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interior. Before stepping out of the elevator into the red-carpeted, satin-lined foyer, however, he looked down at the polished brass edge of the car's floor and saw that the name of the company that designed and manufactured both the elevator in his parents' building and la creme de la creme of lifts in which he now stood was the same, Otis. He silently congratulated Mr. Otis on his ability to touch all the bases and, smiling to himself, left and sealed up the car.

The door chimes were answered by a blond woman who obviously refused to accept the fact that she was approaching her middle thirties and was rich enough to purchase things which enabled her to fake her twenties. The moment she shook his hand at the door, Emmett knew how old she was, even though he was fooled at first. He could feel the years in the skin covering the fingers and knuckles of her hand which still clasped his, coaxing him toward the large salon that was the rear of the apartment, with a skylight for a ceiling and an immense, articulate, psychedelic painting drawn on one of its otherwise orange-red walls. She introduced herself to Emmett and, upon hearing her surname, he immediately assumed that she was the daughter of a famous film director who hadn't made a good movie in years. But she wasn't.

Danny the Riff was late and had phoned, saying that he'd be by within the next hour which would have left Emmett quite alone with the lovely, good lady, if it hadn't been for the seven or eight men seated around the comfortably furnished salon. Emmett forgot each of their names as soon as they were introduced to him, except for one who was apparently the woman's brother because he had the same surname, wore no wedding ring and looked a lot like her.

Emmett couldn't get over how difficult it was for him to handle people's names, especially when they had two more besides their first. "No big deal," he concluded as he sat down in a billowy armchair to wait for Danny the Riff in a room full of strangers who had already given him a large snifter half-filled with good brandy, because it was what he wanted, and were now trying to get him into their cocktail conversation. But that he didn't want and made it clear by playing spaced and not answering or saying anything. They finally left him alone and returned to what they were talking about among themselves which was business, the stocks and bonds business.

Emmett listened attentively, but unnoticeably, to everything that [end page 422]


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