Delgetti was, as promised, waiting for them at the gate; Carl Stanton drove them around the airport to the general aviation ramp – where a CAT Huey – piloted by ‘Mickey’ Rooney – waited. Everyone boarded the Huey; Callahan went to the front left seat, while Fujiko sat in a jump-seat behind Rooney. After taking off, the helicopter made for the coastal range and crossed over the Pacific Coast Highway on its way to the beach. From there, the Huey turned north and flew directly to Sea Ranch; Rooney landed in the street in front of Callahan’s house. Dozens of CHP officers and the county sheriff were waiting for them, and they walked up to the Huey as its rotors spun down. Bullitt was the first to emerge from the Huey…
“Okay, what do we know?” Frank asked the gathered law enforcement officers, apparently led by a captain from the California Highway Patrol.
The CHP captain spoke first, and because of this, Bullitt assumed the captain was in charge: “First thing, the suspect is either not real smart or she wants to be caught.”
“How so,” Frank said.
“Well, she’s using charge cards, usually the same Visa card, for one thing. And she’s driving north on I-5 and not making any effort to hide.”
“Is anyone following her?” Callahan asked.
“Yeah, a guy from your outfit, Pattison I think is his name. He has her, and he’s following in some new kind of helicopter. Lots of range. Someone from the San Francisco PD is with him.”
“Al something, starts with a V; anyway, the suspect is in Portland right now. Been there two hours, just checked into a hotel south of the city.”
Callahan turned to Rooney: “Okay, the three of us will head north now…”
The CHP captain interrupted: “Uh, not so fast. This case involves a kidnapping across state lines, so the FBI is in charge, gentlemen. You’ll need to clear any-and-every-thing with them before you take any action, and I repeat – any action at all, including a move north on your part.”
Callahan looked at the captain: “Gotcha,” he said, smiling, then he turned back to Rooney: “We can gas up in Redding, then head north from there. We’ll contact Pattison when we cross into Oregon.”
“Here’s the agent in charge’s information,” the captain said, shaking his head. “You need to call him, really, I mean it…”
“Don’t worry about it,” Bullitt said with brooding malice in his eyes – a menacing enough display to make the captain take a few steps back. “Harry, would you go and take a look at the house? I’m not sure I want to go in right now.”
Callahan nodded, then walked over to someone in a dark suit. “You the CSI?”
“Yeah. Who are you?”
“Callahan, SFPD Homicide. I need to go look at the house.”
“Okay, come with me.”
There hadn’t been much of a struggle, but it had all gone down in the living room. Cathy had eventually gone down on the hardwood floor by the sofa and bled out there; there were other tell-tale signs, too…end tables knocked askew, and books knocked from a bookcase were on the floor…
“Did you find a murder weapon?”
“Large kitchen knife. Some defensive wounds on the hands and arms, five wounds on the torso, two were most likely fatal, unrecoverable.”
“What, do you mean the aorta?”
The Investigator nodded. “I don’t think she suffered too long, if that’s what you’re getting at.”
Callahan nodded. “Anything else I need to know?”
“Suspects fingerprints are all over the place, and, well, she tried to get into the house at the end of the street.”
Callahan turned and looked at the investigator. “Show me.”
They walked past Frank and Fujiko, still standing beside the Huey, on their way to his house, and the investigator showed him three places where someone had tried to force their way in. “She used a mason’s trowel to try and defeat the locks; apparently she gave up. Do you know who’s house this is?”
“Oh, really? They must pay you guys pretty good.”
Callahan took out his key and they walked inside; everything looked in order – or did it? “Could you sweep the place for prints?”
“You sure? Doesn’t look like she gained entry…”
“Something doesn’t feel right. Like…”
“Yeah? Like what?”
Callahan went to the piano and looked around; everything looked okay, nothing appeared disturbed – but he could feel that something was wrong. He pulled out the music to his mother’s Second Concerto and sat at the piano…then he took a deep breath.
“Come here, would you?” he said to the investigator. When the man was beside Callahan he took another deep breath. “Put your hand on my shoulder and close your eyes.”
“Just do it.”
He felt the man’s hand resting on his upper arm and took one more deep breath. “I’m going to play a few chords on this piano, and I want you to think of the crime scene in the other house while I do. Then I want you to imagine, in your mind, that you can somehow follow the suspect…while I’m playing the piano. Understand?”
“No, not really…”
“Okay, here we go. Clear your mind, then think of the murder scene…and no matter what you think you see, don’t panic, and don’t say a word…”
Callahan closed his eyes too, then played the first chord…
Evelyn, at the front door, ringing the doorbell. Cathy coming to the door, not wanting to let her in. A man is with Evelyn, army field jacket, rough looking, maybe in his forties, hispanic. He pushes the door open. Cathy tries to flee, the man chases her into the kitchen. Evelyn goes towards Elizabeth’s bedroom. The man takes a knife from a block on the countertop. Cathy runs. He catches her in the living room. They struggle. Cathy is wounded but she has a gun now. She shoots the man once in the abdomen. Evelyn returns, still alone. She takes the knife from the man and attacks Cathy. Cathy falls to the ground. Evelyn stabs Cathy two more times, in the upper abdomen. The man staggers outside to a van. Evelyn takes something from the man, then she runs down the street. She tries every door, then looks under the front door mat and finds a key. She opens the front door and comes into the house. She and another man put a black box under the bed in Callahan’s bedroom, then the man runs a wire between the mattress and the box springs…
Callahan stopped playing, then he slumped over the keyboard.
“What the fuck!” the investigator cried. “What the fuck did you just do to me?”
Callahan shook his head, tried to clear away the lingering fog…
“Goddam! What just…” the investigator shouted.
“Get a hold of yourself, man,” Callahan said, standing. “Let’s go check the bedroom.”
Callahan grabbed a flashlight as they walked back to the bedroom; there was a bomb under the bed, and a sophisticated looking wiring harness from the device disappeared under the mattress.
“You mean to tell me we just watched the murder?” the man said. “Like…in real time?”
“Yup. And this is what you call proof, isn’t it?” Callahan said, pointing at the device. “Now, I suggest you go and call the bomb squad before this thing goes off in our face.”
“Jesus…I can’t use any of this shit in my report, can I?”
“Not unless you want to get locked up inside a rubber room. But now that you know what happened, you know what to look for, don’t you?”
“How’d you do that? I mean…”
“Yeah, I know what you mean, and I have no idea how I do it. All I can tell you is what you just experienced stays between you and me. Got it?”
“Fuck. Yeah, man. You and me, got it.”
“Bomb squad. Go.”
“And send Captain Bullitt in here, would you. Alone.”
“Captain Bullitt. Yessir.”
Callahan walked through the house, retracing her steps – and – he could still feel her presence in the house, an impossible feeling he’d never experienced before. She lingered in the air just like the pure, concentrated evil he’d felt so many times on the street, only this time it was coming from Evelyn…
“What the hell did you do to that tech, Harry? He looks as white as a sheet!”
“Because he’s just seen a ghost, Frank. Come along, follow me.” They went back to the bedroom and Harry showed him the device under his bed.
“Looks like C4 hooked up to a pressure switch. Sit on the bed and boom. Lift the mattress to get at the switch – and boom again. How’d you…oh no, let me guess. You gave that poor bastard a piano lesson, didn’t you?”
Callahan nodded. “Evelyn. She had at least two men with her. Cathy shot one of them in the gut, and Evelyn – well, she committed the actual murder. They were in a navy blue panel van, no markings, a rental plate.”
“Where’s the wounded man?”
Callahan shook his head. “I’ll have to go back in. Deep, this time.”
Frank shook his head. “No way, man. You’re going to do this one time too many, Callahan, and you ain’t gonna be able to get your ass back out of there.”
“Yeah? So? We gotta find out who was behind this, Frank. The men were hispanic, so what if Escobar got Evelyn out? What if the men with her were Escobar’s people? What then, wise guy?”
“Leave him out of this, would you?”
“You don’t have any time to waste,” a familiar voice said, and…
…Callahan wheeled around, and there he was – with his cane in hand. “What do you mean?”
“Don’t worry about Escobar right now. Focus! What’s the most important thing – right now?!”
Frank stepped closer to the Old Man: “Elizabeth. She’s the most important thing.”
“They’re not going to ask for a ransom,” the Old Man in the Cape said. “They want you, Harry.”
“How do you know that?” Frank asked.
“You’re wasting time, Frank. And – oh, before I forget. That California Highway Patrol captain? You can’t trust him, so tell him nothing. Same with the FBI.”
“Why? Are they connected to…”
But the Old Man disappeared…
“Damn, I hate it when he does that.”
“He only shows up during, well, in a crisis,” Frank said. “At a point, like maybe a fulcrum. Why?”
“Frank? I hope you’re not asking me?”
“He’s guiding us, Harry. Keeping us on a certain path. But…why?”
“Well, Elizabeth seems to be the important thing to him right now…”
“So…he came here to protect her?”
“He said ‘they want you, Harry,’ didn’t he?” Callahan asked.
“Yeah. So, they’re using Elizabeth to get to you. Which means they’re using Evelyn.”
“Which means, Frank, that somehow they found out we took out their boats. Yeah, we took out the boats, and then we killed their men. This has revenge written all over it.”
“Okay,” Bullitt sighed, “and now we assume the CHP and FBI are both penetrated…?”
“Well, we know the department is…”
“Which leaves us…alone,” Frank said.
“Not quite. We’ve got assets in CAT, and right now we have Al with us.”
“You’re leaving out one critical thing,” Frank added. “Fujiko is here now, and once they figure out who she is, and what she means to you – then what? Tell me, what’s going to keep them from going after her too. And guess what? She’s out there with that CHP captain, isn’t she?”
Harry sighed. “Okay, so we take her back to SFO and put her on the plane home – until this is over…”
“Harry, you do that now and you’ll never see her – or hear from her again – and rightfully so.”
“Okay, what are you thinking?”
“Let Dell take her to the city, move her around. If they find her and close in, get her to the Presidio and onto a flutterbug.”
“Okay, go talk to Dell and Carl. I’ve got to wait here for the bomb squad.”
“Right, I’ll be back in a few minutes.”
“Lock the front door behind you as you leave, just ring the bell…”
Harry walked back to his bedroom, and the Old Man in the Cape was just standing there, like he’d been waiting impatiently for Callahan’s return.
“What’s on your mind,” Harry asked as he walked into the room.
“This didn’t have to happen, not this way. In fact, it shouldn’t have happened at all.”
“What do you mean…it shouldn’t have?”
“There’s not much I can tell you in this time, but you need to get Frank, and the girl.”
“Yes, go get them – then…bring them both in here.”
“And find me some paper, and perhaps something to write with.”
Everyone was gathered in the room five minutes later; Frank wasn’t too surprised to find the Old Man in the house again, but Fujiko looked at the Old Man like he was some kind of mad sorcerer.
“Harry? You and the girl – Fujiko, is it? – you go over there. Frank, I’ll be back for you in a moment. Stay right here and don’t leave.”
And as Frank started to protest, Harry and Fujiko – and the Old Man – simply vanished…yet before he could even register surprise the Old Man was back in the room.
“Where are they!” Bullitt shouted.
“You’ll be with them presently, but first – I need you to write something for me…”
Fujiko literally slammed into him, wrapped her arms around his waist; they were both shivering now, and Callahan could feel ice melting and running from his scalp down his neck. He felt her hair just to make sure, and ran his fingers through more fine ice on her scalp. He looked around, and he thought he recognized the room – but no! How could it be?
“Where are we?” Fujiko asked, her voice a scratchy, injured whisper. “Have we been here before?”
Callahan nodded. “The hotel room, in Osaka,” he said. “Yesterday, I think. Before we left for the airport…”
And in the next instant Frank was standing next to them. “Harry! Call DD, NOW!” he cried.
He knew that voice, knew the urgency it implied, so without question he moved to the phone and dialed DD’s number at the Cathouse.
“DD? It’s Harry…”
“Harry! Good – it’s you! Look, we got Frank’s note; Cathy’s with us here at the Cathouse. Dell and Carl staked out the house with some deputies from the Sheriff’s office…they have Evelyn in custody, they’re bringing her to the city for evaluation. There were two men with her, one was killed while trying to flee, the other is behind bars at the county jail…”
“Frank and I will need to interview him as soon as we return. Do you have our flight information?”
Harry wrote everything down, then rang off.
Frank was standing right beside him, his head and face awash with melting ice…
“Well, did it work?” Bullitt asked.
Callahan nodded. “Yeah. It worked.”
Bullitt grinned, then walked to the window. He leaned a little, put his outstretched hands on the glass and looked down at the world on the other side of the window.
Harry and Fujiko walked over to him: “What on earth did you do, Frank?”
“He had me write out a note. Basically, I told her what was going to happen, where to go and who to call.”
“You mean,” Fujiko asked, “that you went to Cathy before she was murdered? That you have stopped the murder from happening?”
Frank turned and looked at her. “I have no idea what happened. And neither do you, Fujiko,” he said, looking directly into her eyes. “What happened before? Well, it never happened, so if you speak about it no one is going to know what you’re talking about. Do you understand?”
“So,” she added, “Cathy is alive? Is that what you are saying?”
Bullitt nodded. “And please, don’t ask me to explain anything, because I don’t understand what happened either, let alone how or why. Okay?”
Fujiko turned and looked at Callahan. “Do you know what happened?”
Callahan shook his head, then he went to the bed and sat on the edge. He put his face in his hands, then lay on his side. A moment later he felt Fujiko come onto the bed and lay next to him, and a moment later he felt himself sliding towards sleep – then it hit him…
“We have an airplane to catch in a few hours,” he said.
“God damn!” Bullitt growled. “I’m jet-lagged from the last flight – and my butt’s still sore, too – and you’re telling me we’ve got to go and get on the same goddam airplane and do it all over again?”
“So it seems.” Callahan sighed. “But I don’t think I’m going to have any trouble falling asleep this time.”
“I am not so sure,” Fujiko whispered, “that the old man is not a sorcerer.”
Callahan nodded. “I wish I knew the answer to that one…”
Callahan walked through his house – and this time nothing was wrong. There were no trip-wires, no C4 – though he did remove the key he’d hidden under the front door mat. Everything now was – like nothing had ever happened – because…it hadn’t.
Time’s script had been erased, and then re-written – and the Old Man in the Cape had done it.
But Fujiko had walked right through the house and gone to her tree, the tree that looked bent by the wind coming in off the sea. She didn’t stop to speak to Callahan. She didn’t want to visit Cathy, or Frank. She seemed – to Callahan, anyway – to have been shattered by the actions and reactions she had seen in the past several hours, and when Harry went to her he found her sitting under the tree, her knees pulled up to her chest, her arms around her knees – and she was slowly rocking back and forth, almost like she was soothing an unseen infant.
He sat beside her, studied her face. Angled down, yet her eyes were focused on the horizon – as if she was looking for Japan somewhere across the wide Pacific. He did not speak, because he had no idea what to say, so he sat and watched her, waiting for her to come back to him.
“Nothing is real,” she whispered at last.
“If this moment can be undone, if everything you and I see and do in this moment can be rewritten on a whim, what is real? Can you not see that?”
“I do not understand this world, Harry Callahan. I do not understand your world.”
“This wasn’t my doing, Fujiko. Not at all.”
“No, it isn’t.”
“You could have stopped it…”
“I didn’t know what was happening. No one told me what was happening. The Old Man has never done anything like this before…”
“I am afraid, Harry Callahan.”
Callahan nodded. “I understand, but I don’t think it will happen again.”
“How could you possibly know? And if it does, again, please, how will you know? It is like we are trying to swim in quicksand, Harry. The more we struggle with the truth of this existence, the deeper we sink, and reality slips from our reach. I can run and dive off this cliff onto the rocks below, and what will happen? Will I suddenly reappear here, sitting as I am now, yet at the same time will I relive the onrushing rocks in my mind, in memory, and if so, will I feel my body hitting the rocks, feel my death again and again?”
“I don’t know.”
“I feel my mind slipping away, Harry. What will I see next? Will I see fish swimming by in the air? Can reality be so easily reshaped? And…what about love? Can love be reshaped?”
“Again, I don’t know. All I can tell you is that right now, right here, I love you. I’ve never loved anyone as much as I do you – right now.”
She turned and looked at him, and he saw the smile.
“Even if everything else is – conditional – my love for you isn’t,” he added.
She nodded. “I know. This I feel, too.”
“Is anything else as important?”
“Truly? No, I think not.”
“We have a life to live together, Fujiko. You and I. Should we not at least try to do that now?”
“Yes,” she said, “but first, I want to go see Cathy. I want to feel her and hear her now. I want to know that she is real – again – and that this is not some kind of dream.”
He stood, then he helped her to her feet. “You like this tree, don’t you? I remember you said something about it…”
“Yes, before all this happened. How strange. It is like things that happened before a certain point remain unchanged.”
“But, it’s almost like the layers of an onion. Memories of two different chains of events, from two different timelines – superimposed one over the other.”
“Yes. Just so,” she sighed. “But which is real?”
“Both. They are both equally real, just different.”
She shook her head. “Logically, this cannot be true.”
“Tell me, please, what the hell is logical about any of this?”
“Well, because existence, at some level, must abide by the rules of logic – unless all existence is mere delusion. But Harry – if this experience was not a delusion then it follows it must be real. Also, I am not so sure a delusion like this one could be – ‘shared’ – by more than one person, but it is here that my logic falls apart. Temporal existence becomes, as I said, almost meaningless when you think of existence as having more than one layer – yet this is exactly what we have just experienced.”
It was almost dark by the time they decided to walk up the street to Cathy’s house, but already Callahan was growing hungry.
“You know, I can’t remember the last time I had something to eat.”
“It was on the airplane,” Fujiko said.
“Yes, but we ate on the first flight we took, not the one we just got off of. So, the food we ate…”
“Probably does not exist, at least not as far as our bodies are concerned.”
“Now I’m confused,” Callahan sighed. “If we ate food, it should still be there. Shouldn’t it?”
“So, you understand the dilemma better?”
He nodded. “Yeah, but I’m still hungry.”
“Of course you are. You are a man, after all – so you think with your stomach.”
“Look, I’m not the one who ate three cheeseburgers – in under an hour.”
“Oh, yes. I forgot…”
“Yup. Thought you might…women have a way of forgetting inconvenient facts like that.”
“We do not!”
“Of course you don’t.”
Frank seemed lost inside a stoic’s funk. He looked at Cathy from time to time like she was some kind of spectral apparition – not the flesh and bones Cathy he had known almost all his adult life. She walked around the house, putzed around in the kitchen none the wiser, too, and yet he was simply terrified to bring it up. When the doorbell rang and he saw it was Harry and Fujiko he let them in and hugged Fujiko before he turned to Harry…
“You hug me, Frank, and we’re gonna have a serious talk out back.”
“Man, Harry, I need a serious talk out back.”
“Yeah, I know. How’s Cathy?”
“She’s…Cathy. No differences, period. Memories intact, too.”
Callahan shook his head. “This is fucked up, Frank.”
“Granted, but she’s alive.”
“And Evelyn is in custody. Have you checked on Elizabeth?”
“Big turd in her diaper. In other words, situation normal.”
“You have an interesting conception of normal,” Fujiko said as she walked off to the kitchen.
“It’s amazing what you can get used to,” he replied to her departing backsides.
“Something’s been bothering me,” Callahan said, his voice not quite a whisper. “When the Old Man found out that Cathy was dead, he said something like ‘This isn’t the way it’s supposed to be.”
“Well, if her death was, let’s just call it incorrect, doesn’t that imply there was a correct way?”
Frank looked away, and Harry could tell he was lost in thought. “Yeah, and it also implies time has been tampered with…”
“Which also implies that the Old Man knows how things are supposed to turn out, right?”
“That follows, yeah.”
“But the only way he can know one way or another is if he has access to knowledge that’s…well…beyond anything we could understand…”
Frank scowled. “Every time we’ve seen him he appears to be about the same age, no?”
Harry thought for a moment: “Yeah, now that you mention it, I think you’re right.”
“So, while our lives have played out, and even your mother’s life as well, he might have been intervening over the course of just one night – one night wherever he’s from, I mean.”
Then Callahan looked at Frank. “I think you mean whenever he’s from, Frank.”
“Huh? What do you mean?”
“The only way he could know most of these things…”
“Yeah, okay, I see where you’re going with this. And…so, yes, that’s the only way he could know whether or not something is – wrong.”
Callahan nodded his head. “The only thing we don’t know is why.”
“Ya know, Harry…I don’t think I want to know why. We’ve been opening doors we have no business going through with that piano trick you do, but so far we haven’t been able to do anything like what the Old Man just did.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, we’re observing things that have already happened, right. Yet we’re gaining access to knowledge that we wouldn’t otherwise have. Now the tricky part: we’re manipulating outcomes, changing the future in some way…”
Callahan sighed. “But that’s exactly what the Old Man is doing too.”
“Assuming we’re in – ‘his’ – past, yes, that’s true,” Frank added. “But…wait…that means…”
“Exactly! If Cathy’s death was wrong that means someone else is playing this game, too…!”
“Someone who wants to change outcomes…” Frank said, suddenly lost inside a thought. “So, someone in the future who is or might be related to someone now, in the present?”
“Or a chain of events that leads to…I don’t know, a certain outcome.”
“Or,” Frank whispered, “a certain link in the chain. Why Cathy? Could it be because of Elizabeth? Is Elizabeth the link? Is she the key?”
“We have no way of knowing, Frank. None. And if I could ask him, I’d want to know why he was constantly intervening in my mother’s life.”
“That’s just what I’m getting at, Harry. What if someone, or some other group – in the future – wanted to stop an outcome, and they’ve traced it back to a couple of people…in your case, a mother and her son. So they go back and break the chain of events, but they have to do it subtly, draw no attention to their actions.”
“Frank? We can sit around and think about this shit until the cows come home, but we’re just going to drive ourselves crazy. At this point I say we just get on with what we were doing, forget about all this – stuff.”
Bullitt sighed. “Because I can’t get what happened to Cathy out of my mind, Harry. I think it’s gonna be a real problem, too.”
“Okay, so what do we do about it?”
Bullitt shook his head. “I’m not sure there is anything we can do Harry, because – well, think about it. What we’ve lost is a sense of finality, that when something happens the result just ‘is’. Now, if something happens to one of us, who’s to say the Old Man won’t somehow just come along and undo it?”
Harry heard something and turned – and he saw Cathy and Fujiko staring at them. Then Frank followed Harry’s gaze – and he found Cathy’s eyes locked onto his.
© 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 (i.e., Covid-19) waiting to list sources might not be the best way to proceed, and this listing will grow over time – until the story is complete. 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 Jennifer Spencer/Threlkis crime family storyline was first introduced in Sudden Impact, screenplay by Joseph Stinson, original story by Earl Smith and Charles Pierce. The Samantha Walker television reporter is 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. Of course, James Clavell’s Shōgun forms a principle backdrop in later chapters. The teahouse and hotel of spires in Ch. 42 is a product of the imagination; so-sorry. The UH-1Y image used from Pt VI on taken by Jodson Graves. Many of the other figures in this story derive from characters developed within the works cited above, but keep in mind that, as always, the rest of this story is in all other respects a work of fiction woven into a pre-existing cinematic-historical fabric. Using the established characters referenced above, as well as the 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 with these fictional characters? And the standard disclaimer also here applies: the central characters in this tale should not be mistaken for persons living or dead. This was, in other words, just a little walk down a road more or less imagined, and nothing more than that should be inferred. 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…and what a gift.]