“I’m afraid that I won’t be able to make it to tomorrow’s meeting,” Whittaker said. “I’ve got a funeral to go to. It’s at the Catholic church on 5th downtown if you need to look it up.”

“Oh, I believe you,” Markson said. “But I’m afraid that’s no excuse.”

“No excuse?” Whittaker reddened. “Why not? What’s wrong with wanting to give my great uncle a proper burial?”

“My dear, if you want to cling to your silly and superstitious rituals in the hope that some imaginary great bearded man in the sky will give your distant relative better treatment, that’s your problem. But this is a business; if you indulge in private superstition, you must be prepared to deal with the consequences.”

“I…” Whittaker stammered.

Markson checked a nearby wall clock. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a feng shui appointment with my geomancer. We’re going to rearrange my office to generate the maximum positive chi.”