Bud Blossom, her Chinese-American boss, was at the hostess station, of course, checking his watch.

“Two minutes early, Miss Don’t Give The Boss An Extra Second,” he said in the Midwestern twang that sounded so odd coming from his exotic face. “You must be slipping.”

I opened the door slowly for my guest, careful of my candle’s flame. My eyes are accustomed to the gloom, but a gentleman is always considerate of his visitors, even if they only come on business. So few people want to visit me, and none of them stay long. It’s no wonder I want to emigrate.

Mrs. Malthus, like most of her students, stole looks at the clock. She wished she could join the happy few who were unobtrusively – and, some, obviously – sleeping. Don Pardo’s snoring was the only thing keeping her brain from shutting down entirely.

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