Petra, Peter, and Jennifer sprawled on the couch. Taft and the others sat in straight backed maple chairs, and perched on tall stools around Peter’s butcher block island in the middle of his kitchen drinking beer. It was April and they’d just finished their first ride after their winter prison, a sunny island of a Sunday, a gift of weather.
“Do you know your trial date?” asked Petra.
Jennifer looked down at her beer bottle, ”We’re still waiting. It shouldn’t be long.”
Frowning, she thought about the banners and how none of the arresting entities had yet found out who made them. Her stomach clenched. Quickly she changed the subject and suggested an end point to their summer trip.
Taft coolly watched Jennifer finishing up her conversation before speaking, “You know what’s been happening in the bond markets don’t you?”
Jennifer narrowed her eyes. Taft was an economics and history double major at Alfred University, the liberal arts division associated with the ceramics college. He’d been one of the founders of the bike club with Peter back in 1976, three years ago. Long before Jennifer had graced this college town. Kind of a dweeb, Taft with his long straight pageboy hair, looked a little like Prince Valiant. Held himself like royalty too.
“Why are you mentioning the bond markets, Taft?” an annoyed Jennifer asked.
“Because I think it impacts your case.”
“How?” Jennifer’s arms, by now, were folded across her chest, her left fore finger tapping rhythmically on her sleeve.
“Because Mirion Tech Nuclear Utility Bonds just fell to a “B” rating.”
“Why is that bad?”
“Well, investors won’t put their money into a bond that’s rated less than “A-.“
“So these shares, or bonds, fund the construction of the nuclear power system?”
“Yes. Bonds, an investment tool, are perceived as more secure than stocks. It’s because the municipalities and utilities putting them up for sale guarantee a fixed rate of return. Unlike a stock, which can fluctuate in value. But if the bond isn’t secure, indicated by it’s rating, no one wants to buy them. And those who hold the bonds, begin selling them back to the brokerage issuing them, which takes the money away from the project.”
Jennifer’s mouth was wide open, her cheeks flushed, and her eyes welled with tears, “SO! You mean our protest wasn’t necessary! They were going to go bankrupt anyway!”
“Well,” deadpanned Taft,” They could rally.”
Jennifer scowled. Peter walked over to her and pulled her into the crook of his arm, “Taft has a point.”
Peter, ”I’m facing a felony… a felony for what?“
“You told me your group was using the Walden Defense. You know, where a person or group are willing to break the law to point out a deathly hazard or greater evil than the law they break.”
“Well, don’t you know what movie just opened this week in Rochester? The China Syndrome.”
“What’s that about?”
A biker from across the room yelled,” The melt down of a nuclear reactor and a cover up!”
Jennifer was not consoled, “That’s only a movie!”
Peter continued to snuggle her in the crook of his arm as the conversation peddled away into other areas. The group discussed their plans for future rides. A few people offered to research summer locations, a one hundred-mile tour with stops at bed and breakfast inns. Once everyone but Jennifer was gone, the couple cleaned up the empties and wiped the counters together. As Jennifer was washing her hands at the kitchen sink, she could hear her boyfriend lock the door to the shop. She smiled to herself.
Peter was remodeling. Undressing to bathe, Jennifer checked to see if her Dr. Bronners soap was still in the shower, and continued to think about how he’d become a lot more aware of design and ceramic products from her. On their first trip to New York City, she’d taken him to dinner in Chinatown, to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where her uncle had worked, to Rockefeller Square for ice-skating, and hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps at Tavern on the Green – a culture waking whirlwind of three days and two nights. Piling her clothes on a tower of tile boxes, the plains of green masonry board raw on two walls stared at her. The towels were folded on top of the toilet, because his hanging rods were in a pile in the hall.
With slightly damp hair, Jennifer padded barefoot to Peter’s big four-poster walnut bed. He’d purchased it at a farm auction outside of Alfred Station. The top of the posts had carved pinecone finials. Accompanying the bed was a huge, matching, six drawer walnut dresser taking up a large portion of the right hand wall, with more pinecone finials on the corners, feet, and in the detailing on each drawer. The wood floor had large thick, royal blue, pile rugs. Frowning, gazing at the four walls, Jennifer thought, no color courage, white walls.
The shower was running again. Peter wouldn’t be long. Buried under the down comforter’s warmth, she idly critiqued his posters on the wall; a blow up of Dylan playing guitar wearing a Greek fisherman’s cap, harmonica braced around his neck, Fleetwood Mac with Stevie Nicks dancing like an avenging fairy in front of the band. At least the posters were framed. Jennifer had a thing about people over the age of twenty-five hanging posters directly on the wall as part of their decor.
Peter came into the room and stood naked and fresh by her side of the bed. She sighed and smiled as her eyes scanned his body.