Jul
0

The Sky Horse Chapter Twenty-three

The Sky Horse Chapter Twenty-three

‘he Sky Horse Chapter Twenty-three

Pizza for Breakfast

Cole’s supper was well-received, he noticed. He also realized Mrs. Cunningham-Marsh and he had wasted time rehashing the Civil War. He realized this as the Chief and Bridget Fine reviewed how a pedophile groomed his victims. She mentioned how pedophiles often lured victims by making their homes or places of businesses attractive to kids,

“One man, a doctor, built an elaborate playground including a tree house,” Bridget said.

He never knew why but when the psychologist said, Cole looked at Eudora, She was looking at him and nodding as if to say “We know something; speak up.” He did.

:?troy /Underwood,” Cole said. Eudora nodded again.

“Say who, son?” Harlan asked.

“Troy Undgerwood, around my age, stands about five-eight, weighs one-forty. He has, short curly blond hair and brown, no blue, eyes and wire-r9mmed glasses, He has no visible scars or tattoos.”

Cole could never say tattoo with becoming self-conscious. He hung his head down for awhile so Eudora spoke.

“Mr. Underwood teaches a second grade glass in Pikesville. He came here about the same time Deputy Petty did. He’s from Meade and went KU. Several women set their caps for him but he doesn’t date.”

“Cole and I don’t date, either,” Harlan said.

Eudora looked at him sharply and said “I know why you said that, cousin, and I intend to talk to you about that late. Deputy Petty is not germane and he has dated twice that I know of.”

“That you know of?” Cole asked. “Are you spying?”

Eudora sighed. “This is Orrin and people talk/ I run the paper so I let them gossip to me because it often leads to a story. And your love life hasn’t. The point is we know you like women and I know Sharon Shaw likes you.”

“The tall red head? Really?” Cole asked.

Harlan loudly cleared his throat. “I’d liked to hear more about Underwood. Seen him around but we’ve not spoken.”

Cole resumed his professionalism. “Underwood not only doesn’t date but he babysits. I haw tried to hang out with him but he he has always rebuffed me in a curt manner. I frailly don’t like him.”

“Yes, that’s normal, Harlan said but it is not grounds for suspecting him.”

“The kid never said it was,” Eudora said. “The point is, if a single man teaches seven-year-old all day, you would not expect him to want to babysit every dang weekend like he does, would you? It’s hardly natural. But what got my and Cole’s attention was the bit about the tree house. This April, Underwood hired Stinky Frazier to help him build a tree house in that big oak he rents from Ruthie Marsh, my sister-in-law. I have never seen the like.”

“I’d like to see it, Bridget said. “May I tomorrow?”
“We could all drive by it tomorrow,” Cole suggested.

“You ain’t including Dory, are you, son?” Harlan asked.

“Yes, Chief,” Cole said.

“Why? She’s not a cop. In fact, we shouldn’t ween be discussing any case like this inn front of the ,idea.”

Cole laughed and then blushed when Harlan glared at him. “I know dory is my cousin but this is a sensitive case and I don’t want it leaked.”

“You saw Thurber today?” Eudora asked.

“Yeah So?” Harlan said.

“Dick Cooper won’t run again for sheriff next time. We all know that except Dr. Fine the question is who gets the Republican nod, you or Thurber.”

“I’m not running. Who said I was?”

“I do. I used to help you blow your nose, remember? You’ve been thinking about this awhile. And if I screw this up for you, you’re cooked, assuming you think Underwood is your man.”

“I don’t know that he is; that’s the point of our meeting him. I fail to see why the kid, I mean Cole, wants you there, Dory.”

“I want to double-team Underwood. It’s the old good cop/ bad cop act. Mrs. Marsh can be a the good cop,” Cole said.

“Why can’t I be?” Harlan asked.

“Let me get more coffee. Anyone else want some?” No one did.

When he returned, Cole answered Harlan. /;As Chief, you can’t ever been seen as a softies. It might get out, saying nothing of any future plans you may have, sir,”

“I see you have my back, son,” Harlan had to grin.

“A subordinate always should for a good superior. Now, sir, at some point, Dr. Fine needs to meet him, Underwood, but not now. I’m ad lobbing this but do you think you two should sit in a car by in a car and I’ll try to have a call to you without the guy noticing. That’s my plan, sir.”

“I like it, son,” Harlan said. “What time?”

“Say three,” Bridget said. “I’m booked till then.”

“I’ll pick you up,” Harlan said. “Say, I bet you’re tired I’ll take you home.”

:Thank you,” Bridget said to him. To Cole and Edora, she said, “it was so nice to meet you. I’m glad we’ll see mire of each other,: She left with Harlan

As the door closed, Cole ask Eudora, “that last remark wasn’t directed at us was it ma’am?’

“Not by a long shot, Johnny Reb. We we were—what’s the term?–collateral damage.”

“Forgive me, but it justness

“What do you care? I won’t be having rug rats call you ‘cousin’ in your ninth decade; I night, Who knows? You can take me home but don’t think you’re getting to fist baas,”

“I’m only a water boy, ma’am.” They both laughed.

The next miring, Cole arrived at the officer before Harlan. The previous night, no cat, dog or teenager had disrupted Orrin’s sleep and thus the deputy had had a very restful nights. He wore blue jeans and a VMI T-shirt, standard gr for him as the city or Orrin had never mandated uniform for its cops.

Cole put pot of a coffee on for his boss and made himself on= vanilla latte, with his personal cappuccino machine, a purchase he had never regretted. He checked his social media. No thin. He checked his email. Again, nothing nothing, He was about to checked his news sites when the chief cane in in his Grey suit and blue tie.

“Who died?” Cole asked since the only time he’d seen him in a suit was when thee was a funeral, a wedding or on Sundays. It was Sunday or Saturday, the day for weddings, so Cole deduced someone, a Legion member or Methodist, had gone to their eternal reward, It had to be a Methodist since he would have been told about any post member’s death.

“Nobody, son,” Harlan said.. “When I took her home, Bidgey,, Dr. Fine, thought since I might run for sheriff, a more professional appearance might help, especially since our current case involves a celebrity couple.”

Harlan said “current case” as if there had been and would be others, which Cole didn’t buy. The case, it seemed to him,involved a kid, first and foremost. The sheriff bit was another thing. But Cole knew he had better make himself scarce before he,made a stupid comment to his boss

“I need to see about something, sir. May I leave, Chief?”

“Carry on.”

“Yes, sir,” he crisply said. He walked out erect like a good enlisted man,

Outside, Cole looked back and took the Lord’s name in vain. Officers could go bonkers and Cole thought Harlan had. Then he though about Dr. Fine.

“Ah, hell,” he said. “I’d put on a suit too.”

“If I owned one,” he added;. He went into the pool hall.

Dusty Callahan, the fat bald owner of the joint, was behind the bar.

“What Methodist died?” Callahan asked.

“None that I know of,” Cole said.

“Well, if a Legion member died, no one told me.” He sounded irked.

“You think I’d dress like this for a funeral?”

“You usually don’t, Petty. Is the service later?”

“Can I get breakfast around here?”

“You can get however many slices of microwave pepperoni pizza you want and a Mountain Dew.”

“How about a riot beer?”

“What vintage?” As he made the wisecrack, Callahan slapped his forehead “I gotta order that wine,”

“You don’t serve wine,” Cole said.

“Liquor store, Callahan said.

“You own that?”

“Yep,” Callahan said.

“But Marilyn Lynch runs it,” Cole said.

“Cousin. Mike Lynch always handled the ordering and other crap so when he died last year, she took me as a partner. We was always close; only cousin either had and neither of us had sub;imps. Natural fit, our partnership.”

“And you sell wine? Cooking wine?”

“I can order it, Petty. Want some?”

Cole named a brand; Callahan gave a price. They haggled ND Cole ended up ordering a case.

“I have a question, Cole said.

“You haven’t answered mine about Harlan’s suit.”F

“I noticed that too,, sir. But what and why my superior wears is not our concern, sir.”

Callahan sighed. “I don’t get you, Petty. You’re polite. Almost courtly, yet you look, pardon me, like a circus freak. You confuse us. OK, what your question?”

“I should tell you I’m asking as a cop, not a gossip.”

“Fair enough since I seal booze and boose creates problems for cops. It is alcohol-related.”

“Who buys it, wine?”

“The Laws, of course, Marsha Lyons, who has a problem with it and Troy Underwood.”

“Underwood? He has no social life, does he?”

“Don’t ask him.”

“Or hear stuff.? I know you hear crap about me; don’t deny it. You just people talk about my damn tattoo.. They have to talk about Underwood and that tree house.””

“It’s weird. He teaches all day and babysits whenever he can.”

“Know anything more?”

“Why are you asking?”

“Mr. Callahan, I am checking out a very sensitive matter under the Chief’s direction. I cannot divulge more than that,”

“You’re a good cop. Sorry. I’m on en sorrier we need a good cop just now. I’ll tell you what I know. He creeps Marilyn out. He uses phrases like…like ‘children need fewer restraints’ or ‘our asexually repressed youth.’”

“Does the school board know he says those things?”

“I’m on the board so I asked him about it—you don’t write that f=down, OK?’”

“OK. So what did he say, off the record.]”

“In executive session, which is never made public, he sad his personal views expressed away from his students were none of the board’s concern.”

“He’s right by law.”

“I know, Petty. I know But Here’s your pizza and pop.”

“thanks. You’re very helpful. Oh, it’s because of a hum younger ow,man and political ambition.”

“Huh? What are you talking about?”\

“Harlan’s suit. He wants to be sheriff and a woman half his age is throng herself at him.”

Callahan was speechless,

C ate several slices of pizza, walked his KIA, got in, radioed the Chief he’d be cruising Orrin till three and hit the mean streets of Orrin, Kansas. Sure, it was dangerous but somebody had to do it,

To be continued

Jun
0

The Sky-Horse Chapter-Two

The Sky-Horse Chapter-Two

The Sky Horse Chapter Twenty-Two

A Pervert Father and a Spying One

As they were exiting the kitchen, Nate turned back to the refrigerator/ He looked at the outside of it, then opened it again.

“It’s empty you said,” Maggie said, confused.

“So it is,” Nate said. “So it is. It’s also very high tech. It looks like it can tell you when certain foods are going bad.”

“You can do that yourself,” Maggie said.

“I’m not endorsing a high-tech fridge. Go look at the stove, Maggie.”

H did and whistled.“This baby has gauges for dryness of meat and other kinds of crap.”

“Want one?”

“I’ll keep our cook.”

Nate thought. “The bathroom. Let’s find one.”

“Can’t you peer alone?”

“Margaret, quit joking. This place cost a lot, a hell of a lot, of dough. Say y He was an admiral and then a pretty good size, Looking at that ranch land, I’d say go could run two thousand head on it easy. Now, he had his Navy pension but I don’t see how you could build a lifestyle like that on a pension. Do you?”

“Maybe he had good stock broker.”

“I’ll give that one. For now. I still want to see the bathroom.”

“You’ve convinced me. Let’s go.”

They walked through the dining room. Nate glanced at the table. It was oak. The six matching chairs had finely carved basks, high priced, he figured. Maggie whistled again, causing him to look up.

She held two plates and stood besides the opened china closet. He poise resembled that of a fisherman holing two big bass.

“Pink plates. Abstract pattern. Imagine eating on them every day,” Nate said.

“Look at back, he who does not joke,” she retorted.

He did. They were signed and numbered.

“Andrew Hogarth. Why do I know that name” Nate asked Maggie.

“New York fashion designer. I wore him the night Petey was conceived.”

“I only remember what happened after you took him off. Seriously, he is top of the line.”

“You couldn’t buy these at Walt-Mzrt. I’m sorry; that just came out. Actually, this place creeps me out,It’s just too. What’s the word want?”

“You want two: feminine and perfect. As I understand it, all three girls were oven ten when they got here. They would be past the age of wanting to be that girlish. And he was a career sailor, salt or whatever.”

“But no sea paintings, just clown and kittens, very strange. We do need to see the bathroom.

So they went to find it.

It didn’t take long. The room was big and pink with a shower curtain with Ariel from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” on it. , Aggie crossed his mind. for a moment. But an instinct, hunch or something told him to look inside so he did.

Nate was not sure why he was looking for. He look at the floor, soap dish. He checked the walls. Nothing. Maggie was talking about how the toilet took blood pressure, temperature and other medical signs. He knew she thought he was wasting his time. But he decided to look up. Then he saw something. He took out the miniature flashlight. Bingo.

“Babe,” he said, come look at this.”

“What?” She asked, annoyed. She came anyway.

“Up there,” Nate said. “See it?”

“i see it, Nate. Looks like a small surveillance camera What is it?”

“A small surveillance camera.”

“I don’t understand.”

“You don’t want to but you do. Let’s find the den.”

“As they were looking for the den, Maggie shot Nate a quizzical look, “You know, you;re a much better detective now than you were as police chief in Orrin.”

“Margaret, my love and life, I wasn’t hired to be a detective. I was hired to ticket strangers and to keep people, most teens, from fornicating in public and to not enforce the ban on booze. Then people started to get shot and slashed. I had done minor investigating in Wichita but not much. If I have used skills I learned in college, since Orrin, that’s one reason. The other was that Peter Law was my brother.

“Pete was a cop’s cop. He ended up on the bomb squad because he hadn’t tried it. He had everything else. He talked to me about police craft all my life. Then he worked with me. That’s when I became a real dick, detective.” He blushed surprisingly but preventing Maggie’s making any cracks by finding a door and the den.

He opened the door to the den. It was wood-paneled. And had pictures of a naval officer, presumably Schipper, on ships and shaking hands with other officers and various VIPs, including two presidents, Carter and Bush 41. Meanwhile, Maggie and found one on the desk. She showed it to Nate.

It was of a man in a black beret and military fatigues. There was handwriting on it.

“Spanish?” Maggie asked/

“It says ‘To Comrade John Schipper for invaluable service to the Revolution, Fidel.” They both looked at the man in the photo again.

“Castro!” Maggie exclaimed. “A young Fidel Castro.”

Nate began looking through a bookcase while Maggie continued with the desk.

“Who was Kim Philby?” Nate asked her. “He had several books by and about him and the Cambridge Three. Why does that ring a bell?”

“British spy ring,” Maggie said.

“Yeah, babe. It was formed by a Soviet handler at Cambridge during the thirties. Two were gay diplomats for the UK. The gays defected before Philby. Philby was a more successful mole in the British counter-intelligence branch working with the CIA. He defected right before the Brits could snatch him.”

“So Schipper was a spy?” Maggie asked.

“We couldn’t get a warrant based on this. But I’d say yes. Anything else on the desk?”

“Routine financial medical papers. A progress report on Sparrow.”

“And an ashtray of cigar butts,” Nate added.

“Two new to be Schippers,” Maggie said.

“Way too new. Come on. Let’s find the master bedroom.”

It was next door. The room had the same paneling as the den. The bed was big with pink sheets. A stack of old paperbacks lay on the nightstand. Nate picked one up and threw it to Maggie disgustedly.

“This is a porno novel about incest, Nate,” she said in horror.

“I know. Behind you are three security monitor. They’re on. One goes to the shower, the other two to bedrooms, girls’ room, Scarlet’s and Starlet’s., no doubt.”

“He was ogling his own daughters, Nate?”

“He was doing more than that, judging by the bed covers.”

“He was sleeping with them””

“It’s called rape. He was raping his children. You know, these ranchers are not great people but I can live with bigots. I just stay out of their way most of the time. But this guy was a bastard! I’d gladly cut off his gonads and stuffed them in his face. These girls were as much victims as our Agnes is. There is no difference, none whatsoever. I thought I wanted to find Schipper’s girls so they could get their land. But if one or more of them are living victims of the type of crime we think they are, t=hey need love and support more than that damn pasture. I’m going upstairs.”

“Want me to come?” Maggie asked.

“No. I smell cigar smoke. Someone’s up there. Go to the car and wait.”

Maggie reluctantly nodded.

Once on the second floor, Nate found a ladder leading to the attic. He climbed there. As he entered, Nate pulled out a gun he and Joel had taken the day before and looked around. A pink-hued sky light revealed a bearded man dressed like a priest,

In a thick German accent the man said “You will never believe this but I’m Father Pat O’Shea from Cork. I do have a fine Irish brogue but I am tired and if you caught me in a lie, you might shoot me.”

“You don’t want to be a martyr?”

“Actually, I cannot seek martyrdom now; my superior wants me to complete my work here. I think we can talk better in the admiral’s study. It is hot here, no?”

“Hands against the wall,” Nate said. He frisked the man and found a Vatican passport in his sock.

Nate read the name. “Bishop Hans Koch.”

“Koch is an alias but I am a bishop. May we now retire the study?’

“Lead the way, your fakery.”

He did.

When they they got to the den, Nate told the man to sit behind the desk. With his left hand, he phoned Maggie who soon joined the two men.

“Who’s he?” Maggie asked Nate of Koch/O’Shea.

“I don’t know, babe, but he has a Vatican passport. In town, he goes by Father Pat O’Shea.”

“You must be in charge of building the new church,” Maggie told him.

“Alas, me good o=woman,” O’Shea/Koch said in a passable brogue. “that is a wee bit of a lie. Young Father Blake is. He does all the work; the locals think I do. Auden only knows I am doing other services for people in Rome.”

“What people?” Nate asked.

“My department does not officially exists. We mainly gather intelligence for the Congregation of the Propagation of the Faith; the missions department. I am telling what I’m telling you because the day your son was arrested, I feared my work would be compromised. I notified the Holy See and they tied your problem with the diocese of Salina I was to contact you and Gomez and get all of you out of here before the pasture goes up for sale.”

“The Pope wants to buy it?”

“This Pope? I doubt it. But my current assignment goes all the way back to Pope St John Paul II.

“I joined the Swiss Guard two years before John Paul’s election. I rose quickly in the ranks. The attempt on the Holy Father’s life in May, 1981 allowed me to liaison with the Vatican’s internal intel branch and a year alter, I joined it. Then I got my call to the priesthood. It was undeniable. I studied in Rome was the Holy Father personally ordained me. The rector of my seminary strongly recommended me as for a chaplain to a certain convent in Milan. It wasn’t meant to be.

“After my first Mass, The Holy Father and several cardinals met with me and assigned me to oversee intel in unfriendly lands.

“Cuba fell under my mandate. I began my work during the administration of George H. W. Bush. The unofficial alliance between the Vatican and Washington Reagan and John Paul had made was still in effect. Both Washington and we were interested in undermine Castro so the Propagation Congregation was allowed to use U.S. Marine Chaplains at Guantanamo Bay–”

“Gitmo,”Nate added.

The priest frowned. “Gitmo refers to that damnable prison camp for Islamic terror fighters. Mr. Law. Guantanamo is more than that. It is a foothold of liberty on a captive island. It has provided solid intelligence on the regime since 1959.”

“I don’t see how,” Maggie said.

“Intercepted communication mainly, the type of thing fools like that bastard Snowden shed tears about.”

“You sound like a hawk,” Maggie said.

“A hawk for the Gospel, yes,” the priest said. “After all, my life’s work was handed me by an official saint. Anyway, the Pentagon was looking the other ways while Catholic chaplains assisted clandestine missionaries to Cuba, mostly by channeling duns from Rome. I helped set it up, Operation Damascus Road,”

“That probably violated Separation of Church and State,” Maggie said.

“Perhaps but let me put it this way, rape your Constitution. Damascus worked. It was effective. People heard the Good News. Then Dada went to Guantanamo. He, like Schipper, as a mole. He heard about Damascus. But he couldn’t act on it. So he got Schipper transferred down there. Schipper was raised Catholic and passed himself off at one, A foolish chaplain confided in him.

“The result? Secret priests were arrested. Mules with cash were detained, several on the base,”

“Let me guess,” Nate said, “Dale and Schipper lined their pockets with it.”

“I know that. Washington knows that but by the time I had pieced my theory together Clinton was in office and the alliance fell apart.”

“But Dale and Schipper were traitors,” Maggie said.

“To whom?” The priest said. “Damascus did not benefit your government directly and, as your said, it was constitutionally dubious. I was hopeful when W. win but he was soon in evolved the War on Terror.

“A colleague in our D.C. Embassy caught the admirals’ retirement and traced them here. We could do nothing until the church project came up. I “Explain the Shy Horse.”

“The Sky Horse has got a small civil war going in the Vatican.”

“How so? Maggie asked.

“My superior has verified pictures I took of it with the Vatican Observatory in the states and off-the-record with NASA. But the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith argues animals do not appear by themselves in true apparitions, which is true. The Sky Horse, they conclude, is pagan and/or demonic.”

“But it’s just part of everyday life here,” Nate said. “Even you accept it.”

“I accept what my senses tell me.”

“But it isn’t normal.” Nate said. “And it must have something to do with the Schippers.”

Everyone kept silent. This was going nowhere. Then Sinatra began to sing on Nate’s phone.

To be continued.

May
0

Moving Post 1

Moving Post 1

The Cull of the Mild: A Moving Story of an Old Bachelor

May 22, 2016

“Men don’t live like human beings. Men live like bears with furniture.”–Rita Rudner

“What a dump!”–Bette Davis

 l have an ex-girlfriend. She and others misinterpret thenature of our relationship. I do buy her birthday roses and write the occasional platonic verse for her but since I don’t step up to the plate, let alone try to get to first base, our views differ. But since I no longer play in any ball park, why argue. I have a great deal of a Catholic guilt for how and why I dumped her, which accounts for the roses.

It’s complicated but not complicating.

This person moved to a remodeled apartment in our building and I saw it Friday. Then I came home.

I had known and other people must have known my home is run down. But I had never quite realized it has all the charm of a cave.

Something has to be done.

That afternoon I spoke to our property manager. She told me if I wanted a remodeled apartment, I had two9 options: I can either vacate this one or wait for another one to open pour vacate this forgone ten days.

This person I have whatever relationship with has three siblings but only one pis intimately involved with her affairs. I have six living relatives who have spouse and a partner. Most have children. One is a judge. These people all love me and I love them. Unlike the person I have the obscure relationship with, all my siblings and several of my niblings assist me or give me advice. That’s good. But we don’t always agree.

Let me explain. I have Catholic kin and Evangelical kin. I have strong Catholic kin and lukewarm Catholic kin and kin who are New Age-Catholic hybrids and ones with no fixed faith. God and/or the Force love hem all. I won’t even discuss the political differences within my tribe. You get the idea; we’re a diverse lot and I think that’s neat.

In most cases.

In this case, it is…shall I say… challenging? Agrement might be hard. Mk move might be hard. I mean, at least two want me to move out of Wichita so reaching a consensus on m might be? Hard. Might be?

What my first gambit is is culling my junk weekends. I have two many CDs, movies and books. I have clothes and papers to discard. I HAVE ONE DRAWER OF PERHAPS TWO HUNDRED OR MORE CASSETTES.. CASSETTES. I DON’T NEED THEM . NOBODY DOES. WHY DID I BUY THEM AND WHAT DO I DO WITH THJM NOW?

Excuse me. During junk weekends I hope kin come and help me cull my crap It’s a first step. Stay tuned.

Coming soon: Chapter Twenty-two of “the Sky Horse,” featuring Nate and Maggie Law.

May
0

The Sky Horse Chapter Twenty-Two

The Sky Horse Chapter Twenty-Two

The Sky Horse Chapter Twenty-Two

A Pervert Father and a Spying One

As they were exiting the kitchen, Nate turned back to the refrigerator/ He looked at the outside of it, then opened it again.

“It’s empty you said,” Maggie said, confused.

“So it is,” Nate said. “So it is. It’s also very high tech. It looks like it can tell you when certain foods are going bad.”

“You can do that yourself,” Maggie said.

“I’m not endorsing a high-tech fridge. Go look at the stove, Maggie.”

H did and whistled.“This baby has gauges for dryness of meat and other kinds of crap.”

“Want one?”

“I’ll keep our cook.”

Nate thought. “The bathroom. Let’s find one.”

“Can’t you peer alone?”

“Margaret, quit joking. This place cost a lot, a hell of a lot, of dough. Say y He was an admiral and then a pretty good size, Looking at that ranch land, I’d say go could run two thousand head on it easy. Now, he had his Navy pension but I don’t see how you could build a lifestyle like that on a pension. Do you?”

“Maybe he had good stock broker.”

“I’ll give that one. For now. I still want to see the bathroom.”

“You’ve convinced me. Let’s go.”

They walked through the dining room. Nate glanced at the table. It was oak. The six matching chairs had finely carved basks, high priced, he figured. Maggie whistled again, causing him to look up.

She held two plates and stood besides the opened china closet. He poise resembled that of a fisherman holing two big bass.

“Pink plates. Abstract pattern. Imagine eating on them every day,” Nate said.

“Look at back, he who does not joke,” she retorted.

He did. They were signed and numbered.

“Andrew Hogarth. Why do I know that name” Nate asked Maggie.

“New York fashion designer. I wore him the night Petey was conceived.”

“I only remember what happened after you took him off. Seriously, he is top of the line.”

“You couldn’t buy these at Walt-Mzrt. I’m sorry; that just came out. Actually, this place creeps me out,It’s just too. What’s the word want?”

“You want two: feminine and perfect. As I understand it, all three girls were oven ten when they got here. They would be past the age of wanting to be that girlish. And he was a career sailor, salt or whatever.”

“But no sea paintings, just clown and kittens, very strange. We do need to see the bathroom.

So they went to find it.

It didn’t take long. The room was big and pink with a shower curtain with Ariel from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” on it. , Aggie crossed his mind. for a moment. But an instinct, hunch or something told him to look inside so he did.

Nate was not sure why he was looking for. He look at the floor, soap dish. He checked the walls. Nothing. Maggie was talking about how the toilet took blood pressure, temperature and other medical signs. He knew she thought he was wasting his time. But he decided to look up. Then he saw something. He took out the miniature flashlight. Bingo.

“Babe,” he said, come look at this.”

“What?” She asked, annoyed. She came anyway.

“Up there,” Nate said. “See it?”

“i see it, Nate. Looks like a small surveillance camera What is it?”

“A small surveillance camera.”

“I don’t understand.”

“You don’t want to but you do. Let’s find the den.”

“As they were looking for the den, Maggie shot Nate a quizzical look, “You know, you;re a much better detective now than you were as police chief in Orrin.”

“Margaret, my love and life, I wasn’t hired to be a detective. I was hired to ticket strangers and to keep people, most teens, from fornicating in public and to not enforce the ban on booze. Then people started to get shot and slashed. I had done minor investigating in Wichita but not much. If I have used skills I learned in college, since Orrin, that’s one reason. The other was that Peter Law was my brother.

“Pete was a cop’s cop. He ended up on the bomb squad because he hadn’t tried it. He had everything else. He talked to me about police craft all my life. Then he worked with me. That’s when I became a real dick, detective.” He blushed surprisingly but preventing Maggie’s making any cracks by finding a door and the den.

He opened the door to the den. It was wood-paneled. And had pictures of a naval officer, presumably Schipper, on ships and shaking hands with other officers and various VIPs, including two presidents, Carter and Bush 41. Meanwhile, Maggie and found one on the desk. She showed it to Nate.

It was of a man in a black beret and military fatigues. There was handwriting on it.

“Spanish?” Maggie asked/

“It says ‘To Comrade John Schipper for invaluable service to the Revolution, Fidel.” They both looked at the man in the photo again.

“Castro!” Maggie exclaimed. “A young Fidel Castro.”

Nate began looking through a bookcase while Maggie continued with the desk.

“Who was Kim Philby?” Nate asked her. “He had several books by and about him and the Cambridge Three. Why does that ring a bell?”

“British spy ring,” Maggie said.

“Yeah, babe. It was formed by a Soviet handler at Cambridge during the thirties. Two were gay diplomats for the UK. The gays defected before Philby. Philby was a more successful mole in the British counter-intelligence branch working with the CIA. He defected right before the Brits could snatch him.”

“So Schipper was a spy?” Maggie asked.

“We couldn’t get a warrant based on this. But I’d say yes. Anything else on the desk?”

“Routine financial medical papers. A progress report on Sparrow.”

“And an ashtray of cigar butts,” Nate added.

“Two new to be Schippers,” Maggie said.

“Way too new. Come on. Let’s find the master bedroom.”

It was next door. The room had the same paneling as the den. The bed was big with pink sheets. A stack of old paperbacks lay on the nightstand. Nate picked one up and threw it to Maggie disgustedly.

“This is a porno novel about incest, Nate,” she said in horror.

“I know. Behind you are three security monitor. They’re on. One goes to the shower, the other two to bedrooms, girls’ room, Scarlet’s and Starlet’s., no doubt.”

“He was ogling his own daughters, Nate?”

“He was doing more than that, judging by the bed covers.”

“He was sleeping with them””

“It’s called rape. He was raping his children. You know, these ranchers are not great people but I can live with bigots. I just stay out of their way most of the time. But this guy was a bastard! I’d gladly cut off his gonads and stuffed them in his face. These girls were as much victims as our Agnes is. There is no difference, none whatsoever. I thought I wanted to find Schipper’s girls so they could get their land. But if one or more of them are living victims of the type of crime we think they are, t=hey need love and support more than that damn pasture. I’m going upstairs.”

“Want me to come?” Maggie asked.

“No. I smell cigar smoke. Someone’s up there. Go to the car and wait.”

Maggie reluctantly nodded.

Once on the second floor, Nate found a ladder leading to the attic. He climbed there. As he entered, Nate pulled out a gun he and Joel had taken the day before and looked around. A pink-hued sky light revealed a bearded man dressed like a priest,

In a thick German accent the man said “You will never believe this but I’m Father Pat O’Shea from Cork. I do have a fine Irish brogue but I am tired and if you caught me in a lie, you might shoot me.”

“You don’t want to be a martyr?”

“Actually, I cannot seek martyrdom now; my superior wants me to complete my work here. I think we can talk better in the admiral’s study. It is hot here, no?”

“Hands against the wall,” Nate said. He frisked the man and found a Vatican passport in his sock.

Nate read the name. “Bishop Hans Koch.”

“Koch is an alias but I am a bishop. May we now retire the study?’

“Lead the way, your fakery.”

He did.

When they they got to the den, Nate told the man to sit behind the desk. With his left hand, he phoned Maggie who soon joined the two men.

“Who’s he?” Maggie asked Nate of Koch/O’Shea.

“I don’t know, babe, but he has a Vatican passport. In town, he goes by Father Pat O’Shea.”

“You must be in charge of building the new church,” Maggie told him.

“Alas, me good o=woman,” O’Shea/Koch said in a passable brogue. “that is a wee bit of a lie. Young Father Blake is. He does all the work; the locals think I do. Auden only knows I am doing other services for people in Rome.”

“What people?” Nate asked.

“My department does not officially exists. We mainly gather intelligence for the Congregation of the Propagation of the Faith; the missions department. I am telling what I’m telling you because the day your son was arrested, I feared my work would be compromised. I notified the Holy See and they tied your problem with the diocese of Salina I was to contact you and Gomez and get all of you out of here before the pasture goes up for sale.”

“The Pope wants to buy it?”

“This Pope? I doubt it. But my current assignment goes all the way back to Pope St John Paul II.

“I joined the Swiss Guard two years before John Paul’s election. I rose quickly in the ranks. The attempt on the Holy Father’s life in May, 1981 allowed me to liaison with the Vatican’s internal intel branch and a year alter, I joined it. Then I got my call to the priesthood. It was undeniable. I studied in Rome was the Holy Father personally ordained me. The rector of my seminary strongly recommended me as for a chaplain to a certain convent in Milan. It wasn’t meant to be.

“After my first Mass, The Holy Father and several cardinals met with me and assigned me to oversee intel in unfriendly lands.

“Cuba fell under my mandate. I began my work during the administration of George H. W. Bush. The unofficial alliance between the Vatican and Washington Reagan and John Paul had made was still in effect. Both Washington and we were interested in undermine Castro so the Propagation Congregation was allowed to use U.S. Marine Chaplains at Guantanamo Bay–”

“Gitmo,”Nate added.

The priest frowned. “Gitmo refers to that damnable prison camp for Islamic terror fighters. Mr. Law. Guantanamo is more than that. It is a foothold of liberty on a captive island. It has provided solid intelligence on the regime since 1959.”

“I don’t see how,” Maggie said.

“Intercepted communication mainly, the type of thing fools like that bastard Snowden shed tears about.”

“You sound like a hawk,” Maggie said.

“A hawk for the Gospel, yes,” the priest said. “After all, my life’s work was handed me by an official saint. Anyway, the Pentagon was looking the other ways while Catholic chaplains assisted clandestine missionaries to Cuba, mostly by channeling duns from Rome. I helped set it up, Operation Damascus Road,”

“That probably violated Separation of Church and State,” Maggie said.

“Perhaps but let me put it this way, rape your Constitution. Damascus worked. It was effective. People heard the Good News. Then Dada went to Guantanamo. He, like Schipper, as a mole. He heard about Damascus. But he couldn’t act on it. So he got Schipper transferred down there. Schipper was raised Catholic and passed himself off at one, A foolish chaplain confided in him.

“The result? Secret priests were arrested. Mules with cash were detained, several on the base,”

“Let me guess,” Nate said, “Dale and Schipper lined their pockets with it.”

“I know that. Washington knows that but by the time I had pieced my theory together Clinton was in office and the alliance fell apart.”

“But Dale and Schipper were traitors,” Maggie said.

“To whom?” The priest said. “Damascus did not benefit your government directly and, as your said, it was constitutionally dubious. I was hopeful when W. win but he was soon in evolved the War on Terror.

“A colleague in our D.C. Embassy caught the admirals’ retirement and traced them here. We could do nothing until the church project came up. I got myself here and eventually learned if we got the land, we could flip it and recoup our lost funds.”

“Why were you in the attic?”

“Because for months I have broken in here looking for solid proof of the theory I’ve laid out to you. I know it’s true but I cannot prove it. It rankles.”

“In broad daylight?” Nate asked.

“No one wants to see me so they don’t/ And I’ve bribed the cops by telling them I wand to find the Schipper girls.”

“But you don’t,” Nate said.

“I think they’re dead.”

“Explain the Shy Horse.”

“The Sky Horse has got a small civil war going in the Vatican.”

“How so? Maggie asked.

“My superior has verified pictures I took of it with the Vatican Observatory in the states and off-the-record with NASA. But the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith argues animals do not appear by themselves in true apparitions, which is true. The Sky Horse, they conclude, is pagan and/or demonic.”

“But it’s just part of everyday life here,” Nate said. “Even you accept it.”

“I accept what my senses tell me.”

“But it isn’t normal.” Nate said. “And it must have something to do with the Schippers.”

Everyone kept silent. This was going nowhere. Then Sinatra began to sing on Nate’s phone.

To be continued.

May
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If you read this, please email; my brother, Leland Rundle at rocrnr@ruraltel.net. I can’t. I am locked out of Yahoo and now Facebook/ But I can reached here by commenting on this post.

Thank you.