The last piece of Rory’s therapy involved a week alone in an oceanfront house. Each morning he walked to the ocean’s edge and counted waves. He learned which waves would build into impressive curls. He also saw how others petered out with no excitement. At the end of the week he turned his phone on and saw one text.
An old friend, Jasper Babin, was in Williamsburg and camping on Rory’s peanut farm. He was sick and needed a place to crash, Rory called him and explained how to get in the house.
“Make yourself at home. I’ll be back two hours,” said Rory.
Jasper was selling weed the last time Rory saw him. Rory did not always make the best decisions, but getting away from his old friend had been the right thing. Marijuana is not the gateway to harder drugs for everyone, but Jasper graduated to pills and heroin. Letting him in the house was not smart, but Jasper claimed to be clean and he was sick. He was too embarrassed by his illness to talk about it on the phone, so Rory was thinking that this would be the first time a friend dropped an HIV diagnosis on him.
When Rory got back to the farm, Jasper was sitting on the porch with former Senator Anthony Knobb.
“Hey fellas, what’s going on?” asked Rory.
Jasper answered, “Nothing, man, I was just sitting here when this guy came knocking on the door. He’s looking for you.”
“Rory, my name is…”
“I know who you are and I’m not a fan. When I was in sixth grade we met and you said you’d always remember me. Years later you ignored me at a William and Mary football game. You have no idea who I am.”
Senator Knobb didn’t rattle easily. He got back to his performance honed after twenty years in office. “This is wonderful land. What’s it cost?” asked the former Senator.
“Why?” asked Rory.
“I’m have clients that have an extraction process that will pull out nutrients in the soil to use in other chemical processes.”
Rory heard, “Chemicals. Money. Pollution.”
“Hold on,” Rory said. “Jasper, what’s going on with you?”
“I have epididymitis.”
“A bacterial infection of the balls?” asked Rory.
“Yeah, I got intimate, heh-heh, and oops, an STD. Hurts like a mofo.”
Rory turned to the Senator, “Not for sale.”
“Rory, this deal is good for America. You would honor your country by selling.”
“Stop with the red, white, and blue propaganda. Power is always scamming us. Come inside.”
They went into Rory’s house. He hit play on his turntable and the needle touched down on a Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass album.
“Herb’s also a sculptor. He has a totem called “Intercourse.” It captures the essence of intimacy in a way neither of you can understand. Jasper, you haven’t changed. Neither have you, Senator. The lactation just comes from the private sector now. You should both go.”
Rory began to meditate.