"It's the real thing this time," he repeated for emphasis.
"What was it all those other times?" I asked.
"They were all the real thing," the Cardinal replied. "I may be a lot of things but insincere isn't one of them. Anyway, this time it's different; she's different. First of all, she's rich. Big rich. We're not talking upper middle-class. We're not even talking middle upper-class. We're talking giga-shares here my friend. We're talking kleptocracy with a capital 'T'. Are you paying attention you disgraceful lush? She stands to inherit significant stock in three or four of the big Parks. She comes and goes as she pleases." He grabbed my head in his large hands and leaned in to me until our foreheads touched and he whispered, "She can take people with her when she goes."
"What's she see in you?"
He began to laugh and let go of me. "How the hell should I know. Maybe she's kinky for the clergy of proscribed religions. Maybe she's not oblivious to charm and wit like you are, you gloomy bastard. I never question these things. That's the difference between us, you know."
I started to say something but he cut me off. "No. I know what you're thinking and you're wrong. You think I'm completely heartless. Only in it for the visa. Let me just say she's not nearly as ugly as you think. In fact, if you catch her in one of her lighter moods, you wouldn't even call her homely. Nope, this is the real thing."