Chapter 20, Blog 2
By Chuck Wells As Told To Ray Hochgesang
For the inquisition, I wore my best – a navy blue suit, white shirt and red silk tie – only to arrive eight minutes late. Late, because I grew agitated as I left the house, turned back and had to throw my running gear in a brown paper bag to bring it along. I promised myself, if the session let out early, I would sneak in a short run.
Sitting at a conference room table, Melinda, looking resplendent in her black pantsuit with white pinstripes, and her lawyer, Mr. Peabody, a white-haired, no-nonsense gentleman, in his late sixties, waited patiently while Sterling whispered last-minute instructions.
“And for God’s sake, whatever you do, don’t say one word more than you have to,” he warned me. I nodded.
Sterling questioned Melinda first, asking if there were any possibility of reconciliation.
Melinda looked me up and down and said “no way.”
Peabody wanted the financial statements that I was asked to produce. After Sterling checked them, I handed the papers to Peabody. He tossed them in his briefcase and slammed it shut. It appeared the hearing would finish in record time. Faking a sigh, Melinda’s lawyer looked at her and then at me.
“There is one way to avoid all of this,” he said.
… oh boy …
“And that is?” Sterling asked.
Again, Melinda’s lawyer glanced at her. She nodded.
“My client, uh, she might be willing to reconcile if her husband would give up this, uh, this, this Olympic, uh … ”
“Nonsense?” I filled in the blank.
“Yes, something like that,” Peabody said.
“And why is this?” asked my lawyer.
“It should be obvious,” said Peabody. “Let us cut the baloney and be realistic. At his age, he has no real chance of running in any Olympics. Now, if he were a 20-something … ”
Hot blood surged throughout my face. My heartbeat picked up the pace.
“I don’t believe you’re qualified to make that determination,” said Sterling.
“Baloney?” I was incredulous. “What would you know about baloney?”
Sterling shushed me.
Peabody ignored us both.
“Number two, it takes too much time away from his family.”
“They’re asleep when I train,” I said, standing up.
My lawyer pushed me back into my chair. He glared at Peabody and then Melinda.
“Is there another reason?” asked Sterling.
“Yes, his daughters miss him,” Peabody said.
My lawyer tapped his pen on his lips and considered what he had just heard.
“I propose a recess,” he said.
“Baloney,” I said. “We don’t need a recess.”
“Uh-oh,” said Sterling. “Chuck, I think we should talk it over.”
“Number one,” I said. “It’s not nonsense.”
“Your words. I believe you called it nonsense,” said Peabody.
“I’m less than three seconds from qualifying for the Olympic Trials in the 800.”
Melinda’s lawyer exaggerated a glance at the court reporter taking down the transcript and then at me.
“Mr. Wells, may I remind you that you’re on the record here, and anything you say here will be … ”
“1:48.399. I ran a 1:48.399 last Saturday. I have witnesses.”
Copyright © 2012 by Chuck H. Wells/Ray Hochgesang