Fiction to the Second Powers
Toward the end of Gain, a woman living through the last stages of cancer learns that, after months of unsponsored research against smiling resistance from company flacks, the cause of her illness has been isolated and the firm might be made to settle:
Sue them, she thinks. Every penny they are worth. Break them up for
And in the next blink: a weird dream of peace. It makes no difference
whether this business gave her cancer. They have given her everything else.
Taken her life and molded it in every way imaginable, plus six degrees
beyond imagining. Changed her life so greatly that not even cancer can
change it more than halfway back. (320)
The garden, whose tending was a Sunday refuge from her own corporate workweek, is also the source of the chemical that kills her. Before the cancer, she had “never thought twice about Clare” (6). The company, like the ads and school programs and television station it sponsors, is too pervasive to command special notice in the Midwestern town where it's headquartered.
She hums the corporate theme song to herself sometimes, without
realizing.…Two pots in her medicine cabinet bear the logo, one to apply