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The Three Dollar Phoenix by Walt Sautter

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The Three Dollar Phoenix by Walt Sautter
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Could it have happened? Or did it really happen?
Answer these questions for yourself after you’ve read "The Three Dollar Phoenix".

Doctor Ed Bennett meets with an old college buddy and his life is changes forever. He abandons his work at his urban health clinic and embarks on a mission that requires him to confront powerful people.

This sports related mystery will keep you turning the pages (electronically of course). Do good guys always win? Do bad guys always lose? Read "The Three Dollar Phoenix" and you decide.


Newark, New Jersey - 1984

“Goddamn! it”, Ed yelled as he stumbled from the shower towards the phone in the bedroom.

“It never fails - probably a wrong number too”. He picked up the receiver. “Hello.”

“Hello, Ed—Ed Bennett” the voice on the other end replied. “Yes,, this is Ed Bennett.”

The caller’s voice sounded vaguely familiar, but he couldn’t quite place it. “Who is this?” he added immediately.

“Charlie Rhode” the voice said,

“Holy Christ! I haven’t seen you in seven years. How the hell are you doing?”

Ed hadn’t spoken to Charlie since , he had to think now, 1978. Yes, and it was June 1978 to be exact. Charlie probably didn’t even remember it. He was so drunk that he could just about talk, much less remember. That was the day the Raiders drafted him.

“I read about you being traded to the Giants” said  Ed.

“I thought the only things you’d be reading by now would be x-rays and stock reports”, Charlie quipped.

“Somehow I thought you were going to say that”. replied Ed.

Ed drifted back to the days when dreams of success were a common bond between him and Charlie. They had spent many nights at Terry’s Tavern rehearsing the conversations they would have after Charlie made the Pros and Ed got his M.D. It seemed to Ed that he knew exactly what would be said next.  It had all been said before, many   years ago, at Terry’s. The next line would be about meeting to talk over the old days, if he’d remembered the script right.

“How about going out for a drink , now that I’m in town, and we’ll talk about old times”, Charlie said.

“How about I meet you at Finnegan’s Rainbow said Ed. “Tomorrow night O.K.? Around nine?

“Sounds good to me” said Charlie.

“We’ve got a lot of talking to do after seven years.” Ed proceeded to give Charlie directions to the place.

As Ed put down the receiver, he flashed back to all the sights and sounds of his years at Penn State. lie and Charlie had some good times alright. They both pledged Kappa Delta Chi. How Ed got into that frat still puzzled him. He was a pretty good athlete but not a jock. Maybe it was because he was a real good handball player. in four years nobody ever beat him, not even All American Charlie Rode. Handball had made him a lot of friends and kept him in drinking money for four years at State. it was joked that the reason he was asked to pledge Kappa was so the brothers could get the bill of sales back for their cars from him.

“How did I first get friendly with Charlie anyway?” mused Ed as he dried himself.

“I think it was because of old Dr. Stevens. That bastard could give a mean chemistry test. I saved Charlie’s ass a couple of times in that course” ,thought Ed.

“That was when we first began to hang around together.”

Charlie wasn’t dumb. it was all that football kept him away from the books. I guess it paid off for him though. lie went to the Pros like he said he would.”

The next night Ed drove to Finnegan’s. As his lights flashed across the neatly lined cars, he saw the license plate, ALL PRO on a blue BMW.

“That’s probably Charlie’s car”, he thought. Ed parked his car and walked into Finnegan’s. It was a large. dimly lit room. Charlie was sitting at the far and of the bar. Ed saw him immediately, he couldn’t miss him.

How could anybody miss Charlie? Two hundred and forty-five pounds takes up a lot of space. Charlie looked up and caught Ed’s eye. With that he instantaneously jumped to his feet and let out his old cowboy holler. The dozen or so customers sitting at the bar straightened up as if the stools had been electrified. Ed felt Charlie’s powerful grasp.

“You haven’t changed a bit’ exclaimed Charlie, “Only a little uglier”. “You look good yourself, you two ton tub of shit”, said Ed.

As the evening ware on, Ed and Charlie felt the old bonds of friendship regrew. Their conversation was a collage of old memories and old stories. It was as if time had been suspended for the past seven years.

“Last call for alcohol”, came the bartender’s voice. Ed glanced at his watch. Two

A.M. already! it seemed like the evening had just begun and the bartender was closing up.

“Give me a call tomorrow , afternoon that is, and I’ll show you around’ said Ed as they walked out into the parking lot.

“I’ve been here two dozen times but only to play and run so to speak. Now that I’m going to be living here it would help to know where I’m going”. replied Charlie.

“I’ll call you about two or three”.

Ed and Charlie saw each other several times the following weeks in between Charlie’s practice sessions and Ed’s hours at the clinic. it began to seem almost like old times allover again.

The huge gray gothic topped by dozens of fluttering red and blue flags Pose out of the swamp plain. A large blue banner hung from its wall. it read “METRO STADIUM HOME OF THE GIANTS”. it waved in the light breeze off the meadows. The bright afternoon sun light gave it all the appeal of an animated neon display as it gently moved.

Ed pulled into the huge, almost empty parking  lot.