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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tales of the Cypherpunk 8

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The City Trust Insurance Company occupied a small building in a city where real estate was at a premium. Its eight story glass facade was simple, humble, and outrageously extravagant, surrounded by skyscrapers that charged 100b a square foot and stretched into the clouds.

It was a historic building actually, the former courthouse. Where once men had come seeking justice, they could now buy justice for a low, low monthly premium.

Shilo knew a lot of history. He knew a lot of things. He cared about very little, and he cared little for history. The ancient mahogany doors hissed closed behind him.

Inside was a two-story-high lobby with a single sheet of pure white marble for a floor. Water trickled amongst exotic plants that were carefully, professionally subdued; a soft pearl light bathed the space from thousands of hidden sources. The interior was just as understated as the exterior.

The clerks nodded him past from granite booths. The glass tubes against the far wall gave Shilo a distorted view of himself. Isn't everyone's self image distorted? he thought. Sa na, Betty would say. An elevator dropped from the ceiling and stopped in front of him. The golden arch of the elevator's door passed over his head.

* * *

Jonas' office was wood paneled with a rather large window making up one entire wall. For the moment, the glass was a transparent grey, opaque from the outside. Jonas sat at one end of the office on a white khaki loveseat. Shilo faced him from a red suede couch. Cappuccino cooled on a small oak table and dripped from a machine at the bar.

Jonas stared miserably at his Cappuccino. Shilo sipped his from a large coffee cup. Jonas straightened his blue tie and dusted off his grey plaid suit. Shilo
added cinnamon. Jonas coughed. Shilo said,

"Listen. We wouldn't ask if we didn't have to. If I had to explain myself to a contractor every time I ran off with a beautiful woman and ignited a turf war between rival syndicates, I'd never hear the end of it. But you have to understand that contractually, we're in a tight spot. Now, we could drop you as a customer; but we would hate to do that. Your company is one of our most important priorities and we don't want to leave you in the lurch at a time like this. Besides, our working relationship is great. Option two is that we could work blind, which would require a much larger contract. We don't really prefer to do that, and considering what we would have to charge, it wouldn't be a good value for your company. I think the best solution, and the boss agrees with me on this, is that you let us in on what's going on. Then we can come up with a temporary addendum... um.."

Jonas stared miserably at Shilo. "I want option two."

* * *

"Betty-chaaaaaan! We're rich! rich I say! Hahahaha!" Shilo hugged her around the shoulders and started dancing around the office. All activity stopped and 13 eyes turned toward them. Tyson leaned out of his office and smirked. "Rich, rich!" Betty, turning incredibly red, struggled to touch the ground as Shilo swung her past the printers. "Sh- sh- sh-SHY!"

"What the smeg is going on out here?!!" came roaring from the boss's chamber, followed by the boss himself. For a split second, half the office thought they saw a charging bull in Van Heusen slacks. Thirteen eyes turned toward him, then back toward the spectacle. Betty was now limply hanging from Shilo's arms, a dreamy smile on her face, and his mouth was frozen in the shape of a 'ri-.' "What. The. Smeg. Shilo."

Shilo grinned and shoved a single sheet of paper into the boss's face. Betty hung onto his other arm and tried to regain her footing. The Boss scanned the contract silently.

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