“I been away a long time,” I said.
“Sure,” said Hogan. “That Happy Steinfelt’s a big operator.”
“I’ve heard his name,” I said.
“He’s a pretty smooth boy,” Hogan said. “They’re a couple of sharpshooters.”
“Well,” I said. “They want to see us in half an hour.”
“You mean they don’t want to see us until half an hour?”
“Come into the office,” Hogan said. “To hell with those sharpshooters.”
After about thirty minutes or so Hogan and I went upstairs. We knocked on Jack’s door. They were talking inside the room.
“Wait a minute,” somebody said.
“To hell with that stuff,” Hogan said. “When you want to see me I’m down in the office.”
We heard the door unlock. Steinfelt opened it.
“Come on in, Hogan,” he says. “We’re all going to have a drink.”
“Well,” says Hogan. “That’s something.”
We went in. Jack was sitting on the bed. John and Morgan were sitting on a couple of chairs. Steinfelt was standing up.
“You’re a pretty mysterious lot of boys,” Hogan said.
“Hello, Danny,” John says.
“Hello, Danny,” Morgan says and shakes hands.
Jack doesn’t say anything. He just sits there on the bed. He ain’t with the others. He’s all by himself. He was wearing an old blue jersey and pants and had on boxing shoes. He needed a shave. Steinfelt and Morgan were dressers. John was quite a dresser too. Jack sat there looking Irish and tough.
Steinfelt brought out a bottle and Hogan brought in some glasses and everybody had a drink. Jack and I took one and the rest of them went on and had two or three each.
“Better save some for your ride back,” Hogan said.
“Don’t you worry. We got plenty,” Morgan said.
Jack hadn’t drunk anything since the one drink. He was standing up and looking at them. Morgan was sitting on the bed where Jack had sat.
“Have a drink, Jack,” John said and handed him the glass and the bottle.
“No,” Jack said, “I never liked to go to these wakes.”
They all laughed. Jack didn’t laugh.
They were all feeling pretty good when they left. Jack stood on the porch when they got into the car. They waved to him.
“So long,” Jack said.
We had supper. Jack didn’t say anything all during the meal except, “Will you pass me this?” or “Will you pass me that?” The two health-farm patients ate at the same table with us. They were pretty nice fellows. After we finished eating we went out on the porch. It was dark early.
“Like to take a walk, Jerry?” Jack said.
“Sure,” I said.
We put on our coats and started out. It was quite a way down to the main road and then we walked along the main road about a mile and a half. Cars kept going by and we would pull out to one side until they were past. Jack didn’t say anything. After we had stepped out into the bushes to let a big car go by Jack said, “To hell with this walking. Come on back to Hogan’s”.
We went along a side road that cut up over the hill and cut across the fields back to Hogan’s. We could see the lights of the house up on the hill. We came around to the front of the house and there standing in the doorway was Hogan.
“Have a good walk?” Hogan asked.
“Oh, fine,” Jack said. “Listen, Hogan. Have you got any liquor?”
“Sure,” says Hogan. “What’s the idea?”
“Send it up to the room,” Jack says. “I’m going to sleep tonight.”
“You’re the doctor,” Hogan says.
“Come on up to the room, Jerry,” Jack says.
Upstairs, Jack sat on the bed with his head in his hands.
“Ain’t it a life?” Jack says.
Hogan brought in a quart of liquor and two glasses.
“Want some ginger ale?”
“What do you think I want to do, get sick?”
“I just asked you,” said Hogan.
“Have a drink?” said Jack.
“No, thanks,” said Hogan. He went out.
“How about it, Jerry?”
“I’ll have one with you,” I said.
Jack poured out a couple of drinks. “Now,” he said, “I want to take it slow and easy.”