Tuesday, March 24, 2009

B&C III - 60

Brian and Christine
Book Three
Saint Jane's
Part 60

When they got back home Christy went into her room and Brian went to his desk to read and answer some mail.

Mrs. Romero came in. “Pardon me, sir?”


“I have a list here. I thought if we got a turkey and a good ham?”

“Sounds good to me. What else>”

“It’s all on the list here.”

“Let me see.” She handed Brian the list. He looked it over and said “That’s fine, but should we have a wedding cake?”

“I make.”

“Okay” Brian smiled. “When do you want to buy everything?”

“Two days.”

“The day after tomorrow?”


“All right I’ll see that you have the money then.”

“Thank you. This will be good fun.”

“I hope so. How many people do you need to help you?”

“Oh. Four I think, sir.”


Later that day Wendy came and she and Brian talked about the wedding preparations.

Then he said “I think things are going well with Christy. She called me ‘Dad’ today.”

“That’s good. She called me ‘Mom’ the other day.

“It was odd, you know, because I’ve sort of felt like her father for weeks. Only it wasn’t official. It still isn’t. Do you think we are rushing into this thing? I mean getting married before her relationship is settled?”

“Of course we’re rushing into it. That’s the fun of it. Do you love me?”

“Yes. You know I do.”

“Then why wait. Don’t worry about the adoption. That’s going to happen. In fact Tom is saying once we’re married it will be even easier.”

“Well, it had better happen. I took her down the street to that school, which looks very nice, and she agreed to let me enroll her there for the summer session.”

“How did you talk her into it so quickly?”

“I had a little help from one of the students.”

“Will she be able to make up her lost semester?”

“The administrator seems to think so.”

“Somehow I have a hard time thinking of her as a school girl, she has been such a 24 hour part of our lives.”

“I know. I feel somewhat the same way as I felt when we sent her off to Saint Jane’s. But this is completely different. We’ve been on the inside, looked into a few classrooms, met one of the other students and got to interview the woman who runs it. It seems like a total antidote to the horrible poison Christy is still carrying around in her.”

“I’ll go and have a look at it if you want me to, but I trust your judgment. Do you want me to look into it from my office?”

“Not a bad idea. Here’s some literature the woman gave me.”


“Christy also asked me if we were planning on having any more children.”


“Hm. She asked me that when she told me how comfortable she was in her room. What do you make of that?”

“I’d say she was worried that it was going to turn into another household like her relatives in Connecticut have. Where there will be too many kids to take care of and we will ship her off to some other “Home For Girls.”

Anyway I told her we weren’t. What do you think of that?”

“That’s fine with me.”

“Good” said Brian. "So the budding artist, the Ice Angel, the Mountain Sprite, Little Orphan Christy is ours to keep.”


Brian handed the list of ingredients Mrs. Romero had given him. “Here’s our menu?”

Wendy looked it over and said “Shall we order a cake, or not?”

“Mrs. Romero said she’ll make one. I’m sure it will be a beauty.”

“You’re lucky to have them.”

“WE’RE lucky to have them.”

“Yes we are.”

The next morning, after Wendy had left for work Brian got on the phone to call a catering service for the 4 men to help. None of them were able to help. They were all busy or they couldn’t meet such a small order. He even tried the ‘positions wanted’ section of the newspaper. No luck.

(To be continued.)

Monday, March 23, 2009

B&C III - 59

Brian and Christine
Book Three
Saint Jane's
Part 59

They started back toward Brian’s house when he said “Christy, would you like to go for a walk in the park?”


When they got to the park they walked along and saw the women with their babies, sitting around talking with each other. Some of the older kids were playing on the swings and slides. Christy ran over and got on one of the empty swings and started swinging back and forth vigorously while Brian watched,

When she saw a vendor with a push cart she stopped swinging and said “Brian, can I have an ice cream?”

“Sure” he said.

She jumped off the swing and they went over to the vendor. Brian bought two ice creams on sticks and they sat on a bench and ate them.

“Christy, back there at the school you said that I was your Dad. Is that true?”

“Yup. I don’t have any other Dads. You’re it.”

Brian felt tagged. “Why am I your Dad?”

“Because you care about me.”

A silent laugh came rising up in him like a big bubble.



“Would you ever do anything like that to girls?”

“You mean like what happened to you at Saint Jane’s?”


“No sweetheart, I never would.”

“There was an older man there. He wasn’t very nice. He was mean.”

“I’m sorry about that. I’m not that man.”

“I hope he’s in the clink.”

That brought back another memory to Brian. A nice one this time.

[“Well, the two troll brains I met are now in the clink.”
“What’s the clink?”
“It’s slang for the jail.”
“Oh. The clink. That’s a funny name. Why do they call it the clink?”
“I don’t really know” said Brian, “but I think it refers to the sound the metal cell door makes when it closes.”

“Well, Christy, I’m sure he is, for a good long time. Maybe forever.”

“Hope so.”

“Did you make any friends while you were there?”

“No. I just wanted to get out. Soon as I got there.”

“Well, you’ll make some friends at the school.”

“I guess so.”

“Sure you will. That girl Sally seems like a bright, friendly girl. She could be your friend.”


When Christy finished her ice cream she looked at the stick turning it over in her fingers, holding it up to the light.

“How’s your room?” Brian asked.

She looked up with a big smile “Oh it’s great. It’s the best room I ever lived in. Cept” she frowned.

“Except what?”

“Are you going to have any more children?”

“Yes. I’m going to round up as many kids as I can find, 12 or 15, and move them all into your room.”

She gasped “You’re kidding!”

“Yes. I’m kidding. You’re it.”

(To be continued.)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

B&C III - 58

Brian and Christine
Book Three
Saint Jane's
Part 58

They got dressed and after Brian had a second cup of coffee they strode down the street to the school.

They came to a beautiful, inviting modern building set back from the road, with a well kept lawn, a few trees and some bushes along the side. They went up the path and entered the building.

Brian spoke to a receptionist inside, who then picked up her phone and said “There’s a man here with a child who wants to see the school.”

Soon a woman arrived, nicely dressed and with a pleasant smile. Everyone was introduced and the woman led them through a door and down a hall to a series of classrooms. They peeked into a couple of the rooms and the woman explained what they were seeing. She then took them into an office and closed the door. She asked Brian if they were interested in enrolling Christy in the school. Brian was impressed by the way the woman, Clare, included Christy in the conversation as if her thoughts were important.

Brian asked if the school had a fine arts program. Clare explained that one of their students had won first prize in an exhibit of paintings from all the high schools in Los Angeles. Christy was quiet.

They discussed costs, curriculum and, yes, they had a summer program.

Clare said “Pardon me for asking this but, since your last names are different, are you Christy’s father?”

“Almost” said Brian. “I’m engaged to marry the woman who is adopting her. Christy lost her parents some time ago.”

“He’s my Dad” said Christy.

Brian explained how Christy had missed a semester of her 6th grade but that he felt she was very bright and would be able to pass to the 7th easily if she could make up the missed semester. Clare thought that was a possibility, with the proper tests.

Clare handed Brian and Christy some literature about the school. Brian was relieved to see that there was no church affiliation connected with the place.

After the interview Clare accompanied them to the door and said she hoped to see them again.

Once outside they walked down the path to the sidewalk and stopped. “Well” asked Brian “what do you think?”

“I don’t know. It looks nice, but I don’t know.”

Just then a voice behind them on the path said “Hi.”

They turned to see a young black girl with a big smile. “I’m Sally. Who are you?”

“I’m Christy, and this is Brian.”

“You a new student?’ asked Sally.

“No. I’m just looking around.”

“Oh, come on. It’s cool. You’ll love it.”


“The teachers are great and the kids are fun.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Yeah. You comin?”


“Awesome. See you later.”

“Bye, Sally.”

“Nice to meet you Brian” and off she went.

“Was that a ‘yes’ I heard about this school?”



(To be continued.)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

B&C III - 57

Brian and Christine
Book Three
Saint Jane's
Part 57

“Let’s have a night cap and drink to it” said Brian. He made a couple of drinks and returned.

“By the way” said Wendy. “If this adoption goes through, and it looks like it will with Tom on the case, after we’re married we will both be responsible for Christy.”

“Mm. That’s true.”

“I was thinking that we have to make sure she goes back to school. She’s missed a whole semester. We should find a good summer school for her so she can catch up.”

“Well there’s a very good school, I’m told, two blocks down the street. It’s a junior high and high school. It’s private. No nuns.”

“That sounds good.”

“Yeah, but the thing is I think we should make sure she goes somewhere where she can get some formal art training. I think it’s important and I think she would appreciate that.”

“Can we check out that school, see if they have a summer session and find out about art classes?”

“I’ll look into it tomorrow. Wendy, thank you for thinking about that. It’s been so long that I’ve been any where near a school it didn’t occur to me that she should be getting an education.”

“I guess it’s a typical Mom’s concern” sad Wendy.

That made Brian smile. Mom and Dad, he thought. 70 years old and I finally have a family of my own.

Wendy spent the night but was up and out early in the morning. When Brian woke and came down for his morning coffee, he found Christy in the kitchen dressed in her swim suit with a grin on her face. After the good mornings were done he said to her, ”Is somebody going for a swim?”

“Yup” she said. “We are.”

After some breakfast Brian got into his swimming trunks and joined Christy at the pool who was sitting on the edge splashing the water with her feet.

They spent a couple of hours together. Brian taught her a few more strokes and then had her try holding her breath under water. She finally managed to do it for almost a minute.

“That’s very good” he said. “Next time you can try swimming under water.”


They were sitting on the bench next to the pool drying off. Brian said “Wendy and I were talking about you last night.”


“Yes, and we both agreed that you should go back to school.”

“Uh huh.”

“Would you like that?”

“I don’t know. I guess so.”

“There’s a school down the street here. I don’t know anything about it, but it’s a junior high school,”

“I was in the sixth grade.”

“But come September you would probably qualify for the seventh grade if you took some courses in summer school.

“I guess so. Maybe. I don’t know.

“Would you like to go and have a look at the school to see if you might like it, and see if they have a summer program?”

“Okay” she sighed.

“You don’t sound enthusiastic about it.”

“No, it’s just that I’m glad to be back here with you, learning to swim, and my drawings are getting better and everything.”

Well, but Christy, it’s only spring. You’re here with us for a few months until summer. And then, if the place is any good, you’ll just be down the street.”


“Christy, you’re not having the same feelings about it as you did about Saint Jane’s, are you?”


“Why don’t we go have a look at it and then see what your intuition tells you?”


(To be continued.)

Friday, March 20, 2009

B&C iii - 56

Brian and Christine
Book Three
Saint Jane's
Part 56

MS You mean they die?

PF Well, that is the usual way of getting to heaven. None of us are holy enough to ascend like our Blessed Master did, although I wouldn’t be surprised if Mother Magda accomplished it when her time has come.

MS Let me understand this. When they become 18 years old they die. Is that it?

PF When they become 18, they are no longer children and so they are no longer of any use to us or our visitors, you see?

MS So they are killed.

PF They are sent to heaven.

MS How is this killing, this sending to heaven, done?

PF I am not permitted to know that.

MS By whom is it done?

PF I told you, I’m not permitted to know.

MS But what do you think happens?

PF I assume there is a sacred ceremony of some sort, probably carried out by the men with the Holy Mother Magda presiding over it.

MS And what happens to the earthly remains?

PF I don’t know.

MS I have no further questions for you.

Brian lowered the papers and said “Oh my God. Oh my God..”

“So now there is homicide on top of all their other crimes” said Wendy. “The police are inspecting the grounds around Saint Jane’s. If the locate a single corpse and it can be proved that death was caused by violence it will be all over for the defense.”

“Why didn’t her lawyer stop her from telling all of this?”

“He tried, but Sanchez kept pressing and after a certain point it was useless.”

“Those poor girls! How could this have been going on for so many years?”

“I don’t know, but I guess there was some protection. After all, their “clients” were rich and powerful men. I’ll tell you I wouldn’t be surprised to know that there are other establishments like that, perhaps some for young boys, tucked into some place that’s in plain sight but undercover. As long as there are perverts there will be those that serve them.”

“Unfortunately. And as long as there are religious fanatics, like Magda and those others, terrible things will be done. They justify it by faith in some twisted idea of deity, with visions and everything” said Brian. “Even though I write about it, sometimes I wonder if I really know anything about the human race.”

“Well, I guess there is always something to learn.”

“What are you going to do with these papers?”

“Get rid of them. Take them back to the office and shred them. Obviously I don’t think Christy should see them.”

“No. That wouldn’t be a good idea. I wonder if she knew about the disposing of older girls.”

“Probably not. It sounds like none of the girls knew, which is not surprising. If they did, they would all be running like Christy did.”

“My head is still reeling” said Brian. “The whole thing sounds like a giant nightmare. You know, the first night we spent in Buffalo Gap Christy had a bad dream. I woke up to hear her screaming. When I went into her room I found her sitting up reaching to the ceiling with both hands as if she was trying to grab something. When I woke her she said that she was falling through a crevasse in the ice and that I was trying to reach her to pull her back up but that I couldn’t and she couldn’t reach me.”

“She’s still reaching” said Wendy.

“I know, but she’s waking up, I think.”

“I think so.”

(To be continued.)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

B&C III - 55

Brian and Christine
Book Three
Saint Jane's
Part 55

PF Heavens no, not a slave.

MS What then?

PF More like a household servant. A special member of the chief’s family.

MS And you trained them in erotic arts specifically for that chief?

PF That’s correct. Mr. Sanchez I have to explain something to you. Our girls are not only given instruction in the erotic arts, as you so melodically describe it, but they are also given religious training. Every morning there is a religious service during which there is prayer and one of the sisters gives a sermon. We are very careful to see that the girls are taken down the right spiritual road, the road that leads to God, so that as they progress they will maintain a close association with our maker, continue to serve God and not be turned aside from the true path. That is a very important function of our order.

MS I see. During the police investigation they found girls who were very young, and some teenagers. How can you possibly train the very young ones, they are little more than babies?

PF Oh, but the young ones are the easiest to train because they are so sweet and innocent, and they want to be cooperative.

MS And some of the older girls have been with you a long time.

PF Yes, that’s true. Some of them have regular visitors, you see.

MS When these visitors come they pay you for the session. Isn’t that so?

PF Yes.

MS What is the fee?

PF The contribution is one thousand dollars.

MS So doesn’t that make those girls prostitutes?

PF Oh, my God no. The girls don’t receive any money for their services. That money goes to provide for the home, to cover its expenses, to provide for the girls and for the people who live and work there. We are a non-profit organization. We have no grants or public assistance of any kind. And the visitors don’t object to the price. They are satisfied with our services.

MS One more question, Sister Priscilla. Why were there no girls over 15 years of age? Surely your visitors would enjoy the company of some older, more experienced girls.

PF No. The men whom God has chosen for us are in need of the young and innocent. We only keep the girls up to the age of 17.

MS Then what happens to them?

PF When they turn 18 they are graduated.

MS Then where do they go?

PF They go wherever God wants them to go.

MS You put them out on the street?

PF No, no. I told you they graduate.

MS So you said, but I’m not quite sure what that means.

PF There is a beautiful ceremony which everyone attends and then they are sent away.

MS Sent away where?

PF To heaven.

(To be continued.)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

B&C III - 54

Brian and Christine
Book Three
Saint Jane's
Part 54

[Note to my readers. As an inexperienced writer, learning the ropes, I came across a problem that may confront many writers This and the next two entries were very difficult to write, as you will see if you read them. It represents a sub plot ot the entire Brian and Christine story. I was going to leave it out, but I feel it's necessary to include. I know how much tension I was under when I wrote it because when I finished it my whole body began to relax.]

PF Well, being young they were inclined to be rambunctious and disobedient and thus needed a little discipline.

MS Do you think torturing the girls was a little discipline?

PF Well it worked, and it really doesn’t hurt that much.

MS Really? I have one of those wands with me, Sister. Would you like me to show you how it feels?

PF No thank you. I’m not being disobedient.

MS When the police investigated Saint Jane’s they found two girls in the basement, naked and locked in a bare room.

PF Those two were very disruptive and needed to be kept away from the rest of the group.

MS But wasn’t there a better way to keep them separated than locking them in the basement?

PF No there wasn’t. Besides they were fed and their instructions continued while they were there.

MS I see. Now the records show that men from various parts of the world have been coming there to have sex with these girls. Is that true?

PF We don’t know what goes on in those rooms. That is strictly between the girl and her visitor.

MS But aren’t sexual favors the main reason your so-called visitors come?

PF That is what the girls are trained for, yes. So I suppose so.

MS You say they are trained. Who does this training?

PF Why, the men of our home do it, as I told you.

MS You have men who train these young girls in how to have sex with adults. Is that it?

PF Yes.

MS Sister I don’t understand how you can possibly justify such activity.

PF But what you don’t understand is that it is God’s work that we do. Our visitors are some of the most important men on earth. They are leaders, governors, decision makers and policy makers. Their positions and their actions affect the entire world. It is vitally important to them to be able to retreat to a place of innocence, peace and gratification. The blessed Holy Mother Magda had a vision once, when she was in prayer. Blessed Saint Jane de Chantal came to her and said Magda, my work is not done. I need girls, devout and religious, who will serve God’s chosen men of the world and keep them happy and satisfied. So she founded our order. She knew she had to split from any association with Rome, so our order is independent.

MS I understand that. The Catholic Archdiocese has disclaimed any knowledge or approval of your activities.

PF Yes. Of course they have.

MS Sister, those girls in your home, where did they come from?

PF Oh, from all over. Some from broken homes, some from the street, from families that cannot keep them for one reason or another. Some of our visitors bring us girls to train for them..

MS So there are girls there who are already owned by someone. A slave.

(To be continued.)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

B&C III - 53

Brian and Christine
Book Three
Saint Jane's
Part 53

“Mrs. Romero I mailed out about 15 invitations, so if they all come with partners I figure it to be about 20 to 25 people. I didn’t ask for a reply but since it’s informal I guess we can expect at least that many.”

“All right, sir.”

“So make a list of what and who you think you need and I’ll see that that you get them.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Am I coming?” asked Christy.

“Are you kidding? You’ll be the guest of honor.”

Christy giggled. That’s a good sign, Brian thought. She hasn’t laughed around me since we got her here.

“Are you ready for your swimming lesson?”

Yup. But first I gotta take a leak.” She got up and ran off to her room.

After the swimming lesson and some lunch, Brian settled down at the keyboard, thought about Jane the cartwheeler and Crystal the Ice Angel and began to write.

That evening Wendy came over and after Christy had gone to bed she took out a piece of paper and said “I brought you something to read.” She handed the paper to Brian and he looked at it.

“Who’s Priscilla Fabricante?” Brian asked.

“She was one of nuns at Saint Jane’s. She agreed to speak to the police with a lawyer present. I think she thought she was defending the place but if you read it you see that she did anything but. Detective Mike Sanchez conducted the interview. Extraneous comments have been edited out.”

Minutes of the Consultation with Priscilla Fabricante

MS Now Ms. Fabricante…

PF Sister Priscilla, please.

MS As you wish. You claim that Saint Jane’s was doing nothing illegal or immoral and yet the police have evidence to show that approximately 30 young, underage females were being held by the establishment against their will and being forced to perform sexual acts with the men employed there.

PF Oh, no. None of our girls were there against their will. They were all happy to be there.

MS Are you sure of that?

PF Oh, yes.

MS Then why did one of the girls feel it important to reveal to a judge what was going on there?

PF Well, she was brand new to Saint Jane’s. She hadn’t been there long enough. Sometimes, when the girls first come they miss the outside world and want to get away, But once they get accustomed to Saint Jane’s and see how well they are treated they all learn to love the place.

MS Are they treated well, Sister?

PF Of course, we feed them well and take care of all their needs.

MS What about the wands?

PF What?

MS The wands. The electric goads that were used on the girls.

(To be continued.)

Monday, March 16, 2009

B&C III - 52

Brian and Christine
Book Three
Saint Jane's
Part 52

“You are cordially invited to the wedding of Brain Sims and Wendy Klein, Esq. at 2:00 P. M. Saturday,” etc. etc. Myron Bloom had flagged the invitations through the Silverstone print shop and they arrived in record time the next morning by messenger. Brian set about addressing them.

They could have rented a huge hall and had an elaborate wedding with all the luminaries of Hollywood and the legal world, but neither of them wanted it that way. Brian, for one, did not want to join the carousel of Hollywood weddings which were shams at the worst and publicity events at best. Wendy had long past the blushing bride stage of life and as she had said “the marriage is more important to me than the wedding ceremony.” They even thought of taking Judge Parks and his wife off to some obscure place, like Buffalo Gap, and doing it there, away from any gossip. Instead they settled on Brian’s house with a few close friends and colleagues.

While he was preparing the invitations, Christy was in the back yard with Juan, asking a hundred questions and getting a lesson in all the plants, bushes and trees of southern California.

When Brian finished he went out back and said “Christy. I’m going to the post office. You can come with me or you can stay here. Whatever you want.”

“I’ll stay here.”

“Okay.” When you’re 10 years old even a rose bush is an adventure, he thought.

The post office was a few blocks away, so he walked there. On the way he saw a black limo driving by and he wondered, with a chilling feeling, if that could be the limo that took Christy away to Saint Jane’s. He knew it couldn’t be because the whole enterprise had been shut down by the law. Still it made him uncomfortable. He was very glad Christy was with him now and away from that awful experience. He knew that she was safe with Juan and, even though things may not be completely ironed out between them, he felt that Christy was doing her best to adjust.

But he still also felt inadequate and thought there must be something more he could do for her to regain her complete confidence in him. He would give that some more thought.

On his way back from the post office he stopped off to sit for a while in the park. He was hoping to see Jane, the cartwheel expert. He didn’t, but there were other children playing around with mothers sitting on the benches watching them. How innocent and full of life they are, he thought, and how carefully they need to be protected. He had known so little about it before. He had lived for 70 years and had never been a father. Now, suddenly, within a few weeks he had a family, the family he always wanted, and he had learned the hard way about taking responsibility for it.

But he was concerned about himself as a father figure. Was he going to be a good one?” Would he stand up well next to the other fathers of the other kids that would soon be in her life? Would she make comparisons and see his flaws and inabilities? It’s true he was more of a grandfather to Christy than a father, but she didn’t seem to mind that. If she did she never let on. And Wendy certainly fell into the mother role without much effort, and soon she was going to be the wife as well. And as for taking responsibility for Christy, could there be any doubt in his mind that he proved it on an ice field in the wilderness, when they were hungry and in pain, when they didn’t know where they were, or where they were going and when eventually she couldn’t walk? Did they make it? They made it.

He felt a surge of pride and importance, stood up and strode home like a lion.

He found Christy in the kitchen with Mr. and Mrs. Romero having a drink of something.

“Pepsi” she said.

(To be continued.)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

B&C III - 51

Brian and Christine
Book Three
Saint Jane's
Part 51

“Well, then, it’s time for you to have something pretty to draw. Tomorrow, if it’s a nice day, why don’t you go out in the back and see the trees and bushes. There are flowers. Juan keeps the grounds looking very nice. You’ll probably find something interesting to draw.”

“Okay” she said.

Now Wendy and Brian had a problem. Who were they going to invite to the wedding? If they invited everyone they knew and they all came, there would be no room for them.

“I want to keep it simple but I don’t want to leave anyone out” said Wendy.

“What if we just rented a lot of chairs and tables and did it around the pool?”

“Well, that might work if we set up the chairs for the wedding and then had them mill around while we set up the tables. We could even put some of them in the backyard and inside. How many people are you going to invite?” asked Wendy.

“I don’t know yet. They’ll all be people from the studio I guess. How about you?”

“Well I have to invite Wong and his wife, and a few colleagues. Not too many.”

“I thought I’d send invitations up to Buffalo Gap although I doubt if anyone from there would come, it’s such a long way.”

“Still, you’re right, it would be nice to include them.”

“I spoke to the Romeros yesterday and Mrs., Romero is doing some planning for the reception. She’ll tell me what she needs as soon as we know how many are coming.”

“She’s going to need a lot of help” said Wendy. “Can she handle it?”

“This is the kind of event she loves. Feeding a lot of people is her pleasure. I’ll bring in cooks and waiters to help her. Don’t worry.”

The next morning Wendy went off to work and Brian called Myron Bloom. “Good morning, Boss….Fine….That’s good….I need a favor….I need a bunch of wedding invitations ASAP….I told you, I am….to Wendy Klein….How quickly you forget….Yes, you’re invited. If you promise to behave yourself….I know you never behave yourself, but I would like you to make an exception in my case, and Wendy’s and Christy’s….She’s the girl who has been with me, remember, who blew the whistle on that horrible Saint Jane’s place?....Yes, she is….I don’t know, I think so…..Okay, here it is. Are you writing?....Good.”

Brian gave the information to Bloom and thanked him. Then he hung up. Brian couldn’t help being a little nervous and anxious. Was he actually going to go through with this? Getting married again, after all these years. Something inside him made him want to run, go to some strange place, change his name, become anonymous and forget the whole thing.

Just at that moment Christy came into the room and asked “Brian, when are you going to teach me to swim?”

“Right now. Go put on your bathing suit.”

At first Christy was apprehensive of the water, but at Brian’s urging she eased her way into the water and held on to the steps. Brian stood at some distance from her and said “Okay, let go of the steps and swim to me.”

She did and with a lot of desperate huffing, flailing and splashing she reached him. “Very good” he said trying not to laugh.

He held her front down and told her how to breathe, how to stay buoyant, how to kick her legs and move her arms.

She eventually began to feel more confident and could swim on her own for a few feet. Every time she felt frightened, Brain was right there to hold her. He could not help remembering how she was so close to falling through the frozen lake and drowning and how he carried her that lest day of their terrible staggering through the wilderness.


And he had done it. Now in the safety of his own home, in his own swimming pool, he was carrying the same child and she was letting him, because she felt safe in his hands.

And what was Christy thinking? Probably not about malignant men who had handled her in rough and rapacious ways, but about the mysteries of swimming.

Under Brian’s care and teaching she learned quickly not to fear the water and to keep afloat and to move through it. She eventually got to swim the length of the pool in an awkward, haphazard fashion, staying close to the edge and with Brian close beside her. But she was pleased and excited.

“I did it! I did it! Wow! I can’t believe it. Brian, you’re a good teacher. Thank you. Oh, I can’t believe I did it.”

“Well, you did. Now let’s get out, dry off and go have some lunch.”

(To be continued.)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

B&C III - 50

Brian and Christine
Book Three
Saint Jane's
Part 50

Christy spent the weekend with Wendy. When Brian returned to his home he went to sleep quietly for the first in many days. The knot that tied him and Christy together had been chopped at but it wasn’t broken. There had been some growing up on both sides. There were wounds that were still healing. There would be scars. Brian knew that. But he already had scars on his foot where his toes had been and he was still walking. The emotional scars on Christy’s life were not going to prevent her from being the “amazing” child that everyone could see she was.

In the morning Brian called Wendy to discuss some of the wedding details that still had to be worked out. Then he went and found Mrs. Romero to tell her that the wedding would be held there and that there would be a reception afterward. He said “Now, please tell me what you need and who you need to help you and I’ll make sure you have them. I’m going to make up some invitations today so I can let you know about how many people to expect. I don’t know much about these things, so you think about the food and whatever else you think we may need.”

“Oh, yes sir” she said.

“Wendy and I are working out the details now. I’ll have more information for you as we do.”

“Yes, sir.”

“By the way, I think Christy is coming back to stay here soon.”

“How is she?”

“She’s healing.”

“God bless her.”


“I’ll tell Juan what’s happening. He’ll be glad.”

“Thank you, Maria.”

Brian left the kitchen. He went to his room, changed and dove with joy into his swimming pool.

Monday evening Wendy and Christy came over. Christy brought a bunch of her things in a canvas bag with a picture of buffalo on it.

“Where did you get that?” Brian asked.

“From Wendy. She got it for me.”

“Well” said Wendy, “she was telling me all about the buffalo she saw and about the pictures she drew of them, when I saw this I thought she should have it.”

“Christy, do you have some new drawings to show me?”

“No. I don’t like my pictures now. They’re ugly.”

(To be continued.)

Friday, March 13, 2009

B&C III - 49

Brian and Christine
Book Three
Saint Jane's
Part 49

“Of course, sweetheart. Let’s go over here and sit down.”

They moved away from the front door and sat on a sofa.

“I’m sorry I was mean to you before” said Christy.

“That’s okay, Christy, I forgive you. And I’m sorry I put you through that awful experience. I didn’t know I was doing the wrong thing.”

“I know.” There was a silence. Wendy saw them talking together and busied herself in the kitchen.

“Those men were so nasty” she said. “I didn’t know people could be cruel, like that.”

“Well, some people are, and it’s best to stay away from them.”

“You’re not like that. Are you?”

“No. Of course not.”


“Listen. You like Wendy, don’t you?”

“Yup. She’s cool.”

“Do you think she’s like any of those nuns in that place?”

“No. She couldn’t be that bad.”

“And Wendy likes me. So do you think she would if I could be like any of those men?”

“No. I guess not.”

“I’m not.”

There was another silence. Christy was thinking hard.

“Are you and Wendy really getting married?”

“Yes. We are.”


“Next weekend.”

“Am I going to be there?”

“You better be. We both want you there.”

“Then what?”

“Then there will be a reception, with a bunch of people.”


“At my house.”

“Oh. And then what?”

“What do you mean?”

“Is she going to go live with you?”

“Probably. Although I don’t think she will give up this apartment.”


“You’re wondering what’s going to happen to you, aren’t you?”

“Yup.” After some more silence she said “ I miss Flicker.”

“I spoke with your Aunt Lydia the other day. Flicker is doing fine. She’s grown a little bit, but she’s very healthy, and she and the other cat…”


“…Smoky, are getting along just fine.”

“Oh, that’s good.”

“Do you want to go back to Connecticut?”

“I don’t know. I guess not. There’s no place for me to be there. Besides I like it here.”

“You know you can’t stay here in Wendy’s place because her job takes her away a lot and there would be no one to look after you.”

“I guess not.”

“I’ll tell you what. After the wedding why don’t you and Wendy come over and live in my house. You will have your own room. We will find a good place for you to go to school, and I’m there most of the time, working. I’ll teach you how to swim, and I happen to know, because they told me, that the Romeros will be glad to have you there.”


“What do you say?”

“Okay” she said and jumped off the sofa to go help Wendy in the kitchen.

(To be continued.)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

B&C III - 48

Brian and Christine
Book Three
Saint Jane's
Part 48

The four of them gathered around the table. Wendy took the chair closest to her kitchen and said “I’m here. You can sit where you please.”

Allen and Felicity sat next to each other. Brian sat leaving a space for Christy between himself and Wendy.

The dinner was simple but delicious: lemon chicken, mashed potatoes, broccoli, a California salad, fresh rolls and a fine local Chardonnay. There were pleased remarks all around.

“Thank you. I’m not much of a cook. I was a fast food addict in school and then my husband was usually on the road with some ball team.”

“Oh, you were married before?” asked Allen.

“We both were” added Brian. “Mine ended in divorce, but it was many, many years ago.”

“And my husband was killed in an airplane crash. Also many years ago.”

“Oh” exclaimed Felicity. “How sad.”

There was silence for a few moments. Then Christy came into the room and said “Hi.”

“Here she is. Christy come meet my friends” said Wendy.

Introductions were made. Christy walked around and shook hands with both of them. Then Wendy said “Christy, sit and have some dinner. They tell me it’s good.”


She looked up at Brian, and then sat next to him in the remaining chair.

Allen Parks tried to discuss the break up of Saint Jane’s and Christy’s part in it until it was obvious she didn’t want to talk about it. So he dropped the subject.

The topic changed to the up coming marriage of Brian and Wendy. Simple details were discussed and plans were made. Brian noticed that Christy was paying close attention to that conversation, but she still wasn’t smiling. Not yet.

After dinner they all went back into the living room for coffee and some fresh fruit. Christy went with them.

When it was time to leave, they all stood up to thank Wendy for the meal. Judge Parks said that he saw no reason why Brian and Wendy couldn’t be very happy together and he was pleased and proud to marry them.

As Wendy was seeing them out the door, Christy came over to Brian and said “Can I talk to you for a minute?”

(To be continued.)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

B&C III - 47

Brian and Christine
Book Three
Saint Jane's
Part 47

But Christy ran up the stirs into her room and closed the door.

Wendy was standing there watching and Brian said “Maybe you should go to her.”

“No, Brian, I don’t think so. She needs to be alone.”

Brian was very perplexed. What’s she doing?”

“She’s probably crying.”


“Because she loves you.”

“Well if she loves me why is she crying? That doesn’t make any sense.”

“If you were a girl it would.”

Brian was still confused but he deferred to Wendy’s wisdom.

“Okay” he said.

“Now come and sit down, have your drink and relax.”

Brian sat but was not relaxed. Why do I always manage to say or do the wrong thing, he wondered. What did I do wrong this time? I feel hopeless and useless.

“I know what you’re thinking” said Wendy, “but don’t worry about it. She just has to sort things out in her head. And she will. You’ll see.”

“I hope so.”

They sat silently for a few moments and then the buzzer rang. Wendy crossed over to the door and pressed the speaker switch “Yes?”

“Mr. and Mrs. Parks at your service” came a voice over the speaker. Wendy smiled and pressed another button. She stood by the door for a moment and then opened it to let in Allen and Felicity Parks.

Mr. Parks was in his fifties, with gray hair, a stern expression but with a twinkle in his eye. Felicity, his wife, was a slender woman with thinning ashen blond hair and a big smile.

Introductions were made all around, seats were taken, drinks were made and distributed all around and conversation ensued.

“So you two want to get hitched, do you” said Allen.

“Yes we do” said Brian.

“I think it’s just wonderful” said Felicity, “that the two of you found each other after all the years you’ve lived.”

“Thank you. I guess it is” said Brian.

“How did it happen?” she asked.

“Wendy came to represent me in a legal matter and we hit it off right away.”


“That’s about it” said Wendy. “Neither one of us were looking. That’s why we found each other.”

“Isn’t that grand?” said Felicity.

Then Allen said “I thought you told me that the girl from the orphanage who blew the whistle on them was here with you?”

“She’s upstairs now, dealing with something. She will probably come down when she gets hungry. You will like her.”

The conversation went on with small talk about this and that until Wendy said “Well, dinner is ready, if you’d like to come in and sit at the table. So they did.

Wendy’s dining room had a medium sized wooden table, circular when the side flaps were folded up. There were place settings for five. Wendy went to the bottom of the stairs and called up “Christy? Dinner’s ready.”

There was no answer.

(To be continued.)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

B&C III - 46

Brian and Christine
Book Three
Saint Jane's
Part 46

He was interrupted by a phone call from Wendy. She said that she had spoken to Judge Parks about marrying them and he was pleased to do it, but wanted to meet Brian first, so she extended a dinner invitation to Parks and his wife for the following evening. “Did you check this out with Christy….And what did she say?....Sounds hopeful….Probably.….Okay, what time?....I’ll be there, sweetheart….Love you too.”

Wendy had suggested he come early to give Christy a chance to adjust to his being there. Brian thought that was a good idea. But he wondered if it was going to be a strain on all of them. Maybe an informal situation would be better.

Why am I being so cautious? he thought. Any situation, just about, is a good one for them to be together. The time has come! After all, we have both suffered through this latest disaster; surely she wants to share in the recovery with me as well as Wendy. I’ll go to the dinner expecting good things and giving as much love as I can.

Wendy’s apartment was a duplex, well and comfortably furnished. She had good taste, which was no surprise to Brian. She greeted him with a warm hug and kiss when he arrived at the time she gave him.

“Where’s Christy?”

“Upstairs in her room. She’ll be down. Have a seat, have a drink.”

Brian sat with expectation, watching the staircase.

Wendy returned with a couple of drinks and set them down. Then she went to the foot of the stairs and called “Christy?”

“Yeah” came a voice from upstairs.

“Come on down. Brian is here.”


After a few moments Christy stood on a top step and then slowly came down the stairs. When she reached the bottom she stopped and looked at Brian. She wasn’t smiling.

Brian stood up. “Hi Christy.”

“Hi” she said.

“Brian went over to her and said “Christy, I’m sorry about the things that happened to you and I’m glad that your okay.”

He reached out to hug her but she pulled back.

“No” she barked. “Don’t touch me. Leave me alone!”

She started to run up the stairs.

Brian stepped toward her, put his hand on the bottom of the banister and said “Christy. I will never leave you.”

She stopped briefly. They both vividly remembered the first time that promise was made.

[They made their way through the tangles of the forest, around the frozen lake, in and out of clearings and over fallen trees. When they got to the far side of the lake there was a brook.

“This must be the same brook we were following once,” said Christy.

“Probably. I don’t know.”

The brook was filled with ice covered stones. The water was coming from the lake and it was moving very slowly.

“We’ll have to be very careful going across here,” said Brian. “It will be very slippery.”

He started to cross the brook, stepping carefully, testing each stone before he put his weight on it. Christy followed him. Brian made it to the other side of the brook and turned to help Christy who was almost there, when suddenly there was a rapid double flash of light and a loud crack of thunder. It frightened her and she slipped. She cried out and fell forward onto the snow. “Ow! Oh! My foot. I hurt my foot. It’s bad.” She was crying.

“Is there any way you can turn it so that it doesn’t hurt?”

She turned over on her back and tried twisting her foot around, crying with the pain, but she said “If I turn it in it’s not so bad. But it still hurts. Oh, Brian, I’m sorry.”

“That’s okay. You just lie there, take it easy and keep the foot turned in.”

“Okay,” she was crying a lot.

On that side of the brook there was a short, steep climb,, thick with trees, up to a clearing. “I’d better go up there and see where we are,” he told her.

She reached up to him with both hands, “Brian, please don’t leave me here.” Tears were coming out of her eyes and flowing down the sides of her face.

Brian put his hands in the snow on either side of her, leaned over and looked at her tear stained face.

“Christy. I will never leave you.”

They looked at each other for a long moment and each of them knew there was a bond now, a bond that would never break.]

(To be continued.)

Monday, March 9, 2009

B&C III - 45

Brian and Christine
Book Three
Saint Jane's
Part 45

Brian finished his cigarette, rose, saw in the distance the little girl doing cartwheels and then returned to his home refreshed. His anger had subsided. He thought that the day would come soon when all of the experiences he and Christy had shared together would eventually purchase enough recovery from her most recent nightmarish episode to allow her to appear back into his life once again Patience and compassion were the tools he needed now more than anything. Forget your toes, he said to himself, they’re gone. Forget the troll brains. Forget that bitch Mother Magda, the faux nun, and her “enterprise.” And if Lojak doesn’t want to do your film, then to hell with him. He’s not the only actor in Hollywood.

Back home he wanted some companionship, so he went into the kitchen and found Mrs. Romero fussing with dishes and things.

“Hello Mr. Sims. What can I get you? A drink? Some coffee?”

“Is there a pot on?”

“I put one on right now.” She did.

Brian sat at the table and said “How are things with you?”

“Oh they’re fine Mr. Sims. Juan is out in the back working in the yard. Do you want to see him?”

“No, if he’s busy let him be.”

“Oh. Here he is.”

Just at that moment Juan Romero came in through the back door, took off some work gloves and said “Hello Mr. Sims. Is there a problem, sir?”

“No Juan, no problem. I just thought I’d sit in my own kitchen, have a cup of coffee and some company. Will you have a seat?”

“Thank you, sir.” Juan sat at the table leaving room for Maria.

“How are things?”

“Oh, fine, sir. I put some more fertilizer under that one palm tree that was looking not good. And I clipped the hedge.”

“Sounds good.”

Maria poured a cup of coffee for Brian and set it in front of him.

“Will you join me?”

She smiled, poured two more cups, brought them to the table and sat.

“When will be the wedding?” she asked.

“We don’t quite know yet. We have to wait for Christy to get adjusted to being away from that place she was in and readjusted to me.”

“Such a sweet girl. They came over to swim and she came right in here first thing to say hello.”

“Were you here, Juan, when she came in?”

“No, sir, why?”

“She is apparently having a little trouble dealing with men.”

“Oh, she will get over that” said Mrs. Romero.

“I hope so” said Brian.

“She will.”

“I wanted to ask you something, sir.”


“After you are married will there be any changes?”

“Oh, no doubt there will be a lot of changes. But you mean will there be any changes in your positions here?”

“Yes, sir.”

“No, none at all. I’m very satisfied having the two of you here. You’ve been a great help to me. I plan to stay living here. I’m hoping that Wendy and Christy will also live here. That will give you more to do, I’m sure. So I’ll raise you wages accordingly. If you don’t mind.”

They laughed.

“You take good care of us, sir, but, no, we don’t mind.”

“It will be nice to have them here” said Mrs. Romero.

After some small talk, Brian finished his coffee, thanked them for the chat and went back to his computer.

He sat down in front of it, thought for a moment about the Romeros, about his quiet time in the park and about Jane. Then he reached over, deleted “I’m angry” and started a new page about a young girl who does cartwheels.

(To be continued.)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

B&C III - 44

Brian and Christine
Book Three
Saint Jane's
Part 44

He leaned back in his chair and said to himself, I’m angry that I have to be away from my home in order to avoid someone I love. I’m angry that Launce Lojak doesn’t want to do my film. I’m angry at Mother Magda and her whole bag of perverts. I’m angry that I had to lose some of my toes. I’m angry at the Buffalo Gap troll brains. I’m angry that the badness of the world is getting in the way of the goodness. I’m angry that I’m tired and want to fold everything up and just go away. I’m angry at the whole damn world!

Brian got up and went out for a walk. He walked for a long time down unfamiliar streets, not looking at houses or anything, just staring in front of him trying to think clearly instead of just fume with rage.

He came to a big park with pathways, trees and benches. He sat down on a bench and lit up a cigarette. While he was sitting there a woman came along pushing a baby carriage preceded by a young girl, much younger than Christy, about 6 or 7, Brian guessed. The girl was doing cartwheels, and doing them very well. She did one right in front of Brian.

“You’re very good at that” he said.

“Thank you.”

“What’s your name?”


“Jane,” Saint Jane, Brian thought. The real Saint Jane. “Is that your Mommy?”

The woman with the carriage was approaching with a concerned look on her face. Brian waved at her. “Hi Mom” he said.

“Jane, do you do cartwheels in school?”

“Uh huh.”

“Gymnastics, acrobatics?”




“You enjoy it?”

“Uh huh. It’s fun.”

“Who’s in the baby carriage?”

“That’s my brother, Tommy. He’s brand new.”

“Well, you keep learning acrobatics because it’s a good thing to know. Maybe someday you’ll be in the Olympics.”


“And Jane?”


“Don’t talk to strange men.”


The mother was standing and listening. She was smiling.

“Thanks, Mom” said Brian.

They moved on.

(To be continued.)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

B&C III - 43

Brian and Christine
Book Three
Saint Jane's
Part 43

“I’m sorry. I sort of had Lojak in mind when I wrote tie script.”

“Those are the breaks, kid. You’re good buddy Wong and I finally settled the dispute over the new SAG contract. The union is plundering us, as usual, but what can you do. You still hold a card?”


“Well maybe I’ll put you in the film and save a little money. How’s your young friend doing?”

“She’s doing okay. As well as she can under the circumstances.”

“When are you going to bring her around here?"

“As soon as she starts talking to me again.”

“Why doesn’t she talk to you for Chrssake?”

“She’s going through a thing about men, I guess.”

“No wonder. Those bastards. I hear they’re getting themselves put away, one by one. Forever, let’s hope.”

“Let’s hope.”
“So what’s happening with you?”

“She and Wendy, my fiancée, are at my place swimming, so I’m staying away for the day.”

“So hang out. Go over to studio 17. They’re shooting a fight scene with two macho gay stunters. It should be very interesting.”

“Thanks. I think I’ll go to the library.”


Brian left Bloom’s office, chatted briefly with Beatrice and then went walking around the studio lot feeling as if he didn’t belong there, or anywhere. He was always amazed at how many people there were involved in making a film, a “large paint box” Orson Welles had called it. He hoped he could bring Christy here one day. He knew he would have a lot of explaining to do because she would be so curious about everything. The thought of Christy made him sad.

He wandered into the library which, as usual, was empty of all except the librarian, Janice Swarth, a quiet, friendly woman but one who never smiled. Brian chatted with her a bit and then went back to the shelves. He took down a few books on American History. He was basically killing time until he could return home, but he was also looking for an idea for another film. Something with fierceness, he thought, with an ironic grin. No more miners digging tunnels. A war story perhaps.

Unless the tale is well known, with famous characters people are usually not interested, and if it’s a famous story it’s usually done in an antiseptic manner so as not to insult the heroes of the past.

So maybe he should return to a fictional story. He would like to do one about Buffalo Gap. That would mean going back there to get more information. Now there’s a film Myron could cast Brian in easily.

The time passed while Brian mused on these things. At about 4, Brian called Wendy’s cell phone to find out that they had finished swimming and had gone back to her place. So he put the books back on the shelf, said good day to Janice and went home.

Once there he settled down at his desk and tried to relax. His fingers were itching to write something. What he typed was “I’m angry!”

(To be continued.)

Friday, March 6, 2009

B&C III - 42

Brain and Christine
Book Three
Saint Jane's
Part 42

“Hello Christy….Oh, I’m okay. How are you?....Good….What?....So I heard. Do you like it there?....Is Wendy treating you good?....When?....Hi Wendy. That was a brief, unexpected pleasure…..Did you tell her to call me?....Did she put up a fuss about it?....Well, that’s good, if it didn’t crack the ice maybe it melted it a little bit…Is she still there by the phone?.....When?....Okay, I’ll go to the studio. What time will you be coming?....All right, I’ll let Mrs. Romero know to expect you….Have you girls been having fun?....She has?....That’s good….Did she have any nightmares?....Oh, well, that’s a good sign….Okay….I love you Wendy. Love you both….Please tell Christy I love her….Bye.”

Brian hung up the phone and was pleased that he got to talk with Christy briefly, but he was still concerned because it didn’t seem that she wanted to talk to him. There’s a difference between real love and obligatory love. Brian didn’t want Christy to talk with him because she had to. When will the day be when she really comes to him because she wants to, when she doesn’t tag along after Wendy? Wait, wait and keep loving, he thought. But his stomach was churning with doubt and frustration.

At breakfast the next morning he told Mrs. Romero that Wendy and Christy would be coming over to swim, then went off to Silverstone Studios.

When he walked into Bloom’s office, Myron was on the phone as usual. He motioned for Brian to sit and after a few moments hung up, looked at Brian and said “I hope you’re ready for some bad news.”

“My whole life these days is bad news. What now?”

“Launce Lojak read your script, doesn’t like it and doesn’t want to do it. I’ve been on the phone with his agent this morning. No go.”

“Why doesn’t he like it?”

He said he doesn’t want to spend a whole film digging a tunnel and he says there isn’t enough fierceness in it.”

“Fierceness. It’s a story about courage, bravery and ingenuity, not about violence.”

“So what? It’s a no go with Launce. It sucks, but we’ve got to find another star. I’ve got phone calls out.”

“Any bites?”

“Not yet. People are busy. We may have to go east, as much as I hate it there.”

“Who’s there?”

“John Clancy. He’s doing a Broadway but maybe he can get away. I’ll call him. Otherwise I’ll drop an order on the New York agents and see what they come up with.”

(To be continued)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

B&C III - 41

Brian and Christine
Book Three
Saint Jane's
Part 41

Then Brian asked “Alice, according to Wendy they took everything away from Christy when she got to that place. Is there any chance of getting any of it back?”

“I can’t be very promising about that. Everything the police collected is being held for evidence, and apparently they collected a lot. But I will look into it for you>”

“Thank you. I’m so glad she didn’t try to bring Flicker along.”

“Flicker?” asked Alice.

“Her kitten. Still safe and sound back in Connecticut. I recently spoke with her Aunt Lydia.”

“Well, that’s good” said Alice. “Well, I think I have enough information to make a favorable evaluation of Christy’s situation. I’ll be in touch with you soon. Thanks for the tea.”

Alice tucked her file back in her bag, gathered it up and stood. Brian and Wendy saw her to the door. Then Wendy said “Brian, I still have a lot of work to do for next week, I’d better go back to my place.”

“Okay.” They kissed. Wendy left.

Early Friday evening Wendy called to tell Brian that Christy had moved in to her apartment and was glad to be there. She also said she felt it was important to stay with her over the weekend so she wouldn’t feel alone and abandoned. Wendy said she brought up the subject of the wedding and told Christy that we want her to be there. She said she got a noncommittal answer out of Christy. Wendy won’t bring up the subject of coming over to Brian’s house until later in the weekend. In the meantime they’re having fun together although Wendy said she misses Brian.

“Same here” he said.

They said their good byes and hung up.

Thee weekend passed. Brian was pleased that Christy was out of that hotel room and with Wendy but he missed both of them so much he was having trouble thinking about anything else. He wanted to rework some of his stories so he turned on the computer. He found some places that needed work, but his writing was so common and uninspired that he was disgusted with himself. He kept wondering what he could do to get Christy to like him again. There was nothing on his plate except patience. After what they had been through together it was impossible for her to be completely gone from his life or he to be gone from hers. He turned off the computer and went for a swim.

Back and forth, slowly, over and over, his heart pounding with impatience and doubts, he swam. One of the only places he really felt at home was in the water. I must be part fish, he thought.

He swam until he wore himself out. Then he pulled himself up out and lay down on the tiles next to the pool staring up at the glass ceiling. Why weren’t things right, why weren’t they settled, why weren’t they harmonized, he asked himself.

Then he rolled over back into the water and paddled slowly back and forth, a few more times.

On Sunday evening, after a nice dinner he tried to relax in his living room. He fixed himself a drink and thought about what to do to pass the time when the telephone rang. He answered it and was surprised to hear the voice of Christy.

(To be continued.)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

B&C III - 40

Brian and Christine
Book Three
Saint Jane's
Part 40

The next morning Wendy called Alice Foster and set up a time in the late afternoon when she could come and meet Brian and see where he lived. She also called Bloom and was told that since the publication of “People Talk” with the picture of Christy they have been overwhelmed with offers to adopt her. And they are still coming in.

She had to go to her office to do some work but assured Brian that she would be back for Ms. Foster’s visit. Brian went through his house to make sure it was presentable and then sat down at his computer and tried to do some work. It was pointless.

That afternoon Alice Foster arrived, a nicely but casually dressed woman of about 30. She had an open case over her shoulder filled with papers. Wendy arrived at the same time. When they came in Brian greeted Ms. Foster with a smile and asked her if she wished a coffee or anything. She said “I wouldn’t mind a cup of tea if you have any.”


“Nothing thanks.”

“Okay” he said and headed for the kitchen. Wendy took Alice into the living room where they sat. Alice took the case off of her shoulder, put it on the floor and fished out a file.

“Do you live here as well Wendy?”

“Sometimes. Since we’re engaged I try to spend as much time as I can with Brian, but my career keeps me busy.”

“When’s the happy day?”

“It’s not settled. We want Christy to be there, so we’re waiting until this whole thing is straightened out.”

“I see.”

“I hope things get settled soon. Do you think they will?”

“Well, a lot of that is up to Christy. I must say I have been very impressed with her. She’s very respectful and cooperative even though she’s under a major strain. Some of the other girls assigned to me, give me nothing but trouble. Christy is amazing.”

“Yes. Many people have said so.”

Brian returned with a tray and set it down next to Alice. It had a cup of tea with milk and sugar on the side.

“Thank you” she said.

Brian sat down at his desk and said “Now Ms, Foster, what can I tell you and what can you tell me?”

Alice smiled and said “Well, first of all it’s Alice, and you can tell me a little bit about yourself and how you know Christy,”

Brian retold the story of the plane crash, the long walk, the time spent in Buffalo Gap, the hearing which cleared him and Christy of the claim that they weren’t on the plane. He told her about why he had enrolled her at Saint Jane’s and how they tried to see her and about the letter he wrote that she never received.

He explained about being a successful script writer for Silverstone Studios and how he met Wendy.

Alice listened carefully, occasionally making a note in her file.

“Do you consider yourself a patient man, Brian?”

“Yes. Not as patient as I would like to be, but I’ working on it. Why do you ask?”

“I think I can tell off hand that you would make a good parent for Christy, but she has been through a hard knocks experience with some men who treated her badly. She has a lot of healing to do. How long is up to her, but for now she needs to be alone and not in the company of men. Do you understand that?”

“Yes, I do. But how long will that condition last, do you think?”

“I don’t know. It’s up to her. But I think I can safely get her released into the custody of Wendy, here. And then we’ll see how she responds.”


Alice was thoughtful. She looked around at the room. “Mm” she said. “I noticed that you have a pool.”

“Yes. I enjoy swimming. Christy asked me to teach her to swim.”

“I was just thinking of something. I’d like to make a suggestion. Is there ever a time when you’re not here, Brian?”

“Hardly. This is where I work. But I can go to the studio whenever I want. Why?”

“I was just thinking that it might be a good idea, after a few days at Wendy’s place, Wendy could bring her over here when you’re not here, maybe for a splash in the pool, and see how she feels being in the house, with your things around. If she freaks then we’ll try something different but if she seems comfortable being here that will be a good sign. What do you think?”

“I like it” said Brian.

“Me too” said Wendy.

“Then let’s do it. And if that works out, I suggest that you go over to Wendy’s place for a brief visit.”

They all thought that was also a good move.

But it was going to cause some trouble.

(To be continued.)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

B&C III - 39

Brian and Christine
Book Three
Saint Jane's
Part 39

Brian put his head in his hands and sighed.

“After I left the room” said Wendy, “I spoke with Ms. Foster to find out what we can do. I wanted to know what sort of therapy there was for someone in Christy’s position. She said the first and best thing for her would be to be in home with loving parents who would care for her and be patient with the healing process. I said ‘Well, I can provide that’ but I had to tell her that Christy didn’t want to see you. So she asked me a bunch of questions about you. I answered them as best I could but there were some things about you I don’t know yet.”

“Like what?”

“Well I met your sister and brother-in-law, and they are very nice people, and obviously love you. But I know nothing about your folks, where you came from, where you grew up. I only know that you were married once before and that you are a sweetheart of a man."

“Thank you.”

“She asked if she could come and meet you and get to know what Christy would be getting into. I thought it was a good idea. So I said I would check it out with you and call her back.”

“It is a good idea. Go ahead. What else?”

“I also asked her about counseling. But she said that, although there were professionals who are trained in this sort of problem, Christy would have to get in line as there were many girls to deal with and all of them had been at Saint Jane’s longer than Christy. Some of the older girls have been so brainwashed that they actually believe in what they were doing and are very hostile to the efforts to rehabilitate them. It’s a big, big hornet’s nest, the whole thing.”

“Do you think Christy will ever want to see me again?”

“Yes. Because I know she loves you. She basically hates all men right now. She hates all men but she loves you. As long as you are ‘all men’ she can’t deal with you.”

“How long will that take?”

“Brian, don’t be selfish. You’re the adult, you can deal.”

“You said that the older man was crueler to her than the others. How old is he?”

“I don’t know. But you and he are not the same man so don’t worry about it.”

“When will you call Ms. Foster?”

“Tomorrow. She’s off duty now.”

“I hope she’s as nice and understanding as you say she is.”

“Brian! Stop fretting. Christy is okay, she’s safe. Have another drink. Let’s go for a swim.”


(To be continued.)

Monday, March 2, 2009

B&C III - 38

Brian and Christine
Book Three
Saint Jane's
Part 38

Brian thought again about the plane crash and how many people lost their lives, and how many loved ones were now mourning their loss, and he remembered that in spite of all the pain and trouble they had, he and Christy were still alive and he felt a rush of gratitude about that. Things will eventually get straightened out and healed. It is still time for patience and hope. He strengthened himself with that thought. It seemed impossible that he would ever get Louise and her friend out of that flooded cave, but he did it. It seemed impossible that he would ever get in touch with Cindy’s brother, but he kept at it until he did. It seemed impossible that he would ever make a decent living in show business, but again he kept going until he made it. It was impossible that he and Christy would ever make it out of that wilderness but they did and they would make it out of this one, somehow.

The next afternoon Wendy showed up. She plunked her briefcase down on a table and flopped, exhausted into a chair.

“You look like you could use a drink” said Brian.

“Would you mind?”

He set right to fixing a couple of drinks. He handed her one with a smile and sat.

She took a sip and then said “So, I suppose you want to know everything.”


“Well, I saw her. She looks good. When I came in she was sitting on the bed, wearing some of the clothes we bought her, drawing on the pad we got her. When she saw me she jumped off the bed, ran over and gave me a big hug. She’s living in a hotel room. It’s a good hotel, the one they use for putting up juries when they have to be sequestered. I had a feeling that was where she was.

Alice Foster is a very nice, smart woman who quite obviously loves kids. She immediately checked up on Christy to make sure she had what she needed and that everything was going well for her.

We talked about the possib8ility of her coming to live with me and we even broached the subject of adoption. Ms. Foster was inclined to favor the idea of both, but she said there were details that had to be confronted since Christy was now a ward of the state. It was not impossible she said, just complicated.

But here’s the hard part. Christy talked about some of the things that happened to her at Saint Jane’s. First of all they immediately took everything away from her when she got in. They took her suitcase with all of her nice clothes that we bought; they even took the clothes she was wearing. They took her book and art things. They took her cell phone. They left her naked in a room until she was brought in to dinner. At first she thought it was some sort of initiation until she got into the dinning room and saw that all the girls were naked. While they were eating, the men wandered around watching them. After they ate she was taken back to the room and left there.

In the morning they were taken to a chapel where there was some sort of a religious service which she said she didn’t understand, but there were some nuns there and Mother Magda gave a sermon about obedience. After the chapel she was taken back to the room. She never knew that we had come through the front and tried to see her. She never got your letter. She was only told that her first “visitor” would be coming in a few weeks and that she had to rush to get ready.

In the morning, she said, she was told that her instruction would begin. She thought that meant a school but it wasn’t. One of the men came into her room and forced her to do what she called “nasty things” to him and when she wasn’t doing what he wanted he would shock her with a stick that hurt. She said it hurt “bad.” They called it a “wand.”

She said they took pictures of her and the other girls, making them pose naked in strange positions and sometimes wearing strange clothes. They also took videos of them.

She said that some of the older girls were mean to her. She said that the men were mean and very demanding, especially the older man. He was particularly cruel."

(To be continued.)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

B&C III - 37

Brian and Christine
Book Three
Saint Jane's
Part 37

The next day, at lunch time, Wendy called to say that she got a message from Alice Foster. Christy had asked to see Wendy so they set it up for the following day. She explained that the judge was a lazy man, who was happy to adjourn the case on any pretext, so she didn’t think she would have any conflict at getting to Christy tomorrow. She said she would come by afterward and let Brian know how it went.

Brian would have preferred to wait until Wendy could talk to him about Christy and what her future would be, but he felt obligated. So, with a knot in his stomach, he picked up the phone and dialed Connecticut.

“Hello Lydia…..This is Brian Sims….I know….Yes, I know….No, the whole place is closed down and everyone has been arrested….She’s okay, she’s safe….Yes, the court is protecting her….She’s in a safe place, under 24 hour guard….I know….Me too….Well. It’s not your fault. We both thought we were doing the right thing….Yes….Yes, I know….No, I haven’t seen her since that day, but my lawyer, Wendy Klein, who is also my fiancée, has talked to her and is going to see her tomorrow….Yes. Then I’ll know more….Yes it is….Yes, it’s terrible….She was very brave….She could have been sent right back there. But the judge listened to her….Yes she is, everyone says so….Well, Ms. Klein is working on adopting her….I don’t know….Yes, it would….Well, please don’t feel that way, Lydia. We didn’t know….Yes, I will….I certainly will….How is your husband? The last time we talked he was ill….Much better?....Oh, that’s good. And how is Flicker doing?....Good. Christy will be glad to hear that…..I’ll call you as soon as I know anything….I promise….Bye.”

He was glad he made that call. Talking with Christy’s aunt cleared away some of the stress. But the waiting went on. His mind was working so slowly now. Brian felt old, and finished.

He got up and made himself a drink, set it down on the table and let the ice melt. He sat by the pool and stared at the water for a while, but didn’t go in. He went back to his computer and looked at the keyboard: Q W E R T. Nothing made any sense to him. He sat in a corner of the room, on a big comfortable chair, closed his eyes and thought about giving up, And then a silent, soft voice in the back of his mind said “Brian. This is not a good time to die.”

(To be continued.)