he long-suffering public went along with billboards and singing commercials; they tolerated half a dozen sales pitches in a half-hour radio or TV show; they suffered stoically through the "hard-sell" and the "soft-sell." But when the hucksters turned the wild blue yonder into a vast television screen, they howled...
I mean, only a handful of guys have ever gone out there. A drop in the bucket. I mean, Mars and all that may be fun to visit, but who'd want to live there?"
Andrusco turned to him slowly.
"The apples in the new orchard may be sour, Mr. Blacker. But if your livelihood depended on your own little stack of fruit--would you be willing to sit by and take the chance?"
Tom shrugged. "And is that the public relations job? To keep people out of space?"
"Put in its crudest form, yes."
"A pretty tough job. You know that guff about Man's Pioneering Spirit."
"Yes. But we're worried about the public spirit, Mr. Blacker. If we can dampen their ardor for space flight--only delay it, mind you, for another few years--we can tighten our own lines of economic defense. Do I make myself clear?"
"Will you take the job?"
"What does it pay?"
"Where do I sit?"
* * * * *
By the afternoon, Tom Blacker was ensc