Bernard was no sooner out of sight when Angus from the post office came by. “You didn’t stop by for the mail today so I thought I’d bring it by. You have something.”
“Thanks, Angus,” Layton said.
“I got to be goin’,” Angus said. “Sally gave me strict orders not to stop for a pint tonight. It’s her birthday, ya know.”
“We’ll see ya tomorrow,” Layton said.
Angus hurried from the pub and down the walk.
It was from the last university he applied to. He opened it.
“Thanks you Mr. Sexton for the interest expressed in our school, but you do not meat our standards. If only you had some classroom experience certainly we could have found a position for an individual possessing your scholarship.”
Layton ladled a bowl of cod chowder and pulled a pint of ale. He sat at the window as the street lights illuminated the street. It was evening in the small fishing village, all the men were out to sea. The streets were lonely and empty. A light fog had moved in taking the harsh glare from the street lights.
Halfway through the meal the door opened. It was Bernard.
“Thought I’d come back to celebrate,” Bernard said and went behind the bar and grabbed two glasses and a bottle of brandy.
“How did you know about the letter? Did Angus ring you?” Layton said.
Bernard made his way around the tables and sat the two glasses and bottle of brandy at the table in front of the window where Layton sat.
“No he dropped by,” Bernard said and sat across from Layton. “Angus doesn’t trust telephones. You can’t trust them he always says. The mail is slower and more reliable. It’s how you keep secrets/”
Layton smiled, “But Angus can’t keep them.”
“He told me of the return address,” Bernard said. “So I thought I’d come and celebrate with you.”
“I won’t be leaving,” Layton said.
“Oh,” Bernard said. “I know that.”
“You do!” Layton said.
“I’ve always known,” Bernard said. “I’ve known from the day you applied for employment.”
“You knew I’d stay,” Layton said.
“Yes,” Bernard said. “I’ve known all along.”
“What have you known?” Layton said.
“Finish your chowder, lad,” Bernard said. “And as you finish I will tell you a tale.”
Layton began eating the chowder along with a biscuit and washed it down with ale. Waiting for Bernard to begin his tale.