It wasn’t until Sunday that Deb felt her first twinge of uncertainty. Up to that point, she’d been committed the whole way through, attending every one of the lectures, the motivational sessions, the mixers and meals. She’d paid the fees and studied the literature, including the official handbook with its corresponding audio disks as well as the unabridged biography of Todd Rodgers. She’d begun meditating twice daily, in the mornings and at night, and followed diligently the recommended fitness regime and diet. In fact, she’d eaten nothing but Seed products since she’d checked in three days ago, suffering without complaint through the stomach cramps and lightheadedness. She’d even become used to the bitter aftertaste of the Herbal Lift tea. It was a comprehensive system, and it made sense to her, all of it. You couldn’t expect to just wake up one morning and be able to fly. True success took perseverance, dedication. As Todd Rodgers had said in the first day’s lecture and in his fourth book Learning to Walk: “It takes deep commitment to free the self from spiritual ballast.”

Deb knew better than to expect a miracle. She’d made that mistake before. Now here she sat, struggling to adjust the two enormous wings that emerged from behind her shoulder blades and extended almost to the floor. They were white, the Angelic Assent model featured in most commercials. She’d thought them edgy until the conference this weekend, when she realized they were the number one seller, the most popular color and style. Almost two-thirds of the group here had the exact same pair.