FatLand: The Early Days – 38

“Quite a spread,” Bill said as he entered Breakfast Room One on his rider.

“Only way to start the day,” Stark said. “Can Loretta pour coffee or something else for you?”

“Cappucino, if possible.”

“No problem.”

Within seconds, Loretta left, then returned with a steaming cup of cappucino.

Bill reached for a croissant and spread it with strawberry jam. “Nice,” he said, taking a sip of cappucino, then a bite of the croissant. “So, Win, to what do I owe the honor of your hospitality?”

“Well, it’s like this,” Stark said, sipping black coffee and fingering but not chewing a rye crisp. “They look up to you.”

“Flattering.”

“But true.”

“Okay. And so?”

“You’ve done a lot of work for them.”

“True again.”

“What if I paid you double or even triple to work for me instead?”

“And that would be to do – what?”

“Build an extension here. Build some underground structures. Make the existing ones airtight.”

“Hmm.” Bill took another sip of cappucino. “My specialty is more in ordinary housing.”

“But your standards are high.”

“Of course.”

“I think you’d do a better job than many of the specialists.”

“Than all of them?”

“Maybe.”

“Is there an and or but here?”

“Such as?” Stark said, lighting a cigarette. He pushed it gently into the non-smoking ashtray.

“Another reason why you want me instead of the specialists when you can obviously afford them.”

“Ah.” Stark removed the cigarette and took a puff. He pushed it down into the ashtray again. “I think we can offer you things you wouldn’t get elsewhere.”

“Like?”

“Being able to move around without problems. Being able to do other things. Not having to exert yourself if you didn’t want to.”

“So I’m to get my healthy but misspent youth back here if I stay?”

“You can put it that way.”

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