Chapters 3-4 Summary
Upon returning home, Milo attempts to sneak a Vitamin Water out of the view of his young son, Bernie, who is obsessed with juice. He tells Maura that the other message he received while he was out was from his old job, asking him to come in.
As Bernie continually interrupts them (mostly with requests for Milo’s “juice” or questions about his new favorite subject, foreskins), Milo and Maura try to figure out why the office that fired him two months ago would want to see him again. Maura fears it involves legal action from McKenzie’s family.
Milo returns to the development office and finds himself in an awkward conference with Vargina and Llewellyn, the latter doing nothing to disguise his dislike for Milo. Milo returns his disdain with pointed jabs about Llewellyn’s affected Anglophile tendencies. They are soon joined by Dean Cooley (to whom Milo refers as War Crimes), an ex-military man who now heads the development office.
The three explain that a major ask specifically requested Milo and that he can win his job back if he lands the ask. The dean reveals that the ask is Purdy Stuart, an old friend of Milo’s, and leaves. Milo seems to recognize that their needing him has afforded him a small amount of power. Llewellyn further insults Milo and accuses him of leering; when Milo later attempts to apologize to Vargina for leering, she reveals that it was Horace who felt that Milo was eyeing him.
Milo recalls his college days with Purdy as he ponders why his old friend demanded him for this engagement. Purdy came from money but had made his own fortune by getting in online music and celebrity culture early in its development. Even as a young man, Purdy seemed to understand the unspoken class system in America and was keenly aware of his own place at the top of that system. He often broke up with girls if they weren’t in his league, including Constance, whom Milo later dated. In college, Purdy always seemed destined for greater things, but Milo noted his ability to be friends with a wide variety of people (including those who would become future business contacts after he left college).
Looking back, Milo notes with sad irony how all of them thought they were destined for greater things; once reality set in, Purdy was the one who emerged from the pack successfully. Milo now wonders if he knew it all along and simply humored the others.