Frank Glassner, 27, says his success is all an act. Take the time he went to the office of a shady accountant posing as a businessman in need of some quick bookkeeping. Once inside the door, Glassner opened a "ledger" he was carrying and whipped out a subpoena for a lawsuit. The accountant was stunned. "You're a real smiling cobra," he remarked.

Glassner makes such chutzpah pay. In four years his Chicago firm, Due Process, Inc., has served some 107,000 subpoenas and other documents for fees starting at $15 each. His income was well into six figures last year, and he is now opening branches in San Francisco, Dallas, Atlanta and New York.

The son of a Skokie, Ill. contractor, Glassner drifted through three colleges before setting up Due Process in a shabby office he describes as "straight out of Sam Spade." Now his business—75 percent of which involves debt collection and divorce cases—requires a staff of some 20 process servers. Their trade demands guts as well as ingenuity. Once Glassner posed as a florist's delivery man in order to serve divorce papers on a client's wife. She accepted the roses, then found the papers in the enclosed envelope—and threw an ashtray at him.

Though Glassner now works out of his fancy town house and aims to go to law school, he thinks he'll always love bearing bad news. "It's hide-and-seek," he says. "And I get paid for it."

Judith LeClair, 24, wasn't a typical musical prodigy. Growing up in Parkersburg, W.Va., the daughter of a Du Pont chemical engineer, she was "a tomboy," her mother says. Judith concedes, "I took horse riding lessons before I ever sat on a piano bench." But when the New York Philharmonic opened its fall season on Sept. 10, guess who was principal bassoonist—and the youngest of the 106 players?

Conductor Zubin Mehta praises both LeClair's "youthful enthusiasm and incredibly mature talent." That is most evident in the clarity of her phrasing and her ability to make the often cranky bassoon's sound blend in with other wind instruments.

LeClair did not start playing the bassoon until she was 13. She joined the San Diego Symphony after graduating from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. in 1979. When she applied for the principal bassoonist's chair at the Philharmonic last year, she was rejected for lack of experience. But later she wangled a spot in a competition for the job with some 75 other bassoonists from all over the world. One of the three finalists, she turned in a smash performance in a difficult duet during a Bartok concerto, and Mehta happily told her, "Welcome to the orchestra." Was it all a terrible ordeal, as in the movie The Competition? Hardly, says Judith. "It was the most fun I ever had."