She knows, now, absolutely, hearing the white noise that is London, that Damien’s theory of jet lag is correct: that her mortal soul is leagues behind her, being reeled in on some ghostly umbilical down the vanished wake of the plane that brought her here, hundreds of thousands of feet above the Atlantic. Souls can’t move that quickly, and are left behind, and must be awaited, upon arrival, like lost luggage.

Unstuck her in time, day-sleeping in her bedroom. How old was she? Seven, seventeen, twenty-seven? Dusk or dawn? Couldn’t tell by the light outside. Checked her phone. Evening. The house silent, her mother probably asleep. Out through the smell of her grandfather’s fifty years of National Geographic, shelved in the hall.

He looked up at a 1992 calendar, level with his eyes, and about ten inches away. Someone had quit pulling the months off, in August. It advertised a commercial real estate firm, and was decorated with a drastically color-saturated daytime photograph of the New York skyline, complete with the black towers of the World Trade Center. These were so intensely peculiar-looking, in retrospect, so monolithically sci-fi blank, unreal, that they now seemed to Milgrim to have been Photoshopped into every image he encountered them in.

Our best analyst thinks it’s not a tactical design. Something for mall ninjas….
Young men who dress to feel they’ll be mistaken for having special capability. A species of cosplay, really. Endemic. Lots of boys are playing soldier now. The men who run the world aren’t, and neither are the boys most effectively bent on running it next. Or the ones who’re actually having to be soldiers, of course. But many of the rest have gone gear-queer, to one extent or another.

he ran his palms up the warmth of her bare back, beneath the white T-shirt, that the people in his life weren’t beads strung on a wire of sequence, but clustered like quanta, so that he knew her as well as he’d known Rudy, or Allison, or Conroy, as well as he knew the girl who was Mitchell’s daughter. “Hey,

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