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Doing Well While Doing Good

Hayford Pierce


From the unassuming Lexington Avenue offices of Rider Factoring, Ltd., Chap Foey Rider managed, in his spare time, his family's investment portfolio. In late November he called his broker with orders to sell all transportation securities: General Motors, Exxon, United Aircraft, Braniff Airlines, Norfolk & Western Railways, the proceeds going into 90-day Treasury Bills. Calling a second broker, he gave instructions to sell short a broad range of transportation stocks.

So. In for a penny, in for a pound, he reflected. He then sat back and waited, a plump, middle-aged, Anglo-Chinese merchant of nondescript features. If he was apprehensive, he gave little sign of it, beguiling the time by smoking an occasional cigarette.

At 3:14 the intercom buzzed.

"Mailroom, Mr. Rider. A large package just arrived. The return address says Sagittarius. Official Service of the Mandator?" The voice trailed off in a rising note of hysteria.

"Splendid," said Chap Foey Rider, making a note to overhaul the mailroom personnel, "I shall be there directly."

He gathered his four sons, John, Chong, Chan, and Wong, graduates respectively of Cal Tech, MIT, Stanford Engineering, and Harvard College, and proceeded sedately to the mailroom.

"This is ridiculous, as well as being impossible," sniffed the son from Harvard. "A vulgar hoax."

Chap Foey Rider did not reply.

A parcel some four feet around sat on the floor. His sons unwrapped the paper and twine. Chap Foey Rider was unsurprised to find that the transparent crating revealed a living being sprawled at ease in a comfortable-looking easy chair. The alien, humanoid save for light golden down on the unclothed portions of his body, nodded tolerantly and waited patiently for the crate to be dismantled.

He stood up and stepped forward. There was a slight, pleasant odor, as of cinnamon. Chap Foey Rider inclined his head a measured two inches. It was a moment of high emotion: the stars had come to mankind.

"I am Xanthil, Ambassador Plenipotentiary," said the alien benignly. "You, sir, are the Mr. Rider who has been in communication with the Mandator of the Galactic Confederation?"

"Yes, Excellency. On behalf of Rider Factoring, Ltd., may I welcome you to Earth, Ambassador Xanthil."

"It is most kind of you." The Ambassador coughed delicately. "Your air," he murmured apologetically. "Its level of pollutants is somewhat higher than on my native planet. No, no, do not concern yourself. This capsule is a quite efficient internal filter." He swallowed, then inhaled deeply. "Ah. Splendid."

Chan and Wong, the two younger sons, failed to keep their eyebrows from rising slightly.

"If his Excellency would care to step this way," suggested Chap Foey Rider, "he might deign to join us in a cup of tea, that is, an herbal infusion of mildly stimulating but non-hallucinatory and non-toxic nature."

"I should be delighted."

"And may I apologize for the foulness of—"

"Not a word, my dear sir. Indeed, 27,000 members of the Galactic Postal Union stand ready to serve you. Air-scrubbing equipment of worldwide capacity is readily available." His spaniel-like eyes glanced keenly at Chap Foey Rider.

"One could expect no less," replied the factor politely, absorbed in directing the Ceremony of the Teapot. "A matter of mere financial detail, one would suppose. Sugar, Excellency?"

"A sweetener? Two, please. As you say, a matter of minor but tiresome details of finance. But no doubt your world has experts in the matter of commodity exchange?"

"Oh, no doubt," said Chap Foey Rider. "No doubt at all."


The second cup of tea was interrupted by the intrusion of four Treasury Department agents. An imperturbable Chap Foey Rider heard them out, bade his farewells to Ambassador Xanthil, and accompanied them to the elevator. "You'll be hearing more from us, pal," muttered one of the Secret Servicemen under his breath. "Trying to keep a deal like this under the table, for Chrissakes, is like practically treason."

Chap Foey Rider inclined his head a quarter-inch in curt dismissal and marched back to his office.

"Let me call the lawyers, sir," said the Harvard son excitedly. "Illegal entry, unauthorized—"

"A moment, Wong," said Chap Foey Rider, raising a palm. "A moment's reflection first. Surely an obvious corollary suggests itself?"

"Huh? You mean they've got lawyers too?"

Chap Foey Rider sighed. "I advise you to leave such twaddle to the ACLU. Rider Factoring is a business concern. Ah, Miss Zielonka, step right in. A letter, please."

He rubbed his chin thoughtfully, then leaned back in his chair.

"Galactic Chamber of Commerce," he dictated, "Galactic Center, Sagittarius. Attention: Department of Comparative Ecology and Biochemistry. Gentlemen: I have been referred to you by Ambassador Xanthil, who assures me that—"

"Ah-hah!" ejaculated the Stanford Engineering son.

"I see," hissed the MIT son.

"Cunning old devil," muttered the Cal Tech son.

"See what?" cried the Harvard son plaintively. "What's there to—"

Chap Foey Rider waved them to silence. "John, if you would be so good as to finish this letter for me. Chong, kindly advise the newspapers of our visitor's arrival, not neglecting the Wall Street Journal. Chan, you might find it worthwhile to begin spreading rumors around the market. There is much to do and little time to do it in. Oh, and Wong," he added kindly, "you might . . . well, you might bring us another cup of tea."


The news of an intragalactic Postal Union comprising 27,000 member worlds, utilizing faster-than-light delivery equipment was received on Earth with mixed emotions. From that segment of the population which actually believed the news (14.6 percent), praise and opprobrium were heaped on Chap Foey Rider in equal amount.

"This great innovator," began the Hong Kong South China Morning Post.

"This further proof of Chinese-American collusion," roared Tass.

"This is a disturbing example of the abuses of unregenerate and unregulated entrepreneurialism at its worst," chided the Washington Post. "Although Mr. Rider is clearly to be commended for the initial astuteness by which (apparently) he alone has given Mankind the universe, the furtive, almost criminal, fashion in which Mr. Rider allegedly attempted to sequestrate the Galactic Ambassador for motives which surely can only be construed as furthering his own selfish . . ."

Chap Foey Rider snorted, tossed the newspapers into the wastepaper basket, and returned to his desk. An initial reply had been received from the Chamber of Commerce and this time there was no officious mailroom meddler to tip off the government busybodies. Work was already under way.

John was in Atlanta, talking with officers of the Coca-Cola Bottling Company.

Chong was in Los Angeles, negotiating with hotel and apartment house owners and managers.

Chan was in Tokyo, dickering with city officials.

Wong was in the mailroom, drawing up a mailing list and brewing tea.

And he himself was waiting for the New York Stock Exchange to reopen after a three-day suspension in trading. He was genuinely curious as to whether American Airlines, previously at 62, would open at a nominal 1/8 or if it would be as high as 1/4. Not that it was a purely intellectual curiosity, of course: his forthcoming expenses would be enormous. Every additional dollar that could be milked from his farsighted move of selling the market short would be welcome. That 360 computer promised for installation tomorrow, for instance—even leasing it took a substantial amount of money. What would his branch managers in Bangkok and Calcutta think of such profligacy: they, who still ran their offices with abaci?

He shook his head. One must simply move with the times. This mailing list, for example. Without the computer it would be impossible. And as for his projected activities . . . which reminded him. He made a neat note. Somewhere among 27,000 worlds there must exist a more compact, a more efficient, a cheaper computer. A useful agency to pick up. He smiled infinitesimally: how fortunate his subconscious had urged him to lease the 360 for a single month only. And, all things considered, this might be the best time to sell the portfolio's 1,000 shares of IBM. After calling his broker, he turned on the radio for the noontime news. It was much as he expected.

Ambassador Xanthil had been welcomed in Moscow by tumultuous applause and a medal: Hero of the Soviet Union, First Class.

There was consternation in Washington, whence the alien had managed to extricate himself for a worldwide tour without having made a single commitment to the furtherance of the economic or military well-being of the United States. A Democratic President and Republican Congress, recently each so eager to claim total credit for the diplomatic coup of the century, were now engaged in acerbic partisan bickering.

"Who lost us the universe?" cried the Democrats.

"Who sold us down the starstream?" riposted the Republicans.

From there the dialogue degenerated to shrill cries of Yalta and Watergate.

The single common ground was the unanimous decision to reactivate the House Un-American Activities Committee for the purpose of investigating Chap Foey Rider.

"But why you, sir?" asked Wong, setting a cup of tea at his father's elbow. "You'd think they'd be grateful to you."

"Hell hath no fury like an industrialist scorned," replied Chap Foey Rider drily.


"Ambassador Xanthil has made it abundantly clear that whereas the Galactic Confederation has nothing but the highest esteem for Earth and its aspirations, it is, nevertheless, an association bound together exclusively by trade and commerce. It is not interested in theological discussions of the free-enterprise system versus godless communism, nor does it indulge in Marshall Plans or foreign aid for undeveloped or emerging planets. Its 27,000 members are eager to provide us with unlimited amounts of goods and services, philosophies and technologies, but—and this is the key point, Wong—but only through the intermediary of the Postal Union and in exchange for equivalent value of goods or services rendered. In other words, they expect us to pay for what we order."

"Well, gee," said Wong, frowning deeply, "that sounds OK, I guess, but golly, is that really the way things are run these days? I mean, you can't expect undeveloped and disadvantaged nations or worlds to pay for everything, can you? Why." he exclaimed, making a broad gesture, "just look at our entire government policy!"

"Exactly," said Chap Foey Rider "Your argument is most cogent, and will have certainly been brought forcefully to the attention of Ambassador Xanthil. Unfortunately, he professes to reflect a universal ennui at the prospect of trading Edsels, the Penn Central, F-111's, or Lockheed overruns for controlled fusion plants, death rays or transmutation machines.

"Nor, on a higher plane, does he believe that the galactic demand for the philosophic thoughts of Billy Graham or Jonathan Livingston Seagull will generate sufficient revenues to maintain even a fourth-class postal service between here and Alpha-Centauri."

"But that's Robber Baronism," protested Wong hotly. "Like that Post editorial said, that's unregenerate and unregulated—"

"Kindly spare me," said Chap Foey Rider wearily.

"Well, anyway, whatever happened to Good Old American Can-Do?"

"Can-Do, I am afraid, appears to have sailed off with his pal Know-How in a beautiful pea-green boat," sighed Chap Foey Rider. "They were last sighted approaching Japan."


"Why, that's the most cynical thing I've ever heard," snapped the Secretary of State. "You mean to say that you alone—out of all the billions of the world—appear to have exclusive intercourse with the unspeakable rulers of this preposterous Galactic Confederation?"

Chap Foey Rider spread his hands in protest. "It is not I who imposed the circumstance, sir. Nor do I know to my own knowledge that the situation is as you describe it. I merely mentioned that my own correspondence with various galactic contacts remains uninterrupted. A question of prepaid postage on the other end, perhaps? Have you yourself," he inquired ingeniously, "tried addressing a letter and slipping it into a mailbox?"

"Of course I have, you fool!" roared the Secretary of State, his face a fiery red. "I and 200 million other people. And it comes back from the post office marked unpaid postage."

"Interesting," mused Chap Foey Rider. "But you did hear Ambassador Xanthil's speech in Paris didn't you? The one in which he said a temporary embargo had been placed on postal service to this world while he studies the mutual benefits and feasibility of actually establishing permanent relations."

"I heard it, all right," grumped the Secretary. "Damned impertinence, if you ask me: saying that on second thought it appears that Terra has nothing at all worth exchanging with the rest of the universe."

"He was not impressed, I take it, by the Russian offer of 2,000 Marxist-Leninist dialecticians and a ten-year supply of Siberian timber against assistance in establishing worldwide Soviet hegemony?"

The Secretary of State's jowls quivered "No," he snapped, "nor by the joint Chinese-Indian offer of 500 million field hands, nor by the English offer of the Royal Family and Sten guns, nor the Danish offer of unlimited Greenland icecap, the Chilean offer of unlimited Pacific Ocean, the Australian offer of unlimited sand rabbits, or the French proposal of Algerian wine and left-over maxis."

He pounded the table. "I tell you frankly, these short-sighted chauvinists have gummed up the works! If only they'd had the decency, the common sense, the . . . the fairmindedness, to let a single party, such as the United States, represent mankind . . ."

His voice trailed off for a moment. "And you, Rider," he gritted between clenched teeth, "you, you continue your treasonable, seditious—"

"Oh, come, sir. Has an Iron Curtain suddenly been rung down? I must review my copies of the Congressional Record. In the meanwhile, I am certain my legal counselor will find your remarks to be of interest. " Chap Foey Rider rose to his dignified height of five and a half feet.

"For heaven's sake, Rider, don't play the fool. If it weren't for your new-found notoriety you'd have been locked up long ago. You've virtual immunity and you know it. Even your letters—"

"Ah. I wondered about that. Have you found the agents from the Galactic Postal Union who are so obviously working somewhere within our own postal services? No? I am rather curious about them, you know. Are there vast numbers of agents infiltrated throughout the Earth, rather as a Peace Corps, happily speeding the mail on its appointed rounds, or are there just a few of them to speed up an occasional item in the hope that some Earthling would draw the correct conclusion and apply for Galactic membership? An interesting speculation, don't you think?"

"Don't rub it in, Rider, your immunity won't last forever. In the meantime, every Secret Service in the world is following your business career with fascination. Your real estate acquisitions in Los Angeles and Tokyo are proceeding smoothly, I hope?"


"And your takeover of American Bottled Gas?"

"The last stockholders gave their approval this morning."

"Your killing on the market?"

"Reinvested, Mr. Secretary, reinvested. Consolidated Aerosol, Inc."

"And your negotiations with Coca-Cola, hmmm?"

Chap Foey Rider waggled a finger. "One perceives that to you my life is an open book, from you there is nothing hidden." Smiling, he stood up a second time. "If I may be of further assistance at any future time, sir . . ."


Throughout December and January Rider Factoring's 360 hummed busily. Stacks of print-outs piled up, were scanned, hidden away in strongrooms guarded by armed Pinkerton operatives.

Chap Foey Rider paid personal visits to Phoenix, Gary, Pittsburgh, Tokyo, the Ruhr, Djakarta, and Sao Paulo. The worldwide legal expenses of Rider Factoring rose sharply.

The stock market also began to rise as the likelihood increased that the Ambassador from the Galactic Confederation would recommend against diplomatic and commercial ties with Earth. The specter of instantaneous displacement booths replacing the automobile and the 747 began to fade. On the big board Boeing jumped from 3-7/8 to 17-1/4. Lobbyists in Washington and Bonn grew cheerful.

Already glutted with American dollars, the Arab oil producers made a half-hearted attempt to sell crude oil to the stars, then reverted to their long-range goal of purchasing controlling interests in Ford and General Motors.

France withdrew its offer of Algerian red and proposed the establishment in Paris of Galactic Postal Union and diplomatic headquarters in return for 74 million liters of unsaleable '76 Bordeaux wine (a rainy spring, followed by an August drought).

Peking aired a violent attack, on Galactic Adam-Smithism and Running-Dog Laissez-Faireism; and made a final, take-it-or-leave-it offer: a six-month lecture tour by the Chairman himself in return for exclusive distribution rights to matter transmitters, anti-gravity devices, and purely-self-defensive war materiel.

More pragmatic, Moscow proposed a cultural exchange: the Bolshoi Ballet (supplemented by an additional 4,000 blonde standby ballerinas) in return for 4,000 scientists and technologists. It being well-known that the Soviet postal service was the most efficient on Earth, it was only logical that in addition the USSR be granted sole rights to administer all postal commerce between, the stars and Earth.

Jack Anderson reported from Washington that Ambassador Xanthil planned a speech to the General Assembly on February 1. He would regretfully report that as there appeared to be no mutually beneficial articles of exchange between Earth and the rest of the Galaxy, he would have to recommend that postal service to the third planet be postponed for the indefinite future. Someday, perhaps, when global unity was achieved and priorities ordered, business relations would prove worthwhile. In the meantime, the enormous costs of instantaneously transmitting matter to a postal branch of a galactic backwater could not be seriously contemplated. The final decision, naturally, must be that of the Mandator himself, but . . .

Chap Foey Rider pursed his lips. Even in middle age he retained his youthful capacity for astonishment at the antics of trained statesmen and diplomats. The prospect of world government he found dismaying: any state larger than Andorra was intrinsically incapable of—

"Pop! Sir!" It was Wong, rushing into the office. "Turn on the TV! Xanthil's been kidnapped, being held as hostage!"

Scarcely surprised, Chap Foey Rider clicked on the small portable discreetly hidden away in a filing cabinet.

It was true. For reasons best known to himself, Xanthil had elected to swing through Central Africa. The newly-emerged nation of Xenophobia was locked in the throes of civil war: supported by the West were the Arab Blacks; supported by the East were the Black Arabs. They had joined sides long enough to mount a joint commando operation to Chad, where the commandos had gunned down the Ambassador's entourage and taken refuge with their hostage in the American Embassy. The Arab Blacks demanded 100 million dollars and the release of seven commandos convicted in Johannesburg of exploding a DC-10 in full flight; the Black Arabs demanded 100 million dollars and the release of three commandos convicted in Teheran of firebombing a hospital.

The images relayed by satellite were sharp and clear: the dust-colored American Embassy; the broken windows; the tanks and milling soldiers surrounding the building. A figure stumbled through a window and onto a second-story balcony: Xanthil, grasped by three of his captors. Moments later he was pulled back into the building.

The hours dragged by. An ultimatum by the commandos was released. They were not barbarians; mere foot-soldiers in the fight for freedom. Xanthil was unharmed and comfortable in the code room. If, on the other hand, their most reasonable requests were not acceded to within the next three hours . . .

The world was informed by CBS that the finest military minds of sixteen nations were working on the problem of securing Ambassador Xanthil's safe release.

Chap Foey Rider's lips tightened, and his gaze fell upon his four sons. They were young, well-coordinated, husky; all had fought in various of his country's wars. He sighed.

Four unregistered pistols were found in the filing drawer marked Miscellaneous. Chap Foey Rider led the way to the mailroom. The transparent carton from the stars was still there. It was a tight fit, but John, Chong, Chan, and Wong were crushed in and the lid replaced.

Using a red Magic-Marker, Chap Foey Rider carefully addressed the package on its transparent surface: Code Room, American Embassy, Chad. Fragile, Emergency Routing Via Mandator's Office, Sagittarius. Official Service of the Mandator, Prepaid.

As he drew the final "d" there was a soft implosion and the package vanished. So. His reasoning had been correct. Displacement equipment was focused on the mailroom. Psionically activated? Possibly. Who cared?


Chap Foey Rider paced the mailroom nervously, lighting and stubbing out cigarettes in rapid succession.

Forty-seven minutes later the package reappeared. His four sons emerged.

"Xanthil?" snapped Chap Foey Rider.

"No sweat, sir," said John. "He's fine. There was a guard in the code room we had to take care of, which alerted the others. It took twenty minutes to mop them up, by which time the army had broken in. Xanthil's diplomatic skills were needed to dissuade them from shooting us on the spot. Eventually he quite kindly readdressed the package for us, and here we are. The Ambassador expresses his most sincere thanks and will tender them personally before returning to Sagittarius. In the meantime, noblesse oblige requires him to carry on with his sightseeing tour of Central Africa."

Chap Foey Rider mopped his brow with a silken bandanna pulled from his right sleeve. "Excellent. Well done. And now, if you will straighten your garb, there is a gentleman from Caracas . . ."


". . . and so," said Ambassador Xanthil to the General Assembly, "I must confess that second thoughts are frequently wrong; that one's initial impression is the most trustworthy and reliable . . .

"The unfortunate Xenophobian incident is, of course, irrelevant. Personal feelings must not be allowed to intrude into the smooth workings of commerce and trade, of course . . .

"It is my pleasure to inform you that I shall shortly be recommending to His Excellency the Mandator that a permanent postal branch be established on Earth, one which will promote . . .

"You may find it odd, perhaps, that the initial contracts are not with any of the great sovereign members of this splendid body . . .

"I am sure, however, that as trading skills are honed, worldwide participation in intragalactic commerce will shortly follow and . . ."


"Well, Rider," rasped the Secretary of Commerce, "are you quite content?" State merely glared, too choked with emotion to utter.

"Content?" said Chap Foey Rider, his brow furrowed. "Of course I'm content. I have achieved a lifelong ambition."

"Grrrr," said Transportation, inarticulately but forcefully. Boeing had fallen back to 2-1/4.

"A lifelong ambition, I say. Everybody talks about the weather, and now I've done something about it."

"The weather!" cried State. "What are you raving about?"

Chap Foey Rider blinked. "You haven't heard the details of the small trade I've worked out? Why, it's simplicity itself. Not only does it provide for the cost of installing the Postal Union, it generates sufficient foreign exchange to permit the purchase of goods and services—"

"Kindly get on with it," sighed Treasury. "You can crow later."

"Since you insist. You may have noticed that Ambassador Xanthil initially found our air unpleasantly full of pollutants? No? Ah. In any case, worldwide air-scrubbing machinery was mentioned, which implied that our own smog is by no means a phenomenon confined to Earth. A corollary immediately suggested itself: surely, out of 27,000 galactic members, some worlds have solved their problem of air pollution not by scrubbing, but by evolution. The air-cleansers came too late: the inhabitants enjoy breathing smog."

"What!" cried Environment. "That's ridiculous!"

"Not at all," disclaimed Chap Foey Rider. "The Galactic Chamber of Commerce was kind enough to place me in contact with reputable businessmen and financiers on 2,600 such worlds. With the help of my computer, we have mailed out some 89,000 aerosol cans and bottled samples of choice grand cru smogs from Los Angeles, Tokyo, Sao Paulo, and dozens of others of our magnificently polluted cities. Mostly to travel agencies and purveyors of gourmet foods and choice wines, of course. The response has been overwhelming, if I may say so. The first tours to hotels and resorts will be starting shortly. The revenue derived will—"

"Hotels and resorts and apartment houses which you own, Rider!" shouted CIA. "All over the world you've been—"

"Well, certainly," said Chap Foey Rider, puzzled. "How else could I generate capital to—"

"Battening on the miseries of the world," hissed State. "Hyena is the word generally—"

"—generate capital to purchase the anti-pollution controls and devices which within the decade will enable the world to scrub its air and keep it forever clean?" concluded Chap Foey Rider blandly. "The equipment is expensive, you know. And, no doubt, I've been sadly overcharged by unscrupulous traders. Ah, well, a businessman's plaint: I won't pass my own commercial shortcomings along to the rest of the world. No, a modest one percent service charge is all that Rider Factoring will add to the landed CIF price. Look upon it as a gift, gentlemen, to the world."

"A gift! One percent of how many billions comes to what? And what about the millions you'll make with your guided tours and your bottles of"—Treasury shuddered—"of canned smog for the fine food trade?"

Chap Foey Rider sniffed delicately at an aerosol can. "Ah, Bangkok, City Hall Plaza, 3:30 p.m., February 13. A vintage day, gentlemen, a vintage day. A choice connoisseur's item, would you care for a sniff. No? To answer your questions. It is not obvious that my small, temporary windfall is self-liquidating in nature? Modest to start with, as the air-cleansing machinery is put into operation it will become ever more modest. Two or three years from now the skies of Los Angeles will be so clear that only the most undiscriminating lover of smog will be visiting. In ten years the trade will be gone forever. Likewise the bottled and canned exports of smog. No more raw material."

Chap Foey Rider spread wide his hands. "Frankly, gentlemen, your opprobrium oppresses me. I, a small, insignificant trader, a benefactor of mankind even, some might say, in an unassuming and humble—"

"Oh, very well," sighed the President of the United States, waving Chap Foey Rider toward the door. "What's done is done. I can see you plainly lack the makings of a statesman."

That was true, Chap Foey Rider reflected, as he left the White House by the East Entrance. A statesman he would never be. Fortunate it was that in his old age he would be able to fall back upon his carefully laid-down cellars of millions and millions of bottles and cans of the choicest grands crus of fine smog and pollution. And as the winds of Earth were remorselessly cleansed, surely their value on the galactic market, ten or fifteen years from now, would be well (he smiled apologetically), astronomical.


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