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           Barrett is involved in intelligence, insider trading; plus lobbying and writing position  papers for the one of the powerful Knox brothers, with whom he is about to have a meeting--his reason for riding an elevator to the top of the CivicCorp building.     


     Chris Barrett's stomach executes a minor drop as the car shoots up fifty-odd stories. In the same way it occasionally does in the midst of turbulence during his frequent business flights. Minor bodily excitements the result of unwanted levitations that are entirely man-made and in want of divine intervention, reinforcing his control freak disinclination to give too much trust. But then his reliance on others has always been held to a short leash. So, admittedly like others he suffers the innumerable imperfections of men and machines, but unlike others, setting machines aside, he's empowered to exercise measurable control in a variety of situations in which his involvement has been required. A power, to be truthful, that is partly due to the sufferance of those who make decisions in the upper realms where the financial, corporate, political, and sometimes even the military, come together; but a power that is also achieved and maintained because of his smarts, his unbridled ambition and the sharpness of his own political elbows. If you get in his way, you're at risk.



Christopher Barrett is especially unmoved by any displeasure he sees in the eyes of the cynical and hypocritical. (Think Knox) Yet if he were so inclined he would explain himself in the following manner:

"I started out back in the sixties having my ass saved from Viet Nam, working as a student spook for a paranoid CIA that saw plots around every corner. I ratted on the dumb-ass campus radicals who also got their third and fourth deferments while they saved the world. A joke. I felt nothing. Corporations sucked up their longhaired, doped up, idealistic mess and spat it out in expensive clothing and music; then lured the smarter hippies who shaved and went to Wall Street, and wound up greedier than the earlier bunch. .

"Oh, please, don't give me that philosophical bullshit about good and evil. The idea of corruption is totally in the eye of the beholder. I see it as the norm papered over with sanctimonious moralizing to anesthetize the flock. If Knox is the devil he has happy little me in his pocket. What came early to me was an immediate grasp of the simple in-your-face equation that really big money equals the power to steal ever more money and get away with it. And a second, that having less money equals a reduction in the power to steal a bag of groceries and not get arrested. Prove me wrong.

"Take my guilt-ridden father. Well schooled in the notion of good and evil, being punished and driven to kill himself for lifting seventy-five thousand dollars. A hefty amount for some, true. But Randy Roberts and cronies will walk free and clear with billions in their pockets, after creating trillions in unlawfully risky and worthless instruments, merely to be able to bet against them. Not to forget Damien Knox laundering his untaxed funds, and paying tens of millions in fines for polluting the planet, so he can keep doing it. Happily pouring millions into think tanks and lobbies, and paying people like me. Why? To write scare-the-pants-off-you position papers, just to kill entitlements for the working poor.

"The peasants during the middle ages had a complete understanding of this. They were dirt and they knew it. Americans, on the other hand, during a fifty-year period of relative prosperity, didn't have to see this disparity. Soon they will.

"Meanwhile, call it evil if you will, but I remain happily committed to the side of power with all the zeal of a religious fanatic. Without the sanctimony, of course. Don't like it? Tough. Don't fucking get in my way."