The Id and The Odyssey: Episode 90

Death of Mrs. Gaffe

Saturday morning Rich drove to the office.
He watched the television in the newsroom and read what came across on the wires. The outside line in the newsroom rang.
Rich picked it up, “Beacon newsroom, Rich Larsen.”
“Good morning, Rich. This is Dave Smithson. I tried to reach you at home and didn‘t get an answer, so I figured at guy with your busy social calendar must be doing nothing in the newsroom.”
“Dave!” Rich said. “How are you doing?”
“I doing fine,” Dave said. “I imagine you’ve been busy the last day. Stuff like this happens only once in a lifetime.”
“Yeah,” Rich said. “We had to write a new front page yesterday.”
“I wanted to pass something on to you,” Dave said. “Ole lady Gaffe croaked in prison yesterday. She’s going to be buried close by.”
“What happened?” Rich said.
“They say it was a heart attack,” Dave said. “Just found her dead in her cell.”
“Thanks a lot,” Rich said.
“Thought you might like to know. Take care,” Dave said.
“Yeah,” Rich said. “You too.”
Rich placed the phone on the receiver and sat at his desk. Sadness came over him as if a cold breeze swept through the room. His head dropped and he stared at the floor. A tear dropped from his eye. “If I’d left well enough alone,” Rich thought, “the old lady might still be alive or died in her own bed.”
“You bastard,” Rich mumbled to himself.
Rich didn’t hear Sam come up the steps, but suddenly he was at the door to the newsroom.
“Hey, Rich,” Sam said. “Have a good night’s sleep.”
Rich looked up. “Yeah, slept good.”
“Are you okay?” Sam asked.
“Just got a call from Dave Smithson,” Rich said. “Mrs. Gaffe died in prison yesterday.”
“That upset you?” Sam said.
“Yeah,” Rich said.
“Look,” Sam said. “It’s not your fault she died in prison. She put herself there along with the help of her husband.”
“I know that,” Rich said, “but it’s still sad.”
“Give her a good obit,” Sam said. “We’ll run it later in the week.”
Later Smithson called and relayed the arrangements for Mrs. Gaffe’s burial. It was to held in a small graveyard near Port Clyde on Monday when the President would be buried.
There was a private ceremony held at the prison chapel. There were only immediate family members attending. It was impossible for Rich to make it there. He had work to do at the paper. After lunch everyone at the office was tethered to the televisions set up at the paper watching the Kennedy funeral.
Rich slipped away and drove to the graveyard where Mrs. Gaffe was to be buried at 2:30.