Starter Villain by John Scalzi EPUB & PDF – eBook Details Online
- Status: Available for Free Download
- Author: John Scalzi
- Language: English
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Format: PDF / EPUB
- Size: 2 MB
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I learned about the death of my uncle Jake in a deeply unexpected way,
which was from the CNBC Squawk Box morning show.
I had Squawk Box on from force of habit; when I was a business reporter
for the Chicago Tribune I would turn it on in the mornings, in rotation with
Bloomberg and Fox Business, while I and my wife Jeanine got ourselves
ready for our respective days. These days I had less need of it—substitute
teachers do not usually need to be kept up on the state of the Asian markets
in order to babysit a bunch of students in a seventh-grade English class—
but old habits, it turns out, actually do die hard.
Thus it was, as I was preparing my peanut butter on toast, I heard the
name “Jake Baldwin” from the iPad I had running on the kitchen island. I
stopped mid-peanut-butter spread, knife in hand, as cohost Andrew Ross
Sorkin announced that my uncle Jake, reclusive billionaire owner of the
third-largest chain of parking structures in North America, had died of
pancreatic cancer at the age of sixty-seven.
“Are you hearing this?” I said to my breakfast partner, who was not my
wife Jeanine, because she was no longer my wife and no longer living with
me. She was now back in her hometown of Boston, dating an investment
banker and, if her Instagram account was to be believed, spending most of
her time being well-lit in enviable vacation spots around the globe. My
breakfast partner was Hera, an orange-and-white cat who, after I had
retreated to my childhood home after the divorce and layoff, had emerged
from the backyard bushes and informed me through meowing that she lived
with me now.
Hera’s breakfast was Meow Mix; she was eating on the center
island and was watching Squawk Box with me, presumably to decide if
Andrew Ross Sorkin was a prey animal she could smack around.
I had not known my uncle Jake was sick with anything, much less
pancreatic cancer, which was the disease that had also felled fellow
billionaire Steve Jobs. (My brain, on journalistic autopilot, had started
writing the lede graf for my uncle’s obituary; have I mentioned that old
habits die hard?)
To be fair, it wasn’t that Uncle Jake had been hiding it
from me. It was that he hadn’t been in contact with me, at all, since I was
five years old. Jake and my dad had a falling-out at my mom’s funeral. I
vaguely remember the yelling, and then after that it was like Jake simply
didn’t exist. Dad preferred it that way, and Jake must have too. Jake didn’t
come to Dad’s funeral, in any event.
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