Hanson Page 7
    "No," I said. "Nothing's happened."
    "They didn't get back together?" Glad asked.
    "I don't think so. Why?"
    "Did he ever mention anyone named Lucinda Olson?" I asked.
    "Jim and the mythical Lucinda." Now Beulah smiled. "Where did you hear about our local Lorelei?"
    "Did Jim talk about her?"
    "He did," Beulah said, nodding. "Now that you mention it. Abstractly. He said she was a remote symbol. A projection of all a man wanted and would never have, she embodied both perfect love and the conquest of death."
    "Jim sounds like a Renaissance man--inventor, Platonic philosopher, lover."
    "He was, in his way. With Jim, everything was a little abstract, interesting but abstract. But somehow personal. He was touching."

     I studied my hands, thinking, then spoke, half to myself:
     "So Jim was smart, he built things, he stayed to himself, he thought about Lucinda Olson, his pretty girlfriend Sally broke up with him, each night on the news he hears her announce the day's atrocities, the latest bulletin on the cattle thefts and mutilations, the Night Slayer Case.
    "Jim knows Frankie Two Shoes and bought Frankie's father's plans for a robotic cow. Sheriff Blair says wealthy rancher Web Olson is death to rustlers, lonely and reads Dante, Jim is lonely too and probably upset, like Olson he's a book lover.
    "One sad day Jim rediscovers the story of the Trojan Horse--in an updated version at the barbershop, Sergeant Rock and his Howling Commandos--about Helen of Troy, the captive queen who never loved Paris and is held against her will, waiting for Ulysses to save her--"
    "Like I said," Glad said. Last night he had picked up the tall tale in a bar and driven with Pete to the isolated ranch