The Id and The Odyssey; Episode 79

Dennis's Good News

Dennis visited Rich several times during Peggy’s absence. Rich also drove out the their home. She called Dennis every night. Rich was happy to hear that.
In mid November Dennis called Rich at his apartment and invited him out for a meal. Rich drove out to the house in a cold drizzle that at times turned to sleet. The house was warm and well lit and Rich was happy to be out of the weather. Dennis took his coat. While he hung it in a closet Rich warmed himself in front of a small fire place in the living room.
“In here,” Dennis said from the dinning room.
Dennis had an eloquent table set.
“How are Peggy’s showings?” Rich asked sitting down at the table.
“It’s going well for her,” Dennis said., “She’s sold a few of her works and has received a couple of commissions for some more paintings and she’s flying home for the holidays also.”
“That’s great news,” Rich said.
“This is sort of a celebratory meal,” Dennis said. “That’s why I asked you out. I wanted the White’s to come, but they couldn’t.”
“What’s the celebration?” Rich asked.
“Let me pour the wine first,” Dennis said. He walked into the kitchen. Rich heard him remove a cork from a bottle.
Dennis poured the wine and sat. “First a little salad.”
“This is killing me,” Rich said. “What is it?”
“Let’s eat a little salad first,” Dennis said and he passed the salad bowl.
Rich hauled a portion of spinach leaf salad and ate it with some bread and wine.
“Just a bit of soup,” Dennis said teasingly.
“My goodness, man, I’m about to die from suspense,” Rich said.
“Some soup first,” Dennis said carefully dipping the ladle into the soup bowl and pouring it into Rich’s bowl.
Rich sipped it with the bread and a another sip of wine. “Well!”
“Let’s fill your plate first,” Dennis said.
Rich got portions of sliced roast beef, parsley potatoes, and asparagus. “I’m not taking a bite until you tell me.”
“Look under your plate,” Dennis said.
Rich lifted the plate. Under it was a folded business envelope.
“Open it and read,” Dennis said.
Rich silently read it to and extended his hand, “Congratulations Mr. LaMarre you are now a published novelists.”
Dennis held up a check, “And an advance.”
“Does Peggy know?” I asked.
“Yeah, she knows,” Dennis said, “We knew it would happen for us at the same time.”
As they ate Dennis explained to Rich with great enthusiasm and joy about his plans to schedule signings, to polish up an old manuscript and publish it. He never stopped talking. It was good to see his face light with eagerness and elation.
“Rich, I was about to give up,” Dennis said. “I was going to submit until the end of the year and wait. Sam’s been wanting me to work for him for a couple of years.”
“Did he do the finger walk test?” Rich asked.
“Yeah,” Dennis chuckled. “Here’s what I told him; Because one leg was shorter than the other poor Chatsworth walked with a terrible limp that hindered him from dancing and being a dandy with the ladies, but he had an easy time banking the corners in the four-forty and thus held the school record until his untimely death, while running from the enemy, in fact, he ran in a circle and back into the line of fire.” Dennis smile with great delight and finality. “I told him I know what you want, but doing it my way you know so much more about Chatsworth and make him so much more interesting.”
Rich laughed and choked on a bite of potatoe. Then Dennis started laughing.
“We went back and forth for a half an hour. Finally he said to go ahead and write your damn lies. All you get paid for is to write lies. Then I said you should try it, you’ll sell more papers.”
The rest of the evening Rich and Dennis told stories, old and new about Sam. Heavy fluffy snow flakes fell outside. By the time Rich left there was about four inches on the ground.
The drive home and watching the flakes fall before the headlights made Rich reminisce about an earlier time as a child when his Uncle Bob and him drove through such a snow. The car was warm and Rich was secure and safe. He didn’t know why he remembered something so insignificant. Nothing marked that night except the heavy snow. Uncle Bob teased Rich because he hated pickles. “Look, look at those snow flakes, imagine they are pickles coming to get you.” So infantile and yet why memorable? Perhaps he was trying to quell Rich’s fear or his own.
It was a gentle ride home, slow and deliberate as if crossing on clouds.
From his widow Rich watched the fluffy flakes gently cascade from the heavens. He moved the chair near the window to watch them as if in a movie theater. Classical music came through the radio. “Snow should only be accompanied by classical music,” Rich thought.

For the first time Rich really felt homesick. That soon passed as he felt the comfort of his own environment surround and fondle his heart. Rich was in a secure place. Everything in sight was of his own making and it was good. He listened to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and read a collection of Poe’s short stories. It was a good night for Poe - and Vivaldi. Rich slept with gentle flakes of snow outside the widow just beyond his head as if a dream.