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Free Trade

        "You agree in principle with the notion that the market must be free," said the alien.
        "Yes," said Eiffel.
        "Then sign."
        Eiffel signed. As did all the negotiators. The technological goodies the aliens were offering were just too good.
        "I'm leaving home," said his daughter Prim, a month later.
        "Leaving home?" said Eiffel. "Don't be ridiculous! You're only thirteen! And where did you get that jacket? That watch? And that - is that a diamond?"
        "My new daddy gave it to me," said Prim, smirking her fallen angel smirk. "He's nicer than you are."
        And she walked to the open door.
        Where the alien was waiting, glowing softly - the alien equivalent of a smile.
        Eiffel got his gun, and the next thing the cops were on the scene. The judge was merciful, and let Eiffel get away with probation, which was more than he deserved.
        For five years, Eiffel was lost in grief, like millions of other parents in the rich West.
        The sixth year found him in Brazil, WholeBody Saliva Diagnostics Karry Kit in hand, a Brazilian Portuguese translator on one side and, just in case, an off-duty Brazilian policeman on the other. Brazil had signed up to free trade, just like everyone else, but, hey, some people just don't recognize progress when they see it.
        "Kid, you hungry?"
        The translator translated. A kid approached. Eiffel smiled. The kid smiled back. Boy, girl, Eiffel hadn't figured that out yet, didn't know, didn't care, just wanted, wanted love, household, family, affection, wanted to be a family man once again.
        "Hungry?"
        This time, the translator did not bother to translate.
        The kid took the hamburger.

the end





NATIVE SPEAKER ENGLISH

"If you don't oil this part there will be big trouble."




INDUSTRIAL DESIGN


"Ryan." There was a note of warning in Maple's voice, so Ryan switched off the dzela. Home life. The company believed in it. He'd been told so as the job interview.



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FREE TRADE first posted 2003 June 19 Thursday. Copyright © 2003 Hugh Cook - all rights reserved.



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