The Circle by Dave Eggers


The Circle by Dave Eggers

Author:Dave Eggers [Eggers, Dave]
Language: eng
Format: epub, mobi
ISBN: 978-0-385-35140-9
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Published: 2013-10-07T18:15:00+00:00


A few nights later, on a cloudless Thursday, Mae drove home, her first time since her father’s Circle insurance had taken effect. She knew her father had been feeling far better, and she was looking forward to seeing him in person, hoping, ridiculously, for some miraculous change, but knowing she would see only minor improvements. Still, her parents’ voices, on the phone and in texts, had been ebullient. “Everything’s different now,” they’d been saying for weeks, and had been asking to have her come celebrate. And so, looking forward to the imminent gratitude, she drove east and south and when she arrived, her father greeted her at the door, looking far stronger and, more importantly, more confident, more like a man—the man he once was. He held out his wrist monitor and arranged it parallel to Mae’s. “Look at us. We match. You want some vino?”

Inside, the three of them arranged themselves as they always had, along the kitchen counter, and they diced, and breaded, and they talked about the various ways the health of Mae’s father had improved. Now he had his choice of doctors. Now he had no limitations on the medicines he could take; they were all covered, and there was no copay. Mae noticed, as they narrated the story of his recent health, that her mother was brighter, more buoyant. She was wearing short-shorts.

“The best thing about it,” her father said, “is that now your mother has whole swaths of extra time. It’s all so simple. I see the doctor and the Circle takes care of the rest. No middleman. No discussion.”

“Is that what I think it is?” Mae said. Over the dining room table, there was a silver chandelier, though upon closer inspection it seemed like one of Mercer’s. The silver arms were actually painted antlers. Mae had been only passingly enthusiastic about any of his work—when they were dating, she labored for kind things to say—but this one she genuinely liked.

“It is,” her mother said.

“Not bad,” Mae said.

“Not bad?” her father said. “It’s his best work, and you know it. This thing would go for five grand in one of those San Francisco boutiques. He gave it to us for free.”

Mae was impressed. “Why for free?”

“Why for free?” her mother asked. “Because he’s our friend. Because he’s a nice young man. And wait before you roll your eyes or come back with some witty comment.”

Mae did wait, and after she’d passed on a half-dozen unkind things she could say about Mercer and had chosen silence, she found herself feeling generous toward him. Because she no longer needed him, because she was now a crucial and measurable driver of world commerce, and because she had two men at the Circle to choose from—one of them a volcanic, calligraphic enigma who climbed walls to take her from behind—she could afford to be generous toward poor Mercer, his shaggy head and grotesque fatty back.

“It’s really nice,” Mae said.

“Glad you think so,” her mother said. “You can tell him yourself in a few minutes.



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