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   Brian came in for a chat.


   Brian asked Theorem all sorts of questions. He was really curious,

   because he had never met anyone from Europe before. Par kept trying to

   encourage his friend to leave but Brian wanted to know all about life

   in Switzerland. What was the weather like? Did people ski all the



   Par kept looking Brian in the eye and then staring hard at the door.


   Did most Swiss speak English? What other languages did she know? A lot

   of people skied in California. It was so cool talking to someone from

   halfway around the world.


   Par did the silent chin-nudge toward the door and, at last, Brian got

   the hint. Par ushered his friend out of the house. Brian was only

   there for about ten minutes, but it felt like a year. When Par and

   Theorem were alone, they talked a bit, then Par suggested they go for

   a walk.


   Halfway down the block, Par tentatively reached for her hand and took

   it in his own. She seemed to like it. Her hand was warm. They talked a

   bit more, then Par stopped. He turned to face her. He paused, and then

   told her something he had told her before over the telephone,

   something they both knew already.


   Theorem kissed him. It startled Par. He was completely unprepared.

   Then Theorem said the same words back to him.


   When they returned to the house, things progressed from there. They

   spent two and a half weeks in each other's arms--and they were

   glorious, sun-drenched weeks. The relationship proved to be far, far

   better in person than it had ever been on-line or on the telephone.

   Theorem had captivated Par, and Par, in turn, created a state of bliss

   in Theorem.


   Par showed her around his little world in northern California. They

   visited a few tourist sites, but mostly they just spent a lot of time

   at home. They talked, day and night, about everything.


   Then it was time for Theorem to leave, to return to her job and her

   life in Switzerland. Her departure was hard--driving to the airport,

   seeing her board the plane--it was heart-wrenching. Theorem looked

   very upset. Par just managed to hold it together until the plane took



   For two and a half weeks, Theorem had blotted out Par's approaching

   court case. As she flew away, the dark reality of the case descended

   on him.


                            [ ]


   The fish liked to watch.


   Par sat at the borrowed computer all night in the dark, with only the

   dull glow of his monitor lighting the room, and the fish would all

   swim over to the side of their tank and peer out at him. When things

   were quiet on-line, Par's attention wandered to the eel and the lion

   fish. Maybe they were attracted to the phosphorescence of the computer

   screen. Whatever the reason, they certainly liked to hover there. It