Margaret’s Story

The Chair
Me in my theater chair at dusk

Tuesday, August 20, 1968

Sumo and I discussed Reb’s account of his R&R experience.  We agreed to lay low and let Reb tell his story on his own terms.  There was still the issue of DeeDee’s “Dear John” letter , and we weren’t sure if that had been resolved.

After the dinner meal we sat outside the hooch, looking over Arizona territory, waiting for the nightly show to begin.  Reb joined us and continued his story.

He and Margaret slept until after midnight following the day of shopping.  When they awoke she noticed the package containing the wooden tripod, and Reb told her to open it.  She was excited and assembled it as they talked.  Reb asked her about the older woman at the restaurant.

The woman was the matriarch of a family who owned a restaurant chain, and she was a friend of Margaret’s family.  Ten years ago Margaret was a prep cook in one of the woman’s restaurants, and she was given the opportunity to apprentice as a baker.  A year later she was promoted and started specializing as a pastry chef.  Margaret moved around in the restaurant group, working where she was needed, and she remained loyal to the woman owner.

Two years ago Margaret was promoted to manager of the small “Coffee Lounge.”  It was a thriving business in the working class district.  The lounge opened at 6:00 am, catering to workers in the morning, and it closed at 3:00 pm.  The afternoon clientele were women waiting for their kids to get out of school.

The reason for the private meeting was to make Margaret a business offer.  The woman owner was scaling back her business.  She planned to turn the chain over to a management group during the next year.  She wanted to reward Margaret for her loyalty and offered to sell the lounge outright for $3,500.  The legal papers were ready to be signed and awaited a decision.  Margaret had a $5,000 bank account from an “Inheritance.”  This would be a big move and would require her to step away from baking full time.

This discussion lasted until sunrise, then they decided to spend the day touring the art galleries.  Reb thought there was something missing from the story . . . he sensed there was a situation she hadn’t told him.  He was curious about the $5,000 inheritance (where did it come from)?

The art galleries were a fun diversion, and it was clear the two had a common interest in style and format.  There was one gallery dedicated to sketching and featured different nude scenes.  Some were too explicit (breasts, nipples and pubic hair), and Reb thought it was more erotic to leave these details to the imagination.  Also, he wasn’t interested in color . . . black and white (with shades of grey) were more subtle and pleasing to the eye.

They wrapped up the day with dinner in a waterfront restaurant, eating jumbo prawns on curried rice.  It was a new culinary adventure for Reb.  They watched the sun set over the harbor and the twinkling lights of the various watercraft.  Tomorrow was Friday . . . Reb’s last day of R&R.

Next Edition:  Mystery Solved

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