Though he was precluded from making contact with the girl, he continued to sniff around the edges. He discovered her name was Angelina de Longiness, she was from Canada, she was a Drama major, and her friends called her Angel. Her father worked for the Canadian government, something to do with North American trade negotiations.
And that’s pretty much the way he left things until one day, as he was reading the Happy Camp Tribune during his lunch break, he was frozen by an alarming headline, “Local Resident Killed in Southern California Crash.” The article went on:
San Diego, CA: Theresa (Teri) Rachmann was pronounced dead at
the Mercy Memorial Hospital in San Diego at 5:30 am on Monday, following
a head-on collision on Interstate 805. Ms. Rachmann was apparently exiting
into on-coming traffic after turning the wrong way onto an off-ramp at Balboa
Ave. She encountered a southbound truck hauling building materials. The
truck driver escaped with minor injuries.
Alcohol is suspected to have played a role in the collision. A coroner’s examination reported Ms. Rachmann’s blood alcohol level was .26 percent at
the time of the accident. The truck driver was not cited.
Teri Rachmann was best known in Happy Camp as the owner of Curly
Jack’s, a popular night club in the area that burned down over a year ago. Ms.
Rachmann’s business partner, local attorney Harold Brevig, told reporters the
deceased had gone to San Diego to meet with clients who’d expressed interest
in buying the razed property.
Ms. Rachmann is survived by a sister, Mary Ann Rafferty, of New
Bedford, MA. To date, no announcements have been made as to final
At first, Jimmy’s spirits soared. He made three photo-copies of the announcement, intending to send one to Jason Peterson. Half of my problem is solved—he thought. But then his heart began to sink as he realized, he had nothing to do with it. It had been an accident, and that prompted him to start making plans.
On one Wednesday morning, with Jimmy suffering from the turbulent feeling of having a million things to do—mid-term exams, papers to write, getting a deposit into the bank before the check he wrote to the bookstore bounced, laundry—and no time to do them, he fell in behind the girl from George Eliot Hall as she came by the cafeteria.
As they started up the winding sidewalk to the liberal arts building a whirlwind sprung up on the lawn. His Uncle Stan used to call these spontaneous winds dust devils. This particular dust devil spun across the sidewalk, dallied on the lawn for a moment, and then whirled back across the sidewalk from the opposite direction, from where it blew Angel’s long pleated skirt up around her shoulders.
She had wonderfully shapely legs, and the boy walking beside Jimmy stopped to ogle. He was an engineering student with a slide rule flopping along against his leg, and the boy stood with his mouth open and both eyes bulging. Jimmy, though, was seized by a pang of raw, animal lust, a pang he hadn’t felt with such intensity since Molly.
He was overcome with an epiphany—he saw the light; his path was clear—and it all happened in an instant. He laughed, uproariously, “Thank you Uncle Stan.”
The would-be engineer looked over to discover who Jimmy was talking to, and seeing no one, he stared with wide eyes. Then, while glancing over his shoulder every few steps as he went, the boy scurried away.
But Jimmy stepped up his pace and caught up with the girl. He held the door for her as she slipped into the lecture hall. And as she passed under his outstretched arm, he said to her as quietly as he could, “You have really sexy legs.”
“Oh,” Angel howled, and she drew back an arm to deliver a slap. But when she looked up at the target of her anger, she saw a young, handsome face smiling down at her with warmth and understanding.
She melted. “I’m so embarrassed,” she exclaimed.
“You shouldn’t be,” Jimmy said, and he touched her on the shoulder.
And there was magic in the touch, and they both went to their prospective seats, neither of them hearing one word the professor delivered during the entire hour.
And when that hour ended, they both rose from their chairs in a zombie like state and started for the door. Where they met, and where Jimmy asked, “Do you have time to sneak down to the commons for a Coke?” Though Jimmy knew that by doing so he was going to be late for work and Rachael would be angry.
They sat, trancelike, for a period of several minutes with drinks before them, until Jimmy broke the spell. “I understand you’re a drama major.”
“Do you know anything about costumes and wardrobes, make-up, and sound effects, and things like that?
Angel nodded again, looking a little perplexed.
“I might need to tap your brain for some information,” Jimmy said. Then he explained to her that he was late for work and sprang from his chair to race up the hill to the library.
As he made his way out through the big glass doors of the commons, he looked back to examine the expression on Angel’s face. It hadn’t changed; it remained puzzled and dream-like. She sat there, beautifully sipping her drink.