Chapter Forty One

Janah calls James, “He’s gone, his way.”
James, “Thank you for being there, it meant a lot to him. Kara and I were over just yesterday, he was in and out. Are you home now?”
“Yes, we thought she might want some time alone, we are deciding whether to offer to stay with her tonight, or at least have dinner someplace.”
James, “I’ll call her. Kara and I will visit, we’ll handle dinner. I’ll let you know if she needs company, it’s okay to call at the last minute?”
Janah, “Of course, and if for any reason she needs us, she should pick up the phone, any time, the middle of the night.”
James sighs, “Such a good friend, so many years, my teacher, then my friend and colleague. Martha there like a rock, handling the Society, she’s quite a formidable lady.”
Janah, “I didn’t get a read she’s faking anything. Daphne says she’s healthy enough, her nose didn’t detect anything serious. Everyone that age has cancer of something, but she’s not registering off the charts. The Sylk Trust will be twenty million richer, they have been incredibly generous.”
James, “Bernie told me that, but asked me to keep it to myself. I know he also left money to the hospital, specifically to the psychiatry department.”
Janah, “He left money to someone else, act surprised, although knowing Mrs. Epstein, she’s probably figured out I told you. Might be why she told me.”
James, “Oh, gosh, he never said a word.”
Janah, “Well, you will soon have a million dollars you didn’t know you have. Buy mom something nice.”
James, “I don’t know what to say.”
Janah, “When she tells you, all there is, is thank you.”
James, “Good Lord.”
Janah, “Kind of how we felt. We will make sure the money is used wisely, for our schools and the ranches. My thought is to build another ranch, in his name, but Daphne is the head of the Trust, it’s up to her and the board.”
James, “The board is you and Nishiko, a lawyer I recall, Daphne doesn’t care about being head of anything. Besides, it’s three bodies one mind. Bernie and I spent hours over wine and cigars on you guys, never did come up with anything, but we sure had fun discussing it.”
Janah, “Call Mrs. Epstein, let me know.”
They ring off.
“Sounds like dad and Kara will take over from here.”
Janah, “Yes, dad knows what to do.”
“Then I have a family to feed, tea is in ten, then Dasha and I will think up dinner.”
During tea, we spend the first round enjoying tea and snacks, then the conversation turns to recent events.
Janah informs the family of our imminent bequest, Zi says, “That’s wonderful, Daphne, the Sylk Trust is now up to what?”
“That’s Nikko’s department.”
Nikko, “Fifty million before, seventy million after. I add family money every year, going to increase the contributions substantially, it stays untaxed in the trust.”
Amaya, “Wow.”
“We will build another ranch, maybe two, we have to find property, modify it to our needs, find monks to work there. One thing we don’t need to figure out is kids to place, that list just grows. Our Trust has primarily helped support our free schools here in New York. Our educational mission has also included support to the ranches, but between the Shaolin and the Society, we just haven’t needed to contribute to operating expense. The new ranch will be credited to a donation by Dr. Epstein and the Trust will cover operating costs.”
Chloe, “It is such a splendid thing to be a part of. It takes the edge off the ugly side, to the side where young lives go from misery to possibility.”
Chloe is talking about the dirty work we do to get the kids out of the swamp they were thrown in, helpless and forgotten.
“If we don’t do what we do, they don’t get to a ranch, they get to a grave.”
Dasha, “Da, ees because fahmahley that Daria and I haf gud life. Vesnushki, Dahfoney, Nikko, Zi, come and kill Russian criminal, take us home. Send Dasha and Daria, we kill all criminal men.”
Nikko, “You don’t get to have all the fun yourself.”
Dasha, “Nikko ees like to make criminal dead also.”
Janah, “I guess there’s an upside to sociopaths.”
“Long as they’re on our team.”

The Death Tea is over, what a family! Oy! I’m not Jewish, just sacrilegious. The girls wander off to various projects, Dasha and I plot dinner.
“What do you want?”
Dasha, “Feesh, grill feesh wiz butter and roast garlic, also Janah favorite, mahcahroney and chizz, maybe four chizz, broccoli wiz garlic sauce, you will decide salad and dessert.”
Sounds good to me, we go off to buy fish and broccoli, back in under an hour. We chop the vegetables, I chop romaine, we’ll have it chilled with vinaigrette and seasoned croutons, simple. We bought sea bass,  I’ll crust it with minced almonds after grilling, then under the broiler to brown, adds a flavorful crunch.
The family cocktail hour rolls around, Amaya has become mixologist, which is a pretty simple job, vodka with preferred additives for the hard liquor drinkers, and red wine or champagne for Janah and Nikko.
They are around the dining table, we still have the twelve seat mahogany beauty Mrs. Epstein bought for us long ago, nicely worn now, a part of the family.
Nikko, “We have a waiting list for the new school, we have to send out notices soon, parents need to know. Deposits are in for students we’ve accepted, I’ll be collecting first year tuition next week. I’ve been looking at ranch property in Arizona, near Flagstaff. Close enough to a reasonably sized city, not so close as to interfere with the atmosphere we want. It’s snowy and cold in winter, but the summers are moderate at the seven thousand foot elevation. I think it may be our most scenic spot. Lots of pine forest, creeks, skiing and hiking.”
Janah, “We’ll have to build everything, there’s no development. If we get busy, it can be ready before fall. We may take a trip out there during construction, no particular reason other than we can’t go after the kids move in.”
Chloe, “I’d love to see it.”
Janah, “Me, too. Once details are settled, we’ll have a summer trip, three or four months from now.”
Amaya, “Production starts on our film in two weeks, reservations are made at Shutters, Chloe is rehearsing her lines, Nikko can perhaps coach katana action sequences.”
Nikko, “Chloe is 6th dan, I don’t have anything to coach, still, it’ll be fun to watch the production. I hope some of the sequences can be shot while Zi and I are there.”
Amaya, “I explained that to Childers, this isn’t a Spielberg production, it’s pretty simple for our director to organize. I gave him the dates you’ll be around, you and Zi come in the start of week two, Chloe’s sword sequences will be shot then. You have the most expert eye, we’d like to get it right.”
Nikko, “I’ll be happy to observe, if I have suggestions, I’ll make them.”
Janah, “I called Joan Wayne and invited her to join us for any stretch she can get free. She moved back to Manhattan and I still don’t get to see her enough, she’s buried in work all the time. I thought getting her on a vacation might work.”
Chloe, “Is she coming?”
Janah, “Yes, still juggling scheduling, but at least part of the time.”
Dasha and I are putting salads out, sliding dinner plates and utensils around the gathered family.
“Start on salad, dinner will be served in ten.”
I place wine glasses, despite fish as the entrée, we have Beaujolais, guess we’re unsophisticated. Then it’s time to place platters of sea bass, broccoli, macaroni and cheese on the table.
Zi, “The fish is superb, almond crust, my tongue dances.”
Janah, “Dasha, your mac and cheese just gets better, firm pasta, gooey creamy cheese, the broccoli is as good as Fong’s.”
Dasha, “Dahfoney shows how to make pasta, not overcook to mush, only boil a leetle, finish with baking. Mahcahroney and chizz ees now favorite at Veelege Diner. They haf every day.”
Janah, “I can see why.”
Dessert is flan, standard recipe, eggs, vanilla, sugar, both condensed and evaporated milk. Simple to make and everyone likes it. While we dessert, we watch the first segment of the new season of Justified, then wander off to bed.

Chapter Forty Two

Susan, “I can’t believe Dr. Epstein is gone, he was always so vibrant, alive.”
“Mrs. Epstein was insistent that you finish your trip without the burden of his passing on your mind. I had to honor her wishes.”
Susan, “She’s thoughtful as always, Lacy and I are having lunch with her soon, she’s moving to her upstate place. I think that’s good. Hanging around the condo where she and Bernie lived is lonely and might be depressing and she has a few close friends upstate. She’ll be more active there.”
Taylor, “Susan and I are going to Madrid and Barcelona in three months, contemplating Rome, next year a cruise around Japan with stops in China, we’re thinking a couple of months total.”
“Dang, you guys are going to be international travel experts.”
Taylor, “We had a splendid time in London and Paris. Enjoyed the upscale hotel thing, guides, go at our own pace, no tour schedule.”
Susan, “We may wind up roaming around the world full time. We found that we like having time to acclimate, become a little more than tourists. We made new acquaintances in Europe. I’ve spent so much time in Manhattan, working on tight schedules, this is neat, just float along, long breakfasts, dinner until ten in the evening, a glass or two of wine at lunch. I’ve moved into a different universe.”
“Couldn’t be happier for you, Sis. All the long meals haven’t managed to get you fattened up any, you’ve lost a few pounds I think.”
Susan, “We eat sensibly, take a day or two to calorie restrict, you put me onto that five two diet, live normally for five days, take two days a week to eat minimally. It works. We usually do Monday and Thursday, it isn’t in stone, but Taylor is insistent about fitting in two days out of seven. I’ve been amazed at how efficient it is. Five days, we pretty much eat as we please, plus we walked a lot as tourists.”
“Janah and Amaya have gotten rigorous about the diet, Chloe and Eloise would be a waste of time, we all get a lot of exercise.”
Susan, “Plus, none of you are ageing, you have the metabolism of teens.”
“That doesn’t hurt either. I don’t know why Janah and Amaya do it, other than the discipline. Amaya is very demanding of herself, Janah’s not much different.”
Susan, “No, that sounds like them. How do they manage with all the great food you and Dasha produce?”
“Miniscule portions, no booze on low cal days, they eat five hundred calories, no more. Usually vegetables, mostly raw.”
Susan, “That’s what Taylor and I gravitate to, lot of water. Enough girl stuff, how’s the Society?”
“Right now, we’re chasing down Shadows. The other Social Skills teams have been doing abuser work. I’ve added three teams, we’re up to seven now, not including us. I think we can manage ten, then that’s it. The work seems to grow exponentially and we’d like to do more, but it creates complications.”
Taylor, “Like what?”
“Too much success would bring attention. We don’t need authorities getting curious about vigilantes, then somebody starts going on about the rule of law, blah, blah. Our support resources would have to be expanded as well, that further increases exposure and requires more management. We can’t farm out that part and neither Janah nor I can take on more. We decided to stay small, nimble and efficient.”
Susan, “It would be a mistake to expand, no matter how big you got, there are more abusive assholes than you can fix. And you’re right, if someone catches the thread of vigilantes, it makes problems and your contacts may want to back off.”
“That’s how we read it. Considering Shadows, who seem to be more abundant that we thought, we’re at our limit. Janah spends three or four hours a day coordinating resources and maintaining contacts, then running the temple, then time for her own research, a steady stream of phone calls or texts from friends and time for yoga and meditation. The days rocket by. Speaking of which, I need to get in gear, my Russian Czarina is in my head reminding me of grocery items we need for lunch and dinner.”
I’m off to the grocery, something light for lunch, crab salad, “Dasha, can you chop up vegetables for Janah and Amaya, I’m bringing crab salad for the rest of us, we have lots of crackers in the pantry. How does steak sound for dinner?”
Dasha, “Gud. Buy speenich, I will make creamy speenich, and stuff artichoke.”
Seven prime filets, fresh spinach, artichoke, what else? Maybe cheesecake, cherry topping.
Purchases complete, I schlep it to the apartment, Dasha has the table set, carrots, yellow and red pepper sliced, cucumber, radishes, broccoli and cauliflower, leeks and beets, ground herbs and parmesan to sprinkle on top. She made a yogurt dressing and another with olive oil and vinegar.
I put out a bowl of crab salad, sparkling water and still, then round up the troops.
Everyone is home today, soon we’re crunching away on the vegetables and spooning out crab salad. I like it with minimal mayonnaise, spice it up with Tabasco sauce or ground habanero.
Amaya, “Our plane is chartered, we leave at ten, be in LA in the early afternoon, you guys come in the third week.”
We decided that it was untenable for us to spend the entire three weeks of Chloe’s working time. We’d just be hanging out, and Amaya and Chloe will be tied up all day, even into the evening. We come in near the end of her schedule, spend a few days luxuriating at Shutters and back home.
“It never came up, are you in the movie?”
Amaya, “Not stripping this time, PG and all. I’m singing in a club that Chloe runs through avoiding yakuza. I get to clock one with a microphone stand. Thirty seconds of song, the action starts, ding the bad guy when I see he’s chasing Chloe.”
Janah, “That’s pretty cool. Did you keep the name Hitomi?”
Amaya, “Yes, it means pupil, not student, specifically in reference to beautiful eyes. I suppose I could have used Sobakasu, for freckles.”
Daria, “How are Chloe and Amaya to be safe in Los Angeles?”
Chloe, “Do you think there’s a problem Daria?”
Daria, “Always.”
Amaya, “Do you want to come along? No better bodyguard than you.”
Daria, “Da, I will come.”
Chloe, “What about Dasha and Eloise?”
Dasha, “I haf to work at diner, Eloise ees making machine, we will stay here until whole fahmahley goes.”
Amaya, “Good then it’s settled. Thank you for taking it on Daria, it’s long days of standing around for you.”
Daria, “No matter, I have many things to occupy. Dasha can watch Eloise working, I can see what is going on with machine.”
“I would love it if you’d give it up for me sometime before you go, something that will carry me through for the two weeks I can’t get at you.”
Amaya smiles, “Count on it.”
Dasha, “Dahfoney and Eemaya make already sexy plan.”
Nikko, “They are always making sexy plan, sluts.”
Everyone laughs, well, Daria and Dasha don’t, their animation is a simultaneous blink.

Chapter Forty Three

What are Eloise and Daria beavering away at in their workshop? They have the drone tuned up for one. It can now fire up to four darts, with any of David Li’s chemicals, tranquilizer to poison. Eloise promises a six shot version. Battery life is up to three hours and the thing flies at warp speed. There’s a built in cradle to carry a tracker, with a retractable lid that holds it in place until she’s ready to stick it under a vehicle.
Why have death darts if we aren’t going to use guns? Good question. Beats me, I don’t have a philosophical justification. Practically speaking, the darts are virtually silent, plus, death is assured, unlike bullets, which are messy and unreliable. If we are going to take lives, may as well be efficient and tidy.
She’s also working on a handy little surveillance tool, a reconstructed android phone that can list all the phones within a hundred feet that are powered up. It shows the phone number, and if it’s in use, the number called and its location anywhere in the world. Tap on either number, it records the conversation and we can hear it live. Reverse engineered conference calling. It also steals texts. The screen shows callers in concentric circles, so we can tell who is closest and who is farther away and their physical proximity to us. Our phone shows up in the center, callers are dots on the screen around us. Is that awesome or what?
It required a battery modification, the test version chewed through the battery in minutes. Now the battery lasts fifteen, if it’s plugged into a power source, an outlet, computer or a car cigarette lighter, it goes forever.
“Dang, Eloise, this is neat. Once we’re in Hollywood, I could become an awesome gossip rag reporter, no secret is safe from your prying android.”
Daria, “We do not make phone for listening to stupid girls.”
“Guess my tabloid career ends before it starts.”
Daria, “We are figure out how to attach to drone, then only drone has to be in one hundred feet. Problem with weight, drone could fly only maybe a half hour with android.”
Janah, “That’s still remarkable, girls. Very good job. How many can you make?”
Daria, “How many are needed?”
Janah, “One each I guess. We’d never use them all at the same time, but it would be good to have fully charged extras handy. Can you start with six, later maybe go to eight?”
Daria, “Da. Only replicate software in phone, simple.”
Amaya comes from her room, “I am whipped, coaching Vesnushki though her lines, is there tea?”
“Will be in a minute, we got into Eloise and Daria’s new toy, Dasha will you do tea, I’ll round up snacks.”
Today’s uncomplicated, Houshan yellow bud, cookies, crackers and cheese, camembert and a stingy sharp cheddar.
Janah, “The cheddar is splendid, it’s older than I am,” she lops off a second chunk and tops a butter crisp cracker with it. Dasha and I are working on chocolate vanilla crème milanos.
Nikko, “Mini and Chuck want to expand, the electronics store next to them is closing. Do we want to front the build out?”
“I do, but it’s everyone’s money, do we get paid or is this pro bono lending?”
Nikko, “It’s not enough money to charge interest, half a million, if we charged four percent and they repay in a year or two, it’s forty thousand. Amaya spends that on nail polish.”
We laugh, Amaya huffs, “There are nine women, eight of whom would have ragged, cuticle infested nails if not for me. No one would do business with you and our empire would collapse. It is a well documented fact that the fall of the Roman empire was due largely to nail fungus.”
Zi, “I missed so much world history in the temple, perhaps Janah should do a talk on nail hygiene.”
“When we first got there, we had to deal with overall hygiene, it wasn’t the cleanest place in Chinatown and Chinatown isn’t noted for spic and span in the first place.”
Janah giggles, “It took Daphne less than a year, she did the kitchen the first month, then the dining hall. When monks saw her on her hands and knees scrubbing, they joined in quickly enough. Black worked his tail off, so did Chan. As I gave talks from time to time, I dropped comments about how our temple was so beautiful. It became the first order of the day to make sure the place and the monks in it were neat and clean.”
Zi, “Example works in our properties. Nikko keeps them pristine, the tenants notice and do their part. Nobody wants to have the sloppy shop surrounded by orderly ones. There are live plants and fresh cut flowers in the common areas, places to sit, fountains. A beautiful water rock in our property management lobby, Daphne’s calligraphy, the symbol for diligence. If we adopted a motto, it would be that. One Chinese owner said he knew he was going to hire us as soon as he saw the hànzi.”  勤勉
“Dang, I got us a client? Cool.”
Zi, “Our monks find it inspiring, particularly since it was created by Master Sylk.”
“I am touched.”
Chloe, “You are diligence, Daphne. That could be your motto.”
Amaya, “Either that or obsessive, kind of the same thing.”
I laugh, “Coming from a true obsessive, quite a compliment.”
Dasha, “What ees obsayseev, Daria?”
“Navyazchivyy.”  (prn. nahvy-ash-chevy)
Dasha, “Da, navyazchivyy, ees Dahfoney and Eemaya, haf always to be perfect.”
Amaya, “And you, Slavic sociopath, do your meals not have to be perfect, everything cooked just so, arranged and presented in a certain way?”
Dasha blinks at her, the question will remain unanswered because it is obvious.
Amaya, “Do not try the blank blink on me, zombie commie, it only works with Daphne, I am immune to your cunning duplicity.”
Dasha gives her fake smile, “Thank you for coming, haf a nice day, we appreciate your business, hope to see you again soon, next time leaf  beegger teep cheap skating person.”
We collapse in laughter, even Nishiko grins, Janah and Chloe are wiping tears from their eyes, Amaya tries for indignant, but it’s just too funny, she surrenders smiling, kisses Dasha, “You and Daria are Russian treasures, if your country finds out what they lost, they will go to war to get you back.”
Dasha, “No war. Sister and Dasha American girls now, Eemaya has made us for being cute, fahncy clothes, paint fingers and toes, making up, cell phone and text message, Keendul Jenner and Taylor Sweeft.”
Chloe, “I had no idea you even knew who those girls were.”
Dasha, “Daria says Sweeft girl ees lousy music, but smart. She makes her own self, brave, not push around by music company or boys. Keendul ees no so smart, but pretty, has big following just for being cute and doing stupid girl things. Both take what they haf and work it, very Russian. We are from Belarus, but mostly Russian, no much deefrence. We only watch poppy girls to understand America culture. Breeteeny and Lohan girl stupid, always een trouble, Sweeft and Keendul never make trouble, only money.”
“The Jenner girl is part of the Kardashian thing.”
Dasha, “Da, Kardashian all fat wiz beeg butt and stupid, Keendul just stupid, but skinny, better.”
Another round of laughter, how our two Russian dolls figured all this out is a mystery, they’re our version of DeToqueville, a foreign take on America.

Chapter Forty Four

Daria has quite a book collection, she sucks down novels as fast as Janah absorbs research reports. We may have to build a separate library, one entire wall in their room is a bookshelf.
Nikko, “If the family has no objection, I think a library is in order. It can go on the roof, attached to the exterior wall of Dasha and Daria’s room. It will be soundproofed, the workshop is next door.”
Janah, “That is a very good idea. Let me expand on it. I think Mrs. Epstein wouldn’t object to us creating a library in her former condo. Turn the entire living area into a library, collect quality nonfiction, first editions of both fiction and nonfiction, the place is almost a reading room now. It belongs to the Sylk Trust, we can make it available to the other owners at certain hours of the day, hire a contemplative to curate. What do you think?”
Nikko, “I like it. Collect volumes around the world, so you have monks to make recommendations, search for volumes?”
Janah, “Yes, not the least of which is David, who runs the schools. Lacy is a bibliophile, I’ll bet she’ll throw herself into the project. Set aside a million dollars and let’s see what happens.”
I hear Lacy screech through the phone, “Janah, that is so perfect! When can I get started, I have a million ideas, the Epstein place is wonderful, are the other owners going to mind library visitors?”
Janah, “Nikko offered to add a separate entrance and elevator. First, it’s an academic library, by appointment only. Second, the other condo owners will have access during library hours, Nikko’s thinking ten to four and an evening a week. The rest of the time is private for any of the family. We might never see Daria again except she likes working with Eloise and wants to be with her sister.”
Lacy, “You may never see me again, I love books and libraries, and to help create one is a dream.”
Janah, “I hope you can find time to get with David and design the space. We like the idea of both a comfortable living room and other space for more academic work. The condo has a huge living room, visitors can go to the kitchen for coffee and snacks, there are several bathrooms, Dr. Epstein’s former office already has a deep library, there are two bedrooms we can convert to academic space, one bedroom and bath will remain private. I think Daria may have some late nights, it will be for her. We’ll call in any experts you need on catalogue, how to handle the books. It isn’t a lending library, no books leave, they have to be read on premises. Even we can’t take the books out.”
Lacy, “I have two former students who are deep into rare books, one of our parents is an expert. You may wind up with the premiere private library on the planet.”
Janah, “If it works, we’ll supply whatever funding it takes. Eloise will install wifi and her home monitoring system when you and David determine the layout. The books will all be tagged, it won’t be possible for anyone to slip one in a bag and walk out the door. We don’t want to treat people like criminals, but visitors will have to submit credentials in advance. Chapmans students will have open access during public hours and we will accommodate them during private hours if they make an appointment.”
Lacy, “Very generous, you sure you want my weird girls wandering your stacks?”
Janah, “If this leads where I think it will, the visitors will be as strange as your girls, the potential mix could be quite interesting.”
Mrs. Epstein thinks it a brilliant idea, “How appropriate. Bernie was a bibliophile and quite the academic, you recall he spent several years teaching before he joined the hospital.”
Janah, “Yes, he taught dad.”
Mrs. Epstein laughs, “Bernie felt that James taught him, then you girls came along and threw all their training out the window. I sat with Bernie and James many evenings while they tried to sort out mentaling, forgetting to grow older and qi. You flummoxed the best psychiatric minds I ever knew.”
Janah, “Miyako made progress when she went a more neurological route. We  have unusual genetic structure and neural connections. What keeps her confused is how, since we aren’t blood related. She has clearly demonstrated that our brains are lighting up in the same places at the same time, and the cellular changes that happen with normal aging aren’t happening with us. Everything has a neuro-biological explanation, but like lots of science and physics, it only goes so far. We have only a partial explanation, which doesn’t include how or why.”
Mrs. Epstein, “More fun not to know really.”
Janah, “That’s how we see it. How are things upstate?”
Mrs. Epstein, “I’m having a pretty good time for an old lady. Never got to tend to the garden like I can now, I’m still able to kneel down and dig around, the ladies I know are interesting enough for a lunch or dinner out, a bridge game once a week. The rest of my time is buried in a book or napping. Neither Bernie and I were much for TV, I watch 60 Minutes, sometimes the Sunday morning talk shows, just to keep current on who is fighting with whom. Politicians are so trivial these days, gives me a good laugh.”
“You sound like Daphne. These days we don’t have the time to catch the shows like we used to, when Daphne made fun of the pontifications and self righteousness. It appears you’ve settled in nicely and are enjoying it.”
Mrs. Epstein, “I am. Best decision I made was turning the condo over to the Sylk Trust.”
Janah, “I need your permission for something. We want to name it the Martha and Bernard Epstein Library, a subtitle of some sort, rare and first editions, fiction and non-fiction, something like that. Is it okay?”
Mrs. Epstein, “How kind, of course, guess Bernie and I wind up memorialized, so to speak.”
Janah, “We think it’s entirely appropriate, David and Lacy are in academic heaven. The library will offer the books themselves, access to all research and rare book sites around the world, plus, it’s Manhattan, we can tap the premiere experts. David says there are rare books at various temples that may find it better to have the texts stored with us than subject to the political whims of the country they are in. We may wind up with irreplaceable collections.”
Mrs. Epstein, “Good gracious, that never occurred to me. You have adequate security?”
“That’s the kind of project that gives Eloise and Daria shivers of joyful anticipation. Short of a nuclear attack, nothing will happen to the books. Everything will be catalogued, appraised and over insured. In a way, people who want to know their historical treasures are safe will be far better off with us. It costs them nothing, there is no danger of environmental damage, no regime change is going to decide the texts are subversive. David has broached the subject with several monasteries and temples around the world, the response has been overwhelmingly favorable.”
Mrs. Epstein, “When it’s set, I must come down for a tour.”
Janah, “Actually, we’d like to impose on you to come to the opening, say a few words, crack the champagne bottle on the bow so to speak.”
It’s quiet for a bit, “Janah, how very thoughtful, I cannot possibly refuse, I would be honored.”
Janah, “Great! We will be sending invitations around in about six months, we should have a running start by then. We’re contacting all the universities and research centers in the area, the Met of course, the Carnegie folks, Sotheby’s is on the hunt for rare volumes and, strangely, Amazon has shown an interest. It reflects well on them to support such a library, they can’t make any money with the kinds of texts we are accumulating, they aren’t for sale.”
Mrs. Epstein, “As always, you and your associates have come up with a unique approach. I’m happy to have my small part in it.”
Janah, “You part was to provide the perfect space, hardly small, our vision wouldn’t work in a commercial space, it needs the feel of home, comfortable but not frivolous.”
They ring off, ring is a colloquialism, just tap a touch screen, “She sounded happy with it.”
Janah, “Such a dear lady; then, it’s us, if  I’d told her we’d decided to open a brothel she would have found a reason to support it. The library, however, is something she doesn’t have to fudge a reason for, it’s totally her.”

Previous     Next