The letter arrived just before lunch, in an official-looking envelope. Marvin Pincus quickly opened it, then sat down in his recliner. He read it over and over. He looked around. Marjorie was out doing the shopping.
Marvin’s old face looked even older. He walked out to the pickup and drove down to the Mule Barn truck stop with the letter. He needed … someone.
Dewey and Doc were in for an early lunch and he sat with them.
“What’s up, Marvin?” Doc asked. Marvin handed over the letter.
Doc read it and passed it to Dewey.
“It’s just a hearing, Marvin. Nothing more.”
“They’ll stop my counseling business,” Marvin said. “That’s what that means, with all the floof-ee-doof stomped out of it.”
“Do you have a college degree?”
Marvin shook his head.
“Says here you need a minimum of an associate in arts degree to be a counselor,” Dewey said.
“And a business license,” Doc said.
“I just wanted to help folks, that’s all,” Marvin said.
“Well, you have two weeks before the hearing. I’m sure you can get a business license in that time.
About that college degree …”
“Yeah, that’s the problem.”
Dewey looked at the letter again. “Wonder who this Miz Stickle is that signed this. My guess is some dried up old prune who has to stick her nose into everyone else’s business.”
“Well,” Marvin said, “she’s an M.S.W., and that’s bound to mean something.”
“Masters in social work, Marv,” Doc said. “According to the letterhead, she rides herd on advice-givers in the county.”
“She says I have to cease and desist advertising until after the hearing. How does a guy desist something?”
“I think she means quit it,” said Dewey, the fertilizer king. “Old prune! Wonder how long it’ll be before I have to have a college degree to shovel …”
“Now Dewey …” Marvin said, grinning.
Finding humor in a tragedy is a true sign of friendship, Marvin thought.
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