25.Summing Up

Sam and Sue went to Sam's room where, like an old married couple, they undressed, propped some pillows behind their heads and started reading. Sam was still feeling guilt pangs and Sue was still thinking about the events of the afternoon. Sam was reading Tarkas's report and Sue was reading a novel. After a short while, she put down the book, turned to Sam and said, "I suppose that I have no right to ask what transpired between you and Ellen."

"I think that I'd like to tell you about it -that is, if you want to know."

"I think that I'd rather know than guess."

Sam related what had transpired between himself and Ellen Bast, tactfully omitting his encore performance.

"I can't see," Sue said, "how you could have refused, without hurting her feelings dreadfully. Besides, I doubt that a man is capable of resisting that kind of thing. Men aren't taught to say 'no' the way that women are."

"Are you angry with me?"

"I was a bit troubled, but it's nothing major. If you hadn't told me about it when I asked, it might have created a bit of a rift in our relationship -I can't abide deceit. A bit of extramarital meandering doesn't disturb me. Besides, we're not married, so you have every right to do what you did without consulting me or even feeling guilty about it."

"I feel very guilty about it. I love you so much that I don't think that I could bear to lose you. That was what really worried me."

"Don't be concerned about that. It would take a lot more than your having a bit of sport for me to give you up." At the dinner table, Sue had made a decision that whatever had transpired between Sam and Ellen wasn't worth remaining angry about. She thought that, in a way, Sam's act gave her a bit of freedom to do likewise, should she ever have the inclination. She kissed Sam with a mixture of gentleness and warmth. I'll show you that you don't have to have a blinkin' disease to be a great lover, she thought. Sam was treated to a love making session which equaled or surpassed anything that he had experienced to date.

Jack Monser looked tired, but happy, at breakfast when he and Ellen joined Sam and Sue.

"I guess," said Jack, "that the ball is pretty much in Zabalka's court."

"Yes," said Sam. "There isn't much anyone can do until he gets his results. I guess that Eric and I will pull back to Salt Lake and see if we can find out whether any other batch of polio vaccine ever produced EE -although I really don't have much of an idea about how to go about it. When a disease kills or maims, records are kept. How do you go about locating people who need lots of sex?"

"I might be some help to you later," said Ellen," but I'm too new to this to know. Besides, I haven't exhausted Jack yet."

"I'm not too sure about that," said Jack with a smile.

"I've heard that there are sex clubs," said Sue.

"That there are, "said Jack, "but I wonder if they would be of much help to us."

"They might be a way of locating people with EE." said Sam.

"How would you go about finding these clubs?" asked Sue.

"I'm not sure. I think that there are magazines. Let's ask Levering; he seems to know something about everything." Jack said as Mike Levering approached the table.

"Mike," said Sam " What do you know about sexual swingers clubs?"

"Why the hell are you asking me? I'm a quiet married man. Ask a swinger."

"Of course," said Monser, "I should have thought of that. All that we have to do is ask some of those early EE cases about where they find contacts. I'll check it out in L.A. and you can check out Salt Lake City," he said to Sam.

Sue's face had a Mona Lisa smile; "Isn't there anything that I can do in Chicago?" she asked.

"I doubt it," said Sam, looking worried," there aren't any EE cases in Chicago."

"But there are Swingers clubs," she retorted.

Eric Harper, Nick Tarkis and Arthur Zabalka joined the group.

"When are we going to go public?" Nick asked Levering.

"My feeling is that I'd just as soon wait until all of the facts are in both from Arthur and Sam. No point in having the press breathing down our necks until we have most of the answers. If it wasn't for Arthur's discovery of a hybrid virus, I'd just as soon never tell them. What good would it do?"

"We might get information about the true extent of Epidemic E." said Sam.

"I think we'd get more information than we wanted. Everyone with an increased libido would tell us that he caught a disease from some kid who'd gotten live polio vaccine. The vaccination program would be screwed up. In short, for every bit of additional information, we'd buy a pack of trouble," said Levering.

"Don't we have some duty to protect the public?" Nick asked.

"Sure! and we'll do that. If there is any indication that we have to release information so that people can take precautions, we'll do it. So far as we know, Epidemic E is over -that is, unless Sam comes up with some evidence that any live polio vaccine can combine with Coxsackie to produce an infectious child."

"Suppose Schneider lets the cat out of the bag?"

"It might be a good idea to let him know that he would be in for a couple of law suits, including one for wrongful death, if the information gets out. Why don't you stop in Detroit, Sam?"

"Not me! I'm an epidemiologist; that's more your line of work, Mike."

"Schneider won't talk to me."

"Oh well," Sam sighed, "I'll do it."

After breakfast, the group went to Levering's room where the discussion continued along the same lines as it had at the breakfast table. Every answer brought with it a new set of questions. The group decided that all decisions would be tabled until Sam and Arthur came up with their final bits of data at which time there would be another meeting, probably in Bethesda.

By eleven o'clock, everyone was talked out and the participants left for their respective homes. Sam bade Sue a fond good-bye, after which he helped Eric return the computers to the place from which Eric had rented them. Then they checked out. Eric headed for Salt Lake City and Sam for Detroit.

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