Convinced though he was, Grommet wasn't going to the police with
his story. He decided his only course was to go about his daily
routine and hope somehow to outwit his would-be murderer. He tried
to think on the drive to the office. But the frustration of making
time by beating lights and switching lanes occupied him wholly.
Nor, once behind his desk, could he think a moment what with jangling
phones, urgent memos and the problems and decisions piling in as
they did each day.
It wasn't until his second martini at lunch that the full terror
of his position struck him. It was all he could do to finish
his Lasagna Milanese. "I can't panic," he said to
himself, lighting his cigar. "I simply must live my life
So he worked until seven as usual. Drove home fast as usual.
Studied business reports as usual. And he took his usual two
Seconal capsules in order to get his usual six hours sleep.
As days passed, the man fully stuck to his routine. And as
the months went by, he began to take a perverse pleasure in his
ability to survive. "Whoever's trying to get me,"
he'd say proudly to his wife, "hasn't got me yet. I'm
too smart for him."
"Oh, please be careful," she'd reply, ladling him a second
helping of beef stroganoff. The pride grew as he managed to
go on living for years. But as it must to all men, death came
at last to Grabwell. It came at his desk on a particularly
busy day. He was 53.
His grief-stricken widow demanded a full autopsy. But it
showed only emphysema, arteriosclerosis, duodenal ulcers, cirrhosis
of the liver, cardiac necrosis, cerebrobascular aneurysm, pulmonary
edema, obesity, circulatory insuffiency and a touch of lung cancer.
"How glad Grabwell would have been to know," said the
widow smiling proudly through her tears, "that he died of natural
Art Hoppe, San Francisco Chronicle