TEC: Chapter 60: You’re a Fool
Meanwhile, back in the C Plot, Shane Barrington is officially in No Fucks Left To Give mode, now that Stephanie is dead.
He fired two top-level managers who questioned one of his decisions. Even though they were right, he didn’t like to be challenged in any way. He was a walking time bomb.
Though actually, this isn’t exactly a big change for Shane. Twice in these last two books, Phillips went out of his way to create near-identical scenes in which Shane fires an innocent employee.
Stephanie’s death had hurt him more than he realized. His hurt had turned to anger, and his anger had turned to hatred.
The Phantom Menace released: 1999
The Europa Conspiracy published: 2005
Anyway, right now might not be the best time ever for it, but Paul Wallach has called Shane’s office five times to request a meeting. Paul, seriously, chill.
Shane agrees and Paul comes in (to the office in New York? from North Carolina? okay). But little does he know that he’s entered the Truth Zone.
“Number one: There’ll be no starting date. Number two: You won’t get a salary. Number three: You won’t have any responsibilities. Number four: Your writing stinks. Number five: I only used you to get information on Murphy. I didn’t care about your writing style. Number six: Your scholarship is discontinued. And number seven: You’re a fool.”
Okay, let’s break this down. Obviously, this sucks for Paul, who “had thought of Barrington as a father figure.” Though Paul’s experience with father figures has not been uniformly positive, given his actual father.
As far as the job goes, that sucks for Paul, too. But in all fairness to Shane, he never promised Paul anything. Yes, he certainly implied that a job was waiting for him when he graduated, but Shane certainly had no obligation to provide one. Paul’s going to graduate in a matter of weeks, so he’s really not in a worse position than he was before.
Which brings us to the very odd assertion by Shane that the scholarship is discontinued. You mean the scholarship that has presumably already been paid to Preston University to cover Paul’s last semester? The scholarship that won’t matter in a few weeks? That scholarship?
Really, Paul is still coming out of this a winner, financially, at least. He’s had at least a year, I’m thinking more like three semesters, paid for by Shane Barrington. He’ll be graduating with no debt, albeit without an immediate job offer. And honestly, if the scholarship money even becomes an issue (and I can’t see how it really would be), I can only imagine the response if Paul were to take his problem to the dean of students.
Paul: So then he said my scholarship was revoked.
Dean: What?? Why would he do that?
Paul: Well, he said the whole scholarships thing was just so I could unwittingly provide inside information about the school’s most famous and headline-making professor.
Dean: Oh, really???
But, of course, the most important thing about this whole exchange is that it makes Paul realize that Shari was Right All Along.
He remembered Shari’s reaction to Barrington: Shari hadn’t trusted him from the very start.
Well, yeah. Because he wasn’t a RTC (like Paul), and Shari has a big problem trusting anyone who doesn’t attend her particular church.
Now he realized that his life was hollow and empty, and he was alone.
Yeah, because his mean “girlfriend” dumped him, and his corrupt “mentor” also dumped him. I just think that says more about them than about Paul. You’ll be okay, buddy! Just enjoy your graduation!