The elevator releases Nolan into a carpeted hall paneled in
gleaming wood. Behind the reception desk sits a beautiful Asian chick in stylish
black ninja pajamas. How classy, how predictable for a famous human rights
outfit to hire PC Dragon Lady to guard the front door. Nolan recalls a Hong Kong
film where the secretary rockets up from her desk and does triple flips,
slinging nunchaks around the office. He wishes he'd brought six other guys. He
wishes his tattoos showed.
In the end, what he can't hide is enough to give Suzie
Wong the willies. The duffel bag is a problem, as he knew it would be. Of
course, it would have been smoother if he could have left it somewhere. As
Nunchak Girl eyes the bag, Nolan watches a little fight-or-flight thing take
place in her face, until her receptionist training wins out over her basic human
instinct not to be anywhere near him. Nolan has the feeling she's got
one finger on the panic button. Just in case.
"May I help you?"
"I'd like to see Mr. Maslow. Uh, Dr. Maslow.
"Do you have an appointment?"
He doesn't know what the gentleman's called. Does it sound
like he has an appointment?
"No," says Nolan. "I need to talk to him."
So do millionaires. Politicians. Nolan can expect about five more seconds of
Miss Yin Yang's attention. He says, "I've got some information I think
he might want to have. I guess you know what ARM is, right? The American Rights
A definite yes from Ice Princess. Now she's really eyeing
the duffel bag, obviously wondering if this is her time, if her bullet-riddled
body will be all over tomorrow's front page. And is that a tiny twitch pulling
her hand beneath the desk? Call security! Red alert! Hitler's in the building
looking for Meyer Maslow! Nolan can't decide if he wants to pop her in the
nose or fall on his knees and promise he won't hurt her. He follows her glance
toward the duffel bag.
"I'm in a kind of . . . transitional state," he
says. "And if you're thinking what I think you're thinking . . ."
He turns his palms outward and tries to smile. "I'm harmless. I promise.
Unarmed. There's nothing in the bag but some books and clothes and dirty
The receptionist's lip curls. She doesn't want to think
about Nolan's dirty laundry.
"I was in ARM for five years." Lie number one, and
Nolan's only been here two minutes. So what. It's a detail. They can hash
out the fine points later.
"Congratulations." She gives him the freeze-out look
she learned in Bitch Receptionist 101. She hesitates, thinks, thinks some more.
Then she picks up the phone and keeps pushing the same button. Security isn't
answering. So she's pretty much on her own. Is that fear on her face? Just a
trace, and it's gone, either because she's a professional, a
professional receptionist, or because she doesn't want to give Nolan the
satisfaction. Or because he's charmed her. That's always a possibility. She
listens, pushes another button, listens, then another. So the person about to
deal with the fact of Nolan's existence is several rungs down the food chain
here at World Brotherhood Watch
British Parliament asks Amazon to clarify why it pays $9 million in income tax on $23 billion of UK sales.(May 20 2013) Amazon will be called back to give further evidence to members of the British Parliament "to clarify how its activities in the U.K. justify its low corporate...