The Id and The Odyssey; Episode 53
Rich strolled back into the store and up to the counter. He said to a short round man chomping on a cigar behind the counter, “A pack of gum please.”
“What kind?” He mumbled holding the cigar to the side of his mouth with his lips.
“Double Mint,” Rich said and handed him a quarter.
He gave Rich change from the register.
“Where’s the mayor live?” Rich asked.
“Who wants to know?” He mumbled indignantly.
Rich was cub reporter and had not learned how to act nonchalant. “Why do you want to know who wants to know?”
He definitely was not expecting that one. The thought occurred to Rich he might be perceived as a pugnacious brat.
“Who are you?” He snorted piqued.
“I’m a new resident,” Rich said harmlessly. “I just moved her and want to meet the people who work for me. Mayors are public servants, you know.”
That only made things worse.
“I am the mayor,” he said proudly and asked suspiciously. “What do you want any way?”
“Like I said, I just moved here,” Rich retorted. “And I saw some guys paving a driveway. They’re doing such a good job I wanted them to do mine also.”
“Who do you think you are, some sort of wise guy?” He said.
A short woman with a fish mouth and wrinkled face moved from behind the a lunch counter to the man’s side. “Kick him out of here. Go on get out.” She flipped her hands at Rich like ridding a fly.
“Who did your paving? Who paid for it?” Rich said. “What do you have to hide?”
“You’re asking a lot of snoopy questions,” he said. “Who are you?”
“Should I just assume the paving job was illegal,” Rich said. “And you’d rather not talk about it?”
He reached behind the counter and held up a small baseball bat in one hand. It was cocked behind his head as if to take a swing. “I’m givin’ ya to the count of three.”
“You swing that bat and you become the most popular man in Rockland,” Rich said pointing a finger at him. “My name is Rich Larsen and I’m a reporter for The Beacon.”
“Flatten his head, Seymour,” the woman said.
“Can’t we sit and talk quietly about it,” Rich said eyeing the distance the exit.
The man came out from behind the counter and chased Rich from the store. Rich jogged to the jeep and quickly drove back to Dennis’s and Peggy’s home. They were in the kitchen setting the table. Rich ask to use their telephone.
After a half hour on the phone in Dennis’s study Rich walked into the kitchen. Dennis and Peggy were sitting at the table waiting.
“I hope you guys don’t mind for making you wait, but I got a story to work on,” Rich said. “I got to run.”
“Oh please stay,” Peggy pleaded.”
“I’m sorry, but I got to go,” I said.
“What is it?” Dennis asked.
Rich smiled, “Read it in The Beacon.”
Rich jumped into the jeep and headed back to Rockland. His mind was racing with a ten or twelve angles, follow ups, headlines, and lead ins.
A car appeared behind Rich. He adjusted the side view mirror to see better. It was the mayor. His fish-mouthed wife was with him.