A Few Things Ill Considered

The Bottleneck Years

by H.E. Taylor

Chapter 80 Table of Contents Chapter 82

Chapter 81

Visitation Rights, November 19, 2059

I watched the days tick by, waiting for Wednesday. How would Jon receive me? What would his state of mind be? I was on tenterhooks when I placed the call. I should have known better.

“The prisoner Jon Fontaine can only receive visitation between 1400 and 1500.” I was informed by a bored looking official.

It was just after 8 in the morning, and there was a one hour time difference which meant I had another 5 hours to wait. Plus I had a lecture scheduled at 10:00.

I had a light breakfast and set out for CCU, leaving a wary Edie behind. She was concerned for me, but she also had a big order to fill on the fabs and she was busy. Anna may have noticed the tension, but she was otherwise unaware.

I muddled through a lecture on the ecology of tropical islands, answered questions for half an hour and watched the clock tick slowly forward.

At 13:01 I called Haverfield again, this time from my office. I was given another number to call. With only minimal difficulty, I got through to Jon. He was angry. Bitchy might be closer the truth.

“Jon, are you okay?”

“I’m fine.”

“They’re not mistreating you?”

“No.”

“Good.” For a few seconds we stared at each other. “How in the hell did this happen?”

Jon shrugged.

“What made you think you could get away with gaming the agricultural markets?”

“Who told you that?”

“That’s what Carillon is saying.”

“They’re full of it.”

“Then why?”

“Why is a letter of the alphabet.”

“What?”

“Luc, you shouldn’t be involved.”

“I already am involved. Did you talk to Bergmann?”

“Oh, so you did send that weasel around.” He stared at me for 5 seconds. “Why?”

“What do you mean?”

“I shit all over your project and you’re still acting the dutiful brother. Why?”

“You’re my brother, Jon. My only brother, now.”

He stared at me like he had never seen me before, then started off on a new tack. “Have you ever considered the danger the AU presents to North America?”

“What?”

He launched into a diatribe which I will not reproduce here. He lectured me for ten minutes about the failings of UNGETF. Then the vitriol started. Those damned Chinese. Those starving Africans. Those Moslem fanatics. They all had to die. He had no choice. He blamed everybody but himself.

I was literally shaking when I cleared the call. I sat in my office, stunned, staring at Matt’s sunbugs in the clear plastic cube. I was so glad I hadn’t called from home and exposed Edie and Anna to his hatred. I made a resolution then and there never to call Jon in their presence.

How had my brother become so twisted? This was the guy who had worked in his youth to save those very same people he was now condemning. What had happened to him? He sounded like an fanatic. As soon as I thought that, I remembered the eco-cop’s question: “Did I know Suzanne Elsevier was an American?”

Who was Suzanne? I hadn’t even known her last name. How could she have turned Jon against his own principles? I was at a loss.


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 February 25, 2014

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