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Short Story: "Scaling K2" (part 3 of a series)

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Les shrugged in confusion. "What the heck for? Isn't that the slum where JonesCo wants to put up more overpriced condos and strip malls?"

"To stop them, that's what for."

He was aghast. "Stop them? Are you nuts? What are we going to do, wave some signs in their faces?"

"Have you been living under a rock?" Angela said in exasperation. "The whole point of being here, in fact the whole point of Occupy Wall Street, is to focus people's attention on how those with power have been using it against those without it. If waving signs makes that happen, then we'll wave signs. But this fight isn't about the square we're in, any more than Wendell Jones' subsidized housing developments are about serving the underclass. They're about power, who has it, and who doesn't."

"Oh, right," Les retorted. "If you think the two of you are going to have any effect on his plans, you ought to check yourself into the psych ward and get fitted for a rubber room."

"Look," Angela said fiercely, "you don't have to be part of this if you don't want to. But please don't get in our way. C'mon Ifan."

*     *     *

The neighborhood that Wendell Jones had targeted for rebuilding was abuzz with activity when Ifan and Angela stepped off the bus. Rented vans were parked in front of several of the tidy little post-war homes on the block, and people were hurrying about with boxes and furniture. They walked to the nearest van and approached a white-haired man who was sliding a heavy book box into the back.

"Excuse me, sir," Ifan said. "I heard that JonesCo was helping people in the neighborhood to move. How's that going?"

The man took off his glasses and rubbed his eyes with the back of his hand. "Y'know," he said, "it's really not fair of them to force the issue like this."

Angela glanced back at the man's home. "You didn't want to move out?"

"Hell, no. My wife and I had this place paid off years ago. But then the insurance company threatened to cancel if we didn't replace the roof, and the only way to afford that was to remortgage the house. When the crash happened, I lost my job as an expediter for the factory and haven't worked regular since then. We limped along on whatever part-time work we could find, but then my wife took ill. Miss a couple of payments and the bank wants to foreclose. JonesCo offered to clear our debts if we moved to their subsidized housing complex on the other side of town, so it was either that or the street. We're moving, but we're certainly not happy about it."

"So you've already sold your house?" Ifan said.

The man gave them a puzzled look. "Sold it? No. They told us they'd take care of everything. Right now, we're just trying to get moved out."

Angela nudged Ifan. "Doesn't Jones deal in CDOs?"

He nodded. "I'm Ifan Davies, and this is Angela Scarlotti. We're from Occupy Wall Street. If there were a way to keep your house, would you be interested, Mr"?"

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Ever since I learned to speak binary on a DIGIAC 3080 training computer, I've been involved with tech in one way or another, but there was always another part of me off exploring ideas and writing about them. Halfway to a BS in Space Technology at (more...)

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