Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Installment 8.5: Epilogue

Many months later....

Most people, when they throw a small, intimate party for three other couples don't find it necessary to barbecue an 80 pound shoat.  But then most people aren't guarded by forty Secret-Service personnel.

Adam and Sam still lived with Mardi and Chad.  They took offense when they learned that the men guarding “Uncle Kenny” could not eat any food.  The issue was resolved when Kenny agreed to have two sets of teams guard him.   

One set of teams graciously accepted plates of barbecue personally delivered by Adam and Sam.  The other set of teams were in stealth mode and invisible to Adam and Sam.  If anything, the security was even tighter as the teams that were visible were natural decoys.

Kenny had come with his wife, Penny.

Miguel and Bonita were there and Bonita was VERY pregnant.  They had already picked out their child's name; Victor/Victoria.

The other two people were not a “couple”.  One of the attendees was the new Padre from East Orosi and the other was Brigid Barkley.

“How is it that I keep bumping into you at the capital?” Kenny asked Brigid.

Looking around and seeing only friends, Brigid answered, “I am seeing a man and he works for you.”

The women perked right up.  “Who is this guy?”, “Do we know him?” they asked in unison.

It was common knowledge that Brigid was as celibate as a monk due to her hectic schedule and the need to be protective of her “brand”.

“He is a guy who called me up when I was in town and suggested we compare notes about the final days of the Cali-Sedelia conflict.  He was dressed to-the-nines and was a perfect had been so long since I had been on a date that I did not recognize it at first.” Brigid said.

“Why didn't you pipe up and bring him along?” Kenny asked.

Brigid blushed.  “Well, we aren't very far along in our relationship.  I want to be sure he is dating me and not my position.” Brigid said.  "Besides, he was out-of-town.  I don't know how much you pay your people, but he always seems to be jetting off on fabulous vacations."

Kenny noted that Adam and Sam were completely at ease with Brigid.  That struck him as highly unusual.  He looked down at her feet and saw she was wearing battered running shoes.

"Them shoes don't exactly match the rest of your outfit." Kenny observed.

"Hmmm." Brigid intoned noncommittally.  "They seemed like just the thing to wear to a bonfire in East Orosi." she replied.

"What I want to know," Kenny persisted "is how you knew that was the 'thing to wear to a bonfire in East Orosi.'  That, and that jab about 'Samual Adams' in one of your early interviews. " 

"I am a reporter." Brigid said.  "It is my job to know things."

"What else do you know?" Kenny challenged.

"Well, I might know another name for Chad Izzo, but it does not seem proper to bring it up." she said.

"Yeah, I kinda figured that." Kenny said.

Now it was Brigid's turn to be mystified.  "How did you figure that out?" she asked.

"I got to be buddies with some of your camera crews after you started prodding me to run for Prime Minister.  They told me that you directed them to leave Chad completely alone.  They told me that you promised to cut off their family jewels and wear them as a necklace if they did not comply.  That just seemed a little bit out of character." Kenny said.

Brigid was watching Sam and Adam.  Without looking at Kenny she said, "My dad left my mom when I was eight.  Mom got a boyfriend to fill the gap.  I had a little brother.  I called him 'Buddy'.  My mom's new boyfriend got mad at Buddy one night and shook him.  Buddy was never right after that.  My mom's boyfriend walked out as soon as he saw how messed up Buddy was and he never looked back.  Buddy died when he was sixteen."  Brigid had tears in her eyes.

"No way was I going to make Chad and Mardi's life any tougher when they were trying so hard to do the right thing." Brigid said.  "Chad was fighting to get back.  He did not walk out."

The group was silent for a bit, watching the sparks float upward.

Padre Fred said, “Chad, I want to thank you for inviting me to your Fourth of July party.  For some reason most people are reluctant to invite clergy to perform manual labor or share a glass of wine.”

“Well, I seem to recall a sermon about 'first fruit, prime fruit'.” Chad said.  “I figured if you helped put up the trellis then you would be less reluctant to accept a gift of a few bottles of wine later on.” Chad said.

“I have never seen grapes planted like that.  What is that system called?” Padre Fred asked.

“It is called 'an infinity trellis'” Chad said.

“What are the advantages?” Padre Fred asked.

“It has no end-posts so it works well where wood is scarce.  The top wire is a continuous strand in a lazy eight.  All you have to do is make sure the posts lean outward.  The other advantage is that you can shingle rocks in the interior to water the roots.  That makes it useful for dry-land farming.” Chad said.

“Are there any disadvantages?” the Padre asked.

“Well, they don't adapt well to mechanical equipment and the yield per acre is not economical because of the land wasted on the inside of the '8'”. Chad said.

“Where did you see one of those?” Penny asked.

“We saw them down near Grapevine.” Kenny answered for Chad.  “That is why he planted Carignan and Cinsalt.  Memories.  That and the fact that Scerba gave him the vines and they are heavy producers.”

“I find it interesting, professionally, that the symbol for 'infinity' is almost identical for the fish symbol early Christians used for Christ.” the Padre said.  “I wonder if they have shared roots?”

"Padre," Chad said, "that is way above my pay-grade but I reckon that it is because there is only one story.  We enter and leave the story at different places so 'beginnings' and 'endings' just a matter of convenience." 

"God as the interrupted infinity sign...well, maybe that is because infinity blows people's minds." Chad concluded.

"So the war with Cali is over?" the Padre asked.

"Not at all." Kenny said.  "Almost exactly half of the parliament are rabid socialist who are busy trying to remake Sedelia into Cali...or Venezuela or North Korea."

"Not only that, but we have infiltrators coming down from Cali and from big US cities.  They are setting up as agents-in-place so they are planning something." Kenny said.

"What would you have us do?" Brigid asked.

"Nothing special.  Do your job.  Stay alert.  Call 'bull-shit' when you hear it." Kenny said.

Then Kenny changed the subject, "Hey kiddos!" he said to Adam and Sammy.  "Whaddya say you and me and Penny head over to my house for some peach ice cream.  Then you can spend the night.  Give your ma and pa a little bit of alone time."

That sounded mighty fine to Sam but Adam, who was mentally tracking like a 13 year old, had figured out what 'alone time' was code for.  His face looked like he had swallowed something spiny.

"Lookit, pardner, you can stay home and maybe hear funny noises or you can come with Uncle Kenny and Aunty Penny and eat so much ice cream you will puke.  Which sounds like more fun to you?" Kenny asked.

Predictably, Adam decided that ice cream was much better than funny noises.

---The End---

Except it is never the end....  The Cali/Sedelia universe and a few of the characters continue with the story HERE


  1. It's been a good read. Looking forward to your next writing project!

  2. Outstanding literary work!

    Breadth and depth of wisdom displayed in many different fields of endeavor is staggering, and the writing is easy to read.

    Publish and I will buy.

  3. A very good series - I think it would do well as a book.


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