“The thing is,” he said, “the 21st century way is to get the punters to pay without them realising that they’re doing it.”
“Oh yeah. Freemium, premium, pro, beta, alpha. You’re right. Any way, every way, the biz just has to exist.”
“So anyhows, what’s yours?” he said. “What’s your goddamn model?”
“That gift card you gave me, my dear? The jewellery piece you fell in love with? That meal we really just had to have? The perfume you wanted me to wear?”
He frowned, and realised how foolish he had been. Even as he really had thought it, really had thought it all real.
“You see?” she said, smiling that smile which beguiled. “I took the card. I made you love that piece. I really had to have that meal, not you. I wanted to wear the perfume; you just thought you wanted me to wear it too.”
“That’s not fair.” He didn’t splutter. But he might just as well have.
“You did it yesterday,” she accurately pointed out, “and the week before, and the month before that; and wow, what a track record you got. A man clearly cool and at the top of his game. So why not a gal? Why should I be trashed for doing exactly what any successful man shall? What gives you the right to whiten your knuckles and blacken my name as I am sure you now will?”
“It’s not fair,” he said, over and over again.
“That’s two billion not fairs,” she said. “Two billion people you fucked! You made me what I am. The green light is yours for a decade or more. Don’t blame me for your sins. I am your acolyte.”