Two days after the gala at the Waldorf Astoria, a story appears in a tabloid—one that, at any other time, might have been “dismissed as rubbish.” Now, however, there’s a “collective desire to find the presumed architects of the financial crisis despicable,” so the story isn’t dismissed. It’s talked about in barbershops and on playground benches. Leah calls Jende and tells him that an escort claims that she has lots of clients from Barclays who have been paying her with government bailout money. The woman mentions Clark among her frequent clients.
The news about Clark’s visits to escorts unravels Cindy’s dream of a happy marriage which, in turn, will result in the undoing of the Jongas’ American Dream. The story results from a desire to punish Clark for destroying the dreams of so many Americans due to greed, arrogance, and, specifically in Clark’s case, his inability to stand up and challenge what he knew to be unethical behavior.
Jende cuts his conversation with Leah short to go pick up Mighty. He hangs up, thinking about how miserable Leah had recently sounded due to not getting any calls back after sending out fifty résumés. Today she sounds cheerful, reveling in the sordid details about others’ lives. Jende calls Winston, hoping that he’s read the story and can advise Jende about what to do, but Winston doesn’t pick up. He thinks about what he can say to Cindy when he picks her up at five to drive to Lincoln Center, where she’s to meet a friend for dinner and the opera. He prepares himself to assure her that he’s never seen Clark with a prostitute. He opens the door for Cindy and greets her, but she doesn’t reply. She doesn’t speak at all for the duration of their ride. When he offers her the notebook, she tells him to keep it; she no longer needs it.
Leah’s mood lifts from talking about the scandal involving Clark because he’s partly responsible for her job loss. It makes her feel better that he, along with the other executives whom she never trusted, will also suffer in the aftermath of the crisis. Meanwhile, Cindy’s silent wrath is palpable in this passage. She would never express this anger toward an employee, but her detached silence toward Jende portends her intention to have him fired. She doesn’t respond to his greeting because, for her, he no longer exists. She refuses the blue notebook because she knows that it contains lies constructed to protect Clark.