Rich arrived home after a typical work day. He checked his mailbox on the porch, Inside was a letter. Unusual, because he seldom received mail other than an electric and gas bill. It was from Sarah Gaffe, Maine State Penitentiary, Thomaston, Maine.
“Death threat,” Rich thought and walked inside and up the two flights of steps to his apartment.
Rich hung his jacket over a peg behind the door. He sat in his chair. He opened the letter and held to catch the light through the window.
Rich mumbled as he read. “Dear Mr. Larsen, as you already know this is from Sarah Gaffe. I’ve had a few months to adjust to my prison routine. If you recall I was sentenced to five years, but with good behavior I can get out in three. I have a few things I want to tell you and it is better I do this face to face. Visits are on Wednesdays and Saturday. I have put your name on my visitors list so all you have to do is mention who you want to visit and they will take you to the women’s visiting room. I really want to talk to you, so please come. Sincerely, Sarah Gaffe.”
Rich laid the letter on the stand and leaned back in the chair. He stared out the window at the harbor. “Why would she possibly want to see me? If it wasn’t for me she’d still be behind the counter of the store leading a quiet life. Maybe she just wants to face me, spit in my face, and tell me what she thinks of me. I got better things to do.”
Rich went to the refrigerator and opened it. There was an egg, a quart of milk, two cans of Moxie, one piece of bologna in meat wrapping paper, jar of mustard, bottle of catsup, blue berry jelly, a stick of butter, and half used package of Swiss cheese. He shut the door and opened the door to the cupboard next to the refrigerator. There was a can of tomato and cream of mushroom soup, an open box of shredded wheat cereal, a can of spaghetti, a can of green beans, a can of corn, and a box of elbow macaroni.
“There is a meal here, I just know it.” Rich thought. “However, I lack the energy and imagination.”
Rich grabbed his jacket from the peg and slung it on. He hustled down the steps and into his Jeep. He wanted to go someplace where someone might not recognize him. It was not as if he was a local celebrity, but there were enough in the community that knew him by this point that it might elicit a whisper or two. And it was always his intent to lead an incognito existence.
He drove north out of town on Highway 1. He did not care how far, however he didn’t wish to make a night of it. Lincolnview would do fine. They had a couple of restaurants and it was a weeknight; there would be few diners.
Rich pulled into a restaurant that sat on the bay. He walked in and was greeted by an attractive blond waitress in her late twenties or early thirties.
“Are you dinning?” she said.
“Yes,” Rich said. “Do you mind if I sit facing the bay?”
“Sure,” she said. “Are you dinning alone tonight?”
Rich smiled. “Very alone.”
“Any table, Mr. Larsen,” she said.
Rich raised his eyebrows.
“I didn’t want to be known either,” Rich said.
“My apologies,” she said. “Take any seat you want. No one will bother you.”
“Thanks you,” Rich said and made his way through the dinning room and sat at a window table looking out over the bay that was only lit by a pale moon.
The waitress brought a glass of water and sat it down.
Have you had enough time?” she said.
“Yes,” Rich said, “filet mignon; well, asparagus, tossed salad, Roquefort.”
“What type of potatoes?” she said.
“No potatoes,” Rich said. “Just what I ordered.”
“I’ll have to charge you for the potato anyway,” she said.
“I know,” Rich said. “If it makes you feel better, wrap it to go.”
“Sure,” she said. “Do you want coffee.”
“Black,” Rich said.
“I’ll be right back with the coffee,” she said.
She brought the coffee and left quickly. She came back with the salad.
“How did you recognize me?” Rich said after she sat the salad in front of him.