Eddie always talks so fast you'd think he's permanently high on speed. His eyes seem ready to jump out of their sockets, and sometimes he makes them vibrate sideways which is the most horrible thing you've ever seen. The day he arrived at ITSRG we started calling him Fast Eddie, but when he heard he got angry and started talking at a thousand words per minute, flailing his arms above his head, and the only way to calm him down was to promise, promise, really promise, that we'd never call him that again, ever.

Before Eddie arrived, my immediate group of friends included Jordan, Pete, and Al. Eddie fit with us more than with anybody else in the department, but none of us could understand him completely, and he was always worrying about everything. Sometimes we called him the Fifth Beatle, which was slightly strange since we never referred to ourselves as The Beatles.

The reason I mention Eddie is because he's here. Next to me. In the basement.

I got here from the sixth floor without problems, and what I found was a surprise. For some reason I had never thought about where things were stored in the company, where furniture went when someone was fired, where they got a new chair when the vice president's old one started creaking. I never thought there would be a place like this. But here it was, a land of mysteries. At least the doors didn't come with built-in electroshock.

When I got out of the elevator, it took a while for my eyes to adjust to the low light level, and then I could see I was in a vast warehouse, seemingly random piles of boxes and furniture in neat little groups, sometimes stacked to the ceiling. It reminded me of the last scene inside Xanadu's castle at the end of Citizen Kane. Except this wasn't the bloated art collection of an eccentric millionaire. It was the remains of ideas and plans of real people and real jobs, projects, a wastepile of dreams--and not.

I had no idea how to go about looking for something in this place. I started to think that I should have some kind of explanation ready in case somebody showed up here and found me rummaging through the trash. I had begun to consider the possibilities, including something that involved Alice and a certain rabbit hole, when I heard a sound, and I realized that there was a light at ground-level, behind one of the piles nearby.

I wasn't alone.

I walked slowly, silently. The light was moving; probably a flashlight. When I got there, I could hear the sound of paper shuffling just behind the furniture pile in front of me. I could see a faint shadow shifting on the floor. What to do? Nothing, I thought. Just pretend you're having a nice walk along the nice warehouse... like a picnic or something...

I walked past the furniture and turned around.

What I saw first was a wad of long black hair with a body behind. I took another step. He jumped in place, scared.

It was Eddie, with his deer-in-the-headlights look.

What the hell areyoudoinghereman? he said.

Hey, I said, I didn't recognize you with your hair long like that. How are you doing?

What--what--whatareyoudoinghere? Eddie said, accelerating.

Calm down, calm down, I said, Just came to look for some old ITSRG stuff.

Like what? He said.

What to do? I could lie to him, but what for? By now I was quite sure that either Pete or him had been working on some strategic plans before the group was disbanded. So he could help.

I'm looking for some strategic plans, I said.

Really, he said.

Yeah, what are you looking for?

Nothing, he said, Nothing.

Nothing eh? I said, and the way he looked at me I knew that he was after the same thing I was. I don't know how I knew, but I knew. I also knew that he was not going to tell me anything, at least not right away.

Ok, let me help you, I said.

He took a deep breath, studied me in silence for a moment. He knew I knew. He handed me a box with Zip disks.

Check the labels, he said.

And here we are now, sitting on dust-covered leather chairs, shifting through reports, old backups, anything, making a small pile with things that look promising. Eddie hasn't said anything since he gave me the disks, but it's ok. He'll talk sooner or later.

Meanwhile, there are a few hundred more boxes of stuff to go through.