Paranoia (075 of 170)

—of —
by Joseph Finder
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Macmillan: Paranoia

Paranoia by Joseph Finder. Copyright 2004 by Joseph Finder.
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So I did something then that was totally insane but felt great. I went out and got myself a ninety-thousand-dollar Porsche.

There was a time when I would have celebrated some great piece of news by getting hammered, maybe splurging on champagne or a couple of CDs. But this was a whole new league. I liked the idea of cutting my Wyatt apron strings by exchanging the Audi for a Porsche, lease courtesy of Trion.

Ever been in a Porsche dealership? It's not like buying a Honda Accord, okay? You don't just walk in off the street and ask for a test drive. You have to go through a lot of foreplay. You've got to fill out a form, they want to talk about why you're here, what do you do, what's your sign.

Also, there's so many options you could go out of your mind. You want bi-xenon headlights? Arctic Silver instrument panel? You want leather or supple leather? You want Sport Design wheels or Sport Classic II wheels or Turbo-Look I wheels?

What I wanted was a Porsche, and I didn't want to wait four to six months for it to be custom built in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen. I wanted to drive it off the lot. I wanted it now. They had only two 911 Carrera coupes on the lot, one in Guards Red and one in metallic Basalt Black. It came down to the stitching on the leather. The red car had black leather that felt like leatherette and, worst of all, had red stitching on it, which looked cowboy-western and gross. Whereas the Basalt Black model had a terrific Natural Brown supple leather interior, with a leather gearshift and steering wheel. I came right back from the test drive and said let's do it. Maybe he'd sized me up as the kind of guy who was just looking, or wouldn't in the end be able to pull the trigger, but I did it, and he assured me I was making a smart move. He even offered to have someone return the leased Audi to the Audi dealership—totally zipless.

It was like flying a jet; when you floored it, it even sounded like a 767. Three hundred twenty horsepower, zero to sixty in five-point-zero seconds, unbelievably powerful. It throbbed and roared. I popped in my latest favorite burned CD and blasted the Clash, Pearl Jam, and Guns N' Roses while redlining it to work. It made me feel like everything was happening right.


Even before I moved into my new office, Goddard wanted me to find a new place to live, more convenient to the Trion building. I wasn't exactly going to argue; it was long past time.

His people made it easy for me to abandon the dump I'd lived in for so long and move into a new apartment on the twenty-ninth floor of the south tower of the Harbor Suites. Each of the two towers had like a hundred and fifty condos, on thirty-eight floors, ranging from studios to three-bedrooms. The towers were built on top of the swankiest hotel in the area, whose restaurant was top-rated in Zagat's.

The apartment looked like something out of an InStyle photo shoot. It was around two thousand square feet, with twelve-foot ceilings, hardwood parquet and stone floors. There was a "master suite" and a "library" that could also be used as a spare bedroom, a formal dining room, and a giant living room.

There were floor-to-ceiling windows with the most staggering views I'd ever seen. The living room itself looked over the city, spread out below, in one direction, and over the water in another.

The eat-in kitchen looked like a showroom display at a high-end kitchen-design firm, with all the right names: Sub-Zero refrigerator, Miele dishwasher, Viking duel-fuel oven/range, cabinets by Poggenpohl, granite countertops, even a built-in wine "grotto."

Not that I'd ever need the kitchen. If you wanted "in-room dining," all you had to do was pick up the wall phone in the kitchen and press a button, and you could get a room service meal from the hotel, even have a cook from the hotel restaurant come up on short notice and make dinner for you and your guests.

There was an immense, state-of-the-art health club, a hundred thousand square feet, where a lot of rich people who didn't live here worked out or played squash or did Taoist yoga, followed by saunas and protein smoothies at the café.

You didn't even park your own car. You drove it up to the front of the building, and the valet would whisk it away somewhere and park it for you, and you called down to get it back.

The elevators zoomed at such supersonic speed that your ears popped. They had mahogany walls and marble floors and were about the same size as my old apartment.

The security here was a whole hell of a lot better too. Wyatt's goons wouldn't be able to break in here so easily and search my stuff. I liked that.

None of the Harbor Suites apartments cost less than a million, and this baby was over two million, but it was all free—furnishings included—courtesy of Trion Systems, as a perk.

Moving in was painless, since I kept almost nothing from my old apartment. Goodwill and the Salvation Army came and took away the big ugly plaid couch, the Formica kitchen table, the box spring and mattress, all the assorted junk, even the cruddy old desk. Crap fell out of the couch as they dragged it away—Zig-Zag papers, roaches, assorted druggie paraphernalia. I kept my computer, my clothes, and my mother's black cast-iron frying pan (for sentimental reasons—not that I ever used it). I packed all my stuff into the Porsche, which tells you how little there was, because there's almost zero luggage space in a Porsche. All the furniture I ordered from that fancy furniture store Domicile (the agent's suggestion)—big, puffy, overstuffed couches you could get swallowed up in, matching chairs, a dining table and chairs that looked like they came out of Versailles, a huge bed with iron railing, Persian area rugs. Super-expensive Dux mattress. Everything. A shitload of money, but hey—I wasn't paying for any of it.

In fact, Domicile was delivering all the furniture when the doorman, Carlos, called up to me to tell me that I had a visitor downstairs, a Mister Seth Marcus. I told him to send Seth right up.

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