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Money Isn't Everything
by Brenda Kern 
08/29/05
For Sale
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The woman spoke with a crisp efficiency that obviously came from much practice.

"Ten thousand shares? In this market? Of course, I'll buy. Move the funds from the secondary account to cover the purchase.

"Yes, by close of business today--wait, I've got another call."

As she switched phone lines, she examined her nails and thought she was due for a mani/pedi and made a note on the Palm to have her assistant make the appointment.

"The yacht? Which one-the 70 footer or the big one? Mmm-hmmm, yes, we do want the marble trim. Italian marble. Didn't you get our fax? Well, check on it and get back to me."

On it went, call after call, sometimes switching to the fax machine or e-mail, but constantly busy, busy--about half the time acquiring wealth, the other half spending it.

She was just reaching for the latest Van Cleef & Arpels catalog when her assistant tapped on the door.

"Peggy? Are you ready for your snack, now?" The burly orderly entered the simple dormitory-style room and approached the woman surrounded by toy versions of all the office supplies she imagined she was using. "Let's put down those crayons for a while and eat our Jell-O, okay? It's the special kind you like: lime with pineapple chunks in it!"

Peggy smiled and reached out a hand and wrist heavy with jewelry in her mind, adorned with only a hospital ID bracelet in reality.

She knew she had many, many calls to make, but the Jell-O at this restaurant was really SO-O-O good, as one would imagine it would be, in a five-star establishment such as this. She would take a break, just a little one, to re-group and re-think her portfolio.

The orderly recognized the woman's empty gaze, and shook his head in sorrow. Once a rising executive, brought here by a stress-related breakdown. Such a pity.

Such a pity.

Brenda Kern


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