The Prodigy

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Chapter 5

The next several days are relatively quiet. We relax into our routine and engage in the mundane tasks that make up a life and give it anchor. Over the weekend, we go shopping to update my wardrobe so that I don’t look like a college coed. It is a new experience for both of us. We have not gone shopping together since I was in grammar school. I was always too busy in the genetics lab at Stanford and wore t-shirts and jeans as a daily uniform. We continue running in the park and increase our distance each time. After the first few days, the soreness from using wintering muscles starts to leave my legs, although I am still not sold on running. Due to the temporary reprieve from the intimidation at the Institute and the increase in physical strength, I begin to feel mentally stronger by Sunday. Normally, I am emotionally well-contained but the intrusion into myprivacy and lack of social support is unnerving.

When I return to work on Monday, the last member of the team finally arrives. Her name is Jiang Lin. Her research work concentrated on gene editing. Jiang is a bit of a prodigy herself. Jiang completed her postdoctoral at the age of twenty-two and Dr. Lucas recruited her from Beijing University. Although she can speak English fluently, Jiang struggles with idioms and cultural slang as well as extreme shyness. However, she is very pleasant and extremely hard working. I appreciate having her on the team.

The six members of our team function really well together, so far. Kevin has not said a word to me since the first day and basically doesn’t speak much in general, but always tags along with the group on coffee and lunch breaks. Jacki and Marcus are the extroverts of the group. They provide a welcome diversion from hours in the lab. The real surprise has been Josh. I did not want to like him or become friendly with him, but I am really drawn to him. He appears to be very sophisticated and worldly but in actuality he is a very kind person. I keep finding myself engrossed in long discussions with him, only becoming aware of how much I enjoy his company after the fact. It would be so much easier to dislike him if he was outwardly unpleasant. If only he wasn’t the chairman’s son, I could enjoy his company without reservation.

After the arrival of Jiang, Dr. Morehouse gives each of us the task of splicing the P1XZ3 gene and theoretically identifying what diseases could result from it. It is a newly discovered gene that had not been published yet. Dr. Morehouse explains that he wants to see how we perform individually before he assigns the new projects. He does not expect a complete report; he just wants to see our thought processes on paper.

On the morning of the trip to Rosewood, I am more than a bit apprehensive. I actually finished the report for Dr. Morehouse the night before and handed it in. I am so grateful to mom for taking me on the shopping spree to SoHo. I never took much interest in fashion before, but I want to look like a New Yorker and fit in with my colleagues. Mom has been incredibly helpful and knows the streets of New York really well, despite having lived on the West Coast for the last thirteen years. Back in California, neither of us focused much on material things. We lived modestly and rarely socialized. The truth is Mom has a great eye for fashion and can put together amazing outfits without spending a fortune. I suspect that in her former life, Mom lived a much more glamorous lifestyle.

I choose an all black, typical New York uniform to wear for the trip and throw on cobalt blue shoes for contrast. It is important today to look as serious as possible. My acting skills are going to be on full display and any little bit might help. I come in early, order an espresso and sit in the atrium where I had arranged to meet Josh. As I am waiting, Kevin walks past me on his way to the espresso stand. After that first day, Kevin has been rather unassuming in the laboratory. Workwise, he is very methodical and well trained. When he catches sight of me, he falters. He looks like a man in turmoil, as if he can’t make up his mind. As he starts walking to me, I start to brace myself.

“Hello, Kevin. How are you?” I ask, tentatively.

“I am fine. It is still pleasant out. However, the temperature is supposed to climb.” Kevin just stands there staring at me. I don’t feel I am particularly good at small talk, but this is a pretty awkward exchange. I can’t help but wonder why he walked over to start a conversation. It’s obvious he has something to say. I’ve noticed that Kevin is uncomfortable in social situations and suspect he may have a form of high functioning autism. I also suspect he hides that fact from the Institute, a place preoccupied in the pursuit of perfection, particularly, perfect human beings. However, that still doesn’t explain his blatant antagonism towards me on the first day.

I respond, “I’m well. I am just waiting here for Josh.”

“I know. He told me you two were going to Rosewood today. I have been meaning to talk to you. I apologize for how I acted on the first day. I now realize you were not cognizant of how they were using your research findings.” After saying that, Kevin turns and walks to the escalators. Right before he disappears from sight, he calls out to me: “Just do yourself a favor, and be careful today.”

I find the whole exchange perplexing. Kevin has switched from muffled hostility to cryptic concern. The day is already becoming surreal and we have not even left for Rosewood. I start to suspect that Kevin may have a personal connection to Rosewood, just like I do.

“Hey, Analia. Ready to go.” I look over my shoulder to see Josh coming from the escalators. He is dressed in formal business attire. I would never tell him, but he looks like a fashion model. Some people have a gift for looking perfect without any apparent effort required on their part. I wish I could isolate the particular gene for that trait and help myself.

“Well you clean up nice.” I say to him.

“So do you. Shall we go? We have to take the elevators to the roof.” Josh takes hold of my elbow gently and starts walking towards the elevators.

“Why the roof?” I ask.

“We are being flown by helicopter.” The elevator opens and Josh hits the button for the roof. He has to use a special key for access.

“Are you serious? I thought after the new carbon emissions policies, only government officials could own private aircraft?”

“My mother considers herself a nonelected government official. The rules don’t apply to her.” Josh says cryptically.

We walk out onto the helipad. Jenny Whitcombe is standing with a digital clipboard, talking into her headset. How she can be heard over the roar of the propellers is lost on me. Jenny motions us over.

“Jenny, is Dr. Lucas here yet?”

“Dr. Lucas is coming up now. You can take your seats.” Josh helps me into the aircraft and we sit in the rear.

“Hey isn’t it weird for you to refer to your mother by her professional title?” I ask.

“Actually I prefer it. Especially when I am working. Fortunately, this trip won’t take long. Oh, hello Dr. Lucas.”

I look up as Dr. Lucas, Jenny and an unknown gentleman board the helicopter.

“Good morning Dr.Lucas,” I greet the chairman. I cringe inwardly at how obsequious I sound.

“Good morning, Analia. I think you know my assistant Jenny. This is Mr. Pattinson. He is from the National Security Agency and will be joining us today. Mitchell, I believe you already know my son, Dr. Joshua Lucas. And this is Dr. Analia Christiansen, the geneticist I was telling you about. She is the one who discovered the genomic sequence of the PPZ gene.”

“It is a pleasure to meet you Analia. We all owe you a great debt for what you have contributed to the field of forensic science.” Mitch Pattinson says with a smile. In actuality he looks like he is leering. His look sends shivers down my spine. If he keeps it up any longer, his lips will have to be surgically removed from his teeth.

“Thank you. Honestly, my research was purely academic. I was not aware of how it would be applied clinically or forensically.” I hope that I am projecting just the right amount of innocence as I speak. Josh gives my hand a squeeze under the armrest. I am a little surprised at the intimacy. I’m even more surprised at the fact that I like it. The three arrivals take their seats. Even the inside of the chairman’s helicopter is appointed in the colors of blue and steel grey.

Josh whispers in my ear. “Typical, creepy politician.” I struggle not to burst out laughing.

Dr. Lucas turns around in her seat abruptly. “Analia, you just keep up the work in the lab and my Institute will take care of all clinical applications.”

“That’s right. Your brain will supply the raw data and the Institute will determine how best to use it for its’ own benefit,” Josh adds.

“Josh, please refrain from that kind of commentary.” Dr. Lucas replies with ice in her voice. An awkward silence immediately fills the confined space of the helicopter. I wish I could disappear but instead I focus my attention on the window. Mitch Pattinson grabs a brief to read. Josh keeps his eyes locked on his mother.

To break the tension, I start speaking about our lab group. “Dr. Lucas, I want to thank you for the opportunity to work with Dr. Morehouse. I have admired him for many years.”

“I am glad you appreciate your opportunities, Analia. You will learn a great deal from Dr. Morehouse. Next week, he will introduce you to the new project your group will be working on. I won’t go into it now, as I don’t want to steal his thunder,” Dr. Lucas replies. She then turns to Jenny and starts reviewing the day’s schedule. I make a note to myself that flattery and gratitude help pacify my employer.

I look out the window and whisper to Josh. “Where are we going exactly? Is it in New York State?” I was tempted to research Rosewood on my computer the night before, but didn’t want to raise any red flags.

“We are going up the Hudson River, near Newburgh. Over 150 years ago, it was home to the elite of America. After its heyday, it went into rapid decline. Fifty years ago it became a favorite outpost for homegrown terrorists. After the global crackdown on terrorists, most of whom are now detained in the giant detainee complex in San Salvador, it became a relatively safe but poor community. Rosewood is helping to revitalize the community in terms of jobs. There are a number of historic towns located along the Hudson River, and some wineries. The best time to drive up there is in the fall when the leaves change. We should plan for a day trip.”

“I would love that. But how would we get here? Do you have a car?” I struggle to keep the excitement out of my voice. This is the first time I have been invited to go on a trip anywhere by someone other than my mother, even if it is just a loose invitation. However the trip would be with Josh and I have to be cautious.

“Actually, I do. I keep it in the garage because of the restrictions on urban driving. As much as I love New York, I need to escape as often as possible. During the summer, I head to the Jersey shore.” Josh replies.

“I read somewhere that everyone from Manhattan goes to the Hamptons.”

All of a sudden, Mitch Pattinson jumps into our conversation. “The Hamptons is where the power players go Josh. The elite of society. I recommend you go there.” I can’t help but think that, not only is he creepy, but a pompous ass as well.

“That’s exactly why I go to the Jersey shore.” Josh says with a grin. “We’re here now.” The helicopter abruptly drops and I give a start. Josh looks at me closely. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine. I am just not used to helicopter flying, or any flying for that matter.” When I look to my left, Dr. Lucas is staring at me. I just nod my head briefly.

Externally, Rosewood looks lovely. The landscaping melds into the natural beauty of the surrounding woods. It almost, but not quite, conceals the barbed, electric fence surrounding the enclosure. Two armored jeeps driven by heavily armed guards, greet us on the tarmac. “Good morning Dr. Lucas, I am Sergeant Wainwright. The other dignitaries have just arrived. I will drive you and your party directly there now.”

“Thank you Sergeant.” Dr. Lucas answers. “Mitch and Jenny will ride with me, and Analia and Josh, you can go in the second jeep.”

After the other three climb into the first jeep, Josh looks at me and whispers, “Congratulations, you just passed the test. You are quite the little diplomat, aren’t you?”

“And what are you, the provocateur?” I ask.

“Sorry about that. I shouldn’t involve anyone else in my family squabbles.” Josh replies with a sheepish grin. “You know, you have really surprised me. I had expected you to be a typical, introverted geek when I first read your file. You are nothing like that.”

“I have a file, and what’s more, you read it?” I ask incredulously. I repress the need to demand that Josh tell me what is in the file. Between the wiretapping and secret files, it feels like J. Edgar Hoover reincarnated himself as Katharine Lucas.

“I peeked when I saw the file on my mother’s desk during a visit two months ago. I was worried about who I would be working with at the Institute. Besides my disappointment at not taking another job in California, I was concerned about my work environment. You are proof that people can defy expectations. Happily for me.”

“You were going to work for somebody else?”

“I would have loved to work anywhere else. My mother blackballed me to any potential employers. I found out from a friend at one of the places I interviewed.” Josh answers.

“I don’t know what to say to that. I am sorry.” I would say more but the jeep comes to an abrupt halt. The driver opens the door and leads us over to the back of the dais. The dais faces a large expanse of concrete, which functions as an exercise yard. A sea of chairs unfurls in uniform rows. Someone from public relations had arranged for large urns of flowers to be set up around the dais. Instead of beautifying the area, the flowers’ provide a stark contrast to the bleak, utilitarian yard. The effort is at best a dismal failure.

The guard announces that we will first tour the facility. We are led through the entrance into the reception area of the complex where we individually have to undergo metal detector scanning. In the reception area, the regent governor of New York, the head of Homeland Security, and various heads of local and state police join us. The guard leads our group to the medical laboratory where the administrative team is waiting.

“Welcome, Governor Walthers, Dr. Lucas and invited guests I am so pleased that you and your team could join us today.” A portly man, who bears a striking resemblance to Dickens’ caricature of Mr. Bumble, speaks to the group. “Allow me to introduce my team. This is Alicia Walkens, the head of Data Acquisition and Storage, Chuck Chaney, the head of security, and Dr. Sandra Cruz, the head of applied genetics here at Rosewood. Dr. Cruz is responsible for collecting the DNA sequences from the detainees and administering the rehabilitation program.”

“Thank you, Mr. Kellog. You forgot to introduce yourself.” Dr. Lucas replies. Mr. Kellog’s complexion turns an ugly shade of eggplant purple. Before he can blurt out an apology, Dr. Lucas briefly introduces the team. “We are so grateful that you have accelerated the opening of this facility. We are going to take a brief tour before we dedicate this facility. Mr. Chaney, would you please start the tour? I think we should end in Dr. Cruz’s laboratory.”

Mr. Chaney has a large booming voice that echoes in the hallways. “Right this way. We are not as stringent about prison rules in this complex. As you can see, each detainee has his own living space. They work during the day in the adjoining building. We have worked with cognitive neuroscientists and psychologists as well as a team of physiologists, nutritionists and spiritual leaders to create a harmonious environment. Those detainees who demonstrate cooperation may be released on weekend furloughs after they have served their sentence.”

I look at the living quarters. They are basically cells. For all the beautiful touches, which were no doubt put in place for the benefit of the “guests,” the detainees here live a bleak existence. It disheartens me to think that some of the detainees came to be here because of a political conspiracy and are innocent of any crimes.

Mr. Chaney continues. “The security may appear to be lax, but it is not. A tracking device is planted in the forearm of each detainee. So there is minimal chance for escape. It also alerts the security team here if a detainee should go into a restricted zone. In addition, the surrounding woods create a natural barrier should anyone escape. Plus they give the complex a rustic appeal.”

“Did he just say rustic appeal?” Josh whispers in my ear. “This is nothing more than the village of the damned. No matter how you dress it up, this is a prison.”

I can only nod in agreement. I am trying to maintain focus, but the horror of this place is affecting me. Alice in the looking glass could not have fallen into a darker hole. The other adults in the group are nodding as if Rosewood is the answer to prisoner rehabilitation. Except, the detainees at Rosewood are not actual criminals. A thought occurs to me. If the people around you are all delusional, does that make them crazy or are you the crazy one? I make an effort to distance myself from my thoughts. My primary and personal mission is to gather information, without giving myself away. I study the layout of the complex as we walk the corridors. I am acutely aware that Josh has stuck close to me as we follow the group.

Chaney continues the tour through the library, mess hall and exercise room. All of the rooms are stark with minimal equipment. He explains that there are no female detainees, yet, at the facility, but they hope to complete the female housing unit within six months. We come to a large utilitarian room, divided into subsections. To the right, Chaney indicates the infirmary. A team of doctors, under the aegis of the state attorney general, staffs the infirmary and has housing provided for them in the surrounding area. The nurses however live locally. Dr. Cruz and her team occupy the remainder of the suite.

Dr. Lucas speaks up. “Dr. Cruz, could you please explain to the guests what you are working on here? I think it will be enlightening.”

“Yes, thank you Dr. Lucas. We are here to study the effects of cognitive therapy, nutrition, diet and a structured environment on the rehabilitation of current and former felons charged with a non-violent crime. We are also accepting detainees who have been charged with a crime and are awaiting trial. All of the detainees here possess the PPZ gene. We have logged all their data into the computer and have already started the cognitive behavioral conditioning.”

“Where is the actual genetic testing conducted?” Josh asks.

“Here in this complex. This is a fully functional, accredited genetic research laboratory.” Dr. Cruz replies.

“Where do you perform amplified gene sequencing?” I ask.

“Also in this lab,” Dr. Cruz responds.

“You don’t structurally separate the testing areas?” I am surprised at the lack of basic proper procedure.

“It is not necessary for what we do here.”

“Why did you pick this particular population? The original goal of the PPZ gene research was to eventually modify the gene in individuals who screened positive for psychopathology traits on adolescent psychometric and personality testing. The population you selected for study falls outside the parameters of the population in whom the gene was originally tested.” I point out.

“We felt that the study of this particular population would be much more beneficial as this population has a greater chance of reintegrating with society. Besides, white collar criminals have classic traits of psychopaths, particularly narcissism.” Dr. Cruz replies. “We are also hopeful that modified gene therapy can be beneficial in these cases when it becomes available. I believe that is what you will be working on.”

“I haven’t yet been informed of what I will be working on in my lab group. It depends on my lab director. I have one other question. Have you correlated the genetic findings with other objective measures of psychopathology, such as brain PET scans or the MMPI?” I ask.

“No, we believe their crime and their genetic findings are sufficient for the study.” Dr. Cruz replies with a tone of exasperation. I’m itching to ask what her credentials are but am afraid to ask. Cruz looks like nothing more than a hack at this point. She could also just be the mouthpiece for the real engineer of this project.

“How can that be? Genes are not necessarily determinants of behavior. In certain individuals, the expression of one gene can either up regulate or down regulate the expression of other genetic variants, particularly in the VPLO region of the cerebral cortex.” I point out.

“We do not believe that is relevant to this study.“

I realize that Cruz has no idea what she is talking about. “How can it not be relevant if you are performing cognitive behavioral therapy? If you do not account for these externalities, the research findings will be flawed.” It does not appear this “research study” has any scientific validity at all. It is a sham job to justify incarcerating all these “detainees.” Slowly I realize that everyone is staring at me and decide to tone it down before Katharine Lucas becomes suspicious.

Simultaneously, Dr. Lucas interjects, “Dr. Christiansen is the genetic researcher who isolated the PPZ gene. She wasn’t read into the program here. Naturally she has a vested interest in how her findings are used in clinical practice. I am sure we will consider your valuable insights going forward Dr. Christiansen. I think it is time we get to the dedication ceremony. We need to leave here by 1PM. Thank you team. We appreciate the tour.”

I turn to Dr. Cruz and thank her for her time. I add. “I would love to go over your research findings if possible.

“I’m sorry. That data is not allowed to leave this complex and you would need the proper security clearance,” Dr. Cruz replies.

“Well, that’s too bad. I would have loved to see the clinical applications of my research. I look forward to hearing about your results.” When I finish, Cruz turns to answer another question from the tour group.

All of a sudden, Josh throws his arm around my shoulders and leads me to the rear of the group. He puts his head close to mine, like he is about to kiss me. “Analia, this is a high security facility and they don’t like to share their secrets. You need to tone down your questions. Pattison and Chaney became agitated when you were grilling Cruz. Now smile.” Josh all of a sudden breaks out in a laugh and I try to follow his lead by breaking into a grin.

Still smiling, I respond, “I am a little shocked at the substandard science. Why would the Lucas Institute sponsor this kind of research?” Josh keeps his arm around my neck as we talk. The tour group starts to exit the lab and walk down the hallway towards the exercise yard. Josh and I bring up the rear as he drops his arm and places his hand on the small of my back.

“Analia, you may be young but I don’t think you are that naïve. This place is a political maneuver and the research program is just a front for something devious. Just be careful.” Josh keeps staring at me as the group comes to a stop. “You have a pretty smile. Let’s see it again.”

I’m a little thrown by the direct warning and the compliment. “Okay. Thanks.” We stand quietly together until Katharine Lucas approaches us.

“Josh, you and Analia can take your seats. We are about to begin.” As Josh helps me up the steps to the dais, Dr. Lucas comments. “I am glad to see the members of my star team getting along so well.” Josh rolls his eyes outside of his mother’s view and then winks at me.

I realize that Josh has been showering me with affection to divert any suspicions his mother might harbor about my interest in the research going on at Rosewood. Surprisingly, I’m a little disappointed that it was all an act. “Hey, Josh, you‘re a pretty good guy.”

“Don’t say that too loudly. It might tarnish my playboy image.” Josh says with a grin. “My mother is already contemplating us having our own child prodigies in the future. The thought will keep her in a good mood for the remainder of the day. My mother, more than anything, is obsessed with her legacy.”

“Your acting skills are admirable.” I know I’m fishing. I have a few skills, but flirting is not one of them. I’ve never done it before.

“Who said I was acting?” For the second time today I’m thrown off-kilter. Fortunately, I’m saved from having to reply as Mr. Kellog starts addressing the audience. There is a plexi-glass barrier between the detainees in the audience and the dignitaries on the dais. I look out into the audience and immediately see my father in the third row, end seat. He looks exactly like the picture I have in my photo album, although he is thinner and has more gray hair. But, he is still handsome. It feels like someone has punched me in the stomach. I look up at Mr. Kellog as if I’m listening intently to him and start to regulate my breathing. To blunt any signs of emotional distress, I block my father from my mind. When I look to my left, I catch Josh staring at me again. I give him a smile. Out of the corner of my eye, I see his mother is staring at both of us.

Kellog finishes with his introduction of the visiting dignitaries and hands the podium over to Mitch Pattinson. Pattinson begins speaking about the future of forensic criminology and the strengthening of the American justice system.

“Thirty years ago, our nation and our planet faced its darkest days. We did not heed the lessons of the past. Simultaneously, the advent of terrorism and a resurgence of nationalism led to conflict and instability. Our failure to protect the planet from climate change led to increasing geological disasters around the world, which only fueled international conflict. A lack of corporate governance threatened to derail the global economy. The nations of the world responded by restructuring international law and transnational boundaries. Fortunately, the growth of science and technology has augmented our efforts to create a more peaceful, productive and harmonious society. Evidence of this advance in scientific technology is here at this complex. We are now steps away from correcting severe forms of criminality through applied genetics. This complex, the first of its kind in the American criminal justice system, is the beginning of a new age. We look forward to monitoring your progress and returning you to your families as productive members of society.”

There is muted applause among the detainees. But a speech like that just given to people falsely imprisoned is unlikely to receive a warm welcome. Why they would go through with such a mockery defies all logic. I look at Josh and he just raises his eyebrows at me.

Dr. Lucas rises and stands at the podium. “Thank you Mr. Pattinson. That was a most illuminating speech. I would just like to express my gratitude to everyone involved in this project. All of you, staff and detainees, have shown an extraordinary commitment to success. I commend all of you on your hard work and effort. I have great faith in this program and look forward to working with you in the future.”

Dr. Lucas steps back from the podium. Mr. Kellog gives a few concluding remarks and then they slowly start to file out. While Dr. Lucas is busy speaking with Pattison and Kellog, I steal another look at my dad. If only I could walk over to him. Touch him. This is the hardest part of all. I’ve wondered about my father for all these years. After I finally find him, I have to pretend I don’t know him. I can sense small bubbles of hate rising within me towards Dr. Lucas, Pattinson, and Cruz; anyone connected with this travesty called Rosewood. These architects of human society who believe they can control the destinies of other men are so fatally flawed by their own lust for power.

“Analia, we have to go. You look lost in a daydream.” Josh is standing next to me.

“Sorry, I was just caught up in my thoughts.” I see Dr. Lucas and Pattinson looking at us. “I think I might have a possible solution to the antigenicity problem with the poxvirus issue I was looking at with Jacki.”

Josh gives me an enigmatic look. “Your brain is always working, isn’t it?” He says with a laugh that sounds forced. “It’s time to go. You up for another helicopter ride?”

“I guess I have to be if I want to get home,” I answer.

We file out of the complex, climb back into our respective jeeps and head towards the helicopter pad. The ride home is quiet. Josh and I become lost in our own thoughts. I feel a gravitational pull to Josh and no longer desire to fight it. All I want is to escape the feeling of being under a microscope.

When we land on the roof of the Lucas institute, we exit quickly and head quietly to the elevator doors. Before we reach the doors, Dr. Lucas stops us and says. “The two of you can take the rest of the day off and have some fun. I will let Dr. Morehouse know I have sent you home. Tomorrow he will be going over your assessments and informing you about the new project you will be working on. I can tell you that we are pleased with everyone’s performance so far and don’t feel the need to drag on the evaluation process.”

“Thank you Dr. Lucas.” I also formally say goodbye to Pattison and Jenny. I watch as Dr. Lucas disappears from view. Having a day off is a rarity in my life. The problem is choosing what to do in New York City. The possibilities are endless.

“We should go before my mother changes her mind.” Josh looks at me. “So what do you want to do?”

I try to keep my surprise from showing. I hadn’t assumed that we would be spending the day off together. It would be dangerous to spend more time with him. My brain is telling me not trust him but my heart is telling me to take a chance. I also don’t want to leave him just yet. I decide to go with my instincts.

“How do I say this? Well, I have barely seen New York. I would love to go exploring but I don’t want to feel like a tourist. I also have to message my mother and tell her I have left for the day. We had planned to meet up and go home together.”

“Well, it is a beautiful day, but a little hot. Why don’t we go jump on my boat and cruise down to the tip of Manhattan? You can see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island and then watch the rat race scurrying around the Wall Street area. I look at him and giggle. “You have a boat in Manhattan? Why am I not surprised?”

“Yes, I have a boat. My paternal grandfather taught me how to sail when I was young. I actually have a motorboat, as it is easier to navigate around here.” Josh opens the door to the stairwell. “I would rather take the stairs. I would hate to run into the rest of the team and admit to playing hooky on a day like this.”

“Where do you keep your boat? I didn’t think Manhattan had much to offer in outdoor activities.”

“You would be surprised with what one can do in Manhattan. There is a dock down by west 79th street. We can be there in 15 minutes with the subway. I only have the docking slip because my grandfather left it to me in his will.”

“Well, let’s go then.” I answer.

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