My apologies to the patient reader for my tardy update on Homer; but…well, you see, I’ve been under advisement to keep still. That’s because Homer, as I’ve been advised to believe, has shown up.
The person claiming to be Homer was convalescing at a nursing home. I went to see him, and rather than going inside myself he was brought out to meet me in the facility’s smoking area. The wheelchair, driven by a large male nurse, had a copious umbrella attached to it and its occupant was in a terrycloth robe with a tartan blanket over his knees – his face, neck, and hands were bandaged.
I asked him how he was and he said fine, considering, and that he was optimistic. He said he’d played a very rewarding hand of Solitaire that morning and that even though he’d lost, he’d had such good cards fall his way that he figured by the time he healed from his burns the COVID-19 drama would be closing down and he’d finally win a game of Solitaire!
He said he’d read my last piece about his plight in the mighty AVA and gathered from the news that I was becoming familiar with the staff up at the manor, that I should very well by now have a pretty good idea as to who it was that was, as he phrased it, putting the starch in the Duchess’s undies.
I asked about the backpack that was delivered to me shortly after he disappeared. He answered with amazement – he thought he’d either lost his pack or it had been stolen. His plan to escape the fire depended on that pack. Inside it was the equipment he needed to get up an escarpment and away from the fire. He must have meant the block and tackle I’d been using for a rowing machine.
Did I know who brought it to me? he asked.
Found it on my doorstep, I answered, like so many other packages from Amazon Prime, UPS, FedEx, DHL, et al…was all I knew: no return address, just my name, printed in plain Helvetica script on one of those stickers people wear at conventions.
Homer said, wistfully, “I made it out of that canyon anyway, man, but it sure would’ve been nice to have had that block and tackle!”
The personage in the bandages did not convince me he was the real Homer, and I soon grew weary of his sly narrative, an amalgam of my own comments about him and some hasty extrapolations that I construed to be fabricated from easily obtained public information. So there wasn’t a lot to glean from the meeting, and then, too, his purported lawyer, some fop in tweeds (who I suspected of being a mental patient), advised me I must not – at my peril – say anything the least bit defamatory about his client.
And so, on that note, I must sign off, at least until I am better informed as to my rights as a writer on this touchy subject.