After new years, things quieted down. Aside from an occasional interview, little happened to disturb Sam's tranquillity. This gave him the time to write up the "Epidemiology of Epidemica Erotica" and submit it to Science. It was accepted immediately. The paper insured his getting the appointment that he wanted at the University of Colorado as well as a substantial research grant which would allow him to pursue a study on "The Probability of Simultaneous Virus Infection With Special Reference to the Role of Interferon." He spent more time with his children and alternated between meeting Sue in Chicago and having Sue come to Utah. They also had an active correspondence. Sam found himself writing love poems, something he hadn't done since his teen years.
Sue was appointed Associate Professor of Pharmacology at Colorado. The job was primarily a teaching one, which was what she wanted. Sue felt that teaching was a more respectable job than research. She was busy revising her chapter for the new edition of Wilson's Textbook of Pharmacology and preparing to move to Denver in August. She and Sam planned several trips to Denver to look for housing. They would marry after they arrived in Denver.
Early in March, Sam received an invitation to Harvey Schneider's
wedding containing a travel voucher, for two, good on any airline,
from anywhere to Detroit and return. Schneider knew that university
people had to count their pennies. Harvey Schneider was not one
of Sam's favorite people. Still, he was curious about what kind
of a woman Schneider would marry -or more to the point, what kind
of woman would marry Harvey. It was for early April and it would
give him a chance to have an expense-paid weekend with Sue. This
was important since his bank account had been flattened by airplane
tickets and stays at the Alta Lodge. He would meet Sue in Chicago
and they would fly to Detroit together and spend a four day weekend
Harvey Schneider's wedding and reception were held at Schneider's home, an estate on the outskirts of Detroit. It had been planned as an outdoor affair, but a spring snowstorm forced it to be held indoors. This meant that Schneider's house was literally packed with people. Sam and Sue could only see the people right next to them. Sam guessed that there must have been two to three hundred people packed into an immense house that could easily have accommodated one hundred. Sam recognized a number of celebrities including several movie stars and government functionaries. Neither Sam nor Sue saw anyone whom either knew personally. They thoroughly enjoyed the superb food and champagne. Sam eavesdropped on several conversations but found them boring, since they dealt mostly with the stock market and who was taking over what corporation.
In this gathering of influential people, Sam was one of the lesser lights. Nevertheless, the future Mrs. Schneider singled him out for some conversation. Perhaps, as a consequence of what had happened, she felt a certain intimacy with him that she didn't share with the other guests. After all, hadn't Sam almost orchestrated hers and Harvey's first wonderful affair. She wore a very simple yellow dress which displayed her somewhat extravagant figure. Her black hair was ringed with a garland of small flowers. She looked like a slightly exaggerated wood nymph.
"Well, Dr. Michaelson, you're quite a celebrity now. How does it feel?" she asked.
"A bit more hectic than usual. I'd like you to meet Sue Harwell."
"Not the Dr. Harwell I've read about. I hardly expected you to be so attractive. I thought that all female scientists looked a bit strange."
"Have you met many female scientists?" Sue asked.
"I think that you're the first one. I never expected Dr.Michaelson to bring a colleague."
"Dr. Harwell is more to me than a colleague," Sam explained. A glance from Sue cut him short. It was obvious that Sue did not want to be explained to the future Mrs. Schneider."
When she had left, Sam said "I think that Harvey has gotten more than he deserves."
"From what you've told me about Schneider and from what I've just seen of his bride, I suspect that he's gotten precisely what he deserves. Sue replied.
After the very simple wedding ceremony, Sam thanked Schneider for the invitation and for providing the transportation, and congratulated him on his marriage.
"I suppose," said Schneider, "that I should thank you both for making this all happen."
"I guess you should thank the Epidemic E virus." said Sam, "It's too bad that you had to give up on it."
"What makes you think that I've given up?"
"Well, I thought that now that the epidemic is over, whatever caused the disease is irretrievably lost. I assume that, by now, the R7001 vaccine is outdated. Besides, you would have to pass it in a susceptible child who was also infected with coxsackie."
"What I said to you before is still true -there are millions to be made with Epidemic E. You don't think that I'd let that slip through my fingers. Of course I wouldn't be foolish enough to try the really potent stuff myself, after that man died in Buffalo; but there are plenty of other people who would risk their lives for what Epidemic E has to offer."
"Have you had any offers?"
"A Texas oil man offered me two million for one dose of the hybrid virus if it works the way that I say it does, provided that I check it out on monkeys first."
"The hybrid virus?" Sam asked in surprise.
"Sure the coxsackie-polio hybrid."
"But I didn't tell you anything about a hybrid virus."
"You're not my only source of information, Sammy, my boy."
"But the army has classified the agent as top secret. You couldn't have read about it."
"So what! I don't intend to publicize it. I sure as hell am not going to market the EE virus like Carter's Little Liver Pills."
His wife came over and said, "Harvey, I do believe that you're neglecting our other guests."
"I'm sorry to cut this conversation short, Sam, but I do have to circulate."
Sam was dumfounded. He turned to Sue: "How the hell did he find out about the hybrid virus? He sounded as if he actually had a culture of the hybrid virus in hand."
"Maybe Levering told him," Sue said.
"No way! Levering and Schneider aren't even on speaking terms."
Sue's face registered surprise and Sam felt a hand on his shoulder. A familiar voice said "Sam, Sue, it's good to see you. I didn't know that you were personal friends of my old polio buddy, Harve Schneider."
Sam turned to face Arthur Zabalka.
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