“Look here, Graham. You know as well as I do that the city’s budget is in freefall. People in breadlines don’t buy furniture. Factories that don’t sell furniture don’t pay taxes. No taxes, no Ryerson Library.”

“I’ve heard about budget problems for eight years, Mike,” said Graham. “When the Dow was at three hundred plus we were talking about budget cuts. The library’s always been just above the dog pound in terms of importance in the budget.”

“This time it’s not just because the city council wants to renovate the baseball stadium. Look, Graham, I’m not going to fire you. But there’s no money to pay you this month. My advice is to go home and take it easy—if you stay here, you’re working for free.”

Graham stormed to the door. “That’s not the kind of thing you tell a friend, Mike,” he growled. “Especially not one you’ve worked with for eight years.”

Mike sighed. “Out of my hands. Look on the bright side: now you’ve got all the time you could ever want to chase that damn book down without any distractions.”