Pages 108-110 Summary

Wallace Pfef drives from Minneapolis back to Argus. He turns off the highway onto a “dirt road known for harboring high school sweethearts.” Tonight the road is deserted and he soon stops the car and listens to nature’s night sounds outside his business. He is not ready to go back to his empty house, which is only half-built, but he also does not want to think too much about what happened between him and Karl in Minneapolis, either.

He tries to nap a bit and turn his thoughts elsewhere, but he is not particularly successful. Pfef thinks about one of his jobs, managing the swimming pool in town. It was a WPA project and much too “large and fancy” for a town like Argus. The pool is in terrible condition and is a constant problem for Pfef. Now he thinks about First National Bank, where he is a board member, but his mind quickly turns from that, too. All he can think about is Karl lying on the crisp hospital sheets.

Suddenly a bright light startles him and Officer Ron Lovchik leans into the car window. Pfef thinks quickly and shows his friend some of the pamphlets he gathered at the convention and rambles about the potential of sugar beets to change the economic prospects in Argus. A beet refinery would ensure Lovchik a new squad car and new windows for the jail; the town could build two swimming pools. Pfef begins to get carried away by his own ramblings and soon the idea settles into his brain. Lovchick good-naturedly dismisses Pfef’s ideas, but as he drives away, Pfef can almost see the smokestacks of the Argus beet refinery.