Chuckles sounded at odd places around the table. “Ten-sions are oddly distributed here tonight,” Jessica thought.“There’s too much going on of which I’m not aware... I’ll have to develop new information sources.”

  She passed her gaze down the circle of shining, chattering faces, silently extracting pieces of new information from each one. Then she fit these pieces together and a bulb lit up inside her head. The faces around the table noticed this, and resented it. Everyone stopped talking and eating and petulantly turned toward Jessica, who rose from her seat, hands trembling and eyes blinking, and blurted out: “I understand you! I under- stand everything about you! All your hopes and dreams! Now you can go on eating...”