously video logged me. Edie met me at the door with, “I watched your whole lecture today.”

“What?”

“It’s true. You’re all over the forums. There have been thousands of downloads.”

I shook my head a little dismayed.

“People want to know what’s really going on and nobody believes the official reports.”

Anna heard my voice and came running into the kitchen. I was hot and tired, so I dropped down on one knee, rather than lift her, to perform our nose rubbing ritual. “I saw you on video.” She planted a big wet kiss on my cheek and bounced off into the front room.

“There’s not much in my lectures that isn’t in the reports,” I said to Edie.

“Perhaps, but you make it understandable. You put a human face on a big scary process and people need that right now. Hell, I need that and I have you to talk to. I’m sure many others feel the same.”

I shrugged.

“Do you ever drop into the forums?”

I was heading towards the basement and a shower. Shaking my head I said, “I don’t have much time for cafe society.”

“Supper in half an hour!” called Edie when I was halfway downstairs.

A quick shower always cools me off and refreshes my outlook.

During supper we made plans to go for an evening walk beside the lake, but before we finished Jon called.

I opened a big wall screen and remained at the table, so Edie and Anna could hear and see everything that was said.

“Hi Jon. What’s up?”

“I saw your video.”

“Oh.” Edie smiled and Anna was beaming.

“You’re gonna be a videostar if you don’t watch out.”

“I doubt that.” I shook my head.

“You would. Anyway, I wanted to tell you I’m now working with the Carillon Group.”

“The sunshaders?”

“Yeah.”

“What are you doing for them?”

“It’s kind of vague. Government relations.”

“It sounds like they’re shopping for off-the-record lobbyists.”

“Maybe. Did you know the Committee was virtual?”

“No. How do you know that?” The Committee held a nominal presence in Pittsburgh alongside the American Senate. How they actually handled it, I didn’t know, but it could have been virtual.

“I got dragged into a meeting yesterday.”

“What did they want?”

“They wanted to know about Matt and you and Carillon. Did I know Matt’s business? How often did I see you? That sort of thing.”

“What was it like?”

“Like being eviscerated. I had to sit in a special chair that monitored my physical reactions.”

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah. I really just called to say I saw your video.”

I nodded.

“You take care.”

“You too. Catch you later.” I closed the screen and toyed with my cold stir fried vegetables.

“It’s obvious why Carillon hired him,” said Edie.

“Yeah? Why is that?”

“To keep tabs on you and the Senator.”

I considered the idea, but didn’t reply.

“Jon is either too naive to see it or too proud to admit it.”

“Perhaps, I don’t know.”

“These guys won’t tell you what they’re really doing.”

“I know.”

Anna started fussing so I stood behind her and lifted her off her chair.

“Are you ready to go for a walk, young lady?”

“Stroll,” said Anna.

“Yes in the stroller.” I looked at Edie. “We can do the dishes later. Let’s go.” Anna was pulling my arm.

“Okay.”

Anna ran out of the kitchen and down the hall.

Sunsets had become spectacular with the sulphates in the northern hemisphere. Orange and green overhead shaded to ruddy gold in the far west and deep magenta in the east painting the circle of the sky. Anna watched the wildlife and the sky in wide-eyed wonder, then fell quietly asleep in the stroller. Edie and I walked amiably around the lake and home.


Excerpted from _The Bottleneck Years_ by H.E. Taylor

For further information, see
A Gentle Introduction.

If you want a copy, see
The Deal.

Last modified August 13, 2013

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