Saturday, February 28, 2009
"She said that?”
“Yes. I’m sorry Brian.”
Brian felt a stark, bright, bare, light bulb shining on all the accumulated futilities of his life. How often can a heart be broken? Six simple words spoken into his open pit of yearning. “She doesn’t want to see you.” She came back to be with me in that terrible fog. She said “Brian, please don’t leave me here.” She waited for me to come out of the doctor’s office instead of going off with Frank. She came to me for comfort after her nightmare. She walked with me down the streets of Buffalo Gap. She came to see me after my surgery. She has been with me almost every day since I dug her out of the snow. We faced terror, pain and death together.
And we made it. She has been the sweetest, brightest dawning of joy in my life, the child I never had, the “amazing youngster” who I have felt is a gift from heaven. And after just a few days at Saint Jane’s she doesn’t want to see me.
“Did she say why?” asked Brian.
“What could it be? What have I done to her?”
“I think that whatever has been done to her, you didn’t do it.”
“But then why?”
“I don’t know Brian, but when Ms. Foster lets me I will go there and try to find out.”
“Well,” Brian said with a sob in his throat “I guess I shouldn’t be expecting any phone calls.”
“I guess not” said Wendy. “I’m sorry.”
“Brian, I have to go back to my place. I’ll be in court all day tomorrow and I have to prepare for it.”
“Are you going to be all right?”
“No, I’m not all right, but I’ll survive. I’ll just sit here and wait.”
“Have a drink. Have a swim. Do a little work. I’ll call you tomorrow, first chance I get.”
They kissed. She left.
Now Brain was facing dark days. He saw that by making Christy go of to that place on her own he not only hurt her, he also hurt himself. His back was against a wall and there was nothing to do but wait and try not to feel sorry for himself. He felt useless, powerless. He didn’t know what to do now. There was nothing he could do. He was lost in a fog.
(To be continued.)
Friday, February 27, 2009
“My God! That’s some nest of vipers Christy uncovered. Back in Buffalo Gap, Doctor Gonzago was known as Doctor Bite because he is an authority on frost bite and snake bite. I wonder how he would treat Saint Jane’s brand of venom.”
Wendy was quiet for a few moments and then asked “Brian, do you think it would be a good idea to send her back up there for a while? Just until things calm down here?”
“I don’t know. That’s an interesting idea. She was well liked up there. She spent some time with the Walker family while I was in the hospital. I know she enjoyed being with them. Frank has two kids of his own. It’s a thought. It depends on what she wants. But I tell you the truth I would rather have her here with us.”
“Me too. But maybe we should ask her.”
“Okay.” The idea made Brian feel sad, but he knew that it might be a good idea. He thought about Buffalo Gap and how life was so much simpler and direct up there. There were no pretensions, no inconsistencies in behavior. People were what they seemed to be. And even though he was knocked unconscious by one of the resident “troll brains” he basically enjoyed himself. And Christy was so sweet following him everywhere and full of curiosity about everything. Maybe, he thought, we should all move there. But it was an impractical idea. He and Wendy both had careers they couldn’t work at from The Gap.
Monday morning came and Wendy set off to visit Alice Foster with her canvas bag filled with things for Christy. Later she called Brian to tell him that Ms. Foster gave her “okay” to everything, including the chocolates and that she hoped Christy would call soon.
The day wore on with no phone call.
Wendy returned to Brian’s place that evening with some good news and some bad news.
“What’s the good news” he asked.
“About mid day Christy called me. She thanked me for the clothes. She said she wanted to get rid of that stupid uniform she was wearing. It was all she had to wear since she left the judge’s office. She said she was glad to get the art things and said to thank you for thinking of them. She said she had been drawing with a stub pencil on the hotel stationary. They put her up in a hotel room they use for juries when they have to stay overnight. She didn’t tell me where it was. They told her not to tell anyone. She said that Ms. Foster was very nice. And she said she was delighted to get the chocolates. She sounded sad and bored. But she did say that she really would like me to come and visit her. She asked Ms. Foster if I could come. I should call Ms. Foster about that. I asked Christy if she would like to come and live with us if we can get permission from Welfare. She said she would love to be with me, where I live, instead of staying there for who knows how long. I’ll speak again with Ms. Foster about that. Foster seemed to think, the last time I spoke with her, that it would be a good idea.”
“Well, that all sounds great. What’s the bad news?”
“She doesn't want to see you.”
(To be continued.)
Thursday, February 26, 2009
”I just remembered” said Brian “there are some of the clothes I bought her the first time still hanging in my closet. Shouldn’t we put those in the bundle?”
“Not a good idea. She might think you were inviting her not to come back here.”
“Good thinking. I’m very glad you’re in my life, Wendy. Especially now. This whole thing has me so unnerved I’m likely to make the wrong choices. I feel like such a dope.”
“Just because you act like a dope sometimes, in your own charming way, doesn’t mean you are a dope.”
There was nothing to do now except wait for Monday, when Wendy could take the bag to Alice Foster and hope everything passed her approval.
Late that afternoon a messenger arrived with a package for Brian. Inside the large envelope was a smaller one. In the corner was written “G. Werbler”. He opened it and found an advance copy of “People Talk” magazine. He noticed three paper clips on various pages and a postit on the front saying FYI.
He opened to the first clip which was on the inside of the cover page. In the corner was the picture of Christy with the title “Why can’t Christine be adopted? Story page 12.”
He turned to the next clip, which was page 12 and there was the story of the raid and arrests of the people from Saint Jane’s. The story talked about the girls and the conditions they lived in. It explained about the policy of not allowing adoptions, only using Christy as an example.
Brian was grateful for that, that they didn’t make a big deal out of Christy’s part in uncovering the crimes. Although Brian was amazed at how much and how quickly they got the information, he was glad something was being published about it, for a number of reasons.
He turned to the third clip and found a strange and unexplained item which read: (PT News) Police reported the death of Senator Carl LaJoie (R) of Louisiana. LaJoie’s body was discovered yesterday by some fishermen. He had been shot through the head with a rifle which was found in his hands. Police have determined his death was a suicide. He leaves a wife and three daughters. Calls to LaJoie’s home have not been retirned.
The item had been circled.
He showed the copy of the magazine to Wendy who read through the story about Saint Jane’s and remarked that it was carefully written to protect the publisher from any liability, but she surmised that People Talk was probably not finished with the story since it was exactly the kind of dirt the magazine was famous and ever so popular for.
Then she looked at the envelope and asked “Who’s G. Werbler?”
“I think she was Bloom’s contact at the magazine.”
“Well, if Bloom has any clout with Ms. Werbler maybe he can keep Christy’s name out of things.”
“Oh, I hope so. But he said he was going to make Christy famous.”
“In the best possible way, let’s hope.” Then she flipped to the last entry and read it.
“Did you know Senator LaJoie?”
“Well, it’s probably not the last suicide we’ll read about.”
“I will have to check, but I'll bet the Senator was a favorite visitor to Saint Jane’s"
(To be continued.)
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
They spent the evening trying to enjoy themselves and keep their minds off of recent events and how they may have affected Christy’s otherwise buoyant, positive attitude about things. She was, after all, the girl who got his lighter to work when he thought it was dead, and was the girl who picked him up and kept him going when he fell, injured himself and thought he was dead. Brian hoped that she still had the spirit, enough to bounce back from the terrible time she spent at Saint Jane’s.
Saturday they went shopping. It was a sad experience for Brian. Every time Wendy held up an item of clothing and asked Brian for his opinion, he tried to see Christy wearing it and the image of her in his mind just made him miss her more.
But they finally chose a few outfits that Wendy thought Christy would like. Then they stopped by the art supply store where Brian purchased a drawing pad, some colored pencils and a box of pastels. After getting another cell phone they returned to Brian’s place to have dinner and spend the weekend, sadly but comfortably, hoping that Christy will call when she gets the phone. They programmed it with Brian’s number and Wendy’s numbers, both her personal number and her office.
“What else can we get her?” asked Wendy.
“I don’t know. She never asked me for anything except a candy bar.”
“What sort of candy bar?”
“Once was a Nestlé’s chocolate and the other I don’t remember.”
“Well, that’s it. Monday morning when I bring the stuff over I’ll buy her a box of chocolates.”
“Sounds good” said Brian.
Wendy went upstairs and came back down with a canvas bag.
“Where did you get that?” asked Brian.
“When I brought the things I used to invade your closet.”
Wendy carefully removed the tags and folded the clothes for Christy and put them in the bag. Then she placed the art materials on top, and finally the cell phone. She sat down at Brian’s desk and wrote a note. She showed the note to Brian.
Dear Christy, Brian and I miss you very much. They told us you’re safe and comfortable where you are, and that’s good. But I told Mr. Martinez, the District Attorney, that you could come and stay with me, where you would also be safe, or you can stay with Brian. Your choice.
We want to come and see you. But we can only do that if you ask for us. Our phone numbers are on the cell phone. Please call either of us any time you want. If you tell Ms. Foster that you want us to visit, she can arrange it. Please do that, because we love you and we don’t want you to be all by yourself.
It was very courageous of you in that hearing room to talk to the judge like that. You helped a lot of girls, not just yourself, and no matter what happened at that awful place, you should be proud of yourself for what you did. We admire you for that.
We hope to see you soon. Enjoy the chocolate.
Brian thought it was a good note. They both signed it.
(To be continued.)
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
“Martinez couldn’t tell me more than that she was safe and under 24 hour police protection. I asked if I might see her and he said only if she requests to see me. I asked him if she knew that she could ask to see someone. He said she could but whoever it was had to pass approval from the police and the welfare worker who is assigned to her.
I still wasn’t getting the answer I wanted so I asked for the case worker’s name and number. He got that for me. I told him that she had some personal items when she entered Saint Jane’s, could she still have them. He said everything they found was being held as evidence and wouldn’t be available for a while. So I asked if I could send her some things, same clothes and things. I said she likes to draw pictures, could I send her some paper and colored pencils with a note leaving her my phone number and saying that she could ask for me to come and see her if she wanted. Martinez thought that was feasible so I told him I would do that.
He also said it was more than likely the judge would deny bail to all of those people, so as soon as they were all processed and locked up Christy would be safer and might be able to leave if she has any place to go. I said that she could certainly come and stay with me. After all, I told him, we are friends and it’s likely she would feel comfortable with me. He agreed.
Tom got as much information as he could about when the preliminary hearings would be, when it was likely a grand jury would be paneled and when Martinez thought the trials would begin. Much of that Martinez didn’t know yet. Tom asked him to keep him informed. Martinez wanted to know why. Tom said so that he could be there. When Martinez asked him why he wanted to be there, Tom said so that he could be the nail. The DA asked him what he meant by “the nail” and Tom said to close the coffin. Tom wasn’t joking.
So we left it there. I’ll call this case worker woman, Alice Foster, interesting name for someone looking after an orphan girl, and see what she says about sending stuff to Christy and making a visit.”
“What about a visit from me?”
“I’ll ask her.”
“Poor Christy, all alone in some strange place with no friends around. That is not a happy life.”
“No, but I guess it’s better than the one she’s had for the post two weeks.”
Wendy phoned Alice Foster, who sounded like a practical, businesslike woman, but with a reasonable attitude. Foster told Wendy that providing Christy with clothes and other things would be a good idea as long as whatever goes in to her is inspected by the police and approved of. She also told Wendy that a visit was possible if Christy agreed but that she would have to be there during the visit. Wendy found that acceptable. So they made arrangements for Monday to bring a package to Ms. Foster to take to Christy. Wendy thanked her and expressed her gratitude and appreciation for Ms. Foster’s concern and protection of Christy.
After she hung up she said “Mr. Three Toes, do you have any money left?”
“Yes” said Brian, “I got a check from Silverstone for a film script I’ve almost forgotten about.”
“Good. Then tomorrow let’s go shopping: new clothes, we still have the sales slip which has the sizes on it, more art stuff, a new cell phone and something that tells her that we love her.”
(To be continued.)
Monday, February 23, 2009
Brian had his coffee and cigarette. With Mrs. Romero’s coaxing, he had some breakfast. His day was spent waiting to hear from Wendy about the raid on Saint Jane’s and the fate of Christy. The charges against Magda were running through his mind and he was asking himself how such a place could exist practically under the noses of the authorities. Some people must have known about it. He wondered how it could have been protected. And who was responsible for shielding it.
But then he realized that since it was discovered and closed down now, all the guilty parties would be found or would disappear.
Still there was the deep concern about Christy. It was courageous of her to blow the whistle like she did. If the judge hadn’t been willing to listen, she might have been sent back to Saint Jane’s to who knows what punishment.
He wasn’t surprised that Christy had the nerve to do what she did. After a long walk together in the freezing and dangerous wilderness, he was well acquainted with her courage. What startled him about yesterday was the extent of the practices that Magda was being charged with.
He booted up his computer and tried to do some writing. But his creative mind was withholding any useable ideas. He just felt a deep sorrow, rage and frustration.
Midafternoon Wendy arrived. When she came in, they hugged and she said “I need a drink.”
When she was finally settled in she said “Okay. Here’s the story. First of all, DA Martinez was very cooperative with Tom and me. We didn’t have to pry much information out of him. He was very forthcoming with it. I get the impression that he has some daughters of his own or there are some in his family. Whatever, he is gong after these people with big guns.
One of the first things he did was to contact the Roman Catholic Archdiocese to find out what they know. Saint Jane’s has no affiliation with the Catholic Church. In fact the priest he spoke to was outraged to think that anyone could pull off such a fraud. In fact Saint Jane’s borrowed the name, or I should say, stole the name from a 17th Century woman who established a home for girls. What further connection there is there he didn’t know.
The raid uncovered so much evidence that there is no doubt about a conviction. The police arrested 4 women and 6 men, one of them a doctor, or so he claims. They found about 25 girls, from very young up to mid teens. All the girls were naked. At first, he said, the police had trouble because the girls thought they were being arrested, and they tried to hide. Some of the older girls were very difficult to bring in. They spit at the cops and struggled against them. But they finally managed to get them all into a bus and taken away.”
“Where are they?”
“I don’t know but, at first, the Catholic Church was going to take them in until some wise person pointed out that if they went there they would be surrounded by nuns and the girls would probably not want to be around any more nuns.
The police also uncovered pornographic photographs and video tapes of the girls posing in erotic positions or performing sexual acts on the men. They found devices, such as ropes and handcuffs, that sort of thing, that seemed to be used. And they found sticks, like electric goads, which would sting and hurt but not cause any marks on the body.
They found records. Books and other records of the girls that were there and the names of customers, clients, when they came and which girl they wanted. That Mad Mother Magda was a good record keeper. Your name was in there with a cancellation notice.
They also arrested a client, from some Middle Eastern nation but they had to let him go. Diplomatic Immunity, you know.”
(To be continued.)
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Wendy spent the rest of the day with Brian. She was primarily concerned about his feelings, so she kept hers inside. But she was boiling with rage over the disclosure of what Saint Jane’s Home For Girls was really all about. She really wanted to destroy Mother Magda and her whole group. She thought about saying to Martinez that she would gladly do whatever she could to help him put them all away for good. He would probably refuse her help, since they had been adversaries once or twice, but it was worth a try.
Brian kept silent most of the afternoon. There were too many things wrong. He had trouble sorting them all out in his mind because his feelings kept flying through his head like predatory birds. He was drinking a cocktail of sorrow, guilt, fear, despair, anger. What have I done? he thought. How could something that wasn’t my fault turn out to be something I am guilty of? Injustice wasn’t a new topic to him. He had written about it. But it was always some one else who was the victim. But now there were a great load of victims and he and Christy were two of them. He wanted her there right now, to start a healing process. But she was gone into some secret place, and who knows when he will see her again? Even with Wendy there, he felt so desperately alone.
He turned off his computer, had some more to drink, sat by the pool but didn’t swim. Mrs. Romero had prepared a nice dinner for the two of them which Wendy enjoyed. But Brian just picked at it. Finally he had had enough to drink that he felt like passing out, so he went to bed, leaving Wendy to describe to the Romeros what had happened that day..
Brian awoke the next morning to the sound of Wendy talking on her phone to Wong. She affirmed a meeting with DA Martinez and checked up on other business. When she saw that Brian was awake she said “Gotta go….Bye” and hung up.
“How do you feel?”
“Before or after my coffee?” he said.
She slid off the bed, got dressed quickly and went to the door “Meetcha there” She said, and left the room.
Brian rose, took a shower and slowly got dressed. This was a day when he wasn’t going anywhere or doing anything except fencing with the foils of thoughts and feelings jabbing at him.
Downstairs there was a pot of coffee waiting for him and a pack of cigarettes. Mrs. Romero came in with Mr. Romero behind him. “So sorry to hear what happened with the girl” she said. “Bad place. Very bad.”
“Yes, thank you Mrs. Romero.”
“Where she is now?”
“We don’t know, but maybe we’ll find out soon.”
“Should be here.”
“Yes. Maybe. We’ll see.”
(To be continued.)
Saturday, February 21, 2009
The two girls were taken out. Wendy sat with her lips pursed together and a furious look on her face. Brian was holding his bowed head in his hands. Tom Wong watched the whole proceedings of the arrest of Magda and the other nun.
When they were gone Judge Weinstein said, “Well, under the circumstances it won’t be possible to decide anything in regard to this adoption request today. You are all dismissed.”
Then Tom said “Let me go talk to the judge for a minute, to find out where we are.”
While he was doing that, Brian said “Oh God, I feel so bad making her go there. What a dope I’ve been.”
Wendy put her hand on his shoulder and said “But Brian, you didn’t know.”
“Yeah, but something, her intuition, was telling her not to go there, and I should have listened.”
“Well, she’s out of there now and, I guess the place is closed down. We’ll soon know.”
They sat silently for a while. When Wong returned he sat down and said “Well, during all that delay, when we thought nothing was happening, they were conducting a raid on Saint Jane’s. Based on Christy’s description, which I guess, was very graphic, Judge Weinstein signed a warrant and the police went off to find out. The raid is still going on, but they uncovered enough evidence to arrest Magda.”
“Where’s Christy?” asked Brian.
“We don’t know. When the raid started she was quickly taken off to a secure place, for her protection. She’s under a 24 hour guard.”
“Can we go see her?”
“No. The judge wouldn’t tell me where she is. But she can get whatever she needs, the Judge assured me.”
“I’ve been such a fool” said Brian.
“Stop it, Brian. You only did what you thought was right. Why don’t you go home? I’ll go talk to the DA tomorrow and get as much information as I can, and I’ll call you and let you know what’s up. Wendy, take the rest of the day off.”
“Okay. But can I come with you to the DA’s office?”
“Yes. If you wish.”
The stood up and slowly left the hearing room. Brian was silent. He walked down the hall feeling like a criminal. They drove in silence back to his house. Once there Wendy went to fix her and Brian a couple of drinks.
They sat quietly, staring at nothing, Brian was trying not to think of anything, but his mind was going over the memory of buying her those clothes, and the art things, how she was so pleased with them, getting her to that place and then not being able to see her, of how she looked when she came into the hearing, how she only glanced at him and then how she ran up to the judge, pleaded with her and disappeared into that room. And now she was gone and they didn’t know where she was. This was not the way things were supposed to be.
He went over to his computer, turned it on and looked at the few pages he had written of “Crystal, The Ice Angel.” He read through them and then reached over to the “delete” button and pressed it.
(To be continued.)
Friday, February 20, 2009
Another 10 minutes went by, another knock on the door and FBI Agent Charles Stanger entered, went to the door at the front, spoke to the guard and showed him a badge. The guard opened the door and let him through.
Mother Magda stood up and said “I have to go to the rest room.”
“Fine” said Officer Burnside “I’ll accompany you there and bring you back.”
“I can do it on my own, thank you very much” she said, scornfully.
“I’m sure you can, but I will take you there and bring you back.”
“Oh, forget it” Magda said, and sat down.
More minutes went by and Judge Weinstein came out of the room and said “This hearing in the matter of the adoption of Christine Flynn will continue shortly. Another issue has come up that requires my immediate attention. When that is resolved we may get back to the business at hand. I know this is very tedious for you. I ask you to be patient and remain in your seats. Thank you.” She went back into the room.
Tom Wong leaned over to Brian and Wendy and said “It must be getting very crowded in that room.”
“Is there any other way in or out of it?” Brian asked.
“Yes, It’s just an interview room. It leads to the back offices of the judges and other court officials, and then through a private entrance out to the street.”
“I hope Christy is okay” said Brian.
“She’s fine, Brian. None of those people would do her any harm.”
Another agonizing 20 minutes went by. There was another knock on the door. A man in a suit came through, went to the front and with no discussion the guard opened the door and let him through.
Tom Wong took a pen out of his pocket, reached over to Wendy’s legal pad, drew it to him, flipped to a blank page and wrote: “This is serious. That was Dist. Atty. Martinez” and showed it to Wendy and Brian.
Within 3 minutes the door opened and Judge Weinstein came out followed by the men in suites and one policeman. Christy was not with them. The DA walked over to Mother Magda and said. “ Magda Cirelle, I’m District Attorney Mario Martinez. You are under arrest for child prostitution, soliciting clients for child prostitution, possession and distribution of child pornography, transporting a minor across state lines for an immoral purpose, endangering the welfare of a minor, torture, fraud, impersonation and a list of further illegal activities.”
“That little bitch” said Magda.
“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to have an attorney present during questioning. If you cannot afford an attorney,”
“Oh, I can afford one, don’t worry.”
“If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you?”
Magda was silent.
“Do you understand the rights I have just read to you?”
“Yes” she snapped back.
“With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?”
Magda was silent, staring in front of her.
“Will you come along peacefully or must we restrain you?”
“I will not be restrained by you.”
“Very well then please accompany these police officers.” And turning to the other nun he said “Sister, you must also go with them.”
“Of course” she said meekly. “Come girls.”
“No, Sister, the girls remain with us.”
So Magda and the other nun went up the aisle and out the door in the custody of Officer Burnside and three policemen.
DA Martinez turned to the two young girls who were still sitting in their chairs. “Come with me girls. You’re captivity has ended.”
(To be continued.)
Thursday, February 19, 2009
The police officer at the side stepped over and stood in front of the door. Mother Magda went back to her seat but didn’t sit. She was watching the door. They were all watching the door.
After about 5 minutes when no one came through it, Magda went over to the officer and said “Listen, I am that girl’s legal guardian and I’m responsible for her. Let me pass.”
“No, Ma’am” said the officer.
“What’s your name?”
“What’s your first name?”
“Well, Carl. “I’m sure you can understand a mother’s concern for her child. I am now a mother to her since she is an orphan, and I’m very concerned for her well being. On that basis I ask you to let me into that room so that I can at least see that she’s okay.”
“Get out of my way!” Mother Magda pushed the officer aside and opened the door. “Christine” she hollered and started into the room.
Judge Weinstein appeared at the door, stood in Magda’s way and said “I told you to return to your seat.”
“I need to know what’s going on in here.”
“When you’re needed you will be called. Now sit down.”
“No, that’s not good enough. I’m in charge of her. Let me in.”
“I can step up to this bench, bang the gavel down, declare this court in session and have you in contempt. Do you understand that?”
Magda was silent.
“Officer Burnside” called the judge.
“Yes, Your Honor” came a voice from the back of the room.
“Will you please conduct this woman to her seat and see that she stays there?”
“Yes, Your Honor.”
A large, imposing female police officer came down the aisle, walked over to Mother Magda and said “Let’s go.”
Magda didn’t move, so Burnside took her by the arm.
“Get your hands off of me, I’m a nun.”
“I don’t care. Let’s go.”
Magda was taken to her chair. She sat while Burnside stood beside her, her arms folded across her ample chest.
Judge Weinstein returned to the room and closed the door. Officer Fogarty resumed his place in front of it.
Another 15 minutes went by. Mother Magda took a cell phone out of her pocket and started to dial a number.
Officer Burnside said “Put that away, please. Cell phones are not allowed in the hearing room.
“No. This is important” she said, and continued to dial.
Burnside reached down quickly and took it from her.
“It will be returned to you at the end of the session” said Burnside, and put it in her pocket.
There was a knock on the rear door. The policeman opened it and ushered in two more officers who took various places around the room.
Another 10 minutes went by. There was another know on the door. Three men entered. Two of the men wore suits; the third was another police officer. The three of them went to the door at the back, spoke quietly to the guard who opened the door and let them in.
(To be continued.)
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Mother Magda pushed Christy into a chair behind the table on the right then sat next to her. The other girls filed into the second row, with the other nun sitting next to the aisle.
Christy sat staring straight ahead of her.
Wendy leaned over and whispered to Brian “That uniform is not hers. It’s too big for her.”
A clerk of the court entered followed by three police officers. Two of them stationed themselves at the door; the third took a chair to the side of the room. They looked very bored.
The clerk went to the judge’s bench and put some papers down on it, then took a seat on the side, next to the police officer.
After several minutes the door at the front of the room opened and through it came a woman in her 40s, with shoulder length brown hair and a pleasant smiling face. She was wearing a judge s robe.
The clerk stood up and said “All rise.” Everyone stood. “In the matter of the adoption of Christine Flynn, Her Honor judge Agnes Weinstein presiding.”
Judge Weinstein took her place and said “Be seated, please.”
Everyone sat. But as they did Christy slid down under the table in front of her, crawled under it and ran over to the judge. She cupped her hands around her mouth and whispered something to her.
Mother Magda stood up and shouted “Christine, come back here and stop bothering the judge.” She struggled to get around the side of the table. When Christy saw her coming, she ran around to the other side of the judge stepped up and whispered right into her ear. The judge stood, took Christy by the arm and ushered her down to the side of the room. The clerk and policeman also stood, but judge Weinstein motion for them to back off.
By this time Mother Magda was free of the table and approaching Christy and the judge. The judge was speaking very quietly to Christy and holding her finger up in Christy’s face. But Christy kept whispering to her.
Mother Magda held out her hand with her fingers down and the thumb on top as if she was holding something, then she said “Christine. I’m warning you.”
Brian could see Christy’s face looking up at the judge, with tears on her cheeks. He could see her mouth say “Please!”
Judge Weinstein opened the door next to her and ushered Christy through it. Then she turned and said “This hearing will take an indefinite recess. Officers, please see to it that no one leaves the court room.” She then said to the officer on the side “No one is permitted through this door without my permission.” Then to Mother Magda “Madam, please take your seat.”
Judge Weinstein went into the other room with Christy and shut the door.
(To be continued.)
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Brian and Christine
“But why not? The woman who runs the place, Mother Magda, is expected to be there, she might say something that would reveal something. Don’t you think?”
“No, I don’t think. Besides, the Bureau doesn’t concern itself with adoption cases. We have more important things to do.”
“But what do you think may be going on in there that the Bureau is interested in?” Brian was really getting on edge with Mr. Stanger.
“I can’t tell you that.”
“All right, but I still think you should be at that hearing. What you do is none of my business, but I’m very concerned about the girl I placed in there. If there IS something illegal going on, I need to know about it.”
“Mr. Sims, if I find anything out I, or someone from the Bureau, will let you know.”
“I hope so. Please.”
“Thank you for your time Mr. Sims.” Stanger stood up. So did Brian. Agent Stanger wasted no time on good bye but turned and made his way to the front door and left. Brian was now more anxious then before. He went into the kitchen and made himself a drink.
When Wendy called he told her about the meeting with Stanger. She was concerned that Stanger thought there was something illegal going on at Saint Jane’s but said that if there was maybe they could uncover it at the hearing. And she said she would make sure that Tom Bloom was there. That eased Brian’s anxiety somewhat. He knew that with both Wendy and Tom in the hearing room nothing was going to slip by. Fingers were already deftly feeling around under the carpet.
The next morning Brian was up very early preparing himself for the day. He agreed to meet Wendy at 8 in front of the Family Court building. It was a cool, clear morning and Brian felt a bit more at ease that finally something was going to happen and also that he would be seeing Christy again.
When Juan dropped him off, Wendy and Tom were already there. There wasn’t much to discuss so they went inside to wait.
Tom checked the docket and found that the case would be heard in court room #4, down the hall. So they walked down, entered the court room and took seats at a table on the left side of the room. Brian’s stomach was churning with the expectation of seeing Christy.
About 10 minutes before 9 the door opened. A nun came in. She was a big woman with a hard, domineering look on a pasty complexion. She was followed by three girls in school uniforms, plaid skirts with shoulder straps over white shirts, white socks and black shoes. They were followed by a second nun, a slight woman with a sweet face. The five walked to the front. The first girl in line was Christy. She had a sad,frightened expression on her face. Brian stood up when they came in and was smiling at Christy, his heart filled with love and joy at seeing her. Christy glanced at him briefly as if she didn’t know him.
(To be continued.)
Monday, February 16, 2009
Tuesday was spent working on his story, taking walks, swimming in his pool and trying to rest his fevered heart.
On Wednesday morning at 10 o’clock, Juan came into Brian’s work room to tell him that there was a man at the door who said he was from the FBI. Brian was shocked at that news but told Juan to show him in. When the man entered the room, Brian had a feeling he had met him before. The man introduced himself as Inspector Chuck Stanger and showed Brian a badge.
“We’ve met before, Inspector, haven’t we?”
“Yes, in Sanman. You remember.”
“I do. Well what can I do for you this time, Inspector?”
“I need to ask you some important questions.”
“Would you care to have a seat?”
“I would, thank you.”
They both sat down and Stanger stared at Brian for a few seconds and then said “Mr. Sims, the Bureau has asked me to look into some allegations involving Saint Jane’s Home For Girls. Are you familiar with that establishment?’
“Yes I am” Brian’s heart was now pounding.
“Yes, you are. In fact you visited Saint Jane’s sometime within the past several days. Isn’t that correct?”
“Yes, I did.”
“What was the occasion for your visit?”
“I had just enrolled a young girl in the place and I wanted to see that she was okay.”
“Is that so?”
“Yes, it’s so.”
“Where did that girl come from?”
“And what is your relationship with her?”
“Friend. We survived a plane crash together and I felt responsible for her getting to her destination. You were in the court room in Sanman when that was all discussed and affirmed. Surely you must remember.”
“Uh, yes I do, sir. And when you went to Saint Jane’s did you see her?”
“No. They wouldn’t let me.”
“I had to make a reservation to see her. But I canceled it.”
“Why did you cancel it?”
“Upon the advice of my attorney.”
“All right, Mr. Sims. The Bureau is investigating Saint Jane’s because it feels there might be something illegal about some of their practices. But we can’t enter the establishment without a warrant and we can’t issue a warrant without evidence. It’s regrettable that you didn’t get in to see your friend, otherwise you might have something to tell us that would be useful.”
“My fiancée is attempting to adopt the girl in question. There is a hearing tomorrow morning in family court about it.”
“Yes. I’m aware of that.”
“Do you plan to be there?”
(To be continued.)
Sunday, February 15, 2009
And so the weekend came. Neither of them wanted to do any work. They spent the time getting to know more about each other, planning for the future, enjoying themselves as much as they could, considering the problems still confronting them. Saturday they went for a drive out of town to help clear their heads and see new things. That did help Brian a lot. In his senior years he liked peaceful adventures.
At one point Wendy asked him “After we’re married will I be known as Mrs. Three Toes?”
Brian laughed. “If you wish. But if we go back to visit, Chief Running Bear may give you a new name also.”
“Oh I would like to see them again. That was a fascinating place. It would be Christy’s third visit there, or her fourth?”
“Third, I think.” Brian thought about the portrait she drew of Running Bear and how much he seemed to like it. He hoped that Christy was getting a lot of drawing done where she was,
That evening he let Wendy read the two pages he had written of his new story. She read through them carefully and said “It’s a beautiful metaphor, it seems a pathway to understanding realities.”
Sunday was the Romero’s day off. They spent much of it in church So Brian and Wendy played in the kitchen making breakfast and lunch and dinner, in between splashing in the pool and making love.
Monday morning Wendy was up and off to work early. Brian went back to work on his story of Crystal, the angel of the ice, the mirror in which he would see realities behind the unrealities.
In the afternoon mail there was a summons from the Family Court of Los Angeles to appear for a hearing on Thursday morning at 9 a.m. So it’s going to happen, he was pleased to see. He wondered if Christy would be there. I suppose so, he thought. I hope so.
Later on Wendy called to say that she had also been summoned, and that so had Christy, Mother Magda and associates. She also said that the judge, Agnes Weinstein, was a good, compassionate woman, unlike some of the Family Court judges who were otherwise so dissatisfied with where they were that they tended to be harsh on people. Wendy expected a clean, well run hearing and predicted a positive outcome.
Brian couldn’t decide if she was telling the truth or just trying to assuage his anxiety. He decided to believe her.
So, he thought. I’m going to get to meet the dragon lady, Mother Magda. Won’t that be interesting?
But the thought of seeing Christy again really pleased and excited him. At last he could see her and find out how things are going there for her. If Wendy is right then he hoped he would get, at least, to visit with Christy for a while, maybe before the hearing began. It would heal a great hole in his heart just to see that she was okay, no matter what the outcome of the hearing.
Now he was more anxious then ever for Thursday to come. It was all the focus of his life now.
But the hearing was not going to go as smoothly and cleanly neither as Wendy suggested nor as they both expected it would.
(To be continued.)
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Friday morning Wendy called to say that Tom Wong was successful in getting a hearing for the following week. It was to be on Thursday. Brian was disturbed that it was going to take almost a week before anything was decided, but he knew that these things could be adjourned for months so he remained hopeful.
Wendy also said that she would be over after work to spend the weekend. And that pleased Brian very much.
She arrived at about 6:30 with a suitcase.
“Are you moving in?” he asked.
“Almost. Just a few weekend things to hang in your closet.” And with that she headed for the bedroom.
Brian felt a mixture of apprehension and delight. It had been many decades since he had women’s clothes in his closet. Something about that made him realize that this was getting serious. He wondered, after all these, years what it was going to be like for him to be a married man once again. Of course he was a much different kind of man now, and Wendy was definitely a much different kind of woman than Cindy. I think I’m going to like it, he thought.
Among the items Wendy brought was a swim suit. So he put on his and they headed for the pool. When Brian bought the house the pool was decorated with an awful, poorly painted array of blue, pink and yellow fish. When he was in the water they seemed to be moving back and forth. It was ghastly and gave him the creeps. So he had it scraped and painted black. Now the accent was on the water. It was much nicer.
They dove in and swam back and forth for a while. Brian was showing off as if he needed to. Soon they became like children splashing each other in the face or diving down and pulling each other under by the ankles. Brian was feeling light hearted for the first time in many days.
When they tired they came out of the pool and sat on the bench while Brian had a cigarette. As he was staring at the water slowly massaging itself back to calm he said “Christy asked me to teach her how to swim. I hope I get a chance to do that.”
“I can’t promise that. But I won’t stop until I get her out of there. I can say that.”
(To be continued.)
Friday, February 13, 2009
Talk to the wolves. Nothing is hopeless I guess, thought Brian. Even if you’re in a fog and don’t know what you’re doing, even if faced with life threatening danger, there is hope. Christy taught him that. Or rather she reminded him of that. Never give up. That was the rule of life.
Brian went back to typing the story of “Crystal.” This was not about rolling down a mountainside or chewing on bark. This was about a real life. Slowly his fingers found the words to tell about knowing, about standing with trust and innocence against the irrational forces of the world, about looking danger calmly in the face and turning it into advantage, about translating hallucinations into realities and about finding the right road in life without the benefit of sign posts. This was Crystal, the ice angel who appeared out of nowhere and yet is always present to those who seek her.
Brian’s phone rang. It was a friendly voice.
“Well, hello Fred. How’s it going up there?.... Uh huh….Yes?....Oh, well, that’s great. Is Father Portera pleased?....Glad to hear it….Now when is it going to be up and operating? Now is the furnace in a good location, where it’s easy to get to and yet won’t stink up the place?....Ah ha! Good idea….Do you need me to send you any dough?....Well, you let me know, okay? Oh well. Good and bad….Mainly about Christy….Yes she is but I don’t like the place….I don’t know, they wouldn’t let me in….I know….Well, I’ve been told that once they go there they don’t leave, not even to be adopted…..You have to make an appointment, and it costs a thousand bucks to pay a visit….Well, that’s how they make their money, I was told. We’re working on it. By the way, you remember Wendy, my lawyer?....Well, she’s soon going to be my wife….That’s right….We don’t know yet, we’re working on it….We want Christy there when we do it, so we’re hoping to get that settled first….Sure, Fred, I will definitely let you know….Please give my best to Nina and your kids, and anyone else you happen to see….Thank you for calling….Any time Fred….Bye”
He hung up. “I miss Buffalo Gap” he said.
(To be continued.)
Thursday, February 12, 2009
But for now his task was to try describing this girl who emerged from the snow one day as some winter ice angel, helpless but courageous, innocent yet resourceful with hope and faith while standing up against all the destructive forces of the world. He named her Crystal.
His fingers were not flying now, as the usually do, across the keyboard, but were carefully picking from his mind the exact words to narrate a mystical tale of a heroic child. Each word seemed to be an integer in a vast equation, one which would define the landscape and horizon of existence.
This was no film script or biography. Nor was it the summation of survival from a life threatening situation. It was a blessed opening of a door into actual life through the impulse and guidance of his creative ability as an artist to uncover the hidden truth of what happens when we say yes to life. This was a healing of the pain by denouncing it’s reality. Instead of carrying her to safety through the sleet, he was now carrying in his mind the real life of a magical child into the safety of words the world must read.
He knew he was writing about a child, the only child in his life, a child he may never see again. It was hard and painful. Bur Brian once said “We are the only two people in this frozen universe. I am now all the wise old men in the world and she is all the young innocent girls in the world and it is my responsibility to see that she survives.” And “I will keep going and see her to safety and stay alive until I do it. Then he said softly, “Christy, we’re gonna make it.”
There was much to do, much to learn, much to be written and still much life to be lived.
He returned to the keyboard, a deep sea fisherman, casting his net and hoping for the right ideas to visit him.
That afternoon Wendy called to say that it looked good for a hearing to determine adopting Christy. The judge seemed disposed to at least hear what the parties had to say about it. What it needs now is a court date and Tom is pushing for an early one, sometime next week.
“I’m very anxious” said Brian. “If the judge decides in favor of Saint Jane’s we may never see Christy again.”
“Don’t lose hope, Brian. Talk to the wolves.”
(To be continued.)
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
All day the rain kept drumming against the windows like impatient fingers. Brian tried to pass the time without thinking too much about the problems. He was smoking too many cigarettes, the result of frustration, anxiety and delay. Finally he sat down at the computer and started writing another story, another film script, perhaps. It was about a small town in the west. Another Western, he thought, with a smile. Is Hollywood ready for another Western? With Navajo, bison and an Irish tavern keeper? Why not?
So he typed away, fully engrossed in recreating a priest, a Navajo chief, a half breed mechanic, a Mexican doctor, an ebullient Irish lady, a newspaper editor, a surly waitress and some “troll brains.”
Brian was generally happy doing only two things: swimming and writing. He sometimes thought back to his life as an actor, a director and then a playwright. But he didn’t like to. There were too many bad memories. He wished to look forward. Even at 70 he felt there was much good future to be had for him and now for Wendy, and, of course, for Christine. Thinking about her twisted his stomach again, so he went back to the keyboard and concentrated on fashioning a tale from his memory and his imagination about a town he thought he once knew and how to make a film about it.
Certain details from his memory seemed to be slipping away, pushed out of importance by events that demanded attention and focus. Things became more important than people. Why was losing two toes a bigger deal than the kindness and humor of those involved, or the brutality of strangers? Brian had never known people like those in Buffalo Gap, and they, in turn, were not impressed that he was famous in Hollywood. He and Christy had been accepted for their courage in making it through the terrible wilderness and for no other reasons. But then they were embraced for being who they are, for the people they are. Things were not stacking up right in his head. If it was going to be a Western it had to focus on events more than people, he thought. There had to be a chase, a gun fight, the bad guys had to be brought down and justice prevail. Buffalo Gap was not like that. It was an experience in direct love and simple living. A New Western. Brian was very confused.
He spent the rest of the afternoon at the computer, stopped for dinner and then went back to it and typed until bedtime.
Overnight, while he was asleep and not paying attention, the rain clouds had packed up and moved on and now the air was fresh and clean. He went for a swim, had breakfast and returned to the computer. Then the words started flowing more easily as he realized the story was not about Buffalo Gap or about him, Brian. It was about a 10 year old girl from New England, and there was no last chapter to it yet. That would come as a terrifying surprise to everyone.
(To be continued.)
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Brian spent the rest of the day trying to keep his mind off his troubles. He read, went for a walk, went for a swim, took a nap, had some dinner, watched some DVDs and finally retired for the night.
The next morning there was a rare rain storm and it exactly matched Brian’s mood. There is nothing to be done in a warm rain but watch and listen. So that’s what he did. The watching was internal, mostly, the listening was musical. The rapid fugue of raindrops on the window relaxed him and made him think that Christy was listening to the same patter and watching the rain from a window somewhere.
At mid-day Wendy called and said that Tom Wong was looking into the possibility of challenging Saint Jane’s policy of not allowing their girls to be adopted. She said that one of his Associates found a case back in the 19th Century where a similar establishment for homeless boys was not allowing adoptions and a court overruled their charter. Right then he was feeling things out but if it turned out to be a viable action he would twist some arms to get a hearing on the matter next week.
“Ask Tom to talk to Myron Bloom. I know they don’t particularly like each other, but since they are both on the same war path, maybe they can cooperate on this one.”
“If this is going into court it probably won’t be a good idea to have any advanced publicity about it. If there is something wrong there it might tip them off. “
“And if there isn’t?”
“Then it wouldn’t matter. But something tells me it is better to be safe….”
“Then sorry. I’ll tell you truly Brian, I have the same feeling. I’ll talk to him right now.”
“Thank you. I love you.”
“Love you right back.”
After he hung up Brian had a sense of relief. He hadn’t realized it but that was something that had been bothering him. Bloom was a powerful man in Hollywood and he knew that Lester Lynx was also. If they wanted to start any sort of publicity campaign about Christy it would be a big one. Better not to do it than to have Christy drawn through the sieve of public scrutiny. But a challenge in the court to Saint Jane’s mad policy is a much saner, cleaner way of doing things. If it works he and Wendy can get Christy back without turning a searchlight on to Saint Jane’s. After she returns, if the authorities want to investigate the place then let the mud fly if it must. It depended now on Tom and Myron agreeing with each other on this one.
He sat back and composed a couplet which he kept repeating to himself.
“Bloom and Wong,
(To be continued.)
Monday, February 9, 2009
For now Brian felt encouraged and a little bit relieved. Saint Jane’s was such an unpleasant experience for him when he was there that he didn’t really want to go back and both Wong and Bloom were interested enough in the dilemma about Christy that he felt things were progressing well.
Brain was thinking about Wendy and was looking forward very much to seeing her on the weekend. He was puzzled with himself Why after all these years he even contemplated getting married again was a mystery to him. And then to actually go ahead and propose surprised him. It seems that it surprised him more than it did Wendy. But he did it, and she accepted, so it was going to happen. He again wished very much that Christy could be there when they actually tied the knot. Getting Christy back into his life was now becoming an obsession. He plainly could not think of his life without her. The child he never had, the family he never had. It was finally within reach after all these years. He gladdened himself by thinking of the possibilities. But the difficulty of attaining them kept creeping up from his gut and caused him a lot of pain. From the crash of the plane, to the hard trudge through the wilderness, to carrying her to safety, to being with her as a protector, father and friend through those days in Buffalo Gap it was hard to believe that all that tillage and planting would not reap the joys of companionship and love. He wanted to go to Saint Jane’s, break down doors, grab her and take her away, but he felt powerless to do anything, like a fish on the beach next to the shore line who couldn’t squirm enough to get back into the water.
His only hope besides the wisdom and warm support of Wendy was that Tom Wong and Myron Bloom wouldn't lose interest in the problem and would follow it through to whatever complicated end would be the result.
Brian didn’t realize it at the time but there was a third, shadowy figure who was also interested in the case. They would soon meet. Again.
(To be continued.)
Sunday, February 8, 2009
"Hello Sister Magda…..Pardon me, MOTHER Magda. This is….Yes, I realize that now. This is Brain Sims. I brought the girl Christine Flynn to your home a few days ago….That’s right….At last, yes, but I think I told you about the difficulties we encountered trying to get her there….Well….I know….I know it….Well I should hope not….So that part of it is settled then?....Good….Now the reason I’m calling is that when I brought her in I wanted to see her to make sure she was settled in and had everything she needs….So I was told….But the sister at the desk would not let me make sure so I….That’s what she told me. So I made a reservation to see her a few weeks from then….Yes…..Okay….”
There was a pause while Mother Magda checked the records..
….”Yes, that’s right….Well I’m calling to cancel it….That’s right….Well, I don’t….I don’t care that you don’t like it, I’m…..No, I just….Well, I’m sorry Mother Magda but I’m unable to keep the appointment….There are personal reasons….I’ll call and make another one….No I can’t change it today….Because I don’t know when….Maybe so, but in my case I just don’t know….No I don’t want to see another girl, it’s Christy I want to see….What does that mean?....Well I’m glad of that, I think…But….No….There’s no point in doing that because I’m just not going to show up then. So please remove my appointment from your books….Well that can’t be helped, I suppose….No….Of course not….If that’s the way it has to be then so be it….Mother Magda, I went through a great deal of trouble to bring her there and I’m not happy that I couldn’t get to see her right away, so since you don’t seem to be thankful for my efforts I’m not too inclined to be all that cooperative with you, you understand?....All right then please cancel my reservation….Thank you.” He hung up.
Mother Magda reminded Brian of that encyclopedia salesman who once came to call. He wouldn’t leave until Mrs. Romero kicked him out.
Maybe I should send Mother Magda a dozen roses, Brian thought. No, I guess not.
Mother Magda was going to get an unexpected shock. And so was Brian.
(To be continued.)
Saturday, February 7, 2009
“What’s going to happen?” asked Brian.
“I’ll know more after I talk to Lester and this Werbler woman.”
“I don’t want Christy’s name dragged through the mud.”
“Don’t worry, Brian, if there’s any mud slung it will go in the opposite direction. Trust me.”
“She’s a sweet, innocent kid.”
Brian left Bloom’s office and went home. Back home Brian was feeling encouraged. He went for a swim and awaited Wendy’s call. Sitting on the bench beside the pool he remembered Christy asking him to teach her to swim. He remembered teaching Louise to swim. Some days all he wanted to do was swim. He felt at home in the water, relaxed and clean. It was the therapy he needed to clean himself from the dirt and sweat of Hollywood. He wondered if he would have had a happier life if he had stayed in Dorado and just done theatre. He sometimes wished he could go back to Waynesboro where he grew up, be with friends, go into his father’s insurance business and never venture into the rocky world of films. No use thinking about those things now but it was a brief vacation of the mind from the doubts and fears he felt about himself, Christy, Wendy and his newest script.
When Wendy called he told her about what had happened in Bloom’s office, about the photograph and that he didn’t know what was going to happen but that Bloom seemed to have taken charge of the situation. He mentioned the appointments with Lester Lynx and someone from People Talk.
Wendy said she would check things out with Tom Wong but she said that if there was going to be publicity it would be a good idea if he canceled that appointment at Jane’s. When he asked her why she said she wasn’t sure but that it was her intuition.
Brian had long ago learned to trust women’s intuition. He trusted Christy’s intuition back in the wilderness when she chose which direction to walk in. And she had been right. Still he was crushed at the idea of not seeing Christy again even if just for an hour. And what if the person at Saint Jane’s had already told Christy that he was coming? How would she feel to hear that he had canceled the visit?
He went to his desk and very reluctantly picked up the phone to call Saint Jane’s. Then he put the phone down again. He sighed a deep sigh. His stomach hurt from fear and sorrow.
He was about to pick up the phone again when it rang. It was Wendy. She said she talked with Wong about that appointment and he said by all means to cancel it, as soon as possible. She also said that the court case was going well and that she would come and spend the weekend with him. So with that to look forward to and with Wong’s opinion pushing him on he picked up the phone again and dialed the number for Saint Jane’s Home For Girls.
(To be continued.)
Friday, February 6, 2009
For the next two days Brian busied himself with fixing little details of the script, with phone calls back and forth to Simon LeGree) Le Groh. It was hard to concentrate because Christy was always in his thoughts. Wendy was busy with her court case. She called Brian every evening but stayed in her apartment so she could be up and out early.
Days dragged by and there was no word from or about Christy.
Then, on the third day, the mail brought a letter from Mike Wyman of Buffalo Gap and another from Lydia Collins. Brian quickly opened the letters hoping they would have the pictures, which they did. The picture from the Gap was the one he remembered, but it was the two of them standing close together with his arm around her. The other picture was just of Christy, taken at a Christmas party. There was a tree in the background, but otherwise it was a nice simple photo of Christy’s pretty face and a smile, but she had a slightly melancholy look on her face.
Brian quickly called Bloom’s office to see if he was there. Then he got Juan to drive him over there with the photos. Myron was on the phone but waved Brain in. Brian sat down and listened to Myron wheel and deal. Just at the moment when the deal was off, whatever the deal was, Myron slipped in another suggestion as if it had been brought up before and rejected. That apparently clinched the deal. He hung up the phone and said “The secret is to make them think it’s their idea, then they go fir it. What have you got?”
Brian handed the two pictures to Myron, with the one from the paper on top. Myron looked at and frowned. Then he looked at the second picture, the Christmas shot and, without giving it a second glance, he said “That’s it.”
He picked up his phone and said “Beatrice, would you please call the Art Department and have them send up a photographer right away, please. Thank you.”
“The folks in Connecticut will want that picture back. It’s from their Christmas album. Is that okay?”
“Why not. Now, I have an appointment with Lester Lynx tomorrow and then I’m talking to Grace Werbler the day after. We’ll get this Christy girl sitting in your lap before you know it.”
The door opened and a young, thin, nervous spectacled man came in. “What’s you name?” said Myron.
Myron held the photograph of Christy between his thumb and first finger, the same way he had held Brian’s script, with the face front.
“Bruce, I need you to take this photo and copy it. Make a dozen first rate copies but don’t damage the original. Can you do that?”
“No problem. Sir.”
“Good. Please do it pronto.”
Bruce took the picture of Christy carefully in his hand and left.
“Mischief thou art afoot” said Myron.
(To be continued.)
Thursday, February 5, 2009
At his next meeting with Myron Bloom the revised script was approved and the cast was decided upon, with a back up cast if necessary. Myron then placed the project in the hands of an assistant. As he was still busy with the final part of the SAG negotiations he didn’t have much more to say to Brian. So Brian left the office satisfied that he was still employed and more fame and money would be coming in. He should be very pleased about that but there was a big hole in his heart.
Back home he wanted to take a swim. But he just sat by the pool staring into the water. He felt very much alone and vulnerable. Wendy was busy with her court case, Christy was gone, maybe for good, and there was no way of contacting her. Louise and Jason had gone back home. And now he had nothing to do. Start another project? Clean up his desk? Call someone? He was too depressed to think about any of those things.
Instead, he went to his computer and wrote a letter.
I miss you very much. Not having you around here has me feeling very lonely and depressed. I am so sorry I made you go to that place. From the outside it doesn’t seem like such a nice place to be. I hope it’s better on the inside and that you are happy there. I assume you are making new friends and getting used to the people.
Wendy and I followed you there and we wanted to see that you were in and comfortable but the nun at the desk wouldn’t let us see you. I had to make a reservation. It’s not for several weeks. That’s the earliest she would give me. I tried calling you on your cell phone but I couldn’t get through to you. Is there something wrong with it? Please ask them when you can come and visit us.
Wendy and I are getting married. I know that pleases you. And, of course, we want you to be at the wedding. You can be a bridesmaid. You’ll be a very pretty one.
The studio accepted my script and it’s going into production. That’s good for me, but it means I’ll be busy making adjustments to it as we go along. That’s all part of the job.
I’m sitting here thinking about all the time we spent together, the plane crash, the awful experience in the wilderness, the hunger, the pain, the wolves, the frozen lake, your ankle, then Buffalo Gap with Father Portera, Bridget, Doctor Bite, Fred,. Chief Running Bear, Peter Straw and Mike and then Wendy. It seems like we’ve lived a whole life together in just a few weeks.
I hope this letter doesn’t make you sad. It’s just that it’s hard for me not having you around, I miss you so much. I lose you Christy.
Brian (Three Toes) Sims
He printed out the letter, put it in an envelop addressed to Miss Christine Flynn c/0 Saint Jane’s Home For Girls and put a stamp on it. Then he took another envelope, addressed it to himself, stamped it and enclosed a sheet of paper. He put everything together in the first envelope, sealed it, walked to the corner mail box and mailed it.
(To be continued.)
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
There was a 30 minute argument about who should star in Brian’s film and what the title should be. Brian wanted it to be called Courage Underground. Myron preferred Tunnel of Passion. At the end of the session nothing was accomplished except that Brian had a headache. They agreed to meet again the next day which would give Myron a chance to read the revised script and to perhaps find something to help fix the Christy situation.
When Brian got back home he was tired and felt weak. He wanted to go for another swim, to wash off Hollywood, but instead he just lay down to take a nap.
He dreamed of giving a speech to a large group of people and noticing that Christy wasn’t among them. He left the auditorium where he had been speaking and wandered outside looking for her. He thought he saw her in the distance and called her name. She turned. He waved. But she didn’t wave back. Instead she turned and walked away from him.
He awoke later, in time for dinner, and when he went downstairs to the dining room Juan came in to say something.
“That place is a no good place.”
“That place where the little girl went.”
“I got that same impression of it, Juan. Do you know anything about it.?”
“I asked around.”
“Girls go there and they don’t come out.”
“They don’t come out?”
"Are you sure about this?”
“I asked around.”
“And someone told you this?”
“You mean even after they’ve grown, they still stay there?”
“I don’t know, but no one knows any girl who was there.”
“Maybe they stay and become nuns.”
“I don’t know, sir.”
“Well, thank you, Juan. If you hear any more will you let me know?”
“Of course, sir.”
Juan left the room and now Brian was perplexed. If they never left there, what happened to them. They must go somewhere or the place would be filled with older women hanging around. Saint Jane’s was getting stranger by the day.
(To be continued.)
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Myron opened his desk drawer, took out a pad of paper, closed the drawer and unscrewed the top of his big fountain pen, fastening it to the back end.
“Now” he said “what’s the name of this place?”
Brian gave him the name, address and phone number of Jane’s Home For Girls.
Then Myron asked “What’s the girl’s name?”
“Do you have a picture?”
“Too bad. I need a picture.”
“There was one in the local paper, but it was the two of us together after we got to that small town.”
“Can you get a copy of it? Maybe we can crop it.”
“Let me call the paper and see. I can also call her aunt in Connecticut; maybe they still have a picture of her”
Brian first called Aunt Lydia in Hartford because it was already getting to be evening out there. He didn’t want to tell her his opinion about Saint Jane’s. He felt it would upset her, so he just said that Christy was there and settled. Then he asked about the picture. At first Lydia wasn’t sure they had one but she went and asked Uncle Sy. When she came back to the phone she said they had one from the Christmas album. She was reluctant to part with it but Brian convinced her it was for a good reason. So she agreed to send it right away. She took down his address.
Then Brian called Peter Straw at the Gap. Pete said that they had a pictures but only of the two of them together, But he agreed to send it.
All the while Brain was on the phon Myron was making notes on his pad. Then he picked up the phone and pushed a button. “Beatrice would you please cal Lester Linx and see if we can have an appointment in the next couple of days, and also call What’s-his-name at People Talk, and tell him I will have a story for him in the next few days.”
He put down the phone and said “By the time I’m finished with this your young friend is going to be famous.”
“Because I’m interested. An orphanage that won’t allow adoption? There’s got to be a story there somewhere. It sounds like fun.”
Then Myron picked up Brian’s film script., held it between his thumb and first finger and waved it slightly back and forth.
“Now let’s talk about YOUR fame.”
(To be continued.)
Monday, February 2, 2009
“That doesn't sound good” said Brian.
“No, but Tom has looked at those before.”
“What should we do?”
“Well” said Wendy “I’m going over to my office to see what’s going on. I still have to make a living. While I’m there I'll get a marriage license in the works and call my friend Judge Parks to set it up. Unless you want to take the day off and run over to Nevada to do it.”
“No, that’s okay, I’ll take it as it comes.”
“You sure? We could hire an Elvis Presley interpreter.”
“Sounds like fun, but let’s stay here.”
“Okay. What are you going to do?”
“I have to finish this script and take it over to Silverstone to talk about it. I have a couple of stars in mind for it. The choice is ultimately up to Myron Bloom, but at least I can discuss it with him.
After a nice warm kiss and an affection goodbye-for-now, Wendy went off to her law firm. Brian went to his computer, read through the script again, made a few minor changes, emailed it to Silverstone Studios with an FYI for Myron Bloom, and then printed out two copies. He called Bloom’s secretary to find out when he would be there.
Brian had some lunch and that afternoon went over to Silverstone and when he got to Bloom’s office the secretary told him to go right on in. When he opened the door Myron leaned back in his chair and said “Well, ‘The Iceman Cometh,’ at last.
Myron Bloom was a man in his 50s, bald, wearing sunglasses, in his shirtsleeves and smoking a pipe. He was a very successful Hollywood motion picture producer. He had an amazing knack for finding talent, and he knew it. He was a tough boss, rough on the lazy and a rewarder of the hard working. He was a difficult man but everyone who worked for him trusted him.
“What took you so long?”
Brian again explained about the experience in Buffalo Gap, the amputation of his toes, the hearing about whether he was really on board the plane, how it was resolved and then getting Christy into her foster home. Then he said “By the way, I’m getting married.”
“No shit” said Myron, “who’s the unlucky woman?”
“You probably know her, Wendy Klein from Tom Bloom’s office.”
“Yes, I’ve met her, beautiful gal. How did this come about?”
“Tom sent Wendy over to Arizona to help solve that stupid case against me, and I guess we sort of fell for each other.”
“So when is this going to happen, and am I invited?”
“Soon, and of course you’re invited. Wendy’s working out the details and she knows a judge who will do it right away.”
“So, other than nuptials and a honeymoon is there any other thing to keep you from coming back to work? The girl is settled, you said?”
“Yes, I guess so.”
“What’s she like? Is she fresh young meat for us?”
“Oh, I don’t know. She’s more interested in drawing and painting than in making movies.”
“Well, bring her by, let me meet her. From your description she sounds like an amazing kid.”
“She is. But unfortunately I can’t bring her here because that foster home won’t let her out and I can’t go and see her without a reservation, a month from now, and I have to pay a thousand bucks to see her for an hour.”
“That’s terrible, TERRIBLE! Is there anything I can do?”
“Not unless you can figure our a way to adopted her. They don’t allow their girls to be adopted.”
“I don’t know.”
“I have an idea.”
(To be continued
Sunday, February 1, 2009
“What was the question?
“I said will you marry me.”
‘That’s what I thought you said.”
“Well, will you?”
“I like your style.”
“And I like yours. No getting dressed up, no bouquet, no diamond ring, no getting on your knees, just a simple question. Well, a simple question deserves a simple answer and the answer is “yes.”
“Whew!” Brian said.
Wendy laughed. “What did you think I was going to say?”
“Just what you said. But I’ve only done that once before and that was a long time ago so I’m rusty at it. Besides it’s always scary for the guy.”
“I don’t know.”
“When should we do it?”
“As soon as possible I think.”
“I know a judge who will do it quickly. I can take care of the paper work.”
“When can we tell people?”
“Well, I have to tell the Romeros right away because I asked her what she thought about it the other day and she approved. Besides. They’re very religious and don’t like me sleeping with strange women.”
“How many strange women have you been sleeping with?”
“Christy will be delighted if we could only get in touch with her.”
“I tried again this morning, the phone is still dead.”
“Later on we’ll call Tom and see what he says.”
They went in for breakfast and Mrs. Romero was there with a serious look on her face.
Brian said “Mrs. Romero, she said yes.”
She drew her palms together and smiled a big smile. “Oh, I’m so glad. So happy. That’s so good. I’m glad. Wait, I tell Juan. Juan….” She was calling into another room.
A moment later Juan appeared and said “Congratulations Mr. Sims, Miss Klein. My wife and I are happy for you. We’re so glad.”
“Thank you Mr. Romero” said Brian.
“When will you do this?” asked Mrs. Romero.
“We don’t know yet, but it will be soon. We will certainly tell you.”
“Thank you, sir.”
“The Romeros went back into the kitchen with big smiles on their faces.
Later that morning Wendy called Tom Wong’s office. She listened while he talked for a while saying only “What?....When?....How?....How soon?....Okay.” She hung up and said “The news is not good.”
“What is it?”
“It is the policy of Saint Jane’s to never allow any of their girls to be adopted. It has never happened in its entire history.”
“But we can’t just leave her there.”
“Tom said he was looking for a way around it, but he said it was a very tightly written charter. He called it a trap door that has already closed.”
(To be continued.)