Pryce returned to his office thinking he’d done a good job. But his satisfaction was short-lived. No sooner did he sit down with his ULTIMATE® cappuccino than Graham was on the US™, larger than life and twice as ugly, demanding a personal interface. In other words, get up and come over to my bigger, plusher office and get a dressing down. Pryce sighed, picked up his drink, and went.
The theme of the meeting was IRREGULARITIES. Pryce could really live without this. Remember the party Pryce said the kids could go to? No problem? Well, seems there was a problem. Graham found one. Graham was excellent at finding problems where seemingly none exist. And Pryce was hauled over the coals. The conversation went something like this.
‘Where were your Project Kids yesterday afternoon?’
‘Doing ‘productive’ work, I expect.’ Pryce attempted an offish tone. It was a mistake.
‘You expect?’ Graham had a definite sneer to his voice, ‘you expect but you don’t know?’
‘I don’t keep track on them every minute of every day.’
There was a prolonged silence. It was a classic Graham tactic. Pryce held on as long as he could. Clearly Graham wasn’t going to break the silence and clearly the silence had to be broken. Eventually Pryce cracked. As usual.
‘I could check back over the logs.’
A sigh. A look. A terse response.
‘You do that.’
Back in his own office Pryce hated the way Graham made him feel. And he felt even worse when he went back through the records and found a gap. Damn. Why did this always happen? He was doing his best. Why was everyone so damned difficult to work with?
He had limited time for recriminations because he had to work out what the error was and correct it if he wasn’t to have Graham at him for the rest of the week. The gap was while the kids were in Helen’s room and had managed to disable the US™ screen, so there was no wireless access, and effectively no accounting for a period of about an hour. Pryce of course, didn’t know about the US™. And had forgotten all about the party. They’d never followed it up after all with a travel voucher request. So with nothing else to go on and with Graham peering over his virtual shoulder he made a wild guess and reported back.
‘There must have been a malfunction.’
Graham smiled. A sneering smile.
‘But you didn’t pick it up.’
Pryce was smart enough to know when Graham was going in for the kill. Nothing to do but take the hit.
‘My office. Now.’
On his way there, Pryce reflected that Graham could easily have dealt with this over the US™. Another personal interface was unnecessary. Graham just wanted to intimidate him and this was better done face to face. He needed to come up with some better answer but he had only moments to wrack his brains as how it could have happened, and he wasn’t ready for Graham to side-swipe him the moment he stepped into the room.
‘Does a birthday party ring any bells?’
All too loudly. Pryce remembered he’d forgotten either to log this or clear this or do whatever he should have done with this. But did it really matter? An old woman’s birthday party. For goodness sake. Hardly a crime, albeit an unusual event.
‘Yes. They asked to visit Nike’s grandmother. She’s in a VCC home. I didn’t see what would be the harm.’ Confession seemed to be the only option. Pryce tried to underplay it, though he knew he’d just handed Graham a free hit.
And harm there was aplenty. Graham had a weapon to add to his armoury. Not only had Pryce neglected to fill in the requisite forms but now the kids had been off system and no one knew what they were doing. Graham would enjoy this for a long time to come.
So, before his ULTIMATE® coffee was cold, Pryce was back to The Project House to fill in the missing pieces. Interrogation was never his preferred method of communication, but he had to get answers which would get Graham off his back. However he did it. Method was less important than result at this point. He realized of course, that having allowed the kids to go, he was not in a strong position. He sighed as he entered the Project House. He was annoyed with the kids, mostly with Nike. All he had done was to try to help him and it turned out, again, that Nike made him look a fool. He couldn’t face Nike first so he knocked quietly on Omo’s door and on getting no response, opened the door. Omo was lost in his US™ screen. He jumped when Pryce tapped him on the shoulder. Good old Omo, a ‘productive’ worker. A model of ULTIMATE® technological dreams.
‘Can you come to the common room please?’ Pryce asked.
Omo nodded, gesturing to his screen, ‘Just let me finish this question and I’ll be right with you,’ he beamed. A young man happy in his work. Good to see.
Pryce next went to Flora’s room. She was also busy, online debating the relative merits of some product or other. Her fingers flew across the virtual keyboard.
‘Hi Pryce.’ She greeted him with a smile in her voice.
‘Common room, when you get a minute please.’
‘Sure. Be right with you. I’ll be finished this review in a couple of minutes.’ She flashed him a real smile. It almost brightened his day. Almost.
Nike was last. Pryce pulled himself together and re-focussed. He had to retain control. Not lose his temper. He was a counsellor, not a father. Still, he knew Nike was behind this. And he knew Nike would resent being pulled up twice in one day. He’d have to play it carefully.
Nike spun round, closing down screens right left and centre. Never a good sign.
‘Yeah. Pryce. What’s up?’
‘How’s your game going?’
‘Uh, yeah. It’s… well.. you know… ‘
‘Keeping in credit?’
Nike shrugged his shoulders. ‘So..so. Uh.. surely it’s not time for a scheduled meeting yet?’
‘We need an extra meeting, Nike. I’ve called the others into the common room.’
Nike jumped up. ‘Sure, I’m right with you man,’ he answered, with the attitude of a look-out who was attempting a casual whistle.
Pryce tried to keep his temper. Nike’s smile annoyed him as much as Flora’s pleased him. He knew he was too emotionally involved with both of them. He should ask for a transfer. He wouldn’t give Graham the satisfaction. However annoying Nike was, Pryce wouldn’t give in. Not yet and not without a fight.
The kids sat on the sofa and Pryce sat opposite. It was clear a telling off was coming and there was no way to cover it up. Not even with ULTIMATE® coffee and cookies on offer. No way was this just a casual call.
‘So,’ Pryce began, feeling out of his depth. He needed to regain equilibrium. Emotion didn’t work with this generation. They just didn’t “get it”. It had been effectively programmed out of them. But it hadn’t been programmed out of him. His tone was terse, whether they picked up on it or not.
‘Where were you yesterday afternoon?’
The kids looked at each other. Omo to Nike, Flora to Nike, Nike to…. Pryce. The looks clearly said: ‘You tell him, Nike, you got us into this.’
‘At my Nan’s, remember, you said we could.’ Nike replied.
Omo looked carefully at Pryce’s response. He was increasingly sure that Nike hadn’t even asked Pryce and he was expecting a lot of trouble.
‘Yes, I remember.’
Omo breathed a sigh of relief. So what was the tension about then?
‘Is there a problem?’ Nike gave Pryce his most winning smile, hoping it would work, though he didn’t know why he needed it.
‘I just wanted to know how it went.’
Pryce wasn’t giving much away. The boys knew that wasn’t a good sign. Flora was still thinking about her product review, wondering if she could do one on this cookie. It was light and tasty and the chocolately bits were… but it wasn’t a patch on that cake from yesterday. Nike decided to play Pryce at his own game. Test the water. Give nothing away.
‘Nothing really. Just some talking and…’
‘We had a cake,’ Flora added.
That wasn’t good. Too much information in the current climate. Nike and Omo looked at each other again and then shot Flora a combined look that told her to keep it buttoned. Flora didn’t get it. Pryce did.
There was no way out.
‘Yeah. Someone sent her a birthday cake. As a present. You know old people.’ Nike tried to underplay it.
‘And how was it?’ Pryce wasn’t interested in the cake, except that they seemed not to want to talk to him about it and that made it interesting.
‘The cake?’ Nike effected surprise, ‘or the party?’
‘Both. Either. I did tell you I would want a full report on the visit.’ Pryce banked on Nike not having been paying any more attention than he himself had been to the initial conversation.
He was right. Of course Nike hadn’t listened to anything other than being told he could go to his Nan’s. So he couldn’t call Pryce on that one. But he did feel something, maybe the slightest sense of suspicion. Nike wasn’t good at working out what his emotions were. He had them, and he knew he shouldn’t, but he certainly couldn’t make sense of them. Maybe he should try a line of questioning that would explain emotions to him. Maybe he should get out of this trouble before he plunged himself into more. Pryce would hit the roof if he suggested EMOTIONS as a ‘productive’ topic. It might be worth it just to see the response. Nike realised he wasn’t paying attention.
‘I’m waiting.’ Pryce was really working hard to hold it together now. He was fed up offering carrots to Nike. It was time for a dose of a big stick. But what sanctions did he really have? He was still trying to work this out when Omo couldn’t take the silent stand-off any more. It wasn’t an emotional response. It was pragmatism. He had nothing to hide. Pryce wanted information. Give him information. Then he would go away and leave them to get back to ‘productive’ work. Which was much more interesting than this current situation. After all, he’d only gone along to Nike’s Nan’s to be polite. A quick resolution would be in everyone’s best interests and if Nike wasn’t going to offer a report, he might as well.
‘I think she’s probably losing her mental faculties,’ Omo ventured. ‘She was seventy and I think she won’t last that much longer, really. She was old, rambling. It wasn’t a lot of fun.’
He hoped this might be enough. He was being as helpful as he could. But Nike couldn’t stop himself. He couldn’t have Omo saying things about his Nan that were patently untrue.
‘She is not losing her mind. She’s totally with it. She knows more interesting things than you, or you (he waved at Pryce) or that thing (the US™).’
That would be the proverbial cat right amongst the pigeons now, Omo thought. Nike really couldn’t just leave well alone could he?
‘What sort of things?’ Pryce was digging.
‘I don’t know. Just things. About the past.’
‘We’ve talked about the context in which you study the past Nike.’
‘You’ve told me it’s all a waste of time.’
‘Not exactly. I just suggested that where the knowledge bank doesn’t answer all your questions, you need to reappraise the question value and type.’ Normally Pryce would have thought about how such a criticism sounded, but today, right now, he just didn’t care. Nike was due a telling off and if it was in front of his peers, maybe that would be enough to get the message through.
‘Of course the knowledge bank can’t answer all my questions. I want to know about my past. My Nan was there. She knows. She was in History.’ Nike wasn’t going to back down.
‘You know that personal past is not a topic we can consider valid. As a PROJECT⌂ participant ULTIMATE® requires that you focus on the future and on purposeful questioning,’ was Pryce’s inevitable reply.
This was as far as Pryce was prepared to go. He had shown his displeasure. Nike should take a telling. There was a brief but awkward silence. He thought he’d got the message through.
‘But what is purposeful?’ Nike challenged him. The boy just didn’t know when to give up. Pryce was not getting led down that blind alley.
‘We’ve already agreed that you are finding History too frustrating as a subject topic. As a priority we need to adapt your production schedule for the next month. If you won’t take responsibility for choosing a topic, I am authorized to do it for you, but I’d like you to have some say in the matter. It’s your ‘productive’ time after all.’ Pryce was being accommodating. Nike didn’t see it that way. There was always a catch.
Flora didn’t like conflict and she could see it brewing, so she diverted the conversation and saved the day.
‘I’m interested in animals, Pryce. In species extinction. Can we find something for me to do on that? Something to do with product testing. That would be a ‘productive’ topic wouldn’t it?’
‘Yes, I think it would. What’s sparked your interest in that?’ Pryce was back on familiar ground. This was the way he was used to interacting as a social counsellor. He continued, ‘I’ll check the change with my boss and make sure it’s okay. If so, we’ll upgrade in two hours. Have a lunch break till then.’
‘I’d rather finish off the work I’m on just now. It’ll only take an hour or so.’ She flashed him a smile.
That was what Pryce liked to see. A kid so keen on her ‘productive work’ that she’d choose it over the option of free time. That was the way things were meant to be. He turned to Omo.
‘Do you want to change your ‘productive’ task for the next month?’
‘No thanks, Pryce. I’m fine with what I’ve got.’
There was a pause. Omo didn’t like pauses. They were another thing that made him feel uncomfortable.
‘So, just you Nike. Pick a topic.’
Nike didn’t want to pick a topic. He wanted to be able to ask whatever questions he liked and to get proper answers. Like his Nan gave him. But he knew when to pull his horns in. He wasn’t going to win on this one. Not right now.
‘Uh, social trends in gaming techniques? Is that the sort of thing…?’ Nike said the first thing that came into his head. It wasn’t the time to suggest EMOTION as a topic. He’d save that for later when Pryce was less pumped up.
‘That’ll do nicely.’ Pryce felt he was making progress at last. Nike was coming back in line.
‘So is that it? Can we go back to work?’ Omo was keen to get back to his ‘productive’ work. He hated all this social interaction stuff. He was happier with virtual interaction, like a good ULTIMATE® citizen should be.
But it was not that easy. Pryce couldn’t afford to be half-hearted in this investigation. He picked up the loose thread,
‘Well, I’d like to hear a bit more about the party.’
‘Have you ever been to a party?’ Nike tried to turn the tables. You could usually divert Pryce that way.
‘Not for years. And depends how you define party.’
Pryce waved his arm at the screen. He had won. He could afford to be beneficent. Maybe all Nike had needed were some boundaries. To know that Pryce had a limit beyond which he wouldn’t be pushed. Flora’s smile and Omo’s compliance gave Pryce the confidence that he could win over Nike too. He just had to play him right. It was time to give, to be a role model, to re-establish friendship.
‘Have this one on me,’ he said to Nike.
‘What’s a party?’ Nike asked.
PARTY: DEFINITION. In History, a social gathering of invited guests. A group of people united in a cause – for example a political party.
‘Why does it always do that?’ Nike asked Pryce.
‘Give you nothing. Only give you enough that you have to ask other questions.’
Pryce thought.. ahh, that’s the beauty of the system. But realized it was not a beauty to Nike and so replied, ‘To keep you interested.’
‘To keep you working.’ Nike snorted.
Omo could see the way this was going. He just wanted to get back to his own work. He didn’t want to be in the middle of something between Pryce and Nike that he didn’t understand and didn’t find interesting.
‘What else do you want to know? We went to Nike’s Nan’s. It was a social gathering. We were invited. We were guests. We had that horrible tea and that weird cake and..’ Omo was filling in gaps as fast as he could. If he’d known the party was going to cause this much aggravation he wouldn’t have gone. Trust Nike to get them all into trouble.
‘Ah yes,’ Pryce picked back up on that, ‘the cake. Tell me about the cake.’
‘You’re worse than the US™,’ Nike grumbled. ‘It was a cake. A birthday cake.’
‘And what made it a birthday cake?’ Pryce asked.
‘It was a cake. And it was for her birthday.’ Come on, Nike thought. This is stupid.
‘Did it have candles?’
What did Pryce know about the cake? What did Pryce know about birthday cakes in general? What did Pryce know?
‘I don’t know what you mean.’ Nike asked the US™. ‘What’s a birthday cake?’
BIRTHDAY CAKE: Definition. In History people used to celebrate the day of their birth by having a cake decorated with greetings and with candles on top. One candle for each year of their birth. They used to light the candles and sing a song (for the song cross reference Happy Birthday) If they blew them all out at the same time, they could make a wish. They believed that the wish would come true. FOR MORE INFORMATION ON WISHES YOU NEED TO SPEND ANOTHER 5 CREDITS. TO HEAR THE SONG ‘HAPPY BIRTHDAY’ WILL COST YOU 10 CREDITS. TO SEARCH YOUR MEMORY BANK FOR BIRTHDAY WILL COST 30 CREDITS.’
‘No thanks,’ Nike replied.
Omo was now determined to get this over and done with. To give Pryce what he wanted to know. If only he could work that out. ‘There weren’t any candles on it,’ he stated.
‘How would you fit seventy candles on a cake?’ Nike laughed.
‘There was just writing on it.’ Before he knew it, Omo had gone too far. Given away too much. Made it interesting.
‘What did it say?’ Pryce felt he was onto something.
‘Uh, happy birthday Helen.’ Nike looked at Omo, willing him to agree.’ That was it, wasn’t it?’
Omo nodded. He didn’t know why, he had nothing to hide, but he did feel that mentioning the RIP inscription would get them into some very sticky waters and he had really had enough of all this to last a lifetime. Best let it go.
‘Where did the cake come from?’
Nike was able to be totally honest on this one. ‘No idea. A friend I suppose. If we’d have thought, we could have taken her an ULTIMATE® cake for a present.’
‘But we didn’t think,’ Flora said.
‘It wasn’t an ULTIMATE® cake?’
Flora had blown the gaff.
‘No way. It was a real cake. It was delicious. Made with real ingredients.’
There was another very long, very uncomfortable pause.
‘That’s what she said,’ Nike added, ‘But I think maybe Omo’s right, her mind was wandering on that one a bit. I mean, how could it not be an ULTIMATE® cake?’
He turned to Pryce. ‘We played along with her. She’s old. And a bit lonely I think. She was thinking about the old days and we thought it was best just to humour her. Isn’t that what you should do with old people?’
Pryce knew there was more to this than met the eye. But he also realized he was beginning to lose ground. Or maybe they were using the cake as a diversionary tactic. He needed to get back to the main issue. The fact that they’d been out of contact. That wasn’t acceptable. No one lower than Graham’s level could really justify being out of contact. The Project Kids didn’t have a privacy option on their ßß™ implants. So how had it happened?
‘We lost contact with you while you were there. How did that happen?’
The kids looked at each other. They knew this was potentially serious. They had had the importance of total access drummed into them since they first entered The PROJECT⌂. It was one of the central tenets on their contract. It was a non-negotiable. This was a problem.
Omo decided to deal with it. ‘Her US™ screen just died. That’s all. I told her to get a technician. We didn’t think it would matter because you knew where we were and we weren’t doing anything, and we were only there for an hour at the most…’
Omo’s nervousness almost convinced Pryce that this was the reason for their shifty behaviour regarding the whole event. Almost. But he was learning to question everything these days. Otherwise he’d be answering to Graham without all the information to back him up.
‘How did that happen?’
‘I don’t know. It was just playing up. Flickering on and off…’ Omo ventured.
‘I don’t think she likes it very much.’ Flora added her penny’s worth.
‘What do you mean?’ Pryce probed.
‘No, she’s just confused by it. She was sorting out memories and I think she overloaded it.’ Nike came to the rescue. And added quickly, ‘What was it like before US™?’
He was priding himself on his diversion when, inevitably, the US™ kicked into action.
BEFORE THE INVENTION OF THE US™: You have a range of options.
FOR 10 CREDITS THE HISTORY OF THE US™. FOR 20 CREDITS INFORMATION ABOUT THE DECADES LEADING TO THE INVENTION OF THE US™. 10 CREDITS PER DECADE AND SPECIAL HISTORICAL CREDIT CLEARANCE AUTHORISATION. FOR 40 CREDITS INFORMATION ABOUT THE ALTERNATIVES TO THE US™ IN HISTORY. WITHOUT CLEARANCES YOU CAN ONLY…
Nike couldn’t stop himself. ‘What is the US™?’
The others shook their heads. No wonder Nike was always out of credits. Asking stupid questions when he already knew the answer. The reply came immediately, stripping him of credits.
The US™ was first marketed in 2020 and has reached its 3rd effective generation. It is ULTIMATE®’s most successful lifestyle product to date, bringing a whole new dimension to social interaction and truly fulfilling the original marketing slogan ‘There is no more Us and Them, only US™.
‘Nike. That can wait,’ Pryce interjected. ‘This is a group meeting. It’s inappropriate to ask ‘productive’ questions in such a context.’
‘So what can YOU tell us, Pryce?’
‘You want me to tell you about the US™?’
‘It’ll save me a good sixty credits, which I don’t have. And since we are talking about the malfunction of one, I thought it would be contextually appropriate to know something more about them.’
That was Game On as far as Nike was concerned. It was Pryce’s job to help them hone their questioning skills and general knowledge.
‘What I do know is that they are very reliable,’ Pryce said tetchily, ‘and so I can’t understand how it is that the one at your Nan’s conveniently broke down just when we needed to…’
‘What did you need us for anyway?’ Nike wasn’t stupid enough to use the word ‘spy.’ It’s a word he wasn’t supposed to know the meaning of but he’d checked that one out quite some time ago on the knowledge bank (in the context of the History of gaming… so he thought he was covered… but not enough to just throw it into conversation.) Nike found it exhausting trying to remember the things he knew and wasn’t supposed to, or didn’t know and was supposed to. It just got worse and worse. No wonder Omo was always happy. His life was simple. He played by the rules. ULTIMATE® rules.
Even though memory was not considered necessary or skilful, Nike could remember the definition as given. It had struck him as important somehow.
SPY: DEFINITION. In History, a person who secretly collects and reports information on the activities, movements etc of an enemy, competitor etc. This word has fallen into disuse in our contemporary world, because the arrival of ULTIMATE® and the new economic order means there has been total transparency in dealings and therefore no need to use this concept.
Funny, thought Nike, because if you thought about Pryce’s relationship to them, despite being called a counsellor, it seemed a lot like the definition of a spy. Apart from the enemy/competitor element. He wondered if you could spy on a friend. Not that he would consider Pryce a friend.
FRIEND: Definition. A person with whom one enjoys mutual affection and regard (exclusive of sexual or family bonds) A sympathiser, helper or patron.
Nike broke from his musing and as he came back to the present, he realised that Pryce was talking and he wasn’t listening. Pryce just thought it was Nike being Nike. Dumb. Adolescent. His tone hardened.
‘Did you report the malfunction of the US™?’
‘No, we told her to. She wanted me to fix it.’ Omo bent the truth just a little bit. He had a preservation instinct if nothing else.
‘And has she done so?’ Pryce had given up on Nike and this question was clearly directed at Omo.
‘How would we know?’ Nike butted in.
‘Poor old woman,’ Flora added, ‘her memories are all stored in the Memory Bank and it’s not working properly. No wonder she’s confused. How can she access her memories? It must be awful for her.’ She smiled at Pryce. He liked it when she smiled. She had a nice smile.
‘Can you make sure she gets it fixed as soon as possible?’ she continued.
‘Yes,’ Pryce replied. ‘I intend to.’
‘And what did you want us for anyway?’ Nike asked. He was getting more and more suspicious by the minute.
‘Oh, just to arrange this feedback meeting,’ Pryce replied. He saw Nike’s subtle double-take on that one. That’s one up on you sunshine, he thought. At last. He pressed home his advantage.
‘Okay. Thanks guys. That’s all for now. We just needed to understand why we couldn’t get in touch with you. Make sure you don’t go off access again eh? Just gives me a headache I don’t need.’
‘Sure. Sorry Pryce.’ Nike felt like he’d won, so he could afford the smile.
‘Yes. Sorry. It won’t happen again.’ Omo was a bit more conciliatory.
‘It was nice to see you, anyway,’ Flora said. Was she flirting with him? Pryce couldn’t handle that. And couldn’t get the idea out of his head. No, she couldn’t be. Young people didn’t do that these days. He’d ignore it. He ignored it. Almost.
He left. Rather too swiftly, and with rather too much of a flush on his face. Flora was twenty years younger than him after all, and very pretty. Too pretty. He’d need to watch that. Either she was flirting with him, which was dangerous; or he was projecting an action on her, which was equally dangerous. And distracting at a time he needed no more distractions.
As Pryce left The Project House he wondered what he would be able to write in his report. What of this did Graham actually want to know? Certainly the facts. The kids had been at Nike’s Nan’s for an hour. The US™ screen had been playing up and broken down. They’d had tea to drink and cake to eat and been confused by the ramblings of an old woman who was trying to remember things without the help of her Memory Bank. That would do surely? That would be enough for Graham.
Right at that moment Pryce was more interested in what was going down with Flora. She shouldn’t be flirting. She couldn’t have had access to the kind of information which would have taught her the etiquette, the skills or even the existence of flirting as a method of social interaction. He’d need to go back into her logs. Was she inappropriately interested in him – or was he inappropriately interested in her? He shouldn’t be thinking about this at all, he reasoned. And if he had any kind of a wife…. maybe he’d better leave it for now. He had enough trouble brewing with Nike.
Turning his thoughts to Nike, Pryce mused on whether the interaction with his Nan might explain why Nike was getting so interested in History. And whether the relationship should be stopped? It seemed harsh. He needed to think about it before he made a judgment call or alerted Graham. Not many Project Kids had any kind of contact with relatives. It wasn’t encouraged. But maybe he could put a case in for Nike to be used statistically and analytically to see what effect such a relationship could have.
Pryce decided that the basis of his report would be that Nike had a predilection for trouble and his inbuilt solution would be that if they monitored the ‘troublesome’ relationship, it might give them some clues as to how best to handle him. Give them an insight into how to change things for the future. He also thought that if he could give Nike some positive feedback for a change, Nike might respect him more, even thank him. It might turn a troublesome kid into a worthy participant. And winning Nike round as a ‘productive’ ULTIMATE® citizen would be a feather in his cap.
Pryce found himself thinking about his own grandparents. How he’d loved them and how he missed them now they were both dead. He tried once again to ignore the clear signs that he was getting too emotionally involved in the current situation, something he should report to his line manager. It only hardened his resolve not to be too hasty in severing Nike’s ties from his only living relative whatever The PROJECT⌂ dictates said. For now, he’d wrap things up and get back to the office. Set up new production schedules for the kids and lodge his report. Get back on track.
Pryce was smart enough to realise he needed to get back on the ball. What he didn’t realize was how many balls he was juggling at any one time. He had no idea how Graham was playing him. Because Graham didn’t really care about the missing hour. He was more interested in diverting Pryce, in knowing where Pryce was at any one time. Graham and Angela met while Pryce was out chasing wild geese. They liked it that way. And they saw no reason for things to change.