I knew she'd tell me the second I played the poor me algorithm. She sympathized with my situation like I knew she would. Big bulky tattoo'd manly man like me exposin' a bit of that soft underbelly---that gets 'em every time. If I can contact Trochanter maybe I can find the CDR4000, but I'm gonna have to play it cool. I had my chauffeur drop me off at 29th so I could walk the last few blocks. It was six twenty-eight as I waked down 32nd. Standing there on the corner at Harris was a medium height black male, about 26. He stood by an impressive Luxey-Lux black sedan. Might be sellin'. Shit, I probably got more Proz on me than any dealer down here in Dog Town. He saw me coming and walked toward me.
"Cooper?" He knew who I was.
"That's what they call me."
"I'm LeFois. Hanoix LeFois."
"Hanoix? Like in Vietnam?"
"Like in Vietnam." I bet he got tired of explaining that. "You need some help, right?"
"Well, I need help with a speech, that's right."
"Where we gonna go?"
"We're a gonna go to the Chateau to meet the man who's in the know."
"Trochanter, of course."
We got in the car. I liked this guy's car. It had luxy plush organic seats. I wonder what floor this guy works on? I've certainly never seen him so he must have an office upstairs. Oh well, it's none of my information.
"What's it like?"
"Yeah. Does he have money?"
"Shit. Does he. Forty-eight bedrooms."
"Forty-eight? Holy shit. Is it a hotel?"
"Probably was at one point. Le Château Deux Oiseau. That's what they call it."
"The house of two birds?"
"Very good! Dude's got connections, that's all I can say. We're almost there, should be just around this curve."
I couldn't believe it when I saw it. The chateau hung off the cliff like a rich old man dipping his foot into a cold pool. The tower of glass, redwood and stone tried to blend into the Pacific Coast cliff, but to me it spelled money---old and new all rolled up into one.
We pulled up into a weaving driveway, carving in and out of the cliff like wormwood until we reached the entranceway. There were half a dozen cars in front of us. A team of red jacketed valets tackled the traffic jam of luxury cars like a frenetic painter trying to cover a blank canvass.
A porter took the car and led us through the entranceway. It seemed we were standing in an Opera house or a luxy lux hotel---ornate balconies faced us on all sides. Chandeliers hung from thirty-foot ceilings. At the front desk a battery of greeters, standing erect in their freshly creased hotel uniforms, stood in line shaking hands with the new arrivals. Optimism flourished along with the potted rows of white Geraniums.
"Welcome to Vox," echoed the greeters, their dialogue of dominoes tumbled through the lobby to the front door.
"This is HQ," LeFois explained. "Tonight's the big night. Today kicks off the release of a brand new product: The SQL-77 Rundown."
"What the hell is that?"
"Read about it," LeFois grabbed a brochure off a glass coffee table.
The SQL RUNDOWN is the world's first relational database therapy utilizing the latest client/server architecture developed by Dr. Alan Trochanter. Psychological "upsizing" is on the tongues of homo faber everywhere. Sign up today for a dip into the pool. You'll be glad you did.
"Upsizing?" I asked.
"Look at it this way," LeFois took on a tone that was almost professorial. "We call it 'the pool.' You're dipping into a pool of psychological data---the vast database of experience gathered throughout thousands of years of collective human experience. You sit down with a reader..."
"Who?" I interrupted.
"A reader sits with you and guides you through the process."
"Never mind. Go on."
"Inside the pool, your problems are dynamically linked to the past. Uncovering the data fields of experience helps you achieve insight into your problems. When you step into the pool with your reader, your minds merge into a super consciousness, capable of solving any problem or difficulty."
"Sounds more like an incestuous hot tub to me."
"It's not what you think. Do you wanna try it or not? You did say you wanted to meet Trochanter, didn't you? You better at least peep a little bit of his game or the man ain't gonna have nothing to do with you."
"Fine. Let's do this thing."
Go to chapter 13