9 • The Beginning of an Idea

Lou picked at the Mexican food Carol had brought him while the group assembled back into the room. The mood was much lighter among them than it had been at the beginning, when they were sizing each other up. The tension of the exchanges during much of the morning session seemed to have faded away. Gwyn, in fact, was deep in conversation with Miguel and seemed to be enjoying it. Elizabeth and Carol were in the back of the room browsing a Camp Moriah leaflet together.

Just then, Pettis walked up to Lou from behind.

“So, Lou,” he said, as if they were picking up a prior conversation, “four years in ’Nam.”

Lou nodded.

“Hat’s off to you, my friend. I was there, but it’s different flying above the jungle than it was down ...

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