The Id and The Odyssey; Episode 100
In early January Butch accepted a job in Bangor. Rich was depressed about him leaving. They had gone through a lot together and Butch served as a good writing partner and mentor. He was given a substantial raise and the city hall beat. Things were dull with his absence, but there was far less time spent at bars.
Rich’s recreation was reading and sailing. Gordy and Rudy went out with him a couple times on the bay, but for the most part it was too chilly for them ‘land lovers.’
It was Friday in late March. The day was winding down. Rich asked Sam if they could talk for a while in his office after work.
At 5:10 the building was empty except for Sam and Rich.
Rich walked into Sam’s office. “Do you mind if I sit?”
“It looks serious,” Sam nodded toward the chair in front of his desk. “You get an offer some place else?”
Rich chuckled. “No, nothing like that. Although I got a call from Butch a couple of weeks ago.”
“So what’s up?” Sam said tapping his pencil on the edge of the desk.
“I think it’s time we get the key and find out what’s in that safety deposit box,” Rich said.
Sam stroked his chin. “I think we should go together.”
“I think so too,” Rich said. “I think there is something big in that box.”
“That day Mr. and Mrs. Gaffee nearly ran you off the road, it had to be bigger than a few yards of blacktop,” Sam said. “She was concealing something else. You don’t try to kill or injure someone over that. I think you said she had murder in her eyes. She’had something worth hurting other people over. What do you think?”
“This is all new to me,” Rich said. “I’ve never seen the likes of things like this, only read about them in novels. I’ve never seen people so desperate. Something else is strange, it has bothered me since the day of Mrs. Gaffee’s funeral. Mr. Gaffee wasn’t angry at me. If he were a criminal he’d have displayed some sort of loathing, at least apathy. He seemed touched that I was there.”
“Let’s go next Friday,” Sam said. “I’ll give Butch a call, maybe we can have lunch together.”
“Yeah,” Rich said. “I’d like to see him again.”
“To change the subject a little,” Sam said. “I’m curious about something; the day we left Stafford’s on the Cape, Frank gave you something wrapped, was it a book?”
“Yes,” Rich said. “I read it.”
“What was it, if you don’t mind telling?” Sam said.
“The Power of the Elite,” Rich said.
“What did you think of it?” Sam said.
“It was interesting and enlightening,” Rich said, “but what do you replace the current powerful elite with?”
“The people will have the power,” Sam said.
“Maybe it’s just me,” Rich said, “I’m not a deep thinker like you and your friends, but people seldom make good decisions. They are easily swayed by movies, rumors, superstitions, and newspapers. The masses are easily manipulated and misled. One type of elite is just replaced by another.”
“What if you were aboard a ship and it was sinking,” Sam said, “and you knew where the lifeboats were and how to get there? Would you help and tell people how to get to the life boats?”
“Sure I would,” Rich said.
“What if there was a cabin full of children, some could not even walk, what would you do?” Sam said.
“I’d pick them up and carry them to the boats,” Rich said.
“What if some thought you were heading them to the wrong side of the ship away from the lifeboats?” Rich said.
“I’d grab them if I had to and pull them to the boats,” Rich said.
“That’s right,” Sam said. “Some people have to be brought forcibly to safety for their own good. It becomes a noble endeavor.”
Sam swiveled in his chair and picked out a book from the shelves behind him. “I just read this. I think you’ll like it.”
Rich grabbed the book and read the title. “The Wretched of the Earth, sounds interesting.”
“It’s a new book, causing people to think,” Sam said. “You like to think don’t you?”
“Who doesn’t?” Rich said.
“I’ll be interested in what you think,” Sam said.
“I’ll return it in a week.” Rich stood. “Thanks.” He left the office.