The Id and The Odyssey; Episode 28
“Jankowski’s,” Frank answered.
“Mr. Jankowski, this is Rich.”
“You okay,” Frank asked.
“Oh yeah,” Rich assured. “I’m fine.”
“Where ya at?” Frank asked.
“Brattleboro, Vermont,” Rich said.
“You made good time,” he said.
“The wind was to my back,” Rich chuckled, “and a ride.”
“Do you need anything?” Frank asked.
“A favor,” Rich said.
“Let’s hear it,” Frank said.
“I met a family that’s on their way to California. They have a school bus that they’re traveling in and the transmission went out. I think more than anything the guy needs a job.”
“Well then let’s put him to work,” Frank said.
“Would you like to talk to him?” Rich said.
“Sure,” he said. “Put ‘im on.”
Rich stepped outside the phone booth and motioned for Claude to take the phone. Rich left the conversation and went inside the gas station and ask some questions about the road to Keene.
Any doubt Rich had about staying with the Jankowski’s was erased. If not for the fact he was on the road this particular day he would not have met with Claude and his family.
Rich sat on the cement walk leaning against the gas station. He hoped there were no obstacles between Frank and Claude. The longer they talked the more confident he was of an amicable resolution.
It was Frank’s nature to be generous and Rich believed it was Claude’s nature to do what was best for his family. Rich began to reflect on his own situation. “My Dad never put himself in a position to accept generosity. It was a weakness to him. Claude was not weak. He was desperate. Desperation will make a person fight, cower, or retreat to another strategy. My Dad cowered and caved. I can deny it any longer, but why I wondered? Why?”
Frank and Claude must have talked for fifteen minutes. Finally Claude exited the phone booth with a broad smile. “He wants to talk to you.”
Rich grabbed the phone and stepped inside the booth. “Hello.”
“Hey, chief,” Frank said. “Thanks for sending me a worker. The guy has got more experience than seventy-five percent of the people working for me now.”
“I hope he works out,” Rich said.
“Well that’s up to him,” Frank said.
“Mr. Jankowski, could you see to one more thing?” Rich said.
“What’s that?” Frank said.
“See to it the kids have an address before they enroll in school,” Rich said. “Kids shouldn’t have to say they live in a school bus.”
Frank did not respond immediately. “You’re a good man. I’ve got it all worked out.”
“Thanks, Mr. Jankowski,” Rich said.
“Bankers, lawyers, accountants, salesmen, and my kids’ teachers call me Mr. Jankowski everybody else calls me Frank.”
“Thanks, Frank,” Rich smiled, “but it doesn’t sound right.”
“You take care, chief,” Frank said. “And keep in touch.”
“Oh Frank before you go, Claude has a twelve year old boy. He may need an Italian wife someday.”
“I’ll be keeping my eye on him,” Frank laughed. “Give me a call anytime.”
“I’ll do that,” Rich said.
“Good bye,” Rich said and hung the phone up and exited the booth with a grin.