Hildene, home, home on the Range

“Okay, so Mrs. Mendoza can you tell me everthing that happened that day?”

“Si, I mean, what?”

“Yes, Mrs. Mendoza if I’m to help you in court and properly represent you then I have to know all the facts.”

The old and deeply sun tanned woman named Mrs. Mendoza had been distracted looking around the room. So when she brought her tired head up to the man sitting across the desk from her, she felt shy and intimidated. Why not, he was tall even sitting down and his full head of coarse dark hair needed to be trimmed. He was lean but not skinny and had the kind of completion that made it hard to guess where his ancestors came from. Yet all of that did not matter to her as long as she could look into this man’s eyes, the window to the soul. She looked into the green eyes of this one and it made her nod her head. He was special, she just knew it.
Now she looked at him as a señorita would; no ring or ghost of a ring meant he wasn’t married. She also knew he was not the kind of man who would bow down his head to anyone. But, what was most interesting to her was the big smile that seemed to wrap itself around his face and shine down on her.

“Mrs. Mendoza, are you with me?”

“Si”, the woman answered, “I am.”

According to your statement, you worked for two weeks at the Meyer Farm and Mr. Meyer said you destroyed property. That is the reason why he didn’t pay you for your work.”

“No, it is not true. All I did was step between the flower beds. That is all. How was I going to plant the flowers? I am small, but not that small.”

“Well, I’m going to talk to Mr. Meyer first before we take him to court. Sometimes the honey method works with the right persuasion behind it. I’ll see what I have to do first.”

“Okay, she answered and went back to looking at the framed diplomas on the wall. “What is this one for?”

He looked up from his notebook, drew in a sigh and said, “It says I graduated from a school not too far from here. It’s called Burr and Burton, my high school.”

“And this one?”Diploma 2xaa

“It’s my one and only first you could say. I had a convincing way of debating that took first place. It seems that is my strong suit.”

“What of this one?”

“It’s my law degree.”

“Is this suit a strong one too?”

“Let’s just say I wasn’t at the top of my class,” he looked the framed degree over, “that piece of paper reminds me, I didn’t give up.”

When she pointed to two men shaking hands, one still a boy and the other seemed to be looking rather sadly down at him. Behind them was a large house with beautifully manicured grounds and a rolling hill side.

He answered before she asked, “Well, the boy on the left is my grandfather, his  name is Linkhorn Jackson. But, everyone calls him Link.”

Who is the other man, he has sadness in his eyes. Maybe he has seen too much, no?”

“I don’t really know about that. The photo is very old.  I never met the man, but he is Robert Todd Lincoln. My grandfather was hired to work and much later became the head caretaker at his estate Hildene.” That picture is when my grandfather first started working there.”

“Okay,” Mrs. Mendoza said and got up nodded her head and left the tiny one room law office.  She truly felt her problems were in the hands of the right man. She just knew it.

The thirty-three year old lawyer with the big smile finished the last of his notes and closed the door of his law practice. The hand painted shingle rattled and he looked up at the name. He often wondered why his father had given it to him. The playground taunts and snickering that went with it hurt but he refused to show it all through his school years. If that were not enough, the higher expectations from his law professors at college were always a sore spot with him. Yet all this disappeared when he came home. Papa Link was never to tired to listen to him. Ever since his father and mother died in a rail road accident at twenty five years old his grandfather took him in and raised him like a son on the Hildene Estate. Even the other workers there felt like his family and that made him strong. But, friendships at school seemed to be made by breeding, stature, and the money that made it happen. All of this came down to one thing, he was just another hand working on a rich man’s estate.

He read the sign aloud,” A. Jackson attorney at law”.

He stepped off the porch and fired up his trusty scooter. It wasn’t much but got great gas mileage and was fair enough payment from a client who couldn’t afford to pay in cash.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Big Wheel Keep On Turnin 15 1/2

Of the very, very, very few who are following this story I would like to not apologize for the direction this story is moving into; it has not been an abrupt change from my point of view.  Rather, it is following the prescribed path pencilled long (look at the first post year) before this blog writing.  Let’s say I am interluding  here to maybe coax the reader to have faith in the direction of this story, to hang in there if not for the sake of the author, then for the sake of the time taken from your life to read what comes out of someone’s heart and head, and yes keyboard.  For the reader at this point may feel they are involving themselves in a slow moving train wreck a few miles just ahead on the track. But the Engine Driver, the man at the “brake,” the man with the power to grind that moving mass of steel, gears, and unbelievably powerful steam boiler to a catastrophic conclusion is well aware.  He knows it is his decision to make every day, every hour and even every second with his hand on that total chaos.  For he know it will not stop on the proverbial “dime,” everyone looking out the windows, checking their watches, and shaking their head as to why the train has to be so late.  He knows it is his choice alone. It is his decision to keep moving ahead when there is debris on the track, or when an animal strays across those two ribbons of steel and the passengers feel that surge of power as the train lurches ahead even faster. All the while the Engine Driver does not want to hit anything.  But the simple law of physics to lock up those wheels and essentially float thousands of tons of steel off the track and on to gravel along with the lives of every mother’s son or daughter aboard are not going to happen.  The Engine Driver’s decisions are final, and carried with him every day of his hopefully long life.train hat1

And so too an author, whether European, the Americas, Far Eastern or maybe even hieroglyphics writer long ago is well aware of the responsibility to his or her readers. To see with “Blinding Eyes,” that which has been laid out before them and to have the safest and best experience. Who knows, they may ride once more with the author.

 

Mentioned earlier in the “Story,” I said this tale of America had to be told with all the pieces laid out. I promise you that will happen as the pages or blog unfolds.

I do not wish to appear modest or fake or an over ego bloated writer (If you write anything you can call yourself a writer) but I would like to say here this story could have the impact of rippling across the continent, sea and yes the very, very, very, troubled world of humankind.

Thank you for your time

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Life, Death, and Rebirth Revisited 15

Using the stairway she stood at least one level floor down now and looked to the left and through a dimly lit hall.  When she looked the other way and saw the same but was littered with wooden crates, boxes of all sizes it was pretty obvious this basement was created long before the one above it.

Now it was time to rely on that instinctual judgement, that no question instant response that happened the day she stepped on the cold floor and walked down the corridor, turned left and climbed over wooden wheelchairs and crutches and not once objected to her choices until she was standing in front of the elevator door that she first left on. Down the hallway and three rooms later she was where it all began for her.

The old style neon light gave the room a blue white tinge to everything, including the starch white sheets on the single bed in the room. Machines monitored silently and efficiently a patient that no longer lay in the the bed.  When she opened the clothes closet, hanging on a single hanger was a navy blue pantsuit in the same style as the black one, the only difference was the cuff and sleeves did not have dried blood soaked into the material.  It didn’t take a neuro scientist to figure out what was next for her.

The dirty blonde woman with no name no future and no past that would allow her to remember removed the stained and dirty clothes, then left them in a pile and stepped into the shower. She turned the hot handle and an ice cold stream of water came out over her body and for an instant she felt her whole body react internally to the shock, then the water warmed and little by little the sensation seemed to retreat within her calming her as the warm water poured over her body. She began to drift in her mind slowly going over what she had gone though just a few hours ago. Danny not listening to her and the men with shaved heads pounding and stomping her body, yet strangely enough it only hurt for a few moments, as if some internal force within her body willed itself to cushion the blows, to soften the effect. Not even when she knew her cheek bones were crushed by the thick leather boot, or when the metal spikes that the short man kept attacking her spine over and over with did she really know why she let it happen.  She just let it happen, just went with it as if she were a willing participant.  She just let the warm pulsating jets of water washed over her reformed face. Her spine even felt stronger than before. And what about Danny’s dying words of amazement? The question for her was not who was she, but what was she?Knck1

The question along with so many others seemed to wash away with the soap that disappeared down the drain. As she dried off with the towel she looked at herself in the mirror, trying to find any sign of what had happened to her; not so much as a bruise or even a broken finger nail. What she saw in the reflection was a woman of approximately five foot ten inches and weighing again approximately one hundred seventy five pounds with clean blonde hair and an unblemished complexion, as that of a porcelain doll. All of this fit perfectly into the navy blue pants suit that lay on the bed. Her inspection lasted long enough to hear the voice from the doorway. She didn’t turn but used the reflection to see the man leaning against the doorway. He was old, but she couldn’t tell how old, because when he entered the room slowly yet deliberately away from her, he seemed light on his feet.

“Unbelievable, absolutely unbelievable,” Alabastar Von Slyke said, as he moved to the machines that worked next to the bed. He didn’t wear coveralls but a starched white coat with dark stitching above the pocket that said loosely translated in Swedish, Department Head Director.

“You know Swedish? he said to her.

“Yes, but I don’t know why,” she answered back in Stockholm Swedish.

All the while Alabaster Von Slyke dressed in a white coat talked as he moved to the night stand. He reached in his pocket then took a clipboard off the bed and began checking the readings against the machines.

He was back to English and said, “To say you are the miracle of miracles would be an understatement young woman. You know they all thought I was crazy when I told them I had found the genetic sequence code that was perfect for the transformation in the shell of a comatose woman. But they could not afford to be wrong, so I spent the last five years testing and monitoring your progress and it was worth it. They had to entrusted me with the elixir of the gods and it was worth all the trouble. Tomorrow I will go back to Sweden with my head held high and you by my side as the proof.

“What? I’m not going anywhere with you. I don’t know why, but I won’t.” The blonde woman said.

“May I see you hand?” Alabastar said.

He took her hand slowly and examined it, as she looked away he took a syringe from under the clipboard and stuck it into the vein in her hand. Her reaction was instantaneous but still late as she lifted the hand and flung the three quarter empty syringe into the air. It landed on the bed pillow. Her next reaction was just as swift and she collapsed the Doctors hands in front of him then dropped low and pushed against his stomach. He lifted quite easily into the air and landed on the bed. He started to sit up and then sunk back on the pillow, a dazed look of amazement clung to his lifeless face.
Almost clinically she moved his head to the side and examined the syringe that was lodged into the back of his skull. Even the tiny amount of drug in the syringe was enough to stop the heart and all vitals of the former head of Stockholm Hospital,  Alabaster Von Slyke. No prize, no ticker tape parade or medical recognition for the man that brought an entirely new kind of person on this planet. Someone so unique that there could never be one after her. And to top it all, she still didn’t even know her own name.

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How Not To Meet Old Friends 14

“I know you’re dead Danny,” she said to his blank expression as she put her hand over his eyes and closed them. Then as an after thought she looked over her shoulder at the twitching and writhing of the man laying an arms distance from her, every nerve in his entire body screamed to just die. Relief would not come for another hour.

She turned back to the dead Danny and said, “No more. No more am I going to say I don’t know. No more.”

The woman with no name got up and brushed off most of the dirt from the alley and stepped over the soon to be dead whispering man and took assessment. She looked at the Panzer Messer O.T.F. knife and an underground map to who-knows-where and calmly walked to the nearest street intersection and watched the hustle and bustle of New York Life. They all have names she thought and I too should have a name, every person born should have a name. This thought only held long enough to get easily bumped out by, what was the reason why she didn’t know her name? She had to find out. Maybe she was kidnapped? Just maybe she was a runaway and bumped her head and some family was terribly worried about her? Yeah, and maybe she didn’t just kill a man in the most horrible way and not care how long it took him to die. And why was it every time she tried to think beyond the cold tile floor, before the bed and the warm shower, the necklace, it would loop back on itself, change direction. What she needed to do was go back, go all the way back to that cold tile floor and bed and room. It was the only way her mind would be clear. For once she was going to do something on her own and not an automatic response. She was going to find out who she was even if it killed her.

This time when she asked directions she looked the person directly in the eyes and she could tell when it was the truth by the subtle way they looked away or to the side let her know fact from fiction. With this newly discovered knowledge she made it to East Seventy-Seventh street and in front of the glass doors of Lenox Hill Hospital. Through these doors she moved almost as if in a dream that opened her eyes and senses to a world of sights and sounds strangely familiar, yet remote, cold, and filled with liars, thieves, temporary friends and even murders and killers. Which one was she, or was she a composite of all of them? And maybe this reason to find out who she really is, is just another involuntary reaction? How could she tell? With that large load of confusion she moved through the long hallway of Lenox Hill Hospital. The clear tap, tap, tap of her shoes on tile over concrete was steady enough to attract the attention of the security guard. He watched the seemingly confident blonde New Yorker move toward him next to the elevators. Little did he know she was scanning the residents names and assessing departments as she moved along. She was taking in information, filing and storing it for instant access.

“Can I help you miss? Miss?”

“Yes, I’m with Otis,” she answered matter of factually as she looked down on the kick plate edging of the elevator.

“Otis?” the guard repeated, “Otis who? What floor is he on?”

“Otis is on every floor, and Otis is not a he, it is a what. That what carries you, the staff and all the good people who work here safely to work seven days a week. Otis is your elevator. I’m here for a routine inspection. I need to do this under actual conditions, and that means not drawing attention to myself. Is that clear security guard?”

He looked at her, then her dirty clothes.

“It’s an occupational hazard. I have to make sure you and your staff are safe. Sometimes it takes getting a little dirty.” She looked to see his reaction, but didn’t wait, “Your name is?”

“Uh, yes mam, Mathius, I’m Joe Mathius. I’m kinda new here and I don’t need any trouble. It’s my first job.” said the six foot four young man in a uniform that was made for a six foot man. His charming look faded at the confidence of the blonde woman standing before him.

“Are we clear?” she said as she pushed the down button on the elevator.

“Yes, mam,” he answered with the respect he felt due to this working V.I.P.

She stepped into the elevator and at the last moment an old woman got on with a little boy. She held the boy close, as if she didn’t want anyone touching him.

“Push five, honey” she said and waited. Together they rode in silence to floor five, then she let Otis take her down to the basement floor, only this floor was not the basement she came from.

TunReWork2

The basement she stepped onto was not the basement she left from, as a matter of fact it was at least one level floor down. She waited for the elevator doors to close and then looked at the door that led to a descending stairway. It had a key lock. The woman determined to go from no name to any name looked at the basement door as an opportunity and not a dead end. She looked around at the stacked boxes of supplies, the cleaning equipment and even broken medical monitors and noticed one that had a thin toothed bracket along its edge, about three inches long. Also she spotted bailing wire that held an old crate together. It didn’t take long to use field expedience and fashion picks to defeat the pin tumbler lock in 8.5 seconds flat.Lock4b copy

With the door open she stood on the first stone step and noticed every lower step down was far older than the rest of the hospital steps, almost as if everything were built on the foundation of the past.

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Veggies 12

This time falling asleep seemed more like an eye blink and when she saw morning sun trying to work it’s way around the blacked out skylight above her, she found herself getting up and listening very close to any sounds on the other side of the wall. When it was quiet enough she moved to the hole in the wall and scooted the vanity to one side. Once she crawled through the opening and stood up in the bathroom, she surveyed all the damage the deep voice had done to the room. The stink was still there and so was the basic structure of toilet, minus the seat and lid with everything breakable scattered over the floor. The room looked like it had been picked up shaken and dropped very hard. She didn’t bother to hold her nose when she noticed her reflection in an unblemished and unbroken mirror.

The main room and Joker’s work room suffered the same fate as the restroom only there was blood on the floor, as if someone were dragged from room to room. She followed the trail to a place against the wall that had 3 bullet holes and a pool of coagulating blood and no body.

Instinctively she found the alley door, briefly looked at the broken hasp then stepped out into the alley and morning sunshine on her face. This was where the voices had come before her and they had dragged the body with them into the alley.

The woman with no name didn’t run but jogged down the alley as if it were a morning health ritual all the way to the main side walk. She stood there still presentable enough to blend with the New York crowd that kept this city clothed, fed, watered and oh so oblivious to what goes thump, thump, thump in the night.

The sun on her back felt good, like an old friend taking her for a Sunday walk by the Moscow River and the old gardens at Gorky park. What? What was she thinking, what kind of memory was that? The park, Central Park, that was where she was yesterday. What was that other memory? I was down by the river? No I…smell delicious soup. It’s just like the one I had two days ago.VeggBilboard1a copy

The woman with no name looked across the street at a hand painted sign and it had the picture of a large bowl filled with all kinds of vegetables. Above the bowl the word ‘Veggies’ was hand lettered in bubbly font. She only needed one sense to make her cross the street and walk into the tiny but cozy eatery. The air was heavy with the scent of old world flavors vying for her attention, not to be outdone by strong espresso coffee.

“I recommend the Kasha today”, said a lightly freckled and pale skinned young waitress. Her jet black hair was an unnatural contrast made worse by a thick rubber band that held it at the back of her head.

“This one,” said the newly seated customer. She pointed to a picture on the menu that had all the ingredients of her best meal.

“Yeah, I guess we still got a a pot of it left,” the waitress said not bothering to write it down.

“Wait, you wouldn’t happen to know, Danny?”

The waitress stopped then turned around and looked much closer at her patron and then made a decision.

“Danny who?”

“Just Danny. I don’t know his last name.”

“Everyone has a last name sister, even you,” the waitress answered and disappeared through the swing door to the kitchen. As the door swung back she got just a glimpse of a man with his back turned to her. He had a wallet on a silver chain in his pocket. Her mind wanted to get up immediately and walk into the kitchen, but she relaxed the urge to not follow her instinct. She was slowly learning control and maybe even timing. If she had gotten up to find out what was happening earlier at Jokers she knew that it would have been a very bad mistake. This might be a mistake also. She waited.

The waitress returned with a steaming bowl of soup with noodles and fresh vegetables. She set it down with a large spoon. Under the spoon was a napkin with a scribbled note. Meet me around back in about forty five minutes. It was signed, Danny.

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Panzer Messer O.T. F. 13

The time passed quickly because the soup was just that good and when she left her pocket was six dollars lighter. The alley wasn’t hard to find and neither was the steel delivery door with Veggies stenciled on it. When she got close there were 4 skinheads near the trash cans smoking, joking and just hanging out. One looked older than the other three, who seemed to be in their late teens. Behind all of them stood Danny.

“I did what you people wanted. Now leave me alone!” Danny shouted over them like they were a human wall.

“I wasn’t looking for you,” she said back and then tried to get past the four in front of her. The oldest skin head reached out and grabbed her by the hair and pulled back.

“Sure, and you tell your friends about me and I end up in the sewer like Jimmie.”

“Jimmie Who?” was her answer.

“Like you don’t know who Jimmie was!” He shouted.

“I don’t have friends. I don’t know Jimmie.” she answered.

The skin head with the grip on her hair whispered in her ear. “We’re gonna make sure you never ask questions again, biatch.”

Without saying two skinheads grabbed both arms and held them behind her as the fourth one reached inside her jacket and began to fondle her left breast. His eyes were focused on hers. He wanted to see her helplessness, like he’d seen so many times before, only now it was not there. What he saw was not fear but indifference! She was not interested in what he was doing even when he dug his nail into her nipple. Crice, that would get a rise out of a dead woman, he thought.

“Danny, I came to the restaurant because of the food, and it was good. Just like you gave me.”

It didn’t matter what she said now because Danny had slammed the alley door shut with him inside.

“Shut up biatch,” was whispered in her ear and with her arms pulled back, her hair jerked hard, the skin head in front of her backed up five paces and came running at her full force with his fist all the way back behind himself and punched her deep into the stomach so hard he could feel it hit her spine. Air gushed from her mouth and the pain instantly surpassed the bad burger meal. After a while they began to take turns hitting her in the stomach, the face, back, arms and head. Then they began to argue about who was going to hit her next.

“Then use the brass knuckles,” the tallest skinhead said.

“I broke them on hitting her back too many times,” came from the shortest one.

“I’m tired. How long we been at this?”

“Don’t know, forty five minutes maybe an hour,” answered the one who whispered in her ear.

“Hey, where do you know Danny from?”

“Does it matter?” the whisperer said.

“Yeah, we’re here cause she got Jimmie killed and she was gonna turn Danny over to them.”

“Them who?”

“I ain’t say-in, but it don’t matter.”

“Hey, come to think of it, how do you know Danny?”

The whisperer looked around, as if he were weighing his options and exits.

“You don’t know Danny,” the shortest skin head said.

“Look, all that matters is we mess her up bad, right? Right?”

The short bruised knuckled skinhead replied, “I ain’t touching her again.”

“I gotta see my Chiropractor,” another one said and rubbed the back of his neck.

“This sucks, I’m outta here,” came from the fourth skin head. He raised his heavy leather boot to stomp her head as he did again and again before.

“Aren’t you tired of that?” came from one of the two that were now twenty feet down the alley.

“Yeah, it’s messing up my boot,” he answered and hurried to catch up to his friends moving away, talking and joking as if they had just come from the Gym.

The only one who remained was the whisperer.

“Kids, what can I say no stomach for it I guess. Ya know what I think you need is a fresher demon. Yeah that’s it, a fresher demon,” he said and grinned then

PanMessT101 copy

took from his pocket a vintage Panzer Messer O.T.F. knife and looked at it like an old killing buddy. He pressed a button on the side and it made a clear mechanical click as it’s razor sharp blade locked into place, ready for duty.

“Mein Gramps said this blade cut a lot of throats during the war.”

Just then the steel back door to Veggies opened and Danny stood in the doorway. He looked at the damage they had done.

“Jeez! What the hell did you do?” He screamed it to the man who held a razor sharp blade to the throat of the woman with no name.

“What you wanted Danny boy” the whispering skin head answered.

“I told my friends to rough her up, not this. And who are you, anyway?”

Danny moved closer and the whisperer stood up, not to be at a disadvantage to any approach.

“I’m someone not to be take lightly,” the whisperer said grinning first to Danny and then to the pleasure he considered his.

Danny thought it was an opportunity in that moment but was very wrong. The whisperer was skilled with his grandfather’s knife and avoided Danny’s reach. He plunged the knife deep into the stomach of his intended, then gave his signature twist. He pulled out with a slashing motion that could never be repaired.

“I’d like to say your going to end up worse than her Danny,” the whisperer said, “but I don’t think that’s possible. You’re just gonna die.”

Now he wanted to see Danny’s face up close and personal. He wanted to see death overtake him, almost feel his last moments of pain and agony before life blood oozed to the alley ground. Danny faced the skilled whisperer but was shaking his head in disbelief.

“That’s right, shake your head Danny. You’re gonna die and then I’m gonna cut her up in little pieces. Maybe I can sneak some into the soup of the day.”

Danny wasn’t interested. No, his eyes were focused beyond his attacker, almost as if dying were secondary to the most astounding thing he had ever seen.

The whisperer turned quickly and slashed with lightning speed and joined in with Danny’s disbelief.

“Mein Gott, die Toten auferstehen!” he said in clear proper German.

“To avenge,” she answered in German just as clear and just as proper. She moved not so much quickly as smoothly, as if it were a natural progression and struck the nerves on the back of his knife hand, which opened and with her other hand gracefully snatched the vintage blade firmly by the handle. This move caused her to kick with her heel the right side of his kneecap and he fell in a twisting motion that gave access to his back. She used the knife as skillfully as a seamstress and cut his jacket from waist to collar like a yard of cloth. The same swift motion brought her other hand to his back in a whipping motion. Her hand formed in the odd shape they call the devils triangle and she struck him in the spine six inches above his pelvis. The whispering skinhead fell to the ground and began to jerk violently, spasmodically as a marionette would if it’s life strings were on fire. His eyes gaped wide open and transfixed as if the pain in his body registered horrific and almost beyond human endurance.DevilTriangle1b

Just as smoothly she turned to Danny and helped him to sit down against the alley wall. He was loosing blood fast.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t stop him in time,” she said.

Danny looked at her from her shoes to the top of her head. “Who are you? What are you?”

“Don’t think I’m lying, but I really don’t know who, or just what I am,” she answered then briefly examined his puncture wound. The whisperers thrust was final. Nothing would save Danny now.

“Ya, know, I believe you,” he said and reached up and touched the spot on her cheek that had been crushed by a size thirteen boot, only now it was smooth and unblemished. As a matter of fact except for dust and dirt from the alley there wasn’t a single scratch on her.

“You look like brand new,” Danny said to her, now smiling and relaxed, partly sleepy eyed. “I don’t know why, but in my pocket is something that might help you find out who you are. Maybe get the bastards that took out Jimmie….and me.”

Danny shrugged as if shaking off a coat or used sweater or even a no longer useful body and looked at the woman with no name as the last thing on his mind.

For a full minute she held the lifeless body of Danny and did not feel sorrow or pity or anything remotely human. It puzzled her to feel absolutely no emotion for Danny, except that of curiosity for what was in his pocket. What could he have that would help her find out who or what she was?

She reached into his pocket and found a restaurant napkin with directions on it. There was also a note from Jimmie.

Little brother, I found a gold mine and it is right below Central Park. Can you imagine that? I’ve been stealing copper from old electrical panels in subways and found this place. Here’s the directions. Were gonna make a killing. It was signed, your brother Jimmie.

The napkin had a detailed drawing on it with an entrance that began in the sub basement on East 77th street, Lenox Hill Hospital.

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The Cendrine Tattoo 10

After the toilet flushed several times and the sound of moving furniture stopped the restroom door opened and the man nicknamed Joker stepped out and pointed to a door straight ahead with a curtain over it.

“It’s my work room.  Go on in.”
The room was small enough to be cozy, yet large enough to accommodate a folding massuse table a chair and computer and all the tools the master would need to perform skin illustrations.  He showed her designs that weren’t on the other walls, they were unusual enough to hang in a gallery only they hung off the arms, backs, and buttocks of well paying customers. Then he unlocked a drawer and took out a pair of glasses with several different overlapping lenses, all in different shades.  He switched on a black light and slowly but carefully brought her tattooed hand to the light.  He switched lenses often, all the while shaking his head and grinning wide enough to show white teeth.

“I see a lot of skin art and most of it’s very good, but this puts you in an entirely different league.  I’ve already counted thirteen different rotating shade patterns from this light specturm, on only one triangle.  You can add a bunch of zeros and that’s about as far as I want to go.  If you really don’t know what this is, then you probably don’t know you are in a lot of trouble.”CendrineSphereLightT2ce copy

“What?”

“One more time, who are you, really?”  He asked it as if he could catch her off guard.

“I’d like to say I do know who I am, because I’m tired of telling everyone I don’t know who I am, and I don’t know anything about that tattoo or this key around my neck.”  She showed him the key and he turned it over a few times in his hand.  He noticed there were no edges on the metal and the polycarbonate end was a dull grey.  It hung from a sturdy silver chain.

“Okay”, Joker said with finality.  I don’t know about this key or your name, but I think I might be able to help you with this tattoo.  There is someone that owes me big time and I think this might qualify.”  He picked up his cell phone then steadied her hand and took a picture of the tattoo.  He dialed the phone.

“Squeek, can you talk?  Of course I know where you are, roughly.  Your going to do me a favor?  Huh, so maybe you want the guys in that room to know what is tattooed on your ass cheek?  I thought so.  I’m gonna send you a picture on your phone and I want you to feed it through Pegasus at level triple zero and see what you come up with?  Yeah, there’s a lot you don’t know about me Squeek and one is knowing about that supercomputer.  Got it, now do it,”  Joker said into the cell phone and hung up.  He turned to the woman with no name.   “Just maybe you’ll find out who you are in the process.”

“Maybe I could be one of those amnesia victims?

“Yeah, and you could have a nice little family waiting for you somewhere, in a nice house with a nice little picket fence.”  He looked at her believable expression.  ” I don’t want to say anymore, but I think not.”

“You don’t think I should have a family?”  She asked.

“Not the case.  But just let me check with my resource.  Fair enough, miss I don’t know nothing?”

“Yes, it’s fair,” she answered either by instinct or trial and error, but she understood the need to trust someone, it was necessary.

“It’s late now and I don’t want you on these streets alone.  You could hurt someone”  he said massaging his wrist.  “Just kidding, where are you staying?  I’ll call a cab.”

She mouthed the words, I don’t know where to go, and waited.

“No more stupid questions,” Joker said and led her by the hand back to the restroom door and they went inside.

“It still stinks in here, ” she said holding her nose.

“Yes it does.  I make sure the sewer is backed up, so it stays that way.”

He leaned over and lifted a pipe next to the wash basin and then scooted the vanity underneath to the side against the door.  They both looked at the crawl space beneath the vanity and saw a small but neat room.

“That’s where your going to stay put tonight, until I can find you a more permanent home.  It doesn’t stink in there, if that is alright with you?”

She just nodded her head and got down on all fours and crawled through the hole in the wall.  She looked around then settled on the small couch across from the hole.

“Cozy?”  he asked.

She nodded again.  He scooted the vanity back and left the stinking room.

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