Commonwealth: A Novel of Utopia, part 3, chapter 2
Author’s Note: This is an excerpt from my novel Commonwealth. The rest of today’s installment is free, but only on my Patreon site. If you want to read the next part today, it’s already up on Patreon as well. You can sign up for as little as $1/month, or $2 for exclusive author’s notes and behind-the-scenes material. There’s also a table of contents for all published chapters.
Eddie flipped through his folder, struggling to corral the loose pages. He seemed to be searching for something that the Cabinet would find manageable.
“Let’s see… fire at an offshore oil platform… er, bridge collapses, dam collapses, plane crashes… more service cutbacks on the New York subways… another pipeline spill, I’m sure you wouldn’t want to trouble yourselves with… flooding in the Midwest caused by heavy rainfall… um, toxic gas leak at a pesticide plant, five hundred dead… er. Oh, here’s one. How about the flow of people across the Mexican border? The numbers have gone up the last few weeks.”
This clinched it for Asha Remington. Her temper had been building throughout this frustrating meeting, but she had kept it on a tight leash. It would have been improper, not to mention harmful to her business relationships, to vent her bile against her fellow executives. But an incompetent underling was an acceptable target.
“I fail to see the problem,” she said curtly, jabbing a finger at Eddie. “Have I taught you nothing? Open borders are an indispensable component of liberty. Men should be free to seek a better life wherever they can be more productive and their labor will be better compensated. Can you really be so stupid as to fail to see this? What possesses you to think it a problem if Mexicans are coming here?”
Eddie looked trapped.
“Er, no, Madam Secretary… You don’t understand. They’re, er… that is, the people are going the other way.”
There was a frozen moment while this sank in.
Then Remington gave a scream of fury.