The Id and The Odyssey; Episode 125
It was a sorrowful drive back to Rockland.
Dennis pulled into the driveway of the apartment at 5:45 PM. Before he could get to the door Al was there to meet him.
“You boss at the paper called about an hour ago,” Al said. “He’s at the hospital.”
Rich smiled. “Thanks, Al. I think my boss and his wife had their baby.”
“He sounded happy,” Al said.
“Thanks, Al,” Rich said and dashed back to the Jeep and headed to the hospital.
Rich found Sam in the maternity waiting room. Sam was all smiles. He and Katie had 6 pound 7 ounce girl. Rich saw Katie and the baby briefly. She was named Samantha Rose.
Sam walked Rich to the lobby.
“I’ve talked to Rudy,” Sam said. “I’ll be no where near the office this week. Don’t bother to call me. You guys are on your own.”
“We won’t let you down, Sam,” Rich said. “We’ll work twice as hard.”
“After the dust settles we’ll talk a little more about your future and the trip,” Sam said.
“Let’s not sweat the small stuff,” Rich said. “And if we do, it’s 6 pounds and 7 ounces.”
Rich headed out of the parking lot in the Jeep. “Now is the prefect time,” he said.
Rich drove to the newspaper. He parked at the rear of the paper and used his key to get into the back door. He walked nonchalant through the pressroom and into the outer office all the while his eyes darted around to see if anyone was there. He quietly climbed the steps and first went into the newsroom to make certain no one was there.
Rich opened the door to Sam’s office. The sun had not completely set, there was plenty of light to see by.
He tried the combination. It was Sam’s date of birth; 7-21-29. The safe did not open. He tried two more times. “Crap,” Rich said and pressed his lips. Rich went to the personal file cabinet next to Sam’s desk. He found Sam’s file and in the file found Katie’s date of birth.
Rich tried 12-1-37. The safe opened. “Sam has no imagination,” he muttered.
Rich’s eyes widened. He grabbed hold of the ledger. The ledger he gave to Dave Smithson. “Oh my,” Rich said. “These guys are really working together. My crazy immature mind was right all along.”
Rich hurried into the pressroom. He grabbed a pen and tablet from his desk and went back to Sam’s office. Rich sat against the wall under the window to catch the setting sunlight and to reduce his visibility.
Page by page he read and jotted down notes until it became dark. He went into the hallway bathroom and turned on the light. He continued reading and note taking while sitting on the commode. It took nearly an hour and half before he was done.
Rich placed the ledger back in the safe, closed it, and spun the combination dial. Leaving Sam’s office he made certain nothing was disturbed and he closed the door. He retraced his steps though the newspaper’s office and pressroom. He was nervously observant when making his way to the Jeep.
Once back at the apartment and at his desk Rich carefully read over the ledger’s notes. There were some things clear to him; the names were in code and he had a good idea who they were. Rich mumbled, “Snow is Snow White, Sam White. Black is blacksmith, Dave Smithson. Rod and Henrietta, think, think, think. Rod; ramrod, hot rod, rod and reel, Roderick Crawford, Rod Taylor, Rodgers, Roy Rodgers. Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death my rod and staff… Staff, Stafford. Frank Stafford. Henrietta. It’s a woman. I’m clueless. Male, Henry: O. Henry, Henry Aaron (she wouldn’t know that), Henry Fonda, Henry Hudson. That’s it female Hudson, Peggy.”
Rich rubbed his forehead as he leaned on the desk. “How did I get into this mess? Most importantly how do I get out of it. If I‘d walked past The Beacon that day I‘d probably be quietly pumping gas someplace right now. That means that Dennis is a part of this too. I wonder about Butch, Anderson, Gordy, and Rudy. Am I the only one on the outside?”
There was another strange entry at the bottom of one of the pages. It merely read, “Stash under the trash.”
Rich laid on his bed and stared at the ceiling. He thought. “Mrs. Gaffee didn’t want to make this too hard for whoever would read the ledger. Stash under the trash. There’s money someplace. It’s in the store at Port Clyde. I bet that place is full of trap doors and secret compartments. Guess where I’m going to go?”
Rich smiled and fell asleep.