Harry and Amy - Cover

Harry and Amy

Copyright© 2022 by Lazlo Zalezac

Chapter 2

The sharp rap of knuckles impacting the door broke Amy’s concentration. Irritated by the interruption, she turned on the screen saver and looked up from her computer screen.

In a harsh voice, she said, “Come in.”

Richard Montclair, her boss, opened the door and entered the room without saying a word. Usually, he didn’t visit the people who worked for him in their offices, but called them to his office. On this occasion, he had made an exception for this visit. His boss had requested that he deliver a personal invitation to the company picnic to Amy. He looked around her office for a minute. It had been years since he had been in her office and he couldn’t believe that she had been working in it all that time. He had never seen such an empty room in his life. It was totally devoid of anything personal, not even a photograph.

Unnerved by the stark and sterile surroundings, he said, “The company picnic is this Saturday.”

Amy looked at her boss for a minute before deciding that it would be in her best interest to attend. He wouldn’t have personally delivered the invitation otherwise. The problem was that she didn’t like picnics. They were held outdoors and the ground made it hard for her to move around. She couldn’t participate in any of the events and always ended sitting off to the side alone.

She replied, “Sorry. I’m busy, Mr. Montclair.”

From behind Richard, a male voice asked, “Did I understand that there’s a picnic?”

Richard wondered which of his employees would stand at the door eavesdropping on their conversation. He answered the question even as he turned to face the speaker.

“Yes, a company picnic.”

“I love picnics. Picnics always include my favorite foods: fried chicken, cole slaw, potato salad, and pickles. And we can’t forget the games. A good picnic includes games - three legged races, tug- o-war, and baseball.”

Richard stared at the green robed man standing before him in shock. Not knowing what else to say, he repeated, “It’s a company picnic.”

“Splendid,” the Druid said, “Amy and I will be more than happy to attend.”

Amy listened to the exchange in shock, wondering who was the mystery man hidden behind Richard. The echo through the partially blocked door and noise outside the office made it difficult to tell who was speaking. When Richard moved out of the way, she saw the green robe and the shepherd’s staff. She didn’t need to see his face to know who it was.

Excited to see him, she shouted, “Harry!”

“Hello, Amy. We’re going to a picnic. This nice gentleman invited us,” replied Harry with a smile and a wink. He patted Richard on the shoulder as though he were a long lost friend.

“Who are you?” asked Richard.

“Harry!” she repeated, but this time she said his name in protest at accepting the invitation without discussing it with her.

Richard turned back to look at Amy wondering what she had to do with a Druid. The last time a Druid showed up at the Chicago Stock Exchange the market dropped ten points. Harry’s presence was going to cause a bit of turbulence in the market, of that he was sure.

“That’s me,” answered Harry with a grin. He stepped around Richard and looked around the office. His face wrinkled as he took in the lack of décor. Frowning, he said, “This has got to be the ugliest room I’ve ever been in. You sure you work here?”

“Yes,” answered Amy. She was used to the reaction of other people to her office.

Richard interrupted, “Excuse me, but who are you?”

“I’m Harry. Happy Harry, last of the Hoboes.”

“Happy Harry?” asked Richard trying to figure out what kind of name that was. It wasn’t a proper name and he wondered if the guy was actually a Druid.

“Yes, that’s my name,” answered Harry. Turning back to face Amy, he asked, “Don’t you believe in pictures? How about a few plants?”

Staring at the fireworks displayed by the screensaver, she answered, “I don’t have any photographs and I can’t take care of plants.”

Snapping his fingers, Harry said, “I need a piece of paper, a pen, and a piece of scotch tape.”

Richard asked, “Who are you?”

“You’ve asked that three times. Are you slow or something?” asked Harry enjoying the unease of the immaculately dressed man. He estimated the man’s suit cost over a thousand dollars. He decided the man was the kind who thought charity consisted of writing checks for the tax write-off.

“Excuse me?” asked Richard shocked at the statement. No one had talked to him like that in years. He stuttered even as Harry turned his back to him.

Amy handed the paper and pen to Harry. Bending over to write on the desk, Harry drew a picture of a sun over a tree under which stood a hobo complete with bindle on a stick. Little heart shaped figures floated from the hobo to a stick figure woman. In a corner, he wrote, ‘Harry loves Amy.’ When she handed him the tape dispenser, he hung the picture on the wall. Stepping back, he said, “Much better.”

Amy stared at the picture for a minute and started giggling. A five- year-old kid could have done a better job on the picture, but this one was pure Harry - humorous, cute, and harmless.

“I’m going to call security,” threatened Richard.

Harry turned to look at Richard and shook his head. In a quiet voice, he said, “No you won’t. Today at lunch, I suggest you go down to the burger place and buy five hundred dollars worth of gift certificates. Don’t cheapen your actions by getting a receipt so that you can write off the money. Once you’ve got the gift certificates, go onto the street and hand them out to the panhandlers and homeless people. When you’ve given all of them away, come back here and look in the mirror. You’ll see a better man looking back at you.”


“At that time, you’ll be a good enough man to tell me to leave,” Harry turned his back on Richard dismissing him.

Richard turned to Amy and knew she wouldn’t dare dismiss him in the same manner as the Druid. Her job depended upon his good will and he could fire her in a minute. In getting to his position, he had never been afraid of using his power to make a point. He asked, “Who is this man?”

Still smiling at the picture, Amy answered, “That man is Happy Harry, last of the hoboes. He is a Druid who serves his Goddess by taking care of the invisible people in this society. He watches over the homeless, the poor, the hurt, and the lost. He’s the American version of Mother Theresa.”

The comparison of him with Mother Theresa brought a smile to Harry’s face. He shook his head in the negative and said, “Everything she said is true except that Mother Theresa part. That was a little overboard. Little? Who am I kidding? It was way over the top.”

Amy shook her head with a smile on her face. Seeing the look on Richard’s face, she said, “He’s the real thing. He’s the one who has built Homeless Hotels all over the country. He’s part of the reason why not one homeless person died in that horrible storm last February.”

“You’re really a Druid?” asked Richard.

“Horrible green dress, gold trinket around the neck, and a perverted mind. Yep, I’m either a Druid or a rapper with a bad fashion sense,” replied Harry.

The comment about being a rapper cracked up Amy. She was used to his sense of humor and had come to enjoy his jokes. She didn’t know what kind of sense of humor her boss possessed, but she doubted it extended to the kinds of jokes that Harry told. Still laughing, she made a gesture like a rapper. Harry adopted a similar pose.

Richard shook his head and said, “You’re crazy.”

“People keep telling me that, but I’m secure enough in my insanity not to believe them,” replied Harry.

“Why are you here?”

“Why I am here is not your business. However, I have accomplished what I came to do so I shall now leave,” answered Harry. He had learned that Amy was spending almost every evening at the Homeless Hotel helping hand out food and supplies. It bothered him that the young woman was not developing a social life. Even the homeless at the shelter had expressed their concerns about Amy.

With a smile plastered on his face, he turned to Amy and said, “I shall pick you up for the picnic Saturday.”

Amy started to protest that she didn’t want to go to the picnic; but with Richard there she couldn’t say that, and with Harry there, she couldn’t lie. Caught, she nodded her head in agreement.

“Okay, Harry,” she mumbled.

As Harry turned to leave, he said, “You work for Michael Walters, don’t you?”

“Yes,” answered Richard warily.

“He’s such a nice man,” commented Harry as he left the office. Pointing his way with an arm, he sidestepped his way down the hall. The sound of Amy’s giggle followed him.

A very uneasy Amy rode her IC ATV across the grounds of the huge house where the picnic was being held. Harry walked beside her, cheerful at the change in his routine. They hadn’t quite reached the picnic tables where everyone was gathered when, in a last ditch effort to duck out, Amy said, “It’s not too late. We can turn around and leave.”

“No chance of that happening,” replied Harry. He winked and said, “I can’t wait to run the three-legged race with you.”

“There’s no way I’m doing that,” declared Amy.

“I had no idea that Mickey lived in such a big place,” remarked Harry looking over at the house. The house was situated on a hundred acres of land that ran along the shore of Lake Michigan.

To the best of her knowledge, no one ever referred to the CEO of the brokerage firm as Mickey. Wryly, Amy asked, “Mickey?”

“Yeah, Michael Walters,” answered Harry. He noticed the amused expression on her face and answered her unasked question. “I met him years and years ago. That was long before he was a somebody.”

“Oh,” replied Amy. It surprised her how many people Harry knew.

As they approached the crowd, a figure detached itself from the tables and walked towards them. The man waved and shouted, “Harry! It’s great to see you.”

“Hey, Mickey!”

The man came over and picked up Harry, hugging him tightly. With obvious delight, he said, “My old friend. I’m amazed that you’re here. How did you know to come here?”

“Ah, I’m the date of this young lady,” answered Harry gesturing to a very embarrassed Amy. As her face turned a bright red, he said, “May I introduce you to Amy.”

With little more than a causal glance at the braces, Michael turned to Amy with a genuine smile. She wasn’t aware of it, but he had been watching her career ever since Ed Biggers had worked with her. The fact that she could deal with a Druid of his caliber without a problem had signaled to him that she was future executive material. He took her hand in a warm grip and said, “Delighted to meet you, Amy. Any friend of Harry is a friend of mine.”

“Nice to meet you, Mr. Walters,” answered Amy. She wasn’t sure how to address him, so she chose the formal address appropriate for a business situation.

“Please call me Mike,” replied the executive. He said, “Only my employees call me Mr. Walters.”

“I work for you,” replied Amy not wanting there to be any misunderstandings about her position.

“In that case, call me Mike,” answered the man with a grin. At the surprised expression on her face, he added, “I didn’t say that I liked to be called Mr. Walters, just that my employees are the only ones who call me Mr. Walters.”

Harry laughed as the three of them made their way to the tables. Amy was intimidated to be in the presence of the CEO. She wondered if the man really meant what he said about any friend of Harry’s being a friend of his. Harry had some pretty scruffy and rugged friends that most people wouldn’t want to meet, much less consider a friend.

Working up her nerve, she asked, “How do you know each other?”

Mike answered, “I was a little wild when I was in college. One day I had too much to drink. When I woke up in an alley, Harry was sitting there watching me. It scared the hell out of me at the time. I’d never met a homeless man. Pardon me, a hobo before.”

Harry grinned at the correction. Mike continued, “Harry took me on a little tour in which he showed me what happens to people who can’t control their drinking. He didn’t put it to me that way. Instead, he introduced me to some of the people that he knew. As I learned their stories, I came to the realization that I had to take control of my life. I haven’t had a drop since that day.”

“Were you a Druid then?”

“No, that was years before I met the Goddess,” answered Harry shaking his head in denial.

When they arrived at the picnic tables, Harry noticed that Richard was standing off to the side watching. Turning to Richard, Harry said, “You didn’t do as I asked.”

“How do you know?”

“I would have heard about it if you had,” replied Harry. He shook his head and said, “I was very disappointed in you.”

Mike paused and asked, “You asked him to do something? What?”

Harry answered, “I asked him to take a lunch out to feed some of the homeless in the area.”

Mike turned to study Richard for a full minute. Richard was a rising star within the organization. He ran a tight ship and his teams produced good results. He wondered if there wasn’t a character flaw within the man that would eventually lead him into trouble.

Looking over at Harry, he asked, “Harry, could I ask a favor of you?”

“Sure,” replied Harry having a very good idea what he was going to be asked to do.

“I’d like you to take Richard here under your wing for a month. Take him around and let him meet some of your friends,” requested Mike, looking at his friend hoping that the answer would be positive.

“No problem,” answered Harry. He made a show of looking over the physique of the executive as though sizing up his strength. He added, “I’ve got a couple of people who are suffering from psychiatric problems that I’m trying to help. I’m sure that Richard would be a great help.”

Unable to believe what was being discussed, the young businessman looked at his boss in shock. His boss was asking someone to have him deal with crazy people.

Trying to minimize his exposure, Richard said, “Sure, I’ll make some calls to the local hospitals and see if we can’t get a bed or two opened up for your people.”

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