Winthrop Electrical was in a faded blue metal building. It had a bay door and next to it a walk-in door.
Wilson jiggled the doorknob and the door opened. A man sat in a wooden chair at an oak desk against the far wall. He was round with robust red cheeks.
He pushed his glasses lower on his nose. “What can I help you with?”
“My name is Wilson Gentry and I think we’ve met,” Wilson said.
Mathias swiveled and rocked forward in the chair. “Wilson Gentry,” he smiled. “Now that’s a name I haven’t heard in a long time.”
I think we were in the army together,” Wilson said.
Mathias stood and walked closer.
“Were you ever in Indianapolis at Fort Ben?” Wilson said.
“Yes,” Mathias said suspicious over the formality of Wilson’s approach. “I guess no matter what, the question still is how can
I help you and what brings you this way?”
Wilson shook Mathias’ hand. “Sorry for surprising you like this, but I thought you might recognize me immediately.”
“I do now that I can see you, but let’s sit down and figure this all out,” Mathias said gesturing to a chair beside the desk. “A phone call ahead of time might have been nice. It’s been a few years.”
Wilson and Mathias sat. Wilson sat back and relaxed.
“We met in basic and at the end of our hitch found ourselves together again at Ft. Ben,” Mathias said. “Wait a minute, I owe you money!”
Wilson chuckled. “That’s not what I’m here for and once you here my story you’ll be sorry you brought up the money.”
“Why would I be sorry?” Mathias said.
“I have amnesia,” Wilson said and chuckled again. “Now I want my money.”
“Need any electrical work done on your place,” Mathias said moving his hands back and forth to indicate a trade – labor for money. “How much was it?”
“$25,000,” Wilson said.
“Hey,” Mathias said, “I thought you said you had amnesia.”
They both laughed.
“But you loaned me a couple thousand,” Mathias said. “I got it written down someplace.”
Wilson sat back in the chair. “We had good times together, didn’t we.”
“Oh man!” Mathias said. “We ripped the town. You’ve driven through town and seen it what do ya say, let’s do it all over again, just like old times.”
“I don’t remember them,” Wilson said.
“Good,” Mathias said smiling. “I’m a married man and pillar of the community now.”
Wilson smiled. It was quiet.
“You’re really in trouble aren’t you, Wilson?” Mathias said. Mathias stretched and looked out the door window. “You must be doing okay, that’s a nice car.”
“I guess I’ve done okay,” Wilson said. “I own some car dealerships back east and live like a king it Atlanta. A few months ago I slept on a bench in Des Moines, lived in the basement of a bar, and then over a garage.”
“Do you want me to put you up for awhile?” Mathias said. “You’re not a psychopath or anything are you?”
“We psychopaths are sworn to secrecy,” Wilson said. “If I lose my card, I lose my job.”
Mathias reached up to his desk. He pressed a button on an intercom. “It goes up to the house,” he said quietly.
“Wathca want, Matty?” the voice of a lady said.
“An old army buddy from Fort Ben just dropped in,” Mathias said. “He’s gonna be with us for a few days.”
“The Gentry guy you owe money to?” she said.
Mathias waved his hands at the intercom and shrugged his shoulders at Wilson. “Yeah, that’s the guy.”
Mathias released the button. “The woman has a good memory.”