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Original manuscript file; Edited file; Clean file


ORIGINAL FILE

I waited for Gu to explain this incredible dinner party. Especially, why I was here with all these company presidents and institute or center directors. And for which I had been paid $5,000. Just like somebody important.

There was a dripping faucet somewhere and the old farmhouse creaked in the increasing cold outside. It was getting warm inside the room from all people, and stuffy. The breath of one of the attendees was rasping enough to hear, and another coughed.

I leaned forward in my chair, glanced at Joy, and saw her looking at me with the same concerned wide-eyed "Is that a letter from the IRS" look I would get to know so well. I gave her a counter you're-guilty-of-something? gape that I would over the following years turn into an art form. That done, I gave Gu all my attention.

Her eyes dominating in their seriousness, her mouth firm, Gu peered deep into my eyes. If she hadn't folded her hands on the table, I would have almost believed she was reaching into my eyes through my cornea, folding my iris and then my lens away and reaching through my vitreous to imprint what she was going to say on my macula. She spoke directly to me: "Now, John, you should realize first that we know all about you."

The words crawled up my spine.

With an audible twang, I swear, she broke eye contact with me for a moment to nod to younger, well dressed, woman whose name I had forgotten. The woman rose from the table, went behind her to a large, rich leather case leaning against the wall, and pulled out a sheaf of printed, letter sized papers. As she placed them neatly before me, Gu continued, "We all have seen these reports, and have discussed their contents in detail. Take a minute to look at them. There should contain nothing that is new to you."

I looked at the small stack before me, then, shocked, lifted the topmost one to read the titles of those underneath: "Parents," "Early School Years," "University Years," "Friends," and "Love Affairs" — Holy Christ, five separate reports, each on some aspect of my life. I sat stunned and bewildered. Love affairs? Jesus. I was a healthy young male and made the most of my teenage discovery that girls and even older women easily liked me. I snuck a glance at Joy, who was focused on the bare table before her and seemed amused by something. She must have read this stuff.

Shit. In growing anger fueled by increasing embarrassment, I flipped through their executive summaries and paused to scan some of the details, especially in "Love Affairs."

More creaking from the farmhouse. A chair scrapped on the floor, and someone near me was audibly flipping through some papers. The room felt warm with so many people and was beginning to smell stuffy.

Scowling at what I saw in the reports, my lips pulled back from my teeth like an alpha wolf warning off an intruder in his pack, I looked up at Gu, my eyes throwing daggers at her — this is the way I hoped I looked, but I had no practice. I did ball my fists, however, and leaning against the table I half-rose from my chair, and exclaimed, "What the hell — "

Gu held up her hand, smiled warmly, motioned me to sit down. Women who smiled at my anger like that always had the upper hand.


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EDITED FILE, SHOWING MARKUP

I waited for Gu to explain this incredible dinner party. Especially, why I was here with all these company presidents and institute or center directors. And for which I had been paid $5,000five thousand dollars. Just like somebody important.

There was a dripping A faucet dripped somewhere and the old farmhouse creaked in the increasing cold outside. It was getting warm inside the room from all the people, and stuffy. The breath of one of the attendees was rasping[COMMENT 1]Someone's breath rasped loud enough to hear;, and another someone else coughed.

I leaned forward in my chair, glanced at Joy, and saw her looking at me with the same concerned, wide-eyed, "Iis that a letter from the IRS?" look I would get to know so well. I gave her a counter "you're -guilty- of- something?" gape that I would, over the following years, turn into an art form. That done, I gave Gu all my attention.

Her gazeeyes piercingdominating in itsheir solemnityeriousness, her mouth firm, Gu peered deep into my eyes. If she hadn't folded her hands on the table, I almost would have almost believed she was reaching throughinto my eyes through my cornea, folding my iris and then my lens away and reaching through my vitreous to imprint what she was goingplanned to say on my macula. brain.[COMMENT 2]

She spoke directly to me: "Now, John, you should realize first that we know all about you."

The words crawled up my spine.

With what seemed an audible twang, I swear, she broke eye contact with me for a moment to nod to a younger, well- dressed, woman whose name I had forgotten. The woman rose from the table, went behind her to a large, rich leather case leaning against the wall, and pulled out a sheaf of printed, letter- sized papers. As she placed them neatly before me, Gu continued. ,

"We all have seen these reports, and have discussed their contents in detail. Take a minute to look at them. Theyre should contain nothing that is new to you."

I looked at the small stack before me, then, shocked, lifted the topmost one to read the titles of those underneath: "Parents," "Early School Years," "University Years," "Friends," and "Love Affairs." — Holy Christ, five separate reports, each on some aspect of my life. I sat stunned and bewildered. Love affairs? Jesus. I was a healthy young male and made the mostenough of my years of teenage discovery that girls and even older women easily liked me. I snuck a glance at Joy, who was focused on the bare table before her and seemed amused by something. She must have read this stuff.

Shit. In growing anger fueled by increasing embarrassment, I flipped through their executive summaries and paused to scan some of the details, especially in "Love Affairs."

More creaking from the farmhouse. A chair scrapped on the floor, and someone near me was audibly flippeding through some papers. The room felt as though it had grown even warmer. with so many people and was beginning to smell stuffy. [COMMENT 3]

Scowling at what I saw in the reports, my lips pulled back from my teeth like an alpha wolf warning off an intruder in his pack, I looked up at Gu, my eyes throwing daggers at her — that wasis is the way I hoped Ithey looked, but I had no practice. I did ball my fists, however, and half-rose from my chair to leaning onagainst the table. I half-rose from my chair, and exclaimed, "What the hell — "

Gu held up her hand, smiled warmly, motioned me to sit down. Women who smiled at my anger like that always had the upper hand.



[COMMENT] text, for those with JavaScript turned off:

  1. WAS DRIPPING and WAS RASPING lower the energy of the writing; best to use the stronger verb — dripped, rasped — when possible. It makes for more immediate, vital, writing
  2. this metaphor was a bit too extended, and all the anatomical terminology gave it a, well, a clinical air
  3. you said it was growing warm and stuffy before

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EDITED FILE, CLEAN

I waited for Gu to explain this incredible dinner party. Especially, why I was here with all these company presidents and institute or center directors. And for which I had been paid five thousand dollars. Just like somebody important.

A faucet dripped somewhere and the old farmhouse creaked in the increasing cold outside. It was getting warm in the room from all the people, and stuffy. Someone's breath rasped loud enough to hear; someone else coughed.

I leaned forward in my chair, glanced at Joy, and saw her looking at me with the same concerned, wide-eyed, "is that a letter from the IRS?" look I would get to know so well. I gave her a counter "you're guilty of something?" gape that I would, over the following years, turn into an art form. That done, I gave Gu all my attention.

Her gaze piercing in its solemnity, her mouth firm, Gu peered deep into my eyes. If she hadn't folded her hands on the table, I almost would have believed she was reaching through my eyes to imprint what she planned to say on my brain.

She spoke directly to me: "Now, John, you should realize first that we know all about you."

The words crawled up my spine.

With what seemed an audible twang, I swear, she broke eye contact with me to nod to a younger, well-dressed woman whose name I had forgotten. The woman rose from the table, went behind her to a large, rich leather case leaning against the wall, and pulled out a sheaf of letter-size papers. As she placed them neatly before me, Gu continued.

"We all have seen these reports, and have discussed their contents in detail. Take a minute to look at them. They should contain nothing that is new to you."

I looked at the small stack before me, then, shocked, lifted the topmost one to read the titles of those underneath: "Parents," "Early School Years," "University Years," "Friends," and "Love Affairs." Holy Christ, five separate reports, each on some aspect of my life. I sat stunned and bewildered. Love affairs? Jesus. I was a healthy young male and made enough of my years of teenage discovery that girls and even older women easily liked me. I snuck a glance at Joy, who was focused on the bare table before her and seemed amused by something. She must have read this stuff.

Shit. In growing anger fueled by increasing embarrassment, I flipped through their executive summaries and paused to scan some of the details, especially in "Love Affairs."

More creaking from the farmhouse. A chair scraped on the floor, and someone near me audibly flipped through some papers. The room felt as though it had grown even warmer.

Scowling at what I saw in the reports, I looked up at Gu, my eyes throwing daggers at her — that was the way I hoped they looked, but I had no practice. I did ball my fists, however, and half-rose from my chair to lean on the table. I exclaimed, "What the hell — "

Gu held up her hand, smiled warmly, motioned me to sit down. Women who smiled at my anger like that always had the upper hand.

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