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I insist. This is big enough to go all the way. Moscow Rules for this one. Don't let go of the chalk. Don't unlatch the door until she produces the other half of the postcard, and you are certain it is a perfect match.

Ah me. Where is the life I of late led? The clandestine life? The wild life here--underground--where has it gone? The dark fashion and the dark fun. The mischief in the back booth at 28. The mischief with Oliver Stone at Voda. The huge bartabs paid in small unmarked bills. The margueritas at Nixon's (who else's?) favorite Mexican restaurant in OC. The evil tacit acknowledgement of the duckmaimers' early and methodical engineering of their bloody canardacaust. A disappearance, then another, then another, always like a man at a busy train station, into a perpetual purple haze of doppelgangers on assorted sundry boards. Replacements as readily available as Army reserves in China. The stains on the late Victorian wallpaper on the Victorian lathe-and-plaster, the shabby LowCal eateries, the weapons grade martinis, the agonies of wheezing portfolios, the forged documents, the iced tea codicils, the commemorative certificates for dabbling in shortterm market hoodoo.

Yes, the Folly in CA board, head of west coast operations, has been a Berlin of cyberspace, with its honkeytonks, its jazz, its politics, its backroom angsts and tortures and intrigues, its Krankenmude and mudwrestling and mudslinging and occasional Malibu Mudslides. Is that all so much Natural History now--now that Bureau Operations Chief, the Chief behind the Orange Curtain, dawnc, is TMFDawn?

It's like the end of LeCarre novel, watching her emerge on the Other Side, on payroll even. It feels like gain, it feels like loss. The operation ends in unfathomable success, the operation is completely blown. Agents are ecstatic, baffled, partying, stranded, walking the streets in silences known only to crabs. Whole networks are rolling up, looking for new generals. If there's a cocktail party (and how could there not be?), bring champagne, bring kleenex. What will it be like, the next time she posts, the next time she has an OC meeting? "Sit up straighter comrades--dawn, rosy fingered dawn, TMFDawn is here, on this very board, at this very table! And don't stop clapping until the commissariat does!"

Smiley barely raised an eyebrow--he held his pudgy fingers against his stomach and saw the result, saw it was good, saw it was capital, saw it was Foolish, saw it was about honor, saw it was about money, saw it turned everything upside down, saw it didn't matter; and also he wondered anxiously what was next, and how the universe would aright itself, twisting and landing again on its stout but clumsy feet, once the news spread to the other ministries. Seattle had been a mere feint, a speedbump last week. The real west coast action had been east of Seal Beach, south of the 5--behind the Orange Curtain.

congratulations dawn, and to the fool too, it's a perfect choice
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