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The Microsoft-Yahoo marriage. Inside the pre-nup negotiations.

The Microsoft/Yahoo shenanigans have nothing to do with a business deal. This is a pre-nup negotiation.

Gerri Yang had known Stephen Ballmer for a long time.

They used to go to the same parties. They would watch the same, lesser people smoke substances on terraces facing the golden sunset.

But neither of them ever thought they would end up together.

Gerri thought she would marry someone younger, someone with the body of a builder and the mind of an astrophysicist.

The reverse had never crossed her mind.

Now, here she was, in her later years, knowing in her heart that Mr. Right had passed her by and all that was left was a selection of Mr. Ohnos. And not one of them Apollo.

All of them, in fact, were not quite as buff as they used to be, which was a little disturbing.

Gerri and Stephen knew that, at least in some ways, they made a good, sensible match.

But when they were alone together, they argued a lot.

They didn't argue about whether they loved each other, or how many kids they should have.

They had, after all, been around the block so many times that the block was now a freeway.

Suleiman Poher

No, the only times they raised their voices was when the subject was money.

"But, Stephen, I am used to certain standards. If you left me, I would need to know that those standards would be maintained," said Gerri.

"I'm not going to leave you," said Stephen in an unusual whisper. "Our families are coming together to create a new dynasty, one that will rise up against the Brin-Pages and make the Ballmer-Yangs the First Family of Tech."

"You mean the Yang-Ballmers, don't you, buttercup?" said Gerri, furiously batting her eyelids.

"Whatever you say, sweetums," said Stephen.

"Well, why can't you give me $37 a second for the rest of my life? Or even $38?" griped Gerri gently. "I am a loyal and faithful partner. And you, well, you do have a bit of a history, don't you?"

"I've been young. I've been impetuous. But that is all behind me. All I have in front of me is you and our marriage," declared Stephen. "You know I am giving you everything I have. And if you don't agree to this pre-nup, I will talk to your parents."

"To my parents?" shrieked a shocked Gerri.

"In fact, I already have," blurted Stephen, his impetuousness having not quite left the building. "They agree that I am being more than fair, given your age and, you know, your, um, internal problems."

"I am as fit as a fiddle," said Gerri, her bottom lip hanging dangerously low.

"Fiddle-dee-dee is what my inner circle tells me. And your inner circle appears to be steadily deserting you," said a suddenly calm Stephen.

"They are not deserting me. They simply don't think I will need them as much any more. Because I will be spending all of my time with you," explained Gerri.

"That's not what your Uncle Carl says," said Stephen, evenly. "He says some of your family, especially your cousins and nephews, are turning against you. He says you need new mentors to help you conclude a successful marriage. And a successful marriage starts with a successful pre-nup. Uncle Carl wants what's best for you."

"HE'S NOT MY UNCLE!" shouted Gerri. "That's just what my parents told me to call him."

"Because your parents trust him. And he has told them that the Trust Fund I have prepared especially for you, my precious, is a fund that can be trusted."

"Oh, I am lost," sniffled a forlorn Gerri. "I never thought that love would be like this."

Stephen allowed a silence to fall gently, like a dusk at summer solstice.

Then he whispered: "Perhaps I could add free vet visits, all expenses paid plastic surgery, including any scientific advancements in facial, bodily or cryogenic preservation. And a new Maserati every year."

"And a Tesla and a hybrid Smart car?" said Gerri with renewed excitement.

"A Smart car? Of course, my ever-clever petal. Of course," said Stephen.

Gerri took Stephen's hand in hers.

They both smiled.

"Now, then," said Gerri. "How many guests? I was thinking something small and intimate. Say, 30,000 people?"