Susan had been making phone calls too and found the bus but had no way to find me but she knew Rowan and found her way there. When I got to Rowan’s Susan was there in the bus and had a fire going in the stove and a pot of beef stew. Was I glad to see her! I was damp and shivering.
“Susan?” asked Agnes. Pouring more wine for both of us.
“You remember. I met her when when she lived in the rooming house in Seattle?”
“The one who came to visit the farm?”
“Yes, her. My steady date in the city. She had run the mail boat out to one of the outer islands. She was big, sexy, smart and beautiful. I loved her.”
“That sounds like a movie in itself.” said Agnes.
“More like the coda after the second ending of the Viet Nam Suite,” I said.
Agnes looked puzzled.
“Music. Thats how they write music to save paper and so the conductor doesn’t have to turn another page in the score.”
Agnes now looked positively baffled.
“You don’t read music, do you. I figured a sophisticated, educated lady like you would have musical education too.”
“Don’t be mean. I stopped piano after the fourth form.”
“Well, never mind. I was just trying to be clever. Let’s just say that period was about the bottom of the slide. It was mostly up from there.”
“But about the bus…….I want to know about living in the bus. Did you live with Susan?” prompted Miss Yen.
“No. She only visited from time to time. I have to back up a bit for the bus story. You remember Halftrack Mike?”
“Yes. I met him and I heard more about him. He worked for Mr. Shackley didn’t he?”
“He never would admit to that that but he seemed to be around Shackley’s operations a lot. Did you know Shackley?”
“Not really. He had an office down the hall from Col. Suel and I had a few conversations with him and Col. Suel.”
“Really, that’s interesting. I didn’t know you even knew Col Suel.”
“Yes, through my father. Father got me the job with the 126th because he knew the Colonel.”
“So why were Shackley and Col. Suel interested in you?”
“I’m not sure they were. I’d gone to see Col. Suel about you. That was after you’d gone. I asked but they wouldn’t tell me why you’d gone. Suel said something about a bureaucratic snafu. I didn’t believe him.”