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Chapter 24


us getting closer to the anti-client, the degrees of separation dropping like Becky Hammon's free throws.

We waited for the 6 train on an almost-empty platform, the few Saturday Midtown shoppers around us carrying enough bags to look vaguely deranged. One thing about lunatics in New York—they've given carrying lots of stuff a bad name. Whenever I've got more than a backpack, I feel certifiable.

"So, this guy does magazines," Jen said. "You think there's any connection with Hoi Aristoi?"

"Maybe. I've still got my free issue at home. We can check. But I can't imagine that the whole magazine was a sham."

"Yeah, that is getting paranoid," she said. "Of course, that's what they want."

"What is?"

"For us to start questioning everything. Is this party real? This product? This social group? Is cool even real?"

I nodded. "My mother asks that a lot."

"Doesn't everyone?"

A train came and we got on, finding ourselves in a single-advertiser car. The whole train was plastered with ads for a certain brand of wrist-watch, the name of which rhymes with watch. Jen shuddered.

"What's wrong?"

"I always remember the first morning I got on this train," she said. "I looked at my watch and then all the watches in the ads. And they all said the same time mine did."

I looked around. The watches in the ads all were set to ten after ten. "Yeah. The photo-shoot guys set them that way so they look like a smiling face."

"I know, but it's like time froze in here after that morning."

I laughed. "I guess even watch ads are right twice a day."

"I've never recovered."

I looked into her face, which scanned the smiling watch faces above us, a small mammal watching for predatory birds.

"You are very easily rewired, Jen."

"Thanks. But just hold me."

I started to say we could change cars, but holding her was better.

* * * | So Yesterday | * * *