Home > Disclosure(2)

Author: Michael Crichton

"That's right."

"Why, Dad?"

"Because." He dropped his daughter on a chair at the kitchen table, dragged the high chair from the corner, and placed Matt in it. "What do you want for breakfast, Lize? Rice Krispies or Chex?"


Matt began to bang on his high chair with his spoon. Sanders got the Chex and a bowl out of the cupboard, then the box of wheat cereal and a smaller bowl for Matt. Eliza watched him as he opened the refrigerator to get the milk.



"I want Mommy to be happy."

"Me too, honey."

He mixed the wheat cereal for Matt, and put it in front of his son. Then he set Eliza's bowl on the table, poured in the Chex, glanced at her. "Enough?"


He poured the milk for her.

"No, Dada" his daughter howled, bursting into tears. "I wanted to pour the milk!"

"Sorry, Lize-"

"Take it out-take the milk out-" She was shrieking, completely hysterical.

"I'm sorry, Lize, but this is-"

"I wanted to pour the milk." She slid off her seat to the ground, where she lay kicking her heels on the floor. "Take it out, take the milk out!"

His daughter did this kind of thing several times a day. It was, he was assured, just a phase. Parents were advised to treat it with firmness.

"I'm sorry," Sanders said. "You'll just have to eat it, Lize." He sat down at the table beside Matt to feed him. Matt stuck his hand in his cereal and smeared it across his eyes. He, too, began to cry.

Sanders got a dish towel to wipe Matt's face. He noticed that the kitchen clock now said five to eight. He thought that he'd better call the office, to warn them he would be late. But he'd have to quiet Eliza first: she was still on the floor, kicking and screaming about the milk. "All right, Eliza, take it easy. Take it easy." He got a fresh bowl, poured more cereal, and gave her the carton of milk to pour herself. "Here."

She crossed her arms and pouted. "I don't want it."

"Eliza, you pour that milk this minute."

His daughter scrambled up to her chair. "Okay, Dad."

Sanders sat down, wiped Matt's face, and began to feed his son. The boy immediately stopped crying, and swallowed the cereal in big gulps. The poor kid was hungry. Eliza stood on her chair, lifted the milk carton, and splashed it all over the table. "Uh-oh."

"Never mind." With one hand, he wiped the table with the dish towel, while with the other he continued to feed Matt.

Eliza pulled the cereal box right up to her bowl, stared fixedly at the picture of Goofy on the back, and began to eat. Alongside her, Matt ate steadily. For a moment, it was calm in the kitchen.Sanders glanced over his shoulder: almost eight o'clock. He should call the office. Susan came in, wearing jeans and a beige sweater. Her face was relaxed.

"I'm sorry I lost it," she said. "Thanks for taking over."

She kissed him on the cheek.

"Are you happy, Mom?" Eliza said.

"Yes, sweetie." Susan smiled at her daughter, and turned back to Tom.

"I'll take over now. You don't want to be late. Isn't today the big day? When they announce your promotion?"

     "I hope so."

"Call me as soon as you hear."

"I will."

Sanders got up, cinched the towel around his waist, and headed upstairs to get dressed. There was always traffic in town before the 8:20 ferry. He would have to hurry to make it.

He parked in his spot behind Ricky's Shell station, and strode quickly down the covered walkway to the ferry. He stepped aboard moments before they pulled up the ramp. Feeling the throb of the engines beneath his feet, he went through the doors onto the main deck.

"Hey, Tom."

He looked over his shoulder. Dave Benedict was coming up behind him. Benedict was a lawyer with a firm that handled a lot of high-tech companies. "Missed the seven-fifty, too, huh?" Benedict said.

"Yeah. Crazy morning."

"Tell me. I wanted to be in the office an hour ago. But now that school's out, Jenny doesn't know what to do with the kids until camp starts."


"Madness at my house," Benedict said, shaking his head.

There was a pause. Sanders sensed that he and Benedict had had a similar morning. But the two men did not discuss it further. Sanders often wondered why it was that women discussed the most intimate details of their marriages with their friends, while men maintained a discreet silence with one another.

"Anyway," Benedict said. "How's Susan?"

"She's fine. She's great."

Benedict grinned. "So why are you limping?"

"Company touch football game on Saturday. Got a little out of hand."

"That's what you get for playing with children," Benedict said. DigiCom was famous for its young employees.

"Hey," Sanders said. "I scored."

"Is that right?"

"Damn right. Winning touchdown. Crossed the end zone in glory. And then I got creamed."

At the main-deck cafeteria, they stood in line for coffee. "Actually, I would've thought you'd be in bright and early today," Benedict said. "Isn't this the big day at DigiCom?"

Sanders got his coffee, and stirred in sweetener. "How's that?"

"Isn't the merger being announced today?"

"What merger?" Sanders said blandly. The merger was secret; only a handful of DigiCom executives knew anything about it. He gave Benedict a blank stare.

"Come on," Benedict said. "I heard it was pretty much wrapped up. And that Bob Garvin was announcing the restructuring today, including a bunch of new promotions." Benedict sipped his coffee. "Garvin is stepping down, isn't he?"

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