Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Machine - short stories online

“Boy, this thing really does give you quite a workout, man,” Carl’s friend Dan said as he pulled against the massive spring on the new Workmaster II prototype. Carl was an inventor and a sort of jack-of-all-trades. His latest and greatest invention was that of the Workmaster II workout machine. Carl was excited that it worked and that it worked very well based on his guinea pig’s reports. Finally, he had constructed a viable product that actually might have a demand. Though he had been disappointed before, Carl hoped he could make some money this time for all of his endless effort. He had spent several months developing and designing the machine. This one had hope though, unlike some of this past attempts, such as the toilet seat warmer and the electric tape dispenser. His friend Dan hopped off of the contraption with sweat pouring off of his brow. “Hey, when you get this thing off of he ground let me know, I might buy one myself!” Carl smiled from ear to ear after hearing such positive feedback from his buddy. “Glad you like it. I’ll send you the first production model free of charge.” “Great, thanks,” Dan replied, “Look, I have to be going, but you keep up the good work.” “Thanks, see you later.” Carl was left with a sense of accomplishment as he excitedly contacted his financing business partner and let him know it was finally complete. Carl set up a demonstration of the new contraption with him for the next thy. Fortunately, he was very impressed with Carl’s machine and signed a contract with him to mass-produce the invention. He felt lucky that he had caught his backer on a good thy. Carl walked out of the meeting with a check for ten thousand dollars and a contract that allotted him 20% all sales thereafter. Finally, Carl had hit the jackpot. He was elated as he strolled into his bank to cash his fat reward for a job well done. He deposited his check except for $500.00 cash so he could celebrate with a grand night on the town. Several months later, Carl was watching T. V. late one night. An infomercial came on for his invention, the Workmaster II. Carl watched with excitement as the skimpily clad models exercised on his machine. They had almost perfect bodies with large powerful muscles. Every few minutes a toll free number popped onto the screen telling viewers to send $99.95 in and they too could look like the models did. Carl was delighted to see his unit being sold on national T. V. even though it was rather late at night. Carl became excited as he realized that he might actually make a fair amount of money in the coming months. At almost $20.00 a unit for his profit, he would be raking in the money. The next month, Carl received a check for $20,000.00! His infomercial was on almost every night now and even some Sunday’s during the day. He could not wait to see the next check. Carl called his business partner to inquire how thing had been going at the factory. Fortunately, he explained to Carl that the units were selling like hotcakes. They were having trouble keeping production up to match the tremendous demand for his new machine. Needless to say, Carl was floored. He had never in his wildest dreams thught that one of his inventions would do so well in the marketplace. Over the next six months, Carl’s bank account swelled to over a million dollars. He invested most of the money wisely so if future inventions were a flop, he would be covered financially. With that much money to spare, Carl took some time off He had finally made the big time and could afford not to have to work for a while, although he never dreamed of retiring. Carl loved to invent too much for that. One day, Carl’s new cell phone rang while he was enjoying a round of golf with his old friend Dan. It was his business partner on the line and he was somewhat upset. “What is the problem?” Carl asked. “Well, it seems that we have had a complaint from a customer that may present a problem in the future. It turns out that the customer was injured by the Workmaster II he had just bought last month. The main power spring snapped at its juncture with the sliding joint causing it to slam full force into the customer’s forehead. Unfortunately, this crushed his skull with relative ease causing instant death. Now, we haven’t had any more complaints as of yet, hopefully this incident is isolated, but you might want to get some advice on how to proceed from here from your lawyer.” “My lawyer? What do you mean my lawyer? I don’t have a lawyer. I signed over the production rights to your company. It is not my fault that one you your customers died,” Carl argued sensing that he may be in trouble. “If you will refer to your contract under section two, paragraph four, line 3, it reads: The original designer retains all liability in any case of design flaws whether perceived or real and agrees to hold J. K. manufacturing harmless. Like I said, Carl, you better talk with your lawyer. Hopefully, this one will go away though.” “I will have my lawyer call you. Goodbye!” He quickly hung up on his business partner of the past. Carl was notably upset over the situation. The next day he brought his contract to a local lawyer and retained his services. He left copies of all the documents and a $1,000.00 retainer fee. The lawyer promised to read over the legalese and call Carl with an English translation of his actual limit of liability at the end of the week. Two days later Carl started getting calls from angry relatives of customers who had bought his machine. J. K. manufacturing had started to refer the calls directly to Carl. Before the day was out, Carl had referred nine more people to his lawyer about injuries resulting from broken power springs. Unfortunately, several of them were complaining about fatalities. Carl began to get extremely worried. He tried to think of how he could have overlooked such an obvious design flaw when creating his machine. Carl immediately called his lawyer and inquired about the situation. Basically, his lawyer said he was screwed legally. He also demanded more money to defend the multitude of cases that had presented themselves. Carl coughed up ten thousand more dollars for him to do research and gather evidence in his defense. Over the next three months, Carl was served with twenty-three separate lawsuits by the local sheriff A recall of the units had already been set into motion by J. K. manufacturing but it was too late for many of the poor customers. Carl lost all of his newfound fortune on the defending and settling of the suits. Unfortunately, he had to claim bankruptcy before it was all over. A few weeks later, a giant body builder whose girlfriend had been killed on the Workmaster II assassinated Carl. It is always good advice that one should completely read the fine print carefully before signing anything at all. Unfortunately, Carl did not heed such advice and he was ruined as a result


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