Sunday, January 13, 2013

Dead Rite chapter 135.03

“And what happens if the population falls?”

“It's never happened.”

“Not even during the world wars? I find that hard to believe.”

“Over a ten-year period it doesn't. There's a subsequent rise in births just after a war as people struggle to reaffirm their hopes in the future.”

“But if there was a drop in population at some point?”

Jasfoup frowned, the fingers of one hand stroking a small goatee into existence. Harold wasn't sure it suited him, though it did offer a superficial resemblance to the Faustian image of Mephistopheles. “I don't know. I suspect that rather than make a number of the workers redundant we'd merely be competing for the same targets.” He coughed. “I mean, clients.”

“Or you could be more attentive to your extant client base.”

“Is that a dig at me off working with other clients?” He grinned. “I'll have you know, I do most of my case load work when you're otherwise engaged. You have seventy-three percent of my operational time as it is. You might be a VIP in the world of contracts but I do have a life to lead as well. Do you know how long it is since I spent more than half an hour in my little cottage by the sea? Too damned long.”

“You have a cottage by the sea?” Gillian smiled. “How lovely. I used to have a little apartment in the city, which was handy for takeaways. Perhaps you could take Harold and Lucy for a little holiday there. Lucy would love a seaside holiday. You could teach her to swim.”

“It overlooks the Sea of Boiling Blood in the Circle of those Violent to Others.” Jasfoup smiled. “Beautiful place, though rubbish for surfing.”

Gillian nodded, a rueful look on her face. “Perhaps Margate might be better.”

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