Sorry I’m late tonight, Peg. Had to make a trip up
to the observatory at closing time. They’re having some kind of party up there
and they needed a quick delivery. Ordinarily I would of sent Harry but Virginia
hasn’t been feeling good so I told him to go home and I went up myself.
No, not much was happening. They all seemed pretty
loud, but other than that it wasn’t very much. Nothing much ever happens in
Oh, yeah, Jamie’s home. Got his degree but no job.
Bill tells me he’s decided to be a lawyer. He wants to send him to one of those
eastern schools but he’s not really convinced that Jamie’s serious. You know
how that’s been going. Me, I think it’d be just as well. We got enough lawyers around
here as it is.
What else? I heard today that Doris is expecting
again. Now there’s a woman doesn’t know when to quit. Frank said he’s been
trying to talk her into getting her tubes tied. But she’s kind of skittish.
Women are like that, I guess.
Oh yeah, it was a pretty good day. We moved a lot
of the malt. That new stuff I thought we’d never get rid of. There was a family
get-together over at Clyde’s. You know how they are. Must be sixty, seventy
people over there for the weekend. All Germans. Putting it down by the barrel.
Jake was in today. They’re getting complaints
about underage kids again. I told him it ain’t happening in our place. And it
ain’t. We’re careful about that. Don’t allow it. Not only because it ain’t
legal, either. I told him, it’s not right for kids to be drinking and they can
count on us to do what we can.
We had people in and out all day today. We sold as
much stuff off the whiskey aisle as we did all week. We won’t have any trouble
making the mortgage this month.
What else? Nothing I can think of. This is a quiet
town. Janet was in. Ticketed somebody doing ninety on the state road. Took his
license, she said. Guy’s wife had to drive him home. I’d’ve liked to of been
She told me there was a murder over in Castle
County. I’m not sure about the details. Another one of those things where
somebody’s boy friend got tired of a crying kid. That ought to be death
What’s that? What was going on at the observatory?
I don’t know. They had some VIP’s visiting. We
sold a couple bottles of rum to one of them this morning. Old guy, gray hair,
stooped, kind of slow. Looked like he was always thinking about something else.
Talked funny too. You know, foreign. Maybe Brit. Aussie. Something like that.
They’re doing some kind of convention up there.
Some of them are staying over at the hotel, according to Hap. Anyhow, we get
this call about a quarter to nine, you know, just before we lock the doors.
It’s Harvey. They want eight bottles of our best champagne. Cold. Can we
Harvey told me once they always keep a bottle in
the refrigerator up there. But with all these people in town I guess one bottle
Well, to start with, we don’t have eight bottles
of our best champagne on ice. Or off. I mean how much of that stuff do we sell?
But sure, I tell him. I’ll bring it up as soon as we close.
I mean, you know Harvey. He won’t know the
difference. And I can hear all this noise in the background. The paper said
they were supposed to be doing some kind of business meeting but all I can hear
is screaming and laughing. And I swear somebody was shooting off a noisemaker.
Oh, by the way, did I tell you Ag was by today?
She wants to get together for a little pinochle next week. I figure Sunday
works pretty good. When you get a chance, give her a call, okay?
And Morrie’s moping around. He won’t talk about it
but I guess Mary’s ditched him again. You think he’d get tired taking all that
from that crazy woman. Don’t know what he wants. Ain’t happy when he’s with her
and miserable when he isn’t.
Oh, here’s something you’ll be interested in. Axel
dropped a bottle of chianti today. I mean it went off in the back of the store
like an explosion. I felt sorry for him except that it made a hell of a mess.
He’s getting more wobbly every day. I’m not sure we should be selling him
anything now. At his age. But I don’t have the heart to stop him. I’ve thought
about talking to Janet. But that only puts it on her. I don’t know what I’m
going to do about that. Eventually I guess I’ll have to do something.
What about the observatory? Oh yeah. Well, there’s
really nothing to tell. I took some Hebert’s and some Coela Valley. Four of
each. Packed ’em in ice and put ’em in the cooler.
So when I get there all these lights are on inside
and people are yelling and carrying on. I never saw anything like it. It was
like they’d already been into something. I mean Harvey and his friends are not
people who know how to have a good time. But this other crew—.
Anyway Harvey said thanks and I wiped his card and
he said do I want to stay a while? I mean they were into the bubbly before I
could set it down.
So I say no thanks I have to drive back down the
mountain and the last thing I need is a couple drinks. But I ask what’s all the
fuss and he takes me over to a computer screen which has graphics, big spikes
and cones and God knows what else, all over it, but you can’t begin to tell
what it is, and he says Look at that.
I look and I don’t see nothing except spikes and
cones. So then he shows me how one pattern repeats itself. He says how it’s one-point-something
seconds long and it shows up three or four different places on the screen. Then
he brings up another series and we do the same thing again. None of it means
anything, as far as I can see.
So Harvey sees I’m not very impressed and he tells
me we’ve got neighbors. He mentions someplace I never heard of. Al-Car or Al-Chop or something like that. He says it like it’s a big deal.
And then it dawns on me what he’s talking about, that they’ve found the signal
they’re always looking for.
“How far away are they?” I ask.
He laughs again and says, “A long way.”
So I say, “How far’s that?”
“Mack,” he tells me, “you wouldn’t want to walk
For a minute I wonder if the people on the other
end are going to come this way but he says no that could never happen. Don’t
worry. Ha ha ha.
Well, I say, tell them hello for me. Ha ha. And he
offers me a three buck tip, which was kind of cheap considering how late it was
and that I had to drive up and down that goofy road. I mean, I’m not going to
take his money anyway. But three bucks?
Ran into Clay outside town, by the way. He was
over at Howie’s getting his speed trap set up. Says he picks off a few every
Friday. Says he had to go over to Ham’s place earlier because Ham was screaming
at Dora again. I used to think she would pack up and leave one of these days
but I guess not.
Anyway, that’s why I was late. I’m sorry it upset
you. I’ll call next time, if you want. But you don’t need to worry. I mean,
nothing ever happens in Rock City.