First, the powers-to-be, as Ransom Kegler called city hall and its tight-fingered allies, the politicians and the developers, had squeezed a piece of land out of him and were going to make money on it. They had cut him out of the profits when, post-sale, they had engineered a zoning change. The profits of the change promised to be immense. He had come alert too late, but it was better to come up breathing than not breathing at all.
Now, on top of this damn thievery, he was put on the spot by, of all persons, his youngest grandson Talbot with a barrage of questions, so simple coming and so complex moving on.