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Illustration Philip Bannister 

A senior partner in the firm of Stone, Viner, Futterman and Waller, employing 40 lawyers, partners and associates, David Futterman has stayed late at the office this evening to go over the briefs for three different cases on which Stacy Shanahan, one of the firm's paralegals, has been assigned to work with him. Ms Shanahan is capable, quick, efficient. They finish at 6.45pm, and Futterman asks the young woman if she is free for dinner. 

"Just let me get a few things at my desk," Ms Shanahan says, "and I'll meet you in the lobby."

Ruth, Futterman's wife, died, four years ago, at 61, of a heart attack while shopping at Crate & Barrel on a Saturday morning in the kitchenware section of the crowded Michigan Avenue store. He and Ruth had been married 37 years. They married the year that Futterman graduated from Northwestern Law School. Futterman always thought of his and Ruth's as a happy enough marriage; certainly it was a solid one. 

Careful, prudent, Futterman does not usually fraternise after hours with the help. Especially not with attractive young paralegals or secretaries, lest gossip result. He has nothing especially in mind in inviting Stacy Shanahan to dinner, except a break in his own boring widower's routine-dinner alone on a tray in front of the television set-and to reward her for working overtime. To ensure that no sexual interpretation can be put on his invitation, he decides to take Ms Shanahan to Harry Caray's, on LaSalle Street, a far from romantic restaurant, noisy and masculine, a sort of sports bar with steaks and chops and heavy pasta dishes added.  

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