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We know what we are, but know not what we may be.

Mr Bill Shakespeare, Hamlet, 1601


Sebastian saved Annie a phone call by showing up at some completely unheard-of hour of the morning, ahead of even the cops, bearing with him two large vacuum flasks of freshly-brewed high-octane French roast and a couple of dozen croissants.

"They're only from Safeway," he apologized, "And all I did was warm them up. But I couldn't help thinking, you poor girl, there'll probably be nothing but carrot juice and I know how we need our coffee in the morning."

She shared, as was the obvious intention, and the assembled multitudes sang hosannas.

He also saved her from making any request at all by edging her to one side and whispering:

"Darling, who is that dish you were talking to? Can I pick him up and take him home with me?"

"Only if you're sweet to him," said Annie firmly.

"As pie, I promise, cross my heart and hope to die."

"OK," she said, with her best Mona Lisa smile, "Come on. Whitey, this is Sebastian; Sebastian, I'd like you to meet someone I've known for twenty years."

"Darling! How wonderful!"

Whitey smiled. Actually it was a shit-eating grin. And Annie went off to phone home.

Yes, home.

Brendan was taking the day off (once he'd just ... OK, OK, the afternoon off) and would meet her for lunch or a little before. The prospects for the weekend looked excellent.

The Occupation ran on for the day, by general consent – even the rabid Sgt Jones didn't show up, so there was no excitement at all – and concluded in time to hook up with a March from Campus on the Saturday. Friday may have been an anticlimax but, hey, the joint was closed for four days straight, only two of which were on the weekend, and the publicity was great. A few ambitious souls tried to get a Blockade going again on Monday but by then burn-out was epidemic and the whole deal fizzled like a firecracker on the Sixth that has been left out in the pouring rain.

The war is history, of course, in the consensual reality of reader and writer, and in the exquisitely distinct one of author and characters too. Roughly 250,000 people died. The Arab League in 1993 estimated the monetary damage at $600,000,000,000, or 18 months worth of total GNP for the entire Arab world, if that kind of number makes more sense to you. Eight thousand people flooded the streets of Santa Cruz in protest when the bombing began and were roundly ignored by their overt government and perhaps the covert one too. President Bush claimed a 92% approval rating that spring but he was defeated in his reëlection bid the next year. It's poetic justice to kick the bastard when he's down. Well, justice anyway. Fun, at least.

But we digress.

Did everyone else live happily ever after? Of course not. But sometimes they did. It was up to them, really.