George Packard, retired schoolteacher, reconsidered his position. His writing career seemed to have ended with the Story of the P’s. True, he could go back to it, finish it up, turn it into the “Great American Novel” perhaps. Bumbastories would publish it in any case.

But no sense throwing good money after bad. That’s what Uncle Earl, Dad’s younger brother Earl, used to say. Earl had been in the car business too, along with the other Packard brothers. But Earl had been opposed to the merger with Studebaker. And then later he was against the re-organization proposed by the Romney people. “No use throwing good money after bad,” he had said. Earl had been right about American Motors. The Rambler was a “crumby piece of ****,” he said.

So, in 1954, Earl cashed in his chips. He sold his three Packard dealerships, and, before you could say Jack Robinson, Uncle Earl had moved to Florida, where he threw his money into the booming real estate market. Earl made a second fortune, a huge fortune. He retired to one of the old Wrigley mansions that he had acquired along the way, and lived out his days drinking champagne and marlin fishing off his luxury yacht. Earl died like that: sailing off into the sunset – or so they said. On the Gulf of Mexico. Sailing into the sunset. Good ol’ Uncle Earl. George remembered Uncle Earl fondly.

Ahh, but what to write now? George Packard asked himself.

George wanted to write about the beauty of the world. The mystery. The essence. The unnamable.

George wanted to sing the glories of the mathematician, the astronomer.

George Packard, retired schoolteacher, wanted to cast his voice out to the heavens and deep into the earth at the same time. George Packard wanted to unite the bad with the good. The horror together with the lovely. Blood with wine and music.

George wanted to plumb the ocean depths and he wanted to reach for the white light of the stars.

Ahh, but he needed a story. Ahh, what to write?

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