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from Pins and Needles by Barry B. Wright

Copyright © 2019–2021 Barry B. Wright

Chapter 1
Building 3C

Pins and Needles

Billy Talent

SHE WAS DEAD, THERE was nothing he could do about it, now; he had to accept it. But there was more. He had stumbled badly; he had come up short. He knew that he had unwittingly failed in what he had come to realize was the only worthwhile endeavor. Still, there must have been signs before she, they, were swallowed whole forever. In his self-made purgatory of grief and shame, he found no solace where once triumph and achievement reigned. He had been a victim of his own hubris. And, in the process, lost what he should have held dearest.

Edward Slocum combed his fingers through his thick salt-and-pepper hair; stretched out his six foot–plus, medium-sized frame; yawned and pushed away from his desk. Loosening his yellow silk tie, he undid the top two buttons of his dark blue shirt and rolled up his sleeves. He glanced at his watch and shook his head in disbelief at how quickly four hours had passed since his return from supper at six. Approaching his saturation point, he cringed at the thought of attacking his overflowing in-tray and numerous unattended folders scattered about his desk. Taking in a deep breath, he stood up and walked to the wall of windows which overlooked the lamp lit Main Street. His gaze followed the street to the intersection.

A soft thud redirected his attention. The Tuesday evening newspaper, which had been neatly folded and left earlier on the corner of his desk by his administrative assistant, Nadia, lay on the floor, the headline page facing up. He picked it up and scanned the front page while making his way around his desk toward the office door. Halfway across the room, he stopped. “Well, I’ll be damned.” The heading of the art...

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