The Sweat of the Brow (xxxii)

The next day I’m very tired.

I can’t help it. My mind is full, my arms and legs are empty. I spend the morning trying to fight it and that only makes it worse. I spend the afternoon trying to succumb and that doesn’t make it any better at all.

I go to bed exhausted but not spent. I lay in bed unsleeping and hating myself for it.

Then I wake up and put dark sugar on a thin steel round with a long handle. I dial the hydrogen flame to full and burn the sugar black. I twist the handle in my hand and the sugar slides into a cup of coffee, thick and bitter. I heat a fork in the flame and then stir in the sugar, three times.

It takes me an hour to drink it down. An hour later and I could take the world.

I begin my research. Seiji Masamune. Nigerian, one hundred and thirteen years old, lives in Setubal with a wife and three. A Young Wife – they look like college sweethearts but she’s thirty years old the old-fashioned way, where Masamune’s had his first treatment and is going towards a second. With the amount of money he made I wouldn’t be surprised if he took a third. Which is what happens when you get opium poppies to start selectively producing codeine – and you keep the breed proprietary for a generation.

I’ve never read up on agrichemistry. I wonder what I’d say if called upon to defend this sudden interest. My fears take the form of some dark man in a dark little room, a table between us, him leaning on it, me cowering beneath.

Vague and Hollywood. I know enough to know I don’t have any idea what I’m doing.

I move my focus to the party. It’s a dozy affair, I can tell that from a glance. The only public mentions are in the Crimson and through Masamune corporate. The former was written by an undergraduate, the latter by a bot.

A little more surface-scratching and I identify about forty people who’ll be attending. This mostly from them having public schedules. I look into these people, as best as I can. A few Masamune execs. A few professors. A few fundraisers. No, more than a few. Three agrichemists. Seven wealthy Harvard alums with calendars soaked with fundraising events, all the market would bear. Two politicos, looking for money or media attention or things I could not appreciate in a lifetime. Or two.

There’s nothing about getting into the event. No way to buy your way in. No number to call. No office to pray or pay or pester.

At least the S O K has a waiting list. It’s just nine months long.

I get back into bed, and once more do not sleep.


~ by davekov on 23 March 2012.

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