The Id and The Odyssey; Episode 50
Rich now had an eight to five job with an hour for lunch, but whenever he got a call he had to go on the assignment.
The first such call was in May. It was a Saturday afternoon and Rich was in the newsroom by himself. In fact, he was the only one at the paper. He heard a report of a Coast Guard rescue near Crescent Island at the mouth of Penobscot Bay. A sailboat with a family on board caught fire and crashed against the rocks of the island.
Rich was waiting at the Coast Guard Station when the rescue boat arrived. He took some pictures and was able to interview everyone rescued and the ones involved in the rescue. It was the top story in the Monday edition.
Tuesday morning Sam sent Rich out for coffee. He returned and distributed the coffee to everyone’s desk. When he entered Sam’s office he didn’t look up. His attention was focused on some papers on his desk. Without looking Sam cleared a spot for the coffee and nodded to the open spot. Rich sat coffee in the spot and hesitated for a thanks. Sam said nothing. He received the same response from the newsroom. It seemed strange that no one thanked him. Everyone appeared absorbed in their work.
Rich sat at his desk and placed his coffee on a copy of the Boston Globe. He moved the cup to the other side of his desk. He looked at the paper puzzled. He lifted it and beneath was a copy of the Bangor Daily News. Beneath the Bangor Daily News was a copy of the Portland Press Herald.
Sam stood at the door of the news room with his coffee. “You operating a newsstand from the back desk?”
“What’s up?” Rich said standing and gathering the papers.
“You got an uncle that works for UPI?” Anderson said.
“I have an uncle who can’t spell his own name and farts at the breakfast table,” Rich said.
“But does he work for UPI?” Butch said.
Sam walked up to Rich, eased the papers from him, and tossed two of them back on the desk. He opened the Boston Globe to the second page. “Your story made The Globe. It was picked up by UPI and appeared in several east coast newspapers and was featured in the Coast Guard News.”
Sam handed the paper to Rich and he looked at the article. “Wow, they even spelled my name right.”
“When I got picked up on the wires the byline was Dutch Hagler,” Butch said. “I think Sam did it on purpose to keep me here.”
“Good job,” Anderson said.
“He was lucky,” Butch said. “It should have been my story. The Coast Guard knew he could have been reached at the bar.”
“You get a few extra bucks on you check when you get picked up on the wires,” Sam said.
“Now buy yourself a car,” Butch said. “People are starting to say you’re a retard who can’t be trusted behind the wheel.”
Rich was greatly encouraged by his brief and slight brush with notoriety. He continued to work hard and Sam was over his shoulder teaching the fine points of journalism. He continued to labor on The Odyssey; a task that he was doing for Sam as a recompense for what all the effort and instruction. It was a lesson in giving and gratitude.
Sam spent little time on The Odyssey project, leaving it much to Rich. Sam’s love was the news business. His time was spent at The Beacon, but his longing was sailing.
Each time Sam visited The Odyssey his eyes lit with delight at the change and progress. By the middle of May everything that was defective on The Odyssey was replaced and everything else, if not painted, was varnished. She looked grand and Rich was as proud of that boat as he was anything.
The Odyssey was launched the last week of May. Sam and Katie could not have been anymore proud than if were the Queen Mary.
The first Sunday in June Sam, Katie, and Rich sailed Penobscot Bay until the sun went down and their muscles were too fatigued to pull the riggings. Sam showed Rich how to put into practice all the things he had read about sailing.
They sent Rich home with the remainder of a bottle of wine. He finished it in the apartment with cold pizza and fell asleep without removing his cloths.
Rich awoke the next morning and immediately thought about Sam and Katie. He wondered how fortunate to stumble across them.
“I don’t think they ever looked at each other without smiling. That’s what I want,” Rich thought.