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Susan always listened to the radio in the morning. She always got up early so she could watch at least some of the morning news shows on television, and she always read the newspaper on the subway ride into the city. She lived near the end of the subway line, so she usually got a seat, and her morning commute passed with a large cup of coffee in one hand and the morning paper in the other.
Mike Sheldon always liked her to be up on the news of the day. He often used her as a sounding board, and she took it very seriously that her opinions might have an effect of public policy. Privately, she also enjoyed the fact that Mike Sheldon listened to her a lot more seriously than he did Dennis Moran.
Some people always made it a point to complain about how long it took to get through security and into City Hall. Susan never complained, there didn't seem to be any point to it. She just knew that if she was walking up the broad front steps at 8:30am, she could be at her desk by five minutes to nine.
That morning she got to her desk a few minutes early, as usual, and Dennis Moran was already waiting there, so excited he couldn't sit still. She deliberately avoided asking him what was the matter, acting as though everything was perfectly normal. The door to Mike Sheldon's office was closed.
When Dennis stepped out into the hall, Susan looked at Nora, whose desk was opposite hers, and raised her eyebrows, tilting her head after Mike Sheldon's assistant. Nora grinned and jerked a thumb at the closed door of the inner office. Then, turning in profile, she made the exaggerated gesture she used to indicate a big nose and a bigger belly.
Susan frowned by reflex at Nora's crude joke, but her mind was already occupied with the news that Ben Stein was in Mike Sheldon's office. No wonder Dennis was in a dither. The mere mention of the mayor's most important supporter was enough to get him nervous. Once, during a particularly long meeting, Nora had cracked Susan up with a pantomime of Dennis fetching coffee for the great man, laughing at his jokes, adjusting his tie, cleaning his glasses, polishing his shoes and kissing his ring.
By the time this was over, both women had been convulsed in silent, red-faced laughter, desperately trying to keep from making a sound which could have been heard inside, their glee all the more difficult to control because of the possibility that the conference might end at any time and the men could come out and catch them.
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