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Page 4.
Machine Man (serial)
CHAPTER TWO

One morning I woke to find a short woman sitting at the foot of my hospital bed. She wore a green suit with large buttons. A thick black folder lay in her lap. Her hair was neat and straight and corporate. She was a lawyer.

“Hey, you.” She smiled sympathetically. “Feeling better?”

“Uh… yes.” I noticed a tiny black box in her hand, with a blinking red light.

“I’m recording our conversation, remember?”

“I just woke up.”

“You were awake when I notified you, I’m sure. It was right before you said you felt on the path to a full recovery.”

I sat up. “Are you from the company?”

“Yes. I’m Cassandra Cautery.” She smiled. Her teeth were like needles. Or maybe that was the painkillers. I was on a lot of drugs. “I’m here to help.”

“I’m not going to sue.”

She glanced at her black box. “You just confirmed that you decline to take legal action against Better Future, is that correct?”

“Wait.” My brain was beginning to work. “Now I’m not sure.”

Cassandra Cautery rose from the bed. Her face was blank and terrible. She came closer until her face blotted out the world and her hair dangled above my cheek. Her breath smelled of cinnamon and betrayal. “Are you trying to threaten me?”

“What? No.”

“Hinting at legal action following a commitment to desist from same is actionable. Did you know that?”

I didn’t even know what that meant. “No.”

“Who’s advising you? Seddon?”

“I don’t know any Seddon.”

She exhaled. It was like a summer breeze, from somewhere evil. “This isn’t over.” She tucked her folder under her arm and walked out. Her skirt was very snug.

I realized I was holding my breath. I felt shaky and close to tears. I had never been in love before.

4.

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Machine Man subscriber Danni (#357)

Location: England
Quote: "Eagerly awaiting the European Tour."
Posted: 3834 days ago

Woah. That was scary. And weird. I can't wait to read more :)

Thomas (#1221)

Location: Germany
Quote: "One more, and I'm going to consider you my penpal."
Posted: 3834 days ago

Holy snickertips, this part threw me from starboard to ... the other nautical side at least three times!

I hope that evil pin teeth thing returns for more rollercoasting.

Machine Man subscriber crashmstr (#3881)

Location: Kansas City, USA
Posted: 3834 days ago

Wow. Awesome Max!

Noble Brown (#2407)

Location: Washington , DC
Quote: "Those that can't criticize"
Posted: 3834 days ago

Nice bum and needle teeth...what extremes MAX WOW

towr (#1914)

Location: Netherlands
Posted: 3834 days ago

Haha, this is soo Max Barry. :)
Yes, you've become an adjective.

Ajna (#3795)

Location: USA
Quote: "Judge if you want. We are all going to die one day. I intend to deserve it."
Posted: 3834 days ago

Don't be mean. He's not an adjective, he's a verb. So anyway, I completely Max Barryed that essay last night. I think I got an A.

Jeffers0n (#3865)

Location: Maryland, USA
Posted: 3834 days ago

Yes! A page thats a real entire page. I like this Cassandra character so far, she seems like she could be interesting.

Erin (#1481)

Location: Seattle
Quote: "Living is easy with eyes closed"
Posted: 3834 days ago

I'm sorry, but this was too predictable for me. How often is it that your main character falls in love with the first totally out of his league and unlikeliest of love interests?

I love your stories, but you seem to have fallen into another pattern.

Jennifer Gniadecki (#3308)

Location: Chicago-ish
Quote: "Happier than you and dragging you along for the ride"
Posted: 3834 days ago

I think having a page start with "I had never been in love before." rather than ending the page after that scene with it would have worked better.

Only because it turns into a cliffhanger in a serial, which gives it way more power than I think it should have.

I don't know if I'm supposed to be waiting for more leg info, laywer info, or love info. I like to know what I'm anticipating :) (of course I read books in a day because I can't stand putting them down so this format is a rather uncomfortable process for me right out of the gate!)

Unqualified picking aside - I like the story so far and if I could just go to amazon and buy the book to stop with the page a day thing - I'd do it in a heartbeat. It's like water torture.

Hazran (#946)

Location: UK (bottom bit)
Quote: "Only smoke when on fire."
Posted: 3834 days ago

Snappy dialogue, reminds of Syrup but5 different, you know, in a good way.

Michael (#3884)

Location: Here
Quote: "Wait, what?"
Posted: 3834 days ago

As soon as it said there was a woman at the end of the bed I knew where this was going. The fact that she sort of scared him was the icing on the cake. It screams 6.

But hey, it's only the fourth "page!" Can't wait to read more!

Machine Man subscriber M.I.Minter (#347)

Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA
Quote: "When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading."
Posted: 3834 days ago

Sitting at my desk,
in cube land,
talking forklift parts,
this story,
it's like a cool breeze,
blowing on pyramid builders.

thankyou.

Best
Monday
Ever

Cautery....like Cauterize....you are one clever fracker Max.

Amber (#3671)

Location: Oregon, U.S.A
Posted: 3834 days ago

I loved the first three pages, this one flopped a bit. Sorry, had to say it.

The woman seems very scary though, our hero falling for her like that hints more at how interesting a character he must be than it tells about her actually.

This whole page a day thing is pretty awesome.

Machine Man subscriber Toby O (#2900)

Location: Sydney
Quote: "You can't sell your soul to the devil if he's not buying"
Posted: 3834 days ago

Did anyone else instantly call to mind Angelina Jolie? Um me neither.

Machine Man subscriber David (#1456)

Location: Sydney, Australia
Quote: "Why are the pretty ones always insane?"
Posted: 3833 days ago

Yes, Max's male characters often seem to fall in lust with the bitchiest, most cold hearted women going. But that's just like real life, we do love the dangerous unobtainable ones! Exactly like so many women go for the badest of bad boys. Really, we humans are a pretty sad lot when you think about it.

Angelina Jolie? No way, she's got the "mothering the world" thing way too bad to be attractive any more. Too many kids, and tats...

Jared Squared (#3446)

Location: Boulder, CO
Quote: ""Never turned my back on society, society turned its back on me.""
Posted: 3833 days ago

I actually like the addition of the female character. However, straight hair just hangs; curls dangle.

Ted Kern (#3864)

Location: Las Vegas
Quote: "The problem facing the world today is stupidity. I'm not saying to kill the idiots off, just take the safety labels off everything and let the problem fix itself."
Posted: 3833 days ago

Wow, pretty interesting, I see another "Company" like novel in the near future. Very interesting and original characters, as always. Your stories contain few cliches.

MYOB (#3892)

Posted: 3831 days ago

This page was the funniest thing I've seen all week. Whoever said about "I'd never been in love before" being in the wrong place is wrong. So wrong.

Machine Man subscriber tim (#3234)

Location: chattanooga, TN, USA
Quote: """
Posted: 3831 days ago

It's good to hear that Blake Seddon got out of selling mercs and is back to his old games of advising low self-esteem protagonists.

Thick black folder, eh? Like Six's but more on the thick and less on the big, right? You know we're not going to let you get away with anything, right?

Is this taking place in the not too distant future? It has a futuristic feel but I can't put my finger on why. Maybe it's a futuristic version of present day.

John Williams (#3899)

Location: colorado
Quote: "williams.john2@yahoo.com"
Posted: 3830 days ago

Her breath smelled of cinnamon and betrayal... great line, friggin hilarious

Gustav Bertram (#3906)

Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
Quote: "Eschew Obfuscation"
Posted: 3826 days ago

"You were awake when I notified you, I'm sure. It was right before you said you felt [you were] on the path to a full recovery."

Or

"You were awake when I notified you, I'm sure. It was right before you said you [were] on the path to a full recovery."

Michael Ricksand (#2212)

Location: Terra
Quote: "You do not have a right to be stupid."
Posted: 3814 days ago

"Her breath smelled of cinnamon and betrayal." XD That line's going to become a classic.

Machine Man subscriber Randy (#2374)

Location: Ravena, NY
Quote: "I could write a book about being lazy. I just don't feel like it."
Posted: 3733 days ago

Have been going back and reading this again for the fun of it! I absolutely love the line: She exhaled. It was like a summer breeze, from somewhere evil.
Brilliant line.

Machine Man subscriber Chyna Trople (#2393)

Location: Portland, OR
Quote: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it. --Upton Sinclair"
Posted: 3726 days ago

"Her breath smelled of cinnamon and betrayal."

I know exactly what that smells like. Spot on Max!

Machine Man subscriber Jason Wallwork (#4608)

Location: Peterborough, ON, Canada
Quote: "Soylent Green is people."
Posted: 3575 days ago

I love that expression too.

Machine Man subscriber Ben (#3924)

Location: Alberta, Canada
Quote: "I don't wanna ride the elevator."
Posted: 3572 days ago

While I love the continuing escapades of Charlie in my inbox everyday somehow they seem somewhat familiar. Perhaps its because page 4 was delivered already, except half a year ago.... Why the recycle? Are they rewritten already page by page?

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