The Id and The Odyssey; Episode 109
Dennis and Peggy invited Sam, Katie, and Rich to their home. It was, of sorts, a homecoming. Peggy finished her tour and had to spend some time in New York to finish her commissions. Dennis drove down to see her quite often, but Rich, Sam, or Katie had not seen the two together since she started the tour. The event at their home was also to celebrate the completion of her tour and the actual publication of Dennis’s book. He shyly gave Sam, Katy, and Rich an advance copy at the door and Peggy handed brochures from her showings. She proudly showed a scrap book of photos and newspaper clippings. It was a delightful and cheery evening.
During the dinner chatter Rich was mentally disconnected. His mind was on the actions of Sam toward him. Rich felt as if it was creepy. There was something underlying his flattery. He felt as if he was being recruited by a cult or a spy ring.
After dinner they sat in the living room. Peggy and Dennis sat in stuffed chairs, Sam and Katy on the couch, and Rich sat on the floor next to the fireplace. Rich watched a small fire while they talked.
The conversation was a carry-over from the meal. A light discussion about political and social reform. A conversation he was not a part, but was asked often what he thought. Rich was evasive and vague in his responses. He was certain he was being bated to speak more forcefully. His strategy was not to appear too eager, because that might come off as insincere. However, there was the gnawing sense he was being drawn into something.
The mood became quiet for a moment. Rich pretended not to notice.
“I hope that our recent limited success does not effect our friendships,” Peggy said amusingly. “We are about to become noticeable and actually be able to buy new cloths and afford a car that has a radio.”
That was the first thing that was said that did not involve the book tour, the showings, politics, current events, and social reform. Rich viewed it as an evening for the older married set rather than he. It was strange there was no conversation about Sam’s and Katy’s pregnancy.
“We have all become such good friends I would not want anything to happen that would spoil it,” Peggy continued.
“Like an affair,” Rich thought. He mentally scolded himself and turned toward the group as penitence for his perverse and satirical thought.
Katy leaned forward and turned to Sam. “Sam has some good news also. Tell them, Sam.”
Sam shyly smiled, “Well, I’ve been looking at some other newspapers, one on the Cape and in Vermont.”
“You bought another paper?” Dennis interrupted. “You told me you were looking at one.”
“No,” Sam said. “I bought three, the one on the Cape, another in Vermont and I thought, what the heck, why not get one in New Hampshire.”
“How did you manage that?” Dennis asked.
Peggy looked at Rich and laughed, “he doesn’t pay his employees well.”
“I took on a partner,” Sam said. “My younger brother and Frank Stafford. My brother is going to take care of the business side and I do the content. Frank is an investor. We’ve actually talked about it for sometime. He owns 25 percent, Frank has 25, and I got the rest.”
“Did Rich get a promotion with it?” Dennis joked.
“Rich has some news of his own,” Sam said.
“I don’t think now is the time,” Rich said.
“And why not?” Peggy said.
“The night belongs to you guys,” Rich said. He gazed back into the flames.
“Do you mind if I tell?” Sam said.
“No, go ahead,” Rich said looking at him and turned back to the fire
“Rich is going to take The Odyssey around the world and he’s going to chronicle the trip that will likely be a book,” Sam said cheerfully.
“That’s great news!” Dennis said.
Rich briefly acknowledged with a forced smile to everyone and looked back into the flames.
Peggy reached over and rested her hand on Rich’s knee. “What’s wrong?” She asked.