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Blair typed furiously, paused, read what he'd just written, muttered what sounded like a curse but in no language Jim had ever heard, moved the cursor back several lines, marked a few words, hit 'delete', returned to the end of the document and carried on typing.

From his seat at the other end of the couch, Jim - who seemed to be watching TV with the sound turned very low to avoid disturbing his friend - glanced sideways, reading what Blair was typing; an article on hunter-gatherer tribes that Blair was preparing for submission to one of the anthropology magazines. Even knowing something about the subject from his days with the Chopek, Jim was finding it instructive, and very interestingly written. He hadn't seen anything wrong with the words Blair had just deleted, but what did he know? He was just a semi-knowledgeable layman, after all.

Five minutes later Blair paused again, read, deleted a couple of words, inserted a missing letter, changed an 'r' to a 't' and carried on.

Jim wondered why Blair didn't just finish, then go back and make those corrections, but carefully said nothing; he didn't want Blair to realize that he was, in effect, reading over Blair's shoulder.

Part of his attention had remained on the programme he seemed to be watching - enough so that he registered that it was finished, the credits rolling, and he stood.

"Coffee?" he asked.

Blair didn't even glance up. "Not right now, Jim, I'm on a roll here. Ask me again in half an hour." His fingers continued to scurry over the keys.

Jim made himself a mug of coffee, standing so that he could continue reading the words that were moving steadily from Blair's brain, through his fingers and onto the monitor screen, and returned to his seat.

Sure enough, after another twenty-eight minutes, Blair stopped typing. Scrolling back to the beginning, he read through what he had written, then hit 'print'. The small printer attached to his laptop whirred into life and chugged out several sheets of paper.

"Want that coffee now?" Jim asked.

"Oh - thanks, man." Blair reached over and snagged the printed sheets.

As Jim brought over his coffee, Blair stretched. He took a mouthful and sighed contentedly, then began reading the hard copy of his article.

"Thank goodnesss for computers," he muttered as he picked up a pencil and made a notation on the page. "I already made a lot of corrections as I went, and now I'm seeing a few more, but it'll only take a minute to correct them. A few years ago, using a typewriter - before I could afford to get a computer - I'd have used a gallon of white out to correct all the typing mistakes."


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