The Fifth Part


He read silently.  “So whoever wrote this wants you to pretend to be a forty-year-old man.”

“He apparently is under the impression that I am a forty-year-old man.”

“Well, he’s way, way  off on that.”  Tad stated this emphatically.

“Thank you, Tad”

“You’re welcome.”

I heard a song.  Something up-tempo.  That hardly ever happens in real life.  Background music to accompany conversation.

“Do you hear that?”

Tad clutched at his jacket pocket.  “It’s my phone.  Just a sec.”

He walked toward the hall.  Keep in mind I was hearing his side of the conversation only and my imagination had to fill in the blanks, which it didn’t really feel like doing.

“Hi. ……No…….  I didn’t plan on waiting that long……………  He did? …………..She did? Alright……………  No, I understand why, I just thought…, yes.  I was told there would be no……………..Okay, I’ll wait ‘til Thanksgiving, but there’d better be pie……………..later, bye.”

I like that.  There’d better be pie.  Words to live by.

“Okay.  Where  were we?”  Todd strode back in and looked so earnest and cute, I found myself believing he really was the good guy he appeared to be.

We poured over the two letters and discussed some of the particulars, wondering what had inspired this little drama that was being perpetrated upon us.

“Here, where he says that there will be a price to pay if we don’t participate – is that a threat or just some cosmic, karmic thing.  What if we just ignore this – won’t he just drop it?  He obviously doesn’t actually know us or he would have noticed that I’m thirty thr….well that, um, while I’m currently over twenty-nine, I’m not forty or male.  So what’s the draw?  Why us?”

“Maybe it’s a mass mailing to all the Dagny Monroe’s and Tad Bennett’s.”

“Ah, Bennett.”  Tad didn’t seem to notice my interest in gaining knowledge about him  – you know, things like his last name, his job,  whether or not he plans to have children some day, and would I be likely to be his type, so I continued to ramble.  “You know what?  I kinda’ hate mysteries.  I like certainties, absolutes and logical explanations and this vague, “what if” stuff just fries my brain.  Waiting for the other shoe to drop is not interesting to me.  I prefer to grab the bull by the horns and deal with what’s coming down the pike.  I’m not interested in solving a mystery.  Trixie Belden is only a part of my past for god sakes…..”

I would have gone on had Tad not been interrupted.  “Trixie?   Huh?”

“Mystery solving thirteen year old?  You know – girl Hardy boy?”  He still looked at me blankly and quizzically.  “Anyway, I’m inclined to just call Mr. Good Day and give him a piece of my mind.”

“Will you be using only clichés with him, too?”

I responded with a look that was meant to convey my impatience with his critique, but he continued, undaunted.  Although he spoke, I was only half listening because I had suddenly realized that I’d totally missed lunch and not only that, I was  thirsty so when he got to the part where he said, “If you can hear me blink twice,” I brilliantly responded with, “God, I’m hungry.  How about some lunch?”

He seemed to be okay with not being listened to with unwavering devotion to his every utterance.  I’d like to be more like that.      _____________________________________________________________________

We table our discussion for a bit to focus on food and drink.   We settle in with sandwiches – and might I say that everyone on earth should have a sandwich made by me once before they die – I have a knack, a gift, if you will, for creating an especially exquisite sandwich.  This one started with oatmeal bread, light mayo and honey mustard; then a layer of lightly sautéed, fresh, sliced mushrooms, some diced Vidalia onion, chopped sweet red Italian pepper, fresh spinach, a couple of sliced green olives,  It’s brilliant I tell ya’, brilliant.  But I digress.  Tad recapped his earlier comments and the gist was that we should at least give obliviousness a try.  Just carry on as if this matter would resolve itself.

Before he left, we agreed that we were glad we met and that we’d go for a coffee at the cafe down the street at some undetermined time and that, as they say, was that.  Until it wasn’t.


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