Chapter 1

"—escape velocity? It's too much—" the woman's voice had said.

Jesse stopped, wheeling around to find the voice, but it was lost in the groggy brook of sounds and suitcoats moving toward him, away from him, and breaking around him. He had just been thinking about his job and remembering his mother's advice. When you're stuck but ambition pulls you up, use it, you're already at escape velocity...

A short passerby bumped into him, sending a momentary pain through his neck and shoulders. The stranger apologized and tipped his hat, quickly regaining his brisk walking pace.

Nobody else's mother teaches life lessons with physics metaphors, Jesse thought, allowing himself a wry smile. He looked across Bedford Avenue, took a deep breath, and stepped back into the stream of Brooklyners.