Sam looked sicker than before. "Maybe," he said bitingly, "I'll just go and do that."
Meanwhile, Wilson, the press agent, hadn't touched a bite of his lobster salad. He kept jumping up and down, running here and there, and then, when we were having coffee, he popped back in again and asked Sam if he'd pose for some pictures by the swimming pool.
Sam got real peevish. Pshaw, he said. What the pshaw was the idea of taking pictures every five minutes? Weren't there enough pshawin' pictures taken when he got off the plane? Oh, certainly, Wilson explained patiently, but what he needed to hit the big Boston and Providence papers was some human interest stuff, like Sam posing with that brunette in the bikini who could be seen clearly and in detail through the picture window. Sam peered out the window but didn't say anything, and Wally rushed on to spell out just how desperately he needed more publicity for the big exhibition with Arnold Palmer at Quidnessett the next day.
Wilson put it up to Sam on the basis that he would not only be helping draw a big crowd to the match with Palmer, he might just incidentally be helping a young girl (she was presently an airline stewardess) to advance her career. It was obvious, even from our vantage point, that she was pretty enough, and everyone at the table agreed that the bikini did her no disservice. Wouldn't Sam please (Wilson implored) come out and pose for a gag shot, like maybe the girl making out that she was trying to drag him into the pool? Wally shot the works. "Sam," he cried, "this is the kind of stuff that might make the cover of LIFE magazine!"
Sam muttered a little and pushed his chair back from the table and put on my straw hat and walked out onto the terrace. I ran after him with his straw hat and told him he had made a mistake. He looked at my hat with marked distaste and passed it back to me without a word.
Wilson introduced the girl in the bikini as Miss Ann Tallman of Forest Hills, N.Y. She was giggling her head off and pretty soon she had Sam, sick headache and all, giggling right along. After the pictures, she scampered off, presumably—if she believed Wilson, the press agent—to mail off a subscription to LIFE magazine.
Then who should come hobbling out on the terrace but Sam's dear friend George Denton, the 70-year-old broker, walking with a cane since he had a heart attack, but hustling along like a kid to throw his arms out and grasp Sam in a bear hug and cry, "Sambo! Sambo! Why, you old son of a gun!"
"George, you look just real great!" exclaimed Sam. "How do you feel?"
"Just look at the weight I lost, Sambo," said George Denton, pulling his trousers a full six inches from his waistline. "I never felt better in my life. It may have been the best thing that ever happened to me. Doctor says if I take off a little more weight, I'll be better than ever."
"You will, too," said Sam. They kept pounding each other and laughing over old times.