Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Retro Diary Part VIV

Retro Diary, Part VIII

 

 This is a serial mystery thriller. Look for a new installment every Wednesday! 

Enjoy.   












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Chapters 34-Epilogue





This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, government agencies, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Ay resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living, undead, demonic or dead, is coincidental.  Any governments, nations, government officials or government agencies are fictional constructs built by the author and they bear no relationship to the real thing.
Copyright ©2012 by Edith R Allen
All rights reserved
Visit Xenonlit Press Website at  www.xenonlit.jimdo.com
Printed in the United States of America











Chapter 34 

The Seasonal Blender



Late Summer blended into Fall and the heat decreased as if someone took a foot off the celestial gas pedal. Halloween is the definitive San Francisco holiday and this one threatened to earn a place in history. Adults love to turn into something they are not and children can not wait to dive into gothic tales of horror and mystery.
San Francisco’s deceptively warm days lured the unwary into skimpy dress and afternoon naps at Fort Mason. Exhausted mothers took the little ones to the parks to wear them out before the evening’s sugar overload transformed them into uncontrollable and filthy maniacs.
Skiers and adventurers waited impatiently for the first rains and the promise of powdery slopes in the High Sierras. Powder would not show until November at the earliest. Apple Hill, chilly fall camping trips and long hikes down the coast were the better options. All was in stasis. Healing continued. Impatience ruled the day.
Franklin Marsh was mortified to know that he would be wearing a sling and his neck brace for long enough to look like a worker’s compensation faker. He felt like an eighty year old man with rips and tears in muscles that he once planned to use. He and Marissa took advantage of the disabled roster and turned their rooftop case into a raging war. The self-appointed aesthetic dictators of the San Francisco skyline suddenly found themselves up against a horde of union and non union laborers who needed jobs. Architects, designers, absentee building owners and anyone looking for tax breaks descended upon the city. Over 40 homeowners wanted the opportunity to expand, go eco-friendly and gentrify.
The environmentalists went wild. They took up the green banners and elevated them into the stratosphere of activism gone wild. Green groups demanded that every household should have something green going on. They exploited the situation with rallies, costumed madness and protests that turned whole neighborhoods into giant block parties and near riots.
San Francisco has only a twenty six square mile area to work with. Most of the working class either fled, were bought out or sold out to better living situations in the valley or across the bay. This left a San Francisco that was more like a prettier, much more livable form of Manhattan. Urban decay butted up next to closet-sized apartments that sold for half a million as “compact luxury living spaces.”
Marsh and Marsh was fat, happy and prosperous. The new hires were rational and sober. They had a wildly brilliant legal exuberance and more than one of them set legal precedent (and their careers) on new courses.
Marcia Landon plowed ahead with her “Friday Follies” program. She was at risk of becoming a public figure as opportunistic academics and politicians attempted to breach the walls. They failed to transform her lecture program into their self serving playgrounds. She called in the best firewall-builders she knew and had them send the same message many times: Painful consequences accrue to those who lie, cheat or publicize one’s way into the Friday Follies. The consequences for a few extremist idiots were so severe that their political careers were over before they even began.
She lined up her speakers for the full International Conference in late May, but she did not want to waste a minute preparing the unprepared and training the untrained.
She was rushing to her car without her security which was a rare event. Since she was so rarely alone or on a regular schedule, Marcia did not expect to encounter any trouble.
“Everything will settle down after Halloween. Then I will reignite the excitement in April. Damn, this place is huge. You could murder someone in here and no one would know it for a month.”
 Her car was buried in an immense parking structure that stood next to the Institute for International Relations. She had given Daniel a chore to do, and just needed to dash to her car for a portfolio. She rushed around a corner, prepared to dive into her car. She sensed something wrong, glanced around and saw a very tall man approaching her.
“Don’t I know that guy? Isn’t that Franklin Marsh, the FBI agent who works with Kevin Ap-Rhys? What’s he doing here, looking at me?”
Franklin Marsh was thinking the same thing. “What is Kevin’s green eye woman doing here, looking at me? Is she lost... no.. she works here. That’s right. Let me, ahem, introduce myself. She is looking awfully vulnerable and she needs some security assistance.”
Franklin walked over to Marcia and said, “Aren’t you Marcia Landon? Do you work here or something?”
“Yes. I do the Friday Follies now. Aren’t you with the FBI? Are you moonlighting here?” She stared openly at Franklin’s bandages and bruises.
“And what did the other guy look like?” She laughed as a signal that she was not trying to be insulting.
“The other guy is dead. Yes I am  assigned to set up the security program for the conference. And... I am a reserve FBI Agent and part-time SFPD Inspector.”
“That’s a big job! And now I remember.  I’m so sorry you were injured in Taylor County. What is it with you and Kevin? I am so sorry I missed it when they brought you into UC Medical Center or I would have been there to help you! What happened?”
“A bad guy tried to kidnap me. That was a wrong move on his part because he was an amateur. I am a pro. We were amused and he was not.”
“Oh my. Wait. Aren’t you a partner with your sister, Marissa, at your law firm? Why are you doing..”
“How do you know about my law firm?” Franklin did not know if he was happy about that. Was she snooping on Kevin and Him. Wasn’t she part of a hacking investigation?
“Marissa does my patent and contracts work, Franklin! I’ve never met you, but we have talked about you and your adventures... at least whenever you tell her anything she can talk about. Good grief, we are connected up here. Kevin, me, you. Kevin has been my major crush since I was fifteen years old.”
That would not be the last time one of the three would be shocked about connections between people. In fact, the connections were destined to take on supernatural proportions. But that would happen years later.
“I know. It’s hard on our families and friends when we can’t talk about the details, but it’s better that way. I’m doing fine...”
“They walked and talked for ten minutes. Franklin helped Marcia into her car and he asked her out on Friday night. She turned him down with a mention that she and Kevin had some romance to resolve... if they could stop passing each other like runaway freight trains on parallel tracks.
“Did I just ask that green eye girl out? I must be crazy!” Franklin mused. He was not breathing right and was having something like a panic attack. He made his way to his car, got into the driver’s seat, pulled out his service weapon and...


Chapter 35 
Never Argue With A Green Eye Woman




Marcia Landon drove down three levels before she realized she needed to go back to her office. She parked in a new space and left her car. As she was walking to the parking structure elevator, she wondered at herself,
“Did I just refuse to go out with that Franklin when I am this close to... what? I have nothing with Kevin Ap-Rhys. That man knows where I am and has not asked about me. That’s it. I’m going out with Franklin. He is beautiful and he is a very nice brother.”
She turned a corner and saw a man sitting in a car. Something did not look right.
“Isn’t that Franklin? Why is he sitting there? Is he hurt after asking me out? How sad is he?” She was still walking when she saw something that gave her a chill at the top of her head and down her entire right side.
Franklin Marsh was sitting in his car with a gun in his mouth!
“Whoa! No thinking! Do something crazy!” Marcia thought. She dashed over to Franklin’s car and grabbed the passenger side door handle. The car was unlocked! She yanked the door open and slid into the passenger seat. She reached into her purse and pulled her own weapon. She poked the weapon into Franklin’s side and said,
“You do not want to get gut shot by me, because you will live, I assure you! You will have to wear diapers and colostomy bags and catheters and stuff, Franklin. So I propose that you safety your gun and toss it into the back seat where you can’t get at it. Then I will do the same with mine.”
“What, What? Are you crazy?” Franklin looked at her with awe.
“Hey!” She yelled, “I’m not the one with a gun in my mouth! You take that gun out of your mouth right now! Safety it and... and you toss it!”
Franklin complied with her demand and continued to stare at her in awe and wonder. She put her gun on safety and tossed it into the back seat with Franklin’s gun.
“Now, drive this car somewhere where we can eat and talk. I like Firenze at the Hotel Marrs.”
“You think I can afford Firenze?”
“I’ll treat!”
“You are a working girl! You can’t afford...”
“I’m good for the money, Agent Marsh,” she said those words in such a dry tone that he blinked a few times, kept his mouth shut and started the car. They rode in complete silence and did not speak again until they were seated and had ordered their food.
“Do you see everything in shades of gray, Franklin? Does anyone ever show up in full color?” She asked this question without preamble and it confused Franklin.
“Uhm.. I... well... you know? Yes. Yes! I never realized that.”
“I know about your wife and babies, Franklin. You know about me, don’t you? My case was a nasty one from the East Bay. You lost your babies and I will never have one without a lot of fuss. I didn’t see very much color either, Franklin.”
“Yes. I knew about you when you were a little girl, Marcia Landon in Berkeley. I never put it together until now! You are that same girl!”
“No. I am a very different human being than that girl was, Franklin. But I was like you. I only saw a few people, in color. The world did not fit me. But this isn’t my time and I cannot possibly understand how you are suffering worse than anything I can think of. You are afraid to commit to this world. You want to join them now and can’t wait for a natural death. Am I right?”
Her green eyes bore into him. He had stopped making eye contact and his face was clouded. Finally, he burst into tears and sobbed for a while.
“That’s right. Give up that manly-man bullshit. You just let it out. That is so good for you. We are very private here, so don’t worry. Just let it go and then we will talk. Then we will eat some food. Is that a plan?”
Franklin sobbed and nodded. She gave him a packet of Kleenex and waited. The waiter was new, probably another family member newly arrived from Italy’s Fruili region. He brought wine, water, a plate of antipasti, crusty bread and olive oil for dipping. The waiter gave no sign that he even recognized any drama at Ms. Landon’s table.
Marcia ate bread and sipped wine. She dipped some bread in olive oil, poured a glass for Franklin and said, “Open up. Eat, boy!” She poured some wine and made him drink. Franklin did not know what to make of it. He felt better than he had since September 11, 2001 when his wife and two babies were vaporized.  Marcia displayed herself in brilliant Technicolor. She handed him things and took things from him. He felt the same way when Kevin handed him things and took things from him. But Kevin was out of commission and Franklin had been lost.
“Kevin is in color, too. And my Dad and Marissa.”
“Good. You have loves in your life. You have a good friend you care about. You picked the wrong girl, though, and we have to work that out.”
“Why? You don’t want to go out with me?”
“Well, I have been madly in love with Kevin for the longest time, Franklin. Unlike you, we are in a double-nerd situation. There, I’ve said it. This is a mess, because your Kevin is after me for heinous, but ill defined computer crimes that I never committed because they are impossible to commit. When you asked me out, I was angry and about to give up on him. Do you know I have had a crush on him and he’s been crushing on me since we were both fifteen years old?”
“What?”
“When we were in high school, we first saw each other in some international student exchange videos. Everyone had crushes on everyone else, but Kevin and I... I don’t know.” She stopped talking and ate bread and antipasti. She kept feeding Franklin like an old Italian woman feeding a grandchild.
“We three belong together, Franklin. No... I am not a psychic, but I feel a spiritual conniption. We three need to be together. There is a reason why we are here and we can’t leave this plain of existence until our time is over.
But if Kevin would stop trying to cast me as his Irene Adler and would tell me he wants me, he would come first. He, you and I have something to do. We have something to do, Franklin and I don’t know what it is. I don’t even know when the time will come.”
“Diana Martin is your godmother, isn’t she?”
“Yes, is something going on with her?”
“Nothing that I know of. Look, I can step aside and find a woman, Marcia. I have a girlfriend back East, but I don’t know where that is headed...”
“No worry. You and Kevin and I need to be friends. We need to stick together. I know this sounds crazy, but we just had this romantic little interlude with guns and gut shooting for a reason. Why would you still want to go out with me?”
“Uhh... you’re not too smooth with the guys, are you?”
“Do I act like I have had the time in my lifetime to learn about being smooth with guys? No, dear. I am not Diana Martin, even though I love her to tears.”
“Well, you have a deal. May I suggest we do this one day at a time?”
“You have a deal. Blow your nose. I hear Mauricio coming. He brings food that is nowhere on that menu!”
“Who are you, lady?” He blew his nose and stared at her.
“Landon. Marcia Landon. I’m stirred, but not shaken.”





Chapter 36 

The Betrothal of Kevin and Marcia




Kevin Ap-Rhys watched late Summer turn into Fall before he finished two grueling rounds of surgery and took the first of a million steps to full recovery. He was losing hope, knowing that he faced least a year of painful physical therapy before he could return to his full athletic schedule or go on missions. Now he faced  a dismal Halloween and a lonely Thanksgiving holiday. He refused to think about Christmas since he would not be able to travel to Cornwall to see the grannies. Who would be with him for his favorite roasts and puddings?
 He did not get his girl and probably never would, now that Franklin Marsh had gotten there ahead of him. “Attempted suicide trumps a broken up body!” he muttered to himself. “That hurts me!”
Fortunately, he was wrong about his dismal holidays. By Halloween, he was able to walk with his arm in a sling and could stay out long enough for a meal and some socializing. As soon as she heard that her godson could go out, Diana Martin summoned him to a Halloween breakfast party at her condo and Marcia invited him to stay with her for the weekend. Diana’s party was to be an early morning feast, followed by her quick exit to New Orleans for some kind of celebrity bash.
Kevin stood in his marble clad, manly bathroom and checked his looks with grave disappointment.
“I look like a dead man! I’m all gray and pasty. I have lost muscle tone. I am thin. Don’t I have some tanning lights?” He yelled this at his butler and old family friend, Georges.
“Yes you do, Kevin. Here. You take your robe off and lie on this tanning bed. I will set the timer for a few minutes. Then turn over and I will repeat the process. You will be slightly more colorful at any rate.
“Thank you. Do I have something to wear that will not be agony?”
“Yes. Mrs. Martin sent you two costumes: a Botswana prince and a Roman Senator. I recommend the Botswana prince because you are one.”
“I will look like a pasty White fool in that. I will be the Roman Senator, please.”
“You are a Black man living in America, Sir Kevin. Botswana prince, it is. I cannot face Mrs. Martin’s wrath if you do not wear those robes. They are authentic.”
“Yes. I understand what it is to face the wrath of Diana. I give up.”
Two hours later, a slightly browner and still very unhappy Kevin was greeted by his godmother. She touched him, kissed him and made him smell like her signature gardenia perfume. She put lip prints on his face and forced him to sit in the parlor between her cousin, Olive and Olive’s daughter, Chelsea. The women looked like classic, blond haired, blue eyed southern belles who could eat a man alive, but they were beautiful, sweet, well groomed women who were used to turning heads and taking hearts. They had no effect on Kevin Ap-Rhys on that Halloween afternoon. He was begging God for mercy when he saw movement in the corner of his eye and stopped breathing.
Marcia Landon had just been through a heated argument with Dians and was being dragged into the room by her godmother. Diana shooed the cousins away and ordered Marcia to sit on his good side. Marcia was dressed like a fantasy princess, with beads and baubles on her head and flowing gowns that held a delightful surprise under them.
“There!” Diana yelled. “If you two don’t do something about each other, they will rescind my matchmaker’s license!” She spun around and yelled at her cousins. “Marcia has some wonderful people for you to meet at her party tonight, so forgive my rudeness!”
She bustled them into her large dining room, muttering,  “I don’t know what’s wrong with them... everyone.. shoo! Leave these two to make up to each other before we eat...” She left her appalled, frozen godchildren behind and now they were alone with each other.
After several minutes, Marcia asked in an exaggerated southern accent,
“You are Botwsana boy! You! We have all heard about you since I was a  baby! You are the boy with the horse! You have my godmother, too! Now what? Is you my man, now?”
“Apparently, we were betrothed when we were babies, Marcia. Yes, you are mine. I will take you and make you mine. I will rub you...”
“I will throw a leg over you and have you right now, G-Man.”
“Yeah, I got your G spo...” He stopped cold. “What are we doing? I have things to settle with you. You were not very nice to me when I asked...”
“You ordered my lawyer and me to your office like we were criminals! Then you looked at your watch! You looked at your watch! I was dragged out of the most important Friday Follies event of the year for...”
“When I tried to explain that it was Brendan, not me,” Kevin interrupted, “You insulted my ethnicity!”
“I only asked why a foreigner...”
“I am an African American citizen, you!”
“Yeah. I apologized, didn’t I... How was I supposed to know you were a brother from another continent?”
“SIGH,” Kevin said, rolling his fabulous grey eyes. A brief upturn of the corners of his mouth gave his joy away. Marcia was thrilled to see a brief flash of joy on that pain filled, tired face.
“Yep. You mah man. We had our fight already. How are you feeling? Are you high on premium prescription drugs?”
“Slightly. I feel fine, now that I has mah woman at mah side. Come here. Look up at me like Nancy Reagan did.”
“I’m not touching you and hurting your shoulder. Are you coming to my house? We’re all going for a drive, now that you’re sprung. Then we will come back to my house, have naps, have supper and party all night long.”
Kevin was horribly depressed, but could not tell Diana or Marcia about it. She was trying so hard that he had to conceal his broken heart. His horse, Kefilte was in San Francisco at the horse stables. He hated that his beloved animal was suffering, in a new place...”
“...the whole neighborhood is going to parade in the streets. We will all look ridiculous. You will stand out, but my Spear will keep the hussies at bay.”
“Who are you, anyway?”
“Oh... this is Queen Califiah, the legendary myth of your new homeland, California. She was the leader of a mythical tribe of Amazonian African women!”
“Does your house have a place for us to lie down and talk?”
“You have never seen my house? That’s odd. Yes, I have quiet places for us to lie down and talk. I also have Georges and Dr. Yap. It’s all arranged by Diana. You are all spending the night at my place. Is that alright with you?”
“Yes. I would like that. Now tell me, girl. Did you go out with Franklin after he tried to kill himself?”
“Aiiee!” After she squealed. Marcia looked at Kevin as if she had swallowed a whole slice of lemon. “Who are you? What are you?”
“Please. Answer my question.” His gray eyes were a little darker now. Marcia just wanted to fall into them, but she had seen that darker color before and it did not mean good attitudes.
“Yes. We had dinner at Firenze. He cried and we had a talk about you and him and me. I told him that I had a crush on you and must wear it out... find out that you are not a toffee nosed “get”...”
“It’s ‘Git’, Marcia, and I am not one of those,”
“... or something. You have failed repeatedly to be a toffee nosed git, so I am still crushing on you.”
“I see. Well, what shall we do with each other?”
“We shall be three friends and family we three. Lovers, Franklin and I? I don’t know. Right now, it is you and me. It is the KevMar one day at a time, Kevin.”
“I want you to be mine.”
“You have that, Kevin. You are a good man and a fine man. But we are the only two people in the world who Franklin can see in color. He is halfway into the next world and half alive in this one. He tries to get to his wife and babies, Kevin. It  will take both of us to drag him back here to live out his life. It might not make any  sense right now, but we can do this. We can.”
Kevin gazed at her for several moments. He had lips as full as hers and his hair was growing longer. He would have a mass of honey blond knaps and curls.
“I will stop making mistakes with you, Marcia. We were passing each other by and life does not guarantee us any more chances. You are mine. I am yours.”
“We will have rules. We will follow them. This will be resolved before our thirty-fourth birthdays. You and Franklin will have your babies or else. You will not hang in limbo with me. You know I can’t have babies and I know that Franklin will be whole again. You, however, are mine and I am yours now and always.”
“You are too much for me. Do you just make this stuff up?”
“No. Life makes this stuff up. I just live through it and I take people along with me for the ride, Sir Kevin.”
“I cannot argue with that. Give us a kiss?”
They kissed their first real kiss ever, a man and a woman from different sides of the world who were betrothed when they were babies and lovers since they were teenagers.






Chapter 37 

Comparative Positions




While Marcia and Kevin were on the road to her surprise destination, Diana Martin was en route to New Orleans with Billy Mantoin. They talked openly too, about demonic rituals and hedonistic pleasures they would enjoy later that night. Diana talked about poisoning the water in a distant city.
Billy talked about the explosions that would erupt throughout the middle east, “In the darkest shank of night, the witching hour, ha!”
“How are you feeling? Better?” Diana cooed.
“I am in a much better mood these days, my love. I have forgotten about Percival Windsor and his botched money laundering operation. I no longer miss my favorite lawyer. He was such a good friend since our Oxford days. And now, I will be with you. I will not be required to suffer through another ridiculous costume party with my wife. I despise her so much I could pop her head like a grape. I would laugh to see her eyes fall out!”
“I think we’ll be seeing something like that tonight!” Diana giggled.
“Oh, who knows what the Count has in store for us. Do you remember how he skinned that couple alive on New Years Eve?”
“Oh yes! Percival taught him to do it. Oh, Billy, this will be the best Halloween ever!”
“Yes it will, my love. Yes it will.” Billy was thinking about the centerpiece, a live woman in the cargo hold. He would tie his lust for retribution together with entertainment in a mot horrible way.



Chapter 38 

Comparative Positions, Part II




While Kevin and Marcia were on their drive and Billy and Diana were en route to New Orleans, Franklin Marsh was making love to his girlfriend in Kansas City, Missouri. After a climax that frightened both of them, Franklin said, “Do you know what this means?”
“What does it mean, Franklin? You tell me. That last one scared me!”
“It means that we are really lovers now. You are mine and I shall possess you to the end of time, Mwahahaha!”
“Not the Vampire, please! I can’t breathe yet! We must get ready for the party, you know. My gown takes an hour to be sewn onto me! I could kill Maria, with her big idea of a Medieval feast! I made it loose so I can pig out!”
“Oh I love your family’s Italian Mafia extravaganzas. I know exactly what will happen. We will eat for six hours before cousin Vicente will start a fight with cousin Leonardo over that last construction job...”
“Stop! Those two made up yesterday. They usually take a week to start fighting again!”
“How did a Mafia princess end up with the FBI?”
“They needed an inside woman.”
“Come here and give me one more kiss, sweet girl. Then you can do my vampire makeup. If I hear one person call me ‘Count Chocula’... well...”
“Not with your size, Franklin. No one would dare...”
“Yes, you like my size?” He grabbed her up and held her close.
“Oh, you get no more, you!”
She and Franklin would be lovers for four years before a monstrous murder would change their lives forever. They would reform, be redeemed and form an army.  Franklin would see all of the world and all of its peoples in color again.






Chapter 40

The KevMar


“Marcia, where are we? This is a beautiful ranch. It has stables and a paddock. Who’s horse is that... is that your horse? You know I am looking for a ranch. My horse, Kefilte is here in America. He is languishing...”
“Shhh. Kevin! Look! Do you see him? He’s with your good friend... Withell is it?”
Suddenly, Kevin was sobbing into his hands. This was not the way it was supposed to go! It was too much for him. Marcia was about to start sobbing too. She had been up since 4 a.m., working with the bakers and fretting about the long day and night that lay ahead of her.
She took his good arm and held his hand. “You go ahead and cry, Kevin. You were worried, not being able to see him. Now you can come here every day if you like. The house is beautiful and you can stay over anytime you want to.”
Still hitching and snuffling, Kevin said, “I just never expected this, Marcia!”
“Diana and William did this, Kevin. I just happened to have this ranch. I want to grow my food here. I offered to have the stables and house done up and it was done. Your second, Andrew, did the security and Withell sent information about the stables...”
“You are all too much. This is all too much.”
“Well, I am still your social worker and you and I are family now, Botswana Boy and God brother and boyfriend. Now, Let’s get you out of this car so you can see your friends. We’ll have lunch here. Then we can all have naps before we go back to the city. I am serious about our naps because this will go on all night.




Chapter 40

 Loose Ends




The Taylor County Sheriff lost both his parents in peaceful passing in October. He inherited their property and got his high tech surveillance system. He did not have to pay a dime or deal with the DEA, either. Franklin Marsh supervised the arrangement because he did not trust anyone.
 The Blue Lagoon went out of business, not because of the Lumberyard Killer’s mad night on the town, but because the owner was running poker games in the back room. The poker games proved to be a huge business, with major players from Los Angeles and San Francisco. A single game could bring in $5 million. The owner, a former casino manager from Las Vegas, fled the jurisdiction and was believed to be living in the Caribbean. He had enough money stashed away to live in style for the rest of his life.
Barbara Bain reconciled with her husband and never strayed again. She and her husband moved to her hometown of London and she went into government service.
Honey Barton was in jail without bond. She faced so many murder and conspiracy charges that no one expected her to get out of jail in her lifetime. Her extended family went through stages of shock, disbelief, rage at the system and finally, rage at Honey Barton. She had no one to stand up for her until her fan base developed.
Money started coming in from all corners of the country until Honey had enough to bail herself out and get a high powered attorney. That is where she went wrong. Three days after her release, she disappeared from her home. Despite the most intensive man... or woman hunt in state history, she was never seen again.    
Honey’s last day on Earth started out when she was kidnapped from the parking lot of a pharmacy in Taylor City. It got worse when she spent hours hogtied and in the cargo hold of a jet. It all became hideously insufferable when she spent hours dying for the entertainment of a very special audience.
The most painful part was hearing laughter and applause while her tormenter took her apart, slowly, and piece-by-piece.




Epilogue 
Late June, 2012




Don Padre looked like an Italian Prince as he stood on the vast balcony and gazed over the hills of Rome. He was resplendent in Black tie and tuxedo of exquisite Venetian tailoring. His striped pants broke over patent leather shoes so fine they had to be handmade. He raised a tiny glass of Amaretto to his lips and took a light sip.
“It is not that the children were married here today, it is the cleared path that lies ahead of them,” he whispered. “It is not that two more children were married last month, it is the cleared path that lies ahead of them.”
“What a fine day, eh?” The Jesuit had quietly approached after giving Don Padre his time alone. “I heard your words, and they are fine words for a day like this one.”
“Did you ever think that we would ever be in this place, for this reason?”
“I had my doubts on many occasions, Don Padre!” The Jesuit laughed.
“They were young lovers who flew on damaged wings.”
“Then they were given unexpected gifts that could easily have wound up in the trash!”
They both laughed at the events of the previous months.
“They have embarked on a path to redemption and reconciliation.”
“They will face an enemy who may destroy them.”
“When they started all of this, they seemed so determined to... how do they say it?”
“Self destruct?”
“Yes! They seemed determined to self destruct just as they were fighting to make their lives solid and whole. What a journey these children have taken.”
“But this is so much better than that dreadful afternoon in Colma when we attempted to right wrongs by doing even more wrong. I can’t believe how far we have all come.”
“I can’t believe how far we have to go.”
“Yes, we have a hard and terrible journey ahead of us, a journey that seems to have no visible end.”
“There will be an end. Nothing is forever but eternity. Now let us celebrate this brief time of rest and joy, Father. Have some Amaretto so fine there is only one bottle left in the world!”
They laughed, sipped their Amaretto, and enjoyed the golden sunlight.






The end.





Coming Soon: 
The Retro Diary Wednesday Mysteries
A New short mystery every Wednesday



      

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