by Kit Bradley
Written March 2017
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
In Galt Gulch, one of the few laws was that nothing should be given for nothing. How much should a wife charge for a meal, washing clothes, sex? Should they be able to sell all of those services on the free market? After all, that was the very origin of Galt’s Gulch: mercantile contracts. They embraced the traditional way of payment for married women, as they called it.
James Gussey was on his third wife by the time he got to Galt’s Gulch. Owing to a botched plastic surgery his face had a stretched, glassy look. When adding to his slight build might cause one to imagine that he was unpopular with women. Hundreds of millions of dollars ensured he never lost his sex appeal, and he had the confidence borne of a man to whom the word “no” was an illusion.
James Gussey’s third wife was Laine Maxton-Gussey. James had seduced her when she was seventeen and unsophisticated. Arriving at the Gulch, she was twenty-seven, a tall Viking beauty of a type that seemed to be very popular among millionaires of the time.
Laine was not altogether sure why she was at the Gulch. James had been having affairs nonstop since they were together – he would go off on business, leaving her in Switzerland or California, and take up with a woman wherever he was. And quite openly, often reported on in a matter-of-fact way in local papers. It was a dirty secret that no one in the Gulch talked about – almost all of the men there had indiscriminate sexual appetites. Most not only had multiple wives (serially, of course) but non-stop affairs, too. While Galt and the intellectual leaders of the community believed that sex was best between people who shared capitalist values, almost no one acted on it. James fucked who he wanted, when he wanted, as did most of the other men who came to the “capitalist paradise” as the United States fell into ruin.
Laine did not understand Galt’s Gulch, or why she was there. She was not a self-made millionaire, she didn’t particularly share the values of the Gulch, and her husband, oilman James Gussey, did not particularly love her. She had mouthed the requisite statements because Los Angeles was on fire and neither the police nor the National Guard kept order. She suspected James had a leftover of respect for the idea of marriage, despite his constant infidelity, so after repeating some platitudes, she had been admitted into the Rapture of the Capitalists.
In the Gulch, Laine was almost the youngest woman there, a few children notwithstanding. And there were very few children, at that. Adding that she was beautiful, this made her instantly popular.
While she had been seduced when she was seventeen and married James when she was nineteen, Laine had grown sophisticated – primarily due to James’s absences. He’d go off to “do business,” and leave her in their great Malibu house, where she spent her time entertaining movie stars, directors, writers, and collecting art. She had grown good at collecting art, and she made money at it in a gallery she ran: important for the Gulch, she could claim she was a successful businesswoman. But there was no art in the Gulch – a single musician that she found tedious, a couple of writers she found banal, a handful of actors and actresses, and then a wasteland of culture.
At the first party Laine attended, a soiree at “Midas” Mulligan’s, Francisco d’Anaconia – a slender, handsome man whose pomposity ruined his physical beauty – suggested that they, these capitalist, would create art finer than anything made by any other artists, anywhere.
Laine quirked an eyebrow. “I find that unlikely. Very few artists have a brain in their head for business, and fewer businessmen have the souls of artists.”
Francisco was glib. “It just requires a steady hand and an eye for color.”
“No, it does not. I can’t say from where art arises, but it takes more than that. Call it ‘creativity.’”
“I will learn creativity.”
“I would be shocked if you can. As I said, I’ve never met a businessman who could produce even passable art, much less exceptional art.”
Dagny Taggart said, “We will redefine the exceptional!”
Laine: “Most likely downwards.”
Dagny cut at Laine with her eyes. “I have never failed at anything.”
“Which is a common trait when people join what they can’t beat,” Laine shot back.
Dagny scowled, and Laine knew she had made an enemy.
Jousting with Dagny, though, reminded Laine precisely how few women were at the Gulch: about one woman for every three men. She saw how it happened. While rich and powerful men almost uniformly chased skirts, often devoting more energy to their romantic affairs than their business affairs, to bring mistresses to the community would be admitting that they valued specific women. Broadly speaking, they did not. More broadly speaking, they did not wish to be seen valuing women.
Perhaps they thought that women would be provided, as they often were at high-class parties among the super-rich, in which case they were doomed to be disappointed. Regardless of how most very wealthy men treated women, John Galt did not chase skirts. It would never have occurred to him to create a special section of his little community for prostitutes. Everyone was expected to provide for themselves, and their community allowed that married women could provide payment in the traditional way, after all.
Laine found John Galt a curious man. To her, he seemed asexual: a latter-day Jesus Christ for the business class. He was in a romantic relationship (using that term in the loosest possible sense; there was nothing romantic about his relationship in Laine’s eyes) with Dagny, but Laine couldn’t see how it could last. Dagny went through men quickly, clearly having some daddy issues that attracted her to abusive asses with big personalities. When Laine learned that John had carried a twelve-year obsession over Dagny before even meeting her, Laine was horrified. There was no possible way that a real human being could match a decade’s worth of imaginative projection. Laine might not know how to make money like a “true capitalist,” but she had become sensitive to unstable relationships, and the relationship between Dagny and John was fragile. Eventually, Dagny would seek out another charismatic man with a strong personality, once against submitting herself to his sexual appetites, while John would finally understand the gulf between his years of imagining how Dagny ought to be and how Dagny was.
Waiting in the wings for Dagny were both Francisco d’Anaconia and Hank Rearden, Dagny’s former lovers who still pined for her. They seemed to acknowledge – and this was also strange to Laine – Galt’s capitalist superiority, thus he was the most “worthy” of “having” Dagny. As a woman in the 1950s, Laine didn’t think it strange that men treated women badly – she expected it – but she was surprised that men as aggressive as Hank and Francisco passively accepted John Galt’s supposed superiority. This was doubly strange because John was fairly low in the criteria that mattered the most to people in the Gulch: wealth. Relative to most people in the Gulch, John Galt was poor. Brilliant and charismatic, yes, but he had no great fortune.
Laine started her life in the Gulch not too differently than she had spent it in California: she occupied herself. James Gussey was in cahoots with Ellis Wyatt to exploit the oil wealth of the valley or something similar and spent his time with the other oil man. Unlike Wyatt Ellis, James was not entirely happy with how things played out in the Gulch.
James complained: “We don’t have a geological engineer. Ellis is working from memory on geological reports from when we were outside the Gulch. He’s getting a few hundred barrels a day, but it hasn’t increased in weeks, even with new drilling. . . but, to be honest, that might be the equipment.”
“I don’t know what you mean, James.”
“Everything is being hand forged! This engineer has managed to get a tractor working, and he thinks its the best thing ever made, but it’s ten horses, tops, breaks down regularly, and he’s the person making the engines to power the drills. And the steel here stinks.”
“Isn’t Hank Rearden going to be using his metal?”
“Maybe, eventually, but you’ve got to get forges going that work up to four thousand degrees. That takes a lot of things we don’t have, particularly water.”
“There seems a lot of it about.”
“Not for cooling the kinds of furnaces that Rearden needs to build to make his metal. So until they’re working – if they work, because we’re on the dry side of Colorado – we’ll be working with this low-quality steel that d’Anaconia and Rearden are putting out.”
After a long moment, Laine said, “Have we made a mistake coming here?”
After a long moment, James replied, “I don’t know. But it is very bad out there. The world is broken, Laine. No one here wants to talk about it, but the USSR has cracked down in Europe. With all the censorship, we don’t know how bad it is, but it could be as bad as it gets. Bad for them, maybe bad for us. It’s like no one here grasps that we’re getting by on what we bring in from the outside world, Laine. Most of our machines were manufactured by factories that don’t exist, anymore, by industries that we’ve destroyed. It looked like a paradise when we came. . .”
“Nothing is a paradise, Jim. Nothing. Ever.” It was a less she had learned from him, after all. He had promised her the moon and stars and left her in a desert called marriage. “But we can nevertheless prepare for what may come.”
They were a few artists in the community. None of them were visual artists, which were the kind with whom Laine worked. There were a few Hollywood types – John Wayne was there, of course, and Kay Ludlow, who was even prettier than Laine, but dumb as a box of hammers: she said stupid things with great conviction, parroting her husband, Ragnar Danneskjöld.
There was a concert pianist and composer who Laine found absolutely, unfathomably dull. She liked jazz, and the Wagner-inspired claptrap of this hack was even more insipid to her ears than Wagner. Additionally, he was personally pretentious and leered at her endlessly.
Because Laine was educated and cultured, though, she got the attention of a novelist who had turned fishwife – her term, not Laine’s. The fishwife, Ann Brand, was the biggest know-it-all that Laine had ever met, utterly certain of herself, spending more time in political philosophy than spending on her fish farm. She was homely, too, though utterly devoted to her husband, Francis, who drank constantly.
One day in late October – snow was already on the ground, the climate of Colorado was severe – Francis asked Laine over. She went because he seemed lonely and harmless, and she was lonely, too. He imagined she was going to try a clumsy seduction attempt, but what happened charmed her.
“I work in the greenhouse,” he said, taking her into a shack behind the modest house he shared with his wife. “I am surrounded by flowers.”
He opened the door, and the little room was filled with canvases of flowers.
Laine said, “Oh, my.” She went into the room, and despite the cold weather, she felt warm. The paintings surrounded her with color and beauty that she had not seen in since coming to the Gulch.
“You sold art, outside, didn’t you?”
“What do you think? I. . . want you to be honest.”
“I think it is fair to say that you’re the best artist in Galt Gulch,” she said, smiling. He laughed, then so did she.
She took a more critical look. She said, “I adore your use of color. You have a vivid hand, and the color leaps out at you. I. . . think that you should put more feeling into them, Francis.”
“What do you mean?”
“You’re hiding something. It feels like you’re hiding something. You shouldn’t hide it.” She looked at him, hands in the pockets of her heavy coat. “I will not pry, but the best artists reveal their souls. No matter how terrifying it might be, no matter how ugly they think their soul is. They are wrong. Every soul is beautiful. I think if you painted these flowers from the soul, Francis, that you would be a great painter.”
Francis, who was very sad, who drank too much, closed his eyes when she spoke and Laine could see the tension draining out of him. Laine doubted he had ever gotten this kind of validation, despite his ability. He did not think that his wife would allow him something of his own, that she would not tolerate him growing beyond her. As much as Laine paid her room and board in the traditional way, Francis was as much a slave to Ann – dependent on her for money in this society that valued only money, paying in the traditional way, too.
The next day, Laine answered the door, and Ann Brand was there. The mousy woman looked at Laine intensely.
Ann said, “You are a whore, and you will stay away from my husband.”
Laine was nearly half a foot taller than Ann Brand so the fishwife’s attempt at physical intimidation fell flat, and Laine’s disliked blossomed into hatred. Laine said, “I had not imagined fucking your husband before, but I find my attraction to him growing.”
“You will stay away from him. Or I will hurt you.”
“Perhaps I do not understand the system of philosophy, here, but that isn’t for you to decide, is it? Who he is with, who I am with. . . It is not for you to decide. We do not live for you, and you cannot compel us to live for you.”
“This is different! He is not for you! You will not have him!”
“I think you bark loudly but have no teeth. Do you think I am. . . what? Frightened of some poor little girl such as yourself? You advocate reason but come to me in utter jealousy. He showed me paintings because I owned a gallery in Los Angeles. That is all. He wanted my artistic opinion. And you! Coming here terrified that I’m going to steal your man. It is an insult to us both. To us all.”
“You don’t think I haven’t seen bitches like you circling Francis?”
“Were I you, I would worry much more about the women you can’t see. Francis is a handsome man. You are a shrill and abusive woman who keeps him as a pet. Oh, yes, while I have no interest in him, it would not surprise me if many other women did. I find that many a sweet young thing likes a brooding artist.” She laughed.
Ann Brand blushed to her roots. She accounted herself an expert in debate, but she was at a loss for words. She was emotionally shallow, given to outbursts, but confined to her theories of literature or philosophy. Here, talking about the relationships between men and women, with a student of human nature like Laine, she had no response. She stormed away.
The next week, there was a fire, and the shack with the beautiful paintings burned to the ground. After that, Laine never saw Francis sober, and he did not speak to her, again.
There were also terrifying men in the Gulch. Chief among them was the Las Vegas casino owner Bart “Nails” Simkovitz. Laine didn’t know by what mechanism the gangster earned his place in the Gulch. Did they accept that he had gone straight because of his Las Vegas properties? Could they ignore the gangsterism that built his casinos, or were they ignorant of it?
Or did they give lip service to a philosophy that they didn’t believe? After all, one of their chiefs, Ragnar Danneskjöld, was a murderous pirate. Their pacifism was preposterous – they worked to plunge a country of a hundred and fifty million people into a new dark age to soften it up for business rule. Dagny Taggart’s murder of an unresisting guard during the rescue of John Galt – a man unaware of John Galt’s torture – was a legend in the community. John Galt, Dagny Taggart, Francisco d’Anaconia, Ragnar, they were all clear: unless one embraced their brand of laissez-faire capitalism, they did not deserve to live. So, perhaps, Simkovitz’s gangsterism meant nothing to them.
Still, Bart Simkovitz scared the hell out of her, and only slightly less so was his companion, Michael Lefkowitz. Together, they had a cadre of young men who all appeared capable and willing to perpetrate violence, found from the group of junior capitalists: people who had the proper ideology but lacked the riches of the top people. (Excepting, as always, John Galt. The rules did not seem to apply to Galt. He could be poor and a top person.)
Bart cornered her one day while she shopped in the marketplace. She had decided it would be wise to prepare for a hard winter and was buying as many vegetables as she could, and salt, vinegar, and other things she thought of as necessary. She pushed a big cart, and Bart Simkovitz came up and took it out of her hands. He had a stocky build. Most of the top people in the Gulch were thin, but Bart was strong. He was a good looking, intense man, who either seemed angry or filled with humor – there was no middle ground for him.
He said, “Let me get that for you, Mrs. Gussey.”
“I don’t know that I should, Mr. Simkovitz. Nothing for nothing, after all. It would put me in your debt.”
“I don’t think there’s any reason to be strict about that kind of thing. The sunlight falls on us all, why shouldn’t a man help a pretty woman if it costs him nothing.”
“Aristotle, or so I’ve been told by Mr. Galt.”
“I never read Aristotle.”
“I have, but I don’t recall him saying that everyone should charge for everything all the time. In fact, he said that the state should collect taxes for redistribution to the poor to allow them to get a farm or start a trade. It is one of the dirty secrets of their philosophy that their paragon disagrees with them.”
During the exchange, Laine allowed Bart to push the cart, though. She was tired, and there was a ways to go.
Bart: “You’ve been buying up a lot of things.”
“Yes. I am doing a lot of canning, right now.”
“Like, putting vegetables in cans? Sauces and things like that?”
“Yes. And stocking up on wheat, making noodles, sauerkraut. . .”
“I like a good sauerkraut.”
“You’re Austrian, aren’t you?”
“Yeah. Not since I was a kid. I can’t speak German, anymore, but I can still understand it. Mostly.”
“That is very interesting,” she said, honestly. “I wouldn’t have thought that there was a difference between understanding and speaking a language.”
Bart shrugged. “I don’t know nothing about that. But what you’re saying is that you’re paying for your room and board in the traditional way? All the home cooking and all.”
She held her mouth in a thin line. “I am not fond of that ‘traditional way’ talk.”
“Because it makes a housewife sound like a whore.”
She looked at him, thought about getting angry, but he was right. She sighed. “Yes.”
“I’d be happy to pay for some sauerkraut.”
“I think that I should keep it all for myself,” she said. “One cannot eat gold.”
He laughed. “Listening to these guys, you’d think that a person could. No, no, you’re right, Mrs. Gussey. You’re a smart woman if you’re getting while the getting is good. For a person such as myself, I don’t worry about shit like that.”
“You have a dirty mouth.”
“That’s what people tell me,” he said, looking at her suggestively. “But you seem a tough cookie. You can handle it.”
She laughed. “Yes, I can.” Bart Simkovitz might be frightening, but he was funny, and she didn’t think that a fishwife could away chase him.
“How about this, then. Since you’re stocking your larder, rather than me giving you gold for sauerkraut, how about something else? Sausage, for instance.”
She thought about it. Sausage was more filling than sauerkraut. “It depends on the rate, Mr. Simkowitz.”
“Bart. No one calls me Mr. Simkowitz.” And no one called him Nails to his face. At least, not twice.
“Bart. Then you must call me Laine.”
“How about Laney?”
“Heavens. No one calls me that.”
“I will, Laney.”
She laughed, again. She almost blushed. But they were at the gate to her house. She said, “This is my stop, Bart.”
“I can push it up to the door, Laney.”
“I have quite recovered. I can handle it the rest of the way, and I believe that Mr. Gussey is home. I would not wish him to grow jealous.”
“Never could much respect a man who was scared that another man could turn his girl’s head,” Bart said.
She said, “Hmm.”
“I’ll send a girl over with some sausage – so Mr. Gussey doesn’t get his panties in a bunch – and you can give me whatever sauerkraut you think is fair. Friends trust each other, Laney.”
“Yes, Bart, they do.”
When Laine next saw Bart Simkowitz, it was at a party that Michael Lefkowitz threw. One of the most curious parts was that Lefkowitz did not accept any money for anything – he said that he would trade only in consumables. People laughed, but Mikey drove hard bargains, and people thought it was so novel that they put up little resistance. But there were piles and piles of food by the end of the evening, taken away by hard-eyed men to deeper rooms inside his house.
It was November in Colorado, though, and bitterly cold. For people who paid attention to the price of things – like Laine, in her traditional role – she saw the price of foodstuffs climbing. Everyone said that everything was fine, that there were enough greenhouses to keep everyone in tomatoes for the whole season. And, as everyone kept reminding everyone else, Ragnar still had contacts outside the Gulch, and goods still came into the Gulch. Yet prices climbed, though everyone was still so rich that the movers-and-shakers weren’t affected.
Laine had a good time at the party. Lefkowitz found that some the junior capitalists weren’t all classically-trained musicians – they made a ragtime and jazz band, and Bart Simkowitz danced with her. James Gussey looked on with bemusement, and then concern, as Bart not only danced with her, but told her dirty jokes, made her laugh, and made sure she had as much champagne as she could drink.
For her part, Laine got pleasantly drunk. She went from dancing with Bart to going to the billiards room, where she played with several of the gangsters. She was a good shot and accounted well of herself. There were also other women – half-a-dozen of the prettiest girls in the Gulch. Two of them were below eighteen years: seventeen and fifteen, slender, young, and lovely, they were plyed by the rough men, who gave them drinks, had them sit on their laps. They laughed, drank, and were merry.
The fifteen-year-old girl was the eldest daughter of Wyatt Ellis, Zinnia. She was tall for her age, getting her curves, with pale, white skin, big dark eyes, and chestnut brown hair. She was already pretty and would soon be beautiful as she developed – though the gangsters who let her sip champagne and sit on their laps were already entranced by her.
Bart barely paid her any mind, though, focusing on Laine. It had been a while since anyone had looked at her like that. Men around her feared her husband’s wrath, and in the Gulch there was more to fear, since wealth was the same as power, and it was possible that Gussey was the richest man in the world. She found herself smiling at him, her tongue touching her lips.
Ellis Wyatt stormed in. He dressed like a cowboy, but he was from a New England family of means, having gone to an Ivy League school and starting his first rig with a large loan from his father – but he enjoyed the sense that he was a real Colorado cowboy. He seemed to believe it, himself, and he went straight up to Zinnia and grabbed her arm.
He said, “Get away from these men.”
The gangsters laughed. They were drunk and happy. Bart, though, he set down his pool cue, and Laine’s breath caught in her throat. Bart was angry, and Laine grew frightened.
Zinnia, drunk, tried to pull herself away from Wyatt, but he was stronger. She said, “Daddy, it’s okay, it’s just a little champagne.”
Bart: “It looks like the young woman wants to stay where she is.”
Wyatt: “This isn’t any of your business.”
“Is this your house? I don’t think this is your house.”
“Who are you?”
“I’m the sonofabitch that’s about to crack open your fucking head unless you let that girl go.”
Wyatt was stunned. Never in his life had anyone spoken to him in that way. He had taken that tone with other people, many times, but he was confused when the tables turned.
Zinnia looked at Bart. She trembled, sensing something feral about the gangster. She said, “It’s alright. He’s my daddy.”
“Did I ask you your fucking opinion?” Bart snapped.
Zinnia looked like she had been slapped.
Wyatt decided to ignore Bart, dragging his daughter from the room. She put up a few more struggles, faintly, the sequence of events familiar to both of them. But Bart blocked Wyatt’s way.
“Get out of my. . .” Wyatt said, but did not finish.
Bart hit him across the jaw. He was a hundred and ninety pounds and a skilled amateur boxer. He wore heavy gold rings on his hands, too, and they ripped at Wyatt’s face, so blood sprayed. Wyatt staggered, and Bart stepped in, throwing hooks to Wyatt’s body, finishing with an uppercut that sent Wyatt to the ground.
Zinnia screamed, staggering back, her father’s blood staining her face.
Bart grabbed Wyatt by his hair, pulled up the man’s head. Bart smashed another fist into Wyatt’s skull. Then Bart kicked Wyatt in the ribs, three times, hard. Wyatt was only semi-conscious, reflexively curling up from the blows. Bart spat on the body.
The gangsters all laughed. They knew Bart’s temper.
Laine was horrified and fascinated. She had been raised in a very gentile house and left Germany before the war. She had lived a highly-sheltered life. She had never been so close to someone as violent as Bart Simkowitz.
Bart said to Zinnia, “You can stay or go. No one here has the right to tell you where you should go, what you should do.”
“He’s my father.”
Bart shrugged. “So you have to live for him? That’s not what I signed up for. Here, you don’t owe anyone anything, no god, no priest, no father, no judge, no one.”
Others came, drawn by Zinnia’s scream, including John Galt, Dagny Taggart, and Judge Narragansett – and Mikey Lefkowitz.
Mikey: “What’s this, Bart?”
“This fucking mook, he was laying hands on this young woman, right here, and when I told him to leave her be, he started to pull her out of here. The fucking nerve!” Bart said, laughing. His anger had evaporated.
Laine said, “It is as Mr. Simkowitz says. I saw it all. Zinnia was here of her own accord, and this man pulled her away. Mr. Simkowitz acted to defend her.”
John Galt said, “He’s her father.”
By then, the doctor was there, crouched next to Wyatt, checking on him. He said, “Jesus. His mouth, his jaw, I need to get my x-ray machine. He might have a skull fracture!”
Bart laughed. “I told him to let her go.” He went back to the billiards table, picked up his cue.
One of the other gangsters said, “Bart told him to let up, but he didn’t listen.”
Zinnia was uncertain and frightened. One of the gangsters came up to her, put his arm around her waist and said, “You don’t need that square, sweetie. Come on back, sit with me.”
Narragansett said, “I think you’ll have to come with me, Mr. Simkowitz.”
“What the fuck for? I’ve got witnesses. That asshole was assaulting Zinnia!”
Laine said, breathy, “Yes, it is true.”
Bart: “You should arrest that sonofabitch on the ground. He’s the one that started this, putting his hands on someone who didn’t want it.”
Mikey laughed. “I’m not sure that anything untoward happened here, Judge.”
“He’s her father,” Narragansett said.
“Is that relevant? It seems to me if no one lives for anyone else, then parents have no particular power over their children.”
“Society can’t. . . we can’t let children. . .”
Mikey was very quick. He changed tactics with hardly a blink of his eyes: “This is my house, your honor. While Bart is occasionally over-enthusiastic, in my house, on my property, no one gets to drag anyone away unless I give the say-so. And I didn’t. I think that the girl – Zinnia?” Zinnia nodded, watching the doctor tend her father. “She’s my guest, and I don’t care who you are, you don’t get to drag my guests out of my house.”
John Galt hardened his eyes. He nodded. “That is so. This is Mr. Lefkowitz’s house and Zinnia is here as her own person, not an accessory to Wyatt Ellis.”
Dagny said, “You can’t be serious! She’s a child! Do you know what will happen to her if she’s left here with these savages!”
Bart took a shot at the table, balls clicking, then looked mean at Dagny. “You might want to show me a little more respect in my friend’s house. You think you get to insult whoever you want, whenever you want?”
Narragansett said, “People! I think everyone needs to calm down!”
“And I always listen to hizzoner,” Bart said, which made the gangsters laugh.
Mikey said to a couple of the boys, looking down at Wyatt Ellis. “Will you get this sack of shit out of my house?”
The doctor said, “You shouldn’t move him. He might have a skull fracture. . .”
“What’s that to do with me? He’s bleeding on my floor. I’ll send him my cleaning bill. Boys, throw him out.”
The gangsters picked up Wyatt by the arms, dragged him away.
Zinnia almost went to follow, but Bart said, “You should stay here. I think I can offer you a better deal, a much better deal, than your old man.”
Laine licked her lips. She wondered what it was. Zinnia was uncertain.
Mikey: “Stay. Listen to what Bart has to say. We’re putting together a club. We’ll need girls like you.”
Laine: “Tell me about this club?”
To be continued in The Atlas Falls Cycle!