04. THE LAND OF MILT AND HONEY

Chapter Four

Goldstein’s was a very popular delicatessen. He arrived a few minutes late and found himself in a line of a dozen people, waiting for tables. A few women were seated in the few chairs available. The rest of the people were either conversing, or were impatiently rocking from foot to foot, looking anxiously for a table that might be vacated. A waiter in a green apron reached through the crowd and asked Milton Korn to follow him.

Others in the waiting area looked at Milton suspiciously, some angrily. In a back corner of the restaurant, the waiter waved Milton toward a table where Honey Freed was sitting. The waiter left them with a pitcher of water, glasses, and menus before he departed.

“I was afraid you might not come,” Honey said. She slid out of the booth to greet Milton with a furtive, cheek-to-cheek semi-kiss. They sat down, facing each other across the table.

“Sorry,” Milton said. “I was waiting in line.”

“I thought you might, so I send Walter to fetch you in.” Walter the waiter approached the table with a carafe of coffee and two mugs. “I thought you’d like to start with coffee. I hope you do,” said Honey.

“Yes, coffee is fine. Thank you, Walter,” Milton said.

“You thank the waiter?” Honey said.

“He brought coffee. He brought me in to your table. I appreciate it,” said Milton.

“So, my interesting artist, where do you get the visions, the subjects that you paint so beautifully,” Honey said.

“Every person is programmed by the flow of their life,” said Milton. “I lived in a town as a privileged person. I didn’t like it. I want to be ‘regular’, and let my work be known ahead of me. My work is important, at least to me, and outside of my work, I am unimportant.”

“Do you live the life you desire?” said Honey.

“Does anyone?” said Milton. “If I had my choice, I’d live in a comfortable farmhouse in the middle of 100 acres. Green fencing around the perimeter, with a solid gate, locked against visitors. I’d have a remote camera and gate opener.

“Are you antisocial?” said Honey.

“People always disappoint me,” said Milton.

“Why are you here, then,” she said.

“I was restless at home. You’re good to look at, and you like my paintings,” Milton said.

“Is that all it takes?” said Honey.

“That’s all it takes to get me to share a table,” he said. “I hope you don’t disappoint me.”

“I grew up on a farm,” she said. “I’ve found a place I’d like to buy, but I just can’t manage the mortgage without a bigger down payment.”

“Where is it,” said Milton.

“It’s about an hour out of town, on a small, dirt, farm road near Vantage Bay,” Honey said. “Do you want to see it?”

“What? Now?” Milton said.

“Why not?” said Honey. “Do you have something that you have to do this afternoon?”

“Okay, let’s go,” said Milton. Honey led him to her car, an Alpha Romeo Spyder.

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