Sindamo consciously willed his hands not to shake as he set the pan down on the counter. The man with the dress shirt asked, “Business good today, Mr. Sindamo?” After trying with limited success to wet his suddenly parched throat by swallowing, Sindamo croaked, “Yes, sir. May I help you?”
An hour and twenty-five customers later, Tangwishon was still talking with his friend. Their conversations were like European wars of the 17th century. The eager participants often covered the same ground, but there was always a new twist or variation that had to be worked out.
At sunrise, when Sindamo was finishing the first batch of the day, George Hela arrived at the bakery. The first and last thing most people noticed about Sindamo’s mid-twenties guard was his earnestness. He was quiet and simple, possessed of an implacable dedication to his job and little else. Sindamo had hired him because he needed someone to look after the store when he had to go get supplies or go to the kitchen to bake during the day. Also, since the police and army were totally unreliable, Sindamo needed some muscle in the store to deal with any potential robbers. With a simple “Good morning, boss,” George pulled up a stool and assumed his position behind the counter.
Thomas Sindamo woke up from his sleep. He had dreamed again of that night twenty one years earlier when he and Sister Schiller had listened to the Ode. The occurrence of the dream was not particularly noteworthy for Sindamo. As with most people, he dreamed of the events of his childhood about once a week. Sometimes he would dream of the Ode. Other nights he would dream that he was back in his math class at the missionary school or reading a book at night on the porch while the flies tried to get through the mosquito netting.