The Eighty-eighth Key, Ch. 56v2 & Ch. 57.1

88th key cover image

Part VII

[Okay, just a heads up here. I’ve resumed Harry’s journey with a little editing of the last posted chapter, Chapter 56. Chapter 57.1 is all new material, and 57 will continue in short little snippets for the time being. Sitting for hours at a stretch just isn’t possible right now; it’s more like a half hour here and another half there. Writing now is more a mental process, stitching together the threads of the story as I lay in bed then trying to get the new bits down as I can. I’ve tried using the laptop in bed but it just doesn’t work for me now. So, this is the road ahead, at least for now.

And hey, because music always matters you might consider this.

So, there you have it. Read on…]

Chapter 56 v2

The right thing to do…

The right thing to do…

Callahan sat at his piano working through Carly Simon’s ode to the hopeful and brokenhearted, trying to shake the feeling that somehow she had been writing those words with him in mind. ‘But music has always been like that,’ he thought. ‘We relate. We let uncertain music define certain distinct periods of our lives. So why is this song speaking to me so clearly…?’

‘What is the right thing to do…?’ he wondered.

‘Loving you? Is that really all there is left in my life?’

It wasn’t just that Becky had grown abusive, at least not simply abusive to him. He’d heard Lloyd’s screams early one morning and come running to his room only to find her savagely pinching his belly, but then he found ferocious bruises all over the boy’s arms and legs, too. He’d jumped between them, pulled her away from Lloyd’s crib and forced her out of the room, yet he never forgot the absent, wide-eyed stare he encountered once he had her isolated in the kitchen. 

“What the fuck are you doing!?” he remembered screaming. “For God’s sake – do you have any idea…?!”

But he knew he had lost the war when he saw there was nothing in Becky’s eyes – no remorse, no anger, not even pity. 

But – no remorse at all? 

And in that moment he had felt the demons behind her eyes, memories in hidden shadows of a childhood he knew nothing about, a family history she’d always managed to keep in the dark. He’d watched her after that first night at Trader Vic’s, not really sure what he’d seen in the heat of their first moments. Where was the line between passionate intensity and barely contained depravity? Unfortunately for her, they both soon realized her need to control was no match for his ability to resist almost all forms of restraint, most especially from anyone masquerading as an authority figure. Callahan’s career in CID was a living testament to that idea, but she had no idea, did she? And little things like his experiences with back alley abortionists and serial child abusers stayed firmly in shadows of his very own.

But this was too much. Lloyd screaming hysterically, trapped in an endless loop of need and fear as he reached out for the safety of his mother’s arms again and again, only to fall into each new trap she set for him. His personality was fracturing as he fell, but as is almost always the case Callahan couldn’t see his place in the evolving catastrophe.

Yet when he looked at her in the kitchen that morning Callahan knew things had fallen apart; he called Doc Watson, asked him to come down to the house, and a few minutes later the doc had sedated Becky – before he came to terms with the devastation in Callahan’s eyes. DD arrived and carried Lloyd down to Cathy’s house and Elizabeth played with him, and as was fast becoming the norm, the patient old soul within Elizabeth helped Lloyd while everyone calmed down. Watson and Callahan loaded Becky in the old blue Range Rover and together they drove her down to Stanford and admitted her for psychiatric observation. Callahan, awash in feelings he’d been down this road before, remained in a state of barely controlled rage all the way to Palo Alto… 

Yet soon enough he was in a state of shock, and realizing his perilous state of mind Callahan let the doc drive back up the coast while he struggled with the very same demons he’d thought vanquished long ago. Lost in thought, fighting through waves of despair, when he got back to his little house on the cliffs he found Elizabeth and Lloyd asleep on the sofa – Elizabeth laying exactly where her father had passed – and he knew right then and there other forces were at work inside his little world. Maybe it was something other than fate, he told himself, still struggling with the singular fear that the Old Man in the Cape might show up at any moment and rain on his parade one more time. 

But no, he told himself once again, my life is unfolding like I’ve been forced to ride a giant roller-coaster and there’s another sharp bend just ahead – only the tracks are coming undone, shaking loose as I approach the seductively glittering curve…

So he’d sat down next to the kids and watched them sleep – at least until DD and Cathy came by to check on him a few hours later. Yet DD didn’t say a word, she just collected the doc and left. Cathy came and sat by him, put her head on his shoulder – and she sat with him while their children slept. When he woke up a few hours later Lloyd was curled up on his lap, still sound asleep; Cathy was asleep too, with her head still on his shoulder.

Elizabeth was, on the other hand, sitting in a chair directly across from Harry – staring at him – and he was struck that, to him at least, it looked as if she was very nearly lost, but also like she was trying to come to an understanding of something far away and still very obscure.

A few minutes later she came and sat by his side, the side opposite her mother’s, and she took his hand and held it while she fell asleep – again.

_________________________________

Becky spent a month in rehab before her doctors let her come back out to the house on the cliffs – but it was soon clear that everything was very different in the aftermath. She was hesitant, scared of what she might do if her fragile coping mechanisms came undone. 

Lloyd no longer reached out to her. For that matter, neither did Harry. He’d taken one look in her eyes and turned away when he recognized the demons lurking there.

A few weeks passed until one day Becky called from work; she told Harry that her brother was in town and that he’d be staying at her apartment in the city for a while – yet she soon grew consumed by the only passion she’d ever known: medicine. She worked thirty-hour days and stayed in the city, collapsed from exhaustion then returned for more of the same – until her family’s history began catching up to the moment, finally breaking free of the shadows.

And so it was in this way that, for Becky Callahan, the idea of motherhood gently slipped from her grasp – because it was as if, when she realized what she had done to her life she either could not or would not trust herself to be around Harry or Lloyd again. There was too much history behind her anger, too many hidden memories in her shadows. Motherhood had been a hopeful idea, but she soon realized that older forces were pushing her into the abyss, and if nothing else her psychiatrists had convinced her that she would forever be possessed by obsessions she would simply never be able to control.

Yet Harry Callahan did nothing to disabuse her of the idea. She had, in his eyes, failed them both – and he understood he did not want her around Lloyd. 

Because, he had to admit, he no longer trusted her – and he knew enough about his own way of looking at the world that he never would again.

Because his twenty years on the street had imbued in his outlook a profound distrust of abuse, and even in the very idea that someone could physically abuse a child. Because Harry Callahan, the abuser had consumed some kind of dark evil and would forever be marked by a profound moral weakness. And, he realized without quite understanding the ironies involved, that he viewed the abuse of a child as the most dangerously unforgivable sin there was.

And so, as quickly as he’d fallen in love with Becky – those feelings left, they disappeared behind the veils of his moral absolutism, and he soon felt embarrassed that he’d allowed himself to feel love once again. Because to Harry Callahan love had become a game of charades, an ongoing game with no resolution, a parade of lies told in shadowy pantomimes on a sidewalk he no longer wanted to walk on.

Even so, the curious among you might ask, if it wasn’t love he felt for his son, what was it?

Because those who spent time at the house on the cliffs saw a father who loved his son, who doted on him to the point that many thought Harry was spoiling the boy. Even so, Lloyd seemed a happy enough kid, to most people, anyway.

And perhaps that was because Becky quite literally stayed away from him for several years, seeing her son on birthdays and at Christmas, though even on those rare days she came out to the house she stayed but a few hours. Lloyd, as a result, grew up thinking of Cathy when he thought of a mother in his life, because Cathy took over that role as soon as Becky ran away from the consequences she knew would come if she remained with Harry. Another less apparent consequence was that Elizabeth became a sort of big sister to the boy, a role that would assume increasing significance in coming years – as the ghosts of unintended consequences gathered in the shadows.

And as Lloyd grew he came naturally to music, and music came naturally to him. Like Imogen, he was a prodigy. He composed massive symphonic works of elegant complexity – by the time he was five. Yet no matter how much he loved music, no matter how much attention he garnered from his accomplishments, he always felt as if something was missing. Missing…from his life.

His mother, perhaps? 

Doubtful, you say?

On the few days a year his mother drove out to the house on the cliffs, it was apparent to one and all that when his mother came near he grew distant. Lloyd, everyone knew, simply did not trust her, and after a few visits she knew he never would. 

Even so, the feeling would return – the emptiness of feeling that something vital was missing from his life. A spark…if you will.

Harry was the first to detect this hole in his son’s life, but curiously enough Lloyd had no interest in talking about it with his father, or even with Cathy. He did, however, begin to talk about this emptiness with Elizabeth – for a while, anyway.

And during the latter years of his time above the cliffs, and this was several years after his mother walked out of his life, Lloyd slowly came to know and understand the other half of his family – his mother’s side of this unbalanced equation. And actually, it was the first time Harry Callahan came to know them, too. Though when this happened…well, it was not under the best of circumstances.

________________________________

The Sawyer Clan was an outgrowth of central Texas, and Becky’s parents raised their kids on a sprawling ranch outside of San Saba, Texas. Their father, Clem, was the ranch foreman and was, generally speaking, considered a well-respected man in the community. The ranch itself was owned by an amiable enough sort, the wealthy owner of a Cadillac dealership in Fort Worth, yet even so it would be on-the-mark to say that the Sawyers clan really had very little money. As in – never did and never would.

And it wasn’t so much that her parents were strict; they were rather simply mean people, and often violently so. Ranch hands didn’t stay long and Becky’s friends from school never came out for dinner, and her parents never socialized in town – though they managed to go to church a few times a year.

But Becky’s mother and father were hard-drinking Texans, and her six brothers were as well, so the only thing that saved Becky from rapid onset ruination was an aunt who lived in town. Dorothy Richardson was a teacher at the local high school; algebra and calculus were the subjects she taught, though occasionally she taught physics, too; Becky tended to stay at her Auntie Dots’ house after school, and she usually did her homework there, too. Life was, she soon realized, safer that way.

With an unstable home to deal with, both Dot and Becky adhered to an unwritten code: Becky could escape this purgatory only by doing well in school. As her brothers were seriously below-average students – with one exception – Becky caught hell from them all, and the better she did in school the worse things became at home. Her oldest brother – the smart one – made it into Baylor University on a football scholarship and then went to the veterinarian school at the University of California Davis; he had vowed when he left San Saba to never return to Texas – for any reason. And he kept to his word to the end.

The remaining brothers were so off the mark genetically that even the Army wouldn’t take them; their lives were somewhat unremarkable – at least until two of them held up a gas station, shooting the owner and killing his wife after they raped her. Both made it into the Huntsville Country Club after that, which to this day is considered the roughest prison in Texas, if not the United States. Becky rarely talked about those two for obvious reasons, yet the most embarrassing aspect to her, and for the family, was the court’s ruling that both were considered too feeble-minded to execute.

Becky, however, was a brilliant student, more socially motivated to get out into that other world and grab her slice of the American Pie than anyone else in San Saba. She breezed through her undergraduate requirements in three years and went onto do impressively well in medical school, ending up in San Francisco for both her internship and residency. San Francisco was her first choice as Davis was only about an hour away by car, and she reasoned that having a semi-sane brother nearby was better than having no family at all – and that was that. She chose emergency medicine as her specialty and within a few years was considered one of the best trauma docs in California. Her star was rising, you might say, and she successfully kept everything about Texas firmly out of her mind.

But it was about that time that she met Harry Callahan.

Tom, her oldest brother and by then a veterinarian in Davis, was a fairly stable compound at room temperature, but like everyone else in the Sawyer family he had an addictive personality and was a full-blown alcoholic by the time Becky made it out to San Francisco. And after Becky left her apartment for Harry’s house on the cliff, Tom decided he would do better for himself by opening a practice in the Bay Area and so, with Becky’s blessing, he moved into her apartment.

So after her stay at Stanford and after Becky fled the house on the cliffs she had an instant roommate, a genetic time-bomb even then rapidly ticking away, mutating hourly into a genuinely unstable compound within San Francisco’s effervescent, if rather debauched, underground sex scene. By the time she arrived back at her apartment, Tom was having sex with anything that had a willing spirit – male, female, or – quite often – anything in between. Unprepared for this turn of the screw, Becky began to stress-out when her brother brought seriously immune-compromised gay boys into his bedroom, and it didn’t take her too long to figure out that Tom had simply supplanted one addiction with another. And it was around that time that her increased stress led to serious migraines.

And then one night Tom came into Becky’s emergency room – as a patient this time, as these things so often go – his face having been seriously rearranged by some biker-types who’d not appreciated his carefree advances. As a precaution she had him sign a few extra consent forms and she found out that her brother was well on his way to having full-blown AIDS – because it turned out that Tom had been into all kinds of people for quite a while. And so, without much warning she found herself caring for someone well on the way to being dead. Her migraines grew worse. Pharmaceutical reps began stocking her ER with samples of fentanyl patches, and these treated her migraines rather well. Rather too well, some might say.

And soon enough Becky Callahan was taking a one-way ride on the Sawyer family roller coaster – yet she managed to maintain her cool at work by tightly managing her addiction. Her work for Callahan Air Transport – Medevac Division, simply made her a more visible presence in the local medical community, expanding her credentials – and credibility – just as her addiction began to peak.

Then Tom died – a slow, gruesome death – and one she was forced to endure while looking on helplessly. She grew careless at work, often wearing fentanyl patches on the floor. Then she was caught stealing fentanyl from the ER stockroom, and Al Bressler worked the case. Harry became involved, her family background came into the open and he finally filed for divorce. She was fired from the hospital, her fall from grace as swift as it was final. Her case went to trial and she was convicted, but due to the circumstances she was given probation. Once home she took her remaining supply of hidden fentanyl patches and applied every one of them inside her arms and thighs, and she never woke up.

By that time Lloyd Callahan was not quite ten years old, and in the aftermath of his mother’s suicide his life went seriously off the rails – and yet another genetic time bomb began slowly ticking away.

________________________________

For Harry Callahan’s fifty-fifth birthday he took Lloyd, Elizabeth, and Cathy to Davos to go skiing, and the occasion marked a major turning point in Harry’s life, perhaps the last of its kind, too. The kids knew how to ski by then; Elizabeth was going to college the next year and Lloyd had just turned ten, and Cathy had been taking them up to Tahoe to ski for years. But Davos was different, because Switzerland is not California and as stupidly simpleminded as this seems it is a distinction too often lost on many people. 

For, as Harry had learned decades ago, there were villages in Switzerland that were already thousands of years old – so already old places long before the Americas were even discovered. Switzerland was, unlike the United States, a land governed by Tradition, ancient ways of being that made little sense to the freeway loving, suburban living people in North America. And this was a distinction not lost on Harry. Yet for years he had wanted Elizabeth and Lloyd to come to terms with those differences, to understand them and, hopefully, come to appreciate them, as well.

And Didi Rooney soon became instrumental in this other part of their education. She still managed Callahan’s financial affairs, those not linked directly to CAT, anyway, and so she was still in charge of Harry’s Swiss holdings, which included the house in Davos. Every summer she took the kids – her own as well as Lloyd and Elizabeth – to Davos, and as Cathy and Harry usually came for the music festival in Montreux, they also spent time with the kids there. So the kids, Lloyd and Elizabeth, grew up with another world of generally happy memories rooted in the mountains of Switzerland, yet for some reason, the kids had never come over in the winter.

Skiing in Switzerland is different from what most skiers in the Americas are used to. Cog-railways haul skiers to the summits of famous peaks in Switzerland, and Swiss skiers had for a hundred years dined in fine restaurants sprinkled all over these mountains. Meanwhile, in the America that came of age in the 60s and 70s, bulk-made cheeseburgers were on hand, served in cafeteria-style lodges designed to hold thousands of skiers. The distinction here is a simple one: neither is better, they are simply different, as different as the cultures that spawned them, and it was precisely this difference Harry Callahan wanted ‘his kids’ to understand and appreciate.

As he had when he first met Sara, he took Cathy and the kids up the funicular railway to the mountaintop station; they skied several runs together, then Harry begged off another just before lunch. He took Cathy to the restaurant and they had fondue and salad while they looked out over the alps, and an hour later the kids arrived, tired and finally ready to eat something. They all made a few more runs after lunch, then skied back through the village and all the way out to the house.

They followed much the same routine for several days and Lloyd seemed quite happy with his surroundings; indeed, to his father, the boy seemed happier than he had in months. And not to stretch the point too far, Harry felt happier than he had in years, and he put this down to Cathy being with him. 

There was an easygoing intimacy between these two old friends now, an intimacy borne of time and shared memory. Harry knew it was love, a loose varietal of love, anyway, yet certainly not the frenzied passionatas he’d played years before. Harry wore tweed jackets these days and occasionally smoked a pipe, too, and though he needed glasses to read he rarely used them, hating the very idea of the blasted things. And in a funny, almost an odd way, Cathy fit into this category as well. They had ended up together almost by default, like time had worn away all the extraneous things in their lives and each other was all that remained. And somehow Harry was sure that Frank would have approved.

Yet a seismic shift was underway, a kind of tectonic moving of plates happening right before all their eyes. One evening while walking back from a fondue palace, Cathy reached out and took Harry’s hand. An easy motion, unremarkable to most anyone who happened to see this simple gesture of affection, yet in Lloyd’s and Elizabeth’s universe this was something quite new, in the way that grinding tectonic plates create something new.

Lloyd, walking beside Elizabeth noticed the reaching fingers first, and he poked Elizabeth with an elbow and sort of giggled as the event registered in her eyes, then they looked at one another with ‘is this really happening’ plain to see in each other’s eyes.

But, and this is kind of important so pay attention, when he felt Cathy’s skin on his own Harry Callahan smiled, then he simply relaxed inside for the first time in a very long time, and in his mind’s eye it was as if the cosmic tumblers had finally aligned and settled into their rightful place. Cathy had been sleeping in a bedroom by herself until that night, but after the plates realigned in their new orientation she woke up in his arms, and there she would remain – forevermore.

Chapter 57.1

Didi was first to notice this first tectonic shift, this first gentle realignment. As luck would have it very early the next morning, this was just after she pulled Avi’s old Range Rover up to the door in front of the house. She was to drive them all to the train station for the trip down to Zurich, but she saw carefully concealed changes deep within Harry’s eyes as he carried the kids’ luggage out to the Rover. Was that a mischievous twinkle she saw? A release of pressure?

But Cathy was far less pretentious with her feelings that morning, and even the kids seemed to be skipping on air as they stepped out into the crisp winter light, so there was no question in her mind when she drove Harry and his new family to the station. After she dropped them off she returned to the house and put away the Rover, then she called a taxi to take her to the train station to rejoin the group.

But as it was still her duty even now she called in and reported this new development to her handlers at the Mossad, then she called Tel Aviv and talked with her father. He was not at all impressed.

+++++

The tea house and the various music additions were complete by that time, and with all the activity surrounding these various projects at an end life above the cliffs took on quieter hues. Perhaps not quiet the warm golden rays of a prolonged Northern California sunset, but fading in that direction.

Fading – because Callahan had followed through and stopped flying. At first he’d promised he would keep his hours and ratings current so he could assist during fire season, but those words proved hollow and before too long everyone at the CatHouse understood…Harry was through flying. And so Harry remained “in charge” of things in name only, and everyone understood that in time even Harry would disappear from their ranks. And of course DD understood the score first of all and began planning accordingly.

Curiously, Callahan maintained his status as a Reserve Inspector with the police department. He made the trek down to the department’s range – and to Hogan’s Alley – every month, and he still won the department’s annual combat pistol competition with nauseating regularity – well, at least officers half his age remained nauseated by Callahan’s prowess on the Alley. Harry went in one weekend a month and worked a solid 48 hour shift, catnapping when he could, and he opted to remain on-call status for really important incidents. For some reason Cathy seemed to understand this was a need, not a want; Harry was after all, just like Frank, a cop. They always would be, she realized, and there was by this point in her life no need to fight the unique gravity that bound Harry to this calling.

But Harry was, after his return from Davos, pulled in other less certain directions by an unexpected new gravity, and just as comets orbit their home star, Lloyd Callahan was pulled along on this new, disconcerting path. Soon, the unanswered questions posed by his mother’s life and death, still waiting out there in the darkness for what seemed an inevitable collision, took on a gravity all their own.

+++++

Once he had the original manuscript of Schwarzwald’s Fourth in hand, the one von Karajan had kept under lock and key for almost twenty years, Harry placed the precious score in a safe set in the floor of the MusicHaus. There were times when he took it out and looked at key passages, yet he understood that he could never, not ever and under any circumstances, play the key final passage – at least the end his mother had created. 

The end Herbert van Karajan performed at the premiere, and indeed at every performance since, had been hastily cobbled together by von Karajan himself – after he recovered from the experience of hearing Imogen’s shattering conclusion in Israel…the final phrasing that had, directly, ended her life even as the last notes drifted away. When Callahan met von Karajan, and this was near the end of the famous conductors life, the older man had explained everything in rich detail, right down to her final journey within the eighty-eight key, and perhaps the conductor hadn’t known what to expect when Imogen’s son heard the news, but he was utterly surprised when Callahan simply nodded understanding.

“You know of these things?” von Karajan asked, and when Callahan nodded the older man seemed taken aback – as if he had been of the impression that he alone knew the secrets contained in her music. “The Old Man in the Cape? Have you known him, as well…?”

“I have,” Callahan replied. “Almost my entire life…in one way or another.”

“Have you ever…?”

“I have. And there are many dangers within.”

“I could never bring myself to go there. He frightened me.”

They were sitting on a stone patio at von Karajan’s estate in Anif, just outside of Salzburg, enjoying the afternoon sun glancing off the nearby mountains, but there even so was an air of impermanence about the meeting. Karajan was old now, his pain immense, and though he wouldn’t say so the old man knew death was coming soon.

“Frightened?” Callahan asked. “Why frightened?”

“I have known the power of music all my life, or at least I thought I had, but that last afternoon with your mother was something of an epiphany. I suppose, you see, because I interpreted the music of others I rarely composed on my own, and I think I was, in effect, shackled to the past. Your mother saw the world in a different light, and the result was she experienced music quite differently than most others. I’m not talking synesthesia, Harald, but without going too deeply into something that is still a mystery to me, I think she saw music. She understood, and I think explicitly so, that music was for her a conveyance. And that, if you’ll pardon the digression, is what frightened me.” 

“A conveyance? What do you mean by that?”

“In the final passage, Harald, in the Fourth. She found a way not into death, but beyond.”

“Beyond? I’m not sure I follow…”

+++++

Callahan left Austria in a daze, von Karajan’s implications as dazzling as they were troubling, but he did not return home…yet. Instead, he returned to that most daunting past, to Copenhagen – and to his grandfather’s house near the university.

The old red brick house, her ancient timbers fresh with several new coats of pigmented oil, had been made into a museum dedicated to his mother’s life and works, yet the interior was almost blissfully untouched. The bedrooms were of course roped off, his mother’s first piano too, but the docent let him into his mother’s old bedroom on the top floor and he went to the window and looked out over the rooftops to the harbor and the ships beyond. How things must have changed since then, he thought, but really…how little might the important things change?

Yes, change was in the air – always. The wall was coming down in Berlin so Germany would be thrust into the miasma of unification, but perhaps with the Soviet Union dead and gone Europe would find herself in a new Golden Age…yet here in this little corner of the universe change was a little more hesitant, perhaps even resistant.

Gulls still wheeled about over the water and cotton-candy clouds scudded by in a majestic simplicity all their own, and as he stood there looking over the scene it was almost inevitable that soon he imagined he could hear horse-drawn carriages clip-clopping down cobblestone byways of the mind, and when he closed his eyes – standing exactly where his mother had so many times in her youth – he could almost see three-masted sailing ships gliding into the harbor.

Then in his mind he was playing her Second Piano Concerto and he felt the overwhelming burden of fear she had as the Gestapo followed her in the snow, then the full weight of Avi’s betrayal…and in the next moment the Old Man was standing there beside him…

…in a gently falling snow.

© 2021 adrian leverkühn | abw | and as always, thanks for stopping by for a look around the memory warehouse…[but wait, there’s more…how about 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 and me generally growing somewhat old) waiting to list said 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. The snippets of lyrics from Lucy in the Sky are publicly available as ‘open-sourced.’ 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.]

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