William Doonan

I write books and stories.

MedicineLand: Chapter Sixty-Six

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“I can’t accept this.”  Hammermill tore the page to shreds.

Adam said nothing.  He stared out the window onto the sprawling Sentec campus, admiring the sunset, feeling good about himself.

“And there’s the issue of the patent you filed.”

“I successfully completed the terms of my employment,” Adam told him.

“This is a resignation letter,” Hammermill reminded him.  “And you have a contract.  That means I own you for at least thirty-two more months.  And you’ll need to amend the patent.”

“I won’t amend it,” Adam said.  “And I am leaving.  As of today.”

Hammermill faced him squarely.  “I’m not going to pretend I like you,” he said, “but you have a legal arrangement with this company.  You cannot register a patent in your name if that patent is the result of work product.  Your transfat macro is a work of genius, though the name you chose, ‘Magic Molecule’ will need to be amended along with the patent holder identification.”

“I’m keeping the name,” Adam told him.  “And if you read my contract, the contract you had me sign when I began working here, you’ll see that I am precluded from registering a patent in my own name.  You’ll note that I did not register the patent in my own name.  The patent belongs to Adam Westlake and Denise Rosen.”

“It’s still work product,” Hammermill said, his voice almost a yell.  “They too are prohibited from registering their own patents.”

“And they didn’t,” Adam reminded him.  “I registered the patent for them.  It’s an ass-fucker of a loophole.  If I were you I’d work with my legal team to rewrite that section of the contract.  As it is, the contract is binding.  You’ll want to incorporate it into your product line, but you’ll be paying them royalties.  When you come in tomorrow morning, you’ll find their resignations on your desk as well.”

Hammermill worked on maintaining his calm, his cheekbone muscles flexing as he breathed deeply toward a calm.  “Adam,” he began, gripping the edge of the table, “you and I both know I’m not going to let you just walk out of here, don’t we?”

Adam picked up a water glass, tossed it from one hand to the other, getting a sense of its heft.

“Don’t even think about it,” Hammermill told him.  “If you throw that glass at me I will have you arrested for assault.  You should know that this conversation is being taped.”

“Not just being taped.  It’s being monitored as well.” Adam figured that Tom Kerwin or some other senior manager was sitting somewhere close by, staring into a monitor.

Hammermill sat back.  “Why don’t I take a different approach ?  How about this; l bought you.  If you break your contract with me, your SUBA contract reactivates.  You’re never going to leave us, Adam.”

Seven ounces, Adam guessed, feeling the heft of the water glass.  That could take out a tooth it necessary.  But it wouldn’t become necessary.

“See, I know all about you,” Hammermill continued.  “Baker gave me your file.  Little orphan boy raised by the state, comes under the wing of some tweaker family who pimped him out to support their habit.  Thin little boy; you didn’t even get fat until you were twelve.  Why Adam?  Is it because pedophiles don’t find fat boys attractive?”

Adam watched the clouds through the window, watched as they moved gently, effortlessly, obscuring the setting sun.  Down below, in the west parking lot, Sentec employees were finding their cars, thinking perhaps of the potential left in this day.  There would be food, there might be music, and god willing, there might be mating.

“And don’t even think about making a life with that whore Celeste,” Hammermill continued, putting his feet back up on the table.  “I’ve had a go at her a few times myself and I have to say I found it lacking.  Perhaps it was a lack of enthusiasm, I can’t be sure.”

Adam stared.  At this distance, he calculated, a seven ounce water glass properly propelled could reduce between eight and twenty teeth to dental powder.  But that wasn’t going to be necessary.  He took out the little gold cigarette case from his pocket and opened it.

“No smoking in the building,” Hammermill cautioned him.

Adam pulled a thin cigarette-shaped tube from the case.

“I’m going to give you right back to SUBA,” Hammermill told him.  “It will be like you never left, only they have a new cook now, so maybe you’ll be working on the line.”

Adam gestured with his finger, bringing a hesitant but grinning Hammermill closer.  “You shouldn’t have called her a whore,” he said.  He set the tube firmly between his lips as if it were a joint.  He smiled at Hammermill and blew the powder into his face.


Written by williamdoonan

September 12, 2013 at 9:38 am

Posted in Fiction, MedicineLand

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