(from p. 9 of the novel)


The phone call put an end to a four-month dream. The phone call caught me lounging in the cockpit of the Diogenes, my nomadic home. I was enjoying a glass of wine and the rays of the setting sun while my mate prepared dinner. A pair of mallards dipped their wings, rounding our masts and continuing their descent into the marsh grass lining the Potomac River.
     What could be more idyllic than working at a good job during the day and living close to nature at night? My commute was less than two miles. In fact, I could almost make out my office building, the United States Patent and Trademark Office, just beyond Washington National Airport.
     The next bird to fly over our masts was not so charming. But the thunder of an occasional Boeing 737 wasn't bad enough to drive us to a spot farther down the river. Our spot was perfect. It was a nearly-perfect circle whose radius was equal to 50 yards of anchor line and whose center could be anywhere we decided to lower the 40-pound CQR.
     A glance towards the Jefferson Memorial was a reminder that Ben Candidi, with his newly-granted Ph.D. in pharmacology, had scored three out of three on Thomas Jefferson's list of essentials: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
     Yes, after 30-some years of Life, Ben Candidi was finally achieving sustainable Happiness.