feeling to every corner of the room, and the framed Pollocks offered testament to the worth of human creativity. Amusingly, and with perfect appropriateness, one block of wall space was devoted to a photographic blowup of a horse bedecked with flowers: Chateaugay, in the winner's circle after the Kentucky Derby.
"All yours, buddy," Frank said, smiling.
Jeff was touched by what his friend had done. "Frank, it's fantastic!"
" 'Course, anything you don't like, we can change right away. Designer understands it's all preliminary—you have to approve it. After all, you're the one's gotta work in here."
"Everything's great just as it is. I'm astounded. And you can't tell me some designer came up with the idea of that picture of Chateaugay."
"No," Frank admitted, "that was my suggestion. Thought you might get a kick out of it."
"It'll give me inspiration."
"That's what I'm counting on." Frank laughed. "Jesus, when I think how fast all this has happened, how—Well, you know what I mean." The moment of boyish glee was retracted as quickly as it had appeared. This whole experience was aging Frank: the unspoken and unanswerable questions, the shockingly sudden and inexplicable success … It was all more than he could readily deal with.
"Anyway," Frank said, looking away toward the empty reception area, "I've got a whole pile of stuff to take care of today. Ordered a bunch of the new office calculators from Monroe; they should have been here two days ago. So if you want to just settle in here a bit, get a feel for the place … "
"It's all right, Frank; you go ahead. I'd very much like to sit here and think for a while. And thanks again. You're doing a terrific job—partner."
They shook hands, clapped each other on the shoulder in a self-conscious gesture of camaraderie.
Frank strode away toward the near-empty offices, and Jeff eased himself into the enfolding comfort of the Barcelona chair behind the massive desk.
It had all been so easy, easier even than he'd imagined. The races, the inning-by-inning replays of the World Series games … and with the huge amount of capital accumulated from those sure-thing bets, there was no limit to what he could do now, with equal or greater ease.
He'd already begun studying stock prices, reviewing what he knew of the world to come and applying that knowledge to an extrapolation of the current market situation. He couldn't remember every dip and rise of the economy for all those years, but he was certain he had enough general insight to make consideration of minor recessions and setbacks irrelevant.
Some investments were obvious: IBM, Xerox, Polaroid. Others took a bit more thought, connecting in his mind social changes already underway or soon to come with the companies that would benefit from those changes. The rest of the decade, Jeff knew, would be a time of general prosperity, with Americans traveling widely for business or amusement; Future, Inc. should invest heavily in hotel and airline stocks.
Similarly, Boeing Aircraft had to be in for a long upswing, even though the much-vaunted SST program would soon be canceled; the 727 and 747, neither announced yet, would become the primary commercial planes of the next twenty-five years. Other aerospace companies would have their own successes and failures, and Jeff felt sure some careful research would help jog his memory as to which had been awarded the most lucrative contracts for the Apollo program, and, ultimately, to build the space-shuttle fleet.
He gazed down at the Hudson, thick with commerce. The Japanese auto invasion would be a long time coming, as he'd noticed on that first day, and America was near the peak of its love affair with big cars; it couldn't hurt to put a million or so into Chrysler, GM, and Ford. RCA would probably be a good short-term choice, too, since color television was about to become the standard, and it would be many years before Sony made its devastating inroads into that market.
Jeff closed his