01 July 2006

S&E--November 1

I was fifty-five when I decided to become an acrobat.

Dag relates the story of seeing a nouveau circus show in Las Vegas when he was there six months ago for a "Geek Convention." Then he tells us that the convention was on investigative electronics, otherwise known as spyware. While touring an aisle in the exhibit area, he realizes that he's picked up a shadow. He maneouvers her into a conversation and when she suddenly turns friendly and asks if he'd like to get lucky, he says no and recites a list of reasons, concluding with the fact that she is a student of Lars Anderson who has probably been listening to every word. Lars appears and congratulates Dag on his field observation skills. We find out that Lars was an instructor of Dag's years ago (army days?) and Deborah "Don't call me Debbie" Riley is his prize student in Criminal Justice. He asks Dag to show her some of the ropes in the real world. Dag agrees and meets Riley for dinner.

They pass through a casino and Riley repeats her "Wanna get lucky?" question. Dag is ready to be upset, but she points to a roulette table and asks him to show her how to play. Dag gives her a $5 chip and tells her that on her first spin she should play her age. She looks at the table a moment, then places the chip on 28. Dag looks at her with raised eyebrow and she pushes it across the line to 25. Just before the spin, Dag drops a chip on 24. The 24 hits. He gathers the money and turns from the table telling Riley that if she'd been honest she'd have won.

As he turns away, Dag is suddenly hit with a heart attack and lands on the casino floor. The last he remembers, Riley is pushing a pill in his mouth and saying to chew.

Dag wakes up in the hospital the next day with Riley sitting beside him playing on his computer. He asks how she got into his computer and she tells him that she just passed his finger over the biometric scanner and unlocked it. But there was nothing on it but the basic install stuff, so she just went up to the internet to play games. She was pretty amazed that it just connected to the internet with no extra WiFi or anything.

Dag hires Riley to return to his room to take care of Maizie and finds out that she has already done so. She stayed there last night. Finally, Dag asks her to drive him back to Seattle. We discover that each year he takes his Mustang convertible out and drives from Seattle to Las Vegas and back, but this year he can't drive back by himself. Riley agrees. On the trip back, we discover that Riley has stolen a nurses ID badge from the hospital and passes herself off as his nurse when they check into a motel for the night. She continues to care for both Dag and Maizie.

Dag finishes the reminiscence by saying that was how he met Riley, his trusted secretary and apprentice, but that it didn't really explain how he found himself hanging from a sixth story waterfront window with one foot on a telephone line contemplating becoming an acrobat, and he reckons that is the story he should probably tell.

End of the first chapter.

I would guess that the further I get into this the less developed the chapter summaries are going to be.