The Unknown: The Red Line.
  Well, this is it.”

our new officeWilliam’s jaw dropped. At first all he could see was the skyscrapers before them as seen through the floor-to-ceiling windows of the new Unknown office on the top floor of the Coyote building at the corner of Damen, North, and Milwaukee, across the street from Borderlines and Wicker Park Dogs, in Chicago, a city on the make, a city that worked. Scott smiled. He’d had the entire floor rehabbed—money being no object. And it was a great neighborhood, with that cool Quimby’s bookshop with all the zines right down the street. Dirk walked in through the massive walnut doorframe and put a hand to his forehead.

“It’s fucking gorgeous!”

Scott nodded: “It suits us, I think.”

William stood by the window dazzled by the metropolis, the strength of the buildings rising from the littered asphalt city floor, agog from the sheer velocity of commerce, the taxicabs below tracking their silent vectors through grey streets teeming with pedestrians.

Dirk walked around, his keen eyes taking in the brickwork, the stamped tin ceiling, the color Xerox machine capable of handling 11x17, the thermal binding equipment, the grand oak desks each with a view that would make even a jaded Wall Street investor pee his pants.

He found his desk, which Scott had ornamented with a cloth-bound first edition of Ark, and a bottle of Booker’s—just like the night this all got started.

Dirk felt something he had never felt before. He thought it might be money.

William was passing boo, smiling (Scott tried to remember if William had ever smiled before), just giddy. Scott slid open a long drawer in his desk and brought out a silver champagne bucket, with a bottle of Moet Chandon White Star resting in half-melted ice, silver tongs tinkling against the side of the bucket. He also brought out three Tiffany champagne flutes and set them on his magisterial blotter beside the framed photograph of Marla wearing her white sun-dress.

William felt something he had never felt before, he thought it might be happiness.

Scott deftly twisted off the wire harness. With a pop, the cork, trailing its foil, blew off the overexcited bottle without coaxing, rapping hard against the triple-paned glass, ricocheting off the track lighting, and spinning to rest in the center of William’s desk.

Scott felt something he had never felt before, he had no idea what it was.

It felt good. He poured three foaming glasses and the young writers all lifted them in appreciation of a moment they never thought they’d live.

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The Unknown at Spineless Books.