The Id and The Odyssey; Episode 81

The Death of A Prince

A wadded up piece of paper bounced off Rich’s head. Rich looked up from a stare at his typewriter. It was Sam. Rich seldom saw Sam in a playful mood. Rich wadded up another piece of paper and flung it at him. He ducked into the hallway and thumbed his nose. His head popped back in the room. “All the way up the steps I didn’t hear one key from the typewriter. I thought you were dead.”
“I was sitting here thinking too much,” Rich said. “’Out of bounds,’ doesn’t really look right, but it sounds right. You know two prepositions together. I’ve been thinking a new phrase, ‘beyond the boundary,’ What do you think?”
“Check your book on style, sophomore,” Sam chided. “Better yet eighth grade grammar.”
“Hey, can’t a guy use a little creative and critical exploration of form and style,” Rich said.
“The janitor’s job is open again,” Sam said. “There’s always room for exploration and creative thought there. Type, young one, type, I want to see words. We are in the word business.”
Five minutes later Sam came over the intercom, “I can’t here you!”
Rich walked over to his office and tapped on the window and he motioned him in.
“Are you drunk?” Rich asked. “I’ve never seen you act like this.”
Sam leaned back in his chair and laughed. He leaned forward and looked around as if someone may overhear and whispered, “I’m going to be a daddy.”
Rich lunged forward and shook his hand. “When?”
“Not sure yet, but maybe June,” Sam said. “What the heck!” Sam pushed down the lever on the intercom for the entire newspaper. “Katie and I are going to have a baby. That’s all. Now back to work.”
Applause and cheers echoed from the entire building.
“I think it was some of those moonlight cruises we went on,” Sam said. “We had given up after years of trying. I hope I’m not too old. Well at least Katie isn’t. If she tells you, act surprised.” Sam pushed the key to the intercom again, “Act surprised if Katie comes in. Act normal. Back to work.”
They talked for about fifteen minutes and the phone range. It was Katie and Rich stepped from the office. When he hung up Rich came back in.
“It was Katie,” Sam said dejectedly. “There was someone in the lobby when I made the announcement over the intercom. They called Katie. I’m in hot water.”
“You’ve been there many times before,” Rich said. “You’ll find a way out.”
“I got it, come home with me tonight,” Sam said. “She won’t hit me with you around.”
“She’ll knock me out first,” Rich said. “And then beat you while I’m laying unconscious and bleeding to death.”
“This is a great day,” Sam said. “Now write me some words. Words will pay for the baby.”
After lunch Butch, Rudy, Gordy, and I were at their desks. The type writers were smacking away. Sam stopped by and said, “Now that sounds like a newsroom.”
They were so intense no one looked up. A few minutes passed and the intercom clicked on. Rudy said, “Sam again, he’s so excited about the baby.”
The voice of a radio newscaster came across the intercom. “This in from Dallas. President Kennedy has been shot. It appears to be an assassination attempt on his life. Details are not known, but his motorcade rushed him to a local hospital.”
Everyone stopped typing and talked for a few minutes as the newscaster informed listeners what he did not know. Soon the typewriters began to tap away confident that the alarm was minimal.
Ten minutes later the newscaster said, “Ladies and gentlemen, the President is dead, the President is dead.” There was an uncomfortable pause. “It is believed to be from a gun shot to the head.”

On the radio a dirge was played. It seemed almost inappropriate, but what else could be offered other than silence.