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“But yeah,” he went on.  “We don’t have absolute power over anything in this world.  And because our power is not absolute, there will be times things outside our power happen.  And of course they’ll be things we wouldn’t have wanted to happen, if we had the power to stop them.  But it’s a rejection of reality to expect things to always go the way we want—the correct thing to do is be ready for when our control fails.”

“So when you lose a memento of your sister…”

“Then I launch into monologues, thank you.”  The waiter had appeared again with Blake’s order, which the menu had defined as wheaten moon-cakes, flaky after the Viennese fashion, and not, by any stretch of the imagination, biscuits of any sort.

I placed my order—dovo amandine, which was apparently the day’s special; Blake ordered “likewise.”