“Irene Jameson is delational!” This was El Du Duboise speaking. So, you can imagine the eye rolls and groans from the rest of us. We were sipping coffee and Chai at Mamma Maria’s Hot Imbibeeri, most of us trying to prop our eyes open enough to proceed into a day of acute observation and rational thought. El Du (named DuWane by his mother) was mostly there to imbibe and to obtain the rub-off of respectability he thought the rest of us had.
“That’s ‘delusional,’ Du,” Otto Brein said. “‘Delusional,’ as in suffering from fantasies and . . . .”
“That’s what I said,” El Du said. “Delational.”
“Which,” Otto went on, “If it is one thing Irene Jameson is not, it is delusional.” Most of us knew that Irene was about all that had kept El Du solvent for the last twenty years. She was his bookkeeper, secretary, admin assistant, and whatever conscience he might have. He had recently asked her to marry him in an attempt to keep her from quitting. But she wasn’t having any of it. “Twenty years of eight hours a day is all I need—I’m starting with a divorce.” And she quit.
“I think he actually meant ‘delational’” Di Partigamher said, she sipped her Egyptian Licorice, sniffed and swirled her cup. Di was the intellectual of us. She and Otto had been to State, Otto for Business and Di for some hippie degree in English or art or something—nobody knows exactly what. But she taught at the high school and wrote pretty decent Cowboy poetry. And there were few who dared tangled with her in an argument.
“I don’t think he has any idea what he meant,” I said.
“Which is?” Di looked at me over her cup.
“I didn’t say I knew either,” I shrugged. I was probably the least qualified to mix it up with Di, though El Du would give me a good run for the least qualified category. He’d been to the “U” but you wouldn’t know it by anything he actually did. In the thirty years since we left high school, he had almost completed a BA in General Nothing at the “U”, had bankrupted his brother, his sister, and his mother, and his Dad’s ranch with a scheme to sell high, dry, nearly useless parts of the ranch to Minneapolis and LA millionaires. Contrary to his usual opinion, LA millionaires could generally smell a fishy deal when they sniffed. He was the only one to come out with enough cash to be solvent. But in the process, he also managed to lose the best Admin Assistant in Montana.
“He meant ‘delate’ plus ‘shunal’,” she said. She put her cup down. “Irene is State’s Evidence in the Last Lost Valley County fraud scheme of the century. She is, as we speak, delating, on our very own El Du.”
Which was news but not a surprise to the rest of us. El Du frowned sadly into his cup of coffee.