Monday, February 29, 2016

北京麻雀 - London - 4


If you were standing there you would see an old computer, with what would be called a CRT, which is out of fashion in any advanced computer economy. It was in an office with narrow cramped ceilings. There were people who were much brighter than the people who surrounded oneself with in the little town that was the home of the people company in Western Pennsylvania. Which was a backwater, and had very little to recommend it. She and he were talking. Of course his conversation was by text, not email, or voice. And of course it was with her. By this point he knew what her name was, and also the English sounding name which she used. Because people in English did not know how to pronounce her Chinese name.

It is good that you are out of that nasty little place.”

I'm still working for the same company, but I have transferred to the, well let us say the company that is dropping the business on us.”

Do you think they know what they are dropping?”

They are a smaller company, and have decided to leave while the leaving is good. We are a large company, and can charge more.”

Is it worth enough?”

My directors think so, someday various people will be caught. We just have to make sure it is not us.”

And what do they think they will find?”

Almost certainly that someone has hidden a bug that will be uncovered by the Y2K nonsense. And unless I miss my guess, the rumblings from different parts of the cable company, make it clear that they do not have a fix for things. They were trying to pawn it off as someone else's. But that is not going to work. At least, that is what I am doing. Making sure that all of the changes they make stay within the bounds of their code, and thus say that if anyone is responsible, it is them.”

And what do you think the changes are?”

I do not know, but there is something wrong with the number of people. I put in a fix that should have reduced the number, by eliminating duplicates. But that has not happened, and I do not know why.”

Could it be as simple as wanting more money?”

It is always that simple, but the key question is not how much, but when. Always ask when, because the aim is always the same.”

I have noticed that too, when they want to get out is always the question. And the key point is how dishonest they make their getaway.”

I think it is the same the whole world over. At least in America and China it is the same, though the means are different.”

America and China have different house rules, that is all.”

And what would the house rules be for China?”

In China they would admit that there were more people on the system. They would not have to hide it.”

Is that an aspect of what you call 'face'?

Oh indeed so, it is the very essence of face.”

In America that is part of the difference. We hide.”

And how do you trick other people?”

By telling them one thing, and doing another.”

How does that help?”

When the appropriate time comes, people want to sell out, and they find out that all of the stock is at a low price, when they thought it would be at a high price.”

Cannot they look at the market and sell when the price is high?”

They go to bed, and the prices high. In the middle of the night the price goes very far down. And when they wake up in the morning, they find that their was only a little bit of stock, and that had been sold while they were asleep. Then the market opens and the stock plunges in value, and essentially they find out that there stock is worthless, having had new chance to sell.”

Is that the way it happens?”

There are other tricks, do you want me to explain them to you?”

Another time. I wish I could be there with you, and unbutton your top.”

That is rather risqué.”

I remember that you said you always want to tell me what was on my mind.”

I did.”

Have you changed your mind?”


So what would you like me to do?” The question did not need all that much of a response, and he sketched out a proof of the idea from his head. There were a large number of other details – and there were technical challenges which really were people challenges in disguise. But none of these would be problems. He had already been introduced, and the Indian woman in charge of the junior construction party would be amenable to all varieties of technical challenges, so long as they would make it finished sooner. Which he was willing to assure her that this would be the case. The other problem was a rotund old man who herded a huge team of junior Indians, and made them jump through hoops. He probably knew much more about whatever it was they were doing to their computer system. And making sure that it stayed broken, their was a deviousness to have he sat up this which was more Baroque than it needs to be. But he would think of something.

A minion stood the before him in the real world, asking some sort of question, but he knew that it was not for the job. Probably about how he drifted down here on the highway rather than taking a plane. He did that, both here and to Western Pennsylvania. It was a lovely drive to both locations, and he would often do a bit of scenery. Once he took Route 5 in New York state, which was a long way out of his way. But when you have to show up at 3 AM, no one is going to complain. Thus he brushed the minion away with a wave of his hand.

Several things popped in to his mind, and he wondered if he should type any of them in. he probably should, but he did not do so. It was not that he was shy, particularly. Or at least not usually. But he did not want to express these things by typing. For a moment his mind was deciding whether topographical could be made in to a play on words, it probably could. But he did not have the wit to come up with something on the spur of the moment. He imagined that after the session was over, something would come to him. Then he would have to explain not only the play on words, but the circumstances as well. He could imagine how that would play out, even though the play on words was not known yet. But it was tantalizingly close.

The headlines from the finance section were dismal, and everyone began to wonder if they had missed out on a great opportunity. But everything was going so swimmingly well, at least all the commentators on the television thought so. And the giddy little little people thought that well would come trickling down, and they would at least have a job. But Galbraith had said differently in one of his books, though it was not read at the time. Some things go in and out of fashion.

I went out for

a listen to Morton Feldman's String Quartet #2. It was boring - and more to the point, it was an orgasmic response by people who have driven off good sense. Utter rubbish.

Newberry - String Quartet #9

String Quartet #9
 1 Romance
 2 Childe Harold
 3 Agnus Dei
 4 Fantasia (Flight)

Sunday, February 28, 2016

北京麻雀 - London - 3

London Proper
From the plane to the concourse, from the concourse to the tram, from the tram to the Metro. From Metro to a little street where he had arranged a room which was large enough for both of them. From the door to the bed, which in those days meant that they were going to sleep to gather. It was the way of what young people did, I make no excuse for it, merely to report that they were going to do so. Other times would have other practices, and each one of them thought it is practice was normal. At the beginning of the 21st century, two young people were expected to takeoff there cloths, and have on with things. And then not tell the other one if it was bad.

Other times would have other rules, some would never even think of it, some would have a long conversation before doing it, each to his own way.

Steinbeck would write like a hobo, because in his day that was how uneducated people spoke, and then just as quickly it started being impolite to speak in that way. Even though people were no more educated than in Steinbeck's time, they had to put on airs for each other. The age was of gentility, for a moment. It was not as if they actually were more genteel, mind you, they just had a little bit of politeness. That, and in Steinbeck's age they wanted to prove that God and Jesus Christ did not have any hold over them, so they used one or the other in every phrase. Where as in the time period of my recounting this did not occur to them, and it was only the dumb ones who swore, others would not have bothered.

Being young they were quite active, and then went to a short nap. Neither one of them was in there own time zone, though both were on opposite sides: he was from the West and she from the East. And they were not going to commune with each other on this short trip. Because each one of them were to head back. Each one of them knew that there were many questions unanswered, so a list of the questions which could be supplied had meticulously been entertained. Each one of them wanted to find out certain questions, and leave the rest to chance. First in her mind was could she entertain that he would like her Rubinesque, because for a Chinese woman that was a large concern of hers.

His question was vague and not formed so well, it had to do with the other business. The secret business that he, and only he, entertained. He had to know if she would give him latitude to pursue without interference from her. At once it was specific, but not in words, and they because he did not know her reaction.

Somehow they woke up at around the same time. It was about 3:30 in the morning. They might have gone back to erotic business, but both of them had to know the hidden question on their minds. Thus both of them needed to speak. She began.

Walking her fingers of his chin, and performing a delicate dance. “Do you like the name I chose for you? You called me sparrow, and I liked that.” Turning her to fingers around on his nose, she began walking them down.

He replied: “I was surprised when you had made up the name so quickly, and logged back on again with it. It was almost as if you were looking for something, and when I spoke the name sparrow you attached yourself.” That among all things was the thing that attracted him the most, even though it was not anything that he would have thought.

I had many boyfriends before you, and all of them had used me and then said goodbye. You were the first one who truly had looked at me, and saw something unique about me. I was worried about so many different things.” She meant weight, and he knew that.

I know you were worried about how I would think of you – in terms of weight I mean. Which has you can see his not one of my real concerns. It is what is behind your eyes that matters most. Most girls are blank to what really matters to me.” which was actually true, what he cared about could not be put in to words, but it was a blind spot, which if she had it, everything else would fall in to place.

She looked at him, and wanted to believe that this was the case. But she did not believe it – yet.

And she was right to be suspicious, because he did not know if he could love a woman, though she was not fat the way she imagined herself, she was not then has he would have liked her to be. This was not a problem, but it was a disadvantage. Though he could overlook it, because she was bright, that much he could determine by the questions which he put to her on the Tramway. And what is more, she thought him bright by the questions she had asked him, and responded with myriad delight at his answers. There was something deeply into with the way they thought, even though they were a world apart.

There was something that had a hold on them, and would not let them go. A scratching of the mind, a twist on the brain, a passion that had no other name. Each one wished to know what it was, and each one directed their thoughts inward, not outward to discover the meaning. As if questioning themselves would do the trick. From the outside, they looked in to each other's eyes, but that was at least half an illusion. But then they reached into each other's eyes, and in that instance stared. Because they were discovering that there was another person, and that other person wanted contact, reassurance. He with her and she with him. And in that instant, they knew that they had to talk to each other, and not just ramble alone talking past each other.

She began: “Its so odd to be actually with another person.”

What you mean? I thought everyone is with other people all the time. At least in the sense there with other people groping for attention.”

Think about how little we actually speak to one another, or we speak past each other. We may be speaking at each other literally, but in fact we organize our thoughts and speak to ourselves. The other person is just a witness to the conversation that we have.”

That is fair enough, each of us passes the time talking to ourselves and only have listening to the other person speak.” Underneath he stretched his feet, rather gratuitously, just to get the kinks out. It was not particularly a habit, and normally he would keep the feet straight. If only it were war, and he would wish her good-bye, before running to join the legions, glittering in the sun, on an awful day in memory. In his mind's eye a day in 1863.

But that is wrong, because every second where heading towards death, and then we will not hear anything. Not a sound from another living voice. Should not then talk to each other, because once we are dead there is no turning back.” An echo rose along her voice.

He thought about this for a while, and raised his mind to a deep and dark tomb, which he imagined he would be spending the rest of his life. Then he shook away the feeling, and looked out through the window. Of course it was still dark, and this being England, there were patches of light rain. She wondered aloud: “I wonder what time it will be before there is light.”

Actually today is the last day of Standard Time. Tomorrow, in this part of the world, it will be Daylight Savings Time. I do not know if this will help you at all, because both of us will be mixed up. Only in different directions.” He thought whether this was the correct direction for each of them, but he was too tired. Then he supposed he did not matter. But of course it did, and he would think on the direction several times. Like a clock which moved to the beat of a unseen drummer. Or a land that was at war first.

I could wake up and do things.”

Where as I could go back to sleep.”

It is odd how for a day or so we can function, but night will catch up with us.”

So let us make the most of the few days, where we can ignore the time difference. We only have three days, and then I have two go back to China. And you will go back to the East coast, will it be standard or daylight savings time when you get back?”

I do not want to think about it, it will not be pleasant either way, so I will just have two grin and bear it.”
She nodded, and then slipped on a sheet and did those necessary things which women did. He knew because he could feel blood on the sheets. Both of them had been with other people, and both of them knew that each of them worked the setting there internal time by the moon. The sexes were different, and both of them were discrete in allowing the other person to do what was necessary.

He was early, she was late. And eventually that would catch up to them, but, they hoped not yet. They had only a view hours to see one another, and answer the questions that they had. Questions which were not important, but watching the others face, smile, and eyes would be important.

Later on, he wood look into the stock market pages, and see if there was something happening. Because no one thought that the crash of last year was truly the end of things. Only the little people would care, the big people knew that the government was there to spare their bank accounts, and little else. Where as some people ignored all of this and went back to reading Faulkner, at the point of 1 o'clock in the afternoon, when the charge had not yet happened.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

北京麻雀 - London - 2

Somewhere in Western Pennsylvania

It was many miles away, and months before, that he remembered. It was in a cold town in what looked like an idyllic slice of nothingness, with the nearest small town with a college the only bright point on the map. About 125 years ago it had been booming as the first place to discover oil, and begin mining for it. But then it had stopped. And nothing had changed until the local cable company had begin buying up other small cable companies, and it formed a powerhouse. A powerhouse of little cable companies all under one roof.

He thought about some words and he had been writing, and it was not particularly in their favor that he worked out the particulars of their Annunciation. It was from a time when he was down in Hati, and he was working on a nonfictional piece, first describing how their language worked. Because it was not French – though it is basis was. Though he was driving, in reality he was thinking about part of the text which explained how their language came to be:

           “Fon d'parikulur”

           “It could be said of anyone, but partikularly of those who came off of the plantations, that there is one family of languages in Haiti, but each one speaks it there own way. Even people who don't actually speak it, make a pretense of knowing what they are talking about. Primarily, it is French with a patina of the Western Africa language Fon, which is spoken in the name Benin, Togo and slices of Nigeria and Ghana. Of course it has evolved since then, and is the largest known Creole in the world as of the early 20th century. But as said, you need to realize that there is northern and southern styles, as well as the pride of place: Port-au-Prince, many of whose inhabitants pretend that what is spoken there is more like French then other places.”

           “Even in winter, the weather touched 31°C, and in January there was almost no precipitation to speak of, certainly not like May or September, the twin peaks of what could be described as the devil of rain. Horns that grew out of the heated scraps of canopy that littered almost all of the low-lying ground. In the high backdrop where steps that ringed the bay, looking down upon them. Though they were not above the clouds, it seemed like it. Amazing buildings with white sides were speckled through the West. To the south, however, there were many fewer trees and the buildings went up a third of the way to the peak.”

             But it was not exactly correct, but he did not know what to do to fix it. Then he nearly hit a deer, and swerved the car to just miss it. For a number of seconds he was flustered, looking backwards, though he knew that he would not see the deer, because it was deep night. But he looked back anyways, looking for, what he perceived, as a blessing from above. This should have told him to just drive, but he eventually thought about something else, the work on the programming for the cable company that they were assigned to work for.

Looking at it from below, it seemed like there was to much to do. Looked from its peak, it would seem like the overlay was a flat pool on water, surrounded by chasms of high cliffs. From different angles it seemed like there were different problems. Each one was different, and thus had a different system to run it. But there came and instant where there were two many problems involved with this, so programmers from the finest minds were brought in to do something about it. But what the programmers had in mind was to hire people and rent them to the cable company, marking of the price. They really did not care if anything was done, just so long as they booked profits to the cable company, and had no responsibility for actually doing anything.

He was one of the – alleged - programmers. Though actually he was doing something else instead, that is he was trying to pull out people who would be valuable, and leave the rest to sink into the mire. This was approved of by the programmers above him, because they and he knew that there was going to be an awful mess. You see, there was fraud going on, and while either they, nor he, knew exactly what it was, the system was performing oddly. So oddly that there was only one explanation: someone had been tinkering with the many programs.What they wanted to do, no one but the minions knew - but whatever it was, the outside programmers did not want to know. What the cable company was up to no one could say. Just so long as everyone was out of the blast radius. Which, logically, someone would have to be inside the blast radius – but they all hoped it would be the investors. And the investors would take the losses – and be done with it. Or so went the plan that everyone agreed to without anyone saying so.

It was this in mind while he sat there, hopefully doing enough work so that he could bill for the hours, while not touching the core systems. Because whatever had been done to them was liable to, in a metaphorical sense, blowup. And he was told in no uncertain terms not to have anything to do with this.He disobeyed this only with the most junior of what they called programmers, assigned to this job and making barely a quarter of one he made. He had shown them little amusements that made their job easier, and took on a commanding tone of voice in lecturing them on why the new operating system was different from the old.

And though he might be tempted to do something about this, for the moment, he would obey the restrictions. Though he constantly thought of what could it be about. For example, he knew that the head director was not who he said he was. Because the name on the wall along to someone who had died shortly after birth. Which meant that the man walking around was not who he said he was.

But such thoughts spun around in the back of his mind, being thought of but not to do anything with. Largely he was playing with the various programs, and making as if he was doing something with them. While he was tempted to, and put notations on the white pages that noted what he was doing, he did not want to say that he was intentionally not fiddling with the real problem. He had not done anything yet, instead prodded around systems which he did not think had any value. The other program that was on the screen – of course they were Macintosh systems, sporting the latest and greatest System X – was a chat program, whose roots went back to the days when a graphic user interface was not mentioned. It had been empty for a long while, and largely he used it to text messages to other programmers. It was something to do, when he got bored.

Then it woke up, and a person who he had not known started to ask him a question. This was odd, but not completely so. People up at this hour were, largely, as bored as the majority of the world that was awake were, in fact they would be asleep if they were not being paid. He thought about turning the chat application to just his friends, because he did not want to engage in conversation with a stranger. But he stopped himself. Just so long as he did not tell what was doing, there should be no harm – and then he realized he was sure whether he was talking to a man or a woman. Because he knew that persons who acted like females, but were males, mostly they were try to find out what people were doing, either personal or political or just to say “Hi”. And in a large number of instances, while they said that they had nothing to do with the system, actually they were predators engaged by the system executives. Largely to find out what was going on.

Thus he quietly looked around the vast room. Once upon a time it had been a gymnasium, with a high roof and windows projecting out of the rooftops. But then it had been converted to a gigantic work room, whose sole mission was to take customer complaints, and as far as he could tell meticulously annotate the complaint, and then to ignore them. What he was looking for was someone tapping at the keys at the same time that his computer was outputting. Most people would not have noticed this, but he could. It was a gift between the ears and the eyes, each one noticing what the other was doing. Apparently not everyone had it. He tapped out “hello” on his keyboard, hoping to see if anyone typed back. He knew that the evening boss was talking to a friend, because a glimmer of the output showed that the boss was laughing. And his hands were not moving very much, so obviously his friend was doing most of the talking.

He waited on the other people, but did not see anything come through. He relaxed, if the person was on the system, it was not in this enormous room. There were of course other places that the person could be typing from, but most of them were closed. He typed in “hello”. And waited for about half a minute. Then he confirmed that his conversation was indeed from China, as the window said. He just had to be sure.

I am here. Where are you from?”

He stopped for a moment, and then began: “From out of the everywhere, and in to the here.” quoting a favorite bit of childhood poetry. What surprised him was the response:

So you know a little bit of George McDonald.” He did not think she would know the ending, unless she was truly British. But in a another window he had traced her, and it said she was in China, This was a deeper protocol then the first, so much harder to fool. He did not think that any body working for the cable company you the ways which were deep under the. So she could be British working at some Internet café. Or, which was just as surprising, she could be a Chinese woman with a great deal of knowledge. Either way, it was a surprising combination to occur. And that confirmed for him, she was in no way connected with anything resembling the cable company. They had foreigners, some of whom he liked, but primarily they were from India, speaking Tamil or Hindu. Their were flaws in their English which did not happen with this person. Though of course he would have to check by inserting questions which a Hindi or Tamil would screw up on. It helped that his boss was a Tamil speaker as well, so he could check whether he found a good question for Tamil speakers. And his opposite number for another consultant company was Hindu. He sat there and thought about her, though she was married. She had batted away his questions on irrelevant things, which meant she was married and not interested in dallying with him, and he did not know if she would dally with anyone. But he suspected she might, but he was Indian. That was the problem, most of the world wants someone who looks like themselves. Only a few want someone who looks different.

He realized he had not been typing for a moment, and so begin with the first thing in his head. “So what got you interested in British poetry?”

I had a book. Or rather my father had a book.”

Only one?”

Several.” Since this was typing, one could not really say what she would be like in the real world.

He arched his eyebrows. “And what was your father?”

Both my parents were professors at BU.”


Beijing University.” The admission sat there, like a naked lunch.

That explained a great deal, because even in the dark regions of the recent past, even then there was a quest for knowledge about the outside. And so it was not surprising to meet someone who was interested in America or England. In fact that might be what he or she was interested in, he did not even know his, or her, age. And he did not know if he or she want more than just conversation, and he definitely did not know whether he wanted more than just conversation. These are the things that go through the mind when one is blurry, so blurry in fact that one asks the question.

But there was a simple way to answer these questions.

How old are you? And may I ask you your name?” The name as written did not mean anything, and then he realized if you took the letters literally it could be translated as “When and where”, which could be innocuous, or it could be a lurid suggestion. But the lurid suggestion would suggest that he or she would be hunting for local people. So it seemed likely that the just friends was likely. Inevitably in fact, most people would have asked “ASL?” right away. Meaning, of course, “Age, Sex, Location?” though the hetero or homo nature was already implied. Usually, though some people would pretend to be the opposite sex. This did not bother him, there were ways of finding out before you met some one - which he was not sure he was going to – what their real gender was. It did not bother him, because he felt that some people were in the wrong gender, and he was sure that soon enough, there would be a fix for them. Although he wanted someone who sex matched because eventually he wanted children, if it came to that.

Do you really want to know my ASL?” She or he had been thinking along the same lines, and had a response.

Imagine we met in real life. I would know your gender. And my gender is apparent from the name.”

Their was a bit of processing going on, and then the gender appeared.

Female. Why do you want to have sex?”

I would have to be very long to have sex at this moment.”

We could play. If that is what you want.”

What is it that you want?”

I can do that, but I do not have to. Interesting conversation is fine.” She or he had passed several ruptures which would have meant that he or she was Indian. He kept track of these things, and in fact admitted so to his boss, when they were drinking about an hour of the road, at the last really good meal to be had. It was actually rather good, especially because in this neck of the woods there were slightly fewer places that they could. In this place there was a Subway, and a Chinese restaurant. And that was it, and the Chinese restaurant was new. In fact it had just opened one week ago. That formed one of the basis for Indian selection: ask whether they liked General Tso's Chicken, because General was invented on Taiwan.

Then let us have interesting conversation, then.” He was sure that he or she was not spying on him, but he was not sure that one of the people in the room would have a question for him. And that would mean coming up beside him, and she – because almost everyone in the room behind him was a “she” - would happen to glance at his screen. And that would not do.

Then he spoke, almost offhandedly. “You know I am not the sort of person who just takes someone did that.” Which was mostly true, but in the mostly there was deep pits of falsehood.

I understand.”

Then the main window had stopped processing his last command, so he checked off the command and started another one. All the while looking for a response from all the way across the world in China. He still did not know what age she was, but it was highly likely she could not be beyond 35. Which if he wanted to something could be arranged, their were plenty of positions in China, should the need arise. Realize that going to China in his position was not the same stretch, the vistas were open, and China was a cheap airfare away from him. And he had some money, not a lot mind you, but more than enough to indulge a fantasy. Or several fantasies, because he liked Chinese girls a great deal, and there were few enough in his line of work. Some males, but not to many females. In fact there were more Indian females then Chinese females, truth be told.

He then realized that over the last few months he had been a bit risqué, and he decided right then and there to stop it with people he had met in the workplace, and were connected with him by business. He realized that that would be impolite, at best. Better to not mix work and pleasure, especially because the real power behind the throne was not the head of business, nor even his three sons. It was the wife, and she had ways of slapping down such people. She ruled her dominion with an iron hand. And that went for sex on the job, she would have none of that here. And since there was almost no other field to be into but the cable conglomerate, this meant something more then if it was in a city.

He was only 30, but had learned that everything was measured by someone, and for almost every activity someone noticed. And largely disproved of whatever the activity was, if it was not making money for them. That did not mean that sex was forbidden, because sex for profit was encouraged by some, but sex after hours with no money exchanged was absolutely forbidden. The world went round in many strange ways: prostitution was fine, but sex was not fine.

Then he realized that a question had come in to the text on the screen, and then another. He had been working on the next command. And then he saw another question:

Are you there?”

He immediately typed in: “Sorry I was busy at my job.”

Your work on the job?”


You poor thing. Do you need to get back to it?”

He looked both ways before answering the question, he wanted to be sure he was not going to be interrupted.

I just need to type in a few keywords, and let them run.”

Then we can plan a trip :)”

I do not know your name. In fact the name which I call you has a dbl entendre.”

What is wrong with that?”

I do not think we should need each other until we are on a first name basis. What do you think?”

There was quiet, and then, slowly, a string of text begin to stream out of the window.

Do you want to be with me? Because I think you know on female.” Actually, now that it was put on the table, he did know that she was a woman, and he knew she was truly a she.

How did this go? I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to so he could feel my breasts all her from yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I yes. That was from Ulysses, and a bit with a dog. But he did not say that. But the meaning was clear.

Then in one strange swoop, he risked everything to say by the keyboard:

Yes. If you are pretty, anyway, I will. Remember what I said about not taking any one to bed quickly.”

If you are pretty. Whatever that was supposed to mean. In a novel, or a play by Eugene O'Neill? Pretty was what someone was when they were not strikingly beautiful, but not plain enough to notice. What he did not consider was that what interpreted as silence was in fact a trepidation on her side.

Then she announced: “Just a minute, I will change my account for you.” And in less than a minute, she was back as and the name was “SparrowForOnlyU”. He wondered if she was called sparrow before, perhaps that is why she chose this – or perhaps this was something she had practiced with many people. But there ever afterwards, he looked for the name incessantly. Even when he had to make up and excuse to see his real bosses, and come up with a reason to explain why he was doing what he did. It seems impossible, but in fact was likely that there were people at the top scheming wondrous schemes. And he knew that that was exactly what he did not wish for. Why could he not slip in to a dull routine? He looked over at the Wall Street Journal, and for once it was a quiet day, but eventually they would kick the market ever higher.