The Id and The Odyssey; Episode 41

A Lesson Episode

Rich peddled like a mad man to show up at the paper at a quarter till five. Sam introduced Rich to every one and explained what had to be done. Rich worked four hours completing everything Sam explained to him. All the time Sam sat in his office pounding away at his typewriter.
Rich tapped on the glass window of the door to his office.
“Come in,” Sam said and motioned. Rich walked in.
“Well how do you like the newspaper business?” Sam said.
“It’s not much different than the janitorial business,” Rich said.
“You done?” Sam asked.
“Yes, sir. I just wanted you to look things over before I go,” Rich said.
“Let’s do a walk-through,” Sam said and raised from his desk.
Rich followed him around as he inspected his work. Sam pointed out a couple of minor things. “Don’t worry about them now, but make sure you get them tomorrow,” Sam said. “The gals in the office will probably say something to you about certain things, but it looks good to me.”
Sam led the way to the front door.
“I got to buy some new cloths. Is there a store you can recommend?” Rich said.
“There’s Magley’s, just down the street from here. It‘s on the other side of the street,” Sam said. “A lot of the lobstermen go there. They have good quality clothing for work and leisure. That‘s where I go.”
“Sorry for the wrinkled cloths,” Rich said. “And I’m going to buy an iron tomorrow too.”
“Reminds me of my college days,” Sam said. “I had a roommate who wore his underwear until they reeked.” As he shut the door he said, “Good night, Richard,”
“Good night, Mr. White,” Rich said.
“Sir,” Rich said, “do I reek.”
“No,” Sam said. He smiled and added, “We live in a fishermen and lobstermen, we don’t recognize reek.”
“Gotcha,” Rich said.
“But that’s no invitation to go without bathing,” Sam said.
Rich peddled to the apartment through the dark streets lit only by dim streetlights. It was nearly nine thirty.
He quietly placed his bike in the garage and crept up the steps to his apartment so as not to disturb anyone. However, the steps still creaked and groaned. He unlocked the apartment and walked in. “This is my place, my home, he thought. “Be it ever so humble, it was now mine.”
Rich read the Bible for an hour and crawled inside his sleeping bag. He listened to a jazz station on the radio and fell asleep.
Rich awoke early and quietly unpacked his things.
Tucked away and hidden in his backpack was an envelope. He opened it. It was from Mrs. Jankowski and the girls. There was an additional $100 from Mrs. Jankowski and $25 from each of the girls. Rich sat on the edge of the bed and closed his eyes tightly trying to cast their image in his brain as if there was a photograph on the table beside the rocker.
He looked at a pile of laundry on the floor. Nearly everything needed to be washed.
Rich brewed a cup of tea on the hot plate.
He sipped it from the edge of his bed as he looked out the window. From the window was a prefect view of the harbor. He watched the sun strike its light against the harbor. Boats clung to docks like piglets feeding on their mother. The ferry to Vinylhaven Island was loading with tucks, cars, and people. Lobster boats and sailboats dotted the harbor. The misery and fog of the past few days had gone. He wanted to take a picture and send it home. However, Rich was concerned once a link is forged it will become unbreakable. It might create a longing. And such a longing he could not allow. Now was not the time to establish it.
Rich found a Laundromat and washed his dirty cloths.
He found Magely’s and bought some more clothing and purchased an iron at a hardware.
After taking those things back to the apartment he peddled around town to become familiar.
When he showed up for work at a little before five not only were the ladies in the office pleased with the new clothing, but so was Sam.
As the week went on Sam left for a while and returned at nine to let me out and lock up. The work was pleasurable. Sam took a few minutes with him each night to inquire about his duties and how he was getting along in the community.
Saturday night as Sam walked to the door with Rich, he counted out $25.
“I think that’s too much,” Rich protested and held it out for Sam to take.
“Remember you told me about a lesson you learned about finding how much you get paid before you work? When you undervalue your work, you undervalue yourself.”
“Yes,” Rich said.
“Well here’s another one; never say that’s too much pay,” Sam said.
Rich tucked the money in his pants pocket.
“Can you be here at two Monday?” Sam said.
“Sure,” Rich said.
“That extra hour is going to be spent loading the trucks. There’s just two of them. Then you can start cleaning up the press room and the back dock.”