It's been half an hour since I sat down to help Eddie. I have gone through all of the stuff on my side, but Eddie doesn't seem to have advanced much. I only have to spend some time looking at him go through his pile to know why. Every time he finishes looking at a pile he goes through it again. Then again. Three times each pile, that would leave you in this room long enough so that when you come out whatever problem got you here in the first place would be gone. So would humanity, civilization and all that, but what can you do, no solution is perfect.

I say, What are you doing?

He stops and looks at me, embarrassed. I-Ijustwanttobesure, he says.

Oh, ok, I say, Maybe you want to tell me why you are looking for strategic plans? You were working with Pete on this right?

He pauses for a moment, and then begins, Wellwhathapp--

No, slower, I say, Slower.

Okay, he says, and I can see him concentrate now, making the words come out at a strange speed: fast speech, moving slowly. Bizarre.

What happened was that they've been looking for Action Plan B. They send emails, leave voicemail, and Pete isn't there and he's the one who should be dealing with this, not me, he says.

They? I say. They, who?

They, Them, Eddie says, The SPC.

The Strategic Projects Committee is the company's Nessie. Depending on whom you believe, the SPC is responsible from everything between the temperature of hot water in the restrooms to the dollar-yen conversion rate. The reason nobody is sure the SPC exists is that the Board decided that to be truly independent nobody should be able to know who was in the SPC, which would mean nobody could pressure them or influence them. The truth is, nobody knows.

Don't be ridiculous, I say.

Look, I'll explain later, Eddie says, but we should finish this first.

Okay, I say. Do you want me to help you with your stuff? I'm done with mine.

Okay, he says.

I take half of his pile, and go back to work.