The mystery guest couldn't understand it. Why would anyone want to have a groundbreaking ceremony on the anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake? "The VIP tent is off limits," a large Hispanic woman in a loud print dress had said, "Unless you're with somebody, that is."

The mystery guest wasn't WITH anybody, he realized grimly, and that was part of the problem. Dating was difficult for the mystery guest; it was hard enough to get an invitation most of the time, let alone plus another guest.

The mystery guest was working on a screensaver designed to derail your train of thought only he couldn't keep his mind on the project. It was supposed to constantly remind you that a screensaver was technically obsolete, but how do you convey that? Some time passed. "You're not with the mayor's people are you?" an agitated young man with a clipboard asked him.