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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 12, Number 1, March 2018

Gary LeBel
Cumming, Georgia, USA

About Jake

It's finer—not to know—

                  —Emily Dickinson, Poem 191

Was it karma? Stolen from my firm by a rival, a former client asked out of the blue to be taken back after a half dozen years. I'd serviced them for fifteen years and knew everybody there in some degree or other before politics, call it a knife, intervened.

After working out the details today, of getting reacquainted, of hearing what currently ails their paper machines and signing what needed to be signed, I asked M. in Purchasing about Jake. I'd already learned from the others on the machine floor that he'd recently died. I had liked him. He was hardworking, the quietest man I had ever met. I asked her especially because I knew that they'd worked together for many years, since the plant's inception.

M. leaned forward across her desk and lowered her voice to the pitch of a rumor.

          "At Jake's funeral, his wife came up to me and told me that one night Jake had called out for me in his sleep: can you imagine!" said M., blushing, her pretty eyes suddenly larger and brighter, though misting with embarrassment. I smiled but had no reply.

On the long drive home I wondered why she had told me this, but I was glad she did, for not knowing the reason is more than half the pleasure of being told a secret.

Steam rises high
from the cooling towers
and the whole place whirs
with machinery . . .
as people I know grow old



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