Noah has been sent by Darthur to make some phone calls. Part two of the Powerpoint is about to start, and Noah is to invite some "apparently VIPs" to the offices of Doyle & Merchant:
That meeting was still going on, but without him. His father had called a break and passed him a note with a list of phone numbers and a few bullet points of instructions—one last errand to perform before he could leave for the weekend. These were apparently VIPs to be invited for the after-hours portion of the presentation, provided the first part had gone as hoped. Evidently it had.
So, blah blah blah, Noah takes his list of numbers (no names) and calls around, gathering up attendees. All the calls are answered by various services and secretaries and aides. "There'd been audible indications of a scrambler during at least four of the brief conversations, and some sort of voice-alteration gizmo on one of them." Oooh, high tech! One question: Do they still make scramblers? That seems so 1980s. But whatever. It's all very secretive, see? No names, all hush hush. Except for this:
Noah had caught a last name spoken in the background during this final call. It was a Manhattan number, a 212 area code [authenticity!], and the name he'd heard was an uncommon one. He'd also seen it in the newspaper earlier in the day. That call had been to the private line of the most likely nominee for the next U.S. Treasury secretary, assuming the election went as forecast.
This man was also the current president of the New York branch of the Federal Reserve.
Uh oh. Not the Federal Reserve! This really is evil! I got shivers just reading that. (I didn't.)
Noah finds the whole exercise odd, what with Darthur's ability (as world's greatest PR man: inventor of bottled water and the Che Guevara T-shirt) to summon anyone who's anyone to his Powerpoint on a Friday evening, "but maybe it wasn't so unusual considering the circles in which his father was known to travel."
Okay. Let me get this straight. Noah sits through his father's presentation on overthrowing the government and establishing the New World Order and doesn't bat an eye, but summoning of a gaggle of "apparently VIPs" seems weird to him. I think maybe Noah isn't the brightest bulb in the toolbox.
While contemplating this, Noah follows his father's last instruction, and burns the list of phone numbers. Oh, brother. Yeah, nothing says intrigue and espionage like burning paper. Maybe I need to start some sort of cliché count. Maybe these are new measures since Churchill got snoopy with the recycling bins. I dunno. Maybe it's just poor writing. I'm actually feeling lucky this chapter was so short.
[For the record, this post is actually longer than the original chapter by about 100 words.]