Tret began his intrigues early. He missed numbers of opportunities because of indolence and more for lack of focus. Tret was glib, if not smart and he could replicate the statements of others to make them seem his own. He talked at length given any opportunity.
Tret was one of those people you meet in life who desperately need attention and control. Tret believed he was in control as long as he was talking.
Tret could be assigned to offer a welcome at a meeting, no more than three minutes, and talk for two hours. People in the audience would roll their eyes, shake their head, check their watches and finally, exasperated, leave. At the end, Tret would puff his chest self-importantly and tell anyone still conscious that he had the audience "eating out of his hand."
Tret promoted himself without shame. He insinuated himself into every meeting at his work, associated himself with every successful program, ingratiated himself with every prestigious person. In time, Tret became a rising star. He dithered, he muddled, he desired, he meddled. Tret abandoned friends when they were of no use to him, mentors when they faltered, associates if they failed to appreciate his special abilities.
He matriculated at Payne College. One day, in grad school, a fellow from Payne's rival, Hardin, said to Tret, "Oh, you are one of those Payne boys, are you?"
"I am one of those Payne men!" Tret thundered back, puffing out his round belly in indignation. Everyone laughed at him. Tret never knew why.
The happiness Boj felt with Golda made an unsavory smell come up in Tret's nose. Tret met women, courted some, married one but he could never do more than imagine what went on in the hearts of Boj and Golda when they looked at each other.
Tret could not have real love. He would settle, he decided, if he could steal some part of the love Boj and Golda felt.
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