Chapter 6 Getting on with it

1 Rock, Paper; Scissors

Brunswick Maine was roughly 500 miles from New York. Jake realized that it would be like making the round trip to Mattituck, 2.5 times. Or, it would be like making a trip to Lake Placid from NYC, and back to Albany. He was glad they had 3 drivers. The Slow Guy rented them a car because Jake’s was too small and too old to travel in comfortably. Georgia wasn’t going, or her Toyota Highlander Hybrid would have been perfect for the trip. Looking for both comfort and gas economy, they rented a similar car, in green, from a Toyota rental agent.

It was the 14th. Bill had called on Monday to say that by Wednesday they would have the module ready to view. So they had postponed the first meeting at American Express of the still to be named non-profit until the following week. Since they already had buyers, it seemed important to either approve or to request changes as soon as possible. Jake wanted this business launched before they started on the non-profit.

So, at 5am, he picked up Charlie and Vince at Vince’s apartment on 14th Street, and they headed north on the East River Drive, which would lead them to the Bruckner Expressway in the Bronx, which was part of the I-95 system built in the 1950’s, 60’s and finally finished in the 70’s. Going to Maine was not complicated. You only needed to get on I-95 north and to keep going through Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and a little bit of New Hampshire before heading into Maine. Then, you kept going until you passed all the popular summer resorts areas that were within a comfortable weekend trip from Massachusetts and New Hampshire. No wonder those who lived there referred to everyone else as “Southerners”.

It was an 11 hour trip. They changed drivers every two hours, figuring that was long enough for a guy to keep optimal concentration. Jake had packed some snacks, but they still stopped for food three times, as much for the break from highway rumble and a chance to walk around, as for a chance to eat. Even with their careful schedule, the road was straight with few navigational challenges so each man had ample time to go into his own head and think his own thoughts.

Jake did Ho’oponopono and thoughts of the Oprah Winfrey Show were in his head. Clean, clean, clean, erase, erase, erase and go back to zero. It’s a long drive. There’s time for a lot of cleaning…. He pictured Amanda and his team in the audience, and he was sitting on the dais with Ms. Winfrey. He was talking with her about Ho’oponopono and talking about blue water…. He remembered that he needed to buy a blue glass container for his apartment and another for Amanda’s. He could see Amanda in the audience, wearing a green dress, and her eyes looked so green when she wore that color. He was feeling love for her, and pride and love for the team. It was their hard work that got them all here.

Vince was aware when Jake was doing Ho’oponopono, offering love and praying for him and the other team members, and Slow Guy. He joined with him at those times, and was connected when Jake had pictures of the Oprah Show in his head. He didn’t realize then, that he was not connected to Jake’s picture, but to his own. He was not seeing the audience through Jake’s eyes, but seeing Jake through his own from the audience. As pleased and happy as they felt after their presentation for the Pre Paid Legal investors, this was better. Vince was thoroughly enjoying the Show, as was Jake he could see and feel. Oprah was asking Jake about their business and after asking the team to stand, she was asking him about his relationship with Amanda! Amanda was sitting next to him, and he could feel her glow.

At least, Vince thought it was glow. It was warm and happy, and very loving. He, whose mother abandoned him emotionally long before she abandoned him physically, shared that feeling with Amanda, and felt restored and revived, energized and exhilarated. He missed his family. He loved his Dad, Michael. Michael was going to help them with Slow Guy, he knew. Michael, and Bill, would be a part of the success.

When they arrived at the Delany Boat Builders they were walking like Southerners, like Texas cowboys because they could hardly feel their legs and their hips didn’t seem to work right. Jake was glad that they were greeted like family so that he didn’t have to work to make a good impression.

Both Bill and Michael came out and hugged them all. He half expected them to pick up Vince, they were so glad to see him, but if that was their desire, they were able to resist. And, Jake was sure either one could have lifted him with little effort. They were big men. Jake was a football player in high school, but these Delanys were more the size of professional football players. Vince had warned him that Bill was a halfback, but he hadn’t said that he could have played for the Dallas Cowboys at that position. Vince was tall, but he didn’t have the weight of his older brother or father.

Best of all, as they were escorted inside, Vince looked happy. Jake was not sure that he had ever seen him, happy before. He had seen him laugh and he had seen him satisfied, but this gave him an exuberance that was new.

Jake was also impressed by the outside of the building. It was a metal structure, but well painted and there were shutters to cover the windows when needed. However, this was a beautiful sunny day and the shutters were all open letting in the late day light. There were two outlets to the harbor so that two boats could be launched simultaneously, or one could be launched and another lifted into dry dock.

As they entered, they were in a greeting area. The walls were covered with photos or half models of ships they had built over the 30 years they had been in business. It was an impressive display. Additionally, there were pedestals holding full models that could be lifted and opened. Off the waiting room were three offices and a large conference room which was where they headed now.

Once they were seated, Michael handed out 3 prospectuses. He and Bill each had their own. “I am sure you all are tired, but I wanted to give you these to think about overnight so that tomorrow we, hopefully, can make final decisions. We found some ways to save you some money on our original estimates. How does that sound?”

“So far, it sounds great,” Jake affirmed, “as long as we are not sacrificing quality or elegance.”

Michael nodded. “I think that you will approve of the changes. If you go to the photos on page 16, you will see a simulation of a two colored cabinet top. The dark, reddish edges are the mahogany you requested. This is, as you know, both tough and durable, but it is heavy and expensive. It is shipped up from South America, or there are small supplies in Florida. Locally we have pine. This is the light wood of the cabinet tops and front, and the flooring. Pine is soft, but it is in areas where you’ll be placing paper folders or books. The flooring might take a beating. This is a choice. If you think that the office chairs will have those round rollers, and that people working from home won’t be wearing shoes with metal heels, then we’ll be fine. It’s not as dark either, which makes lighting a rather small space less of a problem.”

Bill jumped in. “We would also cover the floor with several heavy coats of hard varnish. This is what they do on dance floors. Although, you might know how fussy dance instructors are about wearing only ballet shoes on their floors. They have good reason…. Another solution is to get one of those Lucite floor covers that they use under the office desk and chair in carpeted offices. We could get one of the manufacturers to make a custom sized one that will cover the whole floor. This would work better in sandy, beach areas where the shoes will bring in abrasive sand each time someone steps into the module. It will look like a beautiful soft pine floor, but be covered in a hard, impermeable Lucite. – Easy to sweep or mop.”

Jake said, “But Lucite is ugly. No Lucite.”

Michael responded. “A newer solution for the beach areas is bamboo. It’s from renewable sources and we have some local providers. It’s hard, although not as hard as teak or mahogany, but less expensive and doesn’t require international shipping.”

Charlie asked, “And, do you have the comparable figures somewhere so we can see the difference?”

“Yes,” Michael answered. “If you look at pages 6 and 7, you’ll see the differences. With local pine, you save roughly $600 per unit, and with bamboo, you still save $400 per unit. As you can see, this is almost a 25% savings if you allow us to use more local woods. Additionally, you are contributing to saving the Rain Forest and using less fossil fuel to ship the lighter woods a few miles rather than 2000 miles.”

“However,” Bill interjected, “we built the prototype to your specifications, and so if you will join us now, we’d like you to see your invention with furniture in place.”

The simulated pictures of the prototype with two woods were more beautiful than Jake had imagined. Yet, he still looked forward to being able to walk into the module, to sit down and look around. They followed the Delanys with enthusiasm.

Most of the workers were packing up their tools for the day. Quitting time was 4pm. A few had questions for Michael, and he went over to them while Bill explained about the different sections. The fiberglass was built in one area, and the carpenters fit the wooden cabinetry in another. The electricians had their area and the plumbers another. Finally, the riggers for the sailing yachts had the use of one of the launching ramps, while those finishing fishing boats or motor yachts had the other.

Their prototype didn’t need launching, or any plumbing, so it was off near the electronics and carpentry area. From the outside it looked a little strange, like a piece of a larger ship or the cabin of a large truck. The windows were set in nicely, without the glue stain that sometimes ruined the look of a yacht Jake thought. He had thought that it might look like a cabin in people’s backyards, but this was unique.

Bill opened the door. Charlie was closest, and Jake motioned to him to take the first tour. After all, it was his design. Vince let his elder brother go in, and held the door for Jake.

“There’s room,” he said, peeking in. “Remember, you wanted it large enough for meetings. Let this be your first.”

Jake stepped up and walked into the model. Charlie was touching everything, pushing and pulling. He was making sure that everything was tight, but that the file cabinets and other inserts had enough room around them that they could also be pulled out again. The drawers all slid out easily and back in flush with the cabinet front.

The cabinets were dark as Michael had warned. The addition of some pine would lighten the look as he had said, and save them money. He would talk with Charlie privately. It had been Charlie’s specs. He wouldn’t change them without everyone being in agreement, but he thought it would be an improvement.

He sat in the desk chair he had ordered. It fit under the desk. The laptop computer was easily slipped in and out of the docking station. The screen that would show the workers at the permanent office was a good height and easy to see behind the computer screen. The windows let in light without causing any glare or reflection on either the computer screen or the other office screen. He turned on the electric lights, a special energy saving arrangement, and they filled the space with a nice white light that wasn’t too bright, didn’t blind him as he turned around, not even when he looked up, and it didn’t cast shadows. Nice. He reached out and touched the top of the cabinetry. Smooth and soft to the touch; this is the paradox of mahogany, one of the hardest woods on the planet. The seams weren’t noticeable. There were no cracks anywhere. Beautiful job. Delany’s carpenters were craftsmen.

“Have you tested the solar system?” Charlie was asking.

“We had her out today to soak up some sun,” Michael answered. “We’ll measure how many hours we can run her systems off that one charge.”

Jake looked up. The fiberglass was double hull and finished wherever the eye could see from this vantage point. The solar cells were encased and the battery system was hidden, beneath the floor he remembered. There it is, the ring to lift the floor access to the battery and electrical system, and over there is the one to access the heating and air conditioning equipment.

“Is the air conditioning on?” Jake asked.

“Yes,” Bill answered. “The thermostat was set when we put her out.”

“The system is quiet,” Jake noted.

“It is,” Bill smiled. “It is the softest system we know of. It’s almost impossible to tell whether it’s on or not. One of our sailing yacht customers insisted on quiet so that he could hear only the sounds of the wind in his rigging and water lapping against his hull when he was inside. We got the engineer who designed the system for the Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center to design it for us. It only works when you have the double hull as you requested, but now you now have the advantage of his craziness.”

Vince, Jake noted, was thumbing through the prospectus, and then checking the equipment. He and Charlie were now accessing the electrical and air conditioning through the floor hatches. They were talking back and forth, asking questions and reaching in to check wiring, plugs and switches, Jake thought. Finally they closed the hatches and stood.

“It’s to specifications,” Charlie announced.

“It’s beautiful,” Jake agreed. “We’ll talk tonight about the changes in woods and get back to you tomorrow morning on that.”

Vince finally spoke up. “I hate to ask in front of the customer, but have you checked you numbers? This seems to be a great deal for us, but we don’t want you to go out of business building these modules. We want you to be able to expand and do well as our business expands, don’t we guys?”

Michael and Bill looked at each other and laughed. “Thanks for watching out, Vince. But, this is such an easy job: no head, no galley, no plumbing to fit in. It’s a great deal for us. It will keep our men busy through the winter. Jim is looking forward to giving up his Christmas tree business. He used to spend the fall cutting and dragging trees down to your neck of the woods just to make his winter mortgage payments because we didn’t have any work for him. And, Bob won’t have to wait tables at the ski lodge up at White Mountain. They put a lot of work into this so that your business will be successful.”

They followed Michael up to the house for tea or beer. Charlie and Vince had a beer each, and Jake had a cup of tea. He watched as Vince and his family talked about the town, his old friends, and any other news that Bill or Michael thought he’d be interested in. He was happy to see that Vince continued to look almost blissful to be with his family.

The original plan was for Vince to go back to the hotel with them. This would allow him to participate in any discussions they needed to have, and it gave him a way to get out of the house in case he didn’t want to stay in his old room. Jake found a time in the kitchen alone with Vince to ask him if he still wanted to go back to the hotel with them.

He did. He was having a great time with his father and brother, he admitted, but he didn’t want to confront the old nightmares waiting in his room. His family was disappointed when they announced they were leaving, but they said they understood that it had been a long drive. So the team went back over to the hotel, the Ramada Inn, around 8 pm, after a visit that seemed to last only an hour or two.

They dropped their clothes off in their rooms, and headed right down to the restaurant. After several “meals” on the road, or eaten in the car, they were ready to sit down to something that wasn’t fried or micro waved. Jake had hope that they might even have something green and fresh. Vince didn’t have much hope for that. He had grown up in this area and knew that they would have Iceberg lettuce in any salad, and the vegetables would have been frozen. However, even that would be better than the food they had had on the road.

They ordered and while they were waiting, they had some beers, or iced tea, and looked at the prospectus. Jake announced quickly, that unless Charlie or Vince saw some flaw in the design, that would affect the strength or resilience of the module, he liked both the color change and the financial savings.

Vince was pleased with the change. He had seen many of their boats and ships with that particular blend of woods and knew that they had strength and longevity without any problems.

Charlie couldn’t anticipate any problems either. The strength was at the edges where it needed to be and the flexibility of pine would actually be more enduring in the course of moving of the modules from one location to another over and over again. He was very pleased with the finished construction and the easy access to electric and environmental systems.

“So, we can all sign off on this tomorrow,” Jake affirmed. “We don’t have to vote or find a way to decide our way out of a stalemate?”

“No,” Charlie and Vince both nodded. “Do you think we should fax this down to Georgia?”

“Absolutely,” Jake answered. “We can do that in the hotel electronics room when we go back. I don’t think she will have a problem. How can our accountant be unhappy with additional earned income? But I’ll call her tonight. She has a fax machine in her home office. And, I’m sure our marketing team will be delighted with beautiful color photos. It will be easier for our clients to imagine their execs in our elegant module, than in a shed in the backyard.”

“Okay, then” Vince said. “Here comes our food!”

…………

After dinner, Jake called all the absent team members. Georgia had added her approval to the already unanimous applause for the Delany’s module, and had given Jake permission to order 20 with a provision that this would be an anticipated monthly purchase. When they met the next morning with the Delany Boat Builders, this number made Michael Delany very happy because it meant he could keep his summer fiberglass men, carpenters and fitters on over the winter.

Alone in his room late that night, Jake was awakened by strange sounds coming from the woods. To his ear, they were neither raccoon, nor cat, nor even coyote. He had never heard bear or moose, but they seemed to be moving faster than they would be moving through the dark forest. He could only imagine how a seven year old boy, alone, would have pictured Scroons.

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2 Flowers and Butterflies

Jake carried photos of the module in his wallet. This was his baby; his offspring. He had dinner with Amanda, Georgia and Morgan on Friday night to pre-plan for the meeting at American Express. They used it as an excuse to go to the restaurant that Amanda had taken Jake to for lunch.

Georgia had also been there before with Amanda but it was new for Morgan. Even so, he was less excited about the restaurant than he was about the photos of the module. He and Jake suggested that Georgia and Amanda select the dishes and wines. They went to work, while Jake explained every detail of every photo.

“Georgia, you and Jake and Amanda are going to have a very successful business,” Morgan interrupted.

“And, you too,” she laughed. “You are an investor.”

“Investor, but not inventor,” he added. “The pride of conception and growth are yours, not mine.”

“Well, congratulations to all of us,” Jake said. “And to those of us not here tonight, Charlie, Vince, Justin and Jules, and to all our other investors, both current and future….” And, with that statement, Jake had a vision of the New York Stock Exchange Big Board, and the company symbol, SLO, with a green up arrow. As the symbol rose, the crowds cheered. That’s a little much. The cheering is overdoing it a little. But even as he tried to edit his thoughts, it came around again with higher numbers, and then it was out of sight and other company symbols were going up or going down.

When he looked back at Amanda, she was smiling.

“I was just dreaming,” he said.

“I know,” she answered. “That’s how we all got here…. Flowers and butterflies.”

Morgan laughed. “Well, have you decided what we are eating?”

Georgia pushed at him. “Yes, and we already ordered. Where were you?”

He looked at Jake who shrugged. “We didn’t even notice the waiter?”

“Guess not,” Jake answered.

They all laughed. When they focused they were oblivious to distractions. Except, sometimes Jake believed he was focusing on the future, which his mother used to call “day dreams.” In my home, this was not a good thing. My father had made a career basing his decisions and protecting other people’s lives by staying firmly planted in the here and now. I’m with my Ho’oponopono coach. Now is the time to ask.

“Morgan,” he started. “I have been having more and more day dreams about Slow Guy. Slow Guy in the future, but they seem to be about Slow Guy in the present as if they are happening as I am dreaming. Does this have anything to do with the cleaning of Ho’oponopono?”

Something flashed across Morgan’s face, and Jake thought he wanted to say something funny but changed almost immediately and turned a solemn face toward Jake. “People have different ways of being inspired,” he answered, “and this will increase in frequency as you clean. Some have visions, some hear instructions, and others have a sense that one thing feels better than another. Of those who have visions, some might see a flip chart, or see an advertisement in a paper, whereas others will have 3-d and Technicolor moving visions like yours. Those who have auditory inspiration might think that someone is saying something to them as they walk down the street, or they might hear their own thoughts as they do the dishes.”

Jake wasn’t sure at that moment whether he should be talking right now, or not. It was a social gathering of two couples who hadn’t ever had time together in a setting that was relaxed for all of them. Almost every time he and Morgan had been together, either he was on stage, or Morgan was on stage. Ho’oponopono. Just be quiet for a while. And so he was. He nodded in response to Morgan.

Amanda said, “I remember when I first started having inspirations about my business after doing Ho’oponopono for a while. The first thing that was almost not noticeable was that I was just more positive and more secure. I think my customers were more aware of it than I. The next thing was that I started seeing my art boards before they were done, totally designed, type face and illustrations or photos and all. I was able to take on more work without any customers feeling that I wasn’t giving them enough time. This almost felt like cheating, and, as you can imagine, saved me a lot of time.”

Georgia smiled at her old friend. “So that’s how you did it. You accessed the creative Divinity.” If someone had been eves dropping, they might have thought that Georgia was speaking mockingly, but those at the table knew from her voice and her history that she was being honest. She was Amanda’s accountant, and had seen first hand when Amanda’s income skyrocketed.

Amanda smiled. “I felt as if I was plugged in to the creative world of ideals of Plato. It was happening so easily, and so quickly that I almost didn’t have to think of an idea. As soon as I would decide what I wanted to work on, the image would be in my head.”

Georgia glanced at Jake, and then asked, “Have either of you traveled into the future, in your minds, I mean? I think… Jake, is that what it seems like to you, because I have been doing a little of that myself and it’s new for me too.”

“Yes,” he said, simply, wanting to hear their answers. And, I think that I might have been visited by my future self, planting the vision in my brain. Why do we always think that we can only influence the future, and not our own past?

The waiter brought their wine. Georgia and Amanda had decided not to have beer or cocktails, but to have an aperitif before dinner.

When the waiter left, Morgan answered, “I have, Georgia, if you are meaning a vivid image of a future. I do this all the time when I am asking about a decision I have to make, or even something general, like, ‘where do I take my business from here?’ I will see a whole scenario played out and know that it is the answer to my question, and not just an idle day dream.”

Amanda agreed. “I don’t often ask that kind of question, but when I was considering whether or not to become involved with Jake, I saw a future that was wonderful….” I would like to know what kind of visions she had back then….

Georgia laughed and Jake blushed, but it was Georgia who answered first, “And, that couldn’t have been your future self who would now know better….”

Jake added, “That had to be a very mischievous sprite who planted that picture…”

But Amanda only smiled and continued, unperturbed, “and I have seen us, the whole team, on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Only Jake is sitting with her, but we’re all in the audience and asked to stand.”

Jake said, “I told you that I had that dream….” And I planted it in her beautiful brain.

Amanda nodded, “And then I had it too….”

And Georgia, frowning, took a large sip of her drink, “and, guys, I had it too and no one told me they were thinking about Oprah!” And, where did that come from?

They all looked at Morgan who nodded, “This is not that uncommon. I have had similar dreams shared with my ED’s.”

“And where do you think this dream is coming from?” Jake asked out loud.

“After my training with Dr. Hew Len, I call it Divinity,” Morgan answered, “and it would be what secularists or Buddhists call ‘the Collective Unconscious’ or what Christians call ‘the Holy Spirit’ When you’re working closely with a team on an inspired project, you’re more likely to tap into the same Divine Inspiration.”

And, the waiter, perhaps inspired by Georgia and Amanda’s order, brought their food. They had selected family style so that the vegetables and meats were on platters to be passed around and shared. Everyone was pleased with this arrangement and they spent some time passing things around, tasting and asking for it back again.

The food had brought with it another topic. They happily and enthusiastically discussed food, and other adventures they had had in the past. Morgan and Jake discussed travel. And Georgia and Amanda reminisced about their childhoods. It sounded ideal to Morgan and Jake to be able to spend every summer day on or in the water. Jake also lived near the water, although he was moved around so he didn’t have the consistency of a best friend, and there were some places where the water didn’t provide easy access for children without an adult. Georgia was the only one in the group who actually owned her own boat.

Morgan said, “I worked for my Uncle Joe’s landscaping company, Cleanscapes, from about 10 or 11 years old. I could only go down to the beach in the evening, and weekends. The other kids thought I slept in after staying up late watching TV or playing video games. I didn’t admit until high school when some of them were working too, that I worked.” And what would I want for our children? I want them to have the things that Morgan, Amanda had, more than I, but I don’t want them to be spoiled….

Amanda admitted she was sometimes on the fishing boat with her father when he wanted company or help, but she wasn’t paid for her labor. “It was time I got to spend with Dad while he was doing something he loved. He taught me about the tides and currents, and how to predict wind changes from listening to how the fronts were moving on the weather radio. I learned how the wind direction changes whether it coming off the shore or blowing onto the shore….”

“And,” Georgia added, “all her specific knowledge about winds and tides helped us to win several junior sailing championships.”

Amanda chuckled. “My Dad always had extra paper and pencils, and a clipboard for me so that I could draw when we were cruising out to the fish, or back in when the work was done. I think I heard more of what he was saying when I was able to draw while he was talking…. That didn’t always go over so well in school.”

“I can imagine,” Morgan responded, laughing. “Teachers prefer when your eyes are on them.”

I have the feeling that Morgan was often in trouble in school….

“Yes, they do,” Jake jumped in, laughing at his own memories. “I used to draw endless pictures of battles: Ships being bombed, and enemy aircraft diving, and friendly aircraft soaring off carriers and little tiny men shooting from shore and from the ships. I was never finished by the end of art time, and the teacher would be very put off when I would continue my work while she was trying to get my attention for math or geography. Only one teacher believed that I could pay attention to her even though I wasn’t looking right at her.”

Amanda got in his face very sweetly, “You were always doing strategy, Jake. That was you preparing for this. And, did you pay attention to the teacher while you were working out your battles?”

I would rather kiss her right now than do almost anything else I have ever wanted to do…. “Not so much, really. The others were right but I preferred Ms Taylor and got good grades in her class.” And Jake laughed.

“Because she liked you,” Georgia said, also laughing. “I think the main lesson in elementary school has to do with learning to get along with people, kids and teachers. Learning to read is important, and learning basic arithmetic, but all the rest runs a poor second to socialization.”

“As Morgan already knew at 10 that it was more important to be part of the group than to be honest,” Amanda said.

I can see her with her children. She’d wake them up so sweetly, and they’d throw their arms around her….

Morgan nodded. “I was not ashamed that I had to work, because I loved my Uncle and wanted to help him, and even then enjoyed earning money and learning about business, but I knew that the other kids would think that was weird, worse maybe than preferring reading to going out to play….”

“And you probably had a great tan and looked buff compared with those other kids…” Georgia suggested.

“Which is back to your point,” Amanda added. “As long as you’re funny and look good in grammar school, you can be popular.”

“And in adult life,” Georgia added. “It seems that there is a brief period in a person’s life, high school and college, when people are rational. This is the Renaissance after the Dark Ages. During those years, we take into consideration a person’s intelligence, talents and their strength and personality, as well as their good looks. But, afterward, there aren’t any courses or tests and there aren’t any PSAT’s or SAT’s to ask about. We revert to grammar school criterion for our selection of friends and colleagues. Do they look and sound successful? Then they must be….”

“Hear, hear, Georgia. I think you are right on. In some ways, this will help our vets who are usually in great shape and ‘able to play well with others’. Yet some of them have already been stigmatized in their own minds. I remember that it was critical not to get left back,” Jake added. “That was the social kiss of death in every school I went to. Even though I was the new kid, I was always told on the first day which kid had been left back. Returning vets sometimes feel their peers have moved ahead without them.”

“And don’t let people know in your adult life that you have a GED,” Morgan said quietly.

Jake looked up, felt as much as saw Georgia flinch, and instantly knew that Morgan had a GED. “Morgan, I’m sorry” he said. “I didn’t mean…”

“Of course not,” Morgan said. “And that’s the point. Some things are stigmatizing whether or not anyone means them to be or whether or not the assumed judgment is deserved. And if the family is not vigilant and loving, these judgments become internalized programs. I know a man, who is a chiropractor and an author today. When he was an infant his family was told that he would be learning disabled and never learn to read. Luckily for him, his family didn’t believe that and made sure that he got a good education and lots of whole body activity. He became a champion surfer and then went to medical school.”

Morgan looked over to Jake, and poured a little more wine in everyone’s glasses as he said, “That might be a good segue to the subject of the meeting on Thursday night. We don’t want our veterans to be left out after serving to keep us all safe. So tell us more, Jake, about your meeting with Chenault if you will….”

Jake had not taken a bite of food or a sip of wine after making his faux pas or while Morgan was speaking about the surfer, so when he poured the wine, Jake took a bite of food, which he now quickly swallowed before speaking.

“Sure. It started at the Veterans Day Parade. Our team was there, with the exception of Georgia, and we met up with Chenault who also happens to be a veteran. We took him out to dinner after he gave us some grief about not getting back to him with the results of the needs assessment. We went to a restaurant that has a quiet back room and did our presentation for him, and there were many other veterans who had come along with us who heard about Slow Guy for the first time. They got excited at the success of our new business, and several were then talking about their ideas and their difficulties with finding the resources to get them launched. Some were good ideas, and Chenault and the team thought we could help them. So, we took their names and contact information and thought we would meet first to see how we could set up a non-profit to work with these guys.”

Morgan and Georgia were looking at each other and smiling. Georgia spoke this time. “I think it’s a great idea, Jake. What do you think, Amanda?”

“I think it’s time to give back. We have had some wonderful fortune, and this is a chance to share it. Who better to share it with than other veterans?”

“Yes,” Jake added, laughing “You see what cute, personable, determined and inspired workers we are.”

“So,” Morgan smiled. “What is the plan for Thursday?”

“I don’t have one. That’s why I wanted to meet with at least part of our mastermind group. I think there’s a danger that Chenault will try to take over the non-profit. Or, perhaps that’s okay, since we do have Slow Guy to focus on….”

“No it’s not,” Georgia said quickly. “We work with you, Jake, not this guy Chenault. Is he showing up with a team of ringers who are going to do all the work, or does he expect us to do the work while he takes the credit?”

“Hey,” Jake said. “Let’s go a little easy on him. I was just asking a question but I have no evidence yet one way or another.”

“Okay, okay.” Amanda spoke up. “I met him, and I agree with Jake. He is a high powered exec, and could be one of those guys who know how to put a team together and give them directions, and then he takes the credit. But, maybe if we work it right on Thursday, we can prevent that and form a nice working relationship.”

Morgan chimed in. “So what’s the question? How do we prevent this?”

“Yes,” Jake said, and Amanda nodded. “That’s the question.”

“Robert’s Rules of Order always worked for us, remember Amanda” Morgan answered.

“I remember that we used them in several meetings,” Amanda said, “but I don’t remember the context and I don’t remember the rules.”

Morgan chuckled. “I don’t exactly either. Best thing to do is to pick up a set at the library. But just to give you a hint, nothing is final without a motion that is proposed, seconded and voted on. Each motion becomes part of the corporate record. If you all have the numbers, you will have the power.”

Amanda said, “I’ll have a chance to stop at the library tomorrow morning. I’ll give them to you tomorrow night and we can plan.

“And,” Jake added “When we have our meeting Wednesday night, we can fill in the group. I’m also going to call the vets who were interested and invite them to the meeting. Better to have vets in the majority than Am Ex employees.”

…………

Wednesday night the team gathered at Jake’s, or, to be exact, Charlie joined the team at Jake’s. He was the only member still working on the outside. He figured two more weeks, and he would be finished with the other project and able to leave that job. In the meantime, he arrived excited and enthusiastic. The food was already on the hot plate and the coffee was fresh. Life was good.

Once they all were settled Jake opened the meeting and reminded them that they were to have a meeting on the new non-profit at American Express the following evening. He wanted to discuss how they wanted it set up so they could go with an agenda and be proactive rather than reactive to Chenault’s agenda.

On his flip chart he wrote: Goals (What this will look like), and Mission (our reason for doing this).

“Let’s start with our Goals, informal goals that is,” Jake explained. “We want to know what success will look like, and how we’ll feel and who will be doing it with us. So, let’s just throw out ideas and I’ll write as fast as I can.”

“Well,” Justin started, “We want the other vets to find the way to start their businesses.”

“And” Charlie added, “We want their business to be successful.”

“We want them to have confidence,” Jules stated.

“And we want them to have access to excellent mentors or advisors,” Georgia said.

“So they can dream without undo fear,” Amanda added.

“Yes,” Vince chimed in. “Fear is part of life, but we don’t want it to be paralyzing. There has to be balance.”

“And, what helped us to have that balance?” Jake asked.

“The size of the group, and our diversity of experience and know how.” Charlie answered.

“I agree,” said Georgia.

“Well said,” Justin added. “And the trust we have for each other.”

“Good.” Jake said. “And, do we have other wishes or goals for our colleagues?”

“We want them to be able to maintain control as long as they want.” Jules was adamant.

“The advice that they need should cost no more than the cost of a Chinese dinner,” Vince added.

The group chuckled because they all understood that this had allowed them to meet every week, week after week, and to move forward past every stumbling block.

“Great,” Jake added. “Anthony Robbins would approve. Along those lines, what will success taste like, or feel like and who will they associate with?”

“They’ll associate with us!” Justin said.

“And with talk show hosts,” Charlie added.

“And, eventually,” Georgia said, “they’ll have more free time because they’ll be able to hire people to run their business.”

“And, that goes for us too, doesn’t it?” Jake asked rhetorically.

“They will go to dinner at great restaurants and be able to travel anywhere in the world,” Vince suggested.

“And, they’ll be able to donate time and resources to charity,” Amanda added, “as we can and will.”

“They will be able to invite famous people to dinner or to their child’s birthday party and expect at least to get a response” Justin said.

“Good one,” Vince agreed, nodding. “The Greeks and Romans treated their warriors with great respect. We should too.”

They were out of ideas and quiet for a while. Jake asked again if there were anymore goals for the vets and waited. When no one answered, he asked, “And, what is it that we want to provide? What will be our mission? Sometimes it is helpful to first think about why this absolutely must happen.”

“It has to happen,” Charlie said, “because many vets come out without a support group as we had. I’ve met some of those guys on the subways and they are homeless or hermits….”

“They need support from us now because they are used to being part of a company of men,” Justin added.

“We’ve just done it with virtually no plan and very little resources,” Vince added. “So we can share our belief as well as our know-how.”

“It has to happen,” Gretchen said soberly, “because the country owes these men a chance. We can’t have a volunteer army without rewards and some of the rewards have to come from non-governmental organizations.”

Jules added, “That’s exactly the point. The guys riding the subways or living in the parks don’t trust the government any longer.”

“These are not the guys we met at the parade,” Justin said. “Will we work with those who are still part of society, or those who have already given up or never fully made it back? I ask because I’m not sure we’re qualified and I wouldn’t know where to begin to help the guys who are already living with extreme PTSD and who are, essentially, still at war.”

“It must happen for these guys too,” Jules said. “And if a team was there when they first got home, perhaps they wouldn’t have fallen so far.”

Charlie agreed. “Those who are broken just need more help. This must be for all vets, not just hand picked ones. If someone needs more help than we can give, we’ll make sure he or she gets it in a safe and supportive environment. Perhaps each of our centers needs to have an experienced therapist on board….”

“Great list,” Georgia remarked….

“Yes, and, ah, ‘Centers’, around the country.” Jake reiterated. “We need to add this to our list of goals, along with available, ‘on demand, therapy’…. I don’t think we can reduce this list down to a tight statement without the input of the entire group tomorrow night. Amanda and I have done some research into how these meetings are run. It’s called Robert’s Rules of Order. We need to know the principles so that we aren’t overrun tomorrow…. Amanda, will you fill us all in, please?”

The rest of the meeting was taken up with Amanda’s coaching on how to object, how to stop a bad proposal and how to boost one’s own proposal to “accepted” in record time without a lot of discussion.

They left feeling ready for the Thursday meeting at American Express.

3 Working Breeds Pull together

Jake and Justin had grown up around dogs, hunting dogs mostly, both full breeds and mutts. On occasion, they had also come in contact with herding dogs, and more rarely, working breeds such as the Airedale. Neither had ever personally worked with a team of huskies or working sheep herders. Yet everyone who has loved and lived with dogs has stories. Sharing dog stories had been one of their favorite pastimes when they were on watch together.

Dogs are loyal, especially when the loyalty is deserved. Dogs, like children, rise to your level of expectations. A border collie who never had the chance to work with sheep will keep children together on a class trip. An Airedale who doesn’t work at pulling carts will become the family guard dog and walk the postman around to the back door if the baby is left with her in the front yard. A sheltie who has only been a family dog, will keep the little ones away from the pool when no adult is present. Even a half retriever loves to fetch, and will chase a swimming duck or goose across the golf course pond. One half retriever showed up at his home with a frozen chicken he must have pulled out of a neighbor’s grocery bag. A half Irish Wolfhound who has learned to play football but never to chase a wolf through the woods will wait silently at an open window when an intruder has climbed onto the roof, until the unlucky man puts his leg into the house.

A threesome including the Wolfhound, a German Shorthaired Pointer and a Belgium Shepherd were asked to patrol a suburban neighborhood after there had been two house robberies, both at dusk. Afterwards, when a neighbor would see someone in a backyard, or a stranger in a neighbor’s lighted kitchen, they would call the dog’s family who would let the dogs out. Whether it was their size, their speed, or the noise made by the Pointer and the Shepherd, there were never again any robberies in that neighborhood. Yet, these dogs normally were so gentle that the Belgium sheepdog was a welcome visitor to a nearby children’s playground, and the Wolfhound was once walked home by a 2 year neighbor old eating an ice cream cone. The 2 year old was neither frightened, nor pulled or jerked when he grabbed the large dog’s collar, and his ice cream cone was untouched by the dog.

Dogs who are well treated have a natural Ho’oponopono. They are always loving, always sorry and apologetic when they have done something to offend a family member, and always grateful for forgiveness. A sensitive dog seems to know whether someone is hurting or intending to hurt before they say or do anything. Is this instinct or the inspiration of clarity?

Jake noticed that he didn’t really have a chance to object before they were all moving toward the destination. This was what he had expected from a major player like Chenault: skillful determination. There were no grounds on which to object since they were all veterans. And, any hope he had of a few minutes before hand with Kenneth to plan the meeting was gone. It was clear that Kenneth planned to commandeer the meeting. So this has come to that.

Jake looked over at Georgia, and she nodded. Would she be his gaze hound?

As they entered the room, Jake joined Kenneth at the top of the table and since there was only one chair, neither sat down. Jake smiled at Kenneth, nodded once as if they had agreed on this format, and immediately introduced himself as an entrepreneur, partner, director and former active duty Navy Lieutenant (which he was when he left the service although most of the time he was in he was a Seaman) and said to the room that he supposed they all knew Kenneth which got a laugh, and asked those at the table to, one at a time, introduce themselves including their military experience and to say a few words about why they were interested in this program.

He went over to the nearby flip chart and picked up the marker. He could see that several of the men they had met at the Veteran’s Parade were there, wanting to be a part of this program to help veterans. Between these men, and the Slow Man team, they had the American Express team outnumbered by about 16 to 12. Without these men, there would probably be a different outcome, and even with them, some things were a little uncertain.

As the men at the table introduced themselves, he made some notes as to their military background and their current position. Following his lead, his men were introducing themselves as entrepreneurs, partners and head of the sales division or head of the financial division, and so forth, but always including entrepreneur and partner. Georgia and Amanda were able to say that they had founded one firm and were partners in a second successful business, although neither could say she was a veteran.

Only two of the Am Ex group had ever founded a business, and Chenault was not one of them. Their interest in the program was to help vets find a place in the business world which made sense because it was all that they knew. However, this was quite different from helping them to become successful entrepreneurs which was what his men were interested in. They listed most of the goals they had listed at their meeting, including their intention to help all interested vets, not just the gold standard cream at the top. Jake had been faithfully writing down all the suggestions from the audience, and hanging each page on the wall behind him and Chenault so that they all could see each other’s goals.

When the last man had spoken, Amanda raised her hand and made a motion that Robert’s Rules of Order be followed, which was quickly seconded by Vince and passed by the group. Justin then made a motion that the main meeting begin whose purpose was to form the structure of a new non-profit organization to help veterans, which was also seconded and passed. Jake passed the body of the meeting over to Chenault. This is where motions and 2nds could happen which would decide the outcome of the meeting. He had run the introductory meeting where nothing could be decided, and while Chenault was running the meeting proper, Jake would also be able to make motions or second them, and he had put Chenault into a position where his position was to maintain neutrality.

Chenault arbitrated a discussion of whether they would help only veterans with business ideas, or whether they would also help to train and mentor potential corporate employees. Jules made the point that many corporations already had mentoring programs for returning veterans, as did American Express, Xerox and IBM. Vince raised his hand, was recognized and made a motion to permanently shelve the idea of helping with a corporate mentoring program since this already existed. There was an immediate 2nd by Charlie, and the motion was passed. The Slow Man team had shut out Kenneth Chenault’s American Express team. They would work with entrepreneurs and not with those seeking employment.

Kenneth Chenault is not a man to be bested easily. He rose through the corporate ranks in spite of his color, and in spite of enormous competition. He was assigned to the poorest functioning division which had already ended several careers, and he made a success of it.

In retaliation, he opened a discussion on whether or not the advisors had to be veterans. Obviously, Georgia and Amanda were the intended fatalities here. His team jumped on that, having learned from Vince and Justin and Amanda, and made a motion that all advisors had to be veterans. Amanda quickly stood and used Robert’s Rules to insist on time for discussion based on Chenault opening it for discussion. No one had made a motion to end the discussion.

This was allowed. The main focus on the Slow Man side, argued mostly by Vince and Jules, was that since they didn’t know what positions would be needed yet, it might prevent them from helping veterans, particularly in remote areas where there might not be a veteran engineer, or a veteran patent lawyer. They also had no salary lines, or budget, so to limit those who would be volunteering seemed likely to sabotage the success early on.

The American Express employee, who had made the original motion to limit advisors to veterans, changed his motion to offer a preference to veterans. This was quickly seconded and passed unanimously.

Chenault was quick to realize that he had to be careful about how he introduced a subject. He changed his tactics. He headed a new flip chart page: “Goals of Organization”, “Scope of Operations”, and “Mission of Organization”. He then asked the group to look at what was on the wall, at their initial reasons for being there, and to start to sort those out into the appropriate column.

This is better. This is less adversarial and more cooperative and will be drawing on the ideas of the total group…. Ho’oponopono. And to Divinity, I love you. I’m sorry for whatever I have done to cause conflict. Please forgive me. Thank you.

I am sure that Amanda and Georgia, and possibly Vince have been doing constant cleaning which might be why the meeting seems to be turning around.

He looked over at Amanda, and winked, and received a beautiful smile in return. Georgia was sitting next to her, but looking more peaceful as she attended to Chenault’s list and didn’t notice. Vince and Justin were also looking more relaxed. Charlie looked thoughtful as he watched and Jules has been looking fretful the whole time.

The unattached veterans are happily placing the goals originally suggested by The Slow Guy group. They want this to be available to all vets, not just to vets in NYC. They want this to be for business startups, with advice and encouragement. They aren’t afraid of or intimidated by Chenault or his power, yet they recognize that they need the help of people with such resources to fund their enterprises. Vets who have worked in a group with guys from all over the country, rich and poor, and who have held life in their hands, are no longer afraid of poverty or wealth and power. These guys recognize that these are communal designations that have nothing to do with intrinsic value or force. The energy of this group comes from the combined will and heart of the participants. No one man will be able to sabotage its resolve as long as they stick together.

The meeting ended late, but they had goals, and a mission statement. The mission statement read: “This organization of veterans will see that advice, support, a business team and financial startup money are available to any veteran of the United States with a viable business idea and reasonable ability to carry out the functions of a business.”

The group was satisfied and no one complained that they had all missed dinner. …………

The Slow Guy team traveled up to 14th Street together with a few of the vets traveling in the same direction and dispersed from there. Amanda and Vince headed east with Jake. Jules and Justin went a little further north. Charlie changed for the N to travel to the West Side.

They were excited but exhausted with the kind of tired that is usually felt after the Bermuda Race in a 25 knot breeze. They walked closely together and bumped elbows, or leaned on each other’s shoulders.

As they walked along 14th St., Amanda said, “Tension.”

Jake nodded and responded to the nonsequitor, “Yes. That’s it, of course.”

Vince smiled. “Every muscle,” he added.

“Especially my legs,” Amanda added.

“I’m taking a hot shower when I get upstairs,” Vince said as they approached his building. “It felt good though, to be able to control that meeting.”

“Yes it did,” Jake answered. “You guys were lightning fast.”

“We’re Navy,” Vince answered. “You give us a battle to fight with a strategy and battle positions, and we’re professional.”

Amanda laughed. “Who would have known how well suited veterans are for business? We’ll have to remember that when we’re counseling them.”

They said good night to Vince and he went upstairs.

“Vince is reading minds,” Jake said. “Did you notice?”

“Yes,” she said. “He’s doing a lot of Ho’oponopono.”

“Have you talked about it with him?” Jake asked. He was a little surprised.

“Yes, we met with Morgan to discuss the effects of Ho’oponopono. Vince was at first a little concerned, but Morgan reassured him that the cleaner he gets, the more in tune he will be with Divinity, or zero. Since everyone is connected at zero, he is connected to everyone at that level.”

“Can you do it?” he asked a little unnerved.

She chuckled. “You sound uncomfortable, Jake.”

“Well,” he tried to sound confident, “it’s a little weird to think that you and Vince might be in my head with me at any time….”

She reached over and took his hand swinging it as she walked. “And, do you think that could possibly hurt us?”

Her hand is so soft, yet strong. And, even at the end of this long day, I can still sense her perfume, ever so slightly. No. Nothing could hurt us. We are in this together. I don’t mind it when I am reading, or sensing her thoughts, or perhaps it’s more the origin of her thoughts that I sense.

“No,” he answered with assurance. “I know what you’re thinking much of the time, and that’s fine, so I should expect that you are also in tune with me.” It’s just easier to think about in these terms. “What about other people?”

“Didn’t you anticipate that Chenault might try to commandeer the meeting? Wasn’t that being in tune with him?” she suggested.

“I thought it was a thought, not mind reading.”

“It’s hard to tell. When we connect with people at zero, we’re reading their real goals and desires. They might not even be aware of them if they’re confused by their programming. That’s what might make you think you’re wrong in that situation. But, they were operating off a program rather than their true desires and you were reading their underlying, basic desire. In this case you tuned in to Chenault and it was valid.”

“I thought that at zero we were all like Buddha. ‘Live and let live.’ ‘Que sera, sera.’ It’s all good,” he protested. “What made Chenault competitive?”

“All true. Yet, we also are confident that we know the answer. We have no questions and don’t need advisors. That is the part of him that you tuned in to. Chenault is pretty clean. I think that’s why he’s been so successful.”

“Another question, please. Why is it that Vince and you are so much more aware of your abilities? Is Vince cleaner than I am?”

“Honey, I think that’s a program asking that question. If you would like to know why you are not so aware, I can help you with that. Vince and I are primarily visual people. When we have inspiration, it’s in the form of a vision. You are an auditory person. You are so used to hearing your thoughts, that it’s hard for you to know that another thought is actually an inspiration. You are not less inspired than I am or Vince is, but only less sure.”

When I have a full 3-D and Technicolor vision with digital sound, I’m sure….

They had reached his apartment building. He privately did another Ho’oponopono and opened the door, holding if for her. They walked upstairs and he unlocked the second door.

“Come here,” she said. “I am going to show you the advantages of reading minds, or feelings. We’re going to do this with no words.”

He felt his heart jump, and from that day on, they would have more fun and pleasure with each other and from each other than during all the previous weeks which were extraordinary. He didn’t know at the time that it would never stop for them.

4 Black Holes are still Theoretical

It was Saturday morning. Vince and Jules had asked to meet Morgan for breakfast at a small coffee shop on the west side near Madison Square Garden and he had agreed. It was a sunny, unseasonably warm morning. Vince was up early and walked over. He was the first one there, and got a table in the back, close to the kitchen. The waiter brought him a coffee and he had just opened his paper when both Jules and Morgan arrived together, talking.

“Did I miss anything?” Vince asked.

“We were just chatting about the weather,” Jules answered.

Morgan smiled, caught the waiter’s attention and held up two fingers. He brought over two cups of coffee before they had even settled themselves. “So, how can I help you?” he asked.

Vince looked at Jules, and raised his eyebrows in a silent question. Jules pointed at Vince with his chin. Vince asked the question, “Jules is interested in Ho’oponopono and had some questions I couldn’t answer.”

Morgan took a sip of his coffee. “I’m always happy to talk about Ho’oponopono. What was your question?”

Jules laughed. “Vince is no help. I was hoping he would ask because it made sense to him and it’s hard for me to even formulate it in any sensible way…. Basically, I’ve been doing Ho’oponopono for a few weeks and Vince has been my tutor. I am having a little trouble sometimes, with asking for forgiveness when someone seems to do me harm. For example, when I’m racing for the subway and someone moving slowly sees me coming and steps right in front of me, preventing me from getting to the door. I don’t see that this is my fault, but I do see that it would be useful if I could learn to prevent this in the future.”

Morgan nodded. “Do you have any background in physics?”

Jules nodded. “In high school. I was good in math and they made us take physics.”

Morgan smiled. “Good then. You learned about the atom? Atomic structure?”

Jules nodded again. “Sure, electrons, protrons and neutrons and quarks….”

The waiter came over, poured them some more coffee, gave them menus and waited for their orders. Vince asked for a bagel with cream cheese, and Morgan asked for a feta omelet, while Jules asked for eggs over easy with a rasher of bacon. The waiter made a few notes and went away.

“And energy” Morgan added before going on. He then told Jules about a study done by the US Army where they took sample DNA from a serviceman, and put it in a test tube. The serviceman was then subjected to videos alternating between sweet and horrible. As his emotions changed, the DNA also changed. It tightened into a tight little spiral when he was stressed or angry or horrified, and it stretched out into a looser and open structure when he was relaxed. His DNA was affected in the other room, and then outside the building. They took it 50 miles away and it still went through changes as his emotions changed.

“So, what does that mean to us?” Morgan asked.

Vince shrugged. “It means when our stomach is ‘tied up in knots’ as they say, our DNA is a match.”

“Exactly.” Morgan said. “Now, there was also a study done where the DNA was put into a test tube within a beaker of photons. When the DNA was open, all the photons in lined up outside the test tube. When the DNA was tight, very few of the photons were affected and they were more disorganized.” He looked at them both again. “What does that have to do with what we’re trying to do?”

Vince gave it a stab although Jules was clearly lost. “We’re trying to affect the world around us in a positive way. That’s the responsibility we are taking on with Ho’oponopono. I understand that some people can even accelerate the healing of another person. So, if our DNA is open, which it is when we’re in a happy, satisfied, or loving or in any unstressed state, we have a greater effect outside ourselves.”

Jules got this and raised an objection. “But, photons are tiny, and to heal someone is a big deal.”

Morgan nodded. “True, but it’s all about energy. It’s all quantum physics. What is a person made of when you get down to the smallest participant?”

“Quarks, and there’s something else I forget,” Jules tried.

“And, energy,” Morgan reminded him. “The scientists are always discovering smaller and smaller particles but what holds us all together is energy. We are only about 10 to 20% particle, and the rest is energy and the space between the particles. So, whether that energy is good or bad is a big deal and will have a bigger effect on those around us than we realize.”

Jules frowned. “So, getting back to the guy who steps in my way….”

“What was your energy? What was your expectation? This is all affected by your old programming which is what we’re asking Divinity to help erase or transmute.”

Jules tried after taking a long, slow drink from his coffee cup. “If I’m stressed, the guy is more likely to act in a way likely to frustrate me, and if I’m not, his photons are more likely to align with mine….”

“Yes,” Morgan answered simply. “And, more importantly, the more open your DNA is, the further your reach. This is nice because it means that the emotions that make us feel good have greater power and farther reach than emotions that make us feel badly.”

Vince stepped in again. “So, back to Ho’oponopono. How does Divinity fit in if our emotions are the effectors?”

“Divinity was there at zero, before there were any quarks or photons or emotions. When we clean and erase, we want to rejoin Divinity at zero where all is possible. The mystics and quantum physicists talk about an energy that is everywhere, and that is aware of itself.”

Vince continued. “We are all connected, energetically speaking. So, if I’m cleaning, and the waiter isn’t, how am I responsible for something bad that happens to him?”

“For the sake of argument, let’s say you might not be. One way of knowing is whether you are aware of it and have a reaction to it or not. If you do have a reaction, then you are connected and at least somewhat responsible for it. For instance, Jules, if the man walked in front of you and you didn’t have a response because you were early and could afford to wait for the next train, then nothing wrong was done and no cleaning is necessary.”

Jules thought about that for a moment while Vince responded, “Thank goodness. When you think about it, in this city we are in the path of thousands every day. Thank goodness we’re not responsible for everything.”

They all chuckled and the waiter brought their food, put down a carafe of coffee, and apologized for his delay. He had brought them some complementary orange juice to make up for it. The men thanked him and he went off happily.

“I wonder why he apologized. Were either of you distressed by his delay?” Morgan asked.

“I was wondering what was taking him so long for a simple breakfast order.” Jules admitted. “I was thinking how my father would have given him hell for delaying us.”

“That’s a program,” Morgan said, “probably installed by your father who couldn’t tolerate delay very well….”

Jules laughed. “That’s an understatement! But we got free ORANGE JUICE out of it….”

“Take every opportunity when you sense a delay,” Morgan explained, “to ask Divinity to transmute this program, send it to the light, and to forgive you. Don’t forget to send love and to give thanks, and it is done. Now, it’s going to be a little difficult for your unconscious to let go because this has been with you for a while now and somehow convinced you that you needed it to keep you safe, so you’ll continue to notice it for a while. But, eventually, it will be gone.”

“Excuse me, Morgan, this business world runs on schedules. We have appointments and we have to be there on time or we lose our chance.” Jules explained. “This might be a positive program….”

“Jules, I promise you that I haven’t been late for years. Trust the Universe. Trust Divinity. Trust your own instincts and motivation to get you there. I’ll tell you a story. I once left late for the airport which was 2 hours away. It was the middle of the night and traffic should have been no problem, but when I figured out the mileage and my time, I would have had to average 70 mph and I was in an old car that I didn’t trust to go over 70 mph. In addition, there were so many deer and other wildlife stepping on to the road to say goodbye, that I didn’t feel safe at more than 55 mph for the first 30 miles. So the problem was getting worse, not better. I did Ho’oponopono and believed that Divinity would get me to my destination when I needed to be there. I was going to Oklahoma by the way, so there aren’t any direct routes. I also had a special, dirt cheap ticket which was based on taking that early flight and not refundable and I had no ability to buy another ticket. – Get the picture?”

Vince was shaking his head. “Doesn’t sound hopeful, Morgan….”

“This is not an encouraging story,” Jules agreed loudly. “I’m not sure you should be talking to me about my program – which usually helps me be on time.”

“All programs interfere with clarity. I believed that it was important for me to get to OK, so I kept going, doing the best I could. I got to the airport with only minutes before my plane left. I parked in the short term parking because it was close, even though it would cost a fortune because I was going to be away for almost a week. I grabbed my bag and ran to the ticket area. I tried, but couldn’t even get my boarding pass from the machine because it was too close to the departure time. I had to give up and go to the ticket counter with my problem.”

“And, what happened?” Jules asked.

“The first man explained that I had missed my plane and that it was a non-refundable ticket. I kept doing Ho’oponopono. I didn’t leave. I waited. His supervisor came over and helped him to find another flight for me, explaining that I shouldn’t expect this to be possible in the future with these types of tickets. They gave me a new ticket for another route. It gave me an hour to re-park my car in the Long Term Parking and to get some breakfast. And, since my layover in the mid-west was shorter, I would get to OK earlier than I would have if I had made the first plane.”

“And, it didn’t cost you anything?” Jules inquired.

“Not an additional penny.” Morgan answered.

“How do you explain it all?” Vince asked.

“My delay in getting started was just that I had more things to do before I could leave than I had time for. Then, there were additional road blocks put in my way in the form of wildlife on the road. I think this was all a test. The Universe wanted to test my faith and confidence. In AA they have an expression, ‘Let go and let God.’” In my youth, my family instilled two sister beliefs, ‘Idle hands are the devil’s workshop’ and ‘God helps those who help themselves.’ Napoleon Hill talks about the need to be in action once you have a goal in mind. So, add all that up and I absolutely trusted that I was doing my part, and that Divinity would take care of the rest. And, it was done.”

Jules was shaking his head. “I would have been sweating bullets, jumping up and down in a tantrum rage, and I might have hit one of those animals and crashed….”

“All of which would have tied up your DNA in knots….” Morgan added.

“And, I wouldn’t have gotten there that day….” Jules responded.

“So, ‘Keep the faith baby,’ is not just an expression,” Vince said, “but a way of life.”

“And you’re saying, it’s a matter of quantum physics,” Jules stated. “When you are one with energy, there are no limitations.”

“That’s exactly what I’m saying,” Morgan smiled. “It’s really so simple isn’t it? Simple, but not easy at first.”

“But, there is reality,” Jules insisted. “I understand that the supervisor at the airport was able to help you out. But the conductor or engineer on the subway train didn’t stop the train and I was delayed.”

“What went through your mind when the doors closed in your face?” Morgan asked.

“‘That’s it. Now I’ll be late.’ And then I had some thoughts about the man who stepped in my way that I’d rather not repeat.” And Jules laughed.

“I wonder what would have happened if you’d had another thought,” Morgan questioned.

“Such as?” Jules asked with a little bit of attitude.

Vince stepped in. “Such as, doing Ho’oponopono for the man who didn’t know better than to step in your way and for the subway driver who is just trying to do his job as Morgan must have done for the first airline ticket guy who started to prevent him from going to Oklahoma.”

“Yes,” Morgan said, “and instantly, if you had seen it as a challenge, but not the end of the contest you might have had another thought. What if you had thought, ‘I will be there on time no matter what the trains do to me’ rather than, ‘That’s it. Now I’ll be late’? We all know that trains run at different speeds, and sometimes an express train is changed to a local. I always thank the Universe for saving me from delay when something like that happens.”

“Like the plane to Oklahoma actually getting you there earlier….” Vince added.

“It could not have been more clear to me when several deer and raccoons stepped on to the road, that I was not in charge,” Morgan explained. “In normal times, in a month I will see one deer in the woods as I drive past. In a six month period, one deer will step onto the road when I am nearby. This particular morning, there were at least 4 deer in different areas, who stepped out of the woods onto the road.”

“Where’s the 100% responsibility in that statement?” Jules challenged.

Vince was beginning to wish that he hadn’t set up this appointment. Jules seemed to be too defensive to be able to hear what Morgan was teaching…. But, Morgan seemed unperturbed. Vince did Ho’oponopono, hoping to clear his program that was trying to make everything come out ‘nice’.

“We take 100% responsibility when something goes wrong, and for clearing our old programs. When we are clear, we can see the Universe at work. This wasn’t right or wrong, it just was. As it happened, it was unusual so I noticed.”

“But, it was wrong. It kept you from making your plane.” Jules insisted.

“Making that plane wasn’t my goal. And, it’s likely that I had already missed my plane by leaving late,” Morgan reminded him. “This kept me from speeding, and from risking an accident, or even, perhaps, from blowing a piston or throwing a rod and wreaking my car. My intention was to get to Oklahoma and this did not prevent that. We have to let go of trying to keep too much control over the ‘hows’ as Mike Dooley says on his website, TUT.com.”

“This is hard to take in for me,” Jules admitted. “All my life I was beaten for doing the wrong thing, or for not doing the right thing. Are you saying that I am only responsible for what I think.”

“Now you’re getting hotter,” Morgan said.

“So, when I saw the man moving slowly, and thought, ‘he’d better not get in my way or I’ll miss that train,’ it was my negative thoughts that caused him to walk the way he did? What about his thoughts?”

Morgan smiled broadly. “His thoughts might have been affected by your thoughts. We can’t check with him about that, but, his actions were a direct result of your telling him to get in your way.”

“I told him not to get in my way….” Jules reminded him.

“Our unconscious does not recognize negatives, and neither does the Universe. If you had the thought ‘get in my way’ that’s what he heard.”

“Can I just say one thing?” Jules asked.

Morgan nodded as did Vince, and both put something in their mouth as if to assure Jules that they wouldn’t say anything.

“I feel manipulated,” Jules stated. “I sort of understand that your ideas, your thoughts, and even your emotions affect your life. However, I can’t buy for a minute that your actions aren’t your responsibility.”

“I didn’t mean to say that,” Morgan stated. “I was saying that I wasn’t responsible for the deer and other creatures coming out as if to say goodbye to me.”

“So you admit it was your fault you were late for the plane? That’s all I want to hear,” Jules was almost pleading.

“I am trying to say that the plane was irrelevant. That’s the point I am hoping that you can grasp…. In your case, whether you caught that particular subway train was irrelevant to getting to your destination…. What I was doing at home was taking care of someone who would be at my house while I was away. Everything I did was absolutely necessary because of serious allergies. If I had been out drinking and gotten home too late to make the plane, then there would have been something else to clean on. A program would have gotten in the way. But that morning, I was clean and when you’re clean, you’re at zero where all things are possible which made that plane irrelevant.”

“One more try, if you don’t mind,” Jules said. “What about the waiter? We got free orange juice because he was slow. That was on him and he accepted responsibility.”

“What was you intention this morning?” Morgan asked.

“I wanted to find out more about Ho’oponopono. I had been asking Vince a lot of questions and he recommended that we meet with you because you’re the man” Jules answered.

Vince thought he detected Morgan wince at the sarcasm, but he answered without any venom. “And, am I meeting your goals?”

“Well, yes, I guess” Jules stammered.

“So the waiter’s schedule was irrelevant to our purpose and we still got free orange juice….”

“Well, yes.”

“So, from our point of view, can we go out to a business establishment in Manhattan and get free stuff for nothing?”

Jules looked confused. “What does that have to do with us? That wasn’t our intention.”

“I don’t know,” Morgan admitted. “Vince, what was your intention this morning?”

“As you see, it’s not easy to answer Jules’ questions.” And Vince smiled as he said, “I wanted you to take over as his teacher, and I was hoping to get a free breakfast out of it.”

Morgan laughed. “You didn’t order much.”

“I didn’t want to jinx myself with being too greedy. But I did want orange juice….”

And, they all laughed. “So,” Morgan asked, “Jules, can you explain the waiter dilemma in terms of what we’ve been discussing?”

Jules downed his orange juice before answering. “Vince had the intention to get oj, and he was clean. He didn’t order it, but the Universe provided it anyway, probably because his DNA was open and the waiter heard the request.”

“I think your heart understands, but it is hard for your mind to believe,” Morgan said softly. “Meditation helps with that discrepancy, by the way.”

“It’s like a black hole,” Jules responded. “Whatever information you give me disappears. I think I just have to live with this a little longer until I have more stories myself.”

“That’s exactly how it works,” Morgan admitted. “There are little glimpses of truth, and light, which can fade all too quickly. Yet, eventually, there is enough experience with clarity and being at zero, that you just can’t see how you ever missed it before.”

He looked over at Vince, and asked, “Do you think I’ve helped Jules at all today?”

Vince shook his head. “I still think he’s unsure about what to think when he’s running for the subway….”

Jules nodded with something that looked like weariness or lethargy.

Morgan stated succinctly, “Love. Just love Divinity and know that you will get to your destination on time, as long as it is part of your overall goal for yourself. If it is working against your goal, well….”

“Well, what?” Vince asked. “This is important to me.”

“Well,” Morgan said. “When your conscious goals and your unconscious goals are not the same, you own resistance will sabotage your progress every time.”

From James Arthur Ray:

Energy has only two ways to manifest, either waves (light or sound) or particles. In the quantum domain, you always get what you are looking for, whether waves or particle. This is “The Observer Effect.” Neils Bohr said there was no objective reality. This is the “Copenhagen Effect.” Einstein argued to the day of his death that there was objective reality, that there had to be something outside of you but Bohr had more evidence that there is nothing outside of you that didn’t come from inside of you.

Once you place your attention on your intention, boom, the particle is created.

5 The Eye of the Needle and the Camel

Jake woke up annoyed that Saturday morning. He had a bad dream and could only remember that he had been at a party with Amanda and she was talking with Chenault and Theodore Forstmann and laughing. When he went over to join them, she left and went to the ladies room without giving him another look. In his dream, he was standing in the middle of the room feeling so annoyed that it woke him up.

He looked over and Amanda was sleeping peacefully with a little smile on her face. Normally, this made him happy, but this morning, he was annoyed, and so he wondered what she might be dreaming about that would make her smile that way. Probably something Forstmann said.

He thought of doing Ho’oponopono but didn’t want to. I don’t want to let go of this program. I don’t want to apologize for being annoyed at Amanda. She shouldn’t have been talking with them without inviting me over, and she shouldn’t have left, or especially, she shouldn’t have walked away from me. He got out of bed without taking any care not to waken Amanda, and went to the kitchen to make coffee after a brief stop at the bathroom.

Amanda opened one eye and watched him go. She was aware that something was bothering him. He was all elbows and heels when he got out of bed. Now, he seemed to have taps on his bare feet, so she listened. Either he didn’t lift the seat, or he didn’t put it back down. She made a note to take care when she used the toilet. He did wash his hands she noted. So, on an anger scale of 1-10, he wasn’t a 10.

He went into his kitchen without looking back toward her. He was more than a 6…. It sounded as if he was washing out the coffee pot and the filter basket before pouring water into the coffee maker, so he was less than a 9….

“Shit,” he said. “Damn it.”

She couldn’t tell what had happened, so she waited. Then he was washing again, and wiping the counter. She did several Ho’oponopono cleanings as she waited. Finally, he peeked out from the kitchen and looked over at her. Whatever his expression had been, it quickly softened as he noticed that she was watching.

“Did I wake you?” he asked.

She didn’t answer that question, but asked, “Is there some way I can help you?”

He shook his head. “I cleaned it up. I put the coffee in without putting back the filter basket.” He walked over to the bed. “The coffee’s brewing now.” He jumped up onto the loft bed without bothering to use the ladder. She was always impressed the way he could lift, or jump up onto his straight arms, and swing onto one knee, and it was done. “You were smiling in your dream,” he challenged. “What were you dreaming about?”

“I really don’t remember,” she answered.

“Come on,” he said. “You always remember your dreams. You said it was from doing Ho’oponopono for as long as you have.”

Although he was smiling, it was clear he was still angry about something. She sent love and apologies from her heart, but she still couldn’t get an idea of what was bothering him. “If I wake up suddenly, it’s gone.” She smiled and sent more love in his direction. She could feel his stress, or rather, distress. She knew better than to ask about it. He would tell her when he was ready.

She’s not going to tell me. She remembers. She expects me to soften when she smiles at me, and to get lost in her beautiful great green eyes…. Why doesn’t she ever wake up with that horrible mascara circle under her eyes? It’s not fair that she’s so beautiful. That’s why no other man wanted her. They knew better. They knew that they’d never win an argument….

“Is that what we’re doing?” she asked.

“Yes,” he answered, stubbornly.

“Oh,” she said and sent more love in his direction.

“And, don’t try to get out of it by smiling and shining your eyes at me,” he said, frowning. “If you have another man in your dreams, I want to know about it.”

“And, what makes you think,” she asked sending more love in his direction, “that I would want another man even in my dreams? Why would I ever want to settle for someone less than who I already have?” And, she meant it. Amanda had never known a stronger man, or a man more naturally sensitive to her, or a man with a better feel for people. She had believed that he had as much skill as Morgan even before Jake started Ho’oponopono. She couldn’t imagine where it would take him, but she was confident that he would achieve anything he desired. She had only seen him slightly distressed one other time, and that was after the business meeting with Chenault and Theodore Forstmann, and the three women.

“You see,” he said, “you’re thinking about them and not telling me.”

In a strange way, she felt guilty. “I was just remembering,” she said honestly, “that the only other time I have seen you unhappy was after the meeting at Bruce’s.”

Oh, no. And that time I was distressed when Forstmann put his arm around Morgan…. She’s telling the truth. I don’t think she was dreaming about them…. He put his hands on his head and looked so forlorn that Amanda moved over closer, put her arms around him, and kissed his head. What is wrong with me? She is the most beautiful, intelligent and loving woman and I am pushing her away for no reason at all….

He opened his arms and held her close. “I’m an idiot,” he said. “I had a dream about you, and woke up angry.”

She kneaded the muscles in his back feeling for the knots she knew were there. “We can’t do anything about those feelings that well up from our dreams, or our unconscious,” she said. “It’s not your fault.”

“More clearing,” he said. “I have to do more clearing.”

“Yes,” she said, “and more love,” and pushed back on his shoulders until he was flat on his back, and she leaned down to kiss him.

And he kissed her back with all the love in his heart.

…………

Saturday was not a day off for Justin. He was out looking for office space and storage space, but storage space was most important because they were getting their first module shipment sometime in the coming week.

He was concentrating his search in the Bronx. This was the northern section of New York City. The other boroughs were Brooklyn, or Queens, but the Bronx was called, the Bronx because it had once been a family farm known as the Bronx’ Farm. There was nothing about it now that would remind anyone of a farm. The southern region was industrial and inexpensive homes or apartments. There were still the large city owned projects, but they were, little by little, being taken down. There were some areas that were being upgraded he noticed. Hunts Point is a peninsula that has a new and quite beautiful park at its southern side on the water. The realtor pointed out that the island it faced had once been used for medical isolation. Romantic little spot to an historian maybe…. The northern side of the peninsula is still the fresh produce market that made Hunts Point famous. Even this will be changing soon. In between were some buildings that might be of interest to the Slow Guy. Justin wasn’t sure any of the team would want to travel there except by car. By subway and bus it would take forever and he didn’t think it would be safe at night to travel alone.

He had looked at another space just west of Hunts Point, still in the South Bronx, owned by a Korean dry cleaner. He was closing down his business after 30 years. He had been an employee of a dry cleaner in Manhattan and had eventually saved enough money to open up his own business. He was now the primary dry cleaner for the Broadway Theatre, and for several large uniform supply companies, but he said it wasn’t worth it to stay in business anymore. The competition from overseas was too tough. He had to replace his wire hanger supplier with a guy from China because the American prices kept going up, and soon, the theatre would replace him with a company from China too.

In the meantime, he had to keep his real estate costs low, so that he could pay his good employees a reasonable living wage, and 15 years ago had sold his original business and bought all new equipment for this location. But in the last year, two of his women employees had been raped on the way to work. They now traveled together. The men waited for the women to arrive in the subway station, and then they escorted them to the job. Even that wasn’t safe he had explained to Justin. There were crazy people with guns. Three times they had been robbed and since he did most of his work by contract, there wasn’t any cash to speak of on the premises. The robbers didn’t care. They took whatever jewelry and cash his poor employees had on them. He had paid his workers back the cash they had on them, but he couldn’t replace their jewelry and watches. They didn’t even feel they could put their belongings in the company safe, because they were afraid they’d be killed out of frustration and anger if the drug users couldn’t get the cash they needed. He said some were drug users, but one guy who lived nearby was just crazy, talked crazy and would sometimes come out of his apartment swinging his pistol around like a child with a toy gun. The police finally caught the crazy man, but they wouldn’t be able to hold him long on just possession of a deadly weapon and then he’d be released and he’d be back on their block. He said the law was different in Korea. That would never be allowed. He thought he would sell his business and go home. He was regretful for his employees, but he didn’t feel he could keep them safe any longer.

Justin left feeling sad for the business owner, and for his employees. This was not like New Orleans. There were poor areas there, but many of the people had been there for generations and worked in the French Quarter. They were proud and honest. There had always been murders because the people were passionate, but not so many robberies. He wondered what it was like now. He hadn’t been back since the hurricane had destroyed so much of the city. He didn’t want to fill his heart with hatred for the men who had been so greedy that they left those people to suffer while they figured out how to make money out of rescuing them and out of the rebuilding.

Part of the reason Justin loved Slow Guy, was that it was a business that wouldn’t hurt anyone, and would actually offer some small solution to the shortage of global energy. He wanted to find a location that would safely and comfortably house them while they built their business. He supposed that was all the Korean had wanted…. Justin needed to find a place for Slow Guy that would be affordable now, and continue to offer them security in the future.

He thought about going to the police, but decided that if they had a handle on this it wouldn’t be such a problem. He thought about going to talk to some drug dealers to get their take on where their business was headed. He wasn’t sure they’d talk with him. Why would they? He would try that approach only if he noticed a veteran, but he didn’t think a vet would go into that business. It seemed to be run by local kids who never made it off their own block.

He worked his way to the north Bronx. The 233rd Street area was not pretty, but it seemed to be inhabited by working class families and immigrants from the Caribbean who were business people and musicians. One could never be sure, but he had the feeling that these people were more like the Cajun people he grew up with. Restaurants and dance halls outnumbered banks, pharmacies and liquor stores. He felt safer in this environment. They seemed to be looking out for each other, and for the neighborhood without the “Neighborhood Watch” signs of the exclusive and restricted areas in Westchester and Queens.

He found a newly refurnished warehouse building, with a second story. It was off Dyer Avenue, and not far from the Subway. There was easy access from 95, which would make it easy for the trucks coming south from their builder in Maine, and for trucks going out with their product. There was also ample room on the first floor for trucks and modules, and they could easily make very nice offices on the second floor. Right now the second floor was open loft space. The plumbing and electricity had been recently redone so they could move in immediately if they wanted. The realtor said any deposit would be waved if they would sign a 10 year lease at $9 a square foot. This was less than half the price in any area of Manhattan. Justin was able to get Georgia on the phone and she agreed to his signing a contingency lease, contingent only on final inspection by their engineer, Charles, who was out of town looking at trucks but would be back on Monday.

After signing the papers at the realtor’s office, Vasquez, Thomas and Winston, he went back to the area to walk around. It was Saturday morning so it was quiet, but there was a restaurant on the corner, The Parrotfish, in a well seasoned building and there were a few people inside. He decided to join them for breakfast and some local gossip.

Several were eating a porridge that Justin didn’t recognize. He asked about it and they smiled the way they might smile at a child. They called it cassava, the indigenous name for yucca. Others were eating cheese and bread. Some were drinking coffee although more were drinking tea. A large grey cat walked across the room to sit by a wood stove in the corner. Several patrons said hi to him as he walked by. His name was Atlantic and he had, Justin noticed, blue eyes. A nearby patron, a woman, explained to Justin that he was a breed of cat popular in Canada bred in monasteries to be mousers, except his blue eyes made him unique within that breed.

Justin looked over and smiled at the woman who spoke. She was lovely. “Thank you,” he said. “My name is Justin. I just rented a place down the street. Do you live around here?”

“Yes,” she answered, smiling back. “About two blocks away. My name is Jessica,” and she held out her hand and leaned over toward him.

Justin got up and reached over to shake hands with her. “Do you recommend the cassava?” A picture of Penny flashed through his brain, but he pushed it away quickly.

She nodded, “The best in the Bronx. It’s early for a Saturday, and in a few hours you won’t be able to get into this place.”

“Should we conserve table space and share?” he asked.

“I think so. Why don’t you join me?” she answered.

He was still standing, so he moved over to her table and sat down. She was drinking coffee he noticed. “You’re not a tea drinker….”

“No,” she answered. “I was born here and fell into American habits. When I go back summers to be with my Grannie, I drink tea.”

The waiter came over and he asked for cassava and coffee. She asked for toast and cheese.

“Where are you from?” she asked. “I don’t recognize the accent.”

“New Orleans,” he answered in an exaggerated accent, “although, I’ve been away for many years.”

“Do you remember your French?” she asked.

“Oui, un peu,” he answered. “I understand it but probably only have the speaking vocabulary of a child.”

“As do I in Jamaica,” she said. “Too bad how quickly the language goes, but, I can still swim like a fish and climb the mountains like a goat.”

The waiter brought their food and she thanked him. John she called him. Justin took the opportunity to look at her legs. Nice; thin, but muscular. He believed she could manage both mountains and ocean easily.

He tasted the porridge and it was plain, plain, plain. She recommended either cheese or syrup and the tried the syrup since it was on the table. That was much better. The coffee, however, was full of flavor and delicious; Jamaican, not the Columbian he usually drank.

Although he originally wanted to know more about this neighborhood, they talked about New Orleans and Jamaica. He felt excited and alive as if he was traveling again. And, when he finished his breakfast, she asked him if he wanted to come up to her apartment to see her pictures of the mountains. Penny’s image flashed across his mind again. He thought about Jessica’s invitation and it felt good to know that he still had the old charisma.

He declined her invitation with apologies, saying that he had to go back to work. He offered her a ride home since he had Jake’s car, and she turn him down saying that she was going to have another cup of coffee and finish her paper before she left. He wished her well and offered his hope to see her again around the neighborhood.

He called Penny on his way downtown, and arranged to meet her at her apartment. He didn’t have to return Jake’s car until Monday morning. He thought it might be nice to take Penny out of the city for the rest of the weekend to Montauk, or Atlantic City, unless she wanted to go to the Giants’ game…. Hmm, he thought. That might be fun…. Her apartment Saturday night with a nice bottle of wine, and then the game Sunday afternoon…. However, if she preferred a romantic weekend out at Montauk, that would be alright too.

…………

As Morgan was meeting with Vince and Jules, and Jake was having his first fight with Amanda, and Justin was flirting with a beautiful Jamaican woman, Kenneth Chenault was in Southampton having breakfast with his neighbor Theodore Forstmann.

“So, tell me again about your meeting with Jake Classen,” Forstmann insisted.

Chenault was clearly uncomfortable, but he acquiesced. “We wanted to use the new non-profit to recruit and mentor veterans for American Express. We’re a conservative company, and veterans tend to be conservative. We have trouble finding good matches at most colleges. The Slow Guy team had the support of the local veterans who came to the meeting, wanting to start their own businesses.”

“And, tell me again how a Navy veteran, without any corporate experience, stymied the meteoric Kenneth Chenault… You’re a veteran. How did he get their support and you didn’t?”

Chenault took a long sip of his Bloody Mary and looked at his omelet that was just getting cold. He had asked for the meeting, so if Forstmann didn’t offer to share the tab, Chenault was going to be stuck paying for a breakfast he couldn’t even eat. At least the Bloody Mary was good. “He took the mic at the start of the meeting, and generated the list of what everyone wanted. His team seemed to have been coached because they were faster than my guys with great suggestions, none of which included corporate mentoring. He turned the meeting over to me, and every time I tried to steer it in the direction I wanted, someone on his team would make a motion which would be instantly seconded and voted on.”

Forstmann was nodding and smiling. “Perhaps we should have invested in his company…. I think these guys have what it takes, and it sounds as if they’re having fun.” He looked closely at Chenault. “You used to be like that. You used to go in to meetings and take control. Remember how much fun that was?”

Chenault finally smiled. “Those were the days as they say. You coached me well. It was not fun being on the ground while the young guy ran over me.”

Forstmann called the waiter over and ordered two more Bloody Mary’s. “No. And I don’t like my protégé losing to an un-mentored neophyte. The business world at our level runs on reputation and gossip travels fast. Would you like to take it back?”

“Yes I would,” Chenault agreed. “How do we start?”

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