The Eighty-eighth Key, Ch. 28

88th key cover image

Part IV

Chapter 28

____________________________________

Callahan woke early the next morning and walked to the kitchen, only to find Didi Goodman had already prepared coffee…and as soon as she heard Harry was up and moving around the stove was prepared and breakfast was waiting on the table – hot and fresh.

“I’m not used to this, you know?” Callahan said as he sat at the same table he’d sat at with Avi barely two months before. 

“I thought,” Didi began, “that with the hard day you have ahead that a good breakfast might help.”

“So, this was your father’s idea? You coming here?”

“In a way. There are papers and other matters I had to account for before anyone else could be allowed access to the house.”

“You work for the government, then?”

“Of course. You didn’t know that?”

“No. Your father just mentioned you’d be a good choice to manage all this. I assumed you came here for that reason.”

“Odd. He didn’t mention that to me.”

“Do you have some sort of accounting experience? I mean, why would he recommend you for that?”

She chuckled on hearing that. “No, but he accuses me of having OCD…”

“OCD?”

“Obsessive-compulsive. Everyone calls me the ‘clean freak.’ I assume they mean when I’m given an assignment I get it done right the first time.”

Callahan looked at the girl anew: she looked to be mid-twenties, black hair, and fierce blue-gray eyes. Skin deeply freckled, feminine build but on the muscular side, strong legs…a runner’s legs. Eyeglasses on the countertop, so probably for reading. An NYU t-shirt so schooled in the US, or wanted to be…

He ran down his usual checklist, watching the way she moved when he wasn’t eating.

“So, I’m not sure exactly what would be involved, but would you be interested?”

“What? Working for you?”

“Yeah.”

“In San Francisco?”

“I don’t know. Whatever works, I reckon.”

“I’d do it if I could live in San Francisco part-time. That would be the boss.”

“The boss?”

“Cool.”

“Ah. Any other relevant experience I need to know about?”

“No, not really. I just kinda go where they need me.” Of course, she omitted her six years service in the Mossad, and that she had been assigned to one of the teams tracking down the Munich terrorists. And, oh yes, that she had been assigned to Avi’s protective detail when he had traveled inside Israel…

“Well, it suits me. I’ll let the lawyers in Tel Aviv know and you can start to get a handle on things as soon as we get back.”

“Okay, so just to be clear…I’m working for you now?”

“I think that’s what your father wants, and I’m at a place right now where his voice is one of the few I trust in the world.”

When he said that she looked at Callahan with something akin to empathy, then she came over to the table and sat next to him.

“I think he’d appreciate knowing that, sir.”

“No sir to me, okay. I’m Harry or the deal’s off.”

“Okay, Harry,” she said, holding out her right hand, “you got a deal.”

He took her hand and smiled. ‘Smooth skin, but very strong grip. Index finger heavily calloused so she spends a lot of time at the range. Interesting.’ 

“Visiting hours at the clinic begin at 0900 hours. It’s not an easy walk, so you’d better let me drive you.”

“I’ve made the walk before. Besides, I think I’ll need it after that breakfast.”

“Okay. Also today, your mother’s piano has been moved from the compound; it’s arriving here this afternoon.”

“Oh…?”

“Avi’s residence in the compound belongs to the government, so of course…”

“I understand. Good thing this house belonged to him.”

She nodded. “More than anything else, he wanted to retire here with your mother.”

“Yeah, he told me more than once this is his favorite place in the world.”

“Did he ever tell you he regarded you as his son, or at least the son he should have had?”

Callahan shook his head. “No.”

“I hesitate to say this, but he told me as much more than once,” she added. “He was a very complicated man, Harry. Honorable, but complicated.”

“So is your father.”

“Benny? Well, really he is a very simple man. He exists to serve Israel.”

“And you call that simple?” Harry said, grinning.

“Ah yes. I get your point?”

“So, do I call you Didi?”

“Works for me.”

“And is there a Mister Didi?”

She laughed at that. “No, most men grow bored with my OCD. They can’t stand to be around me once it kicks in.”

“Well, I’m kind of a neat freak myself. And speaking of, I need to get ready to go.”

She went to the kitchen and returned with an envelope. “Here are all the local telephone numbers you’ll need, as well as some currency and a credit card. I took the liberty of activating the card, by the way. It’s linked to one of your Swiss accounts so your credit limit is rather high. Be careful, in other words, to keep it secure.”

“Not much crime around here, or at least I assumed as much?”

“More than you’d think. But it tends to be centered on diplomatic matters. There are many spies at work around here, if that matters to you.”

“Oh? American?”

“Mainly Russian, more than a few Brits. Several politburo members have chalets here, including Brezhnev, so electronic eavesdropping facilities are also a feature of life around here.”

“Shit.”

“I think Avi once said the exact same thing.”

“Do they cause any problems?”

“The Russians? No, more the exact opposite, I think. I think they prefer to keep a very low profile, as it wouldn’t sit well in the Soviet Union if word of these properties ever leaked out. Radio Free Europe manages to get the word out one way or another, and because of that the Swiss actually work with the Russians to keep these properties off the books.”

“Well…”

“Yessir. I’ll be standing by here at the house in case you need me.”

“Harry, not sir.”

“Got it.”

____________________________________

The air was crisp, not quite cold, and rain was in the forecast – which meant more snow on the mountain – yet Callahan was enjoying his walk into town. He only had a light windbreaker with him so he stopped and picked up a new jacket in town, then he hailed a taxi for the final stretch up the mountain to the clinic.

There was a depressing sort of alternate reality hanging around the main clinic building as he approached – like it had been constructed to contain the patients inside, and to somehow keep them well insolated from the outside world…like the two were somehow mutually exclusive. Hulking gray stone, white windows and a copper roof that had turned green a hundred years before – the building had been on this spot for as long as anyone could remember, and Europe’s nobility had sent their ailing children here for ‘the cure’ as far back as the French Revolution. The poor were, needless to say, not in attendance.

He went to the reception and asked to speak with Sara’s physician, and he was guided to a conference room, provided with hot tea, and was asked to wait. A few minutes later Sara’s psychiatrist came in, and she looked glum.

“Ah, Herr Callahan, so nice to see you again.”

“You too. How is Sara?”

“Deteriorating, I’m afraid. Once you left her depression worsened, but more troubling still is a repetitive hallucination she’s experienced.”

“May I see her?”

“Maybe later this week. We have asked her parents for permission to begin an alternative therapy, one that is still a little bit controversial.”

“And that is?”

“Well, Herr Callahan, there are matters of privacy at work here, and I’m sure you understand that.”

“I understand I have few rights to information, if that’s what you mean. Yet Sara is an adult, is she not? Can she not give you permission…?”

“She has done so, but her parents objected to that.”

“And what does that tell you.”

“People often do not accept such change, Herr Callahan, most especially where their children are concerned.”

“I see.”

“More to the point, the continuing expense of Sara’s treatment here has become a matter of great concern for her father; they intend to take her back to Vienna, where she can be treated at a state hospital.”

“And tell me, doctor, about this hospital.”

“It is, how should I put this, a rat’s nest. A place where people are warehoused until death comes for them.”

“I see. And, what if I were to take over the cost of treatment here?”

“It is very expensive, Herr Callahan.”

“That was not my question. Do you have a telephone I could use?”

“Of course. Over here, please.”

Callahan called Didi and asked her to provide the clinic with new payment instructions, and that he would be taking over Sara’s care.

“Of course, sir,” Didi said.

“Didi?”

“Yessir?”

“It’s Harry, not sir.”

“Ooh, yes, so sorry. I’ll take care of this right now.”

“Thanks, Didi.” He hung up the telephone and turned to the doctor. “Please notify Sara’s parents that I have taken over her care, and please thank them for me. Now, please take me to her room.”

“Yessir.”

_________________________________

She was in her ward’s dayroom, a pleasant enough space with several attendants helping lucid patients with various hobbies and crafts, but Sara was almost slumped over in a wheelchair, a long line of drool flowing from her mouth to her robe. Callahan looked at her for a few minutes then turned to the psychiatrist.

“I need to talk with her,” he said, “and in a private room if you please.”

“Let me arrange that. Please wait for me here.”

He continued to look at Sara, absolutely shocked by what he saw…and now more than a little angry. A few minutes later he was taken to a small family conference room and Sara came along a moment later, wheeled into the room by one of her attendants. The doctor closed the door as she left the room, but added: “I’ll be out here when you’re finished.”

After the door closed Harry took Sara’s right hand and simply held it, stroking her smooth skin with his eyes closed, remembering that precious time on the mountain they called their own. In fact, he was cherishing that time.

A moment later her hands moved, and he felt her struggling to reach his hands with her left.

“Can you hear me, my love?”

“Harry?”

“Yes, it’s me. I’m here now.”

“Oh, my Harry.”

“Don’t worry now.”

“The old man, the one you spoke about?”

“Yes?”

“He’s coming to me now.”

“The old man with the cape? And the cane?”

“Yes.”

“And they think this is a hallucination…?”

“Yes.”

“What is he telling you?”

“About you. And your mother.”

“What about my mother?”

“That he has seen her.”

“He has? Where?”

“I don’t know. That’s all he said.”

And Harry noted the more she spoke the more lucid she became, yet that Sara was struggling even so.

“Is it the medication?” he whispered.

“Yes. Awful. Like a haze, a thick haze that envelopes you. I hate this.”

“I understand.”

“How long will you be here?”

“A few days, maybe a week. Long enough to take care of you while I make arrangements for us.”

“What are you planning?”

“When you are well enough to travel you’ll be coming home with me, to California.”

She squeezed his hands, looked into his eyes and he could see tears there. “Oh,” she whispered, “this is what I have dreamed about…”

“Me too. There are so many things I want to share with you…”

Again, she squeezed his hand – yet she began to fade away before his eyes as the medication reasserted control. He pulled her blanket up, covered her knees as well, then went to the door and called her psychiatrist; a moment later the attendant appeared and wheeled Sara back to the dayroom, leaving Callahan alone with the physician and dozens of unanswered questions.

“What are you using to treat these hallucinations?”

“Haldol.”

“That’s an anti-psychotic, isn’t it?”

“Yes, it is.”

“And what about these hallucinations? Describe them to me?”

“Apparently an old man, dressed in a loden cape and brandishing an ornate cane or some sort, a magical cane if I understand her description well enough, appears in her room at night…”

“And, let me guess, only when storms approach?”

“Yes, how did you know?”

“Because my mother was visited by the very same man, I’ve seen him, and, in fact, he has treated me for an injury to my hand…”

The psychiatrist was staring at Callahan in almost open-mouthed horror.

“…and not to put to fine a point on things, at least two members of the Israeli intelligence services have had recent conversations with this same apparition. Now please, tell me if you still consider this a hallucination…?”

“I don’t know what to say?”

“Good. That’s quite possibly the sanest thing I’ve heard about this thing.”

The woman shook her head. “If I take this as so, then the Haldol must be stopped.”

“I wish you would. What was this other therapy you were talking about…?”

“I’m not sure this is relevant now.”

“Okay. I’d like to take her home with me for a few hours a day this week. Do you see any issues with that?”

“Only that it will take about two days for the effects of the medication to dissipate.”

“Okay, so on Tuesday she can come home with me, for the afternoon?”

“You mean here in Davos?”

“Yes, I have a home here.”

“Indeed? Then of course.”

“I’m informing you that it is my objective to take her to my home in California sometime this summer, probably late summer. I’m instructing you to prepare her for that transition as best you can and within that time frame. If you think you’ll need to see her intermittently after that we can discuss the logistics when she’s discharged. In the meantime, here is my telephone number in town. Call me with any questions you may have.”

He stood up, his right hand extended.

The psychiatrist took it. “It will be as you say, Herr Callahan.”

“Thanks mucho,” Harry said, grinning. 

_______________________________

‘Goddamn,’ he said as he walked away from the clinic, ‘but having a shitload of money is so fuckin’ liberating.’

He felt almost buoyant as he walked down the steep, wooded drive that led into town. Walking down the main shopping boulevard he stopped at a clothing store and bought some slacks and a sports-coat, then he stopped at a jeweler and picked out a new wristwatch, an Omega he’d wanted for years but could never afford. At a climbing shop he stocked up on socks and a pair of hiking boots that seemed to fit his surroundings better than his old loafers, then he hailed another taxi and went to the house.

“Ah,  you went shopping, I see?” Didi said as he walked into the living room.

“A little. What have you been up to?”

“The payments to the clinic have been arranged, but I have a question?”

“Yes?”

“Sara’s father is apparently in some difficulty and he has accumulated quite an outstanding balance. The clinic is about to pursue a legal remedy and I wondered what you might want to do?”

“How much is the balance?”

She handed him a slip of paper with the figure written down.

“Pay it. Call her father and tell him, ask him what his difficulties are, and see if I can help.”

Didi seemed surprised by this but held her concern in-check. “Alright.”

“And find out what kind of paperwork we’d need to get married. Here, in Switzerland.”

“Yessir.”

“Didi?”

“Sorry, Harry.”

He grumbled all the way to his bedroom…then grinned as he set about putting his new things away. When he walked back to the kitchen she was on the telephone, so he sat and waited until she was free to talk again.

“Yes…Harry?” she said after she hung up the phone.

“Lunch. Let’s go into town and grab a bite.”

“Alright. What would you like?”

“No idea. You know any place interesting?”

Didi smiled. “Follow me, sir…!”

“Didi…?”

___________________________________-

After Goodman and Lloyd Callahan returned to the compound, they noticed that something strange had come over the house, and it didn’t take long before they knew what everyone else had already come to terms with. Frank Bullitt and Cathy were on the outs. After a brutal argument involving the near destruction of her new house in Sea Ranch, Frank’s relative lack of income compared to hers, and then being pulled into this nonsensical cycle of violence and retribution…she declared that she wanted out! And NOW!

And then, after one of Colonel Goodman’s lieutenants informed her “it just wouldn’t be possible right now” – she came undone and went ballistic on everyone and anything unfortunate enough to be caught within earshot. She began throwing things and in the process learned that you can’t break paper plates, but when she made a move on Imogen’s piano Avi’s security detail, still detailed to watch over the house, moved in and restrained her until a physician could be summoned. She slept for a day after that but woke up in fine fighting form.

And then, after her first encounter with secobarbital, she launched into a particularly nasty take-down involving the income of police detectives generally and Frank’s specifically, but then Frank made the mistake of calling her a “walking peri-menopausal shit-show” and living proof “that women over forty are completely off their fucking rockers,” which produced a rather spectacular display feminine hand-to-hand combat skills, or, actually, a relative lack thereof.

She was moved to alternative quarters after that, leaving Frank to mope around the house with nothing to do but talk to Sam.

“I don’t know what to do anymore,” Frank sighed. “I love her, but…”

“You love her butt?” Sam said.

“I didn’t say that.”

“Yes, you did.”

Bullitt shook his head. “You’re getting worse than Chalmers.”

“What do you expect, Frank. This is like being on vacation somewhere really exotic, then being locked in your room. Everything is ‘out there’ and we’re stuck in here…”

“How’s Fran holding up?”

“Actually, Frank, not to be weird or anything, but she’s been horny as hell ever since we got here.”

“Cathy sure isn’t.”

“Cathy just had her world taken from her…”

“Yeah,” Frank said with a grouchy sigh. “Ya know, I think I know what it is, at least for Fran.”

“Okay, I’ll bite. What is it?”

“You two are together twenty-four hours a day and for the first time in ages, right?”

“Pretty much, yeah.”

“So she’s the center of your attention again, right?”

“Maybe so, but that doesn’t explain the horniness, Frank…”

“She’s out of menopause, isn’t she?”

“I guess so. Why?”

“Well, I’ve heard that many older chicks, once they’ve been through the change, well, they get horny. And I mean really, really horny.”

“Wonderful,” Sam said, feeling almost dejected.

“What is it, Sam?”

“Well, Frank, I’m fifty-five-fuckin’ years old and my pecker doesn’t work like it did when I was twenty. It takes a half-hour to get it up and if you look at the damn thing wrong it wilts away to nothing in half a second. It’s embarrassing, Frank.”

And on hearing that, Jim Parish walked over to Sam and Frank.

“Have you heard of Caverject, Captain Bennett?”

“Caver-who?”

“Alprostadil, aka Caverject. You inject it in your penis and…”

Bullitt and Bennett shuddered and made faces on hearing that…

“You can stop right there, doc,” Bennett growled. “Ain’t no-one, no-how gonna stick a fuckin’ needle in my goddamn muther-fuckin’ pecker…”

“You’ll have a two hour woodie, Sam,” Parish said, grinning. “The pain lasts about ten seconds. Balance those ten seconds against a two-hour hard-on.” 

“Two hours, huh? Shit, I wish someone would make a pill…”

“Think about it, Sam. Let me know if you want to try it…?”

“Shit, Jim,” Bullitt whispered, “can you fix me up with some of that shit?”

“Really? How old are you?”

“Forty?”

“Having problems down there?”

Frank looked away, but he nodded – just a little.

“Well, what the hell,” Parish said, looking at Bennett. “Sam, should I get two?”

“Why the hell not?” Sam said, sighing. “It’s worth a shot…er…well, no pun intended.”

So when Goodman and the elder Callahan returned they had no idea of the hornet’s nest they were walking into…or the size of the hurricane about to be unleashed.

_______________________________

Harry was comfortable walking around town now, so much so that more than a few merchants greeted him warmly when he happened by on his morning stroll through the central shopping district. Didi was similarly a gifted guide to the local restaurant scene, taking him on a world tour of exotic cuisines amply represented in town: she took him out for his very first curry and laughed at his red-faced response to lamb vindaloo. He was dumbstruck that people ate raw fish, but after trying salmon and tuna nigiri he was a convert. She took him to a Moroccan place and he was dumbfounded that people ate with their hands, no utensils allowed, yet he enjoyed that experience, too.

Harry’s eyes were being opened under her patient tutelage, just as her father had instructed. Just as Avi had wanted his friend to see to. “His is a parochial worldview, Ben,” Avi had told his friend months before he passed. “He must become a citizen of the world before he can truly understand our place in it. Or even his place in our world.”

And the Colonel had agreed. He, or his daughter, would see to it. Because he had promised to make it so.

So when Tuesday Afternoon came along, when Harry walked up to the clinic he did so nattily attired and full of the newfound confidence that only sudden wealth can impart. And yet, all that his new ‘station’ in life implied wasn’t lost on Callahan. If you’re poor, he said to himself, people generally ignore you, or worse, but if you are rich people will fall all over themselves to ingratiate themselves to you. This in and of itself wasn’t news to him; what startled Callahan was the experience of it all, the novelty of being treated in that way, and of how different this was to being a simple cop on the beat, or, as the case may be, to being a police detective. 

This was different, and, after a few days, he grew mindful of the change.

When he entered the clinic the smiling receptionist greeted him by name, Sara’s psychiatrist met him with a warm hug, while a cup of hot tea was waiting for him in the family conference room. Attendants smiled at him when passing in corridors, while before he had been almost a non-entity.

And it was all very troubling after just a few days, even as he sat in the little conference room waiting for Sara…

“How has she been doing off the medication?” he asked while they waited for Sara.

“About as expected, Herr Callahan…”

“Please, call me Harald,” Harry said, rather surprised he had adopted his Danish moniker.

“As you wish, Harald. I would ask that you walk with her, and I mean close to her, these first few times out of the clinic. Her gait may be off, she may be prone to sudden falls, but this should dissipate after about a week…”

“Good lord…” he sighed. “Must be a powerful drug…”

“It is, but it has shown remarkable effectiveness calming the mind.”

“Calming the mind? What do you mean?”

“Well, psychotic hallucinations might be considered errors in recalling a memory. The conscious mind may or may not be aware of the error, but even so, it struggles to produce the memory. The brain, in this instance, has real trouble doing so, and, in effect, it overheats…but I mean this in almost allegorical terms. The drug acts to calm this process…”

“How are hallucinations related to this?”

“Some researchers hold that hallucinations originate from fragments of memory that have somehow become scrambled. I’m working with Professor Pauling at Stanford on research along these lines, and the role of…oh, well, excuse me, I should not be boring you with such details.”

“Stanford? That’s my neck of the woods.”

“Really?”

“Yes, I live in San Francisco.”

“Well, how wonderful. I visit the Institute three or four times a year. so perhaps we could arrange for me to see Sara on these visits?”

“Yes, that should be no problem, at least not on my end.”

“You know, as many times as I’ve been, I’ve yet to spend time in the city. I hear there are so many things to see and do…”

“We’d be glad to show you around…” he said, and he was instantly struck by all the casual inferences attached to the word ‘we.’ As in: Sara and I; as in: we are a couple; as in: we are husband and wife…and he found that the word produced a curiously indefinable feeling – until it hit him: ‘I used to feel the same way about June. June and I were a ‘we,’ and that always felt right, didn’t it? Do I feel the same way about Sara? Did that kind of Love hit me so hard, so fast?’

And just then Sara walked into the room, a smiling attendant steadying her as she shuffled along, and when Harry stood she fairly jumped into his arms, holding onto him with fierce possessiveness. 

Her eyes were clear now, and he dove into her glowing depths, swimming in the vast currents of her soul, holding her close, loving her again with surprising intensity. He felt a pull coming from within those eyes, an insistent pull – a pull like gravity – and he yearned to float free from anything that might keep them apart…

Yet when at last he pulled free from her he found they were alone in the room.

“Do you think maybe we embarrassed them?” she said.

“I could care less.”

“I know. It’s a marvelous feeling, isn’t it?”

“I just want to hold you,” he whispered in her ear.

“I love you,” she echoed.

“Would you like to get married? Like the day after tomorrow?”

“If you do, then yes.”

“I do. More than anything in the world.”

She smiled. “Then we shall.”

“Now, do you feel like walking, or would it be easier to…”

“No, I must walk,” she said, and she spoke now with a studied seriousness that belied hours of practice to reach this point.

“Then walk we will.”

She made it one shuffling step at a time, first to a waiting taxi then into the house. Didi had put on a minor feast of Norwegian salads, most featuring smoked salmon or whitefish, before she disappeared for the afternoon.

And when they finished eating he walked with her to the living room, and to his mother’s Bösendorfer – now safely anchored in this new safe harbor…

And she went to it now, admiring the smooth glowing arcs even as she approached. 

“You know, I’ve never seen one like this. It must be very old.”

“It was my mother’s, and maybe my grandmother’s as well. I’m not sure how old it is.”

“The older ones are regarded almost as a Stradivarius, you know? Some have names, and a few are even regarded as having magical powers.”

“I see. And you learned this where?”

“These are Viennese, Harry, just like me,” she said, smiling.

He had to smile at the way she spoke now, almost tauntingly. “Do you play?” he asked.

“Oh, I play a little, if you can stroke the right…key.”

“Would you like to play now?”

“Ooh, now there’s a thought,” she purred. “But, I had another instrument in mind…”

“Ah. Well then, you’d better come with me…”

“Oh, I intend to do just that, and more than once…”

______________________________________

“We’ll go look for a dress when I pick you up tomorrow,” he said when he dropped her off at the clinic.

“I can’t wait. When will you come?”

“The same time.”

Attendants were waiting for her, and Callahan thought the whole place had a kind of prison vibe going on, and it unsettled him as she disappeared down the long corridor that led to her room. He turned and walked down the hill, and found Didi waiting in the Range Rover.

“Something’s come up,” she said. “My father needs to speak with you about Frank.”

“Swell,” Harry sighed. “Do you have notes on the Sea Ranch project?”

“Yes, of course.”

“Okay,” he said as he got in and buckled-up, “let’s go.”

When they were settled in the living room she dialed the compound and her father answered.

“Harry? What is your status there?”

“I’m getting married on Thursday. I’ll be headed your way a day or so after that. Now, what’s up with Frank?”

“Well, it’s really Cathy that we’re worried about.”

“Oh?”

“I think the main problem concerns her house. She really seems to think its all Frank’s fault.”

“Can you put her on the line, please?”

“You want to speak to her?”

“Yes.”

“I must warn you, Harry, she’s really quite volatile right now.”

“Okay, I’ll consider myself warned.”

“Stand by one.”

He heard shouting in the background, and more than one hysterical screech that just had to be Cathy, or perhaps a goat being decapitated.

Then…

“What is it, Harry?!”

“Well, hello Cathy. How are you?”

“Swell. Isn’t that what you always say? And really, Harry, people stopped saying that back in the fifties.”

“Well, I’m fine, Cathy. Thanks for asking.”

– silence –

“So, Cathy, the reason I’m calling is to tell you that I’ve engaged your firm to supervise the reconstruction of your house at the ranch. They’ve arranged for the original builder to do the work, and it should be finished in six weeks.”

“What?”

“Cathy? Do I need to repeat what I just said.”

“No. Harry, I’m just speechless.”

“Also, I purchase the lot at the end of the street, the big one that overlooks the sea, out there on the cliff. I want you to think about the house I want you to design for me, maybe work up some plans while we’re waiting down there at the compound. Think you could do that for me?”

“Yes, of course.”

“Good. I’ve already retained your services with the firm, so keep track of your hours, okay?”

“Alright.”

“I hear you and Frank are having issues. Is there anything I can help with?”

“No, we’re doing just fine, Harry. Just fine. When will you be coming back?”

“I’m getting married on Thursday…”

“What?”

“Don’t worry. We’ll do it up big when we get back to the city. This one is just a formality.”

“I’d still like…no, Frank and I would like to be there.”

“Let me speak to the colonel. I’ll see what we can do,” Harry said, and, at the same time, he gestured to Didi. “Better see about Sara’s parents. See if they want to come, too.”

“Yessir.”

“Didi?”

“Yes, Harry.”

_____________________________________

And so, two days later Harry Francis Lloyd Callahan and Sara Rosenkranz were married. In attendance were her parents and Harry’s father, as well as a bunch of cops, some Israeli commandos, an Army physician as well as a local shrink. As it happened, Lloyd Callahan hit it off with Sara’s psychiatrist, and Harry wasn’t too surprised to learn that Frank and Cathy were mending their fences. And so, after the simple ceremony, the group retired to Harry’s favorite Pub for libations.

Fortunately, the pub had plenty of spare bedrooms ready to go.

The resulting party lasted well into the night, and Parish used up his entire supply of Caverject.

/////

© 2020 adrian leverkühn | abw | and as always, thanks for stopping by for a look around the memory warehouse…[and a last word or two on sources: I typically don’t post all a story’s acknowledgments until I’ve finished, if only because I’m not sure how many I’ll need until work is finalized. Yet with current circumstances (a little virus, not to mention a certain situation in Washington, D.C. springing first to mind…) so waiting to mention sources might not be the best way to proceed. To begin, the primary source material in this case – so far, at least – derives from two seminal Hollywood ‘cop’ films: Dirty Harry and Bullitt. The first Harry film was penned by Harry Julian Fink, R.M. Fink, Dean Riesner, John Milius, Terrence Malick, and Jo Heims. Bullitt came primarily from the author of the screenplay for The Thomas Crown Affair, Alan R Trustman, with help from Harry Kleiner, as well Robert L Fish, whose short story Mute Witness formed the basis of Trustman’s brilliant screenplay. Steve McQueen’s grin was never trade-marked, though perhaps it should have been. John Milius (Red Dawn) penned Magnum Force, and the ‘Briggs’/vigilante storyline derives from characters and plot elements originally found in that rich screenplay, as does the Captain McKay character. The Threlkis crime family storyline was first introduced in Sudden Impact, screenplay by Joseph Stinson. The Samantha Walker character derives from the Patricia Clarkson portrayal of the television reporter found in The Dead Pool, screenplay by Steve Sharon, story by Steve Sharon, Durk Pearson, and Sandy Shaw.  I have to credit the Jim Parish, M.D., character first seen in the Vietnam segments to John A. Parrish, M.D., author of the most fascinating account of an American physician’s tour of duty in Vietnam – and as found in his autobiographical 12, 20, and 5: A Doctor’s Year in Vietnam, a book worth noting as one of the most stirring accounts of modern warfare I’ve ever read (think Richard Hooker’s M*A*S*H, only featuring a blazing sense of irony conjoined within a searing non-fiction narrative). Denton Cooley, M.D. founded the Texas Heart Institute, as mentioned. Many of the other figures in this story derive from characters developed within the works cited above, but keep in mind that, as always, this story is in all other respects a work of fiction woven into a pre-existing historical fabric. Using the established characters referenced above, as well as a few new characters I’ve managed to come up with here and there, I hoped to create something new – perhaps a running commentary on the times we’ve shared? And the standard disclaimer also here applies: no one mentioned in this tale should be mistaken for persons living or dead. This was just a little walk down a road more or less imagined, and nothing more than that should be inferred, though I’d be remiss not to mention Clint Eastwood’s Harry Callahan, and Steve McQueen’s Frank Bullitt. Talk about the roles of a lifetime…]

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