University of South Florida Textbooks > Great Free Enterprise Gambit

Great Free Enterprise Gambit




Author:James A. Baar

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Great Free Enterprise Gambit Description

"Gambit" is the satiric story of International Coagulants, a glittering corporate octopus bleeding to death from grossly inept management, and a cast of dubious characters battling each other for control amid clouds of spintalk, cant and illusion.

The time is the late 1970s but it could be today. Readers and critics of no known relationship to me have called this book one of the funnier ones around on Big Business pomposities and sleazy politicians. Modesty, of course, prohibits authorial concurrence. However, this book most certainly is a virtual case history for my recently published "The Careful Voter's Dictionary of Language Pollution (Understanding Willietalk and Other Spinspeak)."

The "willietalk" dictionary is a decryption device for decoding and combating the current flood of deliberately polluted language that always says real sewage is Chardonnay and real Chardonnay is sewage. At International Coagulants, J. Wigglesworth ("Wiggy") Pratt, shakily reigns as CEO, a thirsty "Roman senator with silver hair, great dignity and blue but somewhat fishy eyes." He tries to save the company with a series of smarmy new ventures, well-cooked books and a secret deal with Major Ibn Mamoud, elegant Levantine representative of the Sheik of Sharm, the beneficial owner of Yankee Properties, Inc.

Meantime, Ward Winchester Read, Wiggy's arch rival who looks like a cross between Jack Kennedy and a frustrated battle tank commander, plots a takeover from exile in a plush non-person suite in the IC Tower in New York.

Others with key roles are the power hungry Senator Jefferson Jennings Bryan of the great state of Louisiana; a sinister ex-CIA operative and master of disguise; a Mexican Zapotec Indian oil billionaire named Joe the X; and Gaston Edsel, a former fork-lift truck operator elected to Congress by a fluke, elected Vice President in error and elevated to the White House when his running mate resigned after being exposed as an unemployed summer stock impersonator of presidents.

There are multiple plots, slippery maneuvers, double betrayals, spinspeak news releases and stumblebum connivings. The IC Tower itself is besieged by a private IC army of social dropouts recruited under a government contract to serve as peacekeepers in Third World countries. The stock market swings insanely, folly is loosed and the world wanders toward cataclysm. But don't despair: The President is awakened in the Oval Office from his usual post fast-food lunch nap just in time to defend Free Enterprise and the "American Dreamette." A final surprise resolution comes decked in yards of euphemism. And there is even something of a vision (limited) for tomorrow.

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