Wednesday May 30, 2012 - 11:09 PM

So there Robbie and I were, in the store, finishing off the bottle of Bailey’s, and he was just finishing the recanting of the screenplay concept he’d been working on, revealing to me that one of his great passions was translating literature to a format such as screenplays so that they could be fully enjoyed by the masses.

But Robbie went on the explain that there was so much to literature that could be explored and enjoyed and discussed among the masses, but that the masses were often living lives too fast paced to fully comprehend them to the fullest.

“That’s the wonder of movies,” Robbie said. “When done properly, a good movie can be executed that, rather than take something away from the original book it was based on, can add new elements that can be revealed in a manner less subtle than in the book, but still powerful and rich.”

Robbie then explained that the director Rob Reiner had pulled this off brilliantly in movies such as Stand By Me (based on a novella by Stephen King) and again in Misery (based on another book by Stephen King).

That statement he made reminded me so much of my Uncle Bob. It’s funny, because, since Robbie was a father figure in my life (yes, I only realize that now), it made sense that I found something in him that reminded him of the man I’d known as my central father figure since the day my own father had been hit by the car and died.

It was shortly after this revelation that the creepy looking man I’d seen earlier reappeared from behind a tall set of bookshelves. This time, I think that Robbie must have seen him because, in mid-sentence he put down his coffee cup and said.

“Okay, Peter. Time for us to go.”

When I didn’t move, Robbie grabbed me by the arm and starting walking us quickly toward the exit, completely abandoning the small pile of books we’d accumulated, intending on purchasing them.

He didn’t say a word as we moved out to the car, but I could tell that he was stepping more quickly as soon as we left the bright lights of the store and were crossing the dark parking lot. I remember thinking how late it was and that we must have spent a longer time in the store than I’d originally thought. Sure enough, my watch showed that it was already 9:30.

As he was starting the car I finally asked. “What’s going on, Robbie? Who was that man?”

After putting the car in gear he turned to look at me. “Peter, I have a confession to make.

“But the first order of business is we need to get the hell out of here, now.” And he takes his foot off the brake, slams it down on the gas and the tires issue a high pitched squeal as we peel out of the parking lot.

I remember looking back, seeing a few different figures heading out the store entrance, one of them tall like the creepy man I’d seen in the store. An uncontrollable shiver ran down my spine.

We drove in silence as Robbie raced the car down the Kingsway toward downtown. We raced down the street next to city hall, then made a quick right, then a left, darted around a seemingly random route through the downtown core area of town before Robbie raced onto Paris street and then turned off again to the parking area near Science North.

He shut off the car and we sat there for a moment, just listening. I couldn’t hear anything other than the ticking and clicking of the engine as it cooled down, but the look on Robbie’s face suggested he was either listening to the traffic turning off Paris or perhaps to voices from the past, talking to him about the confession he was about to make.

“Robbie,” I said. “I’m a little concerned, here.”

He lifted a single finger into the air, saying nothing, and continued to sit quietly and just listen.

After what must have been ten or fifteen minutes, Robbie said, “I’ve got to get something. Just a minute.” And he got out of the car, opened the trunk, then returned to the driver’s seat with a mickey in each hand. One of rye and the other vodka. “Name your poison,” he said, reaching past me into the glove compartment where he fished out two plastic cups.

“Me? I’m starting with the rye,” he said, pouring some for himself. I said that I’d have that too and he poured me a cupful.

He took a long, slow drink from his cup, then refilled it before he turned to me and said: “It’s very likely you’re not going to like me much after I tell you this story.”