At heart, Sussman was a theoretician. In another age, he might have been a Talmudic scholar. He had cultivated a Socratic method, zinging question after question at the reporters: Who moved over from Commerce to CRP with Stans? What about Mitchell's secretary? Why won't anybody say when Liddy went to the White House or who worked with him there? Mitchell and Stans both ran the budget committee, right? What does that tell you? Then Sussman would puff on his pipe, a satisfied grin on his face.
a kid, maybe eight years old, ran up and poked her in the ribs with a plastic laser weapon, making electric zinging noises as he repeatedly pulled the trigger. 'You're dead, ' he said victoriously. His mother came hurrying up, looking harassed and helpless. 'Damian, stop that!' She gave him a smile that was little more than a grimace. 'Don't bother the nice people.' 'Shut up, ' he said rudely. 'Can't you see they're Terrons from Vaniot.' The kid poked her in the ribs again. 'Ouch!' He made those zinging noises again, taking great pleasure in her discomfort. She plastered a big smile on her face and leaned down closer to precious Damian, then cooed in her most alienlike voice, 'Oh, look, a little earthling.' She straightened and gave Sam a commanding look. 'Kill it.' Damian's mouth fell open. His eyes went as round as quarters as he took in the big pistol on Sam's belt. From his open mouth began to issue a series of shrill noises that sounded like a fire alarm. Sam cursed under his breath, grabbed Jaine by the arm, and began tugging her at a half-trot toward the front of the store. She managed to snag her purse from the buggy as she went past. 'Hey, my groceries!' she protested. 'You can spend another three minutes in here tomorrow and get them, ' he said with pent-up violence. 'Right now I'm trying to keep you from getting arrested.' 'For what?' she asked indignantly as he dragged her out of the automatic doors. People were turning to look at them, but most were following the sounds of Damian's shrieks to aisle seven. 'How about threatening to kill that brat and causing a riot?' 'I didn't threaten to loll him! I just ordered you to.
There was an infinitesimal pause while he watched her face, as though he half expected her to recognise it, before he went on, 'My friends call me Thorn, ' and gave her a smile of such devastating charm that she blinked. Her hand clasped in his, her senses zinging from his touch and that stunning smile, she stared into his dark, handsome face until, realising that she was gawking at him like some overgrown schoolgirl, she withdrew her hand and asked quickly, 'What do your enemies call you?