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An anthology of a dozen stories. Charlie Newton has sworn to de-fang, de-claw, and neuter Wall Street. On the last day of his life, at the corner of Battery Place and Greenwich Street, Charlie’s I-Phone rang. “This is Bruce Duncan, your astronomer. I am heading for higher ground in case of a large wave. I tasked the Consell telescope to observe the sky directly overhead with a diameter of two hundred miles at an elevation of ninety miles. Majorca is one degree of latitude south of New York. Their computer sent it...
An anthology of a dozen stories. Charlie Newton has sworn to de-fang, de-claw, and neuter Wall Street. On the last day of his life, at the corner of Battery Place and Greenwich Street, Charlie’s I-Phone rang. “This is Bruce Duncan, your astronomer. I am heading for higher ground in case of a large wave. I tasked the Consell telescope to observe the sky directly overhead with a diameter of two hundred miles at an elevation of ninety miles. Majorca is one degree of latitude south of New York. Their computer sent it a minute ago. The object appears to be twenty yards wide. The distance between Majorca and New York is 3,800 miles. At 20,000 miles per hour, and minus the two minutes since it was photographed, that puts it nine and a half minutes away. With a mass fifteen per-cent of the Tunguska event in 1908, this means a blast radius of six miles. It will come down somewhere along a line between Spain and Chicago. Good Luck, Mr. Newton.”
Frances Kemble enlists the aid of glamorous television psychologist Dr. Anita Karvakian to expose a presidential candidate in the ambush journalism of a television interview. Frances contemplated the injury of lies. She remembered the jellyfish-sting of their betrayal. The lie was a family with many sons. Frances ran their names. There were weasel-words—the Swiss Army knives of lying. There were spins—the quick coats of paint. There was boilerplate—the unpruned thicket where lies hid like leopards. There was hyperbole—the vine wrapped around the living truth. There was silence—the family ghost. There was sham, phoniness, fakery, duplicity, insincerity, hypocrisy, unctuousness, quackery, humbug, and bluff. There was pretension, perversion, distortion, exaggeration, equivocation, dissimulation, and cant. Frances thought of the Eskimos, who needed 32 different names for snow.
Now comes three stories of “Conway.” In the first, he is a smuggler in the Caribbean and the Florida Straits, flying a twin-engine Navajo. As the islands string out farther south, civilization grows weary, and the towns become simple. The farther he flew from the American mainland, the wider the stretches of blue water became, and more clear became the problem of survival. Conway sometimes refuels his white, twin-engine Navajo at lonely Duncan Town. The sky behind him glows with first light. Conway rises up from the airstrip, flying low and flat out, at two hundred and twenty-five knots. He turns west north-west up the Nicholas Channel, hugging the color change, in the low light, at the west edge of blue water. Alongside Cuban airspace, Conway switches off his collision lights, to fly dark. Always, Conway dreams of the forbidden string of islands off his port side—from Neuvitas in the south to Bacunayagua in the north. Above his left shoulder, Conway watches for the lights of Migs, rising up to shoot him down.
A slow smile crept across Becker’s face. “You shall see what it is you are made of. Take a careful look. Not every man gets that chance. Most men die strangers to themselves.” He knew that Rory appeared to others to be a fitness fanatic, or someone whose love for the sport withstood brutal repetition. Becker suspected otherwise. It might be that Chinese girl, but likely, it went deeper. It was some private hell. It was a voice that Rory tried to silence. There could be no talking, no thinking, only doing. Becker knew that this voice cannot be turned off. It must be over-topped by some louder voice. “There is one big voice you cannot turn off. All of the other voices within your head will show respect for it and become silent. It is time for you to hear it, my friend. This is the voice that tells you…that you may die.” You do not compete with Becker Kraus by talking. You had to show Becker if you had it in you.