This is just a reminder about what Sam thinks about Peter, while bringing up the entire conflict for Sam: He wants to be honest with Susan, but there's all sorts of complications with that. First and foremost, he's got people who believe in him as a sort of hero, even though part of it is a lie. Also, getting a business loan would be pretty awesome. If I ever re-edit, this is another section that might get completely excised, since it doesn't really do anything plot-wise, but it helps me reorient myself in the process. Anyway, here's the Table of Contents.
As a side note, I've been getting up early and walking to the Metro. I might get to see the deer again, so I'm bringing my camera. For now, here's an aquarium rabbit.
|It lives in an aquarium.|
By mid-afternoon, I had finished all of my preparations. Kenny was spending some time with his parents, and Susan was probably doing whatever it is girls do before they go out with people. Or maybe not; I’m honestly not sure what was going there. I had thought about biting the bullet and just calling her early to explain everything, but I felt that would be chickening out. I thought she deserved to have a chance to slap me or something for screwing up her whole article.
I hoped she didn’t decide to slap me. Getting slapped was something of a ritual in these sorts of events. Kenny had a theory on it, but he was one of the few people who honestly believed that those movies where the leading couple go from slap-to-kiss was possible.
“I mean, a slap is physical contact, it’s practically holding hands.”
“No Kenny, no it is not,” I had told him during one of our drunken philosophizing sessions. “It is, in fact, the opposite. It is a physical manifestation of ‘stay away from me.’”
“Maybe you’re just doing it wrong.”
“What? Getting slapped?”
The conversation didn’t start to make any more sense than that, really. Waiting on the day had a bit of a surreal experience to it. I mean, I knew, instinctively, that it was going to be a horrible night, and that I would probably walk away ashamed. But, there were so many ways to embarrass yourself that I honestly didn’t know which it would be. I almost called Susan up to just let her know, when my phone rang. It was Peter.
I assumed he was not in some drug induced fugue since he was calling me. I had kept meaning to talk to him about the pot around his kid thing, but whenever I tried to bring it up, even on the sly, he seemed oblivious.
“Peter, how’s it hanging?”
“I just had a look at the guest list,” Peter said. “Why, exactly, are you coming with the reporter?”
“Oh, she’s just my date,” I said. “Sort of. It’s complicated.”
“Look, I’m going out on a limb to help you here.”
“And we’re really thankful for that,” I said. “But, don’t you think that at times like this, you should focus on helping yourself and your family?”
“What does that even mean?”
“I’m talking about your problem Peter,” I said. “Look, Kenny and I have been trying to talk to you about it, and well, I think now’s as good a time as any.”
“If this is about that night at the bowling alley, let me assure you, it won’t happen again,” Peter said.
Now I was confused. Of course it wouldn’t happen again, right? I mean, how often do you abandon your kid to smoke up or whatever, only to accidentally poison him?
“Have you thought of seeing a counselor or something? I mean, your wife is probably kind of worried about you. The kid too.”
“Look, what they don’t know — why the hell are we talking about this? Just let it go and listen,” Peter said. “One of the major shareholders of my bank is going to be there tonight. Very influential, very progressive, if you get my meaning.”
“He owns stocks in the insurance company too?”
“No,” Peter said with a nervous laugh. “Just that he’s open-minded. It took a lot of my business capital to get him to come down. But, you and Kenny impress him, and I think he can help the others look passed their fly-over country morality hold-ups.”
“Yeah, see, that’s another thing I’ve been meaning to talk to you about,” I said.
“It’s already out there, you don’t need to hide anything. California’s very accepting.”
I shook my head at the phone, as if trying to form my words carefully. “No, look, what I mean is that I’m not sure I’m comfortable with this idea.”
“Look, just talk with Mr. Dawes—”
“We’ll be parts of railways through Africa, and dams across the Nile, right?”
“Focus Sam,” Peter said. “Just be honest with him, let him see how well you and Kenny get along, and then he’ll champion getting the two of you a loan, even if it is just to stick his thumb in their eyes.”
That didn’t sound like a responsible bank person to me. But I told Peter I’d do what I could, then I made an excuse to get away from him. I decided to go see Mortimer; my mom’s car could use another look see, and frankly, I wanted to talk to him about Lucy. And Fiona.