Finding Tim

by Charlie

Episode 197 - Relations

This is Tim writing, and I'm delighted that Charlie asked me to write another episode of his, our, story. The last episode I wrote was number 166 about the Nagano Olympics of 1998, and it was written more than two years ago. A lot has happened in those two years, but Charlie forbids me to talk about that: you have to wait until another decade's worth of episodes are published before you can hear about the years 2011 through 2014. You can legitimately infer that both Charlie and I are alive as we enter 2014. But back to the "present" which is about 2002. I have to say "about," because (as you well know) time skips around in this story, as one person's story is told and then another's.

Charlie has asked me to continue the story of Allen and Carle, which I started in Episode 160–Tale. In June of 1999 both of them graduated, Carle with a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics, summa cum laude, and Allen with two masters degrees one in education and the other in mathematics. Both moved directly into a Ph.D. program in mathematics. Carle would have to complete a masters along the way, but both expected to complete the program together in either three or four years. The were both the whiz kids of the department, and very likely the two smartest people on campus–and Ronnie, Kyle and Sharon (who were likely their closest competitors) would very likely agree with that characterization.

The great thing about Allen and Carle is that they never showed off and never put other people down. The only way you'd know just how smart they were was to work with them, read their publications, or listen to some seminar or other presentation. But they were smart, and they were interested in computer climate modeling. That was, and continues to be, the main thrust of their work at UND, and of this story. However, before they could move very far with their climate modeling efforts they were sucked into the intellectual vortex of the search for the Higgs boson.

I started the previous paragraph by praising those who "never show off." And yet, that's just what I'm going to do in this paragraph. My only defense is that Charlie's given me no choice; he told me that I had to tell the story of hiring Damon Anderer as chair of mathematics. I'd been President of UND for a little under ten years. During that time Prof. William Davies had been the Chairman of the Mathematics Department. He had, in fact, been Chairman when I was a student at UND. In no way was he incompetent. Over the years he had, in fact, done a pretty good job. But that was history. It was very clear that at this point in time he was simply occupying the position and doing those things that had to be done.

However, before I could move to gently shove Bill Davies into retirement, I needed to find a new chair. Quiet inquiries among members of the math department suggested a certain professor (who shall remained unnamed), very senior in the department, excellent qualifications, and a long list of significant publications. I chatted with him, not mentioning the idea that I was looking for a new chair, and found that all of his praise was well-deserved. However, it was also clear to me that his vision of the mathematics department was exactly the same as his vision of the math department when he'd arrived fifteen years before. I was looking for new thinking, and I wouldn't get it here.

But where? Charlie and I chatted. I pointed out that the person we were looking for was certainly not going to have suggested himself as a new chair. To this Charlie responded, "Right, but he or she is also not likely to have suggested (unnamed) to be the new chair."

I thought and then replied, "You're right. And there was a young guy who had a different suggestion," again to remain unnamed. "That suggestion came from a very junior Assistant Professor named Damon Anderer."

"Where's he from?"

"I think he got his Ph.D. from Michigan."

"Why's he here?"

"I don't know. I think I should find out." The way to find that out was simply to ask Damon. We had lunch at the faculty club the next day and I asked Damon, "Why are you at the University of North Dakota and not at a more prestigious institution, which should've been possible with your success at Michigan?" I'd done my homework in his personnel file.

"That's simple. Two reasons. One, I like the north country. Two, I think that you have it right: UND's the premier institution of the Northern Tier. I also have a lot of respect for its President and the direction he's taking this place. Why do you ask?"

"I'm not going to answer that, but let me ask you another question. What innovations would you like to see implemented in the mathematics program here?"

"Where do I begin? Our teaching methodology is outdated; it's entirely too dependent on the lecture model. The research going on somehow is missing the really important new vistas of mathematics. We don't have a top level specialist in chaos theory; we need to vastly expand our use of the computer for complex mathematics problems–our approach is entirely too much along the lines of the computer as a super fast calculator...." He talked on about ten minutes before I brought him to a halt. Listening to him was almost mentally exhausting. What a guy! Exactly who I wanted as chair.

My next step was to talk to the science dean and get her on board. She was my appointee, thought like I did, and was easily persuaded that Damon Anderer should be the next math chair. But she said, "You, Tim, and not me are going to have to move Bill Davies into retirement."

I told her she was chicken; she agreed; and told me to get on with the job. I walked over to Bill Davies office that afternoon, and found him in. "Bill, can I come in?"

"Sure." When I'd seated myself and we'd exchanged pleasantries, Bill said, "When the President of the University of North Dakota has good news, he asks his secretary to invite the recipient of the good news to come over to his office. However, the President of the University of North Dakota thinks it's more kind to go to the office of the recipient of bad news."

I answered, "Is the President of the University of North Dakota that obvious?"

"In a word, 'Yes.' Now, let me think about this. I've been Chairman of the Mathematics Department so long that when I was appointed there wasn't any consideration that Chairman might not be the best title for the job. Now, you appoint Chairs, not Chairmen. Thank you for avoiding that horror, chairperson. The Chairman in question is age 61, too young to retire, and too old a horse to learn new tricks. So your job is to very gently, kindly, but firmly get him to retire as chair. The carrot, of course, is that I'm welcome to continue as a tenured member of the math faculty. And since that's my legal right, there has to be some sweetener more than just keeping my job. Have I got that about right?"

"You haven't been part of campus politics for two decades and not learned anything, have you?"

"Hell, no. So I do have it about right?"

"Yes, about right. Not exactly right."

"So, what's the sweetener?"

"First, let me say that in this respect you don't have it right. I'm glad to offer you what you call a sweetener, but it's in return for years of faithful, and successful service. It's not a bribe. I don't offer bribes, and believe me we could remove you without making any kind of sweetener offer."

"I know you could. And I could fight it, and go down screaming. But let me tell you, Tim, I'd never do that. This university's been wonderful to me, as have you personally. Honestly, I've expected this visit for several years. I could've made the trip to your office and resigned quite easily several times over the last few years, but one thing kept me from doing so."

"What was that?"

"I had no one to recommend as my replacement."

"You have a good faculty. No suggestions?"

"Oh, I have one now. And you would've had my resignation before the end of the year, even if you hadn't had this visit."

"OK, I'll bite. Who are you recommending?" I held my breath waiting for the shoe to drop, bringing on a possibly messy appointment process.

"He's pretty young, and it may be an appointment that's hard for some of the senior members of the department to swallow, but we have a young guy here who's really far-thinking. He's a little frustrated, because he thinks that I don't take his ideas seriously. I do, but I think they need to be implemented by him–and you–and not by the old guy on his way out."

I was getting my hopes up! "Does this paragon have a name?"

"Damon Anderer; I'll bet you haven't heard of him."

"Not only have I heard of him, but I had lunch with him the other day and listened to him tell me his ideas for the mathematics program at UND. Between the two of us, I think we can sell him to the math faculty, and to the dean. Now, as to your sweetener; it's very simple. As chair, you had a reduced teaching load and a salary supplement. Take your pick, you can keep one but not both. Honestly, we can't afford to offer both to our retiring chairs, even if we only offer it to the really good ones, like you."

"That's very generous. I don't have a bit of a problem choosing. I'm at the stage of life, with kids through college, that money's less and less important, and time's more and more important. I would be more than delighted to keep my reduced teaching load. I'll try to put some of the time to good works for this institution, but I'm going to claim a good chunk of the time for myself."

"That's the idea. I'll let you announce your retirement in your own way, but it needs to be soon so that we can get the ball rolling for Damon's appointment."

The announcement didn't come as soon as I expected, and I was getting worried that Bill might not follow through. Then Dean Thelma Swift came into my office and said, "I got an informal note the other day from Bill Davies. He says he's going to step down as chair of mathematics, but would like the appointment of his replacement to be settled before a public announcement's made. He'd like to announce his retirement as chair and the new appointment at the same time. He said he had a nominee for his replacement, but didn't say who."

I laughed. "He's teasing you. He's on board. Damon Anderer will be the next chair, Bill knows and approves, and he wants to get credit for the selection. You know, he'd picked Damon out completely independently of us. He can claim as much credit as we can. Let's let him have it. Invite him to your office (for God's sake don't you go to his) and let him spell out his plans. As long as they get Damon Anderer into the chair by next fall, go with his flow."

Davies accepted Dean Swift's invitation and had only two questions: Are the powers that be on board with Damon Anderer as my replacement; and by the powers that be, I really mean you and Tim? Second, how soon can you make that official so that I can announce my retirement as chair and the appointment of Damon Anderer as the new chair?

Thelma Swift's answers were: "Yes, and right now." Thelma had the authority to make the appointment and I had the authority of the Board of Trustees to approve it. Thelma continued, "But we need to get Damon's agreement. Do you want to talk to him or me?"

Bill replied, "Let's be completely honest here. This was Tim's decision; he should talk to Damon. There are two other reasons: One, we want to make Damon feel important. Two, nobody turns down Tim, and I don't want to see this turned down. I think that Damon has some exciting ideas and will jump at the chance to implement them, but he also has his own research priorities that could be hampered by being chair."

Thelma passed all that on to me. I called Bill and invited him to be with me when we talked to Damon. I knew that Damon thought that Bill had been ignoring his ideas and suggestions, and I thought he should see that Bill regarded most of Damon's idea as good ones, and was seeking to implement them by putting Damon in a position to do it himself. Bill agreed to be present, and we had a very pleasant lunch at the Faculty Club while we persuaded Damon Anderer to be the Chair of the Mathematics Department, a position that he was most eager to attain. Everybody went away happy. Bill announced both his retirement as chair and Damon's appointment as the new chair at the next departmental meeting. That one of the junior members of the department was becoming chair startled a good many people. Bill simply noted that Dr. Damon was 34 and that Dr. Tim had become president of the whole damn university when he was 32. "I think Damon's old enough handle the math department."

Charlie had me tell that story because he thinks it describes both the direction that I was pushing the university, and my success is doing that pushing. I'll let you judge for yourself. I told the story because Damon Anderer was a key player in the next stages of the "Tale" of Allen and Carle.

Roger, Kevin, and Kay–with the full support of Ronnie, Sharon, and Kyle–liked to use the youngest, Kay, to interact with other members of the university community. They got a chuckle out of the reaction of senior faculty members having to deal with a freshman, who they would learn was one of the three lead researchers on the most important research project currently being undertaken by the university: the search for the Higgs boson.

So, about midway through her freshman year at UND Kay found herself in the office of Damon Anderer, the Chair of the Mathematics Department. Kay introduced herself, saying she was an undergraduate student and a Fellow of the IAP. Damon was aware of the efforts to pursue the Higgs, but had never heard of a Fellow of the IAP. He asked, "Just what does it mean to be a Fellow of the IAP?"

"It means that the IAP prefers to have important papers authored by a 'Fellow of the IAP' rather than a freshman physics major, so that they'll be taken more seriously."

Damon replied, "That sounds more like one of Tim's ideas than Ronnie's."

"Ronnie's my father, and I assure you that you're correct; the title was Tim's idea."

"So, how many fellows does the IAP have?"

"Three."

"And who are the other two?"

"My brother, Kevin, and Roger Alston. They're both juniors; well, I guess Roger's a senior, he entered with so much advanced credit that he's going through in three years."

"OK, you aren't here to talk about the obvious geniuses that are running around the IAP. Why are you here?"

"I'm looking for the geniuses that are running around your math department."

"What for?"

"I'm part of the group that's developing the detector that'll be placed in the super collider in order to detect the creation of a Higgs boson. The detector will produce masses of numeric data which must be validated and analyzed. Quite simply we're developing equations that we cannot solve. In fact, we have some doubts about their being solvable. Honestly, nobody on our team is up to the mathematics involved. We're looking for help."

"Well, I'm sorry to say that we don't have as many geniuses running around in the math department as you seem to have in physics. However, we do have two that just might be able to help you out, and I'm sure that they'd be willing."

"Who would they be?"

"Allen Kramer and Carle Holmes. If you were anyone else, I'd hesitate to suggest those two."

"Why?"

"Allen's a second year graduate student and Carle's a junior. But considering that I'm talking to a freshman, that shouldn't be a problem. I really can't say that they're any more likely to solve the problems you're facing than your team is. But if this department is going to be able to help you out, it's going to be Allen, Carle, or both. Those boys are the best mathematicians I've ever encountered. Mind you, there are still things I can teach them, but for raw brainpower I don't hold a candle."

"From what I know of you, that's an extraordinary compliment. How do I get in touch with them?"

"I'll see Carle in class tomorrow morning. I'll suggest that he get in touch with you. In addition to being smart, he's very dependable, so you can count on his making contact. Where?"

"In my office in Witmer. Room 314."

"I've tried my best to be nonchalant about a freshman assuming a role normally given to a senior researcher, but, seriously, you have an office in Witmer?"

"I share with Kevin and Roger. We're developing a multi-million dollar program; it can hardly be done without office space. Our real offices are out at the super collider. We have an office suite up there."

"I'll have my people talk to your people, and perhaps we can arrange a meeting between my geniuses and your geniuses in the near future."

"It's been great to meet you, Dr. Anderer. I'm looking forward to working with Carle and Allen. Have them drop by."

Carle and Allen were in 314 Witmer then next afternoon. "Hi. I'm Carle Holmes and this is Allen Kramer. We understand you're looking for some help with some math problems. I assume it's more than that you need help with your homework."

Kevin replied, "Was that a put-down or an attempt at humor?"

"I'm not sure, take it any way you like. Are you Kevin or Roger. I was expecting someone named Kay."

"Kay's in class right now, but she'll be here in a few minutes. You must be the two guys that Dr. Anderer says are the best mathematicians on campus."

"If Damon Anderer wants to say that, we'll not deny it. But what's your math problem?"

"Data analysis on a massive scale. It's leading us to equations we don't know how to solve, or even if they're solvable. Kay's our best mathematician, I think I ought to let her explain the issues. If you think you can help, we'll talk about where we go from here. Oh, here's Kay now. Kay this is Carle and Kevin, sent over by Dr. Anderer."

The small talk didn't last long and Kay took them down the hall to a conference room, and did a detailed overview of their problem.

Allen's response to Kay's presentation was unexpected. "It's unbelievable. You're dealing with almost exactly the same problems that we are. Masses of data and the need to both validate it and interpret it. You're dealing with masses of digital data that reflect what's going on in the super collider and we're dealing with masses of digital weather data that reflect the worldwide climate. The data reflect different things, but I'm sure that we're going to find them to be quite similar, and subject to very similar analysis protocols."

Carle added, "How much detail did you go into with Dr. Anderer? I wonder if he identified the similarity of our problems."

Kay answered, "I have no idea, but it looks like we have the right two mathematicians. Where do we start, and when?"

"Give us everything you've got, right down to the doodle pads, so we can see where you're trying to go. Let us look at it for a while. Then we'll start asking questions. We should be able to lay out our goals, and a plan of work to get there. This isn't simply going to be a problem to solve; as we reach each stage, new problems and opportunities to interpret the data will open up. Of course, you have a more specific goal than we do. You want to detect a certain set of particles that'll demonstrate that a Higgs existed and disintegrated inside your detector. So your problem's finite. Ours is open-ended. We want to establish as many probabilities for future climate patterns as we can. So when we achieve the data analysis that gets to your conclusion, we'll just be starting on our project."

"Any thoughts on time frame?"

"Not yet. I don't have a clear grasp of the specific things we have to find for your purposes. However, I would generally feel that if we, and whatever team we need to assemble, can't give you solid answers in a year, we never will. Of course, as your work develops you may establish new requirements, and that would obviously extend the timeline."

Kay turned to Allen, "Do you agree with all of that?"

Allen replied, "Carle's brain's moving a little faster than mine; it usually does. But I think he's right: what we can't get done in a year won't be worth doing. But let's get stage one–going over your material–accomplished. Then we can talk more intelligently."

Carle asked, "Am I correct that you, Kevin, and Roger are the lead researchers on the Higgs project?"

"Yes, we are. Does that surprise or bother you?"

"People are constantly surprised by the work that Allen and I have done, so your youth doesn't bother us. We might be surprised, except that Dr. Anderer gave us a heads-up."

The next two weeks were a time of intense study for our two mathematicians. They went over the material from the Higgs group, starting with the original paper of Kevin, Roger and Kay, right down to the notes that Kay had made regarding her inability to deal with the sixth order equations that the data seemed to require. After a little more than two weeks of studying the data, Carle reported to the three physicists, speaking for himself and Allen. "OK, here's where we are. We're convinced that Kay's correct that we're going to have to deal with sixth order equations, and our study of the nature of the data, at least our weather data and very likely your data, suggests that seventh order equations will be generated.

"Sixth and seventh order equations are tough. They can be solved, but according to accepted theory, only trigonometrically, which requires enormous computational power–like putting two Cray computers to work for long periods. According to the Abel–Ruffini theorem of the nineteenth century, fifth and higher order equations cannot be generally solved by factorization into radicals, though some subsets of such equations are solvable by factorization into radicals. Work that we've been doing this year with our masses of weather data suggests that either the Abel–Ruffini theorem is wrong, or that the subsets of solvable equations are much larger than previously believed. That's very radical mathematics, and the suggestion that that's the thrust of our current work cannot go outside of this room, because we'd be laughed at, and if we were proved wrong, would be considered quite foolish. But that's the direction of our work at the present time. If we're successful, then your equations won't present a serious problem. If we're not, then you're going to need the tremendous computational power of multiple Cray computers to handle your data."

Kay said, "OK, what're the odds you'll be successful?"

"Ninety percent."

"You're pretty self-confident."

Allen spoke up: "That's our best analysis. You wouldn't want anything else."

"No we wouldn't. So how soon do we know whether we have to get a grant to buy Crays? That's going to be a tough sell to NSF and other funders."

"Six months. If we can't crack this in six months, we never will, and we'll have to start working on computational protocols."

"How does that fit into your schedules?"

"If we're successful, we'll have our Ph.D. dissertations completed before we even enter a Ph.D. program. If not, the computational protocols will lead to dissertations; they'll just be longer and messier. But they'll give you the mathematics you need for the Higgs search, and if that's successful then there'll be no question of our dissertations. If you fail, we're probably going back to the drawing board."

"So, are you on board?"

"Completely."

"What do you need from us?"

"To be left alone to work. We'll give you an update in three months. Sooner if we're lucky."

Kevin spoke up, "We'll be glad to let you alone with your mathematics. But you guys are really exciting, and we'd all like to get to know you better. Why don't we all go out to dinner together some evening; soon."

Allen spoke up with, "Why don't you all come to dinner at our apartment on Friday evening?"

"That's too much trouble."

"No, it's not. In fact, we haven't had a real dinner party yet, and we'd like to. If you all would bring appetizers and dessert, we'll take care of the main meal. And we promise you'll eat well. None of you are vegetarians, are you?"

Kevin answered, "Only carnivores allowed; is that right?"

"We could make exceptions, but we'd need to be forewarned." Allen continued, "I'll have to apologize that I really don't know your personal situations. Do you have significant others that should be included?"

Kevin responded, "Well, I married Noreen Grayson this past summer, so I guess she would be considered my significant other. Kay's all wrapped up with Cam Forsythe, and Roger's equally wrapped up with Mitch Flaherty. But that makes a pretty big group for you to entertain."

Carle said, "We'll manage, even if some of you have to eat sitting on the floor. Seriously, we can get eight around our table."

A couple of days later Cam came by Dakota House to talk to Charlie and me. He told us of the work plan for the mathematicians and physicists, and the forthcoming dinner where they would start to get to know each other better.

I asked, "Sounds great. So why are you here; just to keep Charlie and me up to date?"

"No, we have a question. I'm pretty sure that one of the big things at this dinner will be to talk about ourselves. Well, I'm more than pretty sure, if nobody else starts it, I will."

Charlie cut in with, "And you want to know how much can be shared in that group?"

"Right, Uncle Charlie."

I said, "Well, the answer is that you really don't have to keep any secrets from any of those folks."

Cam seemed a little startled. "You sound like you know everyone in the group?"

Charlie said, "Cam, don't you know that Tim knows everything that goes on on this campus?"

I said, "Cam, we had a lot to do with Carle and Allen getting together. We know their story. And they know a lot about the Gang, because we introduced them to the Circle and they've become very good friends with the Circle. As for Roger and Mitch, they approached me with a very sensitive issue, and I helped them out. When they tell their stories, get them to include the story of Grant Harwood. In fact, you ought to try to include Grant in your storytelling."

"Grant Harwood. The art teacher?"

"Yes."

"But you aren't going to tell me the story, are you? I'm going to hear it from Roger and Mitch."

"Right you are. But to answer your question, you don't need to keep any Gang secrets from that bunch. I strongly suspect that you're going to be dining with future Gang members, assuming we can get them to stay at UND."

The dinner went off without a hitch. Allen roasted a four rib roast beef, with baked potatoes and brussels sprouts. Kevin, Kay, and company brought shrimp cocktail, and Roger and Mitch brought three flavors of ice cream and Oreo Double Stuf cookies. They apologized that college dorms didn't provide a place for them to bake homemade cookies. Nobody minded as they devoured the Double Stufs.

By the time dinner was over it was getting a little late, and there wasn't much time for further conversation. In fact, Cam had, with the help of Kay, Kevin and Noreen, conspired to insure that by the end of dinner it'd be too late to do a lot of storytelling. The table, set in the middle of Allen and Carle's living room, was three card tables with two small tablecloths laid over it. When it was cleared, disassembled, and stored in a closet, the chairs were pushed back, and about half of the group had moved to a sofa and more comfortable chairs. Cam then spoke up, "OK, I have an agenda. Kay, Kevin, and Noreen know what's coming, and they're all in agreement. It's time for storytelling. We're going to tell our stories and then we're going to invite the four of you to tell your stories–your life histories; how you got to where you are.

"But I have to be very honest here. I've had a chat with Tim, and he shared a couple of things with me. No, he didn't break any confidences and share private things with me. That's for you to do. He did tell me that you all had interesting stories that would fit right in with the stories we're going to tell. He also told me, and this is most important, that you all can be completely trusted. And I assure you that if you asked Tim, he'd tell you that the four of us can be completely trusted. He also told me that Grant Harwood should be part of this conversation. He didn't tell me why, again that's up to you all. So, I have a proposal. Let's do dinner again tomorrow night, but this time at The Hideout. Kevin and Noreen are living at The Hideout, but I'm not going to suggest that they be responsible for dinner. I'll arrange for Jerry's to bring in dinner. There are always drinks in the refrigerator at The Hideout, and there's enough of this ice cream and cookies for another meal. Well, I guess I'll have to buy another bag of Double Stuf. Six o'clock tomorrow night, and come prepared to tell your stories."

"Which is The Hideout?" asked Carle.

"It's the big house next door to The Roundhouse."

"Oh, yes. Tim and Charlie's house. I guess our experience there in the shower and master bedroom are going to be part of our story. However, I'd forgotten the name."

Cam continued, "Now, I want to give you some ground rules for the storytelling. We want a basic biography, but keep it short. More specifically, we want your background in your professional speciality, math, physics, art, whatever. We want to know everything about how you became a pair. And, very important, we want a sexual history. Tell us about your first sexual experiences, straight and gay, when you first masturbated and how you learned, and your current sexual goings on."

Allen interjected, "Cam, you're pushing pretty hard."

"Oh, indeed I am. I'll be perfectly honest with you. If you all can't handle that kind of storytelling, then you can't handle the kind of interpersonal relationships that I'm hoping will develop among us. And if that kind of deep relationship can be developed, as it has, for example, between Kay, Kevin, Noreen, and me, we'll all benefit, and so will your math-physics partnership."

Carle said, "Wow. Well, Tim, Charlie, and the Circle have certainly hinted at the kind of thing you're talking about. I guess we all have twenty-four hours to think about how we fit it."

Cam said, "More like twenty hours. And I'm quite sure you'll fit in."

Kevin said, "I'm not sure how Grant Harwood fits into this, but evidently he does. Why don't you guys call him and ask him if he's available tomorrow night."

Mitch said, "He is. We have a painting session in the afternoon, and we'd normally break for dinner together, and then continue in the evening. We'll just break for dinner with you guys and the evening painting session will be set aside."

They sat around and talked for a little while, but soon Mitch and Roger got up to leave, followed shortly by the four COGs. As they walked home, Noreen asked Cam, "Didn't you push a little hard? We don't want to scare them off."

Kay said, "They don't scare easily. They all have brilliant minds, and they have very solid relationships with their partners. And it's quite clear that their ongoing sexual relationships include going outside their two-by-two relationships. Tomorrow we get the details, I hope."

Kevin said, "I'm sure we will. Now, Cam, who's going to tell our story tomorrow, and just how much are we going to tell?"

Cam said, "I'll tell it, and you all jump in to add things I miss. Then Kevin you need to tell the story of courting Noreen, and Kay you can tell about courting me."

"I didn't court Noreen, she went after me with a net."

"You two work it out. Somebody needs to tell the story, and the other needs to affirm its veracity. No make-believe and no mythology."

"Fair enough." They parted as Kay and Cam turned to go to her house, where he'd drop her off and continue to his. Noreen and Kevin continued on to The Hideout.

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