Surveillance

Ernie’s first awareness of the government’s spying was through the late news. It disturbed his civil libertarian sensibilities, but not his slumber. The government was monitoring people’s e-mail. Outrageous. Still, not a personal concern: He and Susan had agreed from the start never to e-mail each other. There would be more detail by morning; he punched off the television and spooned up next to Penny, who was almost asleep.

He thought of himself as an ordinary man. Happily if not always faithfully married for twenty years; two ordinary teenagers; an ordinary law practice in wills, trusts, real estate; occasional pro bono work for the American Civil Liberties Union. An ordinarily busy man: Too little time for morning newspapers, relying mostly on National Public Radio news during drive time. Occasionally, if something awaiting attention at the office demanded thought, he tuned instead to classical music.

Next morning, it was exactly eight when he backed out of the driveway.

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