We now had three girls and one testosterone-pumped guy bird that spent every walking minute doing of of three things: pursuing sex, having sex or crowing boastfully about the sex he had just scored. Jenny observed that roosters are what men would be if left to their own devices, with no social conventions to rein in their baser instincts, and I couldn’t disagree. I had to admit, I kind of admired the lucky bastard.

For no real reason – well, perhaps because of the seriousness under the trees or Nader’s hair, which was very messy and covered in little grass seeds – Katie began to giggle. She knew it was wrong, yet it was also natural. She covered her mouth with both hands, but Nader was already pale with revulsion. He turned and marched away into unwanted sunlight, leaving her to wonder why bad things happened and why no good person prevented them.

The worst have scraped out the mantle of the best and wear it around as something real. It takes no genius to see that. But I moved to San Francisco because the masquerade of kindly gestures is, at least, kind. And it remains kind. And all the people who would sit back and comment on the garishness of the costumes, the hollowness of the dialogue, the lack of divine conviction, well, all those people are either dead or fifteen years old.

He didn’t just know there would be personal computers. He knew they would crash, that the people who came to fix them would charge heavily by the hour, and be annoying, and no good, and in the end would just tell you to buy a new and more expensive machine –

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