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80 true believers John Pat terson, Day ton’s flood-time hero, made his fortune in cash registers. Cash registers are—think about it, Chad said—an open admission that money is a temptation and people steal. The early National Cash Register sales literature stated this fact quite freely. Why should a merchant spend big money on a machine to tally sales and issue receipts ? So an employee couldn’t charge nothing. So an employee couldn’t slip a friend two dollars of change instead of one, or pocket a customer’s payment, or miscalculate a sale. So a customer couldn’t return a sales item and say he’d paid full price. The cash register business was founded on the propositions that employer and employee have inherently different interests, that transactions benefit from daylight, that money is a powerful lure. None of the cash register’s suppositions about human behavior is positive. It is, in its essence, a surveillance machine. The other invention associated with Dayton—Chad went on—is more uplifting. Wilbur and Orville Wright were the bottom half of four brothers; their father, with whom they lived his entire life, was a United Brethren bishop known for his devotion to his family and his obstinate, often divisive, 81 true believers theological convictions. Their mother died of TB before Wilbur and Orville reached adulthood, and Wilbur nursed her in her final days. Their sister, Katharine, who also lived with their father, was the rare woman of that time who sought and obtained a college degree. The Wright brothers were not college-educated; in fact, neither of them finished high school. They were bright enough—the family had hopes of sending Wilbur to Yale, and Orville in seventh grade won an award as the best math student in the city—but for years they bounced around, the sort of young people that in a higher social stratum might be labeled dilettantes. When Orville tried to date a young woman from a prominent local family, her mother said, “You stay away from that boy. He’s crazy.” As a youth, Wilbur, after a hockey injury, was laid up for years with heart palpitations, writing later, with some passion, of how a man can become “blue.” He worked as a clerk in a grocery store, as a printer, and briefly published a local newspaper . Eventually he and Orville opened (Chad winked at this moment, said, “this is the famous part”) a bicycle shop, where they built the bicycles they sold. The Wright Brothers were slight, neat, slim-hipped men—birdlike, you might say. They always wore business suits, Orville’s much nattier than his brother’s. Shy and awkward, they never courted or married. Wilbur wrote to a relative: “I entirely agree that the boys of the Wright family are lacking in determination and push.” And yet. “For some years,” Wilbur wrote in 1900, “I have been afflicted with the belief that flight is possible to man.” “Afflicted,” Chad said. “Isn’t that an interesting word?” “Eduardo, mi hombre,” the man in the booth said. “You guiding the woman’s tour today?” Lila was the sole passenger in a truck entering the Grid, her car left behind in an underground garage. She had been iris-scanned, beamed by a materials detector, and patted down. She would be spending the night in a Grid guesthouse. She had been told to bring 82 s ha r p a n d d a n g e r ou s v i r t u e s a change of clothes and toiletries, but no percs or phones were allowed. Her driver, Eduardo, had driven right up to the Grid barrier and through an archway that led to a checkpoint . Behind the checkpoint was a slightly shorter wall that was curved to block any outsiders’ view. There were soldiers with rifles on either side of the road; on the left, beside the checkpoint, a woman soldier seemed to be making time with the man in the booth. Eduardo had a definite accent, and Lila wondered where he’d come from. He was taking her, he said, to the guesthouse at Village 42. Other than that he’d said little. Perhaps his English was a problem. “Shut your mouth!” the female soldier cried to the man in the booth. She leaned into Eduardo’s truck and spoke directly at Lila. “Don’t let these mariachis give you a bad first impression .” Lila nodded awkwardly. “You been...


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MARC Record
Launched on MUSE
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