Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Pitt Street in Sydney and Bourke Street Mall in Melbourne Essay

Apart from Zara, Inditex also owns international labels Pull & Bear, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Stradivarious, Oysho, Zara Home and Uterqà ¼e. The formula for Zara is simple: latest catwalk trends reproduced, plus new stocks delivered to stores in fewer than 15 days, plus giggle-inducing prices, equates to global success. â€Å"Our decision to come to Australia now is based on two main reasons. Firstly, our operations are at that capability level of supplying to a country like Australia, which is quite far away from our headquarters in Spain. With new stocks needing to be sent every two weeks, we had to be absolutely sure we could handle this new amount of orders. â€Å"Secondly, we were waiting for the right locations to become available, and now we [have] found two excellent spots in Sydney and Melbourne and were happy to launch into Australia.† Fleur Madden-Topley, managing director of PR agencies Red and Blue by Red, feels that Australian consumers have also created the demand for the brand’s entrance onto our shores Touted as one of the world’s most successful logistics operations by the Harvard Business Review, the production line is executed like clockwork, where lorries move in and out on schedule to ensure each store gets its fortnightly update of stocks right on time. Echevarria oversees all international marketing activities and media relationships, engaging assistance from a local public relations firm only during momentous occasions like new store openings. Zara’s closest competitors, such as Swedish label H&M, the UK’s Top Shop and the US’s Gap, spend typically three to five percent of annual revenues on advertising campaigns, and have a penchant for involving celebrities, either in their advertising or their product lines. Top Shop has its sought after Kate Moss collection, while H&M has limited pieces designed by the likes of Madonna and Kylie Minogue. Gap is well-known for attracting star names, such as Lucy Liu, Jennifer Aniston and John Mayer, to appear in its advertisements. Our store locations and window fronts are our biggest form of advertising Zara tailors its products to each city â€Å"Zara has effectively utilised word of mouth, or strategic public relations, in building and maintaining its brand. So while rivals outsource to Asia, Zara makes its most fashionable items — half of all its merchandise — at a dozen company-owned factories in Spain. Clothes with a longer shelf life, such as basic T-shirts, are outsourced to low-cost suppliers, mainly in Asia and Turkey. Zara’s nerve center is an 11,000-square-foot hall at its headquarters in Arteixo, a town of 25,000 in Galicia. That’s where hundreds of twentysomething designers, buyers, and production planners work in tightly synchronized teams. It is there that the company does all of its design and distribution and half of its production. The concentrated activity enables it to move a dress, blouse, or coat from drawing board to shop floor in just two weeks — less than a quarter of the industry average. Inditex says it works with unions and other organizations â€Å"to have the most respectful supply chain† and audits all of its partners every year, but like most major fashion companies that outsource the manufacturing of their clothes, it has received its share of complaints about factory conditions

Monday, January 6, 2020

Factors affecting Customers Decision for taking out Bank loans in Ahmedabad - Free Essay Example

Sample details Pages: 3 Words: 803 Downloads: 8 Date added: 2017/06/26 Category Finance Essay Type Analytical essay Did you like this example? à ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã…“Factors affecting Customerà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s Decision for taking out Bank loans in Ahmedabadà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã‚  EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Purpose: The recent global financial crisis has highlighted the intense competition between banks for attracting customers; thus, research on selection criteria used by customers to choose a bank for doing business has been enriched with new methodologies, findings and recommendations for both banks and customers. This is ever more important when we take into account that banks and generally the financial system have lost their reputation and credibility, as a result of certain financial transactions which brought about the economic crisis. Hence, the banking industry appears as one of the most rapidly emerging sectors needing to identify the main factors that lead to maintenance of existing customers and ways to attract new ones. Don’t waste time! Our writers will create an original "Factors affecting Customers Decision for taking out Bank loans in Ahmedabad" essay for you Create order Methodology: This is carried out using quantitative survey of 150 respondents of the Ahmedabad city. Each respondent are personally contacted to fill up the questionnaire. Finding: Out of 150 respondents, 86.7% respondents have received a loan, and 13.3% respondents have not received a loan. This confirms that most of the respondents have received a loan but few of them have not actually received but they consider the important factors for receive a loan. Respondents are considering loan factor, competitive interest rates as one of the most important parameter. In t value is positive for parameter like, customer services professionalism and credibility of staff is good, potential customer complaints, variety of product- service provided by the bank, enough information about loan, time duration for loan, simpler procedure, total cost, ability to finance maximum to security (property), EMI Based capabilities, possibility of early repayment, no need of underwriting property, ability to provide insurance program to protect the payment of installments, competitive interest rates and privilege terms in comparison with other banks. So these parameter not only important but more than important for the customers. The association between respondents received a loan with demographic factor, man are 1.71 times more likely to take a loan than a women and in age group between 31-40 and 41-50, respondents are more likely to take a loan than other age group. Similarly, there is sufficient correlation exists between the variables to proceeds with the analysis for take a loan. For that twelve important factors have been extracted from twenty eight variables contributed about 62% variation in customers decision for taking out bank loan. Recommendation: Customers place more emphasis on factors like interest rates, installments and other factors like, total cost, simpler procedure. Therefore, such factors should be considered seriously by the banks in designing their marketing strategies by widening their branches and providing good customers services to customers. Since the age category between 41-50 has the most usage and more representation in the sample, banks should target its marketing mix toward this category. Bank should also focus on total cost, carried by customers to take out a loan due to higher competition in the market there are different scheme available for processing fees for the loan. Bank should require reduced interest rate on loans and high interest rate on savings and services offered. In this respect, Polish bank customers do not differ from customers of the banking industry in other countries. INDEX SR. NO PARTICULARS PAGE NO PART- I GENERAL INFORMATION 1 About the Industry 1.1 Introduction of Bank 1 1.2 Global Banking Sector 1 1.3 Indian Banking Sector 2 1.4 Growth in the industry 5 1.5 Banking structure in india 9 1.6 Types of Bank 10 1.7 Major Banks and products in Banking Sector 12 2 About the company 2.1 Introduction of Company 15 2.2 Market share and Management Pattern 20 2.3 Financial Highlights 21 3 Product Profile 23 PART-II INTRODUCTION OF THE STUDY 4 Introduction of the study 30 4.1 Literature review 32 4.2 Problem Statement and Importance of the Study 35 4.3 Objective of the Study 36 4.4 Background of the Study 37 4.5 List of Hypothesis 38 5 Research Methodology 5.1 Problem definition 39 5.2 Research design 39 5.3 Data Collection Method 41 5.4 Sampling design 41 5.5 Data Collection Instrument 42 5.6 List of Statistical Test used. 42 5.7 How to conduct statistical test 44 5.8 Limitations of the Study 46 6 Data Analysis and Interpretation 6.1 Descriptive Analysis 47 6.2 Inferential Analysis 51 7 Findings 71 8 Recommendation 74 9 Conclusion 76 10 Bibliography 77 11 Annexure 78-81 List of Table SR. NO PARTICULARS PAGE NO 1. Table: 1 Major banks in global banking sector 12 2. Table: 2 Major banks in public sector 13 3. Table: 3 Major banks in private sector 13 4. Table: 4 Shareholding pattern of axis bank 20 5. Table: 5 Management pattern of axis bank 20 6. Table: 6 Respondents receive a loan 47 7. Table: 7 Gender of respondents 47 8. Table: 8 Age group of respondents 48 9. Table: 9 Marital status 48 10 Table: 10 Education level 49 11. Table: 11 Employment status 49 12. Table: 12 Sector of employment 50 13. Table: 13 Annual income group 50 14. Table: 14 Personal property bend belonging to 51 15. Table: 15 Reliability test 51 16. Table: 16 One sample t test 53 17. Table: 17 Association of taking loan with demographic factor 58 18. Table: 18 KMO and Bartelttà ¢Ã¢â€š ¬Ã¢â€ž ¢s test 60 Table: 18.1 Communalities 61 Table: 18.2 Total variance explained 62 Table: 18.3 Component Matrix [Unrotated] 64 Table: 18.4 Component Matrix [Rotated] 67 List of Figure SR. NO PARTICULARS PAGE NO 1. Figure: 1 Banking structure in India 9 2. Figure: 2 Types of Bank 10 3. Figure: 3 Banking products and services 14 4. Figure: 4 Products of Bank 23 5. Figure: 5 Customer Decision Process 30 6. Figure: 6 Influence on customer decision 31 7. Figure: 7 Scree Plot 63

Sunday, December 29, 2019

`` Beautiful Monsters `` By Eric Puchner - 1788 Words

Will a perfect world ever exist? The ideology behind the creation of a utopia is so that its inhabitants will be content, and have an equal understanding of one another. However, in the attempt to create this dreamlike utopia, it becomes susceptible to becoming a dystopia because individuality is destroyed in the hopes of creating unity.This futuristic, imagined universe in which oppressive societies are controlled and make it seem like a perfect world, but what do these dystopian worlds show us? In his text â€Å"Beautiful Monsters,† Eric Puchner depicts a world where adults are cast out of society. A world where children live forever and control society. It’s the conflict of the Perennials and the Senescent that shows Puncher s political argument. Puchner’s argument is people often classify people and reject them from society through the false values that have been implemented in their society. While in Neil Gaiman s and Bryan Talbot’s comic strip, â €Å"From Homogenous to Honey,† they depict the world where a masked assailant completely erases the homosexual narrative of history. By destroying these narratives, he is carrying out his agenda, and creating a dystopian society where everyone’s narrative is the same. Gaiman and Talbot’s argument speaks on if society were to strip away all homosexual cultural influences. They bring the conclusion of individuality being attacked leading to a lack of independent thinking, this, in turn, causes individuals to lose themselves. This

Saturday, December 21, 2019

My Cultural Conception Of Happiness - 1296 Words

The honorable Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso once said, â€Å"When I meet people from different cultures I know that they too want happiness and do not want suffering . . .† That being said, people from different cultures want to be happy. The only thing that differs between cultures is how each distinct culture perceives how happiness can be achieved. Such is true for the conception of happiness between my culture, the American culture, and the Indian culture. While the conception of happiness across my culture and the conception of happiness across Indian culture are both individualistic, the conception of happiness in Indian culture is also collectivist. In addition, both cultural conceptions of happiness have norms that govern their societies in†¦show more content†¦Both bodies have differing views of happiness, but they still uphold the their individuality. Likewise, I too am able to embrace my personal perception of happiness because my society is one that embraces i ndividualism. It can be said that my culture thoroughly embraces Aristotle s definition of happiness due to the fact that it preaches the importance of every individual being the sole passenger and conductor when it come to riding the train that is the pursuit of happiness. In other words, the pursuit of happiness is in the hands of the individual. No matter how one believes they can achieve happiness in my culture, the fact remains that it is widely recognized that happiness is based on an individual’s actions and viewpoints. In contrast, the conception of happiness in Indian culture is a combination of both individualist and collectivist viewpoints. From the individualistic viewpoint of happiness in Indian culture, an individual has the power to pursue their own happiness and do whatever they deem conducive to their well-being. According to Kumar (2003), it is believed in Indian culture that â€Å"man should do whatever is possible to enhance pleasure and avoid pain . . . one could beg, borrow or steal or even murder . . .† (p. 2). In simple terms, one should do whatever is in their power to achieve ultimate happiness. This is an individualistic viewpoint because the Indian culture trusts an individual to make decisions that will benefit them. In a

Friday, December 13, 2019

Sunshine Chapter 23 Free Essays

string(35) " being terrified was wise or sane\." So I glanced through my cosmail to make sure I wasn’t missing anything important. The usual globenet come-ons: a ride on the space bus for only a hundred squillion blinks and the soul of your firstborn child. A plastic surgeon who guaranteed to make you look like Princess Helga or your money back. We will write a custom essay sample on Sunshine Chapter 23 or any similar topic only for you Order Now And your face back too? I wondered. Learn spellcasting at home in your spare time, earn zillions, and live forever. I’d always assumed the living forever was out of the same scam as the earning zillions. I wondered how old Yolande was – how old her master was. I doubted it was four hundred years. I answered a few cosmails. My presence in various Other zones had faded in the last five months. I could have given definite answers to some of the pet topics (Has a human, once captured, ever escaped from a vampire? Have a human and a vampire ever had a conversation on any kind of equal terms? Have a human and a vampire ever had any conversation and parted with the human still alive? – Barring some of the media stuff, although another pet topic was whether any of the vampire interviews were real). I had no desire to do so. But it had only been since my first contact with Other-space that it had occurred to me perhaps it would be a good idea to continue to pretend that Cinnamon – my ether name for seven years – was an ordinary woman who hadn’t had anything surprising happen to her lately. When I came out of the closet it was barely twilight. I thought sunset was never coming. This might be the first day of my life I’d ever wanted darkness to come sooner. I always wanted daylight to last longer. I had a lot more trouble getting up at four a.m. in winter when it was still going to be dark for hours than in summer when it would be glimmering toward dawn by the time I got to Charlie’s. I took a cup of chamomile tea out on the balcony and waited, feeling the darkness falling as if it were something landing on my skin. I heard him coming this time. I don’t know why I thought of it as hearing, when it had nothing to do with my ears. I didn’t see any shadows moving among the other shadows of the garden either, although I knew he was there. But it was more like hearing than it was like anything else, like seeing in the dark is more like seeing than it is like anything else. â€Å"The way here has grown in complexity,† he said. â€Å"Oh – ah?† I said. â€Å"Oh. That will be Yolande’s new wards. SOF has set up some tickers and I don’t know what all.† â€Å"Tickers,† said Con. â€Å"You know,† I said. â€Å"You must know. SOF uses them – they record any Others that come near them. Tick tick, back at HQ where they’re watching the monitors.† â€Å"I have not had much contact with SOF.† The Lone Ranger of vampires. Did that make me Tonto? â€Å"Whatever. The point is SOF thinks they’re protecting me. So I asked Yolande to disarm any SOF snoopers that would notice you.† â€Å"Yolande.† â€Å"My landlady.† â€Å"You have told her about me?† I snorted. â€Å"She told me. Turns out she’s known all along. And she’s a wardskeeper. She’s real useful to have on your side.† Con was silent. I felt sympathetic. I wouldn’t have liked the idea that he’d brought a friend into our business either. I was so keyed up that I didn’t think about our disastrous last meeting till I’d already taken his hand, and then it was too late. He came back from wherever he’d been, presumably thinking about having another human foisted on him, and looked at me. His fingers curled around mine. I had a Senssurround Dolby flash of The Ten Seconds That Didn’t Go Anywhere, but I hit the mental censor button and it went poof. â€Å"Listen,† I said, although it was even less like listening than the nonsound of him moving toward me had been like listening. It was strangely easier too, doing it with him, showing him my new road map rather than trying to figure it out myself. He knew the language and the landscape. I had a great idea: next time Pat called me in to SOF for a little more technical mayhem, I’d bring Con. â€Å"Hi, I’d like you to meet my helpful vampire friend. Don’t worry, my landlady is a retired – mostly retired – wardskeeper, and she says he’s okay.† Sure. Speaking of having more humans foisted. Pat would take some foisting. But I stared into Con’s green eyes, and aligned myself, or him, like you might take someone’s shoulders and turn them round so they’re facing the right direction, like you might point at a map once you’ve told your companion, see, it’s those mountains you see right over there†¦ For a very nasty moment I thought I’d somehow managed to remake the live contact. That we weren’t looking at a map of those mountains, but had been transported there, and the tigers were closing in. I jerked back, but Con’s hand held me, and the jerk was like the click-over of the kaleidoscope, and the colored bits fell into a new arrangement. It was weirdly something like looking through an aquarium at a lot of fish. The fish were whizzing around like crazy – cannonball fish – but I could see them individually, a little, and they did look like distinct and specific little whizzings-around instead of like chaos. This was interesting, although it didn’t really get me any farther; they were still moving too fast for me to track a pattern or make my way among them. But this wasn’t as sick-making – or as terrifying – to watch or to think about. Presumably this was a good thing. But I remembered the quality of the terror, and wasn’t sure that not being terrified was wise or sane. You read "Sunshine Chapter 23" in category "Essay examples" What we were looking for was behind the whizzing things. And that was still just as sick-making, just as terrifying. I didn’t like this animated three-dimensional map. Here be dragons. Much worse than any dragon, which are pretty straightforward – and straightforwardly alive – creatures that merely suffer that little character defect about liking to eat human flesh. Here be horrors indescribable. I barely sensed the dreadful loom of it – the differentiation of it from its manic pinball machine guard system – before I was repelled, repulsed, hurled away more violently than Con had thrown me the other night†¦except it was Con, this time, who caught me. I was flopped against him, his arm round my waist, my ear pressed to his silent chest. I grabbed at his other arm, steadied myself, balanced again on my own feet, which seemed very small and very far away. â€Å"Have I given us away? Con, was that live?† The world still spun. If there had been anything in my stomach but tea (the muffins were a long time ago) it might have come up. As it was, the tea sloshed vindictively a few times and subsided. The chain burned round my throat. â€Å"No,† said Con. â€Å"My Sunshine, you must learn moderation. This is not an enemy you can defeat by rushing his front gate.† I made a little choking noise that might have been third cousin twice removed to a laugh. â€Å"I had no intention of anything resembling gate-crashing. I thought I was just looking. Except it wasn’t, um, looking.† â€Å"No,† said Con. I could feel him thinking. â€Å"If you were a new – one of us – there are things I could teach you. I do not think I can teach a human these things.† I sighed. â€Å"I believe you. Like seeing in the dark probably doesn’t bother you because you don’t spend a lot of time seeing in the light, right?† â€Å"I am sorry.† As partners we left a lot to be desired. â€Å"Was that him?† Con’s eyes blazed briefly. Vampire eyes catching sight of their chosen prey. Don’t look. â€Å"Yes.† â€Å"Can you – can you track him any better from what I – sort of – showed you?† Con’s face arranged itself in one of its invisible-to-the-naked-human-eye almost-expressions. I guessed this one was irony. Note: existence of vampire irony. â€Å"I am not sure. It is certainly a signal we want to take heed of. How we take heed without jeopardizing ourselves unnecessarily I do not yet know. Remember that was not live, as you put it. It was only your memory – your exegesis – of what you saw.† I shivered. â€Å"I believe you were in less danger, even last night, than you may fear. What this is is a little like†¦what are those machines with the strange radiance, which attract insects to their deaths?† â€Å"Zappers? Bug zappers. Bug flies in – zap.† â€Å"You were zapped. The machine does not register the – bug. It merely zaps. I use these zappers also.† â€Å"Vampires don’t use bug zappers?† I said, interested. There’s nothing like an immediate death threat to make you crave a little superficial distraction. I’d observed this phenomenon before. â€Å"All that hanging around out of doors after dark you guys do?† â€Å"No.† â€Å"Wrong kind of blood?† â€Å"Vampires do not – er – register on insect radar.† â€Å"Oh.† At last: a really good reason to want to be a vampire. I was one of those people you invite on your picnic or your hiking expedition, because the bugs will all crowd around me and leave everyone else alone. Sunshine, get a grip. â€Å"Um. This isn’t the first time I’ve been†¦well, let me tell you the rest of it.† I did. â€Å"So last night was the third time and the worst. You don’t think he might be using a sort of fancy zapper that says, ‘Hey, boss, this bug keeps coming back’?† â€Å"I think I will ask you not to go near that place again for the time being. Even if this Pat asks you to try.† â€Å"It’s not Pat I’m so worried about,† I said. â€Å"It’s the goddess of pain.† â€Å"Ah.† His expressionlessness took an ominous cast. â€Å"Con,† I said nervously. His gaze came back from wherever it had been and he looked at me. â€Å"No,† he said. I didn’t ask what â€Å"no† meant. Vampires are a little like burglars, okay? If a bright, determined vampire really wants to get into your house, he’s going to do it, and the best alarm system in the world and the electric moat and the sixteen genetically enhanced Rottweilers and the wards and the charms and the little household godlets blessed by the priests or pontifexes of the religion of your choice, and spellcast by the best sorcerers money can buy, aren’t going to stop him. Or her. You really don’t want to piss a vampire off, because it’s a lot harder having all that plastic surgery and the hemo treatment to change your blood chemistry than it is to sell your house and go live in a small cabin with nothing in it to steal. Also, the hemo treatment not only costs a bomb, occasionally it kills you, although at least two of the global council membe rs have had it done twice that anybody knows about, and are still here. The usual, which is to say, expensive, drastic options aren’t available to coffeehouse bakers. Having realized that my being alive geared Bo up, Con wasn’t my best choice, he was my only choice. But the problem with having a nonhuman as your ally was that a nonhuman might not be, you know, very sentimental about the odd human life here and there. Especially not a vampire nonhuman about a human who shows signs of reading the mind of the vampire’s human ally. And fair is fair. I wasn’t very sentimental about vampires as a group either, was I? â€Å"I can say no to the goddess if I have to,† I said, perhaps a little more loudly than necessary. â€Å"I am certain you can, Sunshine,† said Con. He was gone a moment later. I didn’t exactly see him go, but I didn’t-hear him moving away from me, and didn’t-see the shadow among the other shadows, after he was gone. I didn’t pay a lot of attention, however, because I was preoccupied with the feeling on my mouth, as if he had kissed me before he left. More horrible grisly marking time, wondering what was going on. Wondering what is going on behind my back, wondering what is about to leap out of the shadows at me. At my worst I could begin wondering if I’d imagined Con. Well, he was the part that didn’t fit the pattern, wasn’t he? Nice, helpful, if somewhat unreassuring-looking, vampire. Puhleez. There was enough to remind me there was something going on – starting with the scar on my breast and moving through seeing in the dark and the spontaneous combustion of pillows and ending, perhaps with the fact that there didn’t ever not seem to be some SOF or other at Charlie’s now, and that any time I walked in or out of the door whoever-it-was’s eyes fixed themselves on me. For a while I’d made a point of coming in by the side door any time the coffeehouse was open, but I decided this was making a bigger issue of something I couldn’t do anything about, so on days I was feeling hardy I went through the front. Let ’em stare. It had taken Aimil’s remark to make me notice that Mrs. Bialosky was occupying her table more than usual. But she’d nominated herself as one of my protectors in one very practical way: some mangled version of recent events meant that we still had gapers coming in to check out if I had three heads or spoke in tongues. They didn’t stay long if Mrs. Bialosky rumbled them. Which kindly took the onus off our staff, which if they weren’t getting as tired of my notoriety as I was, had every right to. But it was all too much, and my overworked and exhausted brain started looking for things to call imaginary. Con was such a perfect choice. I sometimes felt if I could get rid of Con I could be rid of all the rest of it – Bo, my heritage and weird talents, SOF’s suffocating interest, the lot. I knew it wasn’t true. But†¦ I did have one nice surprise. One afternoon I came out of the bakery and discovered someone unfamiliar sitting at Mrs. Bialosky’s table, and with whom Mrs. B was in deep conversation. I couldn’t resist this, so I slid along behind the counter to get a look without walking up to the table and staring: not that my subterfuge worked, because Mrs. B immediately raised her head and looked back at me. But this made the other person turn to look at what Mrs. B was looking at. She broke into a smile when she saw me: it was Maud. I hadn’t registered till then that there was a large plate on the table between them that presently contained a light sprinkling of crumbs and one single remaining Killer Zebra. One of these mornings at four-thirty a.m. I was expecting to find a SOF lurking on a street corner too, and the fact that I didn’t see one didn’t convince me there wasn’t one there somewhere. Pat had made an official offer to have me escorted to and from home, which I didn’t let him finish before I refused. Other than that I hadn’t seen much of him: damage control with the goddess, I assumed. I was interested myself that my desire for autonomy was still stronger than my fear of what might or was about to happen. My unfavoritest corner, when I arrived at Charlie’s before dawn, wasn’t the nearest one, where Mandelbaum met the main road, but across the square, at the mouth of one of the littlest and darkest alleys of Old Town. I pretended to fish for my keys and then made a big pantomime fuss about choosing the right one every morning as I scanned for shadows that didn’t lie right. Shadows never lay right in that corner. I always f elt watched, these days. It was just a question of watched by whom. Or what. After I opened the door and went in, I relocked the door behind me before I turned off the alarm system. Used to be I didn’t bother to relock the door. I’d asked Charlie to program an extra few seconds’ delay to the bell so I could. He’d looked at me worriedly, but he’d done it. And he hadn’t asked any questions. He wasn’t going to say the â€Å"v† word if I wasn’t. We don’t have a state-of-the-art alarm system at Charlie’s – we can’t afford it – but this is one of the ways having SOF friends is useful, and we do have some funny little gizmos that tell you if anything has been disturbed. Nothing went on being disturbed, except my mental state. I was pulling maple cornbread out of the ovens at about eight one morning when Mary came in to say Theo wanted a word. I thought about it. â€Å"Okay,† I said. â€Å"Time I had a break, I guess.† Theo sidled in like the reluctant bearer of unwelcome news. My private bakery kettle was beginning to hiss and burble. â€Å"Tea?† He shook his head. â€Å"Cornbread?† He brightened immediately. I was as bad as Paulie, really, despite how long I’d been doing this. Someone wants to eat my food, they’re automatically my friend. Someone who doesn’t want to eat my food, they automatically aren’t. This is an awkward attitude if you hang out a lot with a vampire. Theo was an old enough hand in the kitchen – my kitchen anyway – to know to approach something fresh out of the oven with caution. He took the whacked-off still-squodgy-with-baking end of a loaf of maple cornbread gingerly and watched happily as the approximately quarter-pound of butter he put on it melted through. He would lick the plate when he was done. This was one of the advantages of eating out back: table manners weren’t required. I’d been known to lick plates myself. Once when I was teasing Kyoko about him, I mentioned he was a plate-licker. She looked briefly interested â€Å"Oh? Maybe he’s human after all.† Then she shook her head. â€Å"Nah. He’s SOF.† This was in hindsight a better joke than I’d realized. â€Å"You’d better get it over with,† I said, after he’d finished licking the plate. He sighed. â€Å"Pat would like to see you this afternoon.† I’d decided in the predawn darkness of the morning after I’d met the goddess what I was going to say the next time Pat wanted to talk to me. â€Å"It won’t do him any good. Something burned out the other night. I burned out. I woke up the next morning with a piece missing. It’s still missing.† He looked surprised, worried, then thoughtful. Then, to my great surprise, hopeful. â€Å"He’ll still want to see you.† â€Å"Why are you looking so pleased?† He hesitated. â€Å"The goddess wants to take over. Take you over. She says it’s because Pat destroyed government property, that he’s bungled, that she wants to clean up the mess, that you’re to be sent back where you came from after she’s sure no security has been breached, that it was all glang anyway. But it’s really because she’s pissed off that someone may have thought of something or discovered something before she did. Something that might be important – something she might be able to use.† â€Å"And you think Pat’ll think that merely blowing out the county HQ’s com system on a bad call is better than the goddess finding out maybe it’s a good call?† â€Å"Yeah.† I thought of her walking-nuclear-reactor aura. â€Å"If I wasn’t afraid of the goddess already, I would be now.† He smiled. It was a rickety sort of smile. â€Å"You don’t know half – You don’t want to know half. You want my advice, you stick to suckers. When do you get off today? Pat’ll come by just before.† â€Å"Three,† I said. His eyes were wandering to the muffin racks. There were bran raisin and oatmeal applesauce allspice waiting to go into the cases up front. â€Å"Have one for the road,† I said. â€Å"Thanks,† he said. He took two. Pat drifted in at a few minutes to three. I now knew that it would take a lot to make him look short of sleep, and he looked short of sleep. He looked worse than short of sleep. He raised hollow eyes and said, â€Å"Hey, Sunshine.† â€Å"You look like hell,† I said. I was scraping out the last baking tin. Our Albion crowd would have to be really hungry today to get through this lot. And I’d made my special cream-cheese sauce to go with the triple-ginger gingerbread. I’d long felt that gingerbread, while excellent in itself, was still essentially an excuse to eat the sauce, so I’d always made twice as much per portion as the original recipe called for. Then it turned out that some of our customers were even more crazed than I was, so I’d started making three times as much, and we served it in little sauceboats. You got purists occasionally that didn’t want any sauce, but the slack was taken up somehow. â€Å"Thanks,† he said. â€Å"What’s happening?† He shrugged. His shoulder must be better. Maybe blue-demon blood made you heal fast too. â€Å"What Theo told you.† â€Å"You look like you’ve been let out of the dungeon. I thought thumbscrews were passe.† â€Å"The goddess doesn’t need thumbscrews. She just looks at you and you feel your brains melting.† I thought of the other night. â€Å"I believe you.† â€Å"Theo says you’ve lost it.† â€Å"Yeah. I’m safe from the goddess. No brains left to melt.† â€Å"No one is ever safe from the goddess.† The Pat I knew surfaced and he gave me a familiar look: shrewd, humorous, no nonsense. â€Å"How lost do you suppose it is?† I pulled off my apron and untied my hair. â€Å"Lost enough for now. If I replace a fuse and the system starts working again, I’ll let you know.† â€Å"Maybe you’re just tired,† said Pat. â€Å"Maybe,† I said amiably. Pat ran his hand through what there was of his hair. â€Å"I don’t like it when you agree with me, Sunshine. It’s not your style. What aren’t you telling me?† â€Å"That I’m relieved not to have to try again,† I said. I knew he bought it: he sagged, suddenly looking smaller and older. I felt a fierce pang of guilt, but I reminded myself that he believed that the only good vampire was a staked, beheaded, and burned vampire. Briefly and wistfully I considered a scenario where Con and I had a SOF team with us when we†¦whatever†¦but I recognized this as a fantasy, like a scenario where the goddess of pain retired from SOF and opened a day care center. â€Å"You look like a man who needs caffeine,† I said. â€Å"I’ll grab us something from the counter and meet you outside. Do you want privacy or comfort?† Comfort meant the nice little tables out front, overlooking the square and Mrs. Bialosky’s flower bed, still doing its stuff with chrysanthemums and asters this late in the year. â€Å"Privacy,† he said. He was sitting at one of the unsteady tables in the grim little courtyard behind the coffeehouse that by never doing anything with we could continue to avoid opening to customers. You got used to the roar of the kitchen fans and Mom had a couple of tough little evergreen shrubs in pots that could survive the cooking fumes. Pat and I didn’t talk about anything much after all. He drank the coffee and engulfed the various buns and other edible objects I’d brought, but absentmindedly, like a refueling procedure. The fact that he didn’t argue with me about trying again, about trying to find out the extent of the burnout – about whether or not there really was a burnout – made me feel more guilty. Silence fell. Pat stared into nothing. â€Å"I’m sorry,† I said. He looked at me. â€Å"I believe you,† he said. He stood up. â€Å"I’m not sure I believe the rest of it, but I believe you’re sorry about it.† He paused. â€Å"Makes my life easier in some ways.† Another gleam of the normal Pat as he said: â€Å"Maybe by the time you’ve decided you’re not burned out any more the goddess will have found someone else to crucify.† I didn’t say anything. He rubbed both hands through his hair this time, and added, â€Å"I didn’t say this. But watch your back, Sunshine.† Then he left. Mel wandered out a few minutes after Pat had left. I was staring into my teacup. I’d forgotten to bring a sieve out, so there were tea leaves in the bottom of it, but I couldn’t read them. â€Å"You look like a woman who needs a good laugh,† he said. â€Å"Have you heard the one about the were-pigeon and the streetcleaner?† How to cite Sunshine Chapter 23, Essay examples