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the novel undo


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Title:Undo
Author:JoeHutsko
PostingDate:June1,2012[EBook#480]ReleaseDate:March,1996
Language:English
***STARTOFTHISPROJECTGUTENBERGEBOOKUNDO***

"Undo"anovelbyJoeHutsko

COPYRIGHT1996,byJoeHutsko


RESTRICTIONS
Theauthor,JoeHutsko,retainsthecopyrighttothisnovel.

Thisnovelmaybefreelydistributedaslongasthereisnochargeforits
distribution.Youmayreadthisnovel,makecopiesofit,anddistributeitexactly
asitis,unchanged,viaanymedia,aslongasyoudonotreceivemoneyforit.
IfyouwishtoincludethisnovelinaCD-ROMcollection,pleasecontactthe
authortoobtainwrittenpermissionforitsinclusion.
Thankyou.
JoeHutsko76703.4030@compuserve.com

"UNDO"ONTHEWORLDWIDEWEB
TheWWWversionof"Undo"islocatedathttp://www.vivid.com/undo.html
(SpecialthankstoNathanShedroff,DrueMiller,andAnitaCoronaofSan
Francisco-basedVividStudios,forkindlycreatingandmaintainingthe"Undo"
WWWpage;youfolksareamanysplendidthing.)
NOTETONEWTONUSERS
ANewtonBookeditionof"Undo"isavailableintheNewton/PIE
ForumonCompuServe(GONEWTON),intheNewtonForumonAmerica
Online(KEYWORD:NEWTON),andintheNewtonBooksForumoneWorld
(SHORTCUT:NEWTON).
(SpecialthankstoPattyTulloch,ofAppleComputer,Inc.,forherkindness,her
commitment,andmostofall,herfriendship.Withoutherassistance,theNewton
Bookeditionof"Undo"wouldnothavebeenpossible.)
DOWNLOADINGTHEETEXTEDITIONOF"UNDO"


ThecompleteEtexteditionof"Undo"maybedownloadedfromtheWorldWide
WebintheProjectGutenberglibrary,locatedat
http://jg.cso.uiuc.edu/PG/welcome.html
TheEtexteditionof"Undo"isalsoavailableintheNewton/PIE
ForumonCompuServe(GONEWTON),inthePDAForumonAmerica
Online(KEYWORD:PDA),andintheNewtonBooksForumoneWorld
(SHORTCUT:NEWTON).

TABLEOFCONTENTS
AUTHOR'SNOTE
DEDICATION
INTRODUCTIONTOTHEELECTRONICEDITION
PROLOGUE
PARTI
Chapters1-6
PARTII


Chapters7-11
PARTIII
Chapters12-16
PARTIV
Chapters17-20
PARTV
Chapters21-24
THEEND

AUTHOR'SNOTE
Thisnovelisaworkoffiction.Names,characters,companies,products,places,
andincidentsareeithertheproductoftheauthor'simaginationorareused
fictitiously,andanyresemblancetoactualpersons,livingordead,events,
companiesand/orproducts,orlocales,isentirelycoincidental.


DEDICATION
Thisnovelisdedicatedtothelovingmemoryofmyfather
StephenM.Hutsko

INTRODUCTIONTOTHEELECTRONICEDITION
"Whatalong,strangetripit'sbeen."
—TheGratefulDead
AsnearlyasIcanremember,Ibeganwritingthisnovelinthesummerof'88,
afterleavingmyjobatAppleComputer,Inc.,whereIworkedforalmostfour
yearsforformerApplechairmanJohnSculley,ashispersonaltechnology
advisor.Itwasaneatjobtitleandalotoffun,butsomewhereinthereIdecidedI
wantedtobecomeanovelist.Eightyearsandtwotitle-changeslater,thefirst
novelthatIsetouttowrite,knownthesedaysas"Undo,"isfinallyavailableto
readersinthisspecialelectronicedition,freeofcharge.
Electronicbooks,ore-texts,havebeenavailableforsometimenowsothisis
hardlygroundbreakingnews.Orisit?Forme,it'saprettybigdeal.Primarily
becausetheelectronicbooksthatareavailabletodownloadfromtheInternet,
theWorldWideWeb,andonlineservicessuchasCompuServeandAmerica
Online,werepublishedpreviouslyinhardbackorpaperbackeditions,orboth.
BruceSterling's"TheHackerCrackdown:LawandDisorderontheElectronic
Frontier,"forexample,wasfirstpublishedinhardbackbyBantamin1992,then
in1993inpaperback,alsobyBantam.Sterlingwiselyretainedtheelectronic
rightstohisbooksothathemay-electronicallyspeaking-doashepleaseswith
hiswork.Tothebestofmyknowledge,Sterlingisthefirstauthortogiveaway
hispublished,in-printbookforfreeontheNet.
Idon'tknowhowmanypeoplewhodownloade-booksactuallyreadthemfrom
cover-to-cover,thoughIsuspectthenumberisratherlow.Mainlybecausethe
mediumisn'taseasyontheeyesastraditionalpaper-basedbooks.Iwouldbet
thatmostpeoplewhodownloade-books-andI'mtalkingaboutnovels,vs.


referenceworks-browsethempartoftheway,thendeletethemfromtheir
computerorPDA.Asforworksofnon-fiction,suchasSterling'sbook,orthe
enormouslyserviceable"ElementsofStyle"(whichhasrecentlyappearedinebookformat),readersrefertotheseworksonaneed-to-knowbasis.Butnovels,
they'reanotherstory.Anovelissomethingyoucurlupwithand,ifit'sagood
one,loseyourselfin,muchthewayAlicefoundherselfgettinglostinthat
fantasticlookingglass.Perhapsthevaluablethingaboutpublishinganovelasan
e-textisthatitgivesreadersatasteforthestoryandfortheauthor'sstyle,sothat
thereadercanthengooutandpurchasethepublishededitioniftheywantto.
Butlet'sgetbackto"Undo,"andwhymakingitavailableforfreeinthis
electronicbookversionissoimportanttome.Thereasonissimple:Iwant
peopletoreadit,andthisis-sofar,anyway-theonlywaytomakethathappen.
For,despitethehard-foughteffortsofnotone,nottwo,butthreeveryreputable
literaryagents,thebook,unlikeMr.Sterling'sworks,hasnotfoundatrade
publisheritcancallhome.
Why?TheanswertothisquestionisbestsummedupbyBantameditorBrian
Tart,inhisrecentletterofrejection:
---------Ms.JulietNicolson
JulietNicolsonLtd.LiteraryAgency
71ChesterRow
LondonEnglandSW1W8JL
DearJuliet:

ThankyoufordroppingoffJoeHutsko'sms.whileyouwereinNewYork.I
mustsaythatIamimpressedwithMr.Hutsko'swritingandbelievehimtobea
talenttowatchinthefuture.Hisstory,however,seemedtometobeabitstaleitseemstobeaboutsixoreightyearstoolateinthemaking-asIcouldsee,and
indeedhaveseen,thiskindofcorporateintriguetakeplaceintheworldofnonfiction.Becausetheplotwasnotastimelyasitwouldneedtobetosucceedin
thecommercialmarketplace,Iwillhavetopass.


PleasedokeepmeinformedofMr.Hutsko'sprojects,shouldhedecideto
embarkuponwritinganotherms.
Sincerely,
[Signed]
BrianTart
AssociateEditor
Enc.
----------

Giveortakeafewsentiments,thegistofMr.Tart'sencouragingbutultimately
downerletterwasrepeatedbyallofthetoptradepublishinghouses.Anumber
ofenthusiasticeditors-inparticularayoungeditornamedJohnMichel,who
pleadedwithhissenioreditorstoacquirethenovelfirstatHarperCollins,then
laterwhenhemovedtoCrown(andwhohassincebecomeafriend,so
somethinggoodhassurvivedthosebattles)-triedtheirbesttoacquirethebook,
andinonecaseanofferwasextendedtomythen-agent,butthentwodayslater
thepublisherbackedout,apologizingthattheeditorwho'dmadetheofferwasin
nopositiontodoso,pleaseforgivetheerrorinourways.
ThereallytroublingthingformewasthatwhenIsetouttowritemynovel,
anothernovelcalled"TheBonfireoftheVanities,"byTomWolfe,hadtakenthe
readingpopulationbystorm.WasnotMr.Wolfe'snovelinspiredbyreal-life,by
thebondtradingschemesthatatthetimeweremakingfrontpagenews?Readers
offictionturnedthebookintoabest-seller,andasoneofthosereaders,Icannot
saythatIwouldhavereadthebookwereTomWolfetohavewrittenitasanonfictiontitle.Thatitwasinspiredbyactualcharactersandevents,andturnedby
Wolfe'sexperthandsintoacompellingmodern-daytaleofmurderandmortality,
wereenoughtoconvincemethatIcouldpulloffthesamesortofmagicwithmy
own"whatif"scenario,swappingSiliconValleyforNewYork,andthepersonal
computerbusinessforbondtrading.
Thatthiswasmyfirstattemptatwritinganovelgoesalongwaytoward
explainingtheearliestrejectionsofthework,thentitled"SiliconDreams,"by
editorsunluckyenoughtohavehaditlandwithathudontheirdesks.Somehow


I'dlostsightofMr.Wolfe'sexcellentillustrationandfoundmyselfmimicking,
allatonce,thelikesofSidneySheldon,ArthurHailey,JackieCollins,and,
believeitornot,StephenKing(whohappenstobemyfavoritemainstream
read).Withsomanyinfluencesatplayinthealreadybefuddledheadofan
aspiringyoungwriterwithdreamsofhittingthenumberonespotonallofthe
best-sellerlists,you(andofcourseI,thismuchlater)canunderstandhowmy
storytellingabilityleftsomethingtobedesired.
Still,Ipressedon,heedingsuggestionsIbelievedwerevalid(suchas:"How
dareyoukillthatcharacterinthemiddleofthebookjustbecauseyoudon't
knowwhattodowithhernext!").MorethanonceIputthewholethingonthe
shelftogiveit,andmyself,abreather;toputalittlespacebetweenussothatour
respectiveflawscouldbeconsideredthenexttimearoundwithaclearer,colder
eye.Fourrewriteslater,includingano-holds-barredexcising,Ifinallyhada
book,stillknownthenas"SiliconDreams,"thatIbelievedwasasgoodasitwas
goingtoget.
Andthenithappened.Apublisherboughtit.IhadtheliterarycriticDigbyDiehl
tothankforthisgoodnews.AtthetimeDigbywasabookreviewerfor
"Playboy,"andalsoadailybookcolumnistfortheProdigyonlineservice(where
I'ddoneabriefstintghostwritingforahighlypaidhigh-techanalystwhowill
remainunnamed).Viae-mailIaskedDigbyifhe'dreadmynoveland,ifhe
likedit,tosuggesteditorswhomaywanttotakealookatit.Well,Digby'dread
itandlikedit-enoughtopersonallypassitalongtotheheadofanewand
small-but-going-for-the-big-timepublishernamedKnightsbridgePublishing,an
imprintdistributedbythereputableHearstCorporation.Knightsbridgewas
foundedaroundthetimeoftheGulfWar,andmadeitskilling,sotospeak,with
amassmarketpaperbackbest-seller,"TheRapeofKuwait."
Thedealwasforbothhardbackandpaperbackrights,andthepublisherhimself
calledmetooffer$5000forthewholepackage,whichIcameclosetoaccepting.
However,Iknewthatmoneymatterswerebesthandledbymyagent-despite
thefactthatIhadfiredherafewmonthsearlierfornothavingsoldthenovel
herself.Fortunatelysheforgavememyactionsandsignedmebackup,
compellingKnightsbridgetoincreaseitsofferto$25,000.
Toobadneitherofuseversawmostofthatmoney.Unfortunately,Knightsbridge
wentoutofbusiness-butnotwithoutfirstboostingmyexpectationsthroughthe
exhilaratingprepublicationprocess.Iwasassignedamarvelouseditornamed


LynettePadwa,whosekeensuggestionshelpedmetomakethebookabetter
read.Therewasevenaglossylavenderandgoldembossedbookjacketwithmy
photoonbackatopDigbyDiehl'sencouragingblurb,andtwomonthsbeforethe
publicationdateIreceivedmyfirstboundgalleycopy,todouble-checkfor
typesettingerrorsbeforeitwentofftotheprinter.Theprepublicationbuzz
startedup,andaHollywoodproducernamedAndrewKarsch,who'djust
released"ThePrinceofTides"withBarbraStreisand,wasconsideringbuyinga
filmoptiononthenoveltoadaptforapossibleafeaturefilmortelevision
miniseries.Andjustwhenthingscouldn'tpossiblylookbrighter,theydid,when
bothKirkusReviewandPublishersWeeklyaskedtoseeadvancereader'scopies
ofthebook.
Andthentheimpossibledreamturnedintoanightmare.Ishouldhaveknownthe
endwasnearwheninsteadofreceivingthesigningadvanceinonelumpsum,as
agreedupon,itwascominginsmallerandsmallerportions(andthenonlyafter
myhoundingtheaccountingdepartmenteverydaytellingthemmyrentand
phonebillwerelate).Yousee,Iwantedtobelieve.Itwasdifficultenoughto
acceptthatthiswasfinallyhappeningtome-thatmyfirstnovelwasabouttobe
publishedinhardbacktobuildingfanfare.Tothinkotherwise,thatsomething
mightstopthenovelfrombeingpublished,wasn'ta"happythought,"and
anythingbuthappythoughts,myagentadvised,wouldseepdisagreeablyinto
thenovel'ssuccessfullaunch.ButunhappydidthingsturnwhenKnightsbridge
announcedthatitwasclosingshop.
ButIwasnottobeputoff.Armedwithtenboundgalleys,myagentappealedto
severalhardbackpublishers…andwhentheyallsaidno-inalmosteverycase
forthesamereasonsBrianTartatBantamgaveus-wetriedpaperback
publishers,loweringourexpectationsandhopingthenforapaperbackoriginal
deal.Twicewecameclose.FirstAce,thenBerkley,howevereditorsatboth
housesmetresistancefromeditorialboardswhofeltthatthenovelwouldfindno
audience.
Feelingdejectedanddownonmyluck,Ihadtoblamesomeoneforthis
conspiracy,soonceagainIcontactedmyagentandtoldherIwouldbeseeking
representationelsewhere.Thistimeshetoldmeshewouldn'ttakemebackifI
changedmymind,andwhocouldblameher.Mynextagent,who'dleftanold
andverysuccessfulNewYorkliteraryagencytostartherownagency,was
youngandfreshandbuildinganameforherselfasonetowatchinthebusiness,
witheditorschasingherallovertheflooratthefirstAmericanBooksellers


Associationconferencesheattendedonherown.Shehadamorefocused
approach:Talkupthebooktoafeweditorssheknewverywellandtrytoget
somethingofarivalrygoingforit-beforeanyofthemevenreadit.Brilliant
thinking;thiswasthekindofagentIwantedonmyside.Shootingforfreshness,
wedecidedtochangethenovel'stitlefrom"SiliconDreams"to"DoubleClick,"
andoffitwenttothewaitingeditors.Thelongandshortofit:NeitherRandom
HousenorVikingwantedit.Addinginsulttoinjury,oneevensuggestedthatifI
weretowriteanon-fictionbookhewouldpublishthat.Whatadepressing
thought.
Beforeshe'dsignedmeup,myagentandIhadagreedtotreatourrelationshipas
atrialagreement.Aftertherejection,Idecidedthatthoughshewasfast
becomingaveryhotagent,mainstreamfictionwasn'therareaofexpertise;what
Ireally,reallyneededwasanagentwhorepresentedbest-sellingmainstream
authors.
MyfriendGloriaNagy,asplendidnovelistwithsevennovelsunderherbelt(one
ofwhich,"LookingforLeo,"isonitswaytobecomingaCBSminiseries),put
meintouchwithherthen-agent,EdVictor,whoisbasedinLondon,andenjoys
alongclientlistofacclaimedliteraryandmainstreamauthors.AfterGloria's
introduction,IsentmynoveltoEdVictor,andalthoughhe'drejectedthenovel
sixyearsago,suggestingitneededalotofwork(adviseItooktoheart),this
timeherespondedpositively,sayinghehadenjoyedit.
Yet,becausehisclientlistwassofullandactive,hewasatthetimenottaking
onnewfictionwriters.HedidhoweverdirectmetoanagentnamedJuliet
Nicolson,withwhomhehadbegunaworkingalliance,andtowhomhewould
behappytosendmynovelforconsideration.AspiritedBritishwoman,Juliet
hadlivedandworkedinpublishingintheUnitedStatesformanyyears,andhad
decidedtoreturntoLondontostartherownagency.Severalweekslatershe
faxedmetosaythatshethoroughlyenjoyedthenovel,andthatEdVictorlends
hisfullsupporttohershouldIdecidetohaveherrepresentme.Icalledherback
thirtysecondslaterandshouted"Yes,"and,anotherlongandshortofit,despite
theircombinedefforts,theirlongcareersoflandinghugebookdeals,thenovel
"DoubleClick"stillfoundnopublishinghouse.
Aftersendingthenoveltoalonglistofhardbackpublishers,thentrying,as
before,tosecureapaperbackoriginaldeal,Julietfeltitwastimetoputthebook
awayandconcentrateonmynextnovel,whichIhadinfitsandstartstriedtoget


offthegroundforthelasthowevermanyyears.Shestressedthatsomedaywe
wouldsell"DoubleClick,"possiblyaftermynextnovelortheoneafterthat,and
assuredmethatthiswashowfirstnovelssometimesturnedout(afterall,
althoughJohnGrisham'sblockbuster"TheFirm"madehimahouseholdname,
hisfirstnovelwasthesmall-press-published"ATimetoKill,"which
Doubleday/Dellthenrereleasedtoastonishingsuccess).SoIput"DoubleClick"
awayoncemoreandwentbacktowritingthevideogamestrategyguidesI'd
foundmywayintotopaytherent,andthatwastheendofthat…
Foraboutsixmonths,anyway.
ThenIwasstruckbyanidea:Torewrite"DoubleClick"justonemoretime,but
thistimearound,fixthenumberonecomplaintthateditorshadvoiced:Thatthe
storywastoodated.Soinsteadofplayingoutthetrialsandtribulationsofmy
charactersonastagesetintheby-nowcommonplace(andtherefore,predictable)
personalandmainframecomputermarket,Idecidedtoshiftthebackdroptoa
moremodernsetting:advancedhandheldcomputersandpocketcommunicators,
alsoknownasPDAs,orpersonaldigitalassistants.
Itoldmyagentnoneofthis,andquietlysettoreworkingtheplotandbackdrop
toaccommodatemychangeofheart.TomakethestoryfeelfreshtomeI
changedmostofthecharactersnames,butotherthanthateachoftheirstories
andstrugglesremainedthesame.ToensurethatIdidn'tdatethestorybeforeI
evenfinishedit,Iwoveinanumberofnotquitereadyforprimetime
technologies,includingpracticalspeechsynthesisandvoicerecognition.The
finalrewriteineffectputthenoveleversoslightlyintothefuture,andasfarasI
couldtellsquashedthecriticismthatthestorywastoostale.
Takingmyagentbycompletesurprise,Isentherthenewmanuscript,whichI
hadretitled"Undo"(acontemporaryterm,recognizabletoreaders,that
representsthenovel'spremiseandtheunderlyingthemeatplayineachofthe
primarycharacters'lives-and,alittleclosertohome,sumsupmyownstoryin
tryingtoturnaroundthemysteriousforcesthathavestoodinthewayofgetting
thisnovelpublished).Well,shewasshocked,tosaytheleast,andcomplimented
meonmypatienceandperseverance.
Whilemyagentwasbusyreadingandconsideringwhattodowiththenewand
improved"Undo,"I'dbegun,andhavesincecompleted,mysecondnovel,
"r.g.b."Thebook'sfirstchapter,whichI'dwrittenafewyearsago,wasexcerpted


inasmallliteraryjournalcalled"Puck,"andrepresentsformemy"other"style
ofwriting,which,forlackofabetterword,Icanonlydescribeasmore…
intricateandchallengingtoread,lessmainstream.
Whichbringsustothepresent.Because"r.g.b."isnotwhatmyagent-make
that,formeragent-considerscommerciallyviable,shehasdecidedtodropme
asaclient,suggestingwithawishofgoodluckthatIfindmyselfanagentwho
wantstorepresentbothofmy"voices"-themainstreamstyleof"Undo,"andthe
lessmainstreamstyleof"r.g.b."
So,hereweare.MyoldfriendJohnMichelhasofferedtohelpmefindanew
literaryagent,andI'mabouttobeginwritingascreenplaycalled"Misguided
Angel"thatI'vewantedtowriteforyears.Plus,I'malreadythinkingaboutthe
secondscreenplayI'llwriteafterthat,andthenextmainstreamnovel,andthe
nextlessmainstreamnoveltoo.SoI'manythingbutdownforthefinalcount.
HaveIlearnedanythinginalltheseyears?Tons.Foronething,myfirsttwo
agentsweren'tsounfitafterall-eachdidthebestjobshecouldintryingtosell
thenovel,andintheendevenmythird,highlyesteemedagentmetwiththe
sameresistancethattheprevioustwoencountered.Second,thepublishing
businessismoreamysterytomethanever.Thatthisbookhasnotfoundahome
hassomehowturnedinmyheartfromatroublingfactoflife,tosomethingofa
testamenttooptimism,aproudeccentricity,acharacter-buildingbattlescarof
sorts.Isupposethat'sjusthowwefragilebeingsadapttounrealized
expectations,dashedhopes.Still,havingjustcompletedmynewnovel,I'mall
juicedupandfeelinggroovy,raringtogiveitanothergo-afterall,it'sall
anyonewhodecidestotrytomakealivingtellingstoriescando…try,tryagain.
Will"Undo"everfinditswaybetweenthesheetsofpulpypaperandglossy
covers?Williteverfinditswayontothebigscreen,or,ifIhadmychoice,the
littlescreen?And,perhapsmostimportantofall,doesthisnovelreallymatterto
anyonebesidesme?ThefirsttwoquestionsIhavenowayofknowingthe
outcomesof-bothareinFate'sall-knowinghandsandonlytimewilltell.
Asforthatlastquestion,whetherthisnovelmatterstoanyonebesidesme,Ican
onlyanswerbysayingIhopeso.
Whatyou'reabouttoreadisanovelIhavelaboredoverforaverylongtime.It
givesmegreatpleasuretohanditover,onceandforall,toyou,gentlereader,


whoever,andwhereveryouare.Ihopeyoulikeit.
JoeHutsko76703.4030@compuserve.comJanuary,1996
PROLOGUE
Itwasonceasprawlingflatland,dominatedbyfruittreeorchardsandnestled
safelybetweenprotectivehills.
Thistranquilsceneslowlyvanishedastreeswerefelled,concretepoured,and
newseedsplanted,eachthesizeofalargebeetleandfilledwiththousandsof
microscopiccircuits,sownbyanewbreedoffarmer,withdreamsofgrowing
thefuture.
Thenewelectronicproduce,capableofperformingmillionsofcalculationsin
theblinkofaneye,washarvested.
Thenewtechnologyfarmland:SiliconValley.
Viewedfromhighabove,theValleylookslikeaschematicdrawingofthevery
seedsfromwhichithasgrown,thousandsoftechnologyorchards,connectedby
theroadsandhighwaysetchedintothegoldensurfaceoftheland.

PARTI
Chapter1
AsheguidedtheblackBMWcoupeontoHighway280,MatthewLockefeltas
thoughhismindwasspinningasquicklyasthewheelspropellinghimonward.
Whethertheonefunctionedaspreciselyastheotherdidnotoccurtohim.
Appraisinghisposition,hewonderedwhythereweresofewcarstocontend
withthisafternoon.HavinglivedinNorthernCaliforniaformorethantwoyears,
hehadneverheadedhomeon280withoutconfrontingricochetingtaillights,


jockeyingforpositioninthefastlane.Brightsunlightandwarmairrushed
throughthesunroofandwindowsashegainedspeedandactivatedthecruise
controluponreachingsixty-fivemilesperhour.
ThenMatthewnoticedtheclock,andherememberedhewastwohoursaheadof
thecommutertrafficthatcongestedthehighwayeveryday.Healsoremembered
why.
Hetookafewdeepbreathstorelaxhisnerves.Hehadtriedonelasttime,tono
avail,tocompromisewithPeterJones,thestubbornyoungfounderofWallaby
Computer,Incorporated.
MatthewLockedidnotwantthingstoendlikethis.Notexactly.Buttherewas
noalternative.Theconfrontationthathadjusttakenplacewasmorelikea
viciouscounselingsessionbetweenadistressedmarriedcouplethanameeting
betweentwoseniorexecutivesofthedecade'smostimportantandinnovative
hightechnologycompany.
MatthewhadinformedhissecretaryEileenthathewaswalkingovertoPeter
Jones'sofficetotrytotalkwithhimonelasttimeabouttheupcomingboardof
directorsmeeting.AsMatthewnearedPeter'sbuilding,hisanxietysharpened.
Hepausedforamomentandthoughtabouthisplaceatthatveryinstant,
standingattheverycenterofthePeterJoneslegacy.SurroundingMatthewwere
anumberofSpanish-style,single-storybuildings,eachpaintedwhiteandtopped
witharedtileroof.Whatbeganasaseedlingideainagaragenearlyadecade
agohadblossomedintotheclusterofbuildingsstretchingaquarter-milein
eitherdirectionfromwherehestood,andevenfarther,toanumberoflocations
throughouttheworld.Andnowhewasonhiswaytotheepicenterofthis
campus-likecomplexthatwasWallabyComputer.Matthewarrivedfromhis
journeywestwiththefeelingthathehadenteredafairytale,sofullofwonder
wasthisplace.Butnow,asheresumedhisstepalongthegentlycurving
sidewalkthatranupeithersideoftheblock,hefeltasthoughthesetwere
changing.Fullofdread,heapproachedtheend,andthebeginning,ofthe
rainbow,wherehewouldconfronttheman"Time"magazinecalledthe
"ComputerWizard."
Peter'ssecretarycutshortherphoneconversationthemomentshesawMatthew.
"Peggy,isPeterin?"


Beforeshecouldrespond,Peter'sownvoiceansweredfrombehindhim."No!"
MatthewturnedjustintimetoseePeter'sofficedoorslamshut.Heknocked
gently.
"Nobody'shome,"saidPeterJonesinacalmvoicefrombehindthecloseddoor.
"Pleaseleaveamessageatthetone.Beep."
MatthewLockewasnotamused.Likeafatherexercisinghisrighttoopenany
doorinhisownhome,heenteredtheoffice.
HewasmetwiththesoundofcontinuousclickingfromPeter'skeyboard.The
officewassmallandsparselyfurnished,withsimpleoverstuffedfurnitureand
graycarpeting.Peterwassittingbeforehiscomputeratablacklacquereddesk
againstthewall,hisbackturnedtoMatthew.Heclosedthedoorbehindhimand
waitedforPetertoturnaround.
"Nobody'shome,"Peterrepeatedoverthesoundofhisstaccatotyping.
Mattheweasedhimselfintothechairbesidethecouch,rememberingthefirst
timehehadsatinthisveryoffice,morethantwoyearsago,whenJoneshad
hiredhimtorunthecompany.MyGod,Matthewthought,howhehaschangedhoweverythinghaschanged.
Allatonce,theroomwassilent.PeterJonesturnedaroundinhischair.
Onethinghadnotchanged:Peter'seyes.Deepandblackandseemingly
bottomless,certainandsharplyfocused,liketheeyesofayoungboydetermined
towinaswimmingrace.Matthewfelthistoesgripatnothingnessinsidehis
dockshoes,felthisfeetslidesilentlybackwardafractionofaninchacrossthe
nattycarpet,asifheweretakingastepbackfromtheedgeoftheboardforfear
ofdivingonceagainintothatdarkpool.Andwiththisthoughtcameanother…of
water,andsplashing,thrashing,losinggrip…Loss.Determined,Matthew
quicklysoberedhimselfofthetroublingmemoriesthathadmomentarily
distortedhisfocus.
Hestood."Peter,unlessyouandIcancometosomeunderstandingabouthow
we'regoingtorunthebusiness,I'mgoingtosuggestsomedrasticchangesat
tomorrow'sboardmeeting."ToavoidPeter'seyesheglancedatthecomputer
screen.


Petersmoothlyturnedthescreen'sdimmerknobandstaredat
Matthew."There'llbesomechanges,allright,"Petersaid.
Thegravityoftheyoungerman'stonewentunnoticedbyMatthew.Hisattention
hadbeencapturedbywhathe'dseenonthescreenbeforeitdarkened.It
appearedthatPeterwasworkingonsomesortofgraphic.Adrawingwithlittle
boxes.Probablyasketchofanewcomputerdesign,Matthewconcluded.The
pangofpityhefeltchangedtofrustrationwhenherecognizedtherootofthe
problem:Whycan'theunderstandthatthisisexactlywhatheshouldbedoing,
designingnewcomputers,andletmerunthecompany?
"It'stoolateforanymorediscussion,"Petersaid,flickingawaytheshockof
darkbrownhairhangingoverhisbrow."Iknowallaboutyourplantosuggesta
reorganization,Matthew.What,you'resurprised?Iknoweverythingthatgoeson
here."Hemadeadisgustednoise.Then,asiftosignaltheendofthediscussion,
hetookapeninhandanddirectedhisattentiontoalegalpad.Withintense
concentration,hebegandrawingalinespiralingroundandroundfromthe
middleofthepageoutward.
"It'snottoolate.That'swhatI'mtryingtootellyou,"Matthewsaid."Idon'tthink
yourealizetheseverityofthingsaroundhere.Howbadit'sgotten."
Peterbeganhummingatunetohimself.
"Theboardisverydisturbedaboutthescheduleslips,andfurthermore,theweak
sales-"
Peter'smeditationended.ThepenflewwithininchesofMatthew'sface.He
leapedtohisfeet."Don'tyoudarecomeintomyofficeandtellmehowtorun
mycompany."Theyoungermanwasalltensile,hisbodyresonatingwith
indignation."Nowleavemealone!Justgetoutofhere!"
Matthewheldhisplace."Peter,please."
"Out!"
Itwashopeless.TherewasnowayMatthewwouldbeabletoreachhim."Okay,
Peter,"Matthewsaidwitharesignedsigh."Youwin."
Theroomwassilent.Peterstoodtherewithhiseyesclosed,waitingforMatthew


togo.
Matthewturnedtoleave,thenpaused,hishandonthedoorlatch.Hewaitedhalf
aminute,untilPeteropenedhiseyesandlookedathim.
"What?"Peterasked,wearily.
"That'swhatIwanttoknow."
"What'swhatyouwanttoknow?"
"Whatwentwrong.Why."Preparedformoreflailing,Peter'sreactionsurprised
him.
WithoutlookingatMatthew,Petercametowardhim.Hepickedupthepenhe
hadmomentsbeforeusedasamissile.Heloweredhimselfdownontothesofa
andcasuallycrossedonelegovertheother.HeheldthepenbearingtheWallaby
logobyeachendbetweenhisfingers.Emphatically,yetsoftly,heexplained.
"Youdon'tunderstand.Youjustdon'tgetit.Youdon'tknowthetruthabout
inventingproductslikeWallaby's.Inthelongrun,it'sallthatreallymatters.That
theproductsaretruetothevisionsthatinspirethem."Hegentlyplacedthepen
inhispocket,shrugged.Hisglazedeyesdriftedacrosstheroomtorestonhis
dockedJoey."Myvisionsaremyproducts."
Heremainedthereforafewmomentswitharapt,slightlysmilingexpression
lightinghisface,goneinsidehimselftoaplacewhere,thewayhesawit,
everythingwassharpandclear,wherehecouldseethingsnooneelsecouldsee.
TheonlythingMatthewsawwasamangone.Gonemad,perhaps.Although
they'dhadargumentsinthepast,Peterhadneverseemedsounhinged.Inaway,
Matthewfeltrelieved.HavingwitnessedPeter'sdistractedstate,hewasresolved
toproceedwithhisplan.
Theyoungfounderblinked.HelookedatMatthewwithcleareyes.
Hewasback.Hebithislowerlip,andwithanexpressionatonce
sadandperplexed,hesaid,"Whatisitthatyousee,Matthew?
Whatisyourvision?"
Thecarphonejingled,snappingMatthewoutofhismusing.


WasitPeter?Ifso,hecouldturnaroundatthenextexitandbebackinjustafew
minutes.Thoughhehadeveryintentionofproceedingwithhisplanasitnow
stood,MatthewwouldneverthelessgivePeteruntiltheverylastminutetosee
thingshisway.
"Peter?"
"Matthew,it'sEileen."Hissecretary."IcalledPeter'soffice.
Peggysaidyoulefttenminutesago.Whathappened?"
"I'vedecidedtogohomefortherestoftheday,"hesaid."IfIhaveanycalls-"
"Youalreadydo.LaurenceMaupin."
"Isiturgent?"
"Thetwoofyouwerescheduledtodiscusstomorrow'smeeting.
She'sinyourofficenow,holdingontheline."
"Okay.Putheron."
Therewasaclick,thenLaurence'svoice."Hi,Matthew.I'vepreparedashort
pressreleasetosendoverthebusinesswireaftertomorrow'sboardmeeting."
Shespokequickly,considerateofhistime."Itreads:'WallabyComputer,
Incorporatedtodayannouncedarealignmentofexecutiveresponsibilities.In
additiontohiscurrentpositionaspresidentandCEO,MatthewLockewillnow
assumetheresponsibilitiesofchairmanoftheboard,andvicepresidentofthe
Joeydivision…'"
Atthislast,hisheartsuddenlyquickened."'PeterJones,formerchairmanand
cofounderofWallaby,willstayonasthecompany'sleadingvisionary,focusing
onadvancedtechnologiesandfutureproductdesigns.'
"Stillthere?"sheasked,givinghimanopportunitytocomment.
"Goon."
Shecontinuedimmediately."'LockehasexpressedgreatconfidenceinJones's
abilitytodriveWallabytothepositionoftechnologyleaderinthedesktop
computerandpersonalinteractiveassistantindustry.'"Whenshefinishedreading


Matthew'sstatement,shepaused."Isthatsuitable?"
"Yes.That'sfine.Thankyou."
"Ifyou'dliketoconductanyphoneinterviewswithkeypressconstituents,I'll
needtoknowthatnowsoIcanmakearrangements."
"No.None.Whatyou'vedoneisfineforallparties."
Hewaitedtobesureshewasthrough,thensaid,"Thankyou,Laurence."Before
takinghercallhehadbeeneagertobealonesohecouldmentallyreviewhis
plan,butnowhefeltoddlyunwillingtoendtheirconversation.Somethingabout
hervoice,thewordsabouthimspokensodecidedly,washavingasoftening
effectonhisanxiousmood.
"Listen,"hesaid,"whenthissettlesdown,let'sspendsometimetogethertowork
onmystrategyforthepressandWallaby'snewPRplans."
"Absolutely."
"Great.Andthanksagain,"hesaid.Withnothinglefttodiscuss,hesaidgoodbye.Ashemovedthephonefromhisearheheardhercallhisname."Yes?"
"Ialmostforgot,"shesaid,slightlyexasperated."Wheredoyougetyourcar
serviced?"
"Mycar?"Matthewsaid,alittledumbfounded.
"Yes.Mysteeringismakingaterriblenoise.It'saBMW,likeyours.Wellnot
exactlylikeyours.Imean,mineisalotsmaller."
"Wallabydoesmine,"Matthewsaid."Theyarrangeforitsservice,nearmy
house.TheplaceiscalledBavariaMotorSystems,inWoodside.It'sjustoff
WoodsideRoad."
"Right.Iknowwherethatis,"Laurencesaid."Itsoundsmorelikeahightech
companythanacarshop,doesn'tit?I'mfinallygettingusedtoallthesesys'sand
gen'sandtech'sandmem's,"shesaidwithachuckle.
HerlaughtercaughtMatthewbysurprise.Untilnow,Laurencehadconducted


herselfinastrictly-businessfashion.Inlightoftheseriousnessofthesituation
hefacedwithWallaby,hereasylaughterwasawelcomebreathoffreshair.He
hadn'theardlaughter,orlaughedhimself,inalongtime.Hethoughtofperhaps
thankingherfor…Butforwhat?Forlaughing?Sure.
"Well,again,thankyou,Laurence,"Matthew.
"No,thankyou,"shesaid."AndMatthew,youcancallmeLauriifyoulike.It
makesthingslessformal."
"Allright.Good-bye,Lauri…"Andforthesecondtimeheheardhercallhis
nameashewenttohangupthephone."Nowwhat?"hesaid,affably.
"I'msorry,Matthew.There'sonemorething.Thepictureinyouroffice,ofyour
wifeandherhorse.Whereisthat?Imean,wheredoesshekeepherhorse?"
"Youride?Ihadnoidea.It'sWoodsideRanch.Aboutahalf-milenorthofthe
BMWshop.There'saturnoff,withasign.Youcan'tmissit.Thatit?"
"Yes,"shereplied.
"You'resure?"Helaughed."Okay,then.Good-bye."Hesnappedthephoneback
ontoitscradleandsettledintothecomfortoftheleatherseat.Tomorrow's
meeting.Thepress.Thefuture.Laurence'scertaintyandcontrolhelpedhim
strengthenhisownholdontheimmediacyoftomorrow'smeeting,andhis
overallplan.
Hisplan.He'dspentthepastsixmonthsanalyzingandplottingitscurrentphase.
Ifthevotewassuccessful,PeterJoneswouldberemovedfromhispositionas
Wallaby'schairmanandengineeringdivisionvicepresident.Company-wide
responsibilitywouldbeturnedovertoMatthew.
Allthepieceswereinplace.Tobeginwith,Matthewhadgainedtentative
agreementfromWallaby'svicechairman,HankTowers,toconsider
"repositioning"Peterwithinthecompany.Hehadthenspentmanyhourswith
eachmemberoftheexecutivestaffoverthelastseveralmonths,subtlygaining
theirconfidenceasheexplainedhisstrategyforthecompany'sfuture,onethat
wouldincreaseWallaby'sprofitabilityandcompetitivepositionintheindustry.
Dissolvingtheexecutivestaff'sconfidenceinPeterJonesasaleader,while


buildingitstrustandgainingitsloyaltyforhimselfascompanypresident,had
beenanextremelydelicateoperation.Resistancefromevenonememberofthe
executivestaffcouldhavepreventedhisplanfromadvancingtoitspresent
place.
ThefirstphaseofMatthew'splan,togainsupportafterhisarrivalatWallaby,
hadbeensuccessful.Hehadbecomeacredibleandqualifiedchampionof
Wallaby'shightechnologyplatformofcomputerproducts,astatushewould
haveneverreachedwithoutPeter'sfocusedcoachingandfriendship.
Justayearandahalfearlier,"BusinessWeek"hadtoutedPeterandMatthewas
"TheBrainsandBrawnofSiliconValley."Gracingthecoverwasajocularphoto
ofthetwo,aninsightful,undisguisedshotwhoseoveralleffectwassimilarto
thatofaHollywoodbuddyfilmpromotionposter.OntheleftstoodPeter,
wearingjeansandawhiteOxfordshirt.Hisshirtsleeveswererolledtotheelbow
andhisarmswerefoldednimblyacrosshischest.Ofslightbuildandtenuous
stance,hisphysicalcomposurewasthatofalankyhighschoolstudent,yethis
eyeshadthedepthofatwenty-coatlacquerfinish.Theyweretheeyesofaman
olderthanhisyears,whosemindperformedatacycles-per-secondrateequalto
thatofthreemencombined.Hewasthirty-one.
BesidePeterstoodMatthew,onearmhunglooselyovertheyoungerman's
shoulder.Heworekhakipantsandachambrayworkshirtwhosesleeves,like
Peter's,wererolledtotheelbows.Thesparse,light-brownhair,high,time-worn
forehead,andthecreasesofhisface,especiallyaroundtheeyes,didnotbeliehis
age.Hiseyes,moregraythanblue,burnedwiththedeterminationofacollege
graduatewho,withdiplomafreshinhand,sprintseagerlytowardTheChallenge.
Hewasforty-two.
Tensionsbegantosurfacejustsixmonthsafterthatcovershotappearedon
newsstands,whenafteritsintroduction,theJoeypersonalinteractiveassistant
metwithonlymildcommercialsuccess.Thoughthedevicewonaccoladesfrom
theindustryforPeterandhisteamofengineersforitsbreakthroughtechnology,
buyerswereskeptical.ThedreamthatPetersharedwithMatthewintheirfirst
meetingwastomaketheJoeythehottest-sellingportablecomputerdeviceinthe
world,displacingmarketsharecompletelydominatedbyWallaby'sbiggest
competitor,InternationalComputerProducts.
Thedreamwasneverrealized.ThoughusersofICP'sownbest-sellingportable


computeradmittedthattheJoeywastechnicallymoreinnovativeandexpertly
designed,therewerefewkeysoftwareapplicationsavailableforitatthetimeof
itsintroduction.Attherootofthedelaywasafrustratingparadox:Whilethe
Joeywasbyfartheeasiesttouseportableinteractiveassistant,itwasalsothe
mostdifficultcomputertodevelopsoftwareprogramsfor.TheJoeyemployeda
radicalnewmethodofoperationandmanyofthesoftwaredevelopershad
troublelearningthenewsystem.AssalesoftheJoeydroppedoff,thepressure
onPeter'steamgrewmoreintense.EnhancementsthatwouldmaketheJoey
easiertodevelopprogramsforwerebehindschedule,andMatthewheldPeter
responsibleforthedelays.
Duringthisprecariousperiod,Peterranforcover.Embarrassedbyhisown
shortsightedness,heleftMatthewtocontendwithWallaby'sshare-sensitive
executivesandboardmembers.Itwasn'tunnaturalforthepresidentofa
companytocontendwithitsboardofdirectors,butitwasradicallydifferent
fromthewaythingshadworkedatWallabyinthepast.PeterJonesheldadual
roleaschairmanoftheboardandvicepresidentoftheJoeydivision.Untilthe
developmentdilemma,Peterhadalwaysbeentheprimaryvoiceinfrontofthe
board.SowhilePeterrecoveredfromhistemporarylossofbalance,Matthew
soothedboardmembers'nervesbycommittingallofhisenergiestobuildinga
strategythatwouldmoveWallabybackintoasecure,high-salesposition.He
assuredthemthatPeterwasontrackandwouldcomethroughwiththenecessary
improvements.Heproducedimpressivedevelopmenttrendstudiesthat
describedhowitoftentooktwoyearsforanewproducttogainmarket
acceptance.HismethodicalEastCoaststylehadaninterestingeffectonthe
anxiousprincipals:Theybelievedhim.Inthepast,Peterhaswowedthemwith
hisenthusiasmandtechnologicalprowess.Therehadneverbeencauseto
questiontheyoungman'sbusinessacumen;thecompanywaslessthantenyears
oldandhadbeenprofitableforjustaslong.Butsuddenly,Peter'spassionate
effortsseemedempty;thenumbersweredeclining.Thosenumbersneeded
turningaround,andMatthewwastheboard'sman.Nowthathehadtheir
confidence,itwastimetogivethemanultimatum.
Itwasreallyquitesimple.MatthewwouldproposethatPeterberemovedasthe
leaderofbothWallabyandtheJoeygroup.Matthewwouldpersonallyoversee
theaccelerateddevelopmentofthenewJoeyPlus,enforcingastrictscheduleto
completeitsdesignandproductioninjustthreemonths.MatthewknewPeter
thatwouldbeutterlyshockedbyhisproposalattomorrow'smeeting.Though
Peterwouldbestrippedofallhispower,Matthewhopedthatafterhisfeelings


healed,theexecutivestaffandboardofdirectorswouldbeabletopersuadehim
toconcentratehisvisionaryskillsinaresearchcapacity,whichMatthewcould
drawuponwhenthecoreJoeytechnologybeganshowingsignsofobsolescence.
Tofulfillhispromisetofixthecompany'sstalledposition,Matthewintendedto
unifytheengineeringgroups,endingtheelitistconditionsPeterhadcreated
whenhebegandevelopingtheJoeymorethanthreeyearsago.Peterhadchosen
onlythebrightest,mostprovenpeopleandmovedhisnewteamtoaprivate
building,whichhehadsurroundedwithtightsecurity.OnlytheJoeyteamhad
beenallowedtoenterthebuilding,afirstinWallabyhistory.BeforetheJoey
project,employeeshadbeenfreetoentereverybuilding.Mostemployeeshad
noreasontoenterbuildingsotherthanthoseinwhichtheyworked,butthe
freedomofbeingallowedtodosorepresentedthecompany'strustinitspeople.
Matthew,ofcourse,wasfreetoroamwhereverhepleased,andheinstantly
understoodthereasonforPeter'srulethefirsttimeheenteredtheoff-limits
building.Peterhadcreatedaproject-teamparadise.TheJoeyengineerswere
suppliedwithexoticandluxuriousamenitiesthatPeterfeltnurturedtheir
creativityandrewardedthemfortheirintensework.
MatthewintendedtoputanendtotheJoeyteam'sClubMedworkenvironment
byintegratingitwiththecompany'sotherengineeringdivisions.Anewly
consolidatedengineeringdivisionwouldfocusitsenergiesonexpediting
completionoftheJoeyPlus.
Inthequietofhisowncar,theplanseemedlogicalandsimple.Butashethought
abouttomorrow'smeetingandabouttheconfrontationthatwouldensue,he
becameawareofthedampnessunderhisarmsandhisflushface.
HechangedlanesashepassedtheWoodsideexit.Highgoldenhills,peppered
everytenorsoacreswithcolossalmansions,passedoneithersideassidledto
therightlane.Passingtheautorepairshop,hethoughtofLaurenceMaupin.She
hadbeenhiredintothenewlycreatedpositionashispersonalpublicrelations
assistantonemonthago.Thetimingwasperfectforpositioningherloyaltiesin
hisfavor.Hehadrevealedtoherhisplanfortomorrow'smeeting,andaskedher
tosecretlypreparehispressstatementundertheassumptionthateverything
wouldgoperfectly.Therewasnoguaranteethattomorrow'sboarddecision
wouldfavorhimoverPeter,yethewasbettinghiscareeronhisplan.He
remindedhimselfofhisdiscussionwithLaurenceafewminutesearlier,about
theover-and-done-withtoneofhervoiceasshereadMatthewhisstatementon


theotherendoftheline,speakinginanearlyconspiratorialtoneasshesatinhis
office,holdinghistelephoneinherhand.Hefelthisspiritslift.
Hefeltsomethingelselift,too.Hismind'seyefixedonanimageoftheyoung
andbeautifulLaurencesittingathisdesk,herhandclaspedaroundhishandset,
herlipsclosetothemouthpiece,herwordsforginganewalliancebetweenthem.
Hefocusedonhismemoryofherhands.Wasthereenoughtime?Hepressedhis
palmtohisgroinandconsideredopeninghistrousersandtakingcareofhimself,
ashesometimesdidonhiswayhomefromwork.Usuallytheactrequiredabout
asmuchtimeasittooktoreachthePaloAltoexit,buthehadpassedthatturnoff
milesagoandwasnearlyhome.No,hewouldhavetolethisdesirego
unsatisfied…thoughinsteadoflettinggo,heindulgedhisimaginationanyway,a
littlelonger,fantasizing.Hadshetouchedhiscomputerwhileshesatthere
talkingtohim?Hadsherestedhersoft,prettyhandonhismouseandslippedits
pointeracrossthescreentohisprivatefolders,openedhisfiles?Theonlyother
handsaslovelyasherswerethoseofhiswife…
Were.
Andwiththatrecollection,hisdaydreamterminated.Hehadarrivedatthe
beginningoftheroadthatwounditswayuptohishome.Thecar'stransmission
automaticallydown-shiftedasitclimbed.Andsodidhismood.Asif
commiseratingwiththemachinerythathadhelpedhimreachthispoint,
Matthewletoutanexhaustedsigh.
Oneithersidehepassedhugeconcretegatesthatfrontedtheestatesofsomeof
themostpowerfulentrepreneursandbusinesspeopleinSiliconValley,including
Peter,whosehomewasonlyahalf-milefromhisown.Ithadbeenmorethansix
monthssincehehadbeentoPeter'shome.AndeversinceMatthew'swifeGreta
hadtoldhimmorethanayearagothatshedidnotwantPeterinherhouseagain,
MatthewandPeterspentlessandlesstimetogether.Recentlytheyhadonlyseen
eachotherinformalmeetings.Lookingbacknow,Matthewwasactually
appreciativeforhiswife'srestriction.Afterall,haditnotbeenforher,hemight
neverhavedistancedhimselffarenoughfromPetertogetwherehecouldrealize
hisownpower.
Hemadeamentalnote.Whenallofthiswassettled,hewoulddosomething
niceforher.


***
Reachingforthedoorhandleofthedarkblue500SLconvertible,theparking
attendantwasmomentarilystruckwithasmallsurprise:Arathergaudybut
finelytailoredpurpleglovedhand,wildlyflappingathimlikesomeexoticbird.
Beforehehadachancetoopenthedoor,thewomantowhomtheglovedhand
belongedwasclimbingoutofthecar.Shewasdressedinblackdesignersweats
andlavendersportsneakers.Purplesunglassesshieldedhereyes,andamadras
scarfprotectedherhairfromthewind.Assheturnedandreachedinsidethecar
forherpurse,theattendantunderstoodatonce,fromthisangle,thatshewasnot
wearingthisoutfittopursueanathleticregimen.Stillinhisfirsttwoweeksof
summeremployment,hehadbeguntoregardtheladieswhoshoppedherewith
amusementandfascination.Hepaidspecialattentiontomannerismsandhair
color.Theintendedoveralllooksoughtbywomenlikethisonewas,hehad
cometobelieve,thatofcarefree,understatedelegance.Mostofthempulledit
offbeautifully.Butthisone?Notquite.Theglovesweredefinitelyafirst,anda
definitegiveaway.Shewasn'tthetype,hewascertainofit.Toounrefined.
Orsohethought,untilsheremovedherscarf.Heobservedtheloosechestnut
ringletsofhair,whichappearedtobehernaturalcolor.Pausingforamoment,
shecasuallyshookdownthecurls,whichweresurprisinglylongandappeared
softtothetouch.Atthesametimeshepointedherfacedirectlyupintotheshaft
ofsunlightcuttingthroughtherowsoflargebuildingsoneithersideofthestreet,
andwithobviouspleasurebaskedinthewarmthforaninstant.Theeffectwas
striking,asthoughtherayssomehowtransformedherintosomethingmore
attractive,whichimposedatemporarysnaginhisanalysis.Untilshespoke.
"I'llbejustafewsecs,"shesaid,gesturingatthestorewithherChanelwallet."I
havetopicksomethingup."
"Ofcourse,madam,"theattendantsaid,touchinghishat.Indeed,thewoman's
tonewasallwrong,toorough,aswasheraccent,orlackthereof.Yes,hisinitial
estimationwascorrect.Herwealthwasdefinitelynouveau.Theworstwealthof
all.
Asecondattendantsmiledasheopenedthelargeglassdoorthatannounced
Gump's,ingoldleaflettering.Removinghersunglasses,sheheadedstraightfor
theelevator.Asshewaitedforitsarrival,sheliftedanantiquehandmirrorfrom


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