C_M_ Kornbluth - The Marching Morons

C_M_ Kornbluth - The Marching Morons - THE MARCHING MORONS...

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THE MARCHING MORONS by Cyril M. Kornbluth Some things had not changed. A potter's wheel was still a potter's wheel and clay was still clay. Efim Hawkins had built his shop near Goose Lake, which had a narrow band of good fat clay and a narrow beach of white sand. He fired three bottle-nosed kilns with willow charcoal from the wood lot. The wood lot was also useful for long walks while the kilns were cooling; if he let himself stay within sight of them, he would open them prematurely, impatient to see how some new shape or glaze had come through the fire, and-ping!-the new shape or glaze would be good for nothing but the shard pile back of his slip tanks. A business conference was in full swing in his shop, a modest cube of brick, tile- roofed, as the Chicago-Los Angeles "rocket" thundered overhead-very noisy, very swept back, very fiery jets, shaped as sleekly swift-looking as an airborne barracuda. The buyer from Marshall Fields was turning over a black-glazed one-liter carafe, nodding approval with his massive, handsome head. "This is real pretty," he told Hawkins and his own secretary, Gomez-Laplace. "This has got lots of what ya call real est'etic principles. Yeah, it is real pretty." "How much?" the secretary asked the potter. "Seven-fifty in dozen lots," said Hawkins. "I ran up fifteen dozen last month." "They are real est'etic," repeated the buyer from Fields. "I will take them all." "I don't think we can do that, doctor," said the secretary. "They'd cost us $1,350. That would leave only $532 in our quarter's budget. And we still have to run down to East Liverpool to pick up some cheap dinner sets." "Dinner sets?" asked the buyer, his big face full of wonder. "Dinner sets. The department's been out of them for two months now. Mr. Garvy- Seabright got pretty nasty about it yesterday. Remember?" "Garvy-Seabright, that meat-headed bluenose," the buyer said contemptuously. "He don't know nothin' about est'etics. Why for don't he lemme run my own department?" His eye fell on a stray copy of Whambozambo Comix and he sat down with it. An occasional deep chuckle or grunt of surprise escaped him as he turned the pages. Uninterrupted, the potter and the buyer's secretary quickly closed a deal for two dozen of the liter carafes. "I wish we could take more," said the secretary, "but you heard what I told him. We've had to turn away customers for ordinary dinnerware because he shot the last quarter's budget on some Mexican piggy banks some equally enthusiastic importer stuck him with. The fifth floor is packed solid with them." "I'll bet they look mighty est'etic." "They're painted with purple cacti." The potter shuddered and caressed the glaze of the sample carafe. The buyer looked up and rumbled, "Ain't you dummies through yakkin' yet? What
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C_M_ Kornbluth - The Marching Morons - THE MARCHING MORONS...

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