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That was another Pelton trait; even at fifteen, the boy was learning the value of money.
Claire seemed to disapprove, however.
"Oh, Ray; try not to always think of what things cost," she reproved.
"If I had all she spends on natural food, I could have a this-season's model 'copter-bike,
like Jimmy Hartnett," Ray continued.
Pelton frowned. "I don't want you running around with that boy, Ray," he said, his mouth
full of bacon and eggs. Under his daughter's look of disapproval, he swallowed hastily,
then continued: "He's not the sort of company I want my son keeping."
"But, Senator," Ray protested. "He lives next door to us. Why, we can see Hartnett's
aerial from the top of our landing stage!"
"That doesn't matter," he said, in a tone meant to indicate that the subject was not to be
debated. "He's a Literate!"
"More eggs, Senator?" Claire asked, extending the platter and gesturing with the serving
He chuckled inwardly. Claire always knew what to do when his temper started climbing
to critical mass. He allowed her to load his plate again.
"And speaking of our landing stage, have you been up there, this morning, Ray?" he
They both looked at him inquiringly.
"Delivered last evening, while you two were out," he explained. "New winter model
Rolls-Cadipac." He felt a glow of paternal pleasure as Claire gave a yelp of delight and
aimed a glancing kiss at the top of his bald head. Ray dropped his fork, slid from his seat,
and bolted for the lift, even bacon, eggs, and real bee-comb honey forgotten.
With elaborate absent-mindedness, Chester Pelton reached for the switch to turn on the
video screen over the pantry door.
"Oh-oh! Oh-oh!" Claire's slender hand went out to stop his own. "Not till coffee and
cigarettes, Senator."
"It's almost oh-eight-fifteen; I want the newscast."
"Can't you just relax for a while? Honestly, Senator, you're killing yourself."
"Oh, rubbish! I've been working a little hard, but—"