Tommy was as good as his word. It took a couple of days, but when he called Vincent, he had a lot to tell him. Vincent suggested that he come over to the house and tell Jim and Eric, too. It’ll save time, he told Tommy, and privately he added, and it reduce distortions. Vincent worried about the contact high effect of Note Perfect. He didn’t take it himself, but he sometimes experienced contact effects from being around Tommy when he had. He didn’t care for them. What is a man, after all, but his choices, thoughts and actions? And what are they but memories? Note Perfect led to making memories that were not perfect, and Vincent didn’t like that at all.
Eric had news of his own when he got in, but the tv had the same news, and all Eric could really add to it was speculation. He readily agreed to hang around for Tommy’s tale.
“We’re only as good as the quality of our information,” he said cheerfully, and Vincent suppressed a shudder. Wasn’t it enough that a thing was true, without having to enjoy it?
“I knew Robert, you know,” said Jim. “He used to work in the library at West Point.”
“That doesn’t seem like a place you would meet him,” said Eric.
“I didn’t, for a while. But his son was a promoter in New York, and I met him through him when Robert asked him to introduce us.”
“Why would he want to meet you?” asked Eric. “No offence, but I’m assuming he was pretty establishment.”
“Was he a celebrity stalker?” asked Vincent jokingly. Jim ignored him and answered Eric instead.
“Not as much as you might think. He was a pretty open-minded guy. Fought in the Pacific, served with the occupation forces in Japan after the war, and got into Zen a bit.”
“Yeah, but he made it work,” said Jim. “He asked to meet us because he kept getting letters from GIs in Vietnam who wanted him to add our records to the West Point library’s collection.”
“Really?” asked Eric and Vincent in stunned unison. Jim grinned wickedly.
“Really. He even brought some of the letters along to show us.”
“Wow,” said Eric.
“Yeah. I never did find out how that all turned out, but I remember we gave him a complete set of our albums, and we all signed them to him, too.”
“Did you ever see him again?”
“Nahh. I knew he’d moved out here, and I always meant to go see him someday, but you know how it is. You always think that there will be more time.”
Vincent was about to agree with him when they all heard the doorbell. Answering it, he was unsurprised to find Tommy there, but a little more surprised that his Mom was with him. They made a weird contrast, the hippy-looking guy and the lady who looked like she’d just walked out of the fifties, but there was no mistaking their relation to each other. Tommy’s Mom carried herself with great dignity, but there was a certain amount of anger leaking out from under it. Vincent was pretty sure he knew what it was about, too.