"Let me ask you something," I said. "If I wanted to use your computer to find someone who doesnt want to be found, what would I do?"
"Who are you looking for?"
"Horace Jacob Little."
George pitched his chair back and put his feet on the desk next to the computer.
"It would take some effort. You would have to hack into something like the Department of Motor Vehicles or the IRS."
"You could do that, right?"
He shrugged, too modest or careful to admit the extent of his talents. "You dont even know if thats his real name, do you?"
"No. I guess it could be a pseudonym."
"Are you sure hes in this country?"
"Are you even sure he exists?"
"What do you mean?"
"Maybe if you hired a person full-time to search all the databases of the world, you might find something. But probably not. Anyway, even if you found Horace Jacob Little, what would you do about it?"
I was considering my answer when Lara Knowles entered our room without knocking. She lived down the hall in our dorm, which was informally known as the Monastery. Even after the arrival of coeducation, those dozen rooms in Blair East--a modest extension off the more majestic Blair Hall--had remained open only to men. This was the Monastery, and there was an analogous Nunnery across the quad. Before I showed up they repealed the rules. Nuns moved in with monks and vice-versa.
"Lets get dinner," she said to me. We ate together almost every night. At that point in the year I spent much of my time plotting strategies to move our relationship beyond this state of friendship. George usually joined us at dinner, along with a bunch of other monks and nuns, but I paid almost all my attention to Lara. I was thrilled when she reciprocated.
I grabbed a coat. George said, "Is it stuffed shells tonight?" I walked in the cool night next to Lara, weighing the consequences of putting my hand on her back.
All thoughts of Horace Jacob Little were forgotten.
A Man Called Intrepid author dies aged 89(Dec 03 2013) William Stevenson, a journalist and author who drew on his close ties with intelligence sources to write two best-selling books in the 1970s, A Man Called...