Charles called Gayle and they made arrangements for lunch. He picked her up at the front door of their home. They ate lunch at a small diner and drove toward the house. During lunch Charles told Gayle the gist of the his trip, but few details. He talked about it as if it were more of a road trip.
“Charles,” Gayle said. “You seem strange. I’m sorry that your venture had not produced better results. This Wilson Gentry stuff seemed far-fetched. To me you will always be Charles Petersen.”
“Actually, Gayle,” Charles said, “I found out a great deal. You see, Wilson Gentry was a name I used.”
“What!” Gayle said. “I thought you said. He never existed.”
“In a way he didn’t,” Charles said, “but it was a name I used.”
“You know that?” Gayle said.
“I think it’s time we call Abernathy and have him meet us at the house,” Charles said.
“Why?” Gayle said.
“I can answer some questions for him,” Charles said.
Charles dialed Abernathy’s number at a stop light. The light turned and he drove on.
“Hello, Ted Abernathy.”
“Ted, this is Charles. I’m back in town. I want you to meet Gayle and I at our house. In thirty minutes.”
“I don’t know if I can break away,” Abernathy said.
“I really think you should,” Charles said. “I got a lot of information concerning Wilson Gentry.”
“Who?” Abernathy said.
“You heard me,” Charles said. “You got 30 minutes.”
Charles hung up.
“What’s this all about?” Gayle said. “You’re acting awful strange.”
“It will all be cleared up when we all face each other and talk this over,” Charles said.
“What is there to talk over?” Gayle said.
They continued to drive toward their home without a word.
Charles pulled into the drive and parked near the front door.
“I wish you’d tell me what this is all about,” Gayle said.
“If I’d tell you now I’d spoil the surprise,” Charles said.
Charles check his watch. “Ted ought to be her in a minute or two. He’s always punctual.”
“Why look there,” Charles said lifting his head. “That’s Ted now. He looks anxious.”
Abernathy parked behind Charles’ car and got out.
“What’s this all about, Charles,” Abernathy said walking toward Charles.
“Let’s step inside,” Charles said, “down to the bar. Perhaps we can have a drink together and talk over some old times.”
“Are you well?” Abernathy said. “Gayle, is Charles okay?”
“Let’s just go inside,” Charles said.
Charles held the door. Abernathy and Gayle cautiously stepped inside and down the steps just inside the foyer to the basement.
“Gayle,” Charles said. “Can you fix us all a Scotch.”
Gayle quickly poured three glasses of Scotch.
“Now,” Abernathy said, “Why am I here?”