There is a quiet wind coming off

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Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
Crossed dean


Like a mysterious Chinese concentric ball, life and the world are interconnected and

interwoven. It seems that each sphere of intricately carved ivory we see stands on its own.

Logic dictates that they are somehow connected but we choose to believe our eyes. It is the

carver that controls our vision. He shows us what he thinks our eyes will believe but the lie

is in his tools.
       Edward A. Dean                                                             Southern
       Crossed dean


       My world had been changing for some years but I hardly noticed. The black balloons that my

cousin Dave and my sisters gave me for my fortieth birthday was a joke but now I realize it was a

harbinger of things to come and fifty was fast approaching. I was rendered unnecessary in their lives

except for the gifts on birthdays and the occasional holiday greeting cards. It wasn‟t the number that

bothered me but the idea that I was mortal and the cancer in my body only confirmed that. The salad

days of unending promise were shrinking and now all I seemed to taste is the vinegar in the dressing.

My world was shrinking in my own head. When did I lose me? So many things that have gone on

before distracted my essence. What a sad commentary that I came to a place in my own life that I

don‟t know who I am? The fixer, the banker, the candlestick maker? Who am I? How did I get here?

It certainly was my choice but why did I choose so badly? The days blossomed boldly but the nights

came so quietly. And somewhere in between, love escaped me. I miss me. I am the mystery in my

own novel. The mystery is myself.

       I desperately need to talk to someone. Maybe I should call my first cousin Dave in Chile.

Dave Nasser and me always understood each other. There was a bond beyond kinship we shared

while growing up. There are always so many funny reflections and memories. I really love that guy.

        At eight years old, we were hunting rabbits with air rifles on the Henry Ford Estate lands.

The groundskeepers never bothered us and only snickered at our silly hunt. Endless summer nights

were filled with stargazing and boyhood dreams. And the time he visited me at University of

Michigan and I made a pasta dinner. He laughed himself silly when I put ketchup on it but I thought
       Edward A. Dean                                                          Southern
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was pretty good. My cooking skills were a matter of survival. I made up my mind to call him in the

morning. If anyone could understand, he would.
        Edward A. Dean                                                             Southern
        Crossed dean

        I could hear the stress in my cousin Butch‟s voice when he called. Something was wrong. He

didn‟t say much on the phone except he needed to talk. I told him I wanted a break and would fly up

to D.C. the next week. I had an uneasy feeling. Butch was a lot like me in that he wouldn‟t let on

there was a problem but the two of us were always open and honest with each other. It was a simple

and silly boyhood pact that we shared. Our thoughts and boyhood dreams were closer than even we

imagined. If this was a call for help, there was a serious problem in his life.

        He picked me up at the airport and immediately took me to his boat dock outside Arlington,

Virginia. After a strong hug and kiss on the cheek, I searched past his smile for a glancing look into

his eyes. I could see the pain he was about to unfold.

        “It‟s a great day for sailing Dave. You game or are going to wimp out on me?”

        I smiled uneasily. “Stuff it idiot. Get this puppy moving and you‟d better have some food and

wine aboard. And if you tell me it‟s your famous pasta and ketchup dinner I‟ll puke.”

        We both laughed at the recollection.

        The prim and sleek twenty-eight foot sloop was out of the harbor like a fluttering heartbeat.

Butch loved the ocean. He had all the canvas up and into the breeze as we chatted eagerly. Butch

loved sailboats. From the time we were kids he always had a sailboat. I remember the time he and

his dad built his very first boat.

        I teased him. “Hey guy, when are you going to graduate to a power boat? After commanding

the U.S.S. Nautilus this is the best you can do?”

        His now graying head bobbed up with a bright toothy smile. It was that classic slight overbite

grin that beamed when he was pleased. I could always read everything in Butch‟s smile. He could
        Edward A. Dean                                                              Southern
        Crossed dean
control everything on his face except his smile. It was like a beacon into his soul. He could turn his

head or move his hand across his face but it never lied.

        “Stink boats are for assholes Dave. Only men have sailboats. God made the wind for us to

enjoy. Stink boats are mans invention. Let‟s enjoy nature. It‟s the solace and quiet of the open water

that makes us small. You know the wind out here sometimes feels like the voice of God.”

       I now assumed Butch was depressed. He never brought God into our conversations unless he

was having a bad time. Butch was a devout Muslim. Our common grandfather had infected both of

us but Butch was his prized student. Our Jiddo (grandfather) had lived with Butch‟s family, on and

off, for over ten years. It was not that Jiddo was a Koran thumper but very spiritual. He conveyed his

ideas with logic. He taught both of us many things but his impact on Butch was huge. In many ways‟

they were kindred souls. In today‟s journey, I would call him a Universalist. I think the concept

escaped him but his spirituality was strong.

       The sloop responded to Butch‟s able hands. It seemed as if it were responding to his

unconscious thoughts. I fiddled with my chair and ran my hand over the well-varnished wood of the

railing as I watched his silent face drink in the swift breeze. His troubled silence was deafening and

made me nervous. I knew Butch well enough to know that when he was ready to engage, he would.

The words started out at nearly a whisper. As if it was a secret we were sharing.

       “You know Dave, Every vivid dream I had on the sub was about exiting or leaving a

situation through a door. I never had a dream where I went in. How odd. Don‟t you think? Maybe

it‟s a subconscious thing of wanting to leave. And you know, maybe they gave me the opportunity to

do just that. Maybe God is telling me something Dave.”
       Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
       Crossed dean
       “Oh please Butch, don‟t go there. If you‟re gonna tell me God is talking to you then you‟re

gonna scare the shit out of me. Come on guy, we‟re smarter than that. Let‟s use our brains instead of

all this mysticism. It‟s not us and it never has been.”

       “You see there is where you‟re wrong Dave. It‟s me. I need and want God in my life. He is

the serenity in my mind that I need. You? You haven‟t found your need yet. When you do you‟ll

know Him. Trust the serenity, trust the love.”

       Somehow, I knew this conversation was coming but I wasn‟t ready for it. “Okay Butch, if

we‟re going into this I need a good bottle of wine and food. What‟s onboard?”

       He slipped the tiller wheel into my hand and disappeared into the small galley and brought up

a bottle of white wine and two wrapped deli sandwiches. He smiled broadly as he showed me the

label. It was a bottle of Southern Cross Chardonnay. Needless to say, I was surprised. “Where in the

hell did you get this Butch? It‟s our Nineteen-eighty bottling.”

       He smiled proudly. “The guy at the Georgetown wine store says it‟s pretty damned good. He

was impressed when I told him it was my cousin‟s winery.”

       I had to agree. The extra year or so gave it more character than I remembered. “Thanks cuz,

have you tried it yet?”

       His broad smile gave me a warm feeling. “It‟s good Dave. Not like the New Zealand whites

that Rita loves but pretty damned good.”

       We settled into an easy patter of conversation.

       “Butch, if you say that God loves you, I‟ll smack the shit out of you. I hate that phrase. Every

crazy religious kook goes there. Are you okay? Is this a family venue when we go for the heightened

awareness in life? Come on Butch, we have a family history of kooks. They‟re either too smart or

too fucked up for the real world. Look at Aunt Naunny, Aunt Gaye. Her sons‟ Toodie and Jamaal.
       Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
       Crossed dean
One‟s a bible-thumping minister in the Cass Corridor and Toodie is a loner that is so fuckin‟ smart,

he wants to re-engineer the world. It‟s our genes Butch! We‟re fucked up by Western standards. It‟s

those Middle-Eastern genes that gave rise to all those great holy men. We might have them and we

need to find a way to deal with them. It‟s times like this that I wish we were German. They have no

problem dealing with logical issues. Accept it Butch, our genes are not logical. We gotta play the

hand we‟re dealt. Please don‟t go there because you‟ll scare the shit outta me.”

       “Stop the rhetoric Dave. You really don‟t understand. Your mind is buried three stages below

from where I am. I know my God and he knows and understands me.”

       ”Butch, for once in your life let me be the lead. Did Uncle Ellis who came home from World

War 11 need to go up to the Canadian Tundra and piss around his campsites to keep the other

animals away make sense?”

       “Yes it does Dave. It was the perfect thing to do in the wild. He was marking his territory. It

is what dominant animals do to announce their presence. He wasn‟t stupid or fucked up. He

understood the simplicity of life. Life is throughout the universe. Life will always find a way to

protect itself. Life is self-sustaining. We are simply a by-product of nature.”

       “Aha; so you agree that we are no more than stardust. And where does that leave God?”

       “No, as always, you‟re wrong Dave. It‟s not that God is hard to find. It‟s that he‟s hard to

avoid. You want a scientific equation and the answer is in front of your eyes. Look up and stretch

yourself. You were always so shallow. You piss me off sometimes with your questioning remarks”

       I needed a hard laugh. “Excuse me asshole. Shallow was never my venue. Give me shallow

anytime. Are you wanting to say that I‟m stupid? Go for it big guy because I‟m going to get into you

fucking face.”
       Edward A. Dean                                                         Southern
       Crossed dean
       Butch pushed back. “I‟m loving this Dave. Give me your best shot. You are lame and you

will always be lame because you can‟t reach the big picture. Accept your limited mortality and tell

me the universe is limited to your time and space. You‟re a fart on the screen and sound doesn‟t

travel in outer space. So now what do we do with your bowel movement that the universe cannot

convey ? Fuck off Dave. Accept your God and quit being an asshole.”

       “I have to tell you something Dave. Ever since we were kids, I let you take the lead and the

glory because you needed it. We are at different times in our lives and I need to say this. I‟ve always

backed off because I never wanted to hurt you. But it‟s time that we got honest. I‟ve always been

bigger, faster and smarter than you. Face it. The only thing you‟ve ever had over me was you were

better looking and could dance; nothing more. I let you get away with all our childhood bullshit

because I loved you and you always got the girls to pay attention to us. Dave, you‟ve never been my

equal and never will be. We are as close as brothers but as far away as galaxies. I‟ll always love you

for your bold bullshit but understand that we inhabit different universes.”

       I sat stunned with his words. My natural reaction was to lash out and refute his words but I

held back and tried desperately to absorb his fury. I slipped into my best ploy; humor. “Really

Butch? You still can‟t dance?”

       He stood up and let go of the steering tiller with a loud gwaff. “Goddamn you Dave, you just

did it again. You work me like a pinball machine. Here we are on this wide ass ocean, with no one

but God it sight. And I‟m pouring my heart out to you and you find a way to make a joke of it. Is

that why I love you? Is that our connection?”

       The boat lurched with the next incoming wave and he fell back to grab the wheel. Butch sat

there for a moment with his smile facing into the breeze. He bolted his head toward me and
      Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
      Crossed dean
pronounced haltingly. “I have cancer Dave. It‟s under control. You never control cancer, it controls

you but I got the big C!”

        My heart swelled into my throat. I wanted to speak but couldn‟t. My wine glass flew

overboard and I moved to edge of the boat next to him. I threw my arms around him and he turned

his head away. “I‟m so sorry Butch. I had no idea. I don‟t know what to say. Is there anything I can

do? Anything!”

        “Aw just let it go Dave. It‟s life.” He laughed. “Bad choice of words huh, Dave? It is what it

is Dave. The good news is that it‟s not aggressive and maybe, with Gods help, I may have a chance

to beat it.”

        I could see the tears well up in his eyes and felt them well up in mine which were not too far

behind. I choked on my words. “What can I do to make this easier Butch? Is there anything I can


        “Thanks Dave, there‟s nothing except chemo that can help. The Navy is looking into it. They

won‟t say it but I suspect it‟s from the nuclear reactors I‟ve been fucking with my whole career. The

leakage standards weren‟t that stringent when I was on Admiral Rickovers‟ staff.”

        My mind went into overdrive. “What the fuck do you mean they‟re looking into it Butch?

Are you saying they‟re backing away from this?”

        His toothy smile brightened his face. “No, they‟re running like a pack of jack rabbits. If they

admit to my situation, they figure every submariner with a problem will be suing their ass off. I‟ve

been told through second party people that they would be forced to expose me as a subversive

Muslim conspirator while in command of the U.S.S. Nautilus and the Pargo. Ain‟t that a fuckin‟

laugh Dave? Me? The most loyal Admiral in the fleet. I was the perfect line commander Dave;
        Edward A. Dean                                                             Southern
        Crossed dean
perfect. I had no one in my life to hold me back or think about if I was ordered to pull the big trigger.

And you‟re fucking right, I would have!”

        I was taken aback by his words. “So you‟re saying that you‟re no different than those suicide

bombers in the Middle East?”

       He looked at me with a puzzled grin. “You know if you put it that way, I guess you‟re right.

The corps is full of guys like me. I guess we are all alike but our agenda is different.”

       My thoughts settled into a controlled anger. “No your agendas aren‟t different Butch. Killing

is killing. Whether it‟s in the name of the Commander-in-Chief or in the name of God, the results are

the same.”

       Butch reflected for a moment. “What I‟m trying to say Dave is my loyalty was unwavering to

the Navy and my country. I would do whatever it took to defend it and they shit on me. I was told by

that second party person to take my pension money and slip quietly into the night. And if I did, I

would get my permanent star to make things easier in retirement. You don‟t make waves in the

Navy. Hey, I made a joke Dave! Don‟t make Waves. Get it?” Butch broke out in a silly uncontrolled


       I looked at him in disbelief. “Are you telling me that the Navy is blackmailing you because

they found a prayer rug in your cabin and they know you‟re a devout Muslim?”

       His smile fell empty. “In a sense, yes. They just want me to take the money and run. I have

medical insurance but the cancer treatments are over the top. I can get by Dave. I‟m not hurting. It‟s

just the kick in the ass that hurts. I‟m never going to sue them. It‟s a lawyer thing with them but it

hurts Dave. It breaks my heart to be treated with so much disrespect. You know Dave, did I ever tell

you the story about me and Jiddo when I was eight?”
       Edward A. Dean                                                        Southern
       Crossed dean
       I had to smile. There were so many stories between us about our common grandfather. He

pushed us both to our limits with his stories. “No Butch. Is it a good one?” I said with a grin

       “It‟s a good one Dave. When I was eight or so, I came home crying because my art teacher

told me I was failing. I couldn‟t draw nor did I care to. His eyes glowered at me. You remember

Jiddo. When he was pissed, you could see the intensity in his soul through his eyes. And he said to

me, „Jiddi (grandson) what is the name of this woman that dictates your life?‟ And you know Dave;

to this day I can‟t remember her name, only her hateful words. He just sat there and stewed but he

turned to me and asked me a question. He said, „Jiddi can you touch the ceiling? I wasn‟t sure what

he meant Dave but I said no, it‟s too high. And he smiled. He said, „If you can touch the ceiling I

will give you fifty cents. Now that got my attention. I thought about it for a while and I got my

mother‟s broomstick and stood on a chair and called to him. Yes I can Jiddo; see! He simply smiled

and handed me the money. Then his brow furled once more. „When you can touch the roof I will

give you two dollars.‟ And you remember Dave. Two dollars was a huge challenge for us. It wasn‟t

the money as much as making the old man eat crow. He was as dear to a buck as Scrooge. The house

was two stories high and the tallest ladder in the garage was one story. It took me almost a week to

figure out that if I took the one story ladder and got up on the garage roof and took a smaller ladder

to get up to the top roof, I knew could do it. I sat up on that fuckin‟ roof all afternoon till he and my

father pulled up in that ratty old pickup truck and I screamed at the top of my voice. Jiddo, Jiddo,

look at me I can do it, I can do it as I danced wildly on the peak of the roof The next thing I

remember was my mother damning Jiddo and my father and shrieking for me to come down. As I

climbed down from my glory, my fathers‟ belt hit me in the ass and Jiddo pulled me away to his side

in a protective manner. It wasn‟t until the next morning that I found a five-dollar bill in the pocket of
       Edward A. Dean                                                       Southern
       Crossed dean
my jeans. No note; no words; only more money than he promised. His lesson was simple. If there is

a will, there is a way. Never ever let anyone tell you, you are less than you are. ”

        I smiled at his recollection. “I understand Butch but what‟s your point?”

        “The point Dave is that the Navy just did the same thing to me. They smiled at my

accomplishments, paddled my ass, shoved a five-dollar bill in my pocket and told me to get lost.

That‟s what it makes me feel like Dave but the lesson is lost. For a guy that was a pioneer on

Admiral Rickover‟s staff and promoted to command the most lethal submarine in the world, to being

kicked to the curb; doesn‟t feel good Dave. I feel like a used piece of shit. It‟s the disrespect. I gave

them every part of my soul and now I feel like a whore that was handed with a wad of money and

put on the street.”

        His hand flew up to his head as he tried to cover his welled up eyes as he looked away to the

starboard. “You wanna see my whore money Dave? Look at that beautiful canvas snap taut in the

wind. Do you feel how slick this gorgeous sloop cuts through the water? This is my retirement. This

is what‟s left of my life but I love it. If I go quick, give me a Viking funeral and shove my dead ass

on this boat and send it out to sea. I love that idea Dave. Wouldn‟t that be neat? Will you do that for


        I could feel the pain in his heart. That distant childhood connection was still there; the starry

nights of searching conversations, sharing fantasies that only boys dare to dream. The deep wounds

flowed out of his mouth and I desperately wanted to make things better.

        “Stop it Butch. There‟s a lot of life left in your miserable carcass. Why don‟t you come down

to Chile with me and find out what you can do with the Pacific? Maybe we can make it to the

Galapagos. You game? We could do that.”
       Edward A. Dean                                                               Southern
       Crossed dean
       I saw a weak smile cross his face. “I‟d like to try that Dave. Did I tell you I have some

acquaintances in the Chilean Navy? You know we trained a lot of those young officers.”

       I smiled. “I‟ve heard. Who didn‟t we train in all the South American Junta‟s down there?”

       His hearty grin returned. “Damn right Dave. We trained every navy from Brazil to Peru. And

the best part; we own every one of their naval codes? They can‟t sneeze without us knowing it.

Makes life easy for all of our dark ops and coverts, don‟t you think?” He jested.

       I was uneasy with the pride he felt for the deception. His weak smile didn‟t amuse me.


       The excitement the three of us felt when we walked off the plane that day in Santiago is still

with me. I remember the look in Spanky‟s eyes. Jade watched him as he literally floated through the

terminal. She looked at me and gave me that silly grin of hers that said,” Is he for real?” I laughed as

I nodded toward the bouncing figure trying out his halting Spanish on anyone that would listen.

       As we collected our bags, I spotted a driver holding a sign with my name scrawled on it.

Spanky called over to him and helped take our luggage to the parked ancient nineteen-fifty-nine

Cadillac limousine.

       After the long flight we splashed our bodies into the worn leather seats. “To the hotel or the

agents office seniors?” the limo drivers voice sang in very good English. Spanky leaned forward to

speak but Jade put her hand up defensively. “To the Hotel please.”
       Edward A. Dean                                                       Southern
       Crossed dean
       With some apprehension, Spanky leaned back and smiled. Jade was in no mood to explore

any further.

       The next morning I quietly covered my beautiful sleeping lady and left her a note.

       “Order your favorite thing…… service! Spanky and I should be back by lunchtime.”

        I met Spanky in the lobby and he was raring to go. Our driver took us directly to the land

agent‟s office. Magglio was a small statured Chilean but well dressed. “Seniors, I have many

properties that are for sale. Is there a price range you would like to stay in?” I leaned forward to

speak but Spanky interceded.

       “We need to see your best available vineyards in the Miapo Valley.” The agent smiled.

“Then price is no object?”

       With purpose I leaned forward to invade his body space and said, “Yes Senior, price is the

ultimate object. Please understand that we are looking for value. We do not represent a corporation;

we are spending our own money. Do you understand?” His dismayed look told me that Spanky had

blown a lot of smoke under his shirt.

        “I understand seniors. There are a lot of good properties available right now.” Little did we

understand why. I let Spanky choose the areas that we were to look at since he had an intimate

knowledge of the valleys.

       We drove for hours through miles of vineyards. The Miapo Valley paralleled the Andes

Mountains and the beautiful rows of vines seemed to reach heavenward. Spanky kept up an incessant

chatter. “I told you so, I told you. This is heaven. See those over there. They belong to Concha Y

Toro; and those over on that hillside? That‟s Erhaziruz. But they don‟t venture too far up the hillside

because it‟s too hard to harvest the grapes. They have so much damn land that they don‟t think about

quality, only quantity. The Anaconda and Casablanca Valley‟s are farther south and is great for
       Edward A. Dean                                                             Southern
       Crossed dean
white wines. It‟s a lot cooler down there. I had to get my bearings because everything in the southern

hemisphere is backwards; the climate and the seasons. The weather and winds blow from east to

west and January is our June. How ironic I thought to myself. It was a lot like the country, a polar

opposite to what we Americans expect, yet their major cites of Santiago and Vina Del Mar were very

European and cosmopolitan. The Chilean people were extremely literate. For over a hundred years,

their native Indian population had been infused with a whole host of nationalities.

       Spankys optimism would not be dissuaded. He railed on about the beauty and long flowing

vineyards of the Chilean landscape and the diversity of the entire country. “From deserts to glaciers;

from mountains to vineyards; this country has it all. It‟s a composite of natures Eden. You‟re gonna

love it Dave. You and Jade will love it.”

       I grinned at his expressions. “One step at a time Spank. Let‟s tour the vineyards first. That‟s

our main objective and we‟ll save the glaciers for the ice in our Martini‟s. Deal?”

       Spanky came back to earth and smiled. “Deal buddy; deal.”

       Time had totally escaped us and the driver forlornly looked to us. Seniors, it is past lunchtime

and it is a very important meal for us. Can I beg your forgiveness and ask if we could stop for some

food?” Before I could respond, Spanky was chattering his basic Spanish into the driver‟s ear. Our

driver, Nino, had suggested a small restaurant off the beaten path. He took us up the mountainside to

an outdoor restaurant, with a view of the whole southerly valley.

       I asked Nino to order for me but Spanky insisted. When he asked for the wine list, the owner

looked at him quizzically. Nino leaned back in his chair and smiled. “His wine list is in his head

Seniors, just order the house wine. It will be good.” I smiled and nodded. “Nino, you do the honors.”

His pleasant look returned and he nodded. He rattled off something more than a wine order to the

owner and the owner looked over his shoulder to us and smiled broadly. I was taken with the
        Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
        Crossed dean
friendliness of the grin. “What did you tell him Nino?” His whole attitude changed. He leaned back

in his chair, with his arm across the back, puffed heavily on the borrowed American cigarette and

laughed. I tell him you are Gringo‟s with no trust in anyone.”

       I looked at him amused and tilted my head.“I don‟t understand, explain.”

       “In this part of Chile, he sees your friends blonde hair and he thinks you are Argentinean.

The Argentines turn their nose up at Chilean wines. These small restaurants take pride in their house

wines. They do not buy the cheapest thing they can get like the big cities do. It is a matter of pride.

They search the valleys, tasting each vineyard before they commit to purchase for the year. It is an

insult to ask for a wine menu. He thinks you do not trust his judgment. As if you were to question his

cooking skills.”

       Spanky and I looked at each other. It was like old times, an epiphany. If this man has been

through these valleys searching for good sound wine for many years, what the hell were we

thinking? Ask the expert and the advice is almost free. Spanky spoke first.

       “Can we get him to go with us through the valley looking for vineyards? We‟ll pay him of


       “I don‟t know. Let me ask; after lunch of course!” We both laughed and waited for the wine

and food.

       The food was good but simple. The wine was fabulous. A liter of the house red turned out to

be one of the best simple wines we had had in years. I would bet my last dollar that it was a Cabernet

Sauvignon. The tannins were forward but the fruit was fabulous. It had a nice balance for a young

wine. In an untypical loud voice I exclaimed. “Is this typical of the house wines here?”

        In a rush Spanky answered. “I told you, I told you. This whole country is so full of

undiscovered treasures. This is just the tip of the iceberg.”
       Edward A. Dean                                                         Southern
       Crossed dean
       Spanky couldn‟t wait. He approached the owner and in his halting Spanish tried to make him

understand that we wanted to go to the vineyard that made the wine. With intersession from Nino, he

agreed but only after he closed the restaurant at three p.m.

       We sat in the gravel parking lot as the owner left the building. His eyes lit up on seeing the

ancient limousine. Duly impressed, we invited him to sit next to Nino. We asked for his name and as

he turned, we noticed that he had donned a neck scarf. Proudly, he announced,”Jose Polanco.”

       He told Nino to backtrack five miles and turn up a mountain road to a little non-descript

village. After ascending another mile or so up the hillside, we stopped at a well-tended vineyard. The

winery was nothing more than a fronted cave carved out of the mountainside. A small Chilean

Indian strode fourth to meet us. He instantly recognized Jose. A wide grin greeted us as Jose made

the introductions. He proudly took us on a tour of his vineyards and winery. I asked through Nino if

he could tell us what grapes he had planted. His pained look told me that he was unsure of the exact

type. The only thing I could discern was “Cabernet Franco (Franc) e Carmenere” through the

verbose exchanges in Spanish.

       Spanky was wandering the well-terraced hillsides in awe, ever reaching for a new cluster of

the young fruit to taste. My heart was tugged. It was so reminiscent of Tony.

       As the late sun descended, I realized that the vineyards were planted on a southerly facing

niche in the hillside. A perfect setting for a hillside vineyard. It would have sun most of the day and

a cool mountain mist to nourish the vines in the morning. My eye was drawn to the heavily gnarled

roots. I thought to myself; no wonder the fruit is so excellent. The rootstock had to be a least fifty to

a hundred years old. It was well entrenched, deep into the mountainside.

       My brain was spinning with delight. I wanted to buy it right then and there but I realized that

we hadn‟t seen much of Chile yet. As I strolled back to the owner, I asked, through Nino, if he
       Edward A. Dean                                                             Southern
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would ever think of selling. The odd look on his face told me his feelings before the words could

spin out of his mouth. I knew the answer. These Chilean farmers were no different than the original

landowners in Napa and Sonoma, or for that matter, any other place in the world. There was a true

attachment to the land. It was something I could never experience; family tradition of being

grounded to the soil. To my mind it was just a commodity. To them it was tradition and security. I

was too immersed into the American experience. If you don‟t like it, you move on. All farmers that

have a history are a part of the land. It didn‟t matter what country you were in. Their soul was in the

soil. We bid farewell and headed back to drop off Jose.

       On the way back to the hotel, something in my gut told me that it was not finished. I was in

love with the Valley. Spanky was not wrong. It was nearly a hundred mile long Napa. I was

captivated by the arcane beauty of this land.

       The night dropped on to the valley with a cloak of starlight. The old Caddy bounced along

the pocked road with ease. As we pulled into the city, I felt an ease. As we approached the hotel, I

saw Jade pacing in front of the doorway. No sooner had the car pulled up and she was in our faces.

“I can‟t believe you two. Not a courtesy of a phone call. I was ready to call the police. Where have

you been? Why didn‟t you call?”

        She was on the verge of hysterics. I have never witnessed her so upset. I stammered for an

answer. Spanky looked dismayed and headed for the lobby. “I‟m so sorry Jade but time just escaped


       “You have no right to do this to me in some God forsaken country. Even the hotel manager

was upset.”

       “Why would he be upset Jade?” I asked in trying to redirect her anger.
         Edward A. Dean                                                             Southern
         Crossed dean
         “Well he‟s my gay friend. And he told me in perfect English, sister to sister, that people

easily disappear in the countryside in these political times.”

         I wanted to laugh but I knew that would only stoke her anger. “Okay, okay, I‟ll never do this

again. I promise”

         “You damn well better believe you won‟t because I‟m going everywhere you two go. I was

frightened out of my mind.” I looked into her beautiful dark eyes and pulled her to me. I could feel

her soft body shivering with fright. As I wrapped my arms around her, I whispered in her ear.

         “Does this mean sex is out of the question?”

         She started to laugh and pushed me away. With a silly smile she responded. “I hate you. I

really would like to hit you right now. And that goes double for your stupid friend!”

         “Okay then, hit him first and then you can chase me around the room upstairs. Is that a


         As we strolled into the lobby, Spanky was sitting in one of the large overstuffed lobby chairs.

With a whimsical smile, he spoke in a loud voice, “Dinner anyone?”

         Laughingly Jade walked over to him and gingerly punched him on the arm. “And you‟re

buying!” she pronounced loudly. The three of us walked to the dining room, anxiously to talk of the

day‟s events.


         As the sun pierced our bedroom window the next morning, the only thought in my mind was

to hold on to the warm soft body snuggled in my arms. Her fragrant hair filled my nose with a
       Edward A. Dean                                                          Southern
       Crossed dean
heavenly scent of summer flowers. I wanted nothing more than to stay this way for the rest of the

day. The phones ugly clanging pushed us both into motion. I answered in a throat clearing voice. It

was Magglio the land agent. He suggested breakfast in an hour and I reluctantly agreed. Jade was in

the shower before me saying, “I‟m going with you. If I‟m going to live here, I want to see it all; the

good and the bad.”

        I smiled and entered the shower with her. “Okay princess, your wish is my command.”

         A whimsical smile paused on her face. “Oh sure! Does that mean we can live in the hotel on

room service and press the grapes in the lobby?” We laughed, nose to nose as the warm water

flowed over our bodies.

        As we exited the creaky elevator, there was Spanky sitting in the same overstuffed lobby

chair. “Hi people. I‟ve had a nice walk through the city already and ate breakfast at a street vendors

cart with some of the natives. Where‟s our chariot?”

        Jade looked at him sternly and said, “You feed us first and then when the chariot gets here,

tell him to pack a lunch for me because I‟m not going on an all day venture with no food. If you two

want to barbeque a cow in the back forty, go ahead because I‟m going to eat like a human being.”

Spanky rose from his chair and with his cherubic smile pronounced, “I love that woman, I really do

Dave. If you weren‟t my brother, I‟d steal her.”

        Jade responded teasingly, “You should be so lucky. Call me in the next life! Oops, sorry

Spank. I forgot you believe that stuff.” We all laughed on our way to the dining room.

        Magglio and Nino were already seated as we entered. Magglio rose and took Jades hand and

kissed it. She turned her head to me and rolled her eyes as if to say „he‟s greasy, don‟t trust him.‟ I

got the message. Jade had an innate woman‟s quality of reading people. She was rarely wrong and I

trusted her instinct.
       Edward A. Dean                                                          Southern
       Crossed dean
       We headed into the Valley on a gorgeous sun filled day. The overtaxed aftermarket air

conditioner in the ancient Caddy was working on maximum. As we visited the selected properties, I

would see Jade‟s nose wrinkle at one and Spankys at another. I grew tired that day of not seeing my

dream. My mind kept going back to the little hillside retreat that we had visited the day before. I

engaged Magglio. I told him we wanted to have lunch. He took us to a very nice restaurant on the

Valley road. I insisted on ordering the house wine. When it came, Spanky and I both remarked at the

bouquet and quality. I asked Nino to inquire where it came from. He smiled with his answer.

       “Senior Dave, I hate to put myself out of more work but it is the same place we were

yesterday and the same man. His name is Musa.”

        I looked startled. “Moses?” I asked.

        “Yes senior, Moses” I raised both hands in the air and shouted, “Moses?” and laughed

uproariously. Jade and Spanky looked at me quizzically.

        I repeated, “Moses! The farmer in the hills that we visited yesterday. His name is Moses. He

will lead us to the promise land. Let‟s go there.” Nino joined in the humor. Spanky chimed in.

       “See didn‟t‟ I tell you the universe is a small place. Let‟s go talk to Moses.”

        Jade simply shook her head and laughed. “You two really are nuts but who am I to argue

with the universe.”

       Nino moved the Cadillac up the hillside road deftly. We finally found Musa in the winery,

cleaning the ancient cement vats. We asked to tour the vineyards again and he grudgingly obliged.

My mind quickly calculated that he had maybe a hundred acres planted and another hundred acres

that had possibilities. The winery was useable but would need renovation. The house was non-

descript but functional. It was all possibilities. My mind wanted to go for it before I discussed
       Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
       Crossed dean
anything with Jade or Spanky. I could barely contain myself. Everything fit. This was it. I pulled

Spanky aside and talked briefly and said, “Buy it.”

       “I‟m with you on this Dave but don‟t you want to say something to Jade? She‟ll have to live

here you know.”

       “Thanks Spanky, you‟re right.” I walked over to Jade as she was looking over the hillside

       into the valley. She looked at me and said, “I understand Dave, and you want this place. I

       know when you‟re on a mission. You want this don‟t you?”

       “Yes I do, very badly. Are you with me?”

       “I noticed you talked to Spanky first but that‟s okay, he‟s your business partner. But don‟t

ever forget who your life partner is.”

       “I understand Jade but you are a part of my soul and my soul just spoke to me back there and

I knew you would agree.”

       She smiled at me devilishly. “And when a part of my soul kicks you in the middle of the

night, don‟t ask which part it is.” I grabbed her in a bear hug and we laughed like two children on the


               As Spanky saw our embrace he quickly approached Musa with his halting Spanish.

After some conversation Musa quickly walked away. He went into his house and locked the door.

Confused, Spanky asked Magglio what was wrong with him.

       “Senior, please, let us goes to the car. I will talk to him in the morning.” Spanky sputtered on.

       “I don‟t understand. I only offered to buy his property.” “Let us walk Seniors and you too

Signora. We must leave.”

       In the car on the way back Magglio explained what Spanky had said. “You said I want to

take your land, not buy it. And he asked if you were part of the Junta. And you said yes.”
       Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
       Crossed dean
       “What I meant in Spanish was to possess, that I wanted it; to buy it.”

       “But Senior Bill, to his Spanish, to possess means to take. And when you said you were part

of the Junta, he get scared.”

       “Why? What is the Junta?” “In this country they make people disappear. They are part of the

Army that makes politically incorrect people go away.”

       “Oh my God, he thinks I‟m a terrorist” I interjected, “Listen Spank, from now on if you‟re

not buying breakfast in Spanish, leave the negotiating to the professionals. That‟s what we‟re paying

him for.”

       Spanky was rightly upset. “We have to go back so I can apologize.”

        “No Senior, I will apologize for you tomorrow. We have found what you want. I will try to

earn my money tomorrow.”


       The next morning found Jade and me having a sunlit breakfast on the hotel verandah.

       “You know Dave, this country looks and feels so European and the landscape is California

all over again. I had a total misconception of Chile. Most of the people I‟ve met, all have German,

Italian or true Spanish surnames.”
       Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
       Crossed dean
       I smiled with understanding. “I know Jade. I‟m sorry if Spanky and I didn‟t give you a better

background on the country. There has been a huge influx of Europeans into Argentina and Chile

over the last century and the two world wars have made it even larger. The native population is now

only a small minority.”

       Her wry smile wrinkled her nose. “And from the landscape and weather, I know why you

two love it here. It‟s California all over again. The rolling hills, mountains and coastline are so

reminiscent of Big Sur. This truly is a beautiful country Dave.”

       “Thanks for understanding sweetie, it‟s a dream recaptured for Spanky and me.”

       A soft look folded over her face. “I know what‟s in your heart Dave and I want you to live

your dreams. There is an easy beauty in your soul that you let me share. I will always love you for

what you are not who you are.”

        A blissful kiss was disrupted by the clanging of the phone.

       “Senior Nasser? ”

       “Hi Magglio; why so formal?”

       “I have some bad news for you. Musa will not sell under any conditions.” Did you offer him

more money Magglio?” “I did Senior but he say money is not important. The vineyards have been

his family for hundreds of years. He is afraid the gods will seek revenge if he sells his birthright.” I

understand Magglio but are you sure this is not a ploy to hold out for a larger offer?”

        “No Senior, these peasants are not that shrewd. But the good news is that there are three or

four nice vineyards in that same area that are for sale. Why don‟t we look at these properties?”

       “Okay Magglio, set it up and I‟ll call Spanky.”

       “I will bring the car around in one hour. Is that acceptable?”

        “Fine Magglio, see you then.”
         Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
         Crossed dean
         As the old Caddy whisked us through the hillside, my heart still dwelled on the little

mountain vineyard. Oh well I thought, maybe Spankys‟ thoughts about letting go to find something

else was apropos. The northern Miapo Valley was lined with thousands of acres of vineyards.

         After two stops, we approached a villa that was a picture in waiting. We toured the vineyards

and checked the ripening fruit with our palate. The main house was a perfect picture of a Spanish

Baronial estate. It was a bit pricey for our budget but I liked everything we saw. I held my thoughts

and asked Magglio if we could come back tomorrow and look at it again with Jade. Over lunch

Spanky agreed with me.

         The next morning as we toured the house and grounds, I asked Jade what she thought?

         “I like the home Dave but I would like to do one more thing.”

         I looked at her puzzlingly. ”What‟s that?”

         “Why don‟t we talk to Musa? I trust the old man and who knows this area better than he

does?” Spanky smiled and chimed in. “Great idea Jade.”

         We found him in the upper vineyards and he agreed to go with us to check it out. Musa

walked the fields, tasting the fruit. It was so reminiscent of Tony, like one of God‟s creatures that

was joined to the soil. His fast gate made me gasp for air. Spanky was on his heels, still trying his

newfound Spanish. As we neared the end of the first row, He turned to me and spoke. I searched

Spankys eyes for his words.

         “I‟m not sure Dave but he is saying something like the grapes are too hard. The skins are too


         “What does that mean? Ask him what kind of fruit it is” After a moment of head bobbing

between he and Spanky, Spanky smiled.
        Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
        Crossed dean
        “He says the grapes are Harriaque. The skins are very tough and tannic and they only make

good wine for very long aging.”

        “I‟ve never heard of that varietal Spank. Have you?”

        “Yes I have. They are from the southern part of France and are common in Spain. In Europe

they call it Tannat. Now there‟s a clue. They have been growing a lot of this in South America. If

you want to let it to mature for a few decades, it makes great wine but it needs a lotta time!”

        “But why would they grow this here?”

        Spanky threw his head back and laughed. “Because the skin is so tough and tannic that the

birds won‟t eat it. Trust Mother Nature Dave, if the birds don‟t like it, why should we?” I smiled at

the analogy.

        Musa grinned at our amused facial expressions. Tiring of Spankys limited Spanish, He

motioned for Nino. Towering over the smallish Musa, he listened intently. He turned to us with a


        “Seniors, he likes the three of you but mostly the Signora. He says her beautiful eyes are a

song to the gods. I think he is flirting.” His eyes rolled heavenward and laughed. “So he wishes to

offer his advice because he would like to have her as a neighbor. He says a large conglomerate owns

the vineyards and they manage it badly. The big house is nothing more than a showplace for their

managers when they come here. But not to worry about the Harriaque. You can graft on to the old

vines and they will produce any fruit you desire in a few years.” The old man smiled and motioned

for Nino to approach him. As the conversation subsided, Nino walked back toward us.

        “He says to offer them less money than you offered him and they will take it. They don‟t like

the fruit their vines produce and sell it for bulk grapes. They don‟t care, they have no heart for the
        Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
        Crossed dean
soil but he thinks the two of you have good souls. He likes both of you but especially the Signora.”

He laughed with his pronouncement. Spanky ran to Musa and hugged him.

        “Tell him I love him also and if I can get Jade away from Dave, I‟ll put in a good word for

him.” We all laughed and wandered toward the car.

        As we let Musa out of the car, he reached back in with his weathered gnarled hand, took

Jades hand and politely kissed it and spoke to her in Spanish. She turned to Nino.

        “It is an old Incan Indian blessing Signora He says, “May your heart soar over this valley

with fruitfulness and may the moon god sing you to sleep on the cool breeze of the evening.” “

        She blushed slightly as she squeezed his gnarled hand and looked into his dark folded eyes.

“Mochas Gracious, me amigo. Me casa est su casa.”

        A silent tear folded into his wrinkled skin and as he spoke, his eyes turned to Nino for

translation. Niño‟s confused look turned away. “He say „I will be there to guide you in the afterlife.‟

He is a religious old man Senior. It is an Indian blessing of which I am not familiar.”

        Jade quietly reached over and brushed his sun kissed face with her hand. “Tell him I will

welcome his help Nino.”

        After the pronouncement of her words, Musa‟s face beamed as he nodded his head in an

understanding of their personal connection.

        After dinner that evening, we spent the entire night discussing the proposed site. We agreed

to put in an offer.
          Edward A. Dean                                                              Southern
          Crossed dean


          With anticipation, I called Magglio the next morning and told him to put in an offer. I took

Musa‟s advice and made a very low offer, all cash! We sat around the hotel swimming pool, waiting

for an answer. A waiter brought a telephone poolside; it was Magglio.

          “Senior Dave, they will not accept your offer. They have decided to renegotiate the price and

want more than they have listed it for.”

          “I don‟t understand Magglio, why would they want more than the price they listed it for?”

          “These things happen Senior. Who knows what large companies will do? They say they have

someone else interested in the property”

          “Let me get back to you Magglio. I need to discuss it with my partners.”

          “Okay Senior but don‟t wait too long.” As I hung up, I was suspicious with the angst in his


          As Spanky and I discussed the quandary, Jade rose from her chaise lounge that she was sun

bathing on. “For the price of a cab ride, we could get some good local advice.”

          I caught her drift immediately. How simple. I dialed Nino and in a hour, he met us at the

hotel lobby. “Where to Seniors and Signora?”

          “To your favorite local restaurant Nino.” “But it is not special Senior. Not like this one in the


          “And where would you like to have lunch Nino?”

          “The restaurant in this hotel Senior. I always imagined I could eat here but could never afford

it. But why are we talking about me? It is my job to serve you.”
       Edward A. Dean                                                         Southern
       Crossed dean
       “Listen Nino, we need to ask your advice on some local issues and we want to pay you for


       “For a beautiful lunch in this hotel, I will spill my guts!” Laughing with his eyes he

proceeded to the restaurant.

               As we explained our quandary over a glass of wine, he sent his gaze heavenward.

       “Understand Seniors, they know you are Americans and have much money. How do you

say……….They are shaking you?”

       “You mean shaking us down,” Spanky offered.

       “Yes Senior. I think your lady, the Signora, was right when she said she didn‟t trust


       I jumped in. “When did you hear that?”

        “Please Senior. A driver hears everything but says nothing. It is my job to listen but keep

silent. But she is right. I think Magglio is trying to make more money.”

       “How is that Nino?” Sometimes the broker is paid half the extra money he gets. This is not


       Anxiously I responded. “How can we fix it Nino?”

        “Simple Senior. Get another broker you trust.”

       Jade interceded. “I think we need to order. I famished and so is Nino. Are going to ruin a

beautiful lunch with too much business?” Nino‟s eyes smiled in appreciation.

               As the beautifully prepared fresh caught Chilean sea bass arrived, Nino swept a

morsel into his mouth and put his head back, eyes closed and exclaimed. “What a symphony of

flavor. I am in love Signora. Thank you for letting me enjoy my food.” Jade smiled across the table.
       Edward A. Dean                                                              Southern
       Crossed dean
       After he devoured the last piece, she interjected. “You don‟t get off that easily Nino. I have

something to ask of you. Can you be our honest broker?”

       “But Signora, it is not my job. Yes, I can negotiate. I do it every day.” He said with a smirk.

“But I have no schooling or license for to be a broker.”

       “We don‟t want you to get a license Nino. Do you know a good honest lawyer here in


       “Yes Signora, a very good one.”

”Well let him handle the legalities and you handle the negotiations. We will pay the normal fee.”

“But Signora, I cannot take something away from Magglio. He brings me many jobs. If I do this, he

will never give me work again and maybe speak badly of me to the other international brokers.”

       Jade looked deeply into his eyes to command his attention. “Nino, I suspect you are a very

intelligent man that hides behind the wheel of his limo. You want ease and simplicity but you need

to stretch yourself. Do you understand my meaning?”

       A curious smile beamed across his face. “Signora, you are like my Nina. She also tells me

my education is far beyond what I do but to be honest? I am happy. I have my own business. I am

my own boss. I will accept your challenge and do this for only you. You give me an opportunity

…… to how you say? Stretch myself?”

       Jade smiled knowingly. “You will only do this for you, Nina and your children. Do you have

children Nino?‟

       His quirky smile reappeared. “Yes, I have a wonderful little boy. You do not know but I have

studied two years of college. My Nina says that I should finish but I am too old.”

       Jade chided him. “No one is ever too old to learn Nino.”

        Spanky anxiously interjected. “Nino, would you go to work for us on a regular basis?”
           Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
           Crossed dean
           “And do what Senior? How many limo rides can you need?”

           “What we need is an interpreter, a driver and a smart man that knows this country. Someone

who knows everything about the locality and that‟s you.” I smiled at Spanky appreciatively. What a

great coup this could be.

           “It sounds good Senior‟s but my limo is not paid for and I will need the extra business to pay

for it.”

           Since we were all on the same wavelength, I offered. “Listen Nino; if we pay off your limo

and offer you a salary with a one-year contract, would you be interested?” He looked at us with a

scrunched cautious quizzical face.

           “But what would you ask of me? I cannot be busy every day when you get the vineyard. I

know nothing of vineyard.”

           I laughed. “Oh trust me my good man. You will be the chauffer, the interpreter, the

counselor on local custom and a potential supervisor of the local workers. And when we stumble,

you will catch all of our mistakes for us.”

           He pondered my words. “Senior, you must understand, I have a wife and a son.”

           “And when we can make a special place for you on the ranch, you can bring them. Is that


           His face glowed with promise. “Yes Senior, yes! I always dream of taking my family out of

the city. Thank you, thank you.” As my eyes met Jade‟s fascinated look across the table, she smiled.

I looked toward Spanky and he simply extended a thumbs up sign.
        Edward A. Dean                                                             Southern
        Crossed dean


        Needless to say, Magglio was confused and not happy with my offer. I told him that we had

hired another broker and if we were to close on any of the properties he showed us, we would pay

him fifty percent of his fees. I could hear the phone slam with a hard rattle.

        Nino jumped into the job with a newfound ferocity. He was in the hotel lobby by seven the

next morning. I sleepily directed him to have breakfast in the hotel restaurant and charge it to the


        As I made my way to the restaurant, he and Spanky were engaged in a hand waving

discussion. We agreed to let him use Spanky‟s room as an office and to contact the conglomerate.

He was charged to do business in the Chilean manner. Nothing too fast, nothing too important. Nino

suggested that he use Musa as a ploy. That he wanted only the vineyards and would they be willing

to split the vineyards from the house and winery. The second thing was that Musa knew the vines

were crap but was willing to replant. The third thing was to offer to buy it all for a very reduced

price. Nino suggested that it could take weeks for all of this to transpire, since they would have to

get back to their people and he would have to get back to his. I admired his negotiating skills and

made a mental note never to assume anything about this country.

        We spent the next two days poolside. Jade loved the ambiance of hotel living but true to her

motherhood, she was on the phone every evening with the grandmothers and little Kimberly. Every

few hours, Nino would come down to the pool and smile like the proverbial Cheshire cat, saying
       Edward A. Dean                                                        Southern
       Crossed dean
nothing of relevance, offering nothing of hope. Somehow Jade knew where his head and heart were

and would succeed. I let my anxiety rest in their hands.

       On the third day, Nino walked to the pool and whispered in Jade‟s ear. His smiling eyes were

fixated on me as he spoke to her. Putting her hand on his shoulder, she deftly kissed him on the

cheek. She laughed and proudly announced that she and Nino were going to take the limo and go

shopping for furniture. Spanky bolted from his chair and grabbed Nino‟s arm.

       “Tell me; tell me; is it done? Stop playing with me; I can‟t stand this. Nino grabbed Spanky

in a bear hug. “Senior, we have a deal. The price is much less than we set our limit to. I have

contacted the lawyer to draw up the necessary paperwork.”

        Spanky looked stunned. We had just negotiated the best deal of our lives without being a

part of it. He looked toward me with a moonstruck gaze. “This can‟t be happening. A cabbie and a

woman just put us in the back seat of the most momentous deal of our lives.

        “Can you believe this Dave?” I smiled and told Jade not to pick out anything expensive. She

smiled coyly.

       “Well, you and Spanky just spent a half a million dollars each. Don‟t you think it‟s fair for

me do spend a lot less?” We were both pleased at the final price. Our target was one million, two

hundred thousand for the property. Spanky chimed in. “Spend what you want on my part of the

house Jade. You made us look good so far. Why stop now.”

       She whirled on her heels toward the elevators. “You may regret this Spank but I‟ll take you

at your word.”
        Edward A. Dean                                                                Southern
        Crossed dean


        The next morning, we were in the lawyer‟s office. We were in for another culture shock. He

explained that in order for a foreign corporation to buy land in Chile, they must have a native

partner. Ricardo was a tallish man with a gaunt look. His drawn face gave him a stern looking

appearance. I spoke slowly.

        “Let me understand, Ricardo. Is it that we need someone of Chilean citizenship?”

        “Se Senior Dave.” “But why is that?”

        “Let me get right to the point Senior. The Allende government does not want too much

foreign interference in Chile. Have you not followed the politics of recent times?”

        “Not Really Ricardo but I‟m sure Spanky has.” Spanky jumped in. “Is this about Allende‟s

leftist leanings? I‟m sure that‟s just a lot of scare tactics by the right.”

        “Very wrong Senior. Your government is trying desperately to get him out of office. Even

the Chilean professional people have struck against him. These are bad times gentlemen. Did it

occur to you that a cab driver could negotiate a price for this property for less than half of its true

value? I will ask that you pay for this professional consolation and I will proceed.”

        Confused and curious at where this was going, I asked him to continue.

        “Seniors, Chile is in the throes of turmoil from all sides. Your government is afraid he is

another Castro. He has nationalized all the large U.S. holdings in Chile. ITT and Kennicott Copper

among the largest. What makes you think that your small purchase could not be next? His tirade
        Edward A. Dean                                                              Southern
        Crossed dean
against the rightist press, El Mecurio, is legendary. This is the paper that Niño‟s wife writes for.”

Stunned, I looked across the table to Nino. He simply nodded his head and spoke.

       “Is it so bad? She only wants what you have Senior; freedom and democracy. She is only one

small voice in this country. Allende can be convinced to change his tactics. We need to speak out. It

will happen. Everything he is doing is not bad. He gives back to the people the things that they want.

“ Ricardo shook his head and his jaw tightened.

       “This argument is not for you to understand seniors‟ except to know what you are getting

into. I will conduct this business for you but if you have connections in the U.S. you must use them

to find out the truth. As your attorney, I am obligated to your best interests.”

       My mind was swimming with confusion and apprehension. My thoughts ran back to Small

John. “Thank you Ricardo for your blunt advice. I will use our connection to find out what the facts

are. We can discuss this after I am satisfied with our decision. We will talk again.”

               We all left the office in a daze.

       Spanky was the first to speak in the ride back to the hotel. “I can‟t believe things are this bad.

Is all that he said true Nino?” “It is true Senior but you must remember this is Chile. We are a small

country. Things happen but time makes them better.”

       I interjected. “Let me ask you Nino, maybe one night you could bring your wife to dinner so

that we can get her opinion? Since she is politically active, she may be of some help.”

        “Of course Senior Dave, she would love dinner at the hotel. I will ask her.”

       That early evening Spanky, Jade and I heatedly discussed our commitment to Chile. Spanky

ordered a house phone in the restaurant and placed a call to Small John‟s private number. Luck was

holding. Small John answered. As Spanky told him what we were up to, I could hear SJ‟s shrill
       Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
       Crossed dean
voice asking for me. As I put the phone to my ear, I could feel Spanky lean toward me trying to

listen. I held it slightly away so that he could.

         “SJ, this is Dave. What‟s the story? Do you know anything about the circumstances down


         We didn‟t‟ need a speakerphone. “Are you lunatics‟ crazy? I‟ve been worried sick about

y‟all. I even called the American Embassy to try and have you located. As a committee member, I

was briefed by the C.I.A. a few weeks ago about the circumstances. They are going to blow up the

situation down there. Nixon won‟t let another Cuba happen on his watch and he has everybody,

including Kissinger on the case. There are more CIA people on embassy duty than you can imagine.

It‟s crazy. Get the hell out of there now. Where are y‟all staying? I‟m going to arrange an escort for

y‟all to the airport.” It dawned on me, that Small John never used his southern drawl unless he was

very upset.

         “We‟re at the Intercontinental Hotel. Is it that bad SJ?”

         A curt answered followed. “Worse!” Spanky‟s eyes shot over to Jade.

         “We‟re outta here tonight.”

         No sooner had we packed our last bag, the phone rang. “Mr. Nasser? This is U.S. Consulate

Jeff Raymond. I‟m a confident of the Senator. I‟m here to escort you to the airport. I have confirmed

your flights on Pan Am Airlines for three. We need to leave as soon as possible. Are you all ready?”

         We‟ll be down shortly” I responded. Apparently Small John‟s considerable influence had

motivated this hasty response. The precision in Jeff‟s voice was a tell that he was a company man.

CIA, through and through. It gave me a comfort level knowing he could handle any obstacles for us.

         As Spanky loaded the bags in the waiting limo, I paid the bill. As I leaned back into the seat

of the limo, I asked Jeff to explain what was going on. His small stature pulled up to guard the
      Edward A. Dean                                                             Southern
      Crossed dean
window to the front. “No names, no conversation. We are just happy little tourists on the way back

home. Read the papers in the morning.” My antenna heightened.

       “We understand and thank you.”


       On the third page of the September eleventh edition of the Detroit News, there was an article

of a military coup in Chile. General Pinochet had overthrown the government of President Allende.

The significance on a global world was small, but it had just crashed the dreams for the three of us.

       Three days later there was a call from Small John. I could hear Jade laughing at Small Johns

effervescent humor. As I strolled into the room, our now permanent houseguest, Spanky, was not far

behind me. I put him on my office speakerphone. Our unison greeting made Small John laugh.

       “Hi brothers, I‟m glad you‟re back safe. But I gotta tell you, you scared the shit outta me.”

His voice quivered in a very unusual manner. “Don‟t you ever do this to me again. I told, I told you,

I told you! This is bullshit. You just can‟t go traipsing around the world without me knowing.”

       “Hold on big guy, we told you we were going to Chile.”

       “But you didn‟t stay in touch. Listen guys, I could have told you this was going to take place.

Nixon will never let another Commie government into the Western Hemisphere. He is waving the

Monroe Doctrine in all of our faces.” Spanky and I looked at each other knowingly. Here comes one

of the professor‟s lectures. SJ didn‟t wait for a second breath.
       Edward A. Dean                                                             Southern
       Crossed dean
       “They don‟t care if it‟s a dictator, or how many people he kills, as long as he works for us.”

       “Hold on SJ. Are you saying that Pinochet killed Allende?”

       “Don‟t be naïve guys, either him or the CIA. We‟ve been after his ass since he nationalized

the U.S. industries down there. I wouldn‟t be surprised if I.T.T. made the hit. They have been

flooding Congress with money and ideas on how to get rid of Allende for three years. Now if

Pinochet gives back the phone company and copper mines, it tells you who made the hit. Follow the

money trail guys. If you‟re going to play in this international game, follow the money. How in the

hell do you think Hitler, Mussolini and Franco got away with so much shit? Because the world still

believes that “might makes right and the big lie!” It was the political clout of industry that gave them

the power. They get the power from the moneyed interests. Do you think that Krupp, Porsche and all

the rest of the large manufacturers hated all the things Hitler and his kind did? Hell no! They didn‟t

give a shit as long as the money flowed. We‟re no different. All the U.S. politicians scrounge for

funds to get re-elected. Money and power go hand in hand. Someday we‟ll wake up from our

nativity and put a stop to it. But as long as we sleep at the switch, it will be “game on!”

       “So how do we get to play in this arena SJ?”

        “You don‟t. If you guys ever decide to go back, keep a low profile, pay the vigorish and

keep your mouths shut. If you need help call me first! Why can‟t you just stay in the states where

you have a comfort level? There is plenty of acreage that the two of you can afford. Look at the

Central Valley.” Spanky could not contain himself. “SJ, it‟s heaven and we want a piece of it. Fuck

the politico‟s. They die just like we do. I know it‟s in our karma to do this. I have to make it happen.

Life is about Truth and beauty, not buy and sell”

        I winced at the words but I knew he was right. I dearly wanted that to be a fact but as a

pragmatist, I knew it wasn‟t a reality.
       Edward A. Dean                                                             Southern
       Crossed dean
       SJ‟s voice rang over the speaker in a jaundiced tone, “I hear you brother but get real. It ain‟t

gonna happen in our lifetime!” It dawned on me. Spanky and Small John had switched places. The

same threesome, the same karma, but we were switching personalities.


       For over a month, I paced the house in Troy. I followed the daily news coming from Chile

but it was very sparse. Patience was never a virtue with me and I needed to find out the true facts. I

hesitated and picked up the phone and called Small John. His light and shrill voice came through like

a beacon of light.

       “You guys really want to do this deal Dave?”

        “With all my being S.J.”

       “Okay Dave, here‟s the skinny. We have troops on the ground in the near area. I can‟t say

where but from what I can tell, it‟s safe. We‟re letting our corporate people go back in. Pinochet is in

our pocket but he‟s acting like an asshole to appease his people. But trust me; or the C.I.A;

whichever you choose, he wants to play nice. He‟s a queer duck Dave. He‟s got a nose full of power

but knows whence the manna comes. Nixon doesn‟t care as long as he doesn‟t play the Commie card

and lets our big multinational companies back in to reclaim their holdings. If you and Spanky are

okay with his right wing bullshit, go for it.”

       “Thanks Senator, We owe you.”
       Edward A. Dean                                                             Southern
       Crossed dean
       “ Don‟t say that Dave, we‟re brothers to the end. It‟s my turn to pay back for all the years

you guys carried me and taught me some street smarts. It‟s serving me well in D.C. I love you both.”

       I chocked on his words. “We never say it S.J. but we love you too; brothers to the end.



       The three of us were on the next available flight and Nino was at the airport to pick us up. It

was as if we never missed a step. Spanky was the first to break the silence.

       “Tell me Nino, what‟s been going on? Is the new idiot better than the last one?”

       “Please Senior, we have more important things. They are all the same. Power is ugly whether

it comes from the left or right. The people still suffer but the middle class simply adjusts. The poor

are still poor. My wife tells me this.” Jade leaned forward and responded.

       “What does your wife do Nino?”

       “She is a reporter and writer for El Mercurio. You know. The newspaper.” My heart started

to race. El Mecurio was a contrarian newspaper. Their views were always centered to the right. How

would this bode for the present regime? I interceded.

        “Nino, does your wife understand her position could be dangerous with the new regime?”

       He threw his head back in laughter. “Of course Senior, She know better than most. She is

       part Indian and she has the Indian fire in her belly. That is why I married her. But El Mecurio

       supports Pinochet. The Edwards family is very right wing. They like my Nina because she
        Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
        Crossed dean
        speaks to the Indian people.” He rolled his head in laughter. Anxiously, Spanky leaned

        forward on to the back of the driver‟s seat. “Is she Mayan?”

        Nino tilted his head backward. “Oh no senior, she is Araucanian. There was never any

Mayan here. Only to the East but to the north, in Peru, they were the Inca. The Araucanian fight

them off, as well as the Spaniards.” His head was still tilted as he laughed. “They fight everybody.

They think they can never lose. And that senior is my Nashintashah. This is her Indian name but we

call her Nina.”

        The back seat broke out in unison. “The name game!” The three of us were rolling in

laughter. Nino looked back with apprehension.

        “I do not understand. Did I miss the humor?” I had to explain.

        “No Nino, All three of us Gringos have ethnic names that we do not use and that was why we

thought it was funny.” I needed exfoliate the confusion on Niño‟s‟ face. “We do not laugh at you

Nino, we laugh with you. We laugh at ourselves. We use other names to appease the people in the

United States. It is a joke on us.”

        “Well you are in a land with many ethnic names senior. Mi Madre‟s maiden name was

O‟Mera but she was only part Irish. From three generations back.” It was my turn for confusion.

“Really Nino. Why are there so many Europeans here?”

        “Senior is my turn to laugh with you, is a free education. The first Presidente‟ of Chile is a

man with the name of O‟Higgins. There is a square in Santiago with his likeness. Many Irish, Italian

and French settle in Chile. Where do you think you get all the beautiful vineyards and grape roots

from?” His canted head smiled knowingly. “And to the east in Argentina, you have the Dutch and

the Germans. There are more blond heads and blue eyes in Argentina than anywhere in South

America. They stick to themselves. Very strange senior. No marry outside their own. Only make
       Edward A. Dean                                                          Southern
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love outside their own.” He threw his head back and laughed uproariously. A sudden realization

made him stop the vehicle and he turned to Jade.

        “Signora, I beg your forgiveness. I make a filthy remark and I have insulted you. Please

forgive my bad manners.” Jade only smiled.

       “Nino, you are forgiven. Now I must ask you a favor.”

       “Yes signora, anything.” She smiled coyly, into my face. “ It is your job to teach these two

boys how to act as gentlemen. Do we have an agreement?”

       “Se signora, se.” Spanky and I looked at each other with our brows raised in unison.


       The next morning, Nino called from the lobby. He informed me that he had Ricardo waiting

in the limo for us. Ricardo had agreed to help us find a property.

       The three of us slid into the back seat and exchanged pleasantries with our hosts as the car

sped off.

                  Ricardo informed us that he had researched the properties that we were to see and all

were legally held under the new government mandates. “Seniors and signora, many of what we are

to see are properties that are held by Concha Y Toro.

       They have many properties that they have foreclosed on thought the years of turmoil. The

Don Melchor family is the largest and oldest winery in Chile. They can be trusted to do business in

good fashion.” I spoke first.

       “Thank you Ricardo, for doing your homework. We do not want to waste time.” He smiled

         Edward A. Dean                                                              Southern
         Crossed dean
         Like the three bears, the first was too cold and the next were too hot but the fourth was a

dream made in the back of our collective minds. It was just north of the sleepy little town of La

Orba. Jade loved the expansive main house. Spanky was happy with the two separate quarters and I

fell in love with the lush vineyards. They climbed the hillside with the Andean mountains framing a

picture in my mind. A picture I so desperately needed to possess. Spanky was right. For the first time

in my life, I was looking at Nirvana. A slice of heaven awaited our acquiescence.

         It was months later that we learned of the reason that the owners were in such a rush to sell.

Caymus Vineyards had cancelled their contract for their School House Wines brand and they were

left with no outlet other than going it on their own. With the impending political upheaval they

walked away. Could we be right and they wrong? It didn‟t matter, It was what Spanky and I had

dreamed of.


         The next month was a flurry of activity. Jade was busy changing the decor of the main house

and Spanky and I were consumed with the details of the vineyard. We were constantly at odds with

many of the entrenched vineyard workers on how things were to be handled. It‟s not to say that they

weren‟t knowledgeable but many of their methods were archaic. The winery was old. It held a

number of wooden and cement vats that were in desperate need of cleaning and repair.

         Spanky turned to me, “Wouldn‟t Tony have a ball down here, running over this motley

        Edward A. Dean                                                     Southern
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        I smiled knowingly. “Hey Spank? What about hiring Musa? Maybe he‟s our next Tony.

What do you think?”

        “I don‟t know Dave, he has his own but let‟s ask him anyway. I have another idea. How

would you feel about getting a winemaker from Napa to come down during their off season? With

the seasons backwards here, that might be a possibility. There are a lot of talented people up there

that would love the extra work.”

        “Great idea Spank.” Then the thought hit me. Was it Angel that he was thinking about? Oh

God, I wondered. How could this play out with Jade and all? I swallowed hard and asked.

        “It‟s a great idea Spanky. I‟m going to level with you. Are you thinking about Angel?”

        Spanky groused. “Kind of Dave. You know I never got over that woman. I know, I know

what you‟re thinking but we‟ve all grown up over the years and it might be worth a phone call. First

and foremost, she has become a first class winemaker in her own right. I‟ve been following her

career. Let‟s see how she feels about this?”

        I knew that Spanky still had strong feelings for her and I could not deny him that. Any

objection on my part would be selfish. “Hey, why not. She is a talented lady and I think she might

like to help us with this venture. You handle it and let me know.” My weak smile told Spanky

everything he needed to know but the ancient guilt was still there in my mind.

        “I understand Dave. Give me this one and if there is an issue, I‟ll take care of business. Hey,

it‟s about getting the best for our venture isn‟t it?”

        “Make it happen big guy. I trust your judgment. You haven‟t been wrong yet.”
       Edward A. Dean                                                              Southern
       Crossed dean


       It took nearly a week for Spanky to find her. He found Art Weinberg‟s old number and called

him. Spanky knew that Art was always in tune to what was happening in the Valleys. Art laughed

uproariously when he heard Spankys voice. “You little cockers. I always wondered what became of

you two. You both still got wine juice in your veins huh?”

       “Yea, we still got the bug Arty.” Spanky proceeded to fill Art in with what we were doing.

Art chuckled through the whole conversation until Spanky asked about Angel.

       “She‟s doing great Spanky. I see a lot of her and........”

Spankys heart sunk. “Was there someone else? Did she get married?”

Art laughed at Spankys consternation and confusion. “Easy Spanky, there is a guy in her life but it‟s

her son. She has a little boy named Nathan.”

Spanky exploded with questions. Art explained that the little boy was born shortly after he and Dave

left the Valleys. Spanky spoke haltingly. “Does she know who the father is Art?”

       “Of course stupid. Every mother knows her child‟s father. She was going out with one of the

winery guys and she didn‟t want to get married. It was her choice.”

Spanky choked on his words. “How did she get through all of that Art?”

       “Well the truth is I kinda helped out. She was beautiful enough to name the kid after my

father. His name is Nate. He‟s a neat little guy Spanky. Listen, let me give you her phone number

and see what she has to say. It might be hard guy but she is a sweetie. If I were a lot younger, your

ass would be grass.” Art‟s humor was lost in Spanky‟s confusion.
       Edward A. Dean                                                             Southern
       Crossed dean
       Spanky waited till the next day to call her. Her tears filled the phone when she heard his

voice. They spent hours catching up with each other‟s lives. When Spanky asked if she would come

down to Chile to handle the winery, Angel at first refused. “Let me think about it Spank. I need to

sort out some things.”

       Spanky knew why. It was the idea of seeing he and Dave again. Spanky knew how sensitive

Angel could be but he would not be deterred. “Listen to me Angel. We both want you here for one

reason, your talent and to be very honest; I miss you and me. If this works for you, I promise to keep

it at your comfort level. Do what your heart tells you. I will leave the next call up to you.” The soft

click of the phone made Spanky‟s heart sink.

       The next morning, Spanky told Dave the story and only the things that he wanted him to

know. Spanky folded his emotions away for another day.


       The plane touched down lightly on the Santiago tarmac. Angel wondered if this was a right

thing to be doing. “What the heck.” She thought to herself. The worst thing would be a wonderful

vacation for her and her son Nate. The little boy‟s eyes grew in wonderment as the plane taxied to

the gate. Angel smiled and reached over to run her fingers through his floppy sandy hair. His dark

eyes flashed an easy smile at her.
         Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
         Crossed dean
         As they drifted through the airport, toward the luggage rack, Angel spotted an angular dark

local flashing a sign with her name on it. As she introduced herself the man simply grinned. His eyes

were fixed on the child.

         “He is Senior Spanky‟s boy Signora?”

         “No, Mr. whatever-your-name-is, he is my little boy.”

         Nino quickly apologized and guided them to the luggage rack. He was taken with the boy‟s

floppy hair that was so reminiscent of Senior Spanky. He assumed this only because of Spankys

nostalgic description of Angel. Nino suspected that she was a great love in his life. It was his

intuitive innate read on people.


         As the old Cadillac limo weaved through the hillside vineyards, Angel was mesmerized with

the lush rows of vines. Her heart leapt at the site of the casa as the old limo wound its way along the

        Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
        Crossed dean
        Spanky was the first one out of the door as soon as he heard the ancient motors hum. He and

Angel stood in the driveway for the longest time studying each other‟s being. They journeyed slowly

to each other‟s arms and kissed. It was if there wasn‟t a day lost in their lives. Dave and Jade stood

watching on the wide verandah as they approached. Nino held the little boys hand so he would not

interfere with the reunion.

        As the night settled in and the incessant conversation continued, Nino took Nate out to the

backyard to show him the amazing star fields that filled the Chilean sky.

        “Your mother call you Nate, permisso for me to call you Nate?”

        “Se Senior, permisso to call you Nino?”

        Nino smiled at his attempted Spanish. “You speak well Nate. It is okay. I have a little boy

almost your age. I will bring him one day for you to play with.”

        Nate smiled broadly. “I will like that Nino. When?”

        “Patience little man, soon. You see that big bright X in the south heavens? That is our Indian

god Chakana. He is the most reliable god in the heavens. He always stays right there and never

moves through the night. For centuries, he would lead my ancestors safely through the mountains

and he guards our crops. He is good for your two uncles grapes. We must offer him the first glass of

wine from the first vintage. He will like that and smile on all of us. We will need this gods favor for

all of us. Our future is tied to his smiles on us.”

        Nate thought for a moment then smiled broadly. “We have a god like that. My mother calls it

the big dipper. And here your god looks just like my God. It is the sign of the Cross. It is a Cross

       Edward A. Dean                                                             Southern
       Crossed dean
       Nino laughed. “Of course, of course. It is called by Christians as the Southern Cross. In this

land we have many cultures and many gods. Your uncle Dave and aunt Jade are Muslims. Your

father....” Nino caught his subconscious thought and corrected his English.

       “I mean your Uncle Spanky is a Buddhist. And I am...........I am many things. My wife Nina

says that we must say we are Catholic but my soul is in those stars.”

Nate impetuously interrupted. “ But Nino, how can you be so many things? My mother says you can

only do one thing at a time if you are to do it right.”

       Nino looked to the Southern Cross and deep into the bright dark eyes of the boy. “I am

Indian first, a man second and I am a Catholic last. I honor my heritage first myself next and my

adapted religion last. It is what my soul dictates and you must always listen to your soul.”

       For some reason Nate understood. It was beyond his years but the little boy felt the passion in

Nino‟s voice and the truth of his words.


       Angel awoke the next morning to the sounds of pots rustling in the kitchen. It must be Jade

she thought. She lingered to recollect last evening‟s conversations. Jade had been so sweet she
       Edward A. Dean                                                         Southern
       Crossed dean
thought but did she know about her fling with Dave? This weighed on her conscience but it was so

many years ago. It was history and she was determined to leave it at that.

Angel washed and dressed and made her way to kitchen. Jade was making breakfast.

       “I‟m sorry Jade, I must have slept in. It‟s the time change. Give me a day or two to adjust.”

Jade smiled over her frying pan. “Don‟t worry sweetie. Dave promised me a cook and a housekeeper

and I‟m holding his feet to the fire on that one! Besides, you‟re a working girl. They have plans to

take you out to the fields this morning. Considerate guys huh?” She giggled

       It was Angel‟s turn to laugh. “Still the same old slave drivers. Those two have the patience of

a mongoose. If we could apply some of that testosterone to the vines, we would have a bumper crop

overnight.” The two ladies tested their newfound ease with one another and chatted throughout the

breakfast preparation.

       No sooner had they set the table, Spanky and Dave wandered in.

“Wow you‟re up early Angel. Dave and I were going walk the vineyards this morning. You‟re

welcome to join us if you‟d like.”

       Jade and Angel smiled knowingly. Jade interjected. “Listen Angel. If you would like to join

them, I can watch Nate and Kimberly. They might as well get to know each other.”

       Angel thanked her. “Hey Dave, Jade tells me you promised us a cook and a housemaid.

When does that happen? Jade and I are not doing double duty. We refuse to work for a second rate


       Dave and Spanky looked at each other. Spanky smiled. “Oh God, there ganging up already.

Nino, Nino, get in here. Go find us a housekeeper today. I can‟t stand whining women?”

Jade looked sternly toward the two men. “No whining, just a statement of fact. Say what you do and
      Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
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do what you say. Wouldn‟t it be nice to come home to two pleasant ladies, waiting on your every

wish?” She winked at Dave and gave him her best devilish grin.

       Dave grinned at Jade and turned to Nino. “Make it so Nino, make it so.”

       Jade smiled. “He‟s such a Trekky fan, it drives me nuts sometimes.”


       The slow walk though the vineyards gave Angel a sense of deja vu. The twinge of a

that long forgotten memory made her uneasy. She raced forward to grab Spanky‟s hand.

Her mind fled to the task at hand. The vines were in bad need of pruning. They were wild and un-

kept. “Who in the hell is responsible for these vines? Get him out here so I can fire his ass.”

Dave and Spanky smirked at her tough take-charge attitude.

       Angel gave both of them a hard look. “If we‟re going to make a decent bottle of wine, these

vines need to be severely pruned right now. This is bullshit. If he can‟t do the job, let‟s get someone

that can. Call Nino and have him get the field boss out here right now.” Angel was adamant.

       The field boss and two of his hands scurried down the rows. Nino started to interpret but

Angel addressed them in fluent Spanish. Spanky and I turned to Nino with a questioning look.

       “Seniors, she say if you do not make me happy with your work, she will find someone who

can. She give them a chance to redeem their wayward souls. I like this lady. She knows the heart of

my people. She is like a razor. She waste no time or words.”
       Edward A. Dean                                                      Southern
       Crossed dean
       Dave and Spanky looked amazed. Dave offered, “What did she say Nino, to turn them

around so quickly?”

       Nino‟s dry smile enlightened Dave. “She question their manhood. Seniors, this is a woman

thing. She did it well. She tell them work as a man or leave as a man. She is good, no?” Nino


       Spanky and I looked at each other in amazement. Angel had arrived. She was determined to

put her mark on these fields. Spanky and I simply hid our smirks and walked away, determined to let

Angel establish her authority.

       Later that day we took Angel over to meet Musa. She smiled as we strolled through rows of

his well-tended vines.

       Musa led us into the hillside cave where he had some of his better vintages stored. With

eager anticipation we followed. Angel and Spanky laughed as the glasses that they were carrying

clinked in the darkness. The old man lit another candle and searched through the bottles until he

found what he was looking for. I was amazed at how he deftly removed the old cork with only an

ancient pocketknife. The cork pulled soundly. I noticed the hand scribed date on the bottle; nineteen-

twenty-four. I eased my glass in his direction with anticipation. He smiled as he poured a splash for

Angel and Spanky. As we swirled and nosed the glass, our eyes widened. It was still vibrant after

fifty years. Angel‟s eyes told me everything I need. They widened with wonderment. In disbelief she

swallowed. She nosed the wine and took another sip.

       Musa stood to the side and watched our faces. His smile told us everything we wanted to ask.

It was the pure joy of a job well done. His father‟s gift still remained after all these years. Angel

expounded on the wine. “It has such a different character. It is excellent. The only problem is we

don‟t have fifty years to wait till it comes around. I‟d like to try some blending experiments with
         Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
         Crossed dean
this. I‟m thinking of some Cabernet Franc in this to soften it. Do they have Cabernet Franc down

here?” Spanky and I shrugged our shoulders.

       Spanky answered. “They have so many varieties in each field, it‟s hard to know exactly what

they‟re growing.” I smiled with his remark.

       “Kinda like the Italian fields in California huh? We know they did it for a reason. They were

planting a traditional Tuscan blend. Do you think there might be a rhyme or reason these fields are

mixed? Let‟s not scoff at two hundred years of experience.”

       Angel offered. “We have a couple of choices. I could send some cuttings from our fields to

U.C. Davis campus up in Napa. They can tell us what they are. You know who we‟re missing guys?”

       A thud fell over our easy conversation. Spanky offered. He knew I couldn‟t broach the

subject. “ Why can‟t we just let it ride for now? Sure, we all know we need a Tony but if we don‟t

take what he taught us, then we let him down. Musa can help us with the local lore but he is a hell of

a long way from a Tony. Tony was a mentor to all of us. Let‟s just apply his spirit to what we‟re

experiencing. His charge was to give us his knowledge and soul for the vines. Let‟s do him proud.

Angel, you have the technical smarts. Apply it! Dave, he gave you the passion. Me; he gave me a

perfection of soul. Are you surprised? He knew me inside and out. Tony gave me what I needed.

Both of you saw the simplicity in the man. Me? He gave me a knowledge of life that will never be

explained. Let‟s just do the man proud and give back what he taught us. This little giant will be a

part of this land, through us. If we are ever to honor his memory, let‟s apply it, here and now.”

      I was shocked and amazed as our tear-filled eyes met. Our smiles coalesced as we walked

through the hillside vineyards. My only thought was to the wine thief. As ever and always, Tony

would be with us.
       Edward A. Dean                                                        Southern
       Crossed dean
       The next morning a soft cool wind sang through our bedroom door-wall. My body was

enfolded into Jade. Her soft flesh nudged into me. Her warmth made me feel that everything was

right with the world. A soft purr emitted from her throat. This was my favorite part of the day, the

sun streaking out my window and a warm body in my arms. It was in my own heaven as my nostrils

filled with Jades trademark Chanel perfume.

       My revere was startled as I heard voices in the kitchen. I could hear an angry Spanky Spanish

arguing with the current housemaid. My groggy nude body slipped into a running suit. As I made my

way into the kitchen, I watched Spanky dispatching the lady out the door. My sleep ladened mind

could only offer. “What the hell Spank. What‟s going on?”

       “I‟m sorry Dave but I can‟t stand that bitch. She gets into my coffee and just plain bugs me. I

hear her murmuring under her breathe in Spanish about us Americano‟s. She just has bad Karma.

Talk to Jade and have her find somebody new will you?”

       I had to laugh. “Spanky, you‟re weird and always have been. Okay, I‟ll talk to her but do you

have to get up at five in the morning?”

       Spanky smiled his thoughts to me. “Yes, yes, dear friend. I need to see the sunrise come

across the Andes Mountains. How powerful. How Zen. The beauty is in the birth of the day.”

     “So we spent all this time and money to watch a sunrise?”

     “Exactly Dave, it‟s a component of our new life. Do you chase a beautiful bird out of a tree in

the back yard because its song disturbs you talking? No. You listen to its beautiful offering and

appreciate the moment, for that song and that moment will never come again.”

       “Oh God Spank! What the hell does all of this have to do with firing the maid?”
       Edward A. Dean                                                      Southern
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       “Well Dave, the truth is she fucked up my moment! And her Karma sucks. Next?”

I had to laugh. This was vintage Spanky. He was back from all the philosophical bullshit he had been

spouting. I loved it. Spanky and I were home.

              As Jade and I lingered over breakfast, I explained the incident with Spanky and the

       maid. Jade simply smiled.“To tell you the truth Dave, I wasn‟t all that thrilled with her either.

       Don‟t worry about it. I‟m sure you know I can handle a house. I really don‟t mind. Angel has

       her hands full with the vineyards and I can take care of this.”

              “Listen sweetie, let‟s look for someone to take over the cooking and cleaning. I‟ll ask


              Jade smiled. “I have a better idea. If Spanky dumped her make him find a

       replacement. That‟ll be fun. I would love to see what he comes up with.” She shouted across

       the courtyard for Spanky. Spanky walked into the kitchen slowly and sat down

       apprehensively. He darted Jade a devilish smile. She explained to him that if he broke it, he

       would have to fix it. He leaned back with a smirk.

              “No problem fair lady, I will be happy to fix it. I spoke to Nino this morning and he

       might have a candidate.”

              “That was quick Spank but I get final approval this time.” Jade offered.

              “Its a deal. He called his wife and she knows a lady that would love the opportunity to

       work here.”

              Jade looked at him quizzically. “Oh no not another relative please.”

              Spanky‟s look became somber. “From what I understand she needs the job but she

       has some emotional baggage. Her husband and two teenage sons disappeared about a year
Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
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ago. It seems that they were distributing anti Pinochet pamphlets inside copies of the El

Mecurio newspaper. They were picked up by the secret police and never seen again.”

       I jumped in. “Oh no Spank, we don‟t need to bring that kind of grief and suspicion

into our lives. Why ask for trouble?”

       “Nino said you would say that Dave but I told him that you have cajonies and no one

scares you. Besides, we‟re Americans and who do you think put Pinochet in power and

trained their secret police? It‟s the least we can do to help make things right for these


       I couldn‟t help but shake my head and laugh when I saw that patented Spanky smirk.

       “You just love putting me in between a rock and a hard place don‟t you. Why do we

have to take on these kinds of problems? It‟s not our fault. We need to keep a low profile in

this country. You heard what Small John told us. Stay out of their politics.”

       “Oh come on Dave. We‟re hiring a maid not marching in a parade. Let Jade check her

out and make the decision.”

       Jade offered. “He‟s right Dave. We‟re offering her a job not making a political

statement. What‟s the harm in helping a poor soul who needs the work?”

       I knew I would lose this little battle. “Okay, okay, I‟m going out to the fields and let

you two bleeding hearts handle this. All I have to say is she better be a damned good cook.

I‟ll need one after all the ulcers you two are giving me.” I could feel a shared smile over my

shoulder as I headed out the door.

       That next morning, as I walked into the kitchen, a small square dark-skinned Indian

woman greeted me. She offered me a cup of delicious smelling coffee.
Edward A. Dean                                                         Southern
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       “Buenos dais Senior, my name is Maria and your beautiful wife say I must make you

excellent strong coffee. Here, you try.”

       I smiled politely. “Thank you Maria.” I could smell the wonderful brew as I lifted it

to my lips. It was excellent. “This is some of the best coffee I have had since I‟ve been down

hear Maria. It tastes so fresh.”

       “Se Senior, I roast the beans fresh this morning. You like?”

       “I love it Maria. If your cooking is as good as your coffee, we can be fast friends.”

       She gave me a wry smile. “You will like, you will like. I work as a cook in the big

hotel kitchen in Santiago for many years.”

       “Well why are you here? I should think that would be a good job?”

       “It was Senior. After the trouble for my husband and sons, they think I will bring

them trouble so they don‟t need me anymore.” Her eyes welled slightly and she turned her

head away toward the stove.

       I could see the pain on her face. My lingering thought was why everyone in this

country should live in such a state of perpetual fear? I choked on my words. “Listen Maria,

if your cooking is as good as your coffee, you will be here for many, many years.”

       She turned and blotted her eyes with her apron. “Thank you Senior, I will do good

work for you. Your lady tell me you have a good heart. I see this is true.”

       I laughed aloud. “Oh I see. I was set up.” Her puzzled look told me she didn‟t

understand my teasing. “Never mind Maria, just make good food and listen to the lady. She

is the one with the good heart. I‟m the one with the good mouth”

       Confused with the language barrier, she smiled and returned to her tasks.
Edward A. Dean                                                              Southern
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       That afternoon, Nino and I climbed the terraced vineyards in a vintage jeep that came

with the property. We chatted over non-descript subjects but I weighed in with what was

really on my mind. “I have to thank you for finding Maria for us Nino. She seems like a very

pleasant person but I have to ask you, what the hell is going on in the cities? I know your

wife writes for El Mecurio. Is it as bad as everyone makes it out to be?”

       “Senior, it is politics. I don‟t understand them sometimes. I just want to be a good

worker and care for my family. Maybe have some extra money for our old age. Is that too

much to ask? But as I told you before, my Nina has the fire in her belly. She knows much

more than me. I am afraid for her senior. She too can become a target of the Pinochet secret

police. She tells me your government is afraid that the communist will take over. I don‟t

understand this senior. She tells me that we wanted socialism in our country. Are they the

same senior? I do not understand much of this nonsense. I just want to be free to live a good

life that I am willing to work for. Is that too much to ask?”

       “No it‟s not Nino. Every man and woman wants the same thing. I cannot answer

every one of your questions with any authority but sometimes these things are about power.

Power is a heady drug many men aspire to. Power is about control and when you have

control, some is never enough. They want more.”

       “But Senior, you have power, you have money. Is that not the same?”

       I felt a jolt and it made me think. Were we now becoming just another group of ugly

Americans? I abhorred the thought. I only wanted the same things that Nino had expressed.

Why do politics always have to control our lives, I thought? “No Nino, it is not the same.
Edward A. Dean                                                     Southern
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Many consider money as security. Money is not power. Show me money Nino. Show me.”

Nino reached into his pocket and pulled out a few bills of currency, some Chilean and some

U.S. currency. “This is not money or wealth Nino, this is good faith. It means that you trust

your government to honor its obligation to make it good. I trust my government to honor

what it has printed on the paper. But power is the ability to change the rules of the game.

That is power. We all trust our government to play fair but sometimes it is not so. If you have

power, you can seek to change things. So power is much more valuable than money. Money

can change but power is absolute. So which would you want, money or power?”

       A wry smile crossed his face. “Money would be a good place to start.”

        I grinned back. “Of course it is but understand the most important thing. Peace is not

to live in fear that another nation or people will come in and steal your wealth. And that is

what politicians do to gain power. They make you afraid that someone or some nation wants

to steal your wealth and peace. They make you so afraid that you are willing to fight and die

for your family and nation.”

       “Do the communists want to do this to Chile Senior?”

       “No more than the Americans Nino. The U.S. government has a foolish fear of

communism. We do not fear their system as much as their bombs. But the Kennicott Copper

Company and I.T.T. are afraid that the Chilean people will take their wealth, that they have

built in your country and that is the true reason the U.S. is involved in the Chilean politics.

They will cite the Monroe Doctrine, which I‟m sure you will not understand but as I said

before, it‟s about power. Those companies have the wealth to exercise their power over the

U.S. government. This is not the good reason but it is the true reason.”
Edward A. Dean                                                        Southern
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       Nino smiled at me. “Senior, sometimes you confuse me like Senior Spanky. You tell

me many things I don‟t understand. You two are too smart for my brain. Maybe I need to

bring Nina here to help me understand. She has a good understanding of these things.”

       I laughed aloud. “Good move Nino. Does this mean you want to move the whole

family in?”

       “Could this be possible Senior? I need to get my family out of Santiago. I fear for my

wife‟s big mouth. She has the fire and I fear for it. She will not make problems for you, I

promise. We can work hard for you Senior. We can do many things to help. Nina knows

many people that can be of assistance to you. This is like power, is it not?”

       I smiled. “Yes Nino, it is. Sometimes access to the power brokers is just as important.

You bring the family down and we‟ll see how it all works out. Can all of you fit in your

casita? There are only four rooms.”

       Nino smiled. “Of course we can. This is bigger than we have in Santiago. It will be

fine. Thank you Senior Dave, I will make you proud.”

       That next weekend Nino‟s limo came to the casa, brimming with furniture strapped to

the roof. A lovely dark haired lady stepped out of the limo and gazed around. Her fair skin

and features belied an Indian heritage. I assumed it was Nina. This was the first time she had

been to the vineyard. Her hand reached into the limo and pulled out a reluctant child. He

rubbed the sleep from his eyes squinting at the bright sunlight. A large yawn saturated his

face as he looked around with his deep dark eyes. As they walked to their new quarters, I

hurried out to greet them. Nino smiled in my direction and introduced his family. “Welcome

to you both.” I smiled at the sleepy child as he hid his body behind his mother‟s leg. Only

peeking his head out.
Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
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       “Senior Dave, this is my wife Nina and this little one is Xohal. He speak some

English he learn in school. And this is my lovely Nina. Is she not as beautiful as I told you?”

       She reached out to shake my hand. Her small voice spoke excellent English. “Thank

you for letting us come here Senior Dave. My husband worries excessively. I‟m sure we

would be fine in Santiago but he feels that my job on the paper would make us targets for

Pinochet‟s murderers.” As I raised my eyebrows with the remark, she laughed.

       “I don‟t mean to disparage our illustrious Presidente‟ but that is what they are. Do

you follow Chilean politics Senior?”

       “Somewhat Nina. I try to stay away from them. This is your country and my opinion

isn‟t important.”

       Her dark eyes widened. “Well you should. You are now a Chilean landowner.”

       Nino stepped in front of her. “Please Senior, don‟t be offended. I tell you she has the

Latin temper.” He glared at her.

       I smiled at the two. “May be you are right Nina but since we are new to your country

part of your job will be to educate us on Chilean politics. Is that acceptable?”

       She gave me a sly smile. “I now see why Nino thinks of you as a very smart man. It

would be my pleasure. I will only speak the harsh realities of the truth. Is that acceptable?”

       I smiled back at her. “It is very acceptable. I would ask for nothing less. Listen Nino.

Why don‟t you bring your family to dinner this evening? And Nina, maybe you can share

some of your insight with Spanky, Angela and my wife Jade. Bring the little one also. I have

a daughter a little younger than Xohal. Maybe they can play together.”

        Nina smiled down to the boy. “I‟m sure he will like that Senior but can I ask you a

question? What is a Spanky? I have not heard that name before.”
Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
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       It was my turn to laugh. Senior Spanky‟s real name is Bill but as Nino will tell you,

this name is much too ordinary for Spanky. Let‟s just say you will love him or hate him.

There is no gray area with Spanky.”

        Her face broke into a wry smile. “I think I like him already.” She tossed her hair to

the side as she looked at me and said, “A man with firm opinions.”

        I shouted after them as they headed toward their small hillside house, “Be careful

what you wish for, because it may come true. Senior Spanky may make your day!”

        Nina grinned back over her shoulder, as she walked away. I couldn‟t wait for those

two to get into a dinner conversation.

        That evening, I recollected my parting words to Nina. I didn‟t have to wait for dinner.

The fireworks started over cocktails. Nina and Spanky engaged in a warm conversation that

immediately led to politics. Nino and Angel looked perplexed and for some reason, Jade had

a knowing smile on her face. I leaned over and whispered in her ear.

        “What are you smiling about?”

        She whispered back. “He‟s baiting her. Spanky is looking for an argument and he‟s

going to get one from this lady. You‟d better tell him to cool his jets or dinner‟s going to be a


        I grinned at her distress. “Well this should be interesting. Let‟s see how the fireworks


        Over dinner, the two were starting to engage in a heated argument over the merits of

the Pinochet government. Nina was adamant that he was going to be the next Hitler. Her

pronouncements came in rapid succession. There was a strained fire in her voice.
Edward A. Dean                                                        Southern
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       “Senior Spanky, I don‟t understand how you can defend such a person. He uses his

secret police to squash any opposition to his polices and has murdered his political rivals.

And you defend such a monster?”

       Spanky leaned back in his chair. “But Nina, he has eliminated most of the crime in

this country and your economy is prospering, aren‟t those good things? And beside that,

didn‟t your boss, Agustin Edwards, demand the U.S. help him get rid of Allende? It was your

paper that called Allende a communist.”

       She smirked. “Doonie is a hypocrite. He curries favor for his own self-interests.”

       I looked at her with puzzlement. “Doonie?”

       She laughed, “It is his nickname. He speaks out of both sides of his mouth. I have lost

all respect for the man. And to answer your question Senior Spanky, before your countries

revolution with England, your economy was excellent and there was no crime; then why did

your people revolt?”

       “Touché smart lady! But why do you think Allende was any better? He was a

socialist and may have been heading toward communism.”

       “And do you correct one extreme with another? I don‟t understand your government‟s

unholy fear of communism. It will not consume your people like the black plague. It will go

the way of all failed political systems. If you want to fight it, fight it with your economy.

Fight it by making right the wrongs you have done to your minorities. Governments win

when it satisfies the rights and welfare of its people.”

       Spanky mockingly threw his hands up in the air. “Okay, okay, you win! I defer to

your journalistic talent and intelligence.”

       The evening settled into a pleasant exchange of family history and small talk.
Edward A. Dean                                                               Southern
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       Early that next week, Spanky and I were in the fields with one of the field hands,

inspecting the development of the vines. A worker from the winery approached us and said

that Angel wanted to see us.

       As we approached the doorway, we could see billows of steam pouring out. Angel

wanted every piece of equipment and wall to be steam cleaned. The biggest enemy of

winemaking was bacteria and mold. The wrong bacteria could impart an off taste to the

fermenting grapes. She waved us over to her.

       “These old bariques have to go. They‟re not oak. Its some kind of wood called

Rauli.It imparts that god-awful taste to the reds. They‟re saturated with mold. The cement

tanks I can live because they can be steam cleaned with but the older wooden ones are


       I asked, “What do you want to replace them with Angel, more cement?”

       “No way!” she replied. I want you or Spanky to call Art and see if he can find us

some used stainless tanks from California. We could have them shipped down here in

sections and save a ton of money instead of trying to fabricate new ones down here.”

       I agreed with her idea. “Okay, I‟ll call Art today and have him find out what‟s

available. If anybody can find a deal, it‟ll be Art.”

       That afternoon I had Art on the phone in the small office I created near the corner of

the sun porch. Warm rays and a view of the mountains always gave me a sense of

invincibility and serenity. That hash raspy voice crackled over the phone.

       “Hey you little cocker, how ya doin? Or should I now call you big cocker?”
Edward A. Dean                                                     Southern
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       My laugh made him chuckle. “Hello Mench (Expert). Zee guzungdt (Yiddish


       “Salaam alykum. (Arabic greeting) You need me down there to help with your

Yiddish? It‟s not getting any better.”

       “And neither is your Arabic. Art, I need a favor and maybe you can make a few bucks

in the process.”

       “Now there is music to my ears. I make a buck and you owe me. It‟s a two fer.” He

laughed. I told him what I was looking for and he said it would be a „no brainer‟. Art

inquired about everyone and when he asked about Angel and Nate, his voice grew soft.

       “You and Spanky takin‟ care of my family? Because if you two cockers don‟t, I‟ll be

there in a heartbeat and kick your butts.” He joked.

       “Of course Art. Spanky and Angel are getting back to where they left off. We might

have to have you down here to give away the bride.”

       “Really? I would love to see that happen. She‟s a beautiful lady, with a beautiful

heart. And that boy needs a father. Spanky would be great for both of them. I just know.”

       “Well he probably is his father anyway Art. The timing would be about right and that

silly little cowlick Nate has is so reminiscent of Spanky.”

       He haltingly agreed. “More than likely but that‟s not important, it‟s only if Angel and

Spanky love and respect each other. That‟s all that‟s important. You know how I feel about

that lady. She has really grown into a ball-buster, you know. She don‟t take shit from anyone,

including me.” He chuckled.

              “I can see it Art. Good for her. What‟s your thought on the cost of the tanks and

how fast?”
Edward A. Dean                                                        Southern
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          “As impatient as ever Goyyem (non-Jew). Here‟s what I‟ll do. I‟ll get the tanks

and ship them down to you. And when you get my bill, pay it! And don‟t try to pull your

Lebanese negotiating skills on me. Remember me? I taught you.”

I had to laugh. “You got it Heymischa. (Orthodox Jew) But be kind. You know we need the


         He laughed. “Here it comes, the Lebanese bullshit. I love it. You got it down pat. Put

a guilt trip on me before we start. I‟ll take care of biz and tell those two love birds I want an

Elvis wedding in Vegas. One of those real tacky ones, okay? It‟s an Art Weinberg command

performance. And I‟ll even pay for Elvis!”

         I could hear his belly laugh and shared his humor. “Thanks Art, You‟re a true friend

and I love you for it guy.”

         A small throat clearing that came over the phone, “Oh stop the sappy shit, gayelem

goyyem. (Crazy non-Jew). Just invite me down for the first good crush. You know that‟s the

favorite time of this business. There is nothing better.”

         Art always made me feel good about life. His caustic nature made me appreciate the

little things in our relationship and business. “You got it big guy. Thanks.”

         I hung up the phone with a renewed vigor for the business that we shared.
       Edward A. Dean                                                             Southern
       Crossed dean


       True to his word, Art had the tanks shipped down by an old tramp steamer. It arrived two

weeks before Christmas. It was an eerie feeling to see the vines blossoming in December but I was

learning to ignore the calendar. The seasons were all opposite of what I grew up with in the north.

December was our June and the beginning of summer. Nino and Nina found us a crew of riggers and

welders to haul and install the tanks. The tanks looked a little tired but functional. The owner of the

rigging company was a tall Italian by the name of Paulo DiFalco. He told me that there was a very

large Italian population in Chile and his family had been here since the turn of the century. They too

had come for the vineyards but found other ways to make a living. Paulo told me he had an uncle

who was a wine broker and might be of help in selling our crops. I thanked him and wrote the uncles

number down. He promised to have the tanks up and running right after the holidays.

       Our first Christmas in Chile felt so strange. Spanky and Angel wanted a tree for the main

house and Jade and I thought that would be a nice touch for the children. Angel and Spanky had no

problem in getting an evergreen. The higher Andes had acres of evergreen and Larchwood forests.

       I met Angel in the fields to tell her the good news about the fermenting tanks. She was busy

directing the workers in a severe pruning of all the vines. I greeted her with a “What the hell are you

doing? Isn‟t this pruning a little over the top?”

       Her face bore smudges of dirt and sticky sap. She looked up with a grimace. “Go play with

your checkbook Dave. I‟m making you found money. You‟ll love this. When I got the results from

U.C. Davis, I not only found out what the fields were composed of but all of these vineyards are

original French rootstock. The eneology director told me that he could sell all the cuttings I was
        Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
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willing to provide him with. He tells me that Chile is the only place in the world that they now exist.

Isn‟t that a kick? We‟ve cornered the market.”

        Perplexed, I asked, “What‟s the market for pure French vines? I thought no one would take a

chance on these in the northern hemisphere.”

        “Well it seems there is a huge demand for French vines in the Valleys. I‟m sure you know

that the fine wine industry is really starting to take off; big time. All the growers are looking for an

edge and this rootstock is prime. Even Mondavi and the Bauers want to buy.”

        “But what about the phylloxera root louse up there? It could come back and destroy their

fields just like it did in France.”

        “I guess they‟re willing to take that chance. Who knows, maybe it‟ll work. So why are we

looking a gift horse in the mouth. I think we can make enough on the cuttings to get by for a little

while. And the other good news is that the upper terraces are full of Cabernet Franc. It‟s mixed in

with the Merlot. I guess I got my wish. The Cab Franc is nice body, soft tannins and fruity but one-

dimensional. It will make our hard Cabernets sing. Now get out of my face and let me make some


        “You go for it gal. I‟ll shut my mouth and go back to the casa and play with the kids‟ old

lady. My checkbook can wait.”

        Angel giggled at my innuendo. She and Jade were becoming fast friends. Jade possessed that

warm ability to make friends with most anyone. I guess it was her mothering nature. She seemed to

sense peoples‟ needs and fulfill them. It was a true kindness and not condescending.
       Edward A. Dean                                                             Southern
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       The Christmas season snuck up on all of us. In Chile, it was the beginning of summer and the

warm Andes breezes permeated the casa. Jade invited everyone for a Christmas Eve dinner. She

asked all of the women to cook their own version of a Christmas item that was significant in their

culture. Maria seemed agitated and distraught. She took to her room when the ladies were in the

kitchen. Jade‟s sensitive nature picked up on her plight. It was her first Christmas without her own

family. Jade insisted she join us at dinner but she refused.

       “Listen to me Maria. If you feel uncomfortable at the table, would you be kind enough to

help me with the children? You know they love you and would be greatly offended if you were not

there with them. Can you please do this for me?”

       Maria sensed Jades intent. Maria cupped Jades face in her calloused hands and held it for an

uncomfortably long time. Maria‟s‟ face went stark. “Thank you, beautiful soul. I do this for only

you and your two beautiful babies because you have so little time.”

       “I only have one child Maria.”

       “No, you will have two. A beautiful little man, with your soul. He will come.”

       Jade looked at her with a baffled gaze. “I‟m not pregnant Maria and Dave and I are careful

right now. Is this something you sense?”

       “Se Signora. It is my gift. When I touch your face, I know I feel a little man in you.” She

smiled into Jade‟s questioning eyes. “Signora, do not be afraid. He is a gift from the gods. He will

have your soul. Whatever happens, he will be safe. I will tend to him for you.”

        “And me? What do you mean, so little time Maria?”
       Edward A. Dean                                                          Southern
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       “I mean......I mean....You have too much to do. I‟m sorry Signora, my English is poor. I will

do this for you. Maybe I miss my family signora; I miss them so much. Please forgive a stupid


       Jade wrapped her arms around Maria and pulled her to her feet. “Maria, we are going to walk

out of this room with a smile and have fun tonight. Are you with me?”

       “I am with you always Signora. You remember this. I will take care of everything for you

always. I will be here for the babies.”

       Maria‟s conversation gave Jade an uncomfortable feeling. Jade sensed there was more to her

words than Maria was admitting. Jade simply chalked it up to her Indian sensibility.

       I made my ever-famous pitcher of Martinis‟. As I passed the glasses around, Angel politely

sipped the drink.

       “Oh God, this is gasoline. How can you drink this crap? Open some wine for me will you?”

       Spanky and I laughed as he headed toward the wine rack.

       That evening, a warm summer wind off the ocean belied the season. It rustled gently through

the hillside vineyards with its kiss of growth. In this land of enigmas‟, we all shared an excellent

holiday meal of togetherness on the verandah.
       Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
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       The completion of the fermenting tank‟s installation was behind schedule. Angel was

obsessed with having the project completed by early February. She was in Paulo‟s face continually.

Paulo was not used to taking direction or criticism from a woman. His Italian male temperament was

beginning to show. Spanky interceded and used his sales charm to get Paulo‟s‟ co-operation. Angel

knew that the tanks had to be up and tested before the end of February. The grapes were beginning to

ripen and an early harvest was not out of the question.

        I was having my own issues with the banks over the transfer of funds. It seemed that the

Chilean import-export bank wanted to hold all funds for a week to ten days. Nina suggested that she

could help. After a quick lunch with one of the bank managers all our problems disappeared. I began

using Nina and her connections with the power brokers in Santiago. Her press credentials and

vociferous articles made many of them fear her. In conversation, she never attacked any of them,

only suggested possible results. Her political ability impressed me.

       Our first summer in Chile was spectacular. The warm Mediterranean-like days gave way to

cool nights with the soft winds coming across the Andes. This was one of the main reasons that the

vines produced fabulous fruit.

        Everything was progressing in an orderly manner. Spanky and Angel had taken to spending

all there available time at the beach. The beach was so reminiscent of Carmel. The warm serene

beaches gave way to the cold water of the Humboldt Current that originated in Antarctica. It was a

short drive from the valley. Their long walks on the beach gave promise to their resurrected budding

        Edward A. Dean                                                        Southern
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        A promise of marriage was in the offing. Their pronouncement was not unexpected. Jade

offered to have the ceremony at the casa but Spanky and Angel asked for a simple beach wedding.

Jade and I couldn‟t have been happier for them.

        I asked, “Okay happy people, I have to ask. Who and what is going to be the minister at this

festive occasion?”

        Angel offered. “Us; just us. We want you and Jade and the kids. We want a sunset, friends

and champagne. We‟ll exchange our own vows with the universe as our witness. What else is there

in life?”

        Spanky nodded his head in agreement. “Isn‟t she special Jade? Kinda like you in some ways.

You two are the only women in my life that I can say that I respect and love. Love has so many

facets and every one has a special meaning. But Angel is more. She is my soul and my shining

beacon of happiness. I have to say this to all of you. I have found my Nirvana. Here, now and

forever. We all have given birth to a new life and Angel has given life to my son, Nate. I want to

share my soul and my tears with all of you; my extended family; for now we are the Buddha.”

        Tears were streaming down Jades face. She grabbed Spanky and hugged him and then Angel.

I hid my own emotions with my answer. “I just hope the Buddha can find us some decent

champagne. Listen Spank, I told you before, we are bothers to the end and I meant every word of it.

But why do you have to get so sappy on me? You know I can‟t handle it. Now let‟s let Maria put the

kids to bed and we all go to downtown Santiago and celebrate. When‟s the last time you and I got

stupid drunk and had to crawl home?”

        Spanky laughed. “Been a long time brother and I think these two fabulous chicks will make

sure we don‟t drive.”
        Edward A. Dean                                                         Southern
        Crossed dean
        Jade and Angel linked arms. “Oh no!” Angel offered. “If we party, we party together. Nino

can drive and Nina can show us all the hot spots. We have an ancient decrypted limo. Let‟s use it.

We‟re capitalist pigs aren‟t we?”

        I jumped in. “I always wanted to be a capitalist pig. Let‟s do that.”

        Nino and Nina were game for the celebration but little Xohal was not. He rubbed the sleep

from his eyes as Maria pulled him into her bosom. She carried his frail little body into her room.

        “No worry, I put alla children into my room and I sleep on the couch. Permisso Senior?”

        I melted at her care. “Permisso Signora. Gracias. “ Our mother hen was in control and we

were off to Santiago in minutes.

        That evening gave us cause to see Chile‟s hurt and heart. Santiago vibrated. It was the young,

poor and the rich. There was no in-between. I noticed a lack of the normal middle class. Their

absence was deafening. Our mind‟s disregarded the anomaly, as we were hell-bent on having a good


        Even Nina was over the top. She had such a funny and gregarious personality after the

second drink but after the fourth, she allowed the dark side of her hate and frustration appear. At

every opportunity, she would glower at the upper class. Her animosity was apparent. As a group we

paid no attention but I felt an uneasy a simpatico for her disgust. I washed my mind of their politics

and concentrated on enjoying the evening. The evening ended as we proposed. Nino graciously

poured our overspent bodies into the limo and took us home.
        Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
        Crossed dean

        Spanky and Angel found a remote beach town south of Valparaiso for their wedding called

Quintay. A summer wind invited our entourage at the beach. I had taken the license to invite Nino

and Nina. Nina had become my surrogate director of everything Chilean. Her vast knowledge and

political acumen helped and impressed me. She corrected my every misstep. That day on the beach

was a defining moment for me. Every person in my life that mattered to me was on that beach. I

looked over my shoulder, from right to left. Jade was flanked by the children and our ever-present

Maria. Her name seemed to fit her character. She was a true Maria in every sense of the biblical

persona. I loved her ever-present and attentive hanky. It was her grooming agent for the young.

Their hair or faces were never a forgotten agenda. Spots on the shoes garnered her attention as much

as the flesh.

        Nina and Nino flanked Angel. The soft looks of love and friendship melted my heart. Nina‟s

hard edge and political feelings diminished with the setting sun. Her heart was with us and that‟s all

I cared to know. My job was the champagne management but my ears were glued to their simple and

beautiful vows. The descending clouds colored the sky with hues of red, purple and orange against a

setting sun. Words of love, life and commitment were exchanged. A simple tear on Jade‟s face

evoked my own. The god‟s of this land were telling me that life and love were enough. Graceful

truths were their testament.

        I had forgotten my main task and the champagne bottle sat unopened as I looked into Jade‟s

eyes. I wanted to tell her how much I loved her at that moment but I didn‟t have to. Her eyes met

mine in a flash. She extended her hand into mine and once again our hearts met. Love begets love

and this was the focus Angel and Spanky gave us.
       Edward A. Dean                                                         Southern
       Crossed dean
       Angel and Spanky had decided on a short honeymoon at a hilltop cabin in the upper Andes

Mountains. The majestic peaks still held a magical fascination for Spanky that he wanted to share it

with Angel.


       I was spending an inordinate time in the fields with the developing crop. Angel was right

about the severe pruning of the vines. The budding clusters were less dense but well defined. Her

sure hand met my anticipation for a good crop.

       As soon as Angel returned, she was back in the winery hounding Paulo with finishing all the

details. She was adamant in the things she wanted. The season was descending on us and she was

fighting everyone for its completion. Spanky and me were also targets for her barbs and chiding.

       On a cool morning in March we ran our first tests on the tanks. Everything worked well.

Angel was ecstatic. She took Jade on a tour of the facility and explained the whole process. The two

had become very close friends.

       Over a casual dinner that fall, the four of us chatted about the ripening crop. We were

interrupted by a strong knock on the front door. Maria opened the door and Nino burst in. I could tell

by the flushed expression on his face that something was wrong.

       “Senior Dave, please, can I take the car into the city?”

       I looked at him perplexed. “Sure Nino. You don‟t need to ask for things like this. Is

something wrong? You are acting very upset.”

       “Senior, can we speak in your office?”
       Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
       Crossed dean
       I looked back to the table and the three were engaged in a conversation. “Sure Nino, come on

in.” I had never seen Nino this agitated. There was a concern was pouring out his face. “What‟s

wrong Nino, tell me.”

       “Senior, Nina was called into her newspaper office early this morning and she has not called

to have me pick her up. I need to go and check on her. Can you please have Maria keep an eye on

Xohal for me until we get back?”

       “Certainly Nino. Why are you so worried? Maybe she just stopped after work with some of

the people in her office.”

       “No Senior, she would never do this without calling me. Senior, there are many bad things

happening in the country and I fear for her.”

       “Look Nino, just relax and go and get her. I‟m sure no harm will come to her. She works for

a very powerful newspaper. The government people would never go against El Mercurio.”

       “These are strange times Senior. No one is safe from the D.I.N.A. The secret police fear no

one. There is an Indian saying that „wolves will eat their own children if necessary‟.”

       “Calm down Nino and go and get her. Do you want me to come with you?”

       “Gracias Senior but I will find her. Maybe you are right. Maybe I just worry too much.”

       I put my hand gently on his shoulder. “I think we all worry too much Nino. Go and bring her

home. If you need me, call me.”

       Nino was out the door in a flash. I dismissed any thought of foul play and returned to the

table and filled everyone‟s questioning eyes with the situation at hand. Spanky winked at me.

       “Maybe Nina just got lucky.” Implying she was having an affair.

       Jade admonished him. “Oh, you men are all alike. Why does everything have to have a

sexual equation when it comes to women?”
        Edward A. Dean                                                        Southern
        Crossed dean
        Angel reached over and pushed on Spanky‟s arm. “She‟s right, nasty mouth. Those two are

very devoted to each other. I can tell when a woman is on the prowl and that lady still deeply cares

for him.”

        Spanky smiled. “Okay, okay. I‟ll chew on a bar of soap later. I was just trying to lighten up

the situation. I‟m sure they‟ll be fine.”

        The next morning and evening came and went with no word from either Nino or Nina. I hid

my concern by working the hillside fields with the vineyard foreman. The evening dinner

conversation was stilted. The same question was on all of our minds. I broke the silence.

        “If we don‟t hear from them by tomorrow morning, I‟ll take a drive into the city and check at

her newspaper.” I could read a concern on Jades face.

        Spanky read it also. “Listen cowboy, I‟m going with you. Remember me? I‟m the other half

of this dynamic duo.”

        Angel interjected. “Are you two sure this is a smart move? Can‟t we just call the police and

have them look into the situation?”

        I thought for a moment. “Okay Angel, here‟s what we‟ll do. If we can‟t get a lead on the

situation from the people in her office, we‟ll go to the police.”

        We all agreed that would be our best move.

        Nino and Nina were still a no-show the next morning. Spanky and me jumped into the

archaic jeep and headed for the city. The newspaper office wasn‟t difficult to find. As we asked

questions of the receptionist, a gentleman from one of the offices came out.

        “Seniors, let us walk to the coffee shop next door. We can speak there.”

        We introduced ourselves as we headed toward the door.
       Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
       Crossed dean
       We found a quiet corner at the espresso bar. Typical to Santiago, there were no chairs, only a

stand-up bar. He spoke softly as his eyes scanned the room. “Seniors, I have known Nina since her

days as a cub reporter. She has always been very passionate about her work. But sometimes she is

too vocal. She says things that are not acceptable in this country today. She has never learned


       I swallowed hard on my coffee. He had simply introduced himself as Alejandro. “Senior,

what are you telling us? Is she in trouble?”

       “Seniors, there are many problems in Chile today. Silence is golden. I can only tell you that I

saw what looked like D.I.N.A. people. It is not that unusual that they are around the El Mercurio

building. As you know, Doonie is a spokesman for the right wing and they protect our building. ”

       We knew that D.I.N.A. was the secret police network set up by the Pinochet government. In

a past conversation with Small John, he had informed us that our C.I.A. had trained them and

General Manuel Conreras headed it up. He was Pinochet‟s personal attack dog.

       “I am not sure who they were waiting for but when Nina left, they were gone also. I don‟t

mean to make trouble but I have always liked Nina and respected her work but she has such a rebel

streak in her soul. A week ago she wrote an article that was not too kindly to the regime. Our editor

refused to publish it. He told her that it was not acceptable.”

       I answered in one syllable. “So?”

       Alejandro looked up from his coffee and into my eyes with a look of wonderment. “So

senior? So? I see you still do not understand. There appeared a very similar article in an underground

newspaper, the next week. Nina has a very distinct voice in her writing. That is what makes her good

and in this case bad. Someone in the office recognized it and may have said something. I don‟t know
      Edward A. Dean                                                       Southern
      Crossed dean
who but we must assume it was someone in the upper management. And there you have it. It is ugly

that we feed on our own. Understand seniors, I truly liked and respected that little nymph.”

       I could feel the blood drain from my face. I explained the situation and that Nino had left to

pick her up almost two days ago. “Can you tell us who we can call or talk to?”

       He looked dismayed. “You can go to the police and file a missing persons report but I don‟t

know much good it will do. A little money for the police chief might help. And more money for the

secret police is always the best way. Let us hope for the best and try that. I must get back to the

office seniors. I cannot look suspicious.”

       Spanky jumped in. “Alejandro, why is everyone in this country afraid of this bully Pinochet.

Your people should speak out against him. You have the power of the press, why not use it?”

       Alejandro gave Spanky a jaundiced look as his head searched the coffee shop. “ Please keep

your voice down. Senior, they live and rule on fear. Fear is the ultimate weapon of the ruling parties.

In your country, your Presidente‟ Nixon make you fear the communist and the big bomb.”

       “But we got rid of him.” Spanky offered.

       “Senior, you did not get rid of him. He got rid of himself. After the politico‟s are full of

power they want and need vanity. They build edifices to themselves. Your Nixon was brought down

by his own vanity. He makes tapes for his future library; his edifice. He was brought to justice

because of his vanity. If not for those tapes, he would still be in power. I do not fear for my job. I

fear for my family and my life. This is a dangerous thing I do with you this day. Accept this as my

token for Nina. I must leave now.” With that, he gulped at the unfinished espresso and headed for

the door. Spanky and I looked at each in a state of shock, wanting to believe the best but knowing

and fearing the worst.
         Edward A. Dean                                                         Southern
         Crossed dean
         We found the main police station easy enough. We were escorted into a captain‟s office. He

stood to greet us. I explained what we were looking for and he sat back down, rummaging through

some paperwork on his desk. He then looked up at us with a scrunched face and wrinkled brow.

         “May I see your identity documents seniors?”

         We handed him our cards. He called in one of his lieutenants and handed him the cards. After

exchanging some pleasantries about the weather and Chilean scenery, the lieutenant returned. He

handed the captain some paperwork. As the captain read through it, looked up and smiled at us. I‟m

sure he spotted the look of apprehension and confusion on my face.

         “Well seniors, I see that you both are C.I.A., no?”

         Spanky shot me a look of surprise and addressed the captain. “No we‟re not Captain. What

makes you think that?”

         “Your embassy papers say that the two of you have top secret clearance records. Is that


         I held my hand out in front of Spanky, knowing he was about to jump into the conversation.

It dawned on me that this was Small Johns hand in doing that. I was sure that he anticipated that the

Chilean government might assume this and had it put in our records. He must have known that the

Pinochet government depended on the C.I.A. as an indirect support of the U.S. government. I

stammered slightly, trying to collect my thoughts. “We did have that some years ago Captain but

now we are just vineyard owners.” I didn‟t want to offer any more information than necessary.

         He smirked at our answers, thinking that we were undercover operatives. “Seniors, all I can

tell you is that there is no record of them being arrested. I think you need to ask these types of

questions to the DINA. I have hundreds of missing people reports in my office; maybe more. Maybe

they decided to leave the country. You know how these Indians are. They flee to Peru or the
       Edward A. Dean                                                        Southern
       Crossed dean
countryside. Who knows their mind? If you two are really vineyard owners, maybe you need to use

more discretion in the people you hire. I suggest you do not pursue this any longer and let it be. Be


          I now understood that he knew more than he was telling us or didn‟t want to get too

involved. I felt that if we did use Alejandro‟s advice about bribery he might have felt it was a trap I

rose and thanked him for his time. Spanky was acting agitated and didn‟t want to leave. I tugged on

his arm and we quickly left the building.

          As we got in the jeep, Spanky verbally jumped me.

          “God damn it Dave, the man was lying. He knows the secret police have them. We have to

do something. Why did you let him off so easily?”

          “Cool it, Spank. For one thing, this is not our country. Do you really want to take on the

secret police and all that bullshit? We need to think about what we‟re getting involved in. We both

have families now. Our first priority is to protect them. It‟s just like Alejandro said. „We have to go

along to get along.‟ We don‟t have a choice.”

          “I think its bullshit to leave them to die in some god forsaken hellhole.”

          “If they‟re still alive. There‟s nothing we can do except wait. When we get back, just tell the

girls that there is no record of them being arrested. Don‟t offer any more than that, because if we do

it will scare the hell out of them. We can‟t intercede in anything that we can‟t control. And in this

country we have no say or control.”

          Spanky sat quietly and stared blankly out the window.

          Jade and Angel met us at the door with quiet anticipation. I could read the anxiety in Jade‟s

eyes. They were her tell. Spanky headed toward the bar. Spanky poured to large glasses of scotch for

us. In a soft and relaxed voice, I told the two ladies that there was no record of arrest and that we
       Edward A. Dean                                                          Southern
       Crossed dean
should all remain calm and simply wait. There was nothing else we could do. I‟m sure they could

read between the lines and resigned themselves not to think worst.

       The next day Spanky walked into my office. “Can we talk Dave?”

       “Sure Spank. What‟s on your mind?”

       “This is so uncharacteristic of you to let this sorry thing go so easily. Isn‟t there something

else we can do?”

       I grinned through his concern. “It‟s kinda funny but Jade said the same thing to me last night.

I guess you two are kindred spirits. No, I‟m not letting it go. I put in a call for Small John this

morning. The Senator is going to call back this evening. I‟ll put him on the speakerphone and we can

both talk to him. He might be able to pull a few political strings on their behalf.”

       Spanky leaned back in his chair with a smile of relief.

       Later that day, the call came through. I explained what was going on and the circumstances.

       Small John cleared his throat.

       “Hey guys, this is a typical thing in Chile right now. Here‟s the skinny. We have C.I.A. and

military advisors all over the place down there but their hands are tied. They have to keep a low

profile because of international politics. Jerry Ford and Kissinger are maintaining the same

Republican fear policies as Nixon. They‟re all afraid of the evil red menace invading out hemisphere

and will go to any lengths to stop it. They know that Pinochet is a scumbag but they don‟t care what

or how he does things. As far as they‟re concerned, the policy is hear no evil, see no evil, speak no

evil. Look guys, I can ask some people I know in the state department to check it out but don‟t get

your hopes up. The Chilean secret police are experts at making people disappear. Our C.I.A. guys

have trained them well. I know you won‟t listen to my advice but why not just keep a low profile?
        Edward A. Dean                                                          Southern
        Crossed dean
Protect your own asses. That cover I put in your embassy dossier should help you. They‟re not going

to fuck with operatives.”

          Spanky jumped in. “Hey S.J., when did you become such a pragmatist? It doesn‟t suit your


          I could feel the smile on Small Johns face through the phone. “Ever since I came to

Washington! This cesspool gets worse every year. When politicians in this town smile and try to pat

you on the back, you need to move quickly because there‟ probably a knife in one hand and the other

in your pocket.” He laughed. “But you guys know me. I love to dance, so it‟s hard to corner me.

Give my best to Angel and Jade will you and just don‟t do anything stupid and put them in harms

way. For once in your hard ass brains; think careful.”

          We all exchanged vows to get together soon, as we hung up the phone.

          For the next week we all buried our concerns in our work. Late one afternoon Jade walked

into the winery. She announced with tears in her eyes that the police captain called. “They found the

old limo in the newspaper parking lot.” I searched her eyes and could feel her fear. “Oh God Dave,

what are we going to do? What do we tell Xohal? That poor little boy, my heart is breaking for him.

I hate this country. Let‟s sell this place and go home.”

          I wrapped my arms around her and tried to dispel her fears. “Listen to me Sunshine, these are

political problems in a third world country. It has nothing to do with us. They will quiet down in a

while. Let‟s just wait it out. The U.S. economy is no better than this right now. Let‟s just ride out the


          She paused and looked up at me. “I think we should have this discussion with Angel and

Spanky. It‟s their decision also.” I simply held her and agreed.
       Edward A. Dean                                                        Southern
       Crossed dean
       That evening over dinner, we talked to Angel and Spanky. Spanky spoke first. “Here‟s my

thought. I agree with Dave. This is what all of us wanted. A chance to be pioneers in a new land.

They‟re not bothering or threatening us. It‟s their own dissenters they‟re after. If we just do what

we‟re doing, we can get along. They think we‟re C.I.A., let them believe it. Thank God for Small

Johns paranoia and forethought. We have to call that little bugger and thank him. We‟re here to

make the best damned wine we can and let‟s do that. We can live our dream if we stay out of their

politics. I know it sounds cruel but we have to go on. We can raise Xohal with the rest of the

children. He already thinks of them as siblings. Let us control what we can.”

       Jade reached over and took Angels hand. “Is this what you want for you and Nate Angel?‟

       Angel reached with her other hand and clasped it around Jades. “If you stay, I stay. We have

a chance to live our dreams.” Her eyes met Jades. “We‟re mothers and sisters and we‟ll take care of

each other. If these two idiots ever give us a hard time, we‟re outta here.”

       The two women stood up and hugged each other. They were secure in their bond of

friendship and fidelity. The third mother listened intently in the kitchen and silently added her own

vow of support. Maria was now their shadow surrogate.

       Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
       Crossed dean
       A warm autumn sun blessed the fruit with intensity. The small clusters of grapes were dark

with promise. Angel felt good about their mass. Spanky was ecstatic about the crop and Jade insisted

that the children share in the harvest. She wanted them to understand the process, that glorious

transformation of the fruit. It was a learning experience that she insisted that they share in. Not for

now but for later. To understand that life was a cycle of transformation. I understood her intention. It

was way over their heads right now but one day they would appreciate it. I let it be. I loved the way

their little hands caressed the fruit and put it gently into the baskets. Our first harvest awakened my

soul. Every care and concern that I harbored in my mind died. A harvest of life filled my being.

Angel made sure that the desteming machines were working properly. To see the de-stemmed

clusters ride down the chute into the press was a beautiful symphony in motion. The aroma of the

juice gave rise to a flood of memories. I could feel the magic of my first crush. There was nothing in

the world that could equal this. It was a promise; promise of perfection. A promise that tomorrow

would be better. Every possibility gave rise to the next. This was truly a life experience; a lesson in

anticipation. Regardless of the outcome, I loved every minute.

       Angel was in command. She was loving every aspect of her moment. I shied away, letting

her bask in the glory of her hard work. I couldn‟t help think of Tony. The man had participated in

many, many crushes but each one was like the first time. I couldn‟t help but laugh at my own

thought process. It was like being a virgin, over and over again. Well maybe it was just a guy thing

about the virgin part but there was a beauty in the symmetry and transformation.

       Angel‟s required stainless tanks were working well. They were jacketed with the ice-cold

mountain waters. Refrigeration wasn‟t necessary. Every day, she led Nate through the winery by the

hand. She pointed out every aspect of the process to him. His little face seemed so benign to what
       Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
       Crossed dean
was going on. He acted interested only to please his mother. Her pleasant smile warmed his heart

and his presence gave her a poignant gladness.

        As the work continued, Spanky approached me. “I hate to burst your bubble Dave but we

don‟t have a label or name for our wine. Ya know it would be nice to have a name for this stuff so I

can at least start some marketing on our new brand. Any ideas or are you going to try your little

dance again?”

        I laughed at his suggestion. “No dancing this time Spank. I guess we need to talk about it. Is

there any possibility of calling it something like Hawkswoode South?”

        “I doubt it Dave. The big guys we sold to in Napa would never let us use that name in the


        Spanky and me bantered names back and forth in a jocular manner. Angel looked at us with a

disgusted smirk. “You two are still like a couple of kids. Why don‟t you ask the kids, I‟m sure they

might have better suggestions than you two?”

        As if on cue Nate looked up at us. “I have a name, everyone. It was something that Nino told

me a while ago.”

        Spanky looked into his little bright face. “Sure Nate, we‟re open to all suggestions.”

        He smiled. “Well, one evening Nino told me about his Indian gods. They have a very

powerful god called Chakana. Nino told me that his job is to protect the crops. If we name our wine

after him, maybe he will be very protective for us.”

        Spanky furled his brow in thought. “It‟s a good idea Nate but the name is too Indian

sounding and most Westerners won‟t understand it.”
       Edward A. Dean                                                          Southern
       Crossed dean
       Nate looked puzzled but insisted. “But could we call him by his American name, the

Southern Cross? That‟s good too because our God would like that. We could have two gods looking

after us.” It was that innocent epiphany that struck the three of us.

       “Oh my God!” Angel shrieked. “I love it. It‟s perfect. Southern Cross speaks to the Terre and

the uniqueness of our wines. Wow, my little man has a penchant of marketing, just like his dad.”

       There was a stunned silence. Angel‟s face turned a beet red. “I‟m sorry for the stupid remark

guys. Spanky and me can talk later.”

       Spanky stood frozen in his spot, like a deer in the headlights. I kind of thought they would

have spoken about the possibility long before this. Nate had such a strong resemblance to Spanky. I

guess it was that funny cowlick in Nate‟s hair that made me think that. I turned to Nate. “I like that

name Nate. It would also be something that we could honor Nino and Nina with. You are a very

perceptive young man. What do you think Spank?”

       Spanky was still acting shocked. He shot a glance at Angel, and then spoke to Nate. “I like it

too Nate.” He couldn‟t contain himself. “Angel, we need to talk now! I can‟t wait for later. Let‟s

take a walk.” With that they headed toward the fields.

       I reached down and took Nate‟s hand and walked him toward the fermenting tanks. “Tell me

more about this Indian god.” Nate smiled and chattered excitedly. It was if I had opened a floodgate.

I had never heard him talk so much and so fast. I couldn‟t help but mull the name over and over in

my mind. I really did like it. It was so perceptive of Nate. He really did have that intuitive side of


       That evening at dinner, I announced the new name for our label. Nate sat at the table

beaming. I looked toward Xohal. His face told me he was confused. Why were we making such a
        Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
        Crossed dean
big thing over Nate? I suspected there was some jealousy involved. After all, it was his fathers‟

revelation and one of his gods. I made up my mind to talk to him, one-on-one, and find out.

        My mind still could not let go of Nino and Nina. It was a heartache I couldn‟t release. Why?

Why? This magnificent land of enigmas mystified and bewildered me.

        Xohal was a beautiful saving grace. His little presence made me full. It was his company that

reminded me of the political pain of this land. I was determined to help make him whole. To give

him the love that he was denied by his parent‟s absence. Xohal became my shadow.

        Regardless of the attention that Jade and Maria showered upon him, he needed male

companionship. Just to know that I was around gave him security. To this day, I don‟t understand it

but I accepted it. Children were always a mystery to me. I wanted to assume they were little adults

but nothing was further from the truth. Theirs was a world of beauty and ambiguity that escaped my

mind. They lived in another world hidden from adult minds. It was only when I remembered my

own childhood could I understand. Understand innocence. Understand the true nature of love and

acceptance. To understand myself, Xohal gave me that. His new perspective, he gave me a part of


        One quiet winter‟s evening, Xohal and I walked in silence through the vineyards. It was July

and after all this time, I still couldn‟t get used to the flip in the seasonal calendar. It seemed like

hours before his small rasping voice spoke.

        “Senior Dave. Can I call you by your real name?” A perplexed look ran through my face.

        “Of course you can Xohal. If it‟s important to you, but why?” His little dark face looked to

the ground and he hesitated. “If it is the name your parents chose for you, why do you not use it?” I

had to smile. “Because it‟s easier for American people to understand.”
         Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
         Crossed dean
         “But Senior, you are not in America! In Chile, every name is different. We understand and

do not ask you to take an Indian name. Why do the Americans need everyone to have an American

name?” I gave pause to his question. It was real and thought provoking. My smile and self-

actualization gave way to his courage. “You know Xohal, you‟re right. From now on you and

everyone else can call me Dowud. If my parents liked it, I like it. Why should I hide what and who I

am? You are a very introspective young man. Thank you for telling me this.”

         A thoughtful smile beamed across his face as he looked up. “Senior Dave………Dowud I


         “Hold on Xohal, If we‟re going to a new beginning, call me Uncle Dowud.”

         “Okay, I do that, I like that, Uncle Dowud………Uncle Dowud………the gods like that.”

         “Tell me Xohal about your gods. Do you like them and are they good to you?”

         “They are very powerful Uncle Dowud but I am not sure if they like me or anybody.”

         “But Xohal, if they are truly gods, they must love all of us mortals don‟t you think?”

         “Oh no Uncle Da….. Dowud. We must fear them.”

         “Listen to my words Xohal. If they are truly gods or the true God of the universe, we must be

loved. We are the children of God. Your gods have only one task to do. My God can do everything.

You ascribe only one thing to each god but mine does everything. So it‟s very easy for me to

understand him………….or her whatever the case may be.” I laughed to lighten the mood. Xohal

did not understand my humor.

         The confusion from his bright dark eyes disappeared. “Ah, Pachu Mama. This is my god


         It was my turn for confusion. “Who is Pachu Mama Xohal?”
       Edward A. Dean                                                          Southern
       Crossed dean
       His joyful face looked up. “Pachu Mama is mother earth. She give us all our food and water.

And she give us the grapes that you worship Uncle.”

       I was stunned at his revelation. There was a grace to his age. He was wise and understanding

beyond his years. My Spanky thought was; what an old soul! I recalled an old Latin saying. „You

teach me by your questions.‟ The teacher was being taught and I loved it. “That is correct Xohal but

we say that the one supreme God also made mother earth to feed us.”

       “How can this be? I want to know more about such a strong God. Can you teach me?” I

smiled into his bright eyes and said. “I‟ll tell you what. When we get back we‟ll ask your new Aunt

Jihan to start teaching you.”

       “But Uncle Dowud why do they take me Madre e‟ Padre from me? I did nothing to offend

them. I say my prayers every night but they do not listen. Am I bad inside, Uncle?”

       “No Xohal, you are beautiful inside. Understand that there are people in this world that do

evil things and your mother and father are with the one true God. They look over you every day.

They will always protect and love you. You are a very lucky little boy.”

       “Why do you say this Uncle?”

       “Because you now have five parents not just two. Remember that Maria is there for you

every day.”

       “But she makes me do so many things I don‟t want to do Uncle.”

       I smiled down into his little face. “She does this so that you will learn new things. Her heart

is big Xohal. Listen to her words. She truly loves you and you make her heart glad. And don‟t forget.

You have a brother and a sister now. They love you also.”

       “I don‟t think so Uncle Dowud.”

       “Why do you say that Xohal?”
        Edward A. Dean                                                       Southern
        Crossed dean
        “Kimberly makes me dress up in funny clothes when she wants to play Wonder Woman. And

Nate says I am too short to play with him and he takes Chakana for his own god. I know Chakana

first. He steals from me.”

        His concerns tickled me. “No Xohal, he only shares your god with all of us. Don‟t you think

the gods should be shared with all people? And remember that your father taught him about your

god, just like you. You father liked to share. Will you share Chakana‟s English name with us so that

he will bless our vineyards?”

        “I can do this Uncle, but Southern Cross is Catholic. I don‟t want to be Catholic.”

        “Xohal, I give you my promise that you can be whatever you want to be when you get older.

Do not choose until you understand everything. Once you know, then you can make an informed

choice. You are not bound by dogma.”

        “I do not understand dogma Uncle Dowud. Is it about dogs?”

        I chuckled at his innocence. “No Xohal. It means someone or something that dictates what

you must believe.”

        He looked up at me with his understanding. “Ah, a dictator. I know this Uncle. Me Madre‟

tells me of this. I hate dictators. When I get older, I will kill dictators Uncle.”

        “Listen Xohal. You can only kill people with kindness. Sometimes when you are kind to

people, they will never know you are an enemy. And sometimes it gives you an opportunity to

change their minds. Kindness can be a very strong weapon. Do you understand my meaning?”

        “No I don‟t Uncle. I want to hate all evil people.”

        I needed to get him off this subject. “Can I ask you something Xohal? Are Nate and

Kimberly evil? Should we punish them Xohal? Maybe give them a time in the corner?”
         Edward A. Dean                                                        Southern
         Crossed dean
         “Oh no Uncle Dowud. I still like them. Many times, I love them. We have fun together. I

like Kimberly the most but Nate is very bossy. I don‟t like that. I want to be the boss. Can you make

me a boss also Uncle Dowud?”

         I wanted to laugh but I held it in. What was it that he needed, I thought? I assumed it was

more attention. “Of course I can Xohal. I am going to make you the boss of the lower vineyards, in

back of the casa. The first five rows are yours to be the boss of. And for every year you grow, we

will add another row. And soon you will be the boss of the best vineyards we have. Do you like that


         “I like that Uncle Dowud. Only me? They are mine to control?”

         “Yes Xohal. There can only be one boss and you are the boss. But can I ask you one thing?

Will you let Miss Angel help you keep them safe and learn from her? She can give you good advice.

A good boss always listens to the people that help him; even the workers. We must work as a team.

Can you do that for me?”

         “Yes I can do this Uncle. I will make them give you good wine, I promise.”

         I grinned into his eager face.

         He smiled back in agreement and slipped his little hand into mine. I felt his sincere silent

squeeze. The cool mountain hastened our gate back to the casa.
        Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
        Crossed dean


        A gust of cold wind poured in from the ocean. It was a sign of the coming winter. The

flagging red and golden leaves were blowing off the dormant vines. The fifty-plus degree weather

did not bother me. This soft Mediterranean-type winter was a blessing. Our first vintage was now

asleep in the used oak barrels Angel had purchased from California.

        Later that week Jade and I snuggled in our large oversized bed. She casually remarked, “I

have some news for you Dave. I think I‟m pregnant. I know you wanted to wait but the birth control

pills were bothering me terribly. I didn‟t say anything because you were so absorbed with the crush.

Are you upset?”

        I looked at her in astonishment. “Of course not Sunshine. Let‟s think of it as a wonderfully

happy accident.” I couldn‟t contain my excitement. “Can I feel your tummy? I just thought you

might be putting on a few pounds. I love you sweetie.”

        “You know Maria predicted this don‟t you?” I looked at her quizzically as my face begged

for more information. “This happened months ago. You‟ll like this part. She said I was going to have

a little boy.‟

        I kissed her face softly. “Well if she was right once maybe the odds are good for the second

guess.” We snuggled into a peaceful deep sleep, wrapped in each other‟s arms.

        The next day I couldn‟t wait to share the news with Spanky and Angel. Angel got up from

the table and wrapped Jade in a hug. “That‟s so wonderful Jade. I‟m so happy for the both of you.”

Spanky leaned over the breakfast table and squeezed her hand. As the women chatted, Spanky and I

walked into the office. “What‟s your thought on the name Nate suggested Spank? I really like it.”
       Edward A. Dean                                                          Southern
       Crossed dean
       Spanky beamed proudly. “I do too Dave. That little bugger never says too much but when he

does speak, he speaks volumes. I guess my poppa pride is showing.” His grin was ear-to-ear.

       I smiled. “Any thoughts on a marketing plan yet?”

       Spanky leaned back in his chair. “Yea. Here are my thoughts. If we do have a real winner

after Angel does some blending, we could run it under our label right away. We‟re not limited to the

U.S. market. There‟s a whole world out there that drinks a lot of wine. We can attack the market

with price and quality. Japan and Hong Kong are huge markets for good wine. And we even have a

good shot at Europe. England‟s a big market and the limeys are always open to more bang for the

buck. And if the first vintage isn‟t that great, we can sell it in bulk to a California producer. The

cooler business is huge and we could contract to one of the mass marketers. There are a lot of

worldwide possibilities Dave. A lot of food and wine conventions coming up and I thought Angel

and I could travel that circuit to promote our label.”

       I joked. “Oh I see. You two travel the world and I stay and mind the store? Thanks a pants

full buddy.”

       Spanky grinned. “You got it Pops. I know you‟re not going to want to be running the road

with me now that Jade is pregnant. And I thought it would be nice for Angel and I to spend a little

more time together. She would be a big asset at the shows Dave. She‟s attractive, knowledgeable and

she‟ll keep me in line.”

       “Okay I got the picture. It‟s a good plan but I‟m thinking our biggest competition is going to

come from the Aussie wines. They have a foothold in the secondary market and a ton of product out

there. You know the Chilean wines have a bad rap out there that‟s going to be hard to overcome.”
         Edward A. Dean                                                             Southern
         Crossed dean
         “Yea I know, but I was going to go after some of the larger restaurant distributors and see if

they could get us placement as an upgrade house wine. If it‟s decent, people will then buy it off the

shelf. We attack every market segment we can.”

         “Sounds like a good plan Spank. Let‟s get Angel in the ageing rooms and find out what we


         Later that month Angel, Spanky and I walked into the first ageing cellar with anticipation.

Spanky smiled at me as he noticed the wine thief case under my arm. As Angel pulled the first bunt I

gently opened the case and handed her the ornate wine thief. There was a glint in her now-moist eyes

as she took it from me and dipped it into the first barrel. She deftly pulled the new wine out and

poured it into our waiting glasses. The glint of a bright cherry color danced in the glass against the

low-level light. There was a distinct Cabernet nose that filled the air. Angel went first. She swirled

the wine to give it as much air as possible. She nosed the glass and tasted. Spanky and I stood

watching this ritual for what seemed like the longest time. We followed every expression on her

changing face. “It‟s good.” She pronounced. “Not great, but good.” You two try it. Spanky and me

swirled and tasted. Judging a new wine was difficult at best for me. I could taste the bright acid and

fruit. There was very little nose to it but for our first vintage it wasn‟t bad. Angel suggested we try

the Merlot next. To my mind, the Merlot was excellent. Angel wanted to try some blending

experiments in the winery‟s small tasting room. She shooed us away and continued pulling samples

from different barrels.

         Later that afternoon, Angel invited everyone into the tasting room. Including Maria and the

children. As she passed the glasses around Spanky proposed a toast. “Here‟s to life, love and

laughter for our two beautiful families. May the Southern Cross prosper forever.”
        Edward A. Dean                                                         Southern
        Crossed dean
        A loud chiming of “here, here” echoed throughout the room. We all tasted in anticipation.

Angel had done a wonderful job of coaxing the most out of our first vintage. It was far better than I

remembered the initial samplings. The Merlot and Cabernet Franc gave the Cab a far better

complexity and softened it. It was a typical Bordeaux blend.

        Angel beamed with satisfaction. She didn‟t want her first vintage to end up as a bulk sale. “I

have a little surprise for you all. Try this one and tell me what you think it is.”

        We all picked up the new offering and tasted. To me, it was unusual. It was far darker and

peppery than a Cab and much deeper than a Merlot. Spanky looked at me in bewilderment and

spoke. “I have no idea what the heck it is. Is it from our fields Angel?”

        She grinned a nodded yes. “It‟s Carmenere from the westerly side of the fields, the vines we

thought were Merlot. When I sent the Merlot cuttings to U.C. Davis they told me that one of the

bundles was Carmenere. It‟s a variety that was lost to Bordeaux after the Phylloxera epidemic. And

the only place they exist today is down here. They want to buy more cuttings. I thought I would keep

it separate to see how it would turn out. I haven‟t had any experience with Carmenere. Quite frankly,

this is the first time I‟ve ever tasted it. It has some of the better Zinfandel qualities but a very smoky

character. I like it. It‟s excellent for a young wine isn‟t it?”

        Spanky nodded in agreement. “Hey, maybe we can forget the wine business and just sell

cuttings?” He joked.

        Angel beamed. “No, we can do both. We made some good money on the last batch of

cuttings but I want to make the best wine possible from this country. The vines down here are so

unique.” We all smiled in agreement as ours attention turned to the funny scene of watching Maria

shoo the children away from the wine table. They were sticking their fingers in the wine glasses to

taste it. Their puckered and contorted little faces told us all we needed to know.
       Edward A. Dean                                                               Southern
       Crossed dean


       Spring arrived with the full promise of Jade‟s extended tummy. It tickled me to see her gate

slow with the added baby weight. Her smiling face belied her discomfort. It was a confluence of

anticipation between the new crop and the baby. Jade and I had decided on going back to the states

for her delivery. It wasn‟t that the Chilean hospitals were inadequate but just the security in knowing

that it was the best possible care. Her local Chilean pediatrician had given her a clean bill of health.

       The three other children were bonding with all the angst of an extended family. The three

mothers, Jade, Angel and Maria never took sides with any of the brood. They treated all of them

with love and learning. The women had agreed on a full time tutor for the children. She was a

university student majoring in teaching English. For some reason she was bonding with Kimberly.

Julia‟s character and good looks displayed her mixed heritage of British and Spanish. The

conglomeration of ethnicities in Chile never ceased to amaze me. It was the melting pot of America

all over again. She had a partiality to Kimberly but all three of the children responded to her

affection. She would often take them with her to attend her lectures that were in Spanish. Kimberly

and Nate were adapting well to their second language but they would rely on Xohal to interpret

many phrases for them. It was Xohal‟s crowning glory. Xohal was blossoming into his own. The

three were learning to depend on each other as siblings as their bonding grew stronger.

       Spanky was starting to resurrect his distributor contacts. His conversations with them were

not too promising. They were not big on Chilean wines. It seemed that their past experiences with

other wineries was that the wines all seemed to be matterized. This was a premature aging of wine

with open casks or too much air contact, a very similar taste to Sherry. This was the preference in
       Edward A. Dean                                                       Southern
       Crossed dean
Chile and most of their wines were marketed in South America. Spanky knew he would have an

uphill battle with our new brand. My thought was to call Art and pick his brain. Art had always been

a master at knowing where to peddle new or unknown wines.

        With the time difference, I waited for the afternoon to call. His gruff voice answered.

“National Wine Brokers, Art here.”

        “Hey big guy, what‟s the good word from the states?”

        There was a pause for recognition. “Hey Cocker, is this my South American pioneer?”

        I laughed and we exchanged pleasantries. He asked about Angel and Nate and I informed

him that Angel and Spanky had gotten married. I filled him in on our first vintage.

        I could feel Arts‟ smile through the line. “You know, the Carmenere intrigues me. Are you

sure that‟s what it is?”

        “So the lady says Art. What‟s the big deal?”

        “It‟s different, it‟s unique and if it‟s good, I can sell it to the premium buyers. What‟s Angels

take on the quality?”

        “Hey guy, I‟m telling you it‟s good. Did my taste buds just die?”

        He laughed. “No, but I need an expert opinion. You two cockers will lie about the weather.”

        “Okay, I‟ll have Angel call you and tell you from her own lips. Can you get us placement?”

        “From the lady‟s lips to the marketplace guy. She‟s a class act and don‟t you two forget it.

She‟s my little shining star and I‟ll believe anything she says. I think I can get you decent numbers

based on her recommendation. But keep in mind you‟re going to have to buy a lot of distribution

with price points. It‟s gonna cost you for your first time out of the barrel.”

        “Thanks Art. Hey, why don‟t you come down for a little vacation and try it yourself?”

        “Let me think. Vegas and hookers or you and Spanky? Hum? Tough choice buddy!”
       Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
       Crossed dean
       I let out a big chortle. “You‟ll never change Art. Maybe we can hook up at one of the wine

shows. We‟ll have to start making that circuit soon.”

       “Sounds like a plan Dave.”

       I hung up with a feeling of gratitude for Art‟s extended hand.


       Angels blending talents were beginning to show in the resulting wines. The promise of the

vines was starting to tell. Spanky and I were particularly impressed with the Carmenere. It blended

with the Cabernet beautifully, giving it body and character. It also was a standout by itself. She

proudly shipped two cases of the various blends to Art for his opinion.

       The camaraderie between her and Jade was making them close friends. Their constant chatter

at the dinner table was incessant. All my fondest hopes were coming to fruition.

       Jade‟s maturing pregnancy was making her uncomfortable. Her doctor informed us that her

due date was in about three months. I decided to make airline reservations but Jade was a little

apprehensive about flying. “Dave, I was talking to the doctor and he thought it would be safer to

have the baby in Chile rather than flying and all the travel. The way I feel right now, I kind of agree

with him. I don‟t want to do all that traveling right now. I‟m just not up to it.”
       Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
       Crossed dean
       I took her in my arms and held her. “Listen sweetie, if that‟s what you want then it‟s okay

with me. I‟m sure the hospitals here are competent. Are you sure this is what you want?”

       She nestled her head into my shoulder. “They say the second one is a lot easier. Even Maria

says so. She‟s even offered to be my midwife, but trust me I‟m not going that basic.” She chuckled.

       I gently kissed her as I rubbed her extended tummy. “If that‟s what you really want it‟s okay

with me. By the way, how is my little man doing? He seems pretty active in bed. I can feel him

kicking me in the back at night.”

       Jade giggled. “If you think he‟s active out there, you should feel him in here. I think Maria‟s

prediction is right. She keeps trying to feed me all those herbal teas‟. They smell so god-awful. I just

let them sit and pour them out when she‟s not looking. I hate deceiving her but the doctor says that

it‟s not a good idea. He says you never know what the Indians put in them. But she and Angel have

been so attentive. I‟m kinda liking it.”

       I hugged her and chuckled in her ear. “Hey, why not? Make your life easy. I wish someone

would pay that much attention to me.”

       She looked up with a silly stern look. “Oh? And I don‟t?”

       I laughed. “I just can never remember to shut my mouth at the right time.”

       We held each other in a moment of warm loving tenderness.
         Edward A. Dean                                                             Southern
         Crossed dean

         Angel and Jade talked freely after dinner in the kitchen. Maria listened intently to the two.

She would only interject when necessary. There was an unspoken bond between her and Jade. It

was not what was said, only what was felt. Women know this, men only wonder. The concern was

Maria‟s baggage.

         Jade chatted nervously. “Kimberly was such an easy birth. I hope this one goes as well.”

         Angel offered. “ Nate was more difficult. He was breech birth. The doctor had to use forceps.

Don‟t be concerned about anything Jade. I worried when I saw the forceps marks on Nate when he

was born.”

         “What do you mean Angel? What marks?”

         “Oh, it was nothing, just a small blue bruise mark on his tailbone. When he came out, the

nurse said it was nothing to worry about. Those things happen.”

         Jade swallowed hard. “A blue spot on the tailbone? Did Nate have that?”

         “Yes, it was no big thing. The doctors use the forceps to pull the baby free. And I don‟t want

you to worry about the simple things.”

         With some angst, Jade perused the subject. “Angel, are you sure it was a bruise or something


         “Oh no. It was a bruise. It went away in a few months or so. Trust me Jade, it isn‟t a concern.

I‟m only trying to tell you that unforeseen things happen and not to worry about small things.”

         Jade‟s face seized up and her mouth froze. What thought in her mind could have made this

feeling happen? It was what her heart knew. There was a painful truth in the back of her mind.

         That evening at dinner, Jade seemed agitated with Dave. When he asked, she simply told him

she wasn‟t feeling well, left the room and headed for the bedroom.
       Edward A. Dean                                                       Southern
       Crossed dean
       Spanky laughed. “Somebody‟s in trouble for something! What did you do Dave?”

       “Beats me. When she‟s ready to tell me, everybody will hear it. No megaphone necessary!”

He let it slide. He knew there was no way she would say anything until she was ready. Was it a

special day he forgot? Dave decided to let it rest. The two men chided each other with caustic

remarks about not understanding women.

       As I retired that evening, I could hear Jade moaning with discomfort .I shook her gently from

her fitful sleep. “What‟s wrong sweetie? Are you okay? Can I get you something to help?”

       Her eye‟s surveyed the darkness of the room, searching for his face. “Dave, my sides and

stomach feel so painful. I don‟t know what it is. This never happened with Kimberly. It really hurts.”

       “Let me call the doctor. Do you want me to drive you to the hospital? Is it that bad?”

       Jade paused in her pain. “Let‟s just wait for morning and we‟ll see.”

       I gave way to my concerns. “No, we‟re not waiting. I don‟t want to see you in pain. Let‟s be

cautious. I‟m calling the doctor and have him meet us at the hospital.”

       Her rising pain gave way to affirmation. I panicked and ran to the hillside casa and raised


       Angel would not be denied. “Spank, fire up the old limo. I don‟t want her jostled in that

shitty old Jeep.”

       On the way to the hospital, Jade broke out into a fever. Her pain was getting worse. Angel

cradled Jades head in her lap. Angels soft words gave Jade some ease. I pushed Spanky to drive

faster. “Spanky, push it. If you won‟t then pull over and I will. I don‟t like her color. Jade‟s sweating

up a storm and her color is all pasty.”
       Edward A. Dean                                                        Southern
       Crossed dean
       Spanky‟s voice came back with a vengeance. “Stop it Dave! Now is not the time to panic. If I

push it too hard through these roads, we‟ll be wrapped around a tree or rock. Don‟t panic on me or

we‟ll all be basket cases before we get to the hospital.”

       We all settled in for the drive. Angel wiped Jade‟s perspiration with love. “Easy, sister. Just

breathe. We‟ll be there shortly.”

       Jade weakly smiled up into Angels attentive gaze. “I trust your words Angel but this is bad. I

can feel it in my soul. I‟m afraid for my baby. Listen to me Dave. Make sure the baby‟s okay. I don‟t

care about myself. Just make sure the baby‟s safe.”

       My emotions were in a panic. He interjected. “Stop all of this nonsense. You‟ll both be fine.”

His quaking voice belied his words.

       The old Caddy limo screeched into the hospital driveway. Jade was profuse with sweat as

they wheeled her into the emergency room in a flurry. Angel insisted that she go into the room with

Jade. Before I could fill out all the paperwork Angel reappeared. Her face was taught and white. I

searched her eyes for an answer but she rushed into Spanky‟s waiting arms and blurted a teary

response. “I‟m so sorry Dave but they think she is having an appendicitis attack and are going to

take the baby by cesarean. My mind struggled with the news. I tried to push past them but Angel

grabbed my arm. “They‟ve already taken her into the operating room Dave. The doctor said he

would be out as soon as they take the baby. Jade made the doctor promise to save the baby first.”

       I was stunned with fright. His heart was beating wildly as his brain struggled to make some

sense of it all. Spanky turned to face me and threw his arms around me. “Listen buddy, we‟re family.

She‟ll get through this. It‟s not as bad as it sounds. We‟ll get the best doctors possible. Even if we

have to fly them in.”
       Edward A. Dean                                                             Southern
       Crossed dean
       I was desperately trying to hide his fears as Angel and Spanky put their arms around him. I

pulled away. “I need to talk to the doctor. He needs to take care of Jade first. She‟s the most

important person. He needs to know this. I‟m going up to the operating room.”

       “You can‟t.” Angel suggested. “They won‟t let anyone in right now. Have a little faith Dave.

They‟ll do everything possible for the both of them. They have to take the baby first so they can get

to her appendix. Like Spanky says, they‟ll both be fine.”

       What Angel did not tell Dave and Spanky was that she overheard one of the attending

doctors say that Jade‟s appendix had burst and she could be toxic with septicemia.

       The waiting room at the Santiago hospital was filled to overflowing. The mass of humanity

did not give me a sense of comfort. The three of us sat for hours filled with apprehension. I took no

solace in the small talk between the two. Our collective hearts jumped as the overhead intercom

called for a Senior Nasser. Angel understood and led the trio to the third floor. A small fragile

looking doctor met them and asked them to step into a nearby office. He introduced himself as

Jade‟s primary doctor. The trio searched his face for positive news. He spoke in halting English. “I

must tell you that the baby seems to be okay right now but the Madre is not doing too good. Her

appendix broke and she has much toxicity in her body. She is septic. We can treat this with strong

antibiotics and dialysis. She should be fine in a week or so.”

       I bolted up. “What do you mean should? You get that woman anything she needs to be okay!

I don‟t care what the costs are. If we have to fly it in from the U.S. do it! It is imperative that you

understand my meaning. Nothing must stand in the way of a full recovery for her”

       The doctor looked up into my reddened face. “I understand Senior. Right now it is about time

and faith. She is a strong lady. Her chances are very good. You did not ask but you have a son. He is

in an incubator and will be okay. We are giving him antibiotics also as a precautionary thing.”
       Edward A. Dean                                                             Southern
       Crossed dean
       I plopped back into my chair. I disregarded the news of the child. “Can I see her now?”

       Angel and Spanky looked at Dave with surprise and consternation. He had ignored the child

totally. His intense concern was for Jade and nothing more.

       “You cannot go in Senior. She is in quarantine. The toxins that she has in her body are very

dangerous and you could get an infection. We must be very careful. Let her sleep, it is the best thing

for her. You may see the child if you like.”

       I brushed off the offer. “I must see her. When can I see her?”

       “I suggest you get a hotel room in the city and if you insist, tomorrow afternoon you can see

her. She will be fine. When you come back tomorrow, be aware, you must wear a gown and mask to

prevent any spreading of the bacteria.” We nodded in acquiescence.

       A Raddison sign loomed just out of the hospital complex. We checked in and as soon as they

got into their respective rooms, Angel called an overanxious Maria. Angel explained as much as she

knew. Maria informed her that the children were sleeping and she had taken Kimberly into her bed.

Kimberly was fearful and crying but she succumbed to her sleep in Maria‟s tender and bountiful

arms. Angel comforted herself knowing that Maria would take better care of those children than

anyone on the planet. It gave Angel a sense of ease.

       After a fitful night, Angel called Dave‟s room the next morning. He was gone. She assumed

that he had taken a taxi to the hospital. It seemed so much like him. His intensity waited for no one.

She awakened Spanky and they hurriedly dressed to make their way to the hospital to join him.

       On arrival at the hospital, the two hurriedly dressed in gowns and masks to enter Jade‟s

room. She was awake and talking to Dave. Her pallor was jaundiced. Their conversation blurted into

a crescendo. After a while Jade asked that she and Angel have some time together to talk. The men

thought nothing of it and complied. Jade asked for the baby to be brought into the room. She and
       Edward A. Dean                                                         Southern
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Angel cooed over the newly named Adam. Jade softly put the child over her shoulder and pulled

down his diaper. She looked directly into Angel‟s smiling eyes and pointed to the blue spot on

Adam‟s tailbone. Jade simply said, “It‟s a birthmark, obviously from Dave‟s side of the family.” A

stunned look enveloped Angels face. Her hand flew up to cover her shocked mouth as she realized

what Jade had just exposed. Angel fell to her knees at the bedside in disbelief. Sobs of incredulity

welled out of her mouth. “Oh God, no. I swear to you I didn‟t know Jade. I swear to you! I had no

idea. How can you ever forgive me?”

       Jade reached for Angel. “Hear me Angel. Get up and take Adam in your arms. I don‟t feel

good right now. This will always be between the both of us. I want you to promise me that if

anything happens, you will raise them as the brothers they are. This is our secret and no one in the

world needs to know. Nothing will be served with the pain this would inflict. Let the past be the past.

We can‟t change it. The way I feel right now, I don‟t think I‟m going to make it. I truly don‟t.”

       “Please don‟t talk that way Jade. I love you like a sister. When you get well, Spanky and I

will go back to California. I can‟t inflict any more pain on anyone. I promise you, we‟ll leave as

soon as you‟re better.”

       The vows that only two women could ever commit to each other were spoken and shared.

Tears of love welled up in their eyes and they caressed each other‟s hands.

       Jade handed the baby to Angel and asked. “Take the baby back to the nursery Angel. I need

to sleep. I‟m so tired right now. I can hardly keep my eyes open. I just need to sleep.”

       Angel smiled as she took the little bundle and headed into the hallway.

       Later that evening at the hotel, Spanky suggested dinner in the hotel restaurant. Spanky

ordered a bottle of French champagne and wanted to celebrate a positive outcome for Jade and
      Edward A. Dean                                                         Southern
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Adam. The bubbles washed their anxiety away. They made it a short evening and retired for the


         Angel awoke late that night with a muffled ring of a telephone next door. No sooner had she

snuggled her head into a snoring Spanky, she heard a scream of desperation from Dave‟s room. She

hurriedly slipped into her gown and ran next door and knocked on Dave‟s door. He didn‟t answer.

All she could hear was muffled sobs of desperation. She quickly woke Spanky and he pounded on

the door to the breaking point. A disheveled Dave threw open the door. “My God, My God. She‟s

dead. My beautiful Jade is dead! Those ignorant son-of-a bitches killed her and I helped them by

bringing her here to this hellhole. I helped kill the only good thing in my life. Why her, God? Why



         I asked Spanky and Angel to contact Jade‟s family and offer to send them airline tickets. I

left all the arrangements to the two. My morose mood was ugly. I wanted nothing to do with the

arrangements save one. I purchased some high hilltop acreage from Musa. His land bordered mine

on the higher plateaus. There was a small cottage that Spanky had used for his reflections and

getaways. I needed this beautiful parcel for Jades gravesite. It was so serene and harbored as it

overlooked the high Andes in the background.
        Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
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        Jade‟s mother and sisters took advantage of the tickets to fly down. The unexpected surprise

was my brother Alec and my cousin Butch. As the two approached, I could read the emotional pain

in Alecs‟ face. In the back of my mind, I always knew there was a strong affection between he and

Jade. I subconsciously felt my emotional jealousy. There was always an emotional simpatico

between the two that never needed conversation. It was a connection that I had to work on with Jade.

We had it many times but it was always fleeting but with Alec it walked into the room with him.

        “Dave, I have one request. I would like to do Jade‟s eulogy. It‟s from my heart. Would you


        My mind was saturated with Valium. Spanky had the doctor write an open prescription for

refills. I had a heightened awareness of every emotion I was feeling.

        “Do whatever religious mumbo jumbo bullshit you want Alec. I don‟t care. For me, God died

with her. Bury both of them for me will you?”

        I saw Alecs‟ hand reach out toward me but I pulled away.

        “I only wanted to speak to the wonderful person she is Dave, nothing more. I‟ll leave the

religious part to the Imam. You‟re an angry man right now brother. It‟s misdirected. I have done

nothing more than extend my love for you and Jade. This isn‟t the time for one of our confrontations.

Let‟s let it go for another time.”

        I could read the hurt and sincerity in his eyes. It was if I was looking into the face of my

father but my muddled mind wanted vengeance for my own pain.

        I still was having trouble with bonding with the baby. I wanted to blame everyone and

everything with Jade‟s demise. I couldn‟t look at this little bundle without seeing Jade. His dark eyes

peered from the blanket with Jades gaze. I couldn‟t look at him without seeing her. It was as if he

caused the problem. I knew that wasn‟t true but he was my venomous point of blame.
       Edward A. Dean                                                          Southern
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       When I brought that little bundle home, I simply plopped him into Maria‟s arms. Though her

heart melted, mine hardened with condemnation.

       Angel and Spanky took great care of the details for the funeral. Spanky was even sensitive

enough to get a Muslim Imam from Santiago. There was a large Palestinian and Lebanese

community in the south side of the city. He graciously accepted the task. My mind was numb with

grief. I could not or would not believe any of this was happening. I was slightly strung out on the

Librium pills the doctor gave me.

       The day ended in a blur of faces for me as I foggily retired quietly to the bedroom. I wanted

to run and hide and wait till this nightmare passed. I couldn‟t sleep. Every time I heard a door open

or the floor creak, I looked to see if she was about to enter. Life without Jade was my deepest and

most formidable fear. I refused to budge from our bedroom. Smelling every lingering scent of her.

       My body was at the funeral but my brain was numb with depression. The only thing I

remember telling Spanky was that I wanted her buried on the high southern hillside of the property.

       After the funeral I stayed for hours kneeling at the gravesite. No amount of prodding could

make me move. As evening descended I walked up to the small rustic cabin that Spanky had used

for a refuge when we first arrived.

       The cottage was high into an Andes hillside. I could feel the cold breeze coming off the

peaks. The eerie chill was my friend. My grief settled in to the small rooms. I wanted nothing more

than to get off the world. The slowly disappearing sun gave me the contentment of a total darkness. I

rummaged through the cabin, searching for Spanky‟s bag of pot. I had to escape from my dark

thoughts. Over and over, I could feel the whistling wind off the Andes chilling my life. There was no

peace in my mind. I wanted to let go and join her. My Jade; my life‟s‟ soul. I desperately needed her

in my life. Was this heartache all about me? I didn‟t know nor did I care.
       Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
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       I had to smile as soon as I found the marijuana. The pot was in the pot. How poetic I thought.

Only Spanky would think of this. I lifted the heavy cast iron kettle to the stove and took out a joint. I

needed to disappear into nothingness. Just to let the smoke fill my mind with bliss. A salvation of

sleep overtook my body as I sank into a dark crevasse of my mind that was safe from the world.

How odd I thought. It was my little boy moment. I was secure in my own little fort, built high on a

hill. No less than a childhood memory of peace and harmony with the darkness of the night. I will

stay here forever I thought. This now was my world and I was secure. No one could find me and no

one could hurt me. My wounded psyche demanded solace. There was a hole in my being that I

needed to fill but all I was doing was crawling into it.

       Every morning, I could feel the sunlight awaken my mind. I simply refused to let it into my

life and waited for the dark of evening for my salvation. As the sun descended, I sat outside to watch

those magical sunset moments that Jade and I had shared over the years. I remembered her easy and

simple thought saying, „Every sunset is unique‟ every painted sky always filled our hearts with

beauty and bliss. They were never long enough. Ever changing, ever moving and in a blink of an eye

they were gone. They were an analogy to life; never long enough, always changing, ever moving.

The universe and time stood still for no one. The journey of life does not wait. We all were on a fast

track to eternity. As I drank deeply into the majesty and mystery of the Andes, I realized that life

was no more than the twenty-four hour cycle of a fruit fly. We all were a blip on the radar screen of

the universal aspect. Equating billions of years to our life span was a blip. I now understood

Spanky‟s epiphany in the Himalayas. It was the grounding effect of the power and the ancient

magnificence of something greater than our eyes could hold or our mind comprehend.
         Edward A. Dean                                                              Southern
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         Every evening there would be a packet of food left on the steps of the little cabin. My

drugged mind laughed at the notion that I had a food fairy but my senses told me it was probably


         A week into my journey of depression, I went out to fetch the food packet. I was startled by

an obviously older Indian man sitting in front of the stoop, eyeing the packet. His hand extended up

to me and he asked in Spanish if I had food to share. I halted and gazed at him. With my halting

Spanish I told him to take it and leave. His furrowed brow pulled down to reach his wrinkled dark

eyes. And with good English he spoke to me. “Your soul is uneasy Senior. I do not wish to steal

your food. I only ask to share. Permisso?”

         I reined in my bad manners. “Permisso Senior. Where are you from?”

         His toxic face changed. “From Peru. I am a curren barro (shaman) from Peru.”

         He puzzled me. “How did you get here Senior? Peru is a long way away.”

         “I am on my pilgrimage. I attended the festival of Qoyllur Riti and I am on my way across

Pachu Mama (mother earth) to seek the holy waters from the southern mountains of Chakana.”

         My mind bolted from its haze. “You walked here from Peru? And you are going to walk to

the southern mountains of Chakana? That‟s impossible Senior. No man can do that. These mountains

are treacherous.”

         “It is possible Senior. My ancestors have done this for thousands of years and this is my

quest to find the holy waters from the everlasting ice in the mountains.”

         My puzzled look amused him. ”You mean glaciers. Glaciers are not forever. They are just

fed with the new snow.”

         An easy smile lit his face. “Exactly Senior. The sweat and tears of Chakana feed the

everlasting ice. That is why the waters are holy.”
       Edward A. Dean                                                       Southern
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       I shook my head in amusement. “Come inside and we can eat and talk. My wine is named

after Chakana. I call it the Southern Cross. Maybe this an omen.”

       “Se Senior, I know of the sign of the cross. It is the sign of Jesus. Maybe Jesus and Chakana

are one and the same. They are both great gods. Yes?”

       I shook the fog from my mind. “Well yes and no. They are different religions. It depends on

which one you choose my friend. “

       His dark smiling face beamed. “This is not so Senior. I do not have to choose. I accept them

all, even yours.”

       I looked at him quizzically. “Why do you think mine is different?”

       I see the sign of the crescent moon and star on you chain. I know of this sign and I accept that

too. The star is what you call Venus rising. She is a very important goddess. I respect her. Many

phases of our ancient Incan calendar are based on her love”

       The irony made me laugh. “Maybe your beliefs could teach the rest of the world tolerance

my friend. But I have to ask, how can you accept them all? Aren‟t‟ they all different in your belief?”

       He shook his head as if answering a question from a child. “I can tell you are a smart man.

Let me ask you. If you have a harvest basket of corn, which kernel is most important? Choose just

one and you will starve. Choose them all and your belly and soul will be nourished through hard


       His words made me smile. “Come and sit by the fire and warm yourself my friend and tell

me more. I am not the smart man; you are. Your words are true. They make me feel better.”

       He nodded politely. “Thank you senior. Warmth and good food are a blessing but good

company and conversation are a stroke of luck.”
        Edward A. Dean                                                               Southern
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        We sat for hours talking and eating out of the food parcel. For the first time in a long while

my mind felt easy. After a while the old man gave me a hard stare.

        “You have much hurt in your eyes Senior. Your clothes say that you are a rich man but your

heart is poor. Why do you hurt so much?”

        I paused to think of a nebulous answer to offer him but I had none. He continued as he saw

my reluctance. “I can offer you help if you wish to rid yourself of your demons.”

        I looked at the dark warm intensity in his eyes. I answered in a flip manner. “Sure why not.

Do you have a magic potion or something?”

        “Yes I do senior. It is in the power of this.”

        He opened the little bag tied to his waist and produced what looked like dried mushrooms.

        “This medicine will only help you open your mind and pluck out the demons that haunt you.

Only then you can heal yourself.”

        His cupped wrinkled hands extended toward me with his offering. I wasn‟t sure but I was

willing to try anything. I had heard many stories of people‟s revelations under the hypnotic influence

of psychedelic mushrooms. I was wary and skeptical but I desperately wanted a miracle. What the

hell, I thought.

        “Okay old man, let‟s go for the gusto. I‟ll try anything once.” I took a few and washed them

down with a glass of wine. If they were going to work I wanted them to work fast. I was willing to

try anything that would stop the pain in my head.

        He turned and opened the small door on the cast iron stove. The light from the flames danced

warmly on the floor. He began a soft Indian incantation. I tried to listen to his rhythmic voice but my

eyes were fixated on the dancing flames. As the mushrooms took their effect I sat on the floor and

tried to pick up each flicker. He reached over to my hands and cupped them together. As I looked at
       Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
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him I began to see a feathered headdress appear in place of his Peruvian woven skullcap. His eyes

and words mesmerized me. In a soft voice he commanded me to open my heart and place it into my

cupped hands.

       “Look deeply inside and you will see the demons that eat at your flesh. Carefully pluck them

out and throw them into the fire. Once this is done I will close the door to let them burn and return to

Pachu Mama in harmless smoke.”

       My hazed mind obeyed. I looked into my cupped hands and saw my own heart beating

wildly. The heavy thumping made me softly set it into my cross-legged lap. I could now see all my

life events dancing in it. I reached in a pulled on the ones I remembered that had caused me pain. I

could see and feel them unwillingly go into the fire. On each pull I could feel a burden being lifted

from my body. Each one was getting more difficult to remove than the last. I struggled obsessively

with the last one. It was my self-induced guilt over Jades‟ demise. It finally broke free and I eagerly

threw it into the fire. I laughed hysterically as I watched it burn. I could hear myself screaming, “It‟s

gone; it‟s gone.” But somehow my body was detached from the scene, watching intently overhead. It

was like watching a movie in a theatre and feeling all the portrayed emotions. I watched the scene

disappear into blackness as a Neil Diamond song, If You Know what I mean, played in the

background. I listened intently to the prosaic words. „And the night returns just like a friend making

peaceful sounds in me......I closed my eyes to see. It was another time, another place, Do you know

what I mean?..................The words and the music melted and danced into each other.

       As I listened, the most meaningful lyric that stuck in my mind was about dreams. It‟s hard to

hold them in your arms but hard to let them go!‟ Suddenly the music shifted to September Morn.

Jade appeared from the old man‟s hat and walked across the room. She put her arms around me. It

was her; I was absolutely positive it was her. There was a lingering soft scent of Chanel. Nobody
       Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
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ever wore it with the same panache as her. She buried her soft face into my shoulder like only she

could. Our prolific soft tears cried into each other‟s hearts. I could taste the salty tears on her cheeks.

She looked up at me and spoke.

       “Remember our special „September morns‟ together Dave and then let them go! My joy is

now eternal. Go live and find more joy in your life. If you hold on to the past you will never grow.

And I need to tell you this Dave; a part of you is still a man-child at heart. Go live your dreams. If

you hold on to me, you will never find what the universe has planned for you.”

       I could feel her slipping away from me. Her body was melting away in a pool of intense

multicolored light. It was as if a flashbulb exploded in my eyes. When I blinked from the blinding

light, she was gone! I dropped into an exhausted peaceful sleep on to the bed.

       When I awoke with the soft morning light, Jade and the shaman were both gone. It was if

they came together and left together in one brief moment in time.

       I got up and walked to the cast iron stove to stoke the dying embers. As I opened the door,

there was a definite sweet scent of Chanel. I smiled in remembrance as my now cognizant mind

shook off the dream state. I finally realized that it was time to leave and get on with my life.

       As I walked to the door to leave, something on the floor caught my eye. I reached down to

pick it up. It was a condor feather. Was it a part of my hallucination? Did the old shaman leave it? I

smiled through my quandary as I put it in my bag.
       Edward A. Dean                                                               Southern
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       For the next few weeks I couldn‟t shake the experience from my mind.

       One evening as I finickly picked through my evening meal with Angel and Spanky, Angel

spoke. “The Paris wine expo is coming up soon Dave. One of us should be there. Why don‟t you

take a break and go? I will do you good to get away for a while and it would be a relief to me and

Spank not to have to watch you ruin a perfectly good meal.”

       I smiled at her remark and nodded in agreement.

       I rushed through the cavernous Kennedy Airport for my connecting flight to Paris. I had

plenty of time but I was nervous about missing the connector. There were no more flights until the

next day. I found the departing gate quickly enough and stood in the queue of waiting passengers to

check in. A statuesque blond dressed in very fashionable expensive black leather caught my eye. I

could only see her from the back but her well-rounded hips screamed at me sexually. It dawned on

me that this was the first time in months that I had strong urgings. My curiosity was killing me. I

wanted to see her face. I waited patiently as I dodged from side to side for a pryingly glimpse. I

caught her profile as she leaned on the counter to talk to the agent. I was kind of sorry that I had

gotten a first-class ticket, assuming she would be in the economy section. There was no opportunity

to make a move so I let it pass. As we boarded I watched her as she seated herself in first-class. To

my surprise, she was across the isle from me. I pretended that my overhead was full and asked if I

could share hers. I looked down and saw the most exquisite pair of gray-blue eyes smiling up at me.

I held her gaze for what seemed like an embarrassing long time. The blush on my face forced me
       Edward A. Dean                                                          Southern
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along. As we taxied down the runway, we talked in polite conversation. Most of our responses were

one-syllable words. As the plane lurched skyward, I caught a glimpse of her well-manicured fingers

dig into the armrest and those beautiful steel-blue eyes close. I waited patiently until we had leveled

off into a smooth flight path.

       There was an older gentleman sitting in the window seat next to her. He was engrossed in a

French newspaper. I made up my mind to try and trade seating with him. Our conversation continued

and was occasionally interrupted by the passing stewardess. I rose and offered to trade seats with the

older gentleman so he would not be bothered by our conversation. He nodded willingly. She smiled


       As I settled in, I extended my hand and introduced myself. Her handshake was firm and

strong. I assumed she was a businessperson by her demeanor and self-confidence.

       “My name is Dave, and you are?”

       She spoke to me with her elegant eyes. “I‟m Uhlricha. Are you on your way to Paris for

business or pleasure?”

       I chuckled slyly. “Actually I was hoping for both. And you?”

       Her eyes danced with my innuendo. She leaned forward and looked directly into my face. ”I

am going for business only. But no one dictates my spare time.”

       I smiled politely and knowingly. Her strong angular Germanic face fascinated me. I asked

what business she was in. I could hardly contain myself when she announced that she was on her

way to the Paris wine expo. Her family‟s winery was in Argentina. I pushed back into my seat in

mock hilarity. As I explained that I was going there also and was from Chile, she realized the

humorous connection.
        Edward A. Dean                                                         Southern
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        Her intensity softened as the free French Champagne we were sipping took effect. I struggled

with the correct pronunciation of her name and she offered. “My friends call me Rikki, feel free to

use it if you prefer.”

        I leaned over to her and humorously explained my own first name dilemma. She grabbed my

hand as she leaned into her seat with laughter. “We have too many similarities in our lives not to be


        “Let me ask you Rikki, as a neophyte to South America why are there so many Europeans,

especially Germans there?”

        She tilted her head and her steely eyes grew into knife-edged slits. “Obviously you don‟t

know your history. You see everyone wants to assume all Germans are loyal sons and daughters of

the fatherland. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The Germanic people are wanderlust. In the

eighteen hundreds, who do you think populated the West and Midwest in your native country? And

do you realize what the largest segment of your population‟s heritage is?”

        “You know I want to say Irish or English. But I‟m assuming this is wrong.”

        She smiled knowingly. “Yes it is wrong. It‟s German. Twenty-five percent of the U.S.

population has Germanic ancestral roots. And South America? Yes it‟s Germanic. So you see, we‟re

very wanderlust. Our thirst and nose is for cheap abundant land. We love the land. It is so

permanent. That is what gives us roots.”

        I smiled quizzically. “So is that where your beautiful steely gray eyes came from?”

        She balked emphatically. “No, they‟re blue.”

        “No they‟re gray. But I will give you blue gray if you insist. Whatever color we agree on,

they will still be very beautifully intense. They fascinate me.”
       Edward A. Dean                                                       Southern
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       “Oh thank you. The way you were staring, I thought something was wrong with my make up.

And you eyes? They are golden.”

       I smirked. “No they‟re brown. And I have government proof of that.” As I reached for my


       She giggled slyly as she glanced at the passport. “No they are golden. Let me ask, what are

your family origins?”


       She tilted her head in a cute manner. “Ah another wanderlust culture. Your Phoenician

ancestors traveled throughout the known world for centuries. You too have the wanderlust genes.

This is too much co-incidence. It must be fate.”

       I laughed at her vanity and analogy. Our teasing conversation lasted well into the night

before we both succumbed to sleep.

       The morning sun peeked through the shuttered windows and caused me to stir. I could feel a

soft flow of hair on my shoulder and its wafting fragrance filled my nostrils with tender memories. I

held my breath, not wanting to wake this stunning creation. Rikki stirred as the stewardess offered us

warm toweling to wash the sleep from our faces. Her stunning eyes looked up into mine and

apologized for ending up on my shoulder. I grinned. “No problem, I was kind of enjoying it. It‟s

been a while since I had the pleasure of a beautiful woman on my shoulder. So thank you for the

privilege.” I detected a small blush of embarrassment on her cheeks but she recovered quickly.

       “I can hardly believe that. You look and act like a man that would have no problem with

having a woman wanting to be there.”

       I fumbled for a quick answer and let it drop.
          Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
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          Soon after breakfast the plane descended for a landing into Charles de Gaulle airport. As it

lurched in the lower atmosphere, her trembling hand instinctively grabbed at mine. It was a panic

reaction. I waited till the plane rolled down the tarmac and spoke. “You seem to be a bit of a nervous

flyer. Are you okay now?”

          Again her cheeks betrayed her emotions. “It‟s just the takeoffs and landings that bother me. I

don‟t like the turbulence. Once more I must thank you for your assistance. You must allow me to

repay your kindness. Will you be available for dinner one evening?”

          “Wow, now there‟s an offer I can‟t refuse. You pick the night and the restaurant and I‟ll be

there. By the way, I‟m staying at the Paris Hilton. And you?”

          “That‟s on the left bank. I always stay in district one, which is on the right bank. I will be at

the Isle de Champagne. It is a small boutique hotel near the river and the Louvre. I‟ll call you.”

          We agreed to share an airport cab and I dropped her off at her hotel and proceeded to the



          The next morning my head was buzzing with the excitement of getting to the Wine Expo to

make sure it was set up to my expectations. A glint of sweetness lingered in my brain about Rikki. I

remembered seeing a ring shadow on her left hand. Either she deftly removed it for me or she had
       Edward A. Dean                                                               Southern
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planned intentions. I didn‟t care. I was intrigued with her beauty and intelligence but her blush

always belied her pseudo strength.

       The Wine Expo was arranged in sections by country and continents, so I was hoping to run

into Rikki. As I set up the display, my head bobbed constantly looking for her.

       The hall soon filled with the din of conversations between distributors and wine makers. I

was constantly engaged with distributor inquiries and pouring samples of Angels best blends. The

comments ranged from good to excellent as a price point wine or a poor imitation of Bordeaux. I

took that as a compliment. Any parallel to French Bordeaux was a compliment.

        By early afternoon I was still engaged in conversations with different distributors from all

over the world. I had made great headway with a Far East distributor and one from the U.K.

       My back was turned to the sampling table when I heard her warm voice asking one of my

attendants for a sampling. I nearly tripped over one of the cases on the floor in my haste to greet her.

She giggled at my entrance. I took her hand in a business fashion and said, “I‟d value your opinion

on some of our private stock. Would you like to try them?”

       “I would love to. The first two I tasted were quite nice.” I poured her a sample of the

Carmenere. “Her analytical face perused the wine. “I love this one Dave. I recognize the Carmenere.

Our winemakers have had little success with our vines. What did you do to get this complexity?”

       I beamed appreciatively and told her about Angels California training and talents.

       She remarked, “I‟ll have to meet this talented lady one day. Our booth is around the corner.

Would you like to try some of ours?”

       I smiled in agreement. Malbec dwarfed the Keller name on the banner. Malbec was the

principal variety in Argentina and they obviously wanted to capitalize on the name recognition.

Their premium offering was very bold and fruity for a Malbec and quite good. I hadn‟t had a lot of
       Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
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experience with the variety and mentioned it to Rikki. She simply smiled and took my

pronouncements with some pride.

       We wandered through the giant hall and found our way to the French section. At the

Montrechet booth a tall handsome Parisian greeted her with a kiss on both cheeks in European

fashion. They talked like old friends and I stood back, allowing them their privacy. She spoke to him

in fluent French Rikki pulled me in to their space and introduced me. Philippe was certainly a

charmer and was politely hold on to her coupled hands. I coyly assumed that they might be more

than business friends. I remarked that I was a very big fan of the Burgundies. He smiled at Rikki and

offered. “Then you two must come down to Beaune and be my guests.” My confused look tickled

Rikki and she came to my rescue.

       “Oh thank you so much Philippe but Messier Nasser and I are just casual business friends.

I‟m sure he has more important things to attend to.” I didn‟t know quite how to answer. That‟s all

Philippe needed to hear and he blew me off in a heartbeat.

        “Then you must come Rikki. We can explore the old cellars once more.” He tilted his head

in curious manner. I caught his meaning.

       Rikki was growing more uncomfortable. “But only if Dave agrees to come. Will you do this

for me Dave?”

       I wasn‟t sure what she meant. “We‟ll talk about it Rikki. Thank you so much for you kind

offer Philippe. We‟ll let you know before the Expo is over.” I turned to Rikki and winked. “Shall we

go to our next meeting?”

       She smiled thankfully. “Yes, we are running late. Nice to see you again Philippe. We will

talk soon.”
       Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
       Crossed dean
       I took her arm and we strolled away. I nudged her. “What the hell was that about? Needles to

say, I‟m confused”

       She put her hand to her mouth guardedly. “I love Montrechet. It is so beautiful but he is such

a bore. How do you decide between two polar opposites?”

       I snuggled into her ear. “A true ying and yang. If you truly want to stay in Burgundy, find a

nice Bed-and-breakfast that you might enjoy.”

       “But why? That is so provincial. Why don‟t you come with me for a little vacation break?

We could act as consorts. No one needs to know. Are you up for the game or no?”

       My face gleamed. “I could but I need to know? Will you take advantage of me?”

       Her face wrinkled and looked at me quizzically. “Of course not.”

       I tilted my head with laughter. “Then forget it. If you‟re not going to ravage my body, I‟m

not going!”

       She snuggled into my folded arm. “You are so bad but I like it. Just hold on to that thought.”

       Then she winked up to me. “Stranger things have happened.” She giggled.

       Our journey though the Expo had us tasting everything from our competitors offerings to the

exotics. I was never a fan of spitting out the samplings but I knew I was getting to my limit of good

judgment. Rikki spit and I admonished her for doing so. She looked at me questioning. It was a look

that said she didn‟t care. This was her way of telling me that she was her own person and would not

or could not be controlled. I let it pass and took the message to heart. In my memory, I knew it was a

Jade thing. Maybe this was my attraction to her all along. There were so many snippets of Jade‟s

subliminal strength that I was identifying with. But I decided to push it aside and I let it go.

       We were both pleasantly blitzed and decided to button up our display booths and agreed to a

hasty dinner. I let Rikki choose the restaurant.
       Edward A. Dean                                                              Southern
       Crossed dean
       We felt ourselves giggling and jostling each other on the cab ride to the restaurant. The cab

pulled up in front of a very non-descript Parisian building. On our entrance, the wait staff greeted her

like royalty. I was impressed with her soft French chatter. She seemed so at ease with everything

from the people to the menu. I sat back in amazement.

       I joked. “So my dear, you have me at a disadvantage. You order everything. But there is one

thing I‟m craving right now. It‟s a Dirty Martini. My taste buds are fried with tannins. I want to get

blitzed and not look back.”

       She laughed hilariously. “First, you need to tell the bartender what a Dirty Martini is and then

you need to tell me. Parisians are very unfamiliar with American mixed drinks.”

       I joyfully grabbed her hand and led her to the bar. She used her fluent French to have the

barman build me the most exquisite peppery Dirty Martini I‟d ever had. Rikki asked for a taste. It

took a few sips for her to like it. She liked it enough to order her own and we passed on a dinner

wine. From what I can recall, the food was exquisite .The layered flavors of simple foods impressed


       After dinner Rikki insisted on showing me the walkways under the bridges of the Seine

River. It was a fresh and easy feeling. Smoky dark water lapped against the cities din. Her quiet

squeeze of my hand told me she was at peace. There were few glances onto each other‟s eyes. We

were alone in our thoughts as we drank in the sweet coolness of the night. My thoughts drifted to

Jade. I dearly wanted her to be here but I shuttered my yearnings. My mind knew it was unfair to let

this happen in Rikki‟s moment and turned to grab her by the waist. I pulled her to me and kissed her

passionately. This was to be our moment and I expressed every passion that I had been hiding for

months. She responded with a soft breathy passion. Her body locked into mine. It was not an adult

response. It was an exploring passion of two teenagers. There was a primitive and carnal feeling as
       Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
       Crossed dean
our bodies pressed into each other. I knew I wanted and needed her. Her kisses responded to the

same thing. Our feet pushed forward with an emerging passion. As Rikki‟s hotel loomed into our

vision, I could feel my emotions swell.

       The small elevator pulled us up to the third floor. Her hasty key fumbled at the door as we

tried to enter. Our bodies fell into the beautiful appointed room. A flurry of passion had us naked and

on the bed in seconds. My eyes and hands stroked every part of her silky white skin. I didn‟t want to

miss a moment. Our eagerness grew with every kiss. They were long and passionate. Her delicious

taste and fragrance consumed my senses. My fingers and mind stroked her eager body. Her milky

white skin was flawless and crowned with soft pubic hair that was beautifully manicured and

inviting. The only thought was to please every inch of her body. She deftly reached for my manhood

and pulled me into her. Her wetness was a surprise. I wasn‟t quite ready but she was. She directed

every flow of our neophyte experience. I was desperately trying to control my eagerness. For me, it

had been such a long and fainted memory. I let her have her way. She mounted me with directness

and excitement. Her body lunged against me with strength and resolve. I watched her perspiring face

and closed eyes. Her parted lips sucked in my every emotion with her deep breathing. This was a

picture of passion I wanted to hold on to. Her wide hips consumed everything I had to give.

Suddenly, the magic moment happened for Rikki. She leaned forward toward the headboard and

pounded it voraciously. I smiled knowingly into her exuberant fervor. Suddenly her long nails dug

into my chest. She leaned forward and drove her tongue deeply into my mouth. The searing pain on

my chest would not let me enjoy it. I pulled her hands away and rolled over onto her soft waiting

body. I pinned her hands into the downy pillows and thrust into her. I could see her steel gray eyes

peer wantonly from the pillows through the dim light. My release was huge and long overdue. I fell
        Edward A. Dean                                                          Southern
        Crossed dean
into her embrace. We wrapped our spent bodies into each other and nestled into a deep and needful


         The morning sun roused me from my long and beautiful sleep. It had been so long since I had

slept so deeply. My arm reached for Rikki but the bed was empty. There was a note on the pillow.

         “I didn‟t want to disturb you. You looked so peaceful. Meet me for lunch at the Expo

cafeteria if you have time.”

         I jumped up and looked at my watch. It was almost ten o‟clock. I hurriedly dressed and took

a cab to my hotel to shower and change clothing. The Expo was busy by the time I got there. I was

immediately engaged in conversations with the two Far East agents from the day before. They

brought their senior managers with them. We discussed terms of a contract. I explained that we had

a deal in principal but I would need to discuss the pricing offer and the contract with my partner. I

was thrilled with our first sales. It would have been a lot easier if Spanky were here. He had so much

more experience with these matters. A few more prospects from the U.S. engaged me about

distribution for the East Coast. We traded business cards and agreed to talk later.

         I hurriedly glanced at my watch and it was after one. I walked over to Rikki‟s booth to see if

she was there before heading to the cafeteria. She was engaged in a conversation, so I stood back but

in her line of sight. She glanced up at me but did not smile. Her head turned back to her

conversation. From her look, I assumed she was pissed at me for missing lunch. I waited patiently

for a few more minutes but she continued talking to the two gentlemen. I turned to leave and headed

back toward my booth. Before I got there, I felt a tug on arm. I profusely apologized for missing our

lunch date and explained that I got tied up with business. Her face pursed.

         “Well you could have at least let me know. You could have sent a note with one of your

workers. It was embarrassing for me to sit by myself waiting. “
       Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
       Crossed dean
       I smiled weakly and pulled her note from my pocket and held it in front of her. “It says, „If

you have time‟ doesn‟t it?”

       I glint of a smile crossed her face. “It‟s still no excuse for bad manners but I will forgive you

just this once. I have prearranged dinner dates for the next two evenings but if you‟re not too busy,

maybe we could have dinner on the last day of the Expo.”

       I hastily agreed.

       When I arrived back at my hotel, there was a message from Spanky. I hurriedly called him.

He answered excitedly. I told him the good news. We chatted for a while.

       “You must have been busy Dave because Angel received no less than four calls with job

offers.” He laughed. “It seems her blends had more success than you. Why were you passing her

name around so much? You‟re making her a bigger star than the wine.”

       I chuckled. “I was trying to give Angel her due.” I told him about the chance meeting with

Rikki. I didn‟t get into details but Spanky guessed. “You dog you! You got lucky. I just know it.

That‟s what you needed all along. Listen guy, just have fun and enjoy the ride while it lasts.”

       I told him of the invitation to Montrechet and he insisted that I go.

       “Look Dave, just grab a rental car and drive down. And by the way, Monte Carlo isn‟t too far

from there. Take the new squeeze and enjoy her. Angel and me have everything in hand here. The

kids are having a ball and Maria won‟t let Adams feet touch the ground. He‟s doing well Dave. Go

and enjoy. Just promise to tell me all the details when you get back. Make me jealous!”

       We laughed for a while before I hung up. Spanky always made me feel good. He was a true

friend and brother.
        Edward A. Dean                                                         Southern
        Crossed dean
        The next two days were a whirlwind of contacts and engaging conversations. I popped by

Rikki‟s booth occasionally just to say hi. On the last day we agreed that I would pick her up at her

hotel and go to dinner.

        My head whirled with excitement as I showered and dressed that evening. I watched the city

lights winkle from my cab window. Paris was such a magical city at night. The bridges over the

Seine were lined with lampposts that lit up the evening. When I arrived at Rikki‟s hotel, I called her


        “Come on up Dave. I have a surprise for you.” My curiosity was piqued. She opened her

door with a flourish and pulled me inside. There was a table in the corner, set with candles and

Champagne. I smiled and took her by the waist and kissed her. I could feel through white silk

dressing gown that she was nude. My anticipation grew. She led me to the table and poured the

Champagne for us. The candle light danced off the walls with a soft glow. We chatted with ease

about business but our minds were somewhere else. I rose from my chair and took off my sport coat

and yanked at my shirt. Her smile told me all that I needed to know. I took her hand and pulled her

to the waiting bed. As she fell across the bed, her gown opened. I could see her long legs tempting

me. Her demeanor and wicked smile was playing the part of an artful seductress. She looked up at

me with twinkling eyes. “Does this mean we‟re not having dinner?”

        I winked back to her. “No, I‟m having my dinner now and you‟re the main course.”

        Rikki giggled with a schoolgirl charm and pulled me to her. I wanted to enjoy this seductress

every way possible.

        Our passions flowed through the evening. We were all over each other‟s body. We finally lay

there, dripping with perspiration and satisfaction. Our mutual decision was to take a shower together.

We laughed and chuckled as we squeezed into the tiny European shower. Later we ordered room
        Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
        Crossed dean
service and sat in bed to eat. We made love once again that evening. I was captivated with her

beauty and artful lovemaking. I just couldn‟t get enough of her.

       The morning sun caused us to stir but it was the singing of tiny voices outside our window

that woke us. I jumped up to see what was going on. As I leaned out I could see school children

lined up and on their way to the nearby church. We smiled at the cuteness of the scene. As we both

fell back in bed I mentioned that it reminded me of my extended children. She looked up in surprise.

       “You‟re married?”

       I didn‟t want to get into this conversation but I casually mentioned. “Yes and no. My wife

left. Can we let the explanation go for now? It‟s not something I want to revisit right now. Is that

okay with you?”

       Rikki read the pain on my face. “It‟s okay, I understand. It‟s just that I assumed by your

manner that you were free.”

       I tried to make a joke of it. ”I may be inexpensive but never free. And you? I also never

asked. Do you have children?” Trying to avoid the marriage question.

       “No I don‟t have any children but my husband likes it that way. I think you know. I watched

you looking at my left hand and I‟m sure you saw the ring shadow. But as you said. This is not a

good time for this conversation. Let us just be happy in the moment and drive down to Burgundy. I

did tell Philippe to expect us. And before you ask, yes I had an affair with him a few years back.

What they say about French lovers is not true. He couldn‟t hold a candle to you. We‟ll have to

change that perception from French to Lebanese.” She chuckled.

       I was still trying to absorb all of her revelations. I assumed that if she was using Europe and

business meetings for her affairs, there must be a reason or understanding between she and her
      Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
      Crossed dean
husband. I simply dismissed it. I was going to take Spanky‟s advice and enjoy my time with her. I

really didn‟t care who was using who. Maybe it was me that was the play toy.


       The Peugeot rental car swung down the back roads out of Paris. Rikki didn‟t need a map to

direct me out of the city and on to the wine highway. It meandered through the Burgundy

countryside. I was mesmerized with all of the famous names I had only seen on bottles of wine. I

insisted on stopping at the Grand Cru vineyards. I wanted to see, first hand, what they looked like

and mostly to see the vines. The French method of vine grow was in rounded clusters rather than tied

to wires in vertical rows. Rikki teased me about my obsessions. We talked and laughed our way to

Montrechet. The estate was not as pretentious as some of the other Grand Cru chateau‟s but it was

spectacular in it‟s own right. Philippe met us at the door and quickly had our bags sent upstairs to

separate rooms. He quickly introduced us to the owners‟ wife, Giselle. She and Rikki chatted our

way into the dinning area for a late lunch. Contrary to European tradition of a large noontime meal,

the table was set with simple finger foods. The wine glasses lined the sideboard like soldiers.

Philippe had chosen a sixty-six Chardonnay for us. Contrary to belief and to my surprise, the ten-

year-old white wine was still brilliant in color and taste. Giselle explained to me in her halting

English that French Chardonnays are always aged on the lees. This was the sediment from the wine.

It gave white wines much more character and good aging possibilities. She suggested that we try the

fifty-four Chardonnay before we left. It was over twenty-five years old but still drinking well.
       Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
       Crossed dean
       I expressed my gratitude for her hospitality and extended her and Philippe an open invitation

to come to Chile as my guests.

       “We have many original French vines in Chile but I have to tell you that Chile has problems

with the white vinifera and Pinot‟s.”

       She laughed at my pronouncements. “You see Pinot‟s and many Chardonnays are as fickle as

a young woman. They do not know what they want to be. They only know that if everything is

perfect, they will fall in love. It is only when we grow with age, do we allow concessions. Maybe

one day, I will take advantage of your and Rikki‟s generous offers and come. South America is such

a mysterious place for us Europeans. It is not that we are snobbish but I think we have lost our sense

of adventure. We have grown comfortable with what we know. You and my sweet Rikki are the true

pioneers. The two of you have such a joi de vie. But first, you must taste my pâté‟s, I made them


       We consumed the food and wine with gusto. Philippe‟s hospitality could not have been more

generous. He showed us through the underground limestone caverns in the hillside. The Pinot

vintages dated back to the twenties. I loved the character and extended history of the estate. I now

understood why the French were so adamantly provincial and consumed with Du Terre.

       Late that afternoon, Rikki and I decided to take a stroll through the vineyards. She abandoned

her leather boots and giggled through her wine glow. “There is one thing I must do. I want to walk

through the vineyards in my bare feet. I just love the feel of the soil through my toes.”

       I smiled at her connection. She ran between the rows of vines laughing. I watched her playful

manner. At the end of the row, she happened on two vineyard workers. The looked at each other and

smiled at the crazy foreigner. She was not deterred by their whispered comments and continued.
       Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
       Crossed dean
       The sun was starting to set. I grabbed her hand and we strode back to the château. I pulled

her to me as we gazed at the setting sun. For me, it was my special moment. It struck me how every

sunset looked different on each continent. Maybe it was the French countryside and maybe not but it

was very different. I only wanted to appreciate the beauty of it all.

       After a small evening meal we all retired toward the fireplace for cognac and conversation.

Our conversations lasted into the evening. Giselle excused herself to retire for the evening. Rikki and

I took the cue and went upstairs. Philippe‟s dogged gaze followed us. Rikki smiled through her glow

and winked at me as we entered our separate rooms. I stripped quickly and fell into the plush farm

bedding. No sooner had I drifted into a melancholy twilight sleep than I felt a warm snuggling body

wrapped into mine. I rolled over and heard that little twitter that Rikki would utter in passion. We

simply wormed our way into each other‟s nude bodies and drifted off. Our feelings of simple

simpatico warmed our minds and bodies.

       The next morning my empty bed lingered with her perfume. The soft soothing fragrance

filled my sheets and pillow but there was still this underlying scent of a woman. My mind dwelled

on to that. For me, this erotic scent was always different with every woman. Rikki‟s scent was softly

pronounced. I buried my face in her pillow, absorbing her essence.

       After a light conversational breakfast, Rikki pulled me aside. “Let us excuse ourselves

tomorrow morning Dave and leave. I want to go south to Avingion or the Cote‟ d Or. Would that be

okay with you?”

       “This is so peaceful Rikki. Is there a reason to leave?”

       “I hate to say this but Philippe is beginning to bore me. Lets‟ just excuse ourselves and go!

Do you mind terribly?”

       I understood her consternation meaning.
       Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
       Crossed dean
       Again, late that evening Rikki came to me in the night. But this time her passion pushed

forward. I woke to her warm lips on my manhood. Once erect, she pulled me on to her. Her body

voraciously consumed me. She deftly raised her leg on to my shoulder. I pushed deeply inside her. I

could hear her guttural German overtones. Her passion overwhelmed me and her emerging wetness

ran down our thighs. Once spent we again we fell into each other‟s arms into a blissful sleep.

       After a hasty breakfast, we made our apologies and gave thanks for the wonderful hospitality.

       Giselle gently kissed me on both cheeks and told me she was determined to accept my offer

in the near future. I smiled. “That would please me immensely Giselle. Please come. I can‟t promise

you any fabulous pâté‟s like you served but I can promise you many beautiful vista‟s.”

       She gave me a melancholy smile. “That thought reminds me of my father. His saying was

„Promise me beauty, from one crook of my neck to the other!‟”

       We hugged through our adieus and left.

       As soon as we turned onto the highway, Rikki snickered. I asked her what the humor was.

       “Giselle has.... has... how do you say in American slang?”

       “What? I have no idea you‟re talking about?”

       “Oh you know. Giselle has a fire for you below? What is your saying?”

       I laughed uproariously. “You mean she has hot pants?”

       “Yes, yes. I promise you she will some day take you up on your offer. She is well built and

not so old that she cannot perform. Giselle as had many lovers over the years and still has the fire. Or

as you say, hot pants!”

       I chuckled at the notion. “Hey, maybe I‟ll take her up on it if she offers. What do you think?”

       Rikki giggled through my remarks. “As you say in your country. You are truly a slut. In

every sense of the word but for right now, you are my slut exclusively.”
         Edward A. Dean                                                              Southern
         Crossed dean
         I sensed that there was more truth in her remark than jest. But I smiled lightly. In this time

and space of my life, I could care less if I was someone‟s boy-toy. Actually I took it as a

compliment. I didn‟t care what the perception was. I was bound and determined to be me. To enjoy

every adventure that crossed my path. I was suddenly gripped with the words of the old Peruvian

shaman in the mountains that night. “The gods only honor the true givers.” In essence, you get what

you give in multiples. Life can be as simple as that. All the parables from religion are nothing more.

It is quiescence of our human existence. Nothing else mattered. I had to laugh at myself for jumping

from sex to religion. But was that so wrong? Both are an expression of love and passion. Again the

old shaman‟s words haunted me. “What are passions? Scientist can break down every known

biological thing. But love and passion are nebulous. Let them be! Why do we need to see our most

intimate feelings through a microscope? Let them be for the human race to enjoy. Let them be the

mystery they are. Love and passion do not need a microscope. They feed your eternal soul.”

         I forcibly shut down my rambling thoughts. I looked into the seat next to me to realize where

I was. A little nymph with blue eyes smiled up from the seat next to me and I was back in the real


         The wine trail took us through the countryside and with some easy conversation we arrived

in Avingion. Rikki suggested a small hotel in the walled interior of the town that was full. We settled

for a chain hotel outside the perimeter. I didn‟t care. It was clean and efficient. The young French

girl at the desk offered us her largest room at the discounted rate. It was a patio room with an

entrance to the outside garden. As soon as we were settled, I uncorked a bottle of a Montrechet Pinot

that we were armed with. We settled into the outside patio. I spotted an old tree with cork screwed

branches. I walked over and simply hung on an outstretched branch. Rikki looked at me quizzically.

         “Are you communing with nature or are you exercising?”
        Edward A. Dean                                                                Southern
        Crossed dean
        I didn‟t want to tell her but I wanted to feel the strength of age. Yes, I was communing in a

basic way. I awoke from my little reverie and announced, “You have two choices, dinner or sex.

Which is it?”

        She giggled at my offer. “Can we have both? I‟m hungry. And I do know a great little

restaurant inside the wall.”

        “How do you know everything? You know Paris, Beaune, and now Avengion.? How many

times have you been here?”

        Her face faded into the same wine buzz I was enjoying “I think your question is how many

men have I been here with. And let us be honest. It is none of your business. If you are the dish de

jour, take it for what it is.”

        The truth slapped me in the face. She was right! I signed up for this adventure with no

preconceptions. There was a Reanna truth in her words. Oh God. Was I connected to some small

circular universe? I knew Rikki was much younger than me, maybe late twenties or very early

thirties? But the words struck my soul. She was nothing like Reanna in looks or personality but it

was that cutting edge of control that slapped me in the face. It was an epiphany. I stared her down.

Where was my mental confusion coming from? Jade, Reanna, Elana? What was my attraction to

such strong women? The clue that I got was one I wanted to reject out of hand; Gladys. There was

an underlying motif that was playing throughout my life and it was my mother; Gladys! The

awareness stunned me. I chortled into my chest, as I swung from the tree in prepubescent fashion.

The irony was that I always thought I rejected anyone that reminded me of Gladys but here she was!

Ruling my life again. I realized that this was an unfair burden on Rikki. I needed to let the natural

order of life be. I realized we are creatures of our past and our futures begin tomorrow. I was tiring

with my own mental revelations.
         Edward A. Dean                                                       Southern
         Crossed dean
         “You know what Rikki? As we say in America, you drive the bus. I‟m only a passenger.”

         She looked at me with confusion. “What bus?”

         I disengaged from the tree and wrapped my arms around her. “It means, you pick, you

choose. I acquiesce. I am you consort and your sex slave. Feed me, fuck me and wake me in the

morning. It is as vulgar and simple as that.”

         She looked at me with total mystery. “I can deal with that. You confuse me Dave. Are you


         “I‟m okay Rikki. For the first time in my life, I‟m okay. It‟s a personal thing that I need to go

through right now and I can‟t bore you with details. That tree gave me back my life. I‟m not only

okay I‟m whole. I‟m one with the universe. Did I ever tell you I‟m in love with your pussy?”

         Her blue-gray eyes stared up at me in wonderment. I couldn‟t tell if she was afraid or

shocked. She reverted to her strength. “Are you drunk or silly? Now you remind me of my husband.

Are you trying to scare me?”

         “Neither. And I‟m not your husband. I don‟t even know his name nor do I care.”

         “And I don‟t know your wife‟s name; the one that left you. For whatever reason.”

         I pulled up the glass of the Pinot and swallowed all of it. “She left me because I was stupid.

She left me because I didn‟t insist on sending her back to the States when she was pregnant. She left

me because my fucking winery was more important than she was. And she left me with this little

fucking kid that looks like her. It‟s a reminder of my guilt every day of my life. He didn‟t ask for this

but I put it on his little shoulders. So you see what you have? The asshole of the world!”

         “Oh my God Dave. I didn‟t realize that your wife had passed. I‟m so sorry for you. Why

didn‟t you tell me?”
       Edward A. Dean                                                             Southern
       Crossed dean
       “Don‟t feel sorry for me. Feel sorry for her. Her young life was cut short by my stupidity. I

killed the only person I ever loved. She should be here not me. She left me with a child that only

reminds me of her every time I look into his little face.” I pulled from the wine glass again.

       There was a bone-jarring slap to my face. “You selfish son-of-a- bitch! How could you blame

an innocent baby for your guilt and pain? Give that little creature to me. I thought you were a man!

But you‟re no more than a wimp. Just like my husband. You men are all alike. Hard on the outside

but jelly on the inside. Be a man and take responsibility. I was beginning to really like you Dave but

I cannot respect a man that could abandon a child.”

       “Let‟s stop this. I didn‟t abandon him. He has the best care of a loving nanny.”

       “You don‟t understand Dave. You have abandoned him emotionally. That is the worst kind.

Love isn‟t something that you can buy or shuttle off to someone else to do. Love is caring enough to

do it yourself. Are you so shallow that you think you can buy and sell emotional connections? You

and my husband are the worst kind of people. You both think you have the power to barter souls.

Stand up and be a man or sell him to me. I‟ll give you a hundred acres of prime vineyards if that is

what your heart seeks. Or do you want the son your wife died for? His innocence is in your hands.

Allow him to be loved or get out of the way. I feel sorrow for your wife but I feel more sorrow for

the child. Drink some more and drown your sorrows. I thought I went to bed with a very macho man

but now you show me your true colors. Don‟t worry, in the morning I‟ll get a plane out of here and

be gone from your life.”

       My hazed mind didn‟t want this confrontation. I simply mumbled, “Do what you want.” and

fell across the bed into a deep sleep.

       I awoke the next morning still fully dressed. Rikki was curled up in the corner of the bed. I

walked down to the coffee shop. I carried the coffee and croissants back to the room. As I entered
       Edward A. Dean                                                             Southern
       Crossed dean
the door, Rikki stirred. As she awoke, I handed her a cup of the strong hot brew. She sat up and kept

her eyes focused on the cup. I broke the icy silence. “If you still want to leave, I understand. But

before you go, I want to apologize. I had taken some Valium tablets yesterday and drank most of the

wine on an empty stomach. I know it‟s not an excuse for my melt down but I couldn‟t control

myself. Everything just poured out. I want to thank you for a lovely time and hope you understand.”

        Her eyes peered up from her cup. “Valium is a very powerful drug and if you are into drugs,

I will not stay. If it was a silly mistake, I can understand that but I feel I owe you an explanation for

my poor behavior. You see; my husband does not want children ever. He is a very infantile man. His

family treats him like the little prince he has grown up to be and I guess I have done the same. His

cocaine habit only adds to pomposity. So when I saw some of the traits you exhibited last night, I

was cold with fear. I do understand your pain but when you blamed your little son for your dilemma,

I could not abide that. I would give anything for a beautiful child like that but as long as I stay with

him, it will not be.”

        I looked at her curiously. “Then why stay with him? You‟re a beautiful young woman and

I‟m sure there would be a line of men willing to marry you.”

        “It‟s something I wish not to discuss right now but I have grown selfish with my status and

lifestyle. I have most everything any woman could want. Even the wine business is for me. The

family gives that to me to keep Heinrich happy. The wine business is only a small part of their

holdings. It is mostly the cattle ranching that affords their wealth. There is no passion in the German

soul. There is only logic. Logic dictates everything. Land and cattle are permanent. Wine is nebulous

and fickle. Heinrich says it is a perfect business for a woman. But I don‟t care what their opinion is.

It is mine to control. Wine needs passion and I have passion to give. It is my child. I gave it birth and

life. I have passion for all the good things in life and I will have them all. I will not acquiesce to
       Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
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anything or anyone. The family can limit the money but they will never limit my passion. So you see

I have everything and nothing! I am the purchased whore for little Heinrich. If I must live that role in

Argentina, I will. But once I leave the country, I find my own whores. But unfortunately you are not

a whore. I would like to make you one but you do not need anything from me. You are your own

person and for me, that is not good. You are too unpredictable. I am spellbound with our lovemaking

and I want more of you every time we are in bed. You allow my passion to fly. I like that. If we are

to continue, it will be partners as equals. It will be life, love and art. If you falter or try to control me

I will leave immediately. Do we have an understanding?”

        “Look Rikki, you do the hell whatever you want. We are both on a needy trip of adventure.

Most every sentiment that expressed is the same as mine. Maybe we can take turns at being the

whore. But going forward, I would prefer the name of slut. You can‟t buy me nor I you. So lets be

the best sluts we can. Is that agreeable?‟

        She giggled voraciously. “I like that. Free passion! You are a true child of the sixties. For me,

I missed it but no matter. My mother was very Catholic. German Catholics are very stayed. My

teenage body was racked with prurient arousal. Another story for another time. Can we be friends

and equals? To use your words Dave; nothing is more important than the next vista. Let us go and

find it.”

        I pulled her to me and kissed her passionately. Our bodies melted into each other with the

found fire we knew. As we fell on the bed, we consumed each other in moments.

        Our late checkout pushed us to drive into the walled city of Avengion. The circular and one-

way streets were confusing. We parked the car and fleetingly noted the street name. As we wandered

through the ancient city, we chatted about every discovery. Our wanderings found us in the city

square near the ancient church of Cheatuneuf du Pape. Avengion was the summer home of the early
       Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
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Popes of Rome. We visited the church and marveled at the art that it possessed. Rikki insisted on

reciting the history of each and every art piece we saw. I was amazed at her grasp of the art world.

        We found a quaint outside café and ordered a bottle of wine and lunch. We lovingly jostled

each other over the wine selection. Rikki insisted on the local house wine. I couldn‟t imagine her

choice but deferred. It was excellent. She explained that the local restaurants did not choose the

cheapest offering. They paid as much attention in choosing their house offering as they did with their


        “And who would know the local wines better than the restaurant owners? This is their…..

how do you say.. Their ground?”

        “I think the saying is that it is „their turf‟”.

        I reached across the table and squeezed her hand and gazed into her now sunlit blue eyes. I

loved the way they changed with every nuance of light. It was if they spoke to her ever-changing

personality. There was nothing so poignant as her eyes. They spoke to me. Her face and body were

excellent but it was her eyes that mesmerized my passion for her. Needless to say, the wine was

excellent. It was a soft, ripe white wine. Full bodied and bright. I promised myself not to guess what

it was, only to enjoy the moment. Rikki caught my constant stare and gave me a questioning glance.

        “Are you okay Dave? You didn‟t take anything did you?”

        I smiled into her question. “No, the only drug that I‟m on right now is you. You are my drug

of choice. I‟m in love with your eyes. Is that okay?”

        With that, I pulled the large vial of Valium from my pocket and dumped the pills onto the

table. They spilled onto the tabletop and on to the floor. Rikki‟s quizzical, questioning eyes met

       Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
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       “It‟s done, Rikki. It‟s over. From now on the only person you will have to deal with is the

real me. If you can deal with that, then we‟re good to go. Can you handle that?”

       “I would love to discover you Dave. Let us make a promise to be true each other. We have

nothing to hide. Let us be what and who we are in the moment. If we do not like what we find then

we can part as friends. I like what I have found in you. I hope you find something in me you will

enjoy. Our time is now. Let us take it for what it is. Don‟t look back; ever!”

       I paid the check and the young French waitress asked. “Messier, your medicine has spilled.

Can I help you with it?”

       I smirked. “No, it‟s okay, it‟s only Valium.”

       The no sooner had the words left my mouth than three University students from nearby

earshot, converged on the table and swept them away. I smiled but Rikki was aghast at the sight.

       “Let them be Rikki. It is better that they take that than a street drug. Didn‟t you explore when

you were younger?”

       “Oh no, nothing. My mother would never have allowed that.”

       “Oh come on now. Nothing? Not even Pot?”

       “Pot? What is that that?”

       “Marijuana. It is very prevalent in South America. Don‟t tell me you never used it?”

       “No but the only thing was cocoa leaves. But that is harmless. Everyone near the mountains

chew cocoa leaves. It is a native thing. It helps with the altitude.”

       “So let me understand. Anything that is natural is okay?”

       “Yes, yes. It is natural and a plant and part of Gia, mother earth. It is okay.”

       “So that means marijuana and cocoa, and mushrooms are okay because mother earth made

it? Is that what you‟re saying?”
       Edward A. Dean                                                             Southern
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       “Yes. That is harmless. If you choose those things, that is permissible. But why do we need

drugs in our lives. They only interfere with our normal state of life. Why must it be modified?”

       “Then why are we merchants of mind altering drugs? Beer, wine, liquor, all alter out state of

being. Look what happened in my country when they outlawed alcohol. People found a way to get it,

regardless of the price. And they will chase most of the drugs of choice forever. As long as we don‟t

modify the drugs, people will choose.”

       Her face wrinkled with a question. “Where is this conversation going Dave? Yes, we are

purveyors of wine. And if you choose to call it a drug, I will agree. But is more a food than a drug.”

       “I made that argument years ago Rikki. Yes it is but when you package it as a wine cooler or

something else, it is a drug. Every human in our stress riddled universe needs something sometime.

And if we believe the puritanical bullshit we‟re fed, then we need to get a grip on reality. The C.E.O.

of a corporations‟ has his scotch and water, the working man has his beer and the middle class has

our wine. Like a friend of mine always said, „Life‟s a bitch and then you die‟. And my thought is if

you‟re unhappy, find a way to get there.”

       “I don‟t understand this conversation. What are we arguing about?”

       “It‟s not an argument, it‟s a discussion; a discussion of morality and life. Our churches and

holy men dictate our morality and then they can‟t leave that alone, they need to dictate our lives. It is

as if the politicians and the preachers have come full circle. Everyone wants to control us. Why? For

money, power and their own glory. And we let them and escape to our own reality with drugs!

Booze, Pot and pharmaceuticals. “

       Her jaunt through the street escalated. She turned he body and forced me to stop. “Aha! You

are justifying your own drug use. This is about you. You feel you have failed yourself and now you

try to justify it. You owe no one an explanation. You had pain and you dealt with it. Move on or live
        Edward A. Dean                                                         Southern
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in a past that you can never change. Your deceased wife would slap your face and tell you to move

on! Any woman that could command all of you was a strong woman. And I can tell you that if she

were here, she would smack you into next Sunday. Don‟t use her as an excuse for yourself.”

        I wanted to escape this conversation so I changed its direction. “Well since you are

clairvoyant, tell me where we parked the car?”

        Our luncheon wine buzz had both of us wondering where the car was. Rikki remembered the

cross street. We laughed at ourselves as we wandered through the city asking for directions. After

sometime we found it. As we left the city center, Rikki unfolded the map. “Let‟s go to Monte Carlo.

It isn‟t that far. I just love that city. It speaks to me!”

        I smiled across the seat. “Okay, what does it say?”

        Her glance smiled back. “It says shopping! I love to shop in Monte Carlo. They have the best

of the best. There is not one renowned designer that doesn‟t have window space in that city.”

        “Any suggestions for a hotel?”

        “Oh, not to worry. The Beach Plaza. They know me there. A German family I know owns


        “Isn‟t that dangerous for you?”

        Rikki tilted her head with a grin. “Don‟t be so provincially American Dave. Europeans

understand these things. Affairs are a predictable thing in this city.”

        “Well, doesn‟t that defy your thoughts of German logic?”

        “Of course not. They are also a very practical people.”

        I teased the conversation. “Let me see? Logical, pragmatic and passionless. How do you fit

into that genetic heritage?”

        “Well if you must know, my mother was half Swiss.”
       Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
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       I laughed aloud. “And the Swiss are a passionate race? That‟s a joke isn‟t it?”

       She giggled. “I have a story for you. This story was attributed to Princess Grace of Monaco

and an interviewer. The interviewer asked her, „Since you have most everything what is your

definition of heaven?‟ The Princess answered, „A French chef, a German mechanic, a Swiss banker,

English police and as you know, I have an Italian lover. That would be heaven.‟ The interviewer

responded, „so what would your definition be of hell?‟ Princess Grace thought for a moment. „That

would be An English cook, A French mechanic, An Italian banker, German police and a Swiss


       We roared with a shared laughter. “That is too perfect a story of pigeon-holing Rikki. I love


       “So now you understand what you have to deal with.” She giggled.

       The main boulevard through the city was teeming. The walkways held their fill of

pedestrians. The Beach Plaza was on the Oceanside of the road near the end of the downtown area.

As we pulled up to the hotel, Rikki directed everything and everyone in her fluent French. After her

brief conversation with the front desk manager we were whisked into the elevator and shown a

beautiful Oceanside suite. “This is fabulous Rikki.” My family background of practically kicked in.

“This must cost a small fortune.”

       She smirked, “Don‟t be silly Dave. This is the off-season and I get it for the same price as a

pedestrian room. Don‟t worry; I‟ll pay for it. It will be my treat.”

       “That wasn‟t my meaning Rikki. I‟m sure I can afford it and I insist. I guess the remark

stemmed from my frugal upbringing. It was in poor taste.”

       “Tell me about it Dave. Who is the little boy inside? It would be nice to know.”
       Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
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       Dave glossed over his childhood in a light and easy manner. It was the telling of nothing


       Rikki smiled. “So you were the little poor boy who made good. Is that the extent of it?”

       I knew her curiosity was piqued but I offered nothing more so I switched gears on her.

       “So tell me about little Ulricha. How did she grow up?”

       She did the same thing to me. She told me everything and nothing, harboring herself.

       “So tell me about all those Nazi‟s in Argentina. Did you ever run in to one?” I jested.

       Her eyes flared at me. “That was uncalled for. Do I ask you if your family knew any of the

terrorist in Lebanon?”

       I laughed. “Sorry, they left the country before that was fashionable. But I could see my

maternal grandfather going to the dark side. He was a pistol when he was older. I can‟t imagine him

not being a patriot.”

       She tilted her head in her cutesy manner. “Oh I see. The Lebanese are patriots and the

Germans are all evil Nazi‟s. Many of the soldiers that died in the war were patriots also. They fought

for the love of their country. My own father was such a man. He didn‟t see the evil until it was too

late. He died for a mistaken agenda that he did not understand.”

       “I‟m sorry Rikki, I didn‟t know. I don‟t know why do we continue to zing each other. Chalk

this up to my poor taste.”

       “I think it is because we are both enigmas and are trying too hard to know each other. Let us

do what we do best and leave the discoveries till later.”

       “And what is it we do best pray tell?”

       A giggle filled her throat. “Sex! We are too good with sex.”
       Edward A. Dean                                                             Southern
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       It was my turn to laugh. “You‟re right. Let‟s do what we do best.” I slipped my arm around

her waist and pulled her to me. After some long and passionate kisses we slid into the bedroom. Our

now naked bodies surged into each other with a needy passion.

       Later that evening we agreed to go to the casino. It had been a lot of years since I had been to

one. The Monte Carlo Casino was everything I thought it would be and nothing like Las Vegas. It

was formally elegant, quiet and stayed. Rikki‟s full-length sequined dress defined her gorgeous

body. The unobtrusive glances gave her the attention she subconsciously craved. My imagination

was expecting James Bond to magically appear from behind one of the ornate pillars. The soft hum

of the room was in direct contrast to the jostling, joyous screams of a Vegas casino. Rikki‟s elegant

body pulled to a halt near a roulette wheel.

       “I love this game Dave. Let‟s play.”

       I whispered to her. “This is not my game but I‟m willing to learn. Do they have a craps table

in this mausoleum?”

       Her scrunched face looked up. “What kind of game is called crap? It sounds ugly.”

       My broad grin answered. “It is the defining game of us provincial Americans. Dice!”

       “Oh I have seen that game but only on television. Come, let me teach you roulette.”

       As we sat at the table, Rikki explained the nuances of the game. Blocking a number. Betting

sections as well as the single bets on one number or red and black, odd or even. The tumbling little

ball did nothing for me. I wanted the adrenalin rush of a set of tumbling dice. After losing and

winning a few bets, I excused myself and headed toward the bar. I scanned the room from my

barstool. As I toyed with my Scotch, I caught a glance of a dark mustached gentleman in formal

ware leaning over Rikki. His hand rested on her bare shoulder and she was laughing. I assumed she
      Edward A. Dean                                                        Southern
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knew him. My imagination also assumed he was a possible former lover and my possessiveness

pulled me back toward the table. Rikki caught a glance of my arrival.

       “Oh Dave, come here. I want you to meet one of your countrymen.”

       I moved forward and he stood up. His distinct Mediterranean facial features and accent told

me he was obviously of Arabic decent.

       “Dave, this is Khalil Shaheen. Khalil, this is Dave Nasser. Khalil is Lebanese also.”

       He read my uneasy smile. “Rikki and I are casual friends. I have been trying to buy her wine

for a long time but she refuses to sell to me.”

       Rikki laughed. “You mean steal! Khalil‟s offers have been insulting but every year he tries.”

       Khalil beamed broadly. “It is no such thing as an insult when someone offers you money.

Come over to my table and let me share some Champagne with you two.”

       Rikki agreed. As we sat down, Khalil introduced us to his beautiful lady companion. Her

young blond Nordic appearance took me by surprise. She looked every part of a model. Erika‟s

heavy Scandinavian accent confirmed my thoughts. Khalil waved the waiter over and ordered two

more glasses and another bottle of Veuve Cliqout La Grand Dame. A click of glasses gave way to an

amazing taste of this legendary wine. Rikki chatted easily with Khalil. The evening ended with

promises to meet next year at the Wine Expo.

       On the way back to the hotel Rikki dismissed my assumption of her and Khalil.

       “He is only a business acquaintance. Why do you assume I sleep with every man I know? Do

I detect jealousy?” She teased.

       I squirmed. “No, just possessiveness; I have this bad habit of not sharing my toys.”

       Rikki giggled. So now I‟m a plaything? I thought that was my game. To put your mind at

ease, Khalil is a merchant personified. He will buy or sell most anything that will make money. As
      Edward A. Dean                                                             Southern
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you may have noticed and I‟m sure you did, Erika is his latest purchase. He pays his women escorts

well. Khalil is a very private person. He will tell you only what you ask; somewhat like you. Is that a

Lebanese trait?”

        I looked at her quizzically. “Haven‟t I been blatantly honest with you? You are more guarded

than I am.”

        “How so?”

        “When you want to avoid something, you answer the question with a question. Let me ask

you; is that a German or a woman thing?”

        Rikki laughed. “It is a very woman thing. You are a very fascinating man Dave and I would

like to know everything about you. It is a woman‟s way of manipulation but you are not controllable.

You only want to control. Let us forget this impasse and just promise to have fun. We can save all

our personal intimacies for another time. We are all about here and now, nothing else matters.”

        I smiled in agreement.

        On the third day Rikki became bored with her shopping excursions and announced that she

knew of the perfect villa in Tuscany.

        “You will love it Dave. It is high on a hill overlooking magnificent valleys in every direction.

It is not far from Frenzia. It is called Villa San Lucchese. I just love that place. If we leave in the

morning we can be there by the afternoon. Would you like to go?”

        “That sounds great to me Rikki. I‟ve always wanted to go to Tuscany. We can use this as a

business trip; to explore winemaking and growing techniques in Italy.”

        “Always the business man, you are too silly Dave.”

        We were on the road early the next morning. We followed the coastal route down to the

Italian Rivera city of San Remo where we stopped for lunch. The restaurant overlooked the expanse
        Edward A. Dean                                                      Southern
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of the blue Mediterranean. A warm distant memory pressed my mind. It was a magical day that Jade

and I spent at a resort restaurant in Hawaii. I could almost feel her presence. I gulped at the Pinot

Grigio wine that Rikki had decided on. I forced my feelings to a halt. After a simple lunch of grilled

Panini sandwiches, we were back on the road.

       It was nearly dusk as we ascended the hill to Villa San Lucchese. Tall wrought iron gates

guarded the entrance to the walled villa. As we made our way to the small reception desk, a little

graying Italian woman screeched Rikki‟s name. Rikki turned around and hugged her like an old

friend. They chatted mostly in French and the older woman would lapse back to Italian. She spoke

almost no English so I was a bystander to conversation. She smiled at me and waved to the young

man lurking near the corner elevator. He quickly approached me and took the car keys to get our

luggage. We were soon whisked to a second story corner room. It was encased with ancient tall

shuttered windows. As the young man threw each one open, I was astounded with the surrounding

view. Rikki pressed a tip into Gino‟s hand. “Gino, will you please bring us a liter of your best house

wine and a nice antipasti? His tall stature allowed his fixated gaze to become glued to the loose front

of Rikki‟s blouse. My mind smiled at his racing hormones. As he left, Rikki extend her arms

outward and danced across the room. “I love this place, I love Tuscany!” She repeated as she

whirled through the room. I leaned out the windows to drink in views of the surrounding valleys.

Rikki was right. There was a magnificent scene form every window.

       Gino quickly returned with the wine and food. His young smiling face was still glued to

Rikki. I wanted to laugh. It seemed he never acknowledged my presence at all. After setting the

small corner table, he left with a sheepish glance my way. I poured the wine for us and we both

headed toward an open window to enjoy the moment of discovery. The simple fresh Chianti was

excellent. Rikki and I stood motionless in the window as we drunk in the magic of the descended sun
       Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
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over the valley. The food disappeared quickly and we both fell on into the bed with a restful feeling

of fulfillment.

        The next morning an early peeling of the church bells on the next hill roused our groggy

minds. We simply sat up and drank in the bliss of the moment and quickly lapsed back into a warm

sleep. After a late breakfast of croissants and dark Italian coffee we roamed out across the verandah

and into the nearby valley. We walked the muddy vineyard pathways and I was taken by the ancient

and gnarled vines. Some of them looked like they could be over one hundred years old. My hand

tenderly cupped the vines. It was as if they spoke to me. Every crevice of the bark was a story; a

season; a weather map of nature. There was a voice in the gnarled wood. Was it the voice of ages?

Was it Tony? I was beginning to understand and appreciate De Terre. There was more to the words

than just the soil. It was the love of the land and what it produced. It was nature and the Godhead of

our being. It was the joy of the giving soil. Giving nourishment and fulfillment to life. The mystery

of grapes and the ensuing wine were a heady chapter in the book of mankind. It made me realize

what Tony always tried to make me understand through our haze of limited communication. It was

the life and beauty of a food and drug. Wine was mankind‟s drug of choice. It was the ideal

companion with food. It was perfection by itself. It was a compliment and companion to all the joy

and sadness of mankind‟s life cycle. I looked up from my dream state. Rikki was dancing down the

vineyard rows in her bare feet like the happy child she imagined she was. Her feet sunk into the

sweet soil ankle deep as she forced her way down the row. Her soft undertone giggles sent shivers of

warmth through me. I loved the simple feeling of her joi-de-vie. Her child-like quiescence touched

my heart. I soon joined her and we laughingly pushed and fell our way awkwardly through the

vineyard rows.
         Edward A. Dean                                                          Southern
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         As we appeared from the bottom of the row, two local field hands lurched upright with a

smile. I could see one of them raise his finger to his brain in an imaginary swirl. Our barefoot jaunt

through the lower valley gave pause to our tranquility. Every nod of our heads gave rise to a new

vista. Every vista was a painting unto itself. Our words were unnecessary. We were together and yet

alone in our own worlds.

         As we breathlessly panted ourselves back up the steep and arduous hill, Rikki stopped

abruptly. She pulled my face to her. “Do you love me? Are you falling in love with me?”

         Before my brain could garner an answer, she continued. “Well don‟t! Don‟t do anything that

will spoil our moment. Don‟t be silly and trivial to spoil our encounter. You mustn‟t and can‟t. This

is a moment to share and we have other lives once we get on that plane. Please don‟t be a clinging

whining person. I could not tolerate that. Let us live and love in our space and time and let it go.

Next week is another time and space and we will go back to our own hum-drum lives and live


She pulled me to her and giggled softly. “I need to say these lines because ever since I saw that

movie, I always knew it would happen to me. We‟ll always have Paris.” Don‟t you just love it? Isn‟t

it so trite? Or should I add Tuscany?”

         My heart swelled with an easy humor. “Rikki, you‟ve given me so much more than your

body than I can explain. And I am a big enough boy to understand your words and concerns. Yes, we

will always have Paris and Tuscany but our moment under the Tuscan skies is not finished. We will

sing, dance and screw all the way back to the airport in Milan. Till then, you‟re my slut and act every

bit of the part.” I teased.
          Edward A. Dean                                                         Southern
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          Rikki fell into my chest and squeezed me with a rush of emotion. “Thank you Dave. From

the moment I laid eyes on you, I knew you were the right one for me. Somehow I knew. You have

meant more to me than a tryst. You are everything I ever imagined I wanted in a lover.”

          “And pray tell, what is that?” I asked with beaming curiosity.

          “Oh don‟t be so self indulgent with words. But if you must hear them; you are quietly strong,

independent, very handsome, and.............”

          I prodded. “And?”

          “Oh stop! If you must know, you have a great dick and you know how to use it! I love it. So

there, does it please you that you force me to talk dirty?”

          My throaty chuckle answered her question. “Okay lets go back to our room and I‟ll give you

every reason to talk as dirty as you want.” Her extended arm pulled me up the hill with a wry


          Our sunshine days were spent in enjoying the many small hillside restaurants and vineyards

throughout Tuscany. The hours and days disappeared with joy. It was not long before we were

pulling into the Milan. Rikki tugged at my arm.

          “Dave I have one last request. Can we stop to see the Da Vinci mural of the last supper

before we leave? That is something I don‟t want to miss.”

          “I don‟t think that would be a problem. There is no man in history that I admire more than Da


          We floundered through the streets of Milan before we found the chapel. It was early in the

week and there was no crowd. As we entered, the faded remnant of one of his most famous paintings

filled our eyes. Rikki was moved to tears. My awe was concentrated on the scope and the
       Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
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perspective of the mural. I noticed so many more nuances to it than any picture could convey. Rikki

pulled me to her.

       “This is so moving and overwhelming Dave. It makes me want to cry.”

       “I don‟t feel the emotion as much as the logic in it Rikki. Da Vinci was more of a man of

science than a painter. That‟s what makes him a complete mind. Wasn‟t he?”

       “Oh no Dave. You see, science is easy. It has rules and you obey the rules for good science.

Art is far more difficult. It has no rules. You obey nothing but your imagination.”

       “And maybe that‟s what makes him a complete mind, he can do both. Also keep in mind that

all great the scientists that have advanced science made an imaginative leap of faith with new ideas

such as Newton and Einstein.”

       “That may be so but as Christian‟s, you can see his love of Christ.”

       I smirked. “What makes you think I‟m a Christian?”

       “Oh? I‟m sorry Dave I never asked. What is your faith?”

       “Money!” I said factiously.

       “Oh done be rude. What were you brought up as?”

       “A Muslim and if I need a label give me that one. And you?”

       “My father was a Catholic and my mother was Lutheran. My mother raised me in her faith.

But there is more to this mural than simple faith. It is a moving experience to anyone that loves art.

Accept beauty for what it is. I was raised with art in my life from the first day that I can remember.

We always had art in our home.”

       “Really? Were your parents collectors?” Rikki gave me an odd frightened look.

       “My mother was from Austrian aristocracy. But that is a story for another time.” She glanced

down at her watch. “We should be going. We only have a few more hours for our flight.”
       Edward A. Dean                                                             Southern
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       The flight from Milan to New York passed quickly with idle chatter and dozing. As the plane

descended into LaGuardia, Rikki became quiet and I sensed her emotional disengagement. We

disembarked and as we entered the terminal to head in different directions for our connecting flights,

I turned to Rikki. She took my hand and kissed me politely on both cheeks in a European manner.

Her parting words were cool and stilted. “I will write you. I have your address from your card but

please do not try and contact me. It would only cause problems.” There was a chilly detachment in

her steely eyes. I wanted to reassure her concerns but I let it go. She made me understand what I

signed up for and I let it go. My only words were, “Call or write whenever you feel like. I


       There was a softening in her eyes. They turned to a ripe blue. The trite phrase of; the eyes are

the windows to the soul grabbed me. I accepted her words and turned with a confused heart. I wanted

that woman but I knew it was not to be and accepted it for only the moment that it was.


       The comfort of Maria‟s smile made me feel welcome in my own house. The lateness of the

hour found all the children in bed. I left my bags at the front door and Maria obediently whisked

them away. A simple sandwich sat on the counter from Maria‟s doting hand. The bottle of wine next

to it was from Angels latest offering. Her note read, “I think I nailed an old Bordeaux. Guess what!

It‟s the Carmenere in the mix. It has the flavors of a Merlot and the smokiness of a Cab. They don‟t
      Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
      Crossed dean
grow much of it in France anymore, so we got a corner on the market. This could be our signature

wine. Go sell it and we could be golden. Spanky said you had fun. Tell us all about it in the morning.

Love, Angel”

       I bit heavily into Maria‟s well-prepared hearty sandwich and poured Angels gift. To my

amazement, I thought I was drinking prewar Bordeaux. It was young tasting but most of the

characteristics that wine connoisseurs cherished were there. My mind bounded back to the

discussion that Rikki offered. Angel was truly an artist. She took what she had to work with and

played outside the box. I needed to remember to compliment her in the morning. It was one of my

failings. I never lavished compliments on people around me when they gave me a part of themselves.

Even with the children my compliments were sparse. I always assumed they knew the joy they gave

me but I never said it. It was a simple thing that I always assumed was apparent but it was that little

necessity that makes us human. We all thrive on this easy praise that is often overlooked.

       I pushed back into my chair and absorbed the simple gifts on the table. The night tugged at

my heart. I wanted to hear Jade‟s voice from the other room. My mind drifted to those pleasant

evenings. It was a soft lilt that could lift my being. It was so simple and fulfilling. An easy “Dave

how was your day? Guess what? Wait till I tell you what the kids did.” That easy fractured voice

would make my heart soar. I was beginning to hate the night. It made all those old memories flow. It

wasn‟t sex or bonding. It was that old cliché, as easy as Sunday morning. That was my Jade. A

nevermore in an Edger Allen poem. My self-talk told me I needed to let it go but I didn‟t know how.

How do you let go of that simpatico and know she was gone? All of our children needed my

attention. If I were ever to honor her memory, it would be through the children. Her life was invested

in those little beings and if I needed to be with her, it would be through them. My resolve was

solidified as I quickly undressed and slid into a solitary bed.
       Edward A. Dean                                                             Southern
       Crossed dean
       The next morning, I awoke to the chatter of little voices from the kitchen. My heart grew

easy as I heard their voices chide Maria into whatever their needs were. Their teasing and cajoling

gave me a feeling of home. Maria‟s directive and scolding voice was only half-hearted. It tickled my

heart and soul to listen to the interplay. It was about the existing breakfast and the proposed packed

lunches that they chided her with. Even though Adam could walk, she never let his feet touch the

ground until her arm ached. My groggy mind embraced the occasion. I quickly slipped into a jogging

suit and went out to confront the melee.

       There were six little arms that extended to greet me. I bear-hugged each pair. As we sat at the

kitchen table, my mind dizzied with the interrupting chatter of three little beings. I tried to listen

intently to each one of them but their competitive spirits were overwhelming. I was tickled to see

that each one of them had a joyful sense of give and take.

       It wasn‟t long that their teacher, Julia bounded into the door. I was amazed by how quickly

she secured their attention and silence. My only thought was what a perceptive choice had Jade

made in Julia. They were kindred spirits in many ways. It was disciplined warmth that she and Jade

exuded. As the children lined up in the doorway I noticed an oddity that struck me. Xohal was in the

front of the precession holding on to Julia‟s hand and Nate was far in the back holding Kimberly‟s

hand. They marched off to the small casa that we had turned into a schoolroom for them.

        After they left, Maria approached me with a stern look. She thrust a confused Adam into my

arms. As I held him in my arms, his puzzled look darted back to Maria. He was too young to

understand my emotional abandonment but beautifully forgiving as every child is. As I wrapped him

into my chest and squeezed him into my heart, I heard Maria‟s words.

       “Softly, softly senior. He is but a baby. Let him breathe.”
       Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
       Crossed dean
       “I‟m sorry Maria, I forgot. It‟s been too long and I need to know my son. Thank you for

being here for him. I know you love him as your own and forgive me for being me for being so

selfish. I need to get to know him and love him. Thank you for your love and support.”

       “Adam needs to get to know you too senior. Softly is a good way. He is a very sensitive

child. Go easy with him. Talk to him in your own language. I am sorry but he understands more

Spanish more than English. This is my failing. He understands the other children‟s words through

their actions but he understands my Spanish through love. I cannot hide that. He is young enough, he

will learn but he needs another loving heart to let him know who he is.”

       I pressed my guilty face into his warm chubby body and cried softly.

       Later that morning Spanky bounded to my office. “Hey guy I hope you had a great time

because I have to give you some news. You‟re not gonna like it but Alec has decided to stay in Chile

for a while. He fell in with some priest activists and decided that he wants to get involved.”

       “Aw shit Spank. Did you try to talk him out of it?”

       “Come on Dave, he‟s your brother through and through and when he gets something in his

head you‟re not gonna change his mind.”

       I laughed. “Hey Spank, are you saying there‟s a hard headed gene in the family?”

       “You said it guy. Don‟t get mad at him, just live with it. He ain‟t gonna change.”

       “He could cause us a lot of heat Spank if the Chilean police make a connection.”

       “Naw. There‟s a ton of worldwide voices down here screaming about human rights. Alec will

just be another voice in the crowd. Maybe they‟ll change the U.S. mindset. Who knows? It could

happen with enough heat and bad press. It might be a good thing for us and help get rid of Pinochet.”

       “You know Spank that kid is gonna drive me to distraction.”

       “I hate to tell you this Dave but he‟s not a kid anymore. Get used to it.”
        Edward A. Dean                                                             Southern
        Crossed dean
        “You‟re right Spank, it was a Freudian slip I guess. So tell me, what‟s the good news?”

        “Things are going good Dave. I fielded a lot of calls from different distributors and reps that

had your card from the show. You obviously did a good job in Paris in more ways than one!” He

chuckled. “Tell me about the chickie. Was she good? She musta been or she wouldn‟t have held

your interest for three weeks!”

        I smiled. “Oh shut up hound dog. You‟re a married man. By the way, tell Angel that blend

she left in the kitchen was fabulous. Better yet I‟ll tell her myself. I owe her a lot and a little

compliment wouldn‟t hurt.”

        “You‟re right Dave. She deserves them. She‟s been working this vineyard like six people.

She found out that the Chilean soil is a little lacking in potassium and nitrates and made

arrangements to have that corrected. God, it‟s gotten so bad that I have to chase her around the

winery to make an appointment for sex!”

        I roared at the thought. “Let me go through the books and we‟ll have lunch. And finish our


        Spanky beamed. “Sorry big guy but Angel insisted we do that too. They‟re all done and

we‟re deficit spending until we get some quantity cash flow. Any other questions?”

        “I guess not brother! I don‟t know what you need me for.”

        Spanky stood up with a smile and extended his hand. “Come on and let‟s go have lunch. And

if your stories of Europe don‟t sparkle, you‟re fired.”

        I snickered at his prurient interest as we headed toward the kitchen.
         Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
         Crossed dean


         An easy dawn of the eighties caught me by surprise. It floated in as simple as driftwood

bobbing on an ocean wave. It was an enigmatic sign of things to come. My yearly Paris tryst with

Rikki found us with an understanding of who we were and what we wanted. It was fun, food and

sex. Not necessarily in that order. One year at a stopover in London, we decided to take in the Neil

Simon play, „Same Time Next Year.‟ Our shared humor was that it must have been taken from the

chapter in our lives. From then on, our parting words at LaGuardia were always, “Same time next


         The wine business was grudgingly slow. The Southern Cross wines were gaining some

notoriety through Angel‟s good work. It seemed that every year her offerings had a different twist to

the international consumer. We had created a niche with many of the international high-end

restaurants by labeling some of our wines as an exclusive house label. It was a lesson that I had

learned from the little village restaurants in Tuscany.

         I called Rikki that May, when news of the Falklands War broke out between Argentina and

Great Briton. I asked her if she was safe and offered her and her mother sanctuary at my ranch.

         “Thank you Dave, it is very thoughtful of you but my fascist father-in-law would never allow

it. He is one of the main supporters of President Galtieri. They believe that the Reagan

administration will intercede on their behalf. When President Galtieri visited the Reagan white

House they hailed him as a stalwart against communism and choose to ignore his dirty war against

his own people. He is just as bad as Pinochet and maybe worse. Many of the ruling class have

already left the country.”
       Edward A. Dean                                                         Southern
       Crossed dean
       “Then why are you and you mother there? Screw your father-in-law, just come here until all

of this settles down.”

       “You don‟t understand Dave, if my father-in-law can‟t leave then no one else is permitted.

He is a very controlling man.”

       My antenna went up. “What do you mean he can‟t leave? Why would he want to subject his

whole family to a war?”

       He has …..., he has….schadenfreude! It is a difficult term to explain. It means a person who

takes pleasure in the pain or misfortunes of others. He is just a very selfish evil old goat.” A long

pause gave way to her choking words. ”He...he just cannot leave Argentina Dave. Ever. His past still

hangs over the family like a dark cloud.”

       “Listen Rikki, you always allude secrets to your father-in-laws past. What is so terrible that it

can‟t be forgotten or forgiven?”

       “I cannot say any more Dave. Let‟s just say the Israeli‟s will never let him live in peace.”

       It hit me. He was a war criminal. “I think I understand Rikki but why are you and your

mother staying with him? Doesn‟t this whole thing bother you two?”

       “No it doesn‟t Dave because his security is indirectly a blanket for my mother. She has done

no wrong but it could raise ugly questions of my fathers‟ gifts to get us out of the country. I don‟t

want to discuss this anymore. It is good to know that we have a safe haven if this war gets any

worse. Thank you for your concern but I must stay to protect my mother.”

       I hung up the phone in confusion and speculation. I decided to let it go as an unanswered

       Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
       Crossed dean


       It was nineteen eighty-two and President Reagan was doing his best to act the part of a smart

man. He must have known a few because he was doing a good job of imitating one.

       The eighty-two Wine Expo was buzzing with the French Bordeaux‟s being touted as the wine

of the century. Rikki and I had to agree that the barrel samples were exceptional. Bordeaux hadn‟t

had a growing season like this in many years. Not to be outdone, the Napa wines were touting the

same message about their eighty vintages. The hype of new vintages was always a point of argument

among the critics and producers but Rikki and I both agreed that the California samplings we tried at

the expo were exceptional. We knew that only time and barrel aging would be the final judge.

       My head was still spinning over the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and massacre at the Sabra

and Shatila Palestinian refugee camps. The direct or indirect murder of four to five hundred unarmed

civilians was a horror of unimaginable proportions. Palestinian men, women and children were laid

waste like so much garbage. The Israeli Defense Minister, Ariel Sharon had engineered the

massacre. He had armed the ultra right wing Christian Phalangist military with all the newest U.S.

weapons available and allowed them to enter and exit the camp through the Israeli army roadblocks

while holding the Palestinians inside. His own Israeli citizenry was more outraged than the Reagan

White House. If anyone should understand the horror of this deed, it should have been the

International Jewry. It was a repeat of the extermination mentality of the Nazi‟s. No excuse was

acceptable. The dogs of war were on a rampage again and the U.S. government simply shook its

head in a muted disgust. The unwavering U.S. support of Israel was making a mockery of
        Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
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International justice and closed its ears to the cries of worldwide condemnation and our European

allies. Commerce and business went on as usual at the Expo.

        The last evening of the show, Rikki and I were having dinner in my room when a ringing

phone startled us. I grabbed at it annoyingly. It was Spanky.

        “I got some bad news Dave. I was gonna wait till you got back but I knew you‟d want to

know right away. Your brother Alec was picked up by the Chilean secret police and no one knows

where they‟ve taken him.”

        I sat there stunned. My mind was racing with all kinds of fears. Oh God I thought, how could

it come to this. I should have never allowed him to stay in Chile. Guilt and fear had me petrified. I

stammered into the phone. “Who do we know that can help us Spank? Maybe we can hire an

attorney to get into it till I get there.”

        “I don‟t know if it will do us any good Dave but I‟ll try everything I can.”

        The sweat breaking out on my face told Rikki there was a major problem.

        “Oh God Dave what is wrong? Speak to me. You look terrible.”

        I explained what had happened and Alec‟s background. Her face smirked with fear and

humor. “Your brother is a former priest? What irony. I don‟t mean to be unfeeling but it is oddly

funny. Her remark made me smile and settle down. Her calming words explained to me that when all

else fails in South American countries, bribery and money could work.

        “As soon as we get back, you must put it out to anyone in power that there might be a very

large sum of money for information or help. This always works in South America. Money will make

people talk.”

        I nodded my head in agreement.
           Edward A. Dean                                                        Southern
           Crossed dean
           Racing thoughts buzzed through my brain on the long trip home. Spanky stayed up to greet

me as I arrived back at the Casa. I explained Rikki‟s suggestion.

           “She‟s probably right Dave. You know the little favors we‟ve done in the past always worked

to get us what we wanted. I‟m sure big bucks will speak volumes. I talked to Manalo, the attorney

we used before and he agreed. He was very concerned and wanted to help. He even said he would

waive his fee.” Spanky smiled. “That was a shock!”

           I knew Spanky was using his humor to alleviate my emotional pain. We jointly conceived a

plan of action for the morning to take the Santiago police captain that we met to lunch and put the

first offer in his hands.

           The next morning, Captain Ortega accepted our invitation graciously. His choice of one of

the premier restaurants in downtown Santiago told us what we expected. As I explained the situation

and that Alec was my brother, his face grew concerned.

           “I understand your pain Senior. In South America, familla is mui importanto! As you

Americano‟s say, I will put the words on the street for all ears to hear. These things will take time so

do not rush them. And do not make any foolish offers to anyone unless you check with me. If you

do, you will be bombarded with much bad information. They will not lie to me, as they know


           His wry eye contact told us he was in control. As we stood to leave, I grabbed him with a

hug and thanked him. He stiffened at first but his arms responded in kind. His parting words of “Be

patient” relieved my anxiety.

           Every day after that was a burden of worry. My mind would not focus on the small tasks at

hand. Angel and Spanky would come by from time to time to try and reassure me. They both had

been using anyone they knew and trusted to garner any information that they could but over the
       Edward A. Dean                                                             Southern
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years of the Pinochet regime, most of the Chileans had learned to accept this as a way of life. Their

painful mantra was; hear no evil, see no evil.

        It was nearly three weeks before we had heard from Captain Ortega.

        “Senior Nasser, I have some news but phone conversation is not good. I will drive out to

your vineyard casa later tonight. We will talk then.”

        I thanked him and anxiously waited. I asked Maria to prepare a local food platter for him. It

was nearly ten in the evening before he showed up. Spanky and Angel insisted on being there.

        The captain swaggered into the house with glancing looks throughout the room. As he sat at

the dinning room table and observed the food and wine offering, he leaned into my ear and asked me

to excuse Maria for the evening.

        “Senior, may I call you Dave?”

        “Please do Captain. We need to be more informal. Let us speak as friends.”

        “Thank you all for your gracious hospitality. The only good news I have for you is that your

brother is alive. He has been sent to the camp four hundred kilometers south of here. He has been

taken to the Colonia Dignidad. It is run by a former Nazi by the name of Paul Schaeffer.”

        I anxiously interrupted. “Can we get to this man and bargain for his release? I will deal with

the devil if I have to!”

        “Senior Dave, please listen to all of my words and then you all can decide what you wish to

do. This man is an evil person that does anything the DINA wants him to do. Your brother must

truly be a strong and brave man because DINA only sends the toughest people to him. Paul

Schaeffer and his dogs use drugs and all kinds of unspeakable tortures to break people down. They

will not kill him unless it is on direct orders from the secret police. The International community

sanctions this Nazi colony because they offer free medical treatment to the local people but in truth,
       Edward A. Dean                                                              Southern
       Crossed dean
they use this as a front to abuse children. They do this thing of sex and work. The people are no

more than slaves. This I know for sure and I will never repeat these things in the light of day, for

surely it would be my downfall. This German devil has friends in the highest places and if you are

willing to deal with the devil, now is your chance but you must act fast because people do not last

long in that hellhole.”

         My mind froze on the fear of his words. Spanky jumped into the problem.

         “Listen Captain; what is your Christian name, you never said?”

         “It is Tino. Me familla call me Tino. If we are to trust one another, use this name.”

         “Okay Tino, there must be someone that has his ear? What does this man need or want that

could be a bargaining position for us? Can you get to him?”

         “No Senior Bill. My control is not that powerful. I only know the Mayor of Temuco. Maybe

he can help. I will ask. As for the devils needs? He desires many weapons of advanced technology.

His Colonia is made up of only Germans and Europeans. They are a religious lot and only God and

guns make them happy. I will ask the mayor in Temuco what he knows. In turn, I will need your

favor. In case things do not go well for all of us, I ask that you pay for papers for me and my family

if we need to leave Chile. I cannot undertake this help unless I have your assurance of protection.

These things are dangerous for even a man in my station. This Nazi, Paul Schaeffer reaches into very

high circles.”

         I understood his concerns and needs. Whatever this man needed to continue his help was

okay with me. “Listen to my words Tino. You have my assurance that you and your family will have

the funds to make you safe. Give your banking information to Angel and she will send a deposit to

       Edward A. Dean                                                          Southern
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       His eyes brightened. “Can you use your senator friend to help me get my familla into the

United States?”

       I smiled at his motivation. I now understood his intention. I knew Small John would

understand. “I think I can do this for you Tino. First the money and then we will talk. Okay?”

       “Okay Dave and thank you. I promise that I will not be a burden on your pain.”

       We closed the evenings conversation with a small toast of friendship and Tino took his leave.

       My mind was racing with every scenario that Spanky and Angel offered when it dawned on

me; German immigrants? Rikki! Maybe she could help? Surely, she and her extended family must

be familiar with this man. My mind raced through the night until I succumbed into a twilight sleep.

       At the first offering of sunlight, my eyes popped open. I walked to my office with a fresh cup

of Maria‟s coffee in hand. I searched the Cardex for Rikki‟s business card. After some fumbling I

found it. My mind perused what offering I could make for calling her at the business phone. I called

Angel and asked her to pose as an International telephone operator. She smiled and agreed with a

devilish grin. Using her best Spanish, she left a message with the receptionist to have Rikki call

Khalil Shaheen but with my number. I assumed that Rikki would understand the cryptic message.

       Later that morning I received her return call. I could hear the concern in her muffled voice.

       “How can I help you Khalil?” She knew it was my number and was acting very guarded.

       I explained very briefly that it concerned my brother and I needed her help.

       “Thank you for your order Khalil. I will call you later to confirm this. Shall we say around


       I understood her message and agreed. Later that afternoon Rikki called.

        “Hi Dave. I‟m in downtown Buenos Aires. What is going on? Is it an emergency?”
       Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
       Crossed dean
       “Very much so. I need your help Rikki. My brother is being held in a place called Colonia

Dignidad. Do you know this place or the people? All that I know is they‟re German and I‟m

stretching on this one. I desperately need your help.” There was a long uncomfortable silence on the

other end. Her halting words came guardedly.

       “Yes, I know this place. Is your brother……….alive?”

       “I think so. What do you know about this place and who do you know that could help me get

him out? Money is not an object. Whatever I have is available.”

       “Listen Dave, life is cheap in these lands. Do not make any offers until we talk. Listen

carefully. I want you to fly into Buenos Aires on Friday and check into the Hilton. I will make the

reservations. I am secure there. I will meet you there at three. I will explain everything then. Do you


       “I got you Rikki. Thank you for offering to help.”

       “You will be surprised at my help. I‟m sorry for your hurt Dave but it has a dark humor.

Kisses and blessings; I will see you then.” She hung up abruptly but I couldn‟t get her words out of

my head. „Dark humor?‟ It was a Wednesday and I obediently made flight arrangements for Friday.

       I disembarked the plane in Buenos Aires and hurriedly hailed a cab for the Hilton hotel. After

checking in, I ordered some food and wine for our meeting in the room. The hours ground slowly as

I stared at the simple table setting. A simple soft knock had me flying to the door. Rikki pushed me

back as she entered. Her arms flew around my neck and her soft lips secured my mouth. Her harried

speech calmed me.

       “I‟m so sorry you have to go through all of this Dave but I need to let you know that I did

find out from some friendly people that you brother is alive. He is just totally drugged out. This is

not as bad as things can be. At least he is not knowledgeable of his pain.”
       Edward A. Dean                                                       Southern
       Crossed dean
       Her words were a welcome relief in my ears. My mind wanted to scream; thank God he was

okay. “Thank you Rikki, I don‟t mean to put you in the middle of this predicament. If I have

overstepped our boundaries tell me now.”

       “No, it‟s okay Dave I want to help. I have no siblings but I do understand. The German

community knows of this man but they do not condone him and few respect him. First I will tell you

everything. I know of him and the truth of myself. Paul Schaeffer is an ex Nazi and he is a so-called

minister. He uses his cloak to hide his dark side. He uses the Chilean government to hide his sinister

deeds. He is skilled in drugs and torture that he learned from the infamous Albert Heim in Nazi


       “Who is Albert Heim?”

       “He was a doctor at one of the death camps and experimented with drugs on the prisoners

indiscriminately. My father-in-law told me that he would use the results to help make new

painkillers for the army and other drugs for the S.S. to aide in interrogation.”

       My mind was swimming. “Your father-in-law? What does he have to do with all of this?”

       “He….he…Let us just say that he knows many of the expatriates. Anyway, Paul Schaeffer

offers these services to Pinochet for his protection and asylum. He uses his cloak of godliness to

control the immigrants from Germany. He is the worst kind of human being.

       My mother was brought to his encampment after the war. She was pregnant with me at the

time. I was born in Colonia Dignidad. I remember very little of it. Only that it was high into a

mountainside with fences all around. I was barely three years old when we left. He stole much of my

mothers‟ wealth. She did not care because most of it was ill gotten.”

       I interrupted her rapid chatter. “What do you mean ill gotten?”
       Edward A. Dean                                                     Southern
       Crossed dean
       Rikki‟s steely gray eyes flashed at me. “If you must know, my father provided her with

valuable rolled up paintings that could easily be carried out of Germany. It was to buy her and my

freedom out of the country and help establish a new life. His intent was to join us but he was killed

before he could escape.”

       “I‟m sorry Rikki. I didn‟t mean to bring this up and cause you to hurt.”

       Her eyes softened. “It is okay. I never knew my father only through stories from my mother.

Let me finish the rest of the ugly truth.

        When she found out about his sexual abuse of children, she bartered her way out of the

colony and went over the mountains to escape. There is a passage through the Andes that only the

Indians can travel. There is a way out. I have trusted you with my secrets for many years Dave and I

trust you will keep these things between us. I have never said these words to you but I love you. We

have both have ignored the words for many years but every sunshine morning I think of you. Every

joy my body feels, I want to pick up the telephone and share them with you but it is not to be. I don‟t

need your words just now I need your understanding. In the future, I can arrange this hotel if you

choose but if not, we will always have Paris. It‟s silly but I love those words. When I am lonely for

you I play the theme song from Casablanca over and over again. I cry silently when I hear the words,

„the fundamental things apply as time goes by. Hearts full of passion, jealousy and hate. Woman

needs man and man must find his mate.‟ And so on. You are my Bogart and I am your ill-fated

Ingrid. We are not meant to be and we may never be because just like them we have chosen our fate.

I‟m sorry Dave to bore you with this darkness. I‟m sure your mind is with your brother but I have

the solution. Khalil, your countryman! I told you it would be ironic.”

       “Whoa Rikki, I‟m overwhelmed. But firstly, how does Khalil fit into this picture? He has

nothing to do with this.”
       Edward A. Dean                                                      Southern
       Crossed dean
       Rikki giggled. “Oh but he does. Let me explain. Have you ever heard of the mathematical

theory of Six Degree‟s of Separation”

       “No I‟m not familiar with it. What does this have to do with anything?”

       “The theory proves that in real life, you are never separated from anyone in more than six

steps. Paul Schaeffer is very dependant on an arms dealer by the name of Gerhard Mertins. Gerhard

is one of the largest arms dealers in the world. The colony is an armed fortress. My mother told me

that they even have tanks hidden in the mountain caves provided by Gerhard. One of Gerhard‟s

cohorts is the high living arms dealer, Adnan Khashoggi. And guess who is a friend of Adnan?”

       “Khalil? Really? Khalil never mentioned that he was into this.”

       Rikki grinned with delight. “Khalil never says anything of his business. He is something like

you. He likes to act unassuming and fly below the radar.

        But years ago when I was in Monte Carlo, Adnan invited Khalil on to his Yacht in the

harbor. Khalil asked me if I wanted to attend but I refused because it was too high profile. I couldn‟t

afford to have the paparazzi in my life. Connect the dots Dave. Khalil can make this happen. He will

not refuse you. He likes you. You two are countrymen. It dawned on me when you used his name to

get to me. Let us call him now.”

       I watched apprehensively as she dialed the phone. I didn‟t ask how or why she had Khalil‟s

private number. I was desperate to fix this thing for Alec. An international answering service picked

up. Rikki explained that it was imperative that he call us immediately and hung up. I wasn‟t sure any

of this international nonsense would work but I put my hopes out into this universe.

       Rikki and I shared the simple hotel tappas meal and wine as we talked. For some eerie reason

I wanted the comfort of her body into mine throughout this whole waiting episode. It was a strange

sexual feeling. My concern was still with my brother but I wanted her body. It was a needy sexual
        Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
        Crossed dean
gratification I was looking for. As I reached for her, the phone rang. Rikki eagerly jumped into the


        “Hello Khalil?…….. I know, I know but this is very important. Our friend, Dave Nasser is in

dire need. You must help if you can…………I know, I know……….Please just listen to Dave. He

will explain.” Rikki put her hand over the mouthpiece and whispered. “He‟s mad because he was

about to get?…… how do you say?……Oh, laid.” She giggled softly.

        I took the phone. “Khalil, this is Dave. I‟m sorry to bother you but I have a life and death

situation. I desperately need any assistance that you can render and I will understand if you need to

walk away from this.”

        A calming voice came over the phone. “Stop the apologies cousin. Tell me of the problem. If

I can help, I will. Speak plain and I will understand.”

        I ran through the litany of my problems with Alec and his capture. He listened intently as I

explained why I needed him to intercede with Adnan Khashoggi and possibly then to Gerhard

Mertins to obtain Alec‟s freedom.

        “I know Gerhard. We don‟t need Adnan for this. I understand these things cousin. They are

all too common today in Lebanon, so I understand. Gerhard will not need little moneys. He needs

friends and favors. You too may be on the hook for a favor one day. Are you willing to do this?”

        “Right now Khalil I will do anything to save my brothers life!”

        “I will work on this later this evening. Be brave and hold your tongue until I call you

tomorrow. Understand my words. I will call you tomorrow with good news or bad but you will have

an answer.” With that he hung up the phone.

        Rikki quickly took her leave of me and kissed me passionately in the doorway.
         Edward A. Dean                                                         Southern
         Crossed dean
         All through that night my mind raced with thoughts and hopes. Sleep didn‟t come easily. Just

before sunrise the telephone clamored for my attention. I bolted up in bed and fumbled for the

handset. It was Khalil.

         “Good morning cousin, I have some good news for you. It may be expensive but it is all


         I groggily cleared my throat. “Are you sure he is alive Khalil? What do I have to do?”

         “Gerhard says he is worn but alive. They say he one stubborn bastard. They would be happy

to be rid of him……but at a price. They are asking for a large ransom. After some negotiation on my

part we have the price down to a manageable one hundred thousand U.S. dollars. Can you get that

much in cash?”

         My mind was still grappling with his rapid words. “Yes I can get that much but I don‟t how

fast. It may take me a few days to have the funds wired to Chile.”

         “Time is of the essence cousin. I can have Gerhard intercede and guarantee the payment. You

can then simply wire transfer the funds directly to one of Gerhard‟s offshore bank accounts. But he

says the hard part will be on you. You need to find a way to get your brother out of Chile fast. If the

secret police get wind of this they will be out to kill him on the spot. Can you get Rikki or one of her

Argentine people to get him over the mountains and into Argentina?”

         “Yes I think I can get her to do that Khalil.”

         “Don‟t think; know for sure. You can leave nothing to chance. You must create a plan B.

You must have a backup in case there is a leak. Never trust a committed woman no matter what she

says. Let me know both plans and I will give you my opinion. I will make arrangements on this side

and you take care of everything else on your side. Call me as soon as you have two plans of action.

We need to move fast.”
        Edward A. Dean                                                   Southern
        Crossed dean
        “I will Khalil, you have my word and my undying gratitude. Thank you from my heart


        “No need for thanks. I expect that you would do the same for me. Ahilna. Salaam aliak. (We

are family. Go in peace).” With that he abruptly hung up.

        My mind raced for a backup plan. I was in a country with limited contacts. I remembered my

conversation with Butch about his contacts in the Chilean Navy. What the hell, I thought. I‟ll give

him a try. As Khalil suggested, I needed a back up plan. I knew that if there was anybody in the

world I could trust with this problem, it would be Butch.

        I dialed his number and it faulted to his answering machine. My heart sunk as I started to

leave a message. As soon as he heard my voice, he picked up.

        “Dave, what‟s going on?”

        My voice raced through my thoughts. I tried to give him as much information as possible in a

short span. “Oh my God Dave, oh my God! Ali is in trouble? I‟ll be there on the first red-eye out of


        I felt much better for his support. “Hold on a minute Butch. Let me give you all the

particulars.” I explained my first plan of action was to try and get him over the mountains and into

Argentina where I had friendly contacts and explained we needed a plan B. Butch interrupted. “I

have navy contacts down there but I‟m coming to handle this myself. I can support you. Let me jump

on a plane and we‟ll do this together. You‟ve got my blood hyped. You‟ll be doing me a favor. I

need to get the fuck out of this town. I‟ll be at the airport by tomorrow.”

        Before I could say another word, he hung up.

        I immediately called Spanky and Angel to let them know what was going on. I talked

cryptically in case the house phone was tapped. “Listen carefully Spank. I have made arrangements
       Edward A. Dean                                                         Southern
       Crossed dean
to pay for the special wine and I am working on how to transport it. I might need a special carrier

and Rikki has agreed to let me use one of her trucks. I‟ll call you as soon as it‟s on the road. Got it?”

       “I got it brother. Do you want me to come and help drive the truck? I need to be there.

Remember? We always did these things together. We‟re a team.”

       “Thanks for the offer Spank but I called my cousin Butch and he also insists on helping. I‟m

going to pick him up at the airport. I think Butch and I can handle it on our end. It would get too

complicated. I do need you and Angel to get to our friend Tino. See if he knows how to get safe

passage for our cargo. Tell him whatever he needs to make this happen is okay. We‟ll need all

options on the table. Can you negotiate for us?”

       “Can do. It‟s like old times brother. We‟re rockin and rollin.” Hold down the fort and take

care of the kids. As always, you two do more work on that end than I do and I love you both for all

of your support. We‟ll talk more as soon as this is over.”

       “We‟ll take care of everything on this end but I really want to be there with you. I‟ll listen

and bite my tongue just this once. Be safe brother. Call us as soon as you know anything okay?”

       “I love you two. You‟re my rock. As soon as things develop, I‟ll call”

       It was ten in the morning when I heard a knock on the door. Rikki rushed in. “Tell me, tell

me. I can‟t stand the suspense. What did Khalil say? ”I explained everything and asked if she knew

anyone in Buenos Aries that could get him over the mountains into Argentina.

       “I will arrange everything on this end. Get him over the pass and I will have my people meet

him on the other side with an Argentine passport. Are you putting yourself in harms way Dave?”

       “No I don‟t think so Rikki but it doesn‟t matter. He‟s my blood. And for all the asshole

things he does, he is not wrong. His heart has always been too big for his brain. That‟s why I can‟t
      Edward A. Dean                                                        Southern
      Crossed dean
get mad at him. He wants to change the world with love and kindness and the world doesn‟t work

that way. It‟s too bad that it doesn‟t.”

         “He is naive Dave. Only the ugly survive this life. Look around you. It is the scum that floats

to the top. And no less, we are part of it. We stop our mouths with success and enjoy the ride. This is

our choice. The next life will be different.”

         I was stunned by her pronouncements. I never knew her to be religious.

         Rikki interrupted. “But we are off track. I have an Indian gaucho that knows that pass. I trust

him. He will be at the high mountain road with a jeep and wait for your brother.”

         “Thanks Rikki. I need to make arrangements on this side.” I will call you as soon as I get


         “I love you Dave. My worry is for you. Call me when everything is arranged.”

         I let the phone slip into silence and hung up. I didn‟t want meaningless words cloud our

judgment. My best hope was to have The Captain help us.

         As I left the terminal in Santiago, I headed directly to his office. Tino‟s eyes met mine and he

motioned me outside.

         “Let us walk Senior Dave.” We talked as we strode down the busy street.

         “I have a plan for you. The mayor of Temuco knows a good Indian tracker that can take him

over the pass with mules. There is a small village just down the road from the colony. If you can get

him there I will have a corren barro attend to him so that he can survive the trip over the mountains.”

         “A corren barro? A shaman? What does a shaman know about real medicine?” I stammered.

         “He knows of western medicine. He works in the local clinic but your brother will need

Indian medicine to survive the high altitudes. Time is of the essence. We must move him quickly. To

make all this happen I will need five thousand American dollars in cash.”
       Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
       Crossed dean
       “I can have the money at your office in the morning as soon as the banks open.”

       “No senior. I will meet you in the front of the bank without my uniform. Simply hand the bag

to me and walk away. Do not speak and keep walking.”

       “I understand Tino. I will see you in the morning.” With that we bid each other good night.

       I headed to the airport to pick up Butch and spotted him immediately. His tall generous frame

was pacing maddeningly in front of the pick up zone. There was a pretty agile woman right behind

him seemingly to trace his footsteps. As I pulled up he raced toward the vehicle. Before I could get

out of the car to greet him he pushed his bags and the following lady into the back seat. His haste

and bad manners tickled me. “Hello asshole. Are you going to introduce the lady to me or is that too

much to ask?” I hurriedly pulled the Jeep away from the curb and headed toward the highway.

       Butch‟s worried face shot me his patented overbite grin. “This is Rita, the gal I told you

about. Rita is a chief hospital administrator At Walter Reed and has been a teaching RN for more

years than she cares to admit to.” Without letting her speak he thrust a file folder at me. “This is our

plan of action. I have everything detailed. I need Rita for my medical contingent. I explained

everything to her on the plane down and she is good with it.”

       Rita leaned over the seat and put her hand over Butch‟s‟ mouth. “Hi Dave, Butch has told me

so much about you but your cousin is a lying bastard. He calls me late in the evening and says you

need my help with a medical emergency. Then for hours, he explains this elaborate plan he has to

take your brother by sea to Peru. He tells me to bring any trauma meds that I can get my hands on.

He then proceeds to tell me that be prepared to cook on board ship for three or four days. He still

thinks he‟s an Admiral giving orders. He explains nothing and never asks for permission. I hope this

doesn‟t run in the family because I would have a problem with all of this. Can you explain what‟s
       Edward A. Dean                                                        Southern
       Crossed dean
going on because he won‟t? If I don‟t get good answers from the two of you, Butch‟s‟ going to be

man overboard.”

       Butch snickered at the remark and gave me a funny smile. “I told you she never shuts up.

You‟d think that in an emergency situation her medical background would kick in and she‟d take


       The humor of their situation cracked me up. “Okay you two, stop the bickering. Let me

apologize for my cousins‟ bad manners Rita. I‟ll explain everything to you and after you get a

chance to digest it, you may not want to be here.”

       I detailed the problem to her and waited for her response. She put her hand on Butch‟s

shoulder. “Oh this is fucking great. You put me in harms way and don‟t have the balls to tell me?

You pussy! Tell me Dave, how bad is your brother?”

       “The truth is I have no idea Rita. My only hope is he‟s alive and able to travel.”

       Rita paused. ”Oh my God. You two are really peas in a pod.”

       Butch shot his head around to meet her questioning gaze. “Okay lady of a thousand

questions, this is the skinny. If we wait for all your answers to all of your questions he‟ll be dead. If

you two will just let me handle things we have a good chance to pull this off.”

       I interrupted. “Why do you two need to sound like cab drivers? I appreciate your support but

this conversation is driving me to distraction. Can we discuss plan B and let this bickering go for a

while? I think I already have a plan that will work fine.”

       Butch gave me a hard look. I explained that I had put a plan in motion. He sat back and

absorbed everything. “I don‟t like it Dave. You‟re depending on too many variables and too many

people you don‟t know. Are you telling me you‟re going to put Alec‟s fate in the hands of a bunch of
       Edward A. Dean                                                     Southern
       Crossed dean
half-baked Mexicans going over a mountain pass and drive him nearly a thousand miles through

bullshit roads?”

       I was surprised with his jaundiced words. “They‟re not Mexicans Butch. Chileans are very

educated people, regardless of what you‟re take is on South America. I‟ve learned to trust the

Chileans for their word.”

       “Oh don‟t get your skivvies in a bunch Dave; of course I know that. Hell, most of the Chilean

naval cadets, spoke better German and Italian than our interps. They all have second languages down

here; just like us. You‟re just too wound up.”

       He leaned back and studied my words and the situation. “Fuck it, I‟m taking over with my

plan B. Here‟s what we‟re doing. I have the detail right here in my planning folder but I‟ll explain

for you two idiots. There are only two variables in my plan.”

       I looked into the rear view mirror only to see Rita‟s eyes flair. Her folded arms told me she

was pissed but passive for the moment. Butch continued.

       “Rita and I are driving down to Temuco. One of the retired Chilean naval guys that I know is

going to get me a motorized ketch with a local that he trusts who knows the coastal waters. The

ketch is docked on the Imperia River. Your job is to have your contacts bring him to the docks and

Rita and I will take him out to the ocean. I can motor and sail to either Peru or around the horn to

Argentina. The easiest bet is to Peru. There is a small fishing village called Las Yara just over the

Chilean boarder. From there we can drive him a few miles to a regional airport in Tacna and fly him

into Lima. I can hug the shoreline and make better time with sail during the day and use the motor at

night. My guy says there is a constant heavy westerly wind coming off the Andes this time of year

and a ketch has plenty of sail and will make great time in that wind. The heavy keel makes it the

perfect seaworthy boat for this long distance trek. With his trauma he won‟t be bounced around. I
        Edward A. Dean                                                              Southern
        Crossed dean
can be in Lima in five to six days. Rita can tend to Alec on the trip. She‟s better than any doctor in a

trauma situation. If we have a problem we can pull into any port for a doctor or supplies. Rita says

the best thing for him is going to be rest. She has enough stuff in her satchel to keep him under for a


       “Hold on Butch. You‟re getting advice from a Chilean naval officer? Does he know what

you‟re doing? You might blow this whole thing.”

       “No you hold on Dave, I‟m not an idiot I told him Rita and me were coming down for a

honeymoon trip and he bought it. Besides, he‟s not too enamored with Pinochet anyway. He calls

him a mindless cocksucker because they‟re fucking with his pension.”

       I listened to the rest of his plan intently. “Isn‟t plan „A‟ better Butch? He will be in Buenos

Aires in about the same time or less. Doesn‟t that make more sense?”

       A gruff no preceded his comments. “You don‟t get it Dave. The thin mountain air at twelve

to fifteen thousand feet up might kill him if the aggravated jostling of a mule and jeep don‟t. None of

these people have the experience that Rita does. Let me do this my way. You‟re such a land animal

Dave. You think because you‟re on terra firma it‟s safer? Bullshit. The sea is easier and friendlier.

Would you trust your own to strangers to have his best interest at heart? I want to do this and I need

to do this. It‟s giving me a chance to use my best skills Dave. This is what I‟ve trained for my whole

career. If I can take command of a ballistic sub under the North Pole, this little maneuver is a

cakewalk in the park. Little Alec is like a brother to me also. Back off and let me handle this will

you please?”

       I could see Rita‟s hands reach over and gently massage Butch‟s shoulders. “We‟re a great

team together under stress, we‟re good together Dave. Please disregard our bickering because that‟s

how we communicate. I have never heard Butch plead for anything. He needs to do this for you and
       Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
       Crossed dean
your brother. If he says he can do it, even the devil won‟t stop him. The reason the two of us never

got married is neither one of us can stand the humdrum of everyday life. I guess we‟re both loners at

heart. We both like our space. I love my cats; he hates cats. I love to stay home and cook and he

loves the luxury and ambiance of an occasional Cuban cigar and the choice of a good restaurant. I

love the city and he loves the open ocean. What can I say? The only true togetherness we have is in

bed. Your cousin is a beautifully loving hunk Dave and he makes our time together happy. And you

know what? If that‟s the only thing that keeps us together, I guess I settled. The man never sits still

unless he‟s on the water with the wind in his face.”

       I saw Butch smile and reach for her hands and hold them. “I told you she was a great lady

Dave. She chatters incessantly and is always full of silly assed questions but her heart is as big as the


       I chuckled at his remarks. “Like what kind of questions does she ask?”

       He rolled back into the seat and turned his head to her with that silly toothy grin of his.

       “Like when we started dating, she‟d ask me „do they allow smoking on a sub?‟ And I told her

of course they do but only if the windows are open!” He laughed boisterously at his own humor.

And a few on point ones like „do you get mixed up between day and night when you‟re submerged

for a long period?‟ And you know what? Submariners do. The odd thing is our bodies revert to a

twenty-five hour cycle. The psyches tell us that this was because of our DNA. When life was

forming on earth, the rotation was twenty-five hours. They claim, to this day, our body clocks run on

a twenty-five hour cycle. And the best one? „Do you guys masturbate a lot when you‟re out to sea

for a long time?‟ That one cracked me up Dave. I told her the only way I could tell was if their

skivvies stuck to the walls. He paused for a moment. “Then there were her morbid questions.”

       I looked at him with curiosity. “Like what?”
       Edward A. Dean                                                   Southern
       Crossed dean
       “Like „what would you do if you got the command code to push the button on all those

warheads?‟ There would be no question. I‟d confirm and do what I am ordered to do. The training is

simple and direct. Push the fucking button and don‟t think. And her next question was „what would

you do after you launched all missiles?‟ He smiled. I told her; I‟d turn on my tapes of Gilligan‟s

Island and go and check with Earl.”

       “Who in the hell is Earl?”

       Butch‟s face scrunched in a half humor. “Earl was one of my junior officers. He was

obsessed with Christianity and Armageddon. He had a library of books on the subject. He scared the

shit outta me with his allusions to it in our conversations. I hated talking to the squirrelly little

bastard because he was always trying to bring our conversations around to religion. He wanted to

convert me. Can you imagine that?”

       I smiled. “Well why didn‟t you try to convert him?”

       Butch roared. “Are you kidding me? If I did he would probably end up as a suicide bomber

somewhere in the Middle East. Remember when we had this conversation before? I told you the

service has a lot of guys like this. Truth is, I was one of them; but Earl? He was just plain scary,

weird. And the world thinks us Mo‟s (Moslems) are nuts? This guy was in fruitcake heaven.”

       “Well why didn‟t you try to get rid of him? He certainly didn‟t belong on an atomic sub.”

       Butch‟s face went somber. There was a long silent pause. Eventually I did try. But as it

turned out he got rid of me.”

       I shot him a puzzled look. “How so?”

       “Easy for him Dave. He was on the right side and had all the credentials. He was a Naval

Academy grad, football hero, blond hair blue eyes and a Christian. He turned it right around on my

ass and told them I was a biased overt Muslim with a prayer rug in my cabin. Fortunately for him
       Edward A. Dean                                                         Southern
       Crossed dean
one of the reviewing officers was a right-winged Christian asshole and it was case closed and pull

ole Alex Anckonie the Third out of line-of-command and slip a desk under his ass. So how do you

like all the sad stories so far? His toothy grin flashed out at me.

       “I‟m sorry Butch. I know how much you loved the Navy.”

       He pushed back into his seat. “Aw forget it Dave. I was bound to happen anyway. With all

the notoriety we Muslims are getting today, it was bound to happen.” He chuckled under his breath.

“Can you imagine an article in one of the big newspapers; „Muslim commands nuclear sub, U.S.S.

Pargo with twenty hydrogen warheads. What is the Navy Thinking?‟”

       But you know if the big war ever happened, I‟d choose to have Earl on my watch. He‟s the

kind of kid all of us Commanders pray for. If you asked him to strap a nuke on his ass and ride into

that sweet goodbye, he would, with no question. It‟s what all the services try to train our kids to do. I

was just praying to the same God with a different name but different ain‟t good in the service Dave.

Different makes you suspect and that‟s what it was all about.

       Rita reached over and kissed his ear. “I‟d trust you and your judgment over a hundred Earl

types. I love you Butch. You‟re too smart for the Navy anyway. Screw the prejudiced bastards.”

       Butch reached back and patted her hand. “Don‟t say that because they would probably enjoy

it too much.”

       Rita giggled. “Oh shut up Mr. Nasty.”

        “Maybe someday I will marry her Dave and make her life so miserable she‟ll gets rid of

those fucking cats. But then again, why spoil a good thing?”

       Rita grimaced. “You go before the cats do.”
       Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
       Crossed dean
       His head bobbed to the side as she lightly tapped his face. We all laughed at the gesture. The

levity gave me a pause in my concern for Alec. My hear broke with Butch‟s revelation but the more

I thought about his plan B, the more I liked it. With Rita in attendance it made a lot of sense.

       I called Khalil from a public phone in a nearby bar. I explained the plan B and where to have

them drop Alec off.

       “I can arrange this but be smart and stay away from the area. Do not go down there. Those

people may get greedy and grab you for more money. Also, if you expose your face they could trace

you down for a later time. Do you understand?”

       “You‟re right Khalil, I understand completely.”

       “Call me when your brother arrives safely.”

       “I will cousin and thank you for all your help.”

       “Allah mahu, Ali. (God be with you Alec). With that blessing Khalil hung up.

       Spanky and Angel waited anxiously for our return to the casa. As I walked in the door, Angel

handed me a cup of coffee laced with a local brandy. She smiled weakly at Butch and Rita. Butch

and me explained the new plan and both Spanky and Angel liked the idea much better. Butch

insisted on an early start for the next morning. He wanted to pick up a rental car in Vina Del Mar and

drop it off in Temuco.

       I dropped Butch and Rita off at the rental office as soon as they opened the next morning. He

was all business and totally focused. As he was about to enter the car, I grabbed him and hugged

him. We kissed each other on both cheeks in an Arabic manner. I stammered for a moment. “Maybe

I should go with you two Butch?”
        Edward A. Dean                                                    Southern
        Crossed dean
        He smiled into my eyes. “Don‟t be stupid. Remember what Khalil said. If anything goes

wrong Rita and me have a free pass with my connections. You‟d just complicate matters. Just trust

my judgment and my training Dave.”

        I knew he was right and bade them farewell.

        I busied my days with the children. Nat and Xohal were teasing and challenging each as

young teenagers do. Kimberly watched closely over Adam as he ran toward the older boys to join in

their jostling fray.

        The nights and sleep did not come easily. I consoled myself with the thought that the

oncoming southern summer would ease the ocean passage. My faith in Butch was unwavering.

Whenever he started a project, he would rather die than let it fail. His constitution was unwavering,

would never give up.


        Butch watched anxiously as the three staggering sailors dressed in rain gear made their way

down the pier. Their boisterous laughing and singing was loud and obnoxious. Their arms were

linked over each other‟s shoulders and the man in the middle slowly dragged his staggering feet over

the planks. The captain of the ketch, Umberto nudged Butch in the ribs. “Our cargo has arrived


        Butch‟s nervous eyes scanned the dock. “Where?”

        He nodded his head in understanding. His mind jumped into his trained action mode. The

boredom was swept from his brain by the rush of adrenaline.
       Edward A. Dean                                                         Southern
       Crossed dean
       Umberto smiled. “We fool even you. The song is our signal. Your cargo is the one in the

middle. Get your lady nurse. It looks like he will need mui attention.” Butch started to bolt from the

deck of the boat but Umberto‟s powerful arm pulled him back. “Let them do their job. They will take

him to the lower cabin and leave with a good loud laugh. Your job is to start the engines now and I

will be up shortly to take the boat out to the open ocean. They are instructed to cast off the lines as

they leave. Your next job is to reel the lines onto the deck as I take the boat out and only then can

you go below. Move quickly.”

       The old wooden ketch moved out of the harbor smartly. As Butch entered the cabin he

caught his breath as he saw Alec‟s mutilated body being washed and disinfected by Rita‟s skilled

hands. Butch studied Rita‟s face for an unspoken prognosis. Her taut lips disguised her emotions.

She moved quickly like the professional she was. She barked orders at Butch without looking up.

“Get his shoes and pants off. Here! These will cut through the cloth and laces on his shoes, then get

me my medical bag. He needs an injection of pain killers and antibiotics.” Her head bobbed up as

she glanced at Butch‟s face. “Quit gawking and move. You act like you‟ve never seen a wounded

man before.”

       Butch hesitated in confusion. “I….I… Goddamn it, no I never did. I never went to the

dispensary, it wasn‟t my job.”

       Rita continued her hurried motions and kept her head focused on the task at hand. “You ass!

The Generals in the bunker syndrome huh? I always thought you were a bigger man than that.”

       “Cut it Rita. The injuries we had aboard ship were nothing like this. I went down to check on

my men but that was after they were cleaned up and in bed. Don‟t accuse me of being a pussy.”

       Her head remained focused as her hands moved deftly. “Maybe if there were more leaders

with pussies this wouldn‟t be happening. Let‟s not argue. We need to stabilize him now. Move!”
        Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
        Crossed dean
        Butch hurried to find her bag and rushed back. He quietly obeyed Rita‟s every command.

Within an hour or so Rita had Alec bathed, stitched, in a clean bed and fast asleep. She fell to her

knees beside the bunk and stripped off her rubber gloves. She studied Butch‟s worried face as he

gazed down at the pair. “Get out of here and go up on the com. where you belong. I can take it from

here. You look like you could use some fresh air.” Rita smiled at Butch‟s hesitation. “Go! Go! Leave

the tough stuff for the pussies.”

        Butch grinned and bent down to kiss her. “You‟re right baby girl. I guess you‟re going to

make me regret the day I was born without one.” They both laughed at the thought as he bolted up

the stairs.

        Umberto and Butch agreed to stay a few miles off shore in deeper water where the ketch was

at home. Umberto explained that the prevailing winds were west by northwest. They would be a

boon of speed for the sails. They also agreed to work the bridge on shifts of six hours on and six

hours off. Butch still harbored some mistrust of Umberto. He got Rita to casually check the compass

headings as he slept by bringing Umberto coffee and food. He also taught her to recognize star

patterns to make sure they were heading north but they confused her. Butch smiled through her

confusion as they stood on the fantail. “Forget all the nonsense Baby girl. Just walk out here on the

fantail and if you can see The Southern Cross directly behind the boat, everything is fine.” Butch

pulled Rita to him and grinned as he felt her warmth in his arms and kissed her. “Thank you for

being here to support me „baby girl‟. You‟ve always been my rock and I do feel guilty for putting

you in harms way. It makes me know why I love you.”

        Tears swelled in Rita‟s eyes. “I‟ve always loved you from the minute we met Butch and I

would have been devastated if you didn‟t bring me. I guess this is our adrenaline connection.” She
       Edward A. Dean                                                         Southern
       Crossed dean
lovingly buried her face into his shoulder and humorously pushed away. “But your still a pompous

ass and I wouldn‟t have you any other way. I guess that‟s love isn‟t it?”

       Her intended humor relaxed the mood.

        Butch looked into her face with gratitude and shifted gears.“It‟s kind of ironic Rita, that

Dave‟s wine company is called The Southern Cross don‟t you think? Maybe it‟s Gods way of telling

us that everything is connected. There is a mathematical theory that says everything in the world is

connected in six steps and I think I can buy into it now. It‟s like our lives are all intertwined in some

cosmic Chinese concentric ball. It‟s like we know there are other spheres around us but we choose to

exist and pay attention to our own little sphere.”

       Rita pulled her head up. “What‟s a Chinese concentric ball Butch?”

       “You know the one that sits on the end of my bookcase? The piece of carved ivory where

there is a round sphere within a sphere in a sphere. Maybe seven or eight levels? It‟s carved out of

one single block of ivory, just like nations on earth. That‟s what I‟m referring to. I look at it as sort

of a parable of the nations of the world. We‟re all happy little campers on our own sphere. The

problems of the world come into play when we want to own the next sphere above or below us.”

       Rita‟s questioning smile blossomed. “And which sphere do you want to play on Butch?”

       “Your drilling down lady, you‟re drilling down. Can we speak truths in the night?”

       “Of course Butch. You and I have one huge thing in common that has always kept us

together. We don‟t lie to each other. Our motto is „Truth is spoken here‟. Tell me.”

       “I don‟t know Baby girl. The only thing I know is I have a hunger to find my next God

directed horizon. Maybe it‟s a sailor thing. Maybe it‟s me. Here‟s the facts. I‟m a Muslim and you‟re

a Christian. We take our religions seriously. I can‟t sit still and you need someone to unravel your

ball of yarn while you knit. And the fucking cats drive me up a wall.”
       Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
       Crossed dean
       Again Rita buried her head into Butch‟s broad shoulders, desperately trying to hide her tears

in the night. “Maybe your right Butch. My cats give me unrequited love with no expectation. They

can survive on their own for a good long while. They‟re warm on my lap on a long winter‟s night

and I love their independence. Kind of like you Butch. Maybe that‟s the connection. I could give

them up for a permanent you but I know in my heart that would never work. My life would suffocate

you. You would be like a coyote that would prefer to gnaw off his paw than live in a trap and I could

never be your trap. I just want to be your Baby Girl. Can we agree on that?”

       Butch squeezed her tight. “Okay Pumpkin. You‟re right. Thank you.”

       Rita pushed him away and smirked. “Don‟t you dare start with that Pumpkin crap. If you

need a veggie call me string bean! Besides, that gut on you isn‟t a thing of beauty.”

       Butch laughed loudly as he picked her up in his arms and grabbed her butt. ”Okay string bean

let me check out the pouch.” Butch kissed her passionately.

       The next morning Butch‟s mind filled with adrenaline as he heard Rita‟s voice screaming

from the deck. “Butch, Butch get up here now!”

       His heart raced widely as he bounded up the stairway. His eyes darted from stem to stern as

he saw Rita leaning over the railing screaming. He raced over only to hear her laughing and crying at

the same time. “Whales! There are whales all over. It‟s a whole pod. Look, look! They have babies

in the pod. Oh my God, oh my God. This is too beautiful. Oh Butch, thank you for bringing me. Oh

my God, I can‟t believe this is happening.”

       Butch leaned over the railing and shouted to Umberto to steer inland and away from the

whales. Rita screamed back. ”No, don‟t you dare. This is a chance of a lifetime. We‟re swimming

with the whales.”
          Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
          Crossed dean
          Butch shook his head. “Don‟t be stupid Rita. If anyone of the pod decides to ram this small

piece of shit, we‟re toast! Even the yearlings can cause us damage. Umberto, head for shallow


          A groggy face smiled out of the window and the boat tacked into the wind pushed by a

laboring motor. Rita was still leaning over the rail waving widely at the now disappearing pod.

Butch sighed deeply as he watched them off the stern at a comfortable distance.

          Rita approached Butch with an irate voice. “Why did you do that? This was a once in a

lifetime situation. Do you hate animals that much that you can‟t appreciate their beauty?”

          “Listen string bean. If those tons of blubber can jostle around a multi-ton submarine, what

the hell do you think they‟ll do with this piece of flotsam?”

          Rita realized the gravity of the situation and settled down. “They were so beautiful Butch; so

magnificent to see their humps rolling out of the water along side the boat. I could almost touch

them. What a lifetime experience. How magnificent. I almost wanted to go in the water and swim

with them. What a thrill that would have been.”

          Butch smirked. ”A thrill for sure string bean because I would be eating a frozen vegetable for

the rest of our sex life. This water is being pumped up from Antarctica and you little tush would

have been frozen in minutes. Hey, maybe that‟s not so bad. Your jaw would have been frozen solid.

Wouldn‟t that be a blessing?” He teased.

          Rita looked up into Butch‟s smile and punched him in the chest. “Asshole. You make so

much practical sense sometimes it‟s hard for me to hate you.” She headed for the lower cabin to

check on Alec but whirled at the last moment and gave Butch a teasing smile. “But you‟re still a

spoil-sport. I‟ll think about hating you later.”

          Umberto leaned out of the bridge window. “Signora is mad?”
       Edward A. Dean                                                          Southern
       Crossed dean
       Butch leaned back onto the railing and chortled. “No Umberto. Signora is my beautiful

magnificent idiot and I wouldn‟t have her any other way.”

       A small distant voice made its way from below. “Magnificent and beautiful I can live with

but don‟t you dare call me and idiot; idiot!”

       It tickled Butch as he remembered his mantra. „Never try to get the last word in with a

woman because you will lose every time.‟


       I could hear the loud ringing of my office phone and rushed to answer. I heard Butch‟s

booming voice on the other end. “Hi Dave. We‟re at the Lima airport and your little asshole brother

is sitting here making passes at Rita. I guess I should be jealous and kick his behind but Rita is

enjoying it too much.”

       My heart leapt with joy. “Butch, stop with the kidding. Is he okay? How does he look? Please

let me talk to him.”

       “Oh quit being manic. He looks like shit but if he fell in love with his nurse then there‟s a

libido there someplace. He has many lacerations and huge bruises but Rita says he slept most of the

way. I suspect he was water boarded and Rita says he has burns on his testicles. Those Nazi
       Edward A. Dean                                                        Southern
       Crossed dean
motherfuckers were brutal Dave. The only good thing is he‟s alive, smiling and doing well. Your

brother has the constitution of a horse and through all that pain the little asshole had the audacity to

laugh when he saw me. Hold on, I‟ll let you talk to him.”

         I agonized at the moments it took for him to get on the line.

         “Hi brother, are you okay?”

         I wanted to laugh and scream at his caring words. “Thank God you‟re alive and safe Alec.”

         His quick response was, “And so do I, every day, since I woke up Dave. We‟re at the airport

waiting for my flight and I‟m having a glass of wine. I should be back in the states by ten this

evening. I‟ll fill you in on everything then. In the mean time I‟m going to enjoy the company of this

little godsend. Rita. She‟s been my savior Dave. She‟s got the attitude of a trucker and the heart of

an angel.” I could hear them all laughing in the background. “And by the way, thank you for my


         The words brought tears to my eyes and I choked on my words. “Nothing more than you

would do for me. When you get back stateside I‟m going to get in your crap big time. You are no

longer going to act like the savior to the Western world. Stay at home and take care of the needy

there! You‟ve worn out your welcome in South America.”

         I heard his warm teasing voice. “I can do that for a while but South America is a big poor

place. I hear the Contras in Nicaragua need help. Maybe I‟ll go down there. You know I kinda liked

playing army again. Maybe they need my help down there?”

         I understood his half joking humor but knowing Alec told me there was a grain of truth in his

thoughts. “Listen to me bother. If you dare set foot across the boarder of the States, I‟ll have you

arrested. I mean it. I‟ll call Small John and have your passport revoked. Why can‟t you just back off

a half-a-notch and accept the world for what it is. You‟re not the second-coming you know.”
        Edward A. Dean                                                     Southern
        Crossed dean
        There was a long pause on the other end and then he tweaked me. “I might just take your

advice brother but does that restriction include Canada? I hear they‟re going to build a casino in

Windsor. And you know how much Jade and I loved the slot machines. And now I‟ll have to play

for the both of us. As for your last point, we‟re all the second coming. And if we ignore the first

message, then shame on us. I‟m not going to preach to you because you‟re a hardheaded pragmatist.

But I will tell you one thing that I‟m going to do. I‟m going to take Butch and this lovely blue-eyed

creature to lunch and tell her all the bad things I know about you. Who knows? When she gets all the

juicy details she just might pop for the bill.”

        I called loudly. “Alec…Alec…”

        He responded. “Oops, before you get mad and go on a tear, I have one other thing to tell you.

I love you brother for all your help and caring. You are not as cynical as you care to believe. You‟re

my hero and one day when I grow up, I may be just like you.” I heard him chuckle softly. “And

wouldn‟t that frost the world! I‟m off with Butch‟s lady! Maybe it will make him jealous!”

        With that easy humor, he hung up the phone. I wanted to scream and laugh at the same time.

Alec would never change. He possessed all of my fathers‟ heart in spades. I could only hold my head

and wonder what was really on his mind but the most important thing was that a huge burden was

lifted from my heart.

        Spanky and Angel shouted with joy when I told them the news. I could see the tears well up

in Angel‟s eyes. I took my leave to call Khalil and Rikki to give him the news and thank them both

for their help.

        “Thank God ummo! (Cousin). Get him out of there as soon as he is able. I do not trust the

Peruvians any more than the Chileans. Their junta is only a few steps away from the Pinochet

       Edward A. Dean                                                    Southern
       Crossed dean
       Later that day I conveyed my conversation to Spanky and Angel. Angel simply shook her

head and laughed. “Alec should have been Spankys‟ brother Dave. Not yours. I think he is just a

misplaced soul. How you two ended up as brothers spiritually is beyond me. I sense his karma Dave.

I have this feeling his soul has been searching for a long time. And the other feeling I have is he‟s

not going to stop.”

       I smirked uneasily. “He probably won‟t.”

       “There is one other thing I want to say while we‟re on this track Dave. You‟ve withdrawn a

lot over the years since Jade‟s passing. You don‟t seem to be as engaged in things like you used to.

Are you still subconsciously grieving Dave? You still haven‟t let go have you?”

       Her words hit me like a ton of bricks. My mind refused to accept her thoughts. “Let it go

Angel. It‟s over and done with. I don‟t want to talk about this ever. Just let it go!”

       “I‟m sorry Dave but it was something I wanted to say on for a long time. For years you‟ve

been acting like a patriarch and an observer in your own life. Where is that sense of adventure you

used to impart?”

       It was like my mother‟s hand pulling me back to reality. I wanted to be flip but I couldn‟t.

       “I don‟t know Spank. I don‟t know me, you, or our universe anymore. I guess I‟m a little

fried with all the bullshit in my life. Why don‟t we save this page and you and me will talk about that

next big adventure Spank. You‟ve always been our muse. You figure it out and we‟ll do it together.

Just like old times buddy. Okay?”

       There was a lost look is Spankys‟ eyes that I never noticed before. “Sure we will Dave. Sure

we will.” The words felt hollow.

       I smiled weakly over our celebratory Champagne and vainly tried to change the subject.

“Well I think Alec is a lot like my father and I grudgingly accept my mothers‟ personality.”
        Edward A. Dean                                                      Southern
        Crossed dean
        Angels‟ easy smile focused on me. ”Oh my God! How did they get along all those years?”

        My heart smiled. “Hey, after nine kids what else is there?”

        She giggled easily. “Well at least that was one thing they had in common.”

        A few weeks later I received a call from Butch. “Hi Cuz, just a few things. I talked to

Alec and he‟s back in Detroit doing well. By the sound of his exuberance, he still is on a mission of

sorts and he made me realize what commitment is all about.”

        It was a double quandary for me. “I don‟t understand Butch, what the fuck are you getting at?

You scare me when you talk in riddles. It‟s not like you. Are you telling me? Are you saying you

support his efforts here in South America?”

        “No Dave. That‟s his venue and passion. What I want from you is Khalils‟ private number. A

while back at Jades funeral we talked and he asked me for my help. I wasn‟t ready then but I am

now. Alec made me realize that there are more important things in life than just sitting on our fat

asses. It‟s called commitment to our own truths and acting on them. I don‟t want to discuss this with

you. I need Khalils‟ private number. Please understand, this is for my own private salvation. ”

        This was the deep dark Butch I never understood but I could tell from the sound of his voice

he wouldn‟t be denied. “Sure Butch. I want to say I understand but I don‟t.” I read the number to


        “Look Dave, all our lives we have been polar opposites but our mutual love and respect

always brings us to the equator in our lives. You and I will always be more than family. There is a

kindred spirit that binds us, yet pulls us apart. I think it is a Jiddo thing. That old bastard infected our

lives like a virus. We‟ve learned to control it but we‟ll always have it. Part of it is committed passion

and that‟s what I‟m feeling right now. You‟ve chosen to commit your passion to other things and
        Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
        Crossed dean
that‟s okay but you‟re like a rubber ball, bouncing from one thing to the next. Believe me, there is no

fault, it‟s just you. But with this curtain hanging over my life, I know what I want and need.”

       I was stunned into contemplative silence. “I think I understand Butch and I will support your

journey. I‟m here for you and wherever your journey takes you, remember you have a home with me

always. We can always laugh and argue about anything and please never forget it. If you ever

stumble, I‟ll be there for you, just as you‟ve been here for me.”

       I heard a soft warm chuckle on the other end and smiled. “Of course Dave, you‟ll always be

my ying and don‟t ever tell Rita that because she said that was her position.”

       A warm smile melted across my face as I hung up.


       The March eighty-three crop bode well for us. Angel insisted that we wait till late in April for

the harvest. Her command of the ripeness was beyond mine and Spankys understanding. I always

felt there was a touch of Tony‟s‟ hand over our vineyards. The old master was still serving us well.

My constant fear was that an overly late harvest would give the wine too much of a raisiny character.

I trusted Angel‟s hand and waited impatiently for the ensuing result.

       Months later, true to her judgment, the new wine was superb. With the ancient wine thief in

hand we collectively sampled the barrels. I kept true to the promise I made to Tony in using his
       Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
       Crossed dean
valued instrument for only the best wines. The simple joy of tasting the new developing fruit was its‟

beautiful promise of things to come.

       The two older boys were now accompanying us in this sojourn. Their joy was not in the fruit

as much as the alcohol experience. Angel‟s mothering tongue would admonish their gulping habits

and explain the subtleties of the occasion. My tickled mind focused on their silly giggles and

remembered all those boyish pleasures of savoring new experiences. They were maturing before my

eyes and I loved every minute of their charades. A soft ying and yang character was growing

between Nate and Xohal. They were physically and ethnically so different but yet their hearts were

one. Nates‟ larger stature added to his commanding voice but Xohals‟ determined and subtle will

would prevail. It pleased me to observe and understand their interplay. Kimberly‟s‟ matronly and

practical instincts would push the two to quiet reflection. It amazed me at how children interacted.

The boys could tease her incessantly but never deny her good judgment. And Adam was my

personal joy. His instinctive joie de vie made everyone laugh. He would engage the older boys to

distraction but they tolerated his conniving personality. Whenever Adam walked into the room, he

assumed that all eyes should be on him. It was a typical youngest child‟s syndrome. Angel‟s soft and

easy domain over the brood complemented Maria‟s‟ doting hand. Both gave a huge loving measure

to the children‟s‟ nurture.

       The vineyard rows were their playground and Angel explained the importance of the vines

sanctity. Rows of vines harbored their games of hide-and-seek and towering stainless steel tanks

were the vessels of their mind‟s adventure. The field hands that lived on the property and their

children gave the brood a sense of humanity. I was quietly amazed at how easily they assimilated the

blended Indian and Hispanic cultures. Angel demanded that they treat everyone on the farm with
        Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
        Crossed dean
respect. Despite my lack of attention, they were a beautiful emotionally healthy brood. How could I

take pride in my lack of help? But I relished in the results.

       The teenage boys were still somewhat benign with the awakening to their sexuality, or so I

thought, until one day Nate asked if he could borrow my aftershave lotion.              I smiled my


       “I didn‟t know you were starting to shave Nate?” His eyes dropped and he stammered.

       “Uh….yea but just a little bit but Xohal tries to shave every day and he doesn‟t have as much

hair as I do.” He offered defensively.”

       “Well maybe it‟s time your father and I bought you and Xohal your own cologne and razors.

Would you like that?”

       “Uh, yea. That would be a good idea.” He was out of the room and into my bathroom before

I could say anything else. I laughed to myself. Obviously there must be a little heartthrob somewhere

in the vineyards that caught his fancy.

       Later that night after dinner, I mentioned it to Spanky and Angel. I teased the two of them.

       “Well Pop. I think it‟s time for a talk about the birds and bees. You up to the task or are you

going to embarrass Nate and make Angel do it?”

       Spanky looked shocked. “Wait a minute. He‟s not old enough yet.”

       I teased. “Oh really? Have you looked closely at him lately? And besides, he wants to borrow

my cologne. What does that tell you?”

       Angel shot Spanky a wry look. “Chicken! One of you needs to handle that. Besides, you owe

me anyway Dave. Me and Julia already handled everything Kimberly needs to know.”

       It was my turn for shock value. “What? She can‟t be…….ah, … ready?”
        Edward A. Dean                                                       Southern
        Crossed dean
        Angel smiled. “And how close have you looked lately Dave? She‟s twelve and little girls can

start anytime. We didn‟t want it to be a shock to her. You two decide who‟s going to handle it and I

suggest you include Xohal. You might as well kill two birds with one stone.”

        Spanky and I looked jokingly at each other. I laughingly suggested we handle it together, sort

of a guy‟s bull session. Spanky agreed. Angels raised eyebrows implied her hesitation with the idea

but she let it go.

        The next day, we called the boys into my office. They walked in apprehensively. I was the

first to broach the subject. As soon as I mentioned the word sex, the boys looked at each and giggled.

         Nate jumped first. “Oh we know all about that Uncle. Julia told us all about that a year ago.

She made Kimberly take Adam outside but Kimberly was peeking in the window. Julia even had

charts and pictures.”

         Xohal looked at Nate with a boyish giggle. “And Nate likes Miss Julia and wants to make a

nice smell with your cologne for her. He likes her!”

        Spanky and I looked at each other with surprise and relief.

        I interjected. “Oh really? An older woman? Is this an old ghost that is coming back to haunt


        Spanky caught my humor and quickly dispelled the situation. “Listen guys, your Uncle Dave

is telling you it‟s not possible to have relations…or relationship……or kinda like an older woman.

Oh crap. You know what I mean.”

        All three of us looked at Spanky in confusion. I took over.

        “Look guys, what we are trying to tell you that it is okay to admire a woman from a far but

you need to socialize with women your own age.”
          Edward A. Dean                                                       Southern
          Crossed dean
          Nate offered. “Xohal likes the Menendez girl. They always walk together in the high fields

by themselves.”

          Xohal gave Nate a dire look. “I am not……We are only friends…… We don‟t do anything

dirty. Her father won‟t let her. Nate is the one who wants to do something dirty with Miss Julia! He

is in love with her.”

          I really, really wanted to burst out laughing but I composed myself with a serious look.

          “Listen up guys. This is not about a name-calling situation. Uncle Spanky and I just want to

make sure you two don‟t do something stupid. Your bodies can now produce children and we want

to make sure that if any situation comes up, you will trust us enough to ask for our help. Let‟s just

say this is a guy thing and nothing or no question is out of bounds. You two have a choice of asking

either one of us anything you want. I want you both to feel comfortable and if you agree to let us

help, we can let all of this go for now.”

          Nate and Xohal were slumping low into their chairs and bounded up. Anxiously and in

unison they gave us a pronounced yes. Spanky shot me a relieved look. As if to say „thank you


          Angel anxiously waited our return to the kitchen and laughed herself silly at the recap. But it

was that long anticipating look that Angel inadvertently gave me whenever we spoke of Nate. I

never understood why but I assumed it was her years as a single mother and her extremely protective


          Spanky anxiously headed toward his casa and Angel lingered behind.

          I walked out onto the verandah to enjoy the warm summer breezes coming off the ocean.

          Moments later Angel joined me. There was something heavy on her mind.

          Angel‟s transparent eyes always gave her away. “Dave, can we talk?‟
       Edward A. Dean                                                          Southern
       Crossed dean
       “Of course Angel, anything you want. I‟m sorry if I misspoke to the boys but…”

       “That‟s not want I want to get off my chest Dave. It‟s Julia. I know she has been following

you around like a little puppy for years. I‟ve watched you two walking arm and arm at the end of

her day. You two giggle like a couple of teenagers. What bothers me is I think she is in love or lust

with you. Please don‟t go there with her because eventually it would destroy her. Not to mention her

relationship with the children.”

       “Hold on Angel. Yes, there may be a mutual attraction. And to be honest, I had thoughts

about it but I never went there because of the kids. But understand that Julia is a mature young lady

and it is tempting. Where did you pick up on all of this?”

       “I see it Dave because I was there once. You just don‟t get it do you? You are not the best-

looking or glib man around. But you have a very innate sexiness that women are attracted to. Add

the power factor and you become irresistible. That‟s what I saw in you when we had our brief affair

and that‟s what Julia is hungry for. If you put the opportunity on the table she will go for it. If you

do, you will destroy her and everything she has built between her and the children. If you take her

down, you take the children down with her. What I am asking of you is don‟t be selfish. Let it go and

stay with your little Argentine bitch. I don‟t mean to be demeaning but she is a bitch in every sense

of the word. She seems a lot like you. She is more concerned about getting her jollies off than a


       “Whoa, whoa, back up a minute. Sure, Julia and I take walks to discuss the kids. And sure we

might jostle each other and kiss each other on the cheek in a friendly manner but you‟re taking it to

extremes. Okay, I understand she is a cute little thing on the make but I have never offered to take

her up on anything.”
        Edward A. Dean                                                     Southern
        Crossed dean
        “Come on Dave. You‟re a forty-something year-old man with power and that is a heady drug

for a young twenty-plus woman. It wouldn‟t take much for you two to end up in bed together. But

for the sake of the children, let it go. Go off the reservation if you need to fulfill your needs. There

are a lot of women in Santiago that would take you up on any offer. “

        “Look Angel, I agree. I was thrilled with the attention but it ended there. What man wouldn‟t

be flattered by a vibrant young woman‟s interest? I give you my promise not to get involved. And by

the way, don‟t call Rikki a bitch. You don‟t even know her. If it wasn‟t for her help, Alec might not

be alive today.”

        “Take my word for it, I know her kind and she is a bitch. Spanky told me everything. So I do

know her second hand. Of course she helped you with Alec because she now has a stranglehold on

you. She just bought you and now you‟re her toy. You don‟t see it but she owns you!”

        “Stop it Angel! Nobody owns me and nobody ever will. Sure, I owe her but that‟s between

her and me. I‟m a big boy and I‟ll handle my own relationships. Butt out!”

        “And she will use that card against you some day. Trust me. Look for it because if you ever

piss her off, she will play it.”

        With a smile I shook my head and backtracked. “Spanky will never change, will he? He is a

big-mouthed slut. Does he tell you everything?”

        “Yes he does Dave. And I want to tell you why. We trust each other. Spanky has a very soft

and giving way. We can talk about anything, good or bad, and not take offense. You see that‟s why I

married him. His heart is bigger than his mouth. We share. What makes his day makes mine. We

have an easy simpatico that transcends even sex sometimes. Yep, you heard it right and don‟t knock

it. You and Jade had the same thing. She was the one that taught me how to appreciate a relationship

and I will always love her for sharing. She was my soul sister and she did know everything. And I
      Edward A. Dean                                                        Southern
      Crossed dean
mean everything Dave and she accepted it for what it was. Don‟t ever think she was a naïve lady

because she wasn‟t. She was very perceptive and loving and I miss her just as much as you do.”

        I didn‟t want to pursue those memories. “Thanks for saying that Angel. All of us will always

be family. It‟s been a long evening. I think I‟ll turn in for the night.”

        Angel read my intent. “Me too Dave. By the way, I forgot to tell you but your friend Khalil

called and is going to be in Santiago in a week or so. He said to give him a call when you can.”

        That news piqued my curiosity. “Good night Angel, I‟ll call him in the morning.”

        My curious mind got me up early the next morning. Europe was four hours ahead and it was

afternoon there when I called. “Hi Khalil, I got your message from Angel. What‟s going on?‟

        “Hello cousin. I have some business that will bring me to Santiago and I wanted to get

together with you and your winemaker lady. I might have an opportunity for us. I tried your special

house blends in a Monte Carlo restaurant and I was impressed. I have some connections in Dubai

and some other high profile restaurants in the Middle East and I think I can get placement in them.

It‟s an untapped market.”

        “Really? But I thought that was a dead market because of the Islamic ban on alcohol.”

        “Don‟t be foolish Dave. Those restaurants cater to many Europeans and Japanese customers

brought in by the oil business. And most of the younger Arabs drink. I will be in Santiago on the 15 th

of the month. We can talk then.”

        “That would be fine Khalil.”

        “By the way, I took the liberty of inviting your cousin Butch to join me. As you know we

have been discussing many things and I need to talk to him face to face. I hope this is not an

       Edward A. Dean                                                          Southern
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       Curiosity loomed in my mind but I deferred. “Of course not Khalil, It will be nice to see him

again. Is there something I should know?”

       Khalil hesitated. “Ah, nothing worth discussing on the phone but he has offered me his help

on certain matters. All three of us can talk when we get there. Is that acceptable?”

       My brain was full of speculation but I let it go for later answers. “Of course Khalil, knowing

Butch, I‟m sure he will make it interesting.” I teased.

       I asked Khalil to stay at the vineyard with us but he deferred. “Thank you anyway cousin but

I am a hotel creature. They cater to my every whim and I like it that way. I know Butch will want to

stay with you and one house guest is enough.” he jested.


       I waited anxiously at the gate for Khalils‟ New York flight. I had insisted that I would pick

him up at the airport. I saw his broad smile beam at me as he disembarked. I greeted him first.

“Hello cousin, Ahlin! (Welcome).” We hugged and kissed each other on the cheek in the Middle

Eastern custom. “How was your flight? Everything good?”

       Khalil smiled. “Of course cousin, first class is the only class.” And the best part is that the

cute little stewardess is joining us for dinner tonight.” His devilish smile teased.

       I winked back at him as we walked to the baggage area. “If you are wired for the evening you

enjoy yourself and I‟ll pick you up in the morning. We‟ll have a lot of time to talk. You don‟t need a

third wheel. Butch arrived yesterday and we‟re having fun catching up.”

       “Well maybe she has a friend.”
        Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
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        “Thanks cuz but don‟t confuse things. Enjoy yourself and I‟ll pick you up in the morning.”

        “Thank you Dave. I could use a nap before dinner anyway.”

        The next morning, I called before I left the vineyard, assuming he may have jet lag and want

to sleep in. He was up and having breakfast when he answered.

        We chatted all the way back to the vineyard. Khalil couldn‟t be more complimentary as I

took him through the grounds. “I love this place Dave. Maybe next time I will take you up on your

hospitality and stay here.” His eyes followed Julia as she walked the grounds with the kids. His grin

addressed me. “Mumtazz, hillu! (marvelous, sweet) cousin. Is that yours?”

        I laughed. “No Khalil. That is out of bounds. She has been the kids‟ teacher for many years

and it is best to leave it that way.”

        “I respect that cousin. I will hold my tongue. That stewardess wore me out last night anyway.

But you know us Lebanese, we‟re always hungry!” As he jostled me with his arm. The children

spotted us and came running. I introduced Khalil to all of the children. He affectionately nestled each

one of them with a kiss and a huge smile. “Suhkhtine ummo. (Good health cousin). You are a very

fortunate man to have such a beautiful brood.” I explained each one of the children‟s lineages and he

nodded in understanding. If you support and help raise them they are a part of your soul. I always

knew that you had a good heart. Come introduce me to the Angel lady. I want to talk business with

the two of you.”

        After lunch Angel and I took him into the wine cave and let Khalil sample some more of her

exotic blends. Butch joined us. His surprised and questioning face blurted question after question to

Angel. Angel beamed with pride. “I don‟t mean to be picky Angel but could you add a softer side to

some of these blends? The reason I ask is that many of these customers are used to a strong French

character. These are very similar to Bordeaux but not quite soft enough. Can you do this?”
         Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
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         “Sure I can Khalil but we wouldn‟t be unique.”

         “I don‟t want unique I want the same qualities the customers are used to.”

         He started to chuckle and repeated, “Unique.” Butch and me smiled and shook our heads. We

knew what tickled him and I had to whisper the double entendre‟ explanation to Angel. The word

unique in Arabic meant you screw.

         She grew an easy smile. “Okay guys, no more nasty innuendos. Say it out loud or I‟ll slap

you three silly.”

         Khalil apologized for his misplaced humor.

         Angel teased him and offered, “I have a lot of a mature Merlot and some Malbec that might

work for you but if I blend it in, the wine will not age long.”

         “That is acceptable kind lady. You work your magic and the three of us will finish our tour.”

         As we finished our tour Khalil remarked, “This place reminds me of the northern mountains

in Lebanon. Have you or Butch ever been there?”

         “No I haven‟t Khalil but I would love to go there one day.”

         “So would I Khalil. I wanted to go some years back when I was on my way to Mecca.”

         Khalil gave him a quizzical look. “You are Hajj?”

         “Yes. Why does that surprise you?”

         “I only thought because of your military background…maybe they wouldn‟t take kindly to


         Khalil was confused and embarrassed when Butch broke out in a boisterous laugh. “They

sure as fuck didn‟t Khalil. But that‟s a story for another time.”

         “After all this khadda (shit) is over in Lebanon you two will come as my guests? I know

your family is from Ij januub (the south) but the whole country will one day be at peace and
       Edward A. Dean                                                               Southern
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beautiful again as soon as we get the Israelis out of our land. Our patriots will not allow them to stay.

Every day they occupy our land it will cost them.”

       Butch interjected “I‟m sorry Khalil my heart breaks for our people but we‟re all patriots of

       the Ballad (country) in our hearts. What group are you talking about?”

       “Hezbullah. They are the true patriots of Lebanon. They give their lives and their money to

       help the common people.”

       “You know they have been branded as a terrorist group doing the bidding of the Iranians. Is

       that the truth?” Butch inquired.

               He smirked. “It is Western press related propaganda. One great lesson that the

       Israelis‟ should thank the Nazis‟ for is effective propaganda. They use it well to a

       sympathetic audience. Let me ask you. What would the Americans say if someone said your

       patriots were puppets of the French during your war of independence? Is that believable? Did

       they attack the British on their soil?”

       “No of course not.” Butch blurted. They were fighting in their own homeland for their own


       “Yes cousin and Hezbullah fights for that same freedom. As your people accepted aid from

the French, we accept aid from Iran when no one else would give it. When the Israelis‟ bulldoze

family homes on a whim or a suspicion, where do whole families that have been on their land for

generations go? Do they dig a hole and live in it? It is their homeland and Hezbullah gives them the

money to live and rebuild. Just understand one thing, the Israelis‟ are the invaders. Those farmers in

the south have no political agenda. They are simply protecting their homes. And believe me when I

tell you, there is an Israeli design to take over southern Lebanon. They buy the Christian Phalangists

with money and weapons to do their bidding and it will not last. You can make a man bend under a
       Edward A. Dean                                                   Southern
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yolk for only so long. The occupiers will only shed so much blood before they reassess their

position. If they do not pay in blood, they will not leave. Let the world call Hezbullah anything they

want but they are the true sons of their country. They stay inside their own boarders and help their

own poor. Does that sound like a terrorist group to you? And now the Israeli‟s wants to make

Lebanon the same kind of camp. Trust my words and my heart, with Hezbullah, it will not happen.

Israel will sleep in a bed of scorpions if they try.

        Lebanon is the first democracy in the Middle East and rhetoric that Israel is the only one is

khadda. (shit). We were a democracy long before Israel got here and will remain that way.”

        I watched Butch‟s face flush with a controlled anger and I watched as clenched his hands into

a fist. I had seen it all before. I knew he was very pissed.

        My head was swimming with his assessment. “I guess you‟re probably right Khalil. I never

looked at it through their eyes, or yours. Are you telling us you‟re a member?”

        “No cousin but just let us say I have a sympathetic wallet. As a citizen of the world, I choose

my charity wisely. But enough about politics, I want to take you and all members of your family to

an authentic Lebanese dinner. There is a restaurant in Santiago called The „Cedars of Lebanon‟. You

will love the food. It is to die for.”

        I followed his low throaty chuckle. He explained. “And it is owned by a Palestinian Muslim


        “Oh really? I knew there was a large Palestinian population down here but I never explored

the city.”

        “Ah yes. They have been in this country since the twenties and it has expanded greatly since

their Israeli eviction and Diaspora. I have some business with a doctor there so it will give me an
       Edward A. Dean                                                          Southern
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opportunity to get a lot of things accomplished. What I am thinking is we could bring Angel‟s new

blends and try them with the food. That will be a telling experience. Agreed?”

       I agreed with an easy smile but the intensity on Butches face had not eased.

       Khalil insisted on hiring a stretch limo. Without it, we would have had to crowd everyone,

including Maria and Julia, into three of our vineyard vehicles. The restaurant was on the outskirts of

the central city. The décor was comfortable and warm. The walls were filled with murals of

Lebanon. The entire wait staff greeted Khalils‟ entrance enthusiastically. They seated us at the large

window table and the young waitress discretely put her hand on Khalil‟s‟ shoulder as she reached to

remove the „reserved‟ sign. He looked up at her and guardedly winked. It was obvious that their

relationship was more than the large tips he always handed out. The chatter and accolades that were

thrown his way were relentless and typically Arab in their generosity. I realized there was more to

this ongoing scene than met the eye but my mind refused to deal with anything but a good

experience for my extended family.

       Khalil watched as the kids looked at the menu with confusion and smiled. He kindly took

each of their menus and told them that he would order. He easily explained that he was going to

order a Lebanese tapas. The children understood the tapas concept and agreed. A large hefty cook

came out of the kitchen and warmly greeted Khalil in Arabic. I could only follow bits and pieces of

their rapid conversation. I laughed as I heard him tell the cook, Jeebna killu. (Bring us everything.)

       The food flowed faster than the wine we brought. Khalil constantly praised Angel‟s

offerings. Their discussion was intense as Khalil had her jot down each blend he was interested in.

With our interest fixated on the food, Spanky, Butch and I ate voraciously. The children were

enjoying the constant commotion more than the food.
       Edward A. Dean                                                       Southern
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       Out of the corner of my I caught a glimpse of a stunning ravened hair woman. Her slight

build gave her a sexy but elegant aura. Her pose was of an easy authority and her full lips exuded a

soft smile and made her dark eyes dance with an warm joy. As she approached the table Khalil

immediately rose to greet her. He pulled a chair next him and seated her. As he made a round of

introductions, she gave me a brief stare. Her large round dark eyes were wide and full. Her raven

hair was pulled back in a business fashion but her well rounded full breasts held my attention. Khalil

glanced my way and gave me his devilish grin. I just assumed she was another of his conquests. He

waved me over from the other end of the table. I got up and Angel offered to trade places with me.

       “Dave, its time you and Nadiya meet. Nadiya is a spinster doctor and you may need her

services one day.”

       Nadiya flushed. “Oh stop it Khalil. One day I will have to operate on your tongue.” Her dark

eyes flashed in my direction. “Khalil keeps trying to fix me up with people he likes and obviously he

must think a lot of you. One thing you will learn about Khalil is he always speaks his mind. He acts

as if his words are some kind of valuable commodity he can‟t afford to waste. I will apologize for his

rudeness and crudeness.”

       Her eyes danced and her teasing warm smile told me she welcomed the invitation.

       I didn‟t want to release her gaze. “Obviously you know him better than me but you‟re right.

He is curt and does choose his words meticulously.”

       Khalil laughed. “Why don‟t you two go and sit at that little table in the corner if you are

going to talk about me. And take some of this wine with you. I want Nadiya‟s opinion on it. You

must sell her on my idea to purchase it. I trust her good taste. Sell cousin, sell. That is our

birthright.” He teased. I smiled at his double entendre‟.
          Edward A. Dean                                                             Southern
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          Khalil was blatantly trying to get the two of us together and I was not in the least opposed to

the idea. Her attractive lithe form seemed to float across the room. I followed her lead with an open

bottle of wine in hand. The two of us were reseated at the little corner table and continued our

introductory conversation. She spoke complimentary about the wine but our eyes never left each

other‟s face. We were oblivious to dining room chatter and the time.

          As the children became antsy they playfully followed two young Palestinian boys back to the

kitchen. Their laughing voices were soon followed by the foul language of the irate cook. I rose to

handle the situation and handed her my card. She responded with hers and our eager thoughts said

that we would meet again soon.

          On the drive back to the vineyard, the kids dozed off. Khalil told me about Nadiya‟s

background and current activities. She was a Palestinian doctor and spent a lot of time working in

the Palestinian camps in Lebanon and Gaza. She wasn‟t allowed to travel through Israel because she

was listed as a refugee from Israel and not allowed to return. An Israeli law states that any

Palestinian that leaves Israel can never return. Even though she applied for a humanitarian visa it

was never granted. Because of her heritage they never denied it but simply left it in limbo.

          “She is a beautiful independent woman Ummo and she possesses a big heart. Her eyes were

all over you when she walked into the restaurant. You two can be good for each other.” He said with

a wink.

          “I just assumed that she and you were together.”

          Khalil expressed his amusement. “No, no cousin. She has no interest in me. Not that I

          haven‟t tried in the past but we have no connection that way.”
        Edward A. Dean                                                         Southern
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        Angel lifted her head sleepy from Spankys shoulder and smirked. “Quit talking about her like

she‟s a piece of meat. She has a brain and a career and she may not want either one of you hound

dogs. Why don‟t just let her choose? And from what I noticed; she will!”

        Khalil and I looked at each other and laughed.

        “Okay good lady, enough, we have much business to talk about in the morning.” Khalil


        The next day, Khalil arrived for lunch and chatted eagerly with Angel. “Here is a list of the

blends that I like. You can simply ship them in the barrel. I will have the bottling and labeling done

overseas. I will use your design but all of it will need it to be bi-lingual. How many cases do you

think you can ship?”

        Angel thought for a moment. “Maybe five to seven hundred or more of each of the three


        Khalil nodded his head. “Okay” His serious face engaged me. “Listen Ummo. I will be fair

and give you my last price first. It is all or nothing. Agreeable?”

        “Okay what are you thinking?”

        “Sixty dollars a case. Nothing more.”

        It was a good price and I wanted to jump at it. Angels questioning eyes met mine and I got

her message. “I‟m going to defer to the lady Khalil. She knows how much work she has to put into


        Khalil rolled his eyes. “Please don‟t make me negotiate with a beautiful woman. I always

lose.” He said in a mocking way.

        Angel jumped in. “Khalil, this is a lot of work on my part and I don‟t work cheap. The price

is eighty dollars a case.”
        Edward A. Dean                                                             Southern
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        Khalil was tickled at her assertiveness. “I can buy Bordeaux‟s at that price.”

        He studied the stern look on Angels face. Angel offered. “Sure you can but it would be

garbage and you know it. Don‟t quibble Khalil, my wine is excellent and you know it.” She vainly


        “Okay, okay the agreeable price is seventy because that is where the compromise is going to

end. Don‟t get greedy. Agreed?”

        Angel smiled with her win. “Agreed Khalil, I‟ll let you win just this one time. But if you

quickly sell through on the first shipments, my price will go back to eighty” She joked in a telling


        Khalil laughed and extended his hand to Angel in a business manner to seal the deal. “I have

one more question for your wine magic. Can you get anywhere close to a Petrus?”

        Angel grinned. “Now you‟re over the top. A Petrus? Only the Petrus family and du terre can

work that magic.” She thought for a moment. “I could possibly get close to a petit Petrus. Something

like a Le Pin or La Grave but the quintessential Petrus? Not in this lifetime. I‟ve only tasted a Petrus

twice and I still have a hard time describing it much less emulating it.”

        Khalil grinned. “I will send you a few bottles for you and Dave to try. Not the best years but

good years. Send me your offerings of Le Pin and I will trust your judgment.”

        Khalil spent the afternoon with the children. I wasn‟t sure if he was interested in them or

Julia but I smiled in his delight with all of them. He took his leave late that afternoon.

        Over dinner Angel was still grinning with satisfaction over the sale.

        “I figured out how much we can ship and we‟ll gross over one-hundred thousand on this deal

guys. I just love that mans aggressive attitude. I betcha he could find a way to make money on toilet

paper.” She joked. Spanky and I smiled to her proudly.
          Edward A. Dean                                                        Southern
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          “That‟s fantastic Angel. I was buying into his bullshit. I was going to settle for his first


          “I knew that by the look in your eyes. It‟s because you two were getting too close for you to

be objective. I could see it in his eyes that it wasn‟t his best deal. As you always say Dave, it never

hurts to ask. If we can continue to produce a high quality Cab and Merlot from the hillside vines, we

can do this every year. We may be on to something. It could be a reserve status wine that we could

get into the American market. Everyone in the California valleys are doing the same thing; trying to

duplicate the Bordeaux‟s. They have cutesy names like Meritage or Collage. But Khalil is right. He

just wants to give them what they‟re used to. Why reinvent the wheel?”

          Spanky suggested, “You know that‟s a great idea Angel. I still know some people at

Southern Brands Distributors that I could possibly cajole a deal or two out of. They‟re the biggest

guys on the block in U.S. wine distribution. If the hot ticket in the U.S. is Meritage, we‟ll give „em


          “Go for it my brother. I‟ve never gotten so much as a hello from them at the Expo‟s.”

          “Don‟t get too carried away guys. Napa and Sonoma still dominate that business in the states.

But we may be able to carve al little niche business if it measures up.”

          We settled into the idea of giving it a try. For years, most of our business came from the low

price point end of the market.

          Days later I decided to give Nadiya a call. We agreed on a date night later in the week.

          As I hung up a delivery truck pulled up in the front courtyard. I watched as Spanky and

Angel helped the deliverymen off load three motorcycles. As I approached Angel looked my way

with some anxiety. “Your buddy Khalil sent these as presents for the boys; two flashy Kawasaki dirt
       Edward A. Dean                                                          Southern
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bikes and a small mini Indian bike for Adam. I‟m not sure this is a good idea guys. Nate and Xohal

will go wild when they see these. I don‟t know if I like it. I think this is a dangerous idea.”

         Spanky and me convinced her otherwise. We suggested it could teach them responsibility.

         “Responsible? Those two? I doubt it but I‟ll keep my mouth shut and let you two handle this.

At the first mishap, the bikes go. Do we understand each other?” Spanky and I looked at each other

with a knowing smirk. We understood Angel‟s concern but we also knew the boys would go wild

with joy over them.

         As the drivers finished unpacking them they walked back to the truck and handed Angel a

large envelope. Inside were a letter and a Raddison certificate from Khalil.

         The abrupt note read, “This is a gift for all the beautiful ladies in the Casa and especially

Princess Kimberly. Her wish was to visit a real Spa. A limo will pick up all the ladies and will

include Julia and Maria on a day of your choosing. It will take you there and after, a day of

shopping at the Gucci store on the downtown boulevard. Everything has been prepaid so enjoy

yourselves. Thank the little princess it was her idea.” Khalil.

         Angel beamed. “That little girl is one smart cookie Dave. She went for the gusto, just like her

father! I‟m going to have to give her a big kiss for this one. Your friend really goes over the top


         I beamed proudly. “Not her father Angel. She‟s her mother all over again. Jade always said

that there were two classes, „first class and no class.‟ And when Khalil got off the plane he

paraphrased the same thought. I don‟t know if it‟s genetic or I‟m in love with Khalil.” Angel and

Spanky chuckled with the dichotomy.

         That Friday I arrived early at the unique little Italian restaurant that Nadiya had chosen. I

swallowed hard when she walked in the door. The little black dress with the pearl necklace
     Edward A. Dean                                                         Southern
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summoned a beautiful memory of my first date with Jade. They were very different but they shared

those large dark eyes. I greeted her with a friendly kiss and absorbed the beautiful fragrance of her

perfume. My mind subconsciously searched for a scent of Chanel but It was unique to her. We

chatted incessantly over dinner. I suggested that we go to the nearby disco bar for a nightcap and she

eagerly agreed.

       I made it a point to dance every slow dance just to feel the warmth of her body. She

apologized for her dancing ability but I didn‟t care. It was just the warm contact that I wanted.

       We didn‟t leave the disco till three in the morning. I walked her back to her vehicle and

kissed her passionately car side. Her soft body responded eagerly.

       “Let us take it slowly Dave. I want to know you better before we go further. Would you

mind? I have been hurt too many times before and much of it has been my fault. As you will learn, I

have a very opinionated mouth and it turns most men off. And who knows? I might have the

pleasure of offending you also.” She teased demurely.

       I held her close and chuckled. “I doubt that but give me your best shot whenever you get

around to it. I‟ll take the rain check for everything else for another time. It‟s been a beautiful evening

and I would like to share many more with you.”

       She reached up and kissed me passionately and whispered in my ear. “I like that thought and

I do like you.”

       With that pleasure in my mind, I helped her into the car and bid her good night.
       Edward A. Dean                                                             Southern
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       A month passed in my relationship with Nadiya. We added frequent lunches to our dinner

dates. Our conversations ranged from the political to the sublime. She would only giggle at my

overt suggestions of sex.

       One relaxed evening on a stroll in downtown Santiago she turned to me and asked if I would

like to see her apartment. I eagerly accepted and teased to lighten the moment.

       “Do you have some etchings that you can show me?”

       She giggled and I was surprised when she responded with the punch line to the old joke.

“Ah….yes but they‟re on the ceiling.”

        The building was not far from the hospital and we rode the elevator to the fifth floor. The

apartment was neat and starkly modern. I never cared for that type of environment but at this point,

furniture was not on my mind. She poured me a glass of a local Chilean Chardonnay and
       Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
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disappeared into the bedroom. As I heard the rushing water of the shower I knocked on her door a

loudly asked if I could come in. Her shout was positive and I quickly undressed to join her. There

was a smile of surprise on her face as I entered. Our glancing looks addressed each other‟s body.

When I saw that her pubic hair was groomed in a landing strip fashion, I wondered. She obviously

had planned this. Nothing with Nadiya was impromptu. We pressed our eager bodies into each other

as the warm water tattooed our flesh. Our mouths welcomed each other‟s tongue. After a few

minutes I pulled Nadiya‟s dripping hungry body on to the bed. My tongue raced all over her soft

flesh. Her hardened nipples rose up from her perky breasts and her rapid murmuring breathiness

aroused me fully. I entered her softly but she eagerly pulled all of me into her. The soft slow ease of

her grinding hips spoke to latent neglected passion. I could feel her quick climax writhe underneath

me. I kissed her perspiring face and thrust rapidly to find my own pleasure. Her widened dark eyes

met mine and heightened my passion. It was if they were pleading with me not to stop but her

whimpering voice urged me on. I waited until I felt her second emotion pull me deeply into her

wetness. Moments later we lie spent on her bed and in each other‟s arms. To relieve the silence I

looked up at the ceiling and asked, “Where are the etchings?”

          She laughed. “Oh God, what am I going to do with you?”

          I wickedly answered. “Everything!”

          Her titillated body pounced on me and she breathed softly into my ear. “Can we do this more

       Edward A. Dean                                                             Southern
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       The two older boys were enthralled with the dirt bikes. Angel‟s joyous but apprehensive face

mentioned that they would sleep with them if she let them. Adam wasn‟t particularly happy with the

mini bike because its top speed was thirty-five miles an hour but he had already convinced Xohal to

let him ride on the back of his Kawasaki‟s long seat. Kimberly would never leave the house without

her small gold chain Gucci bag. Angel related the story of Maria refusing to undress at the Spa but

eagerly enjoyed the facial and hair makeover.

       Nadiya began spending the weekends with me at the vineyard. She loved the land. I assumed

it was a subconscious affinity from her Palestinian background. Our favorite place to stroll was the

southerly hillside overlooking the long valley. Our conversations were relaxed and easy. One late

afternoon I asked about her family background. Her eyes and body turned away in an inadvertent

manner suggesting she was uneasy discussing it. I let it go and changed the subject. As we sat on a
       Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
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stone outcropping near the base of the hill I asked how she and Khalil met. She smiled at me

reassuringly. “Khalil and I have always been just working friends. We met at the Shatilla refugee

camp in Lebanon. Don‟t let his brisk manner fool you. He has a beautiful bleeding heart. His support

of the Lebanese and Palestinian peoples is very generous. He has no agenda but humanity. Isn‟t‟ that

so basic and nurturing? He understands the human condition and addresses it in its basic form. His

recognition of good and evil is part of his sense of being. He judges the results not the proponents.

What I am in love with is his easy saying; „your actions are your deeds.‟ His actions speak to the

man. That is what I love and respect about him. Whatever nefarious things he does not bother me

because he has an agenda and a plan of action. As complex as you may think he is, he is that simple.

It‟s hard not to hide the love in your heart when people want to injure it. I have that same feelings

with you Dave and that‟s why I choose to love you. You have that same soul that wants to take care

of people and make them better than when you met them. I say these things because I want to do the

same. I heal their bodies but I do not know or cannot know how to heal their wounded hearts. This is

where you and Khalil parallel my being. Together we are good. Apart we are only fragments of life.

That is my affinity to Khalil and that is my hope with you. You are more sanguine than Khalil

because of your past. I would love to love you but I don‟t know how. You open the door to your

heart only so far and then you close it protect the last true vestige of your being. I guess we all do

that in our own way but if we are to be naked and vulnerable to another human being, then we need

to open that last chamber and allow someone else inside to kiss away every fear, every tear that your

own little voice speaks to. How do I love you? The question is yours.”

       I chose to dismiss the most important words of truth in my life by using my trite armor.

       I had no answer for her feelings so I let my cynical side speak. “How do I love thee? Let me

count the ways.”
       Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
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       The confusion on her beautiful hopeful face dropped like a thud. She didn‟t comprehend the

segue to the poem. “I‟m sorry Nadiya but I understand you and I‟m not sure what you‟re asking. Do

I love you? I think I do but I‟m not there yet. Do I want to help you mend humanity? Of course I do

but I don‟t know how.”

       Her heart hardened to a fashion of my own. “Let me be plain Dave. Support Khalil in his

endeavors and you support me. That is my simple request. Our agenda is to help the Palestinian

cause. I don‟t know what your dealings are together but I know he will use it to support the

Palestinian people. Be on his side and you are on my side.”

       I was totally confused but I chose to let it lie. I was okay with the subliminal message but I

wanted what we had for the here and now. If there was something I was missing, I didn‟t care. I

wanted her and all that she was. I had the uneasy feeling that I was being used for part of a larger

agenda but I didn‟t care. I used my often-repeated phrase. “Does this mean sex is out of the


       And the often response would be surprise and titillation. But Nadiya shocked me.

       “Sure champ, go for it.” Her eyes told me she wasn‟t lying. It‟s hard to respond when your

number is called and your libido is a hundred miles away. I had to laugh and acquiesce. I never

learned the lesson that a woman could turn on a dime and a man couldn‟t. As a doctor she knew

damn well that male verbosity was bullshit. I laughed and respected her call-down.

       She let me off the hook. “Let me ask you Dave. Have you ever driven the coast south to

watch the whales or see Penguins walk out of the ocean and into a jungle?”

       “No, not really. Are those things really true? I‟ve heard a lot of stories about it but I guess I

never had the time.”
       Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
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       I watched her face scrunch up. “Never had the time? You live in a true Garden of Eden of the

world and you never had the time? I don‟t understand you sometimes. We must go. We must both

clear our calendars for a week or so and just go! We can drive the coastal route down toward

Patagonia. It is a taxing drive but well worth the effort. Can I show you this adventure?”

       I held my breath for a moment and collected my thoughts. I recalled Spanky and Angels

sojourn down the coast and their amazing tales of the beauty and the marvelous dichotomy of Chile.

The country was mountains to the left and an ocean to the right for a thousand miles. In many areas

to the south it was barely a hundred miles wide. There was nothing in Mother Nature this land did

not possess. My mind and interest were geeked. “I love the idea Nadiya. Let‟s do it. You just let me

know when and I‟ll be there.”


       The four-wheel drive of the jeep climbed down the coastal route with the pressured haste of

my foot. Nadiya sat next to me with glancing smiles of a cat. The wind danced through her raven

hair and the smile her on precious face gave me a long forgotten joy. Her fingers and arms flayed in

different directions as she pointed at points of interest. My whole focus was on the little two-lane

highway. I took advantage of most every turnout to share the scenery with her. The cold Humboldt

Current that raced up from Antarctica along the Chilean coast was teeming with life. At one

overlook near Punta La Vejia, she giggled deliriously as she pointed to a pod of whales with calves. I

was awestruck. They were feeding feverously on something in the water and breaching often to

swallow their catch. We were immersed in the scene. We didn‟t want to leave. My eyes drifted to the
       Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
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storm of sea birds that seemed to come in like waves of dive-bombers as they vied for the dredged

up leavings of the whales.

       The land and scenery quickly changed as we headed south through Araucania. Gusts of

Antarctic air off the ocean made us remember where we were heading. My quest was to make the

town of Concepcion even though it was just slightly over two hundred miles. I laughed to myself

thinking about the first time I drove Pacific coast Highway through Big Sur. Why should this be any

different? Reality struck me as I heard Nadiya murmur ever louder under her breath. “Oh my God,

oh my God!” And in a louder voice she shouted. “Dave pull over, pull over, I have to go to the


       I chuckled under my breath. “Oh come on now Nadiya, it‟s not that bad. There is nothing

around here. Are you sure you can‟t wait?”

       With a commanding stern voice she repeated. “No! Now. Right now!”

       At the first opening I pulled off. Nadiya jumped from the vehicle and ran over to a rock

formation for shelter. When she re appeared I knew she was in no mood to be teased. I let it go and

waited for her to speak. “Listen to me Dave, turn this vehicle around. We‟re going back right now.

These roads are upsetting me terribly.”

       We decided to call it a day and spent the night in the little quaint village of Chanco perched

on the seacoast. We found a nice clean hotel with a Germanic charm and settled in for the night.

       After a quick roadside breakfast from a vendor cart we headed south to the city Concepcion.

The drive along the secondary roads of the coast was slow and tiresome. I thought it might be a good

idea to head inland to the Pan American Highway at Concepcion. The city was more of an industrial

port city with a charm of its own.
       Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
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       As we headed inland, we opted to try and make it to the coastal city of Valdivia in the

Province of Biobio. It was renowned as the southern jewel of Chile.

        I had forgotten my hunger when Nadiya opened one of the immense food parcels her uncle

had packed for us. There was a sexual innuendo the way she fed me as we drove. A warm feeling

flushed my mind. I really did love this woman but I didn‟t know how to tell her because there was

that lingering twinge in my soul that felt that I was betraying Jade. Jade and I had discussed the

possibilities that if one of us were to pass, that we should go on with our lives. I know that I

disregarded the notion because I always believed that I would be the one to go first. In my wildest

imagination I never believed it would be her but the guilt wouldn‟t leave my mind.

       As the sun descended the brisk Antarctic breeze commanded our attention. We squirmed into

extra shirts and jackets as the heater labored full force. The sun was nearly down as we pulled into

Valdivia. We found a nice Nordic looking tourist hotel perched on the coastal outskirts of the city

and decided to settle in. Our stark little room overlooked the nearby ocean and I brought a food

packet with a bottle of Southern Cross wine into the room along with our luggage. Nadiya and I

enjoyed the cool sunset from our deck as we ate voraciously.

       My second glass of wine welcomed the rising of the Southern Cross as it glowed across the

heavens. We cuddled warmly into each other‟s body and watched it steadfastly remain rigid in a

changing sky from the small deck of our room. Now I understood why it was such an important sign

to the natives. The majesty of the star clusters was overwhelming. The night sky glowed with distant

galaxies by the thousands yet the Southern Cross shown brilliantly throughout. Never moving, never

wavering against a backdrop of millions of revolving minions. My mind raced to an analogy. I

always thought of myself as the Southern Cross. I always wanted to be the brightest sign in my own

heaven but I never seemed to get there. Why was my need to acquiesce to someone else‟s brilliance
       Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
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and enjoy the background? Maybe it was just the ability to raise someone to that height and know

that I had the power to do that. Maybe my power was in that simple complex task of the pride in

seeing others shine because of me. Maybe, just maybe that was my true joy. It was a difficult

thought. Was I gaining on life or was life gaining on me?

       My racing mind was interrupted as I felt the warm creature snuggle and cup into my body. It

was Nadiya bringing me back to our own reality. It was the physical and emotional warmth of love I

now remembered and wanted.

       The next morning found us having breakfast at very Germanic looking restaurant. One would

almost forget that they were in Chile. Even the waitress‟s were blond haired and blue eyed. The

wooden building was built on stilts in a Nordic fashion. My hunger dismissed the scene. A heavy

breakfast of potato pancakes and German sausages cured that quickly. My face puckered as I sipped

on the horrible coffee of the area. Nadiya laughed at my gesture. “I told you to order the tea.

Germans have never learned to make acceptable coffee.”

       As we left, our attention was drawn to a chorus of barking noises coming from the harbor.

Nadiya screamed. “Sea lions, sea lions! Let‟s go find them. They must be at the harbor.”

       We briskly walked toward the ocean. We were both taken and amazed with all the roses.

They were everywhere we looked along our path. It seemed the city was filled with rose bushes of

every variety and color. I joyously cheated; picked one and handed it to Nadiya. As we made our

way to the dock we could see literally hundreds of Sea lions basking on every available rock in the

harbor. Nadiya laughed at the sight. “Those bulls act like Arab men, its bluster and a lot of noise to

keep their harem close and push the other bulls away.”

       I smiled coyly at her. “Okay, I‟ll accept that. Does this give me license to get a harem?”
       Edward A. Dean                                                         Southern
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       Her stern face broke into a broad smile. “Handle what you have big man and then we‟ll talk

about expansion.”

       We both laughed like a couple of teenagers and headed toward the dock.

        “Oh come on Nadiya. It‟s not so bad. I thought you‟ve been down here before. Let‟s just

make it to Osonoro and we‟ll spend the night and turn around. Is that agreeable?”

       “No. I came down here by boat. I never drove it. If you must know, I have an abiding fear of

heights and I‟m not doing this anymore.”

       “Okay, just put your head in my lap and relax. We should be in Osonoro in a few hours.”

       After a while she complied. I could hear her giggle. “You horny Lebanese ass. You have a

partial erection. If that zipper comes open I promise you I‟m going to bite whatever comes out!”

       I cracked up. “You nasty Palestinian slut, don‟t you even think about that, it was just the

motion of your head on my leg. But keep that thought in your mind for tonight will you; just not the

biting part okay? She giggled as she buried her face into my lap teasingly.

       We finally made Osonoro easily. The town was stark but quaint. In appearance it was a very

European looking. We decided to go down to the docks at Puerto Mont in the morning and see if we

could hire a boat to take us further south toward the Channel Islands.

       With the early morning chill in our faces, we found a small fishing boat for hire. The captain

was very Scandinavian looking. He spoke little English but Nadiya‟s fluent Spanish interpreted his

constant chatter. The rugged coastline loomed stark and desolate in spots and then punctuated with

evergreen tree lines that danced down from the hills in the background. The sea was filled with

every imaginable aquatic creature of the animal kingdom. There was a plethora of life riding every

wave. My mind wandered through the white caps. How could this be? Why do all of these vast

forms of sea life thrive in this vast desolation?
       Edward A. Dean                                                               Southern
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       Nadiya‟s answer was easy. “It is not the land silly. It is the oceans that have the vast

abundance of food. Our being is so attuned to the land but it is the oceans that control over seventy-

five percent of the planet. It is the oceans of the world that dictate life. Think of human life as a

small archipelago in the middle of an ocean that we thrive on. It is the oceans of the world that

control our destinies. There is more life in and under those waters than there is on the surface. We

are a small species that rules the earth from a small space.”

       She was boggling my mind and I responded in humor. “Very prophetic Doctor. We‟re not

procreating in that water unless you enjoy frozen banana dessert.”

       Nadiya giggled. “I enjoy everything about you Dave, even your perverse sense of humor.

Save the banana for more temperate climes will you?”

       Her soft body melted into mine with that wonderful feminine warmth. I was whole. I was

once again alive. We simply enjoyed the rest of the day and headed back.


       Over the next few months Nadiya had taken to Kimberly with enchantment. I liked their

relationship because she was becoming a great role model for Kim. Their laughter and conversations

were a delight to my ears. I was pleasantly surprised at the ease of our growing relationship.

       The Wine Expo was months away and thought it would be prudent and fair to call Rikki and

tell her that I would not be attending and our relationship was over. On her return call I told her that I
       Edward A. Dean                                                          Southern
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was very involved with another woman and it looked like it was going to the next level. I asked her

if we could maintain our friendship on a platonic level. I was taken aback with her histrionics.

       “Platonic? Oh really Dave? After all I‟ve done for you and you choose to treat me this way?

Never mind! I was getting bored with you anyway. Enjoy your new whore.” Before I could respond,

she slammed the phone down. I knew she was very hurt but it was her ground rules that brought us

to this juncture. I was desperate to put it behind me. I never saw a reason to tell Nadiya of my

relationship with Rikki.


       The cool winter evenings of July and August found Nadiya and me spending many dinner

evenings at her uncles‟ restaurant, The Cedars. We often took the kids with us to feed their

newfound addiction to various Middle Eastern foods. Needless to say, their favorites were always

the pastries. Batlewhee, (Baklavah) and mountains of almond butter cookies filled their stomachs

and pockets on the way home. Nadiya delighted in the children‟s interface with her gaggle of her

nieces and nephews. It was a cross culture event that was good for all of them. There were many

spontaneous late evening dabkee line dances and the children soon learned the simple steps and
        Edward A. Dean                                                       Southern
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joined in. The wonderful comfort of community was part of its charm. No one was left out. Young,

old and children were all a part of the long handholding line dance.

        Nate and Xohal had taken up with Nadiya‟s two older nephews, Waleed and Samir. Although

Waleed and Samir were sixteen and seventeen respectively, they took the boys into their inner circle

of friends. Adam would always follow and they treated him like the pesky nuisance he was for the

older boys. I could always see Nate‟s glancing looks toward Adam to make sure he was secure.

        Kimberly would rarely leave Nadiya‟s side. Her comfort level was to be coyly aloof and

mature to all the pleasing glances that she received from the boyish clan. It was the mother-daughter

attachment that she was developing with Nadiya that warmed me. I was enjoying every minute of

this major turn in all our lives.

        On the invitation of Nate and Xohal, Waleed and Samir would often ride out to the ranch

with Nadiya. All four of the boys would ride out to the high hills to race the dirt bikes. Even though

Waleed was the younger of the two cousins he was the most adventurous. Xohal would admire his

stunts and try to duplicate them. As older children, Nate and Samir showed more restraint. Their

bonding camaraderie led to other exploits inside and outside the Palestinian community. Waleed and

Samir helped them develop a taste for chasing girls. I never objected to it because of their isolation

on the property. It was a growing process that they needed to go through. Spanky and me tried to

guide and draw them out with conversation but Nate and Xohal remained muted and loyal to the

groups‟ solidarity. Spanky and I would eye each other knowingly. We totally understood their

bonding experience.

        It was some months before Angel had completed all the shipments of wine to Khalil. I went

into Santiago to check on the bank transfer of funds that we received. The totals were in good order

as agreed to. It wasn‟t that I didn‟t trust Khalil but I wanted to be sure there was no
      Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
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misunderstanding. I stopped at a wine shop to pick up a bottle of French Champagne and spotted a

shelf lined with our Southern Cross wines. It was the first time that I had seen our wine on a retail

shelf. A feeling of ecstasy overwhelmed me and I bought a case from the proprietor. He smiled and

told me that the wine was from one of the local vineyards and was very good quality. I quietly

beamed with satisfaction.

       When I arrived back at the Casa, I called Angel and Spanky to give them the good news.

Angel‟s face glowed with pride as Spanky, Maria and I praised her acumen. The funds had put us

into a very healthy positive cash flow situation. I explained to them about my purchase from the

downtown Santiago wine merchant and Angel laughed.

       “Let‟s try it first. I have a surprise for you all.”

       I opened a bottle and poured a glass for each of us. I was the first to try it and it was excellent

for the price. “What‟s the surprise Angel? It‟s very good.”

       Her patented smirk peeked over her uplifted glass. “These aren‟t our grapes! I bought this

fruit from Concha Y Toro. They had an excess of fruit and I bought it for less than our production

cost. It was quality stuff so I made an executive decision. Do you like it?”

       My grin told her everything she needed to know. “Angel, you are too much! What did we do

to deserve you?”

       A slight tear underscored her pride. She raised her glass and put her arm around Spanky‟s

waist and pulled him to her. “I‟ve never said it and I need to tell you both how you two changed my

life. You gave me a chance to blossom and I‟ll never forget it. I want to propose a toast to my

M&M‟s; Main men.” She looked up into Spankys face and I could see her mouth a silent „I love

you.‟ And to you Dave, I have to tell you that you are the biggest and boldest asshole I‟ve ever

experienced but I wouldn‟t have you any other way. If your wallet ever caught up to your heart you
       Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
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would be a billionaire and I love you both for bearing with me through our hard times. Here‟s to

family forever.”

       I kissed her on the check and caught Maria‟s teary face out of the corner of my eye. She

understood every nuance of the conversation. I reached over and pulled her into our circle.


       In a blink of an eye, nineteen-eighty-five was upon us. The extra business with Khalil gave

us a tidy profit. Angels prudent spot buys of excess fruit from the valleys helped with our branded

product. My relationship with Nadiya was everything I wanted. Her frequent trips to the Middle East

refugee camps, rekindled our hunger for each other on her return but the intensity of the health

problems in the camps was taking an emotional toll on her. Instead of coming back fulfilled in her

altruism, her haggard look spoke to a heavy heart. Every visit seemed put another crack in her

psyche. She was growing intolerant of the continued abuse of her people. The Israeli‟s were closing

the universities on the West Bank. Professors were being arrested for speaking out about injustice.

The continued Israeli settlements expanding into Palestinian territory was seen as another step in the
      Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
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conquest of their land. Their homes were being bulldozed with regularity to make way for new

Israeli settlements.

        Dark clouds filled the minds of the young Palestinians. Vigor and testosterone were their

weapons. As the Russian Czar‟s fatefully learned, fill the streets with the intelligent young and you

fill the streets with rebellion. And rebellion it was. To this day the Israeli‟s refuse to learn that

lesson. You cannot crush ideals, hope and aspiration with tanks and rubber bullets. Dignity is a small

price to pay for peace.

        Nate and Waleed were becoming very close friends. It seemed that every idea Waleed

espoused, came out of Nate‟s mouth. Xohal and Samir tolerated each other. Xohal was feeling

neglected by Nate.

        Spanky and my talks with the boys centered on a choice of universities. We wanted them to

attend a university in the U.S. Angel pushed for a choice in California. Nate vacillated because he

knew that Waleed and Samir couldn‟t go. Xohal liked the idea of an American university but he

seemed to always defer to Nate‟s wishes. It was Angel that finally forced the issue and insisted on

U.C.L.A. It would allow them to use their bilingual abilities to attain easy credits in Spanish and

South American history. Their years of private tutoring would serve them well. To seal the deal, I

offered to sponsor Waleed and Samir to get into U.CL.A. I discussed the idea with Nadiya and she

thought that it would be a wonderful gift for the boys. Her sister was overjoyed with the idea.

        The four boys were ecstatic at the prospect of all going to the same school. Even though

Samir had already completed a year at the university in Santiago, he agreed to start all over again

with the other three at U.C.L.A. They spent the entire winter months riding the dirt bikes up in the

hills. They were continually going up to the higher hills. The paths were more treacherous but they
       Edward A. Dean                                                             Southern
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disregarded the dangers as they challenged each other‟s bravado. After listening to all of Adam‟s

pleading, I bought him a small gasoline bike so he could ride along with the other boys.

       Late in July I was walking the fields and inspecting the vines for a sign of budding. It was

late in the day when I heard Spankys frantic voice calling to me.

       “Dave, Dave, come quick. The boys are at a small clinic in the mountains.”

       I looked at the panic on his drawn face. “What happened Spank? Is anyone hurt?”

       “It‟s Nate, Dave. He cut a large artery in his leg and needs to get to a major hospital. You

take one of the jeeps and bring the other boys back and I‟ll take Nate into Santiago.”

       When we arrived Nate was lying on a bed next to Adam. I immediately went to Adam‟s side.

       “Are you hurt? What happened?”

       He smiled up at me. “No Dad, I‟m fine. I just gave a transfusion to Nate. They didn‟t have

any blood here, so I gave him mine.”

       I glanced up at Waleed and Samir. Waleed offered. “I‟m sorry Uncle Dowud but we couldn‟t

give Nate our blood. Nate is „A‟ negative and Adam was the closest match. Adam lied to the doctor

and told him he was fourteen so the doctor took his blood. We had no choice. Spanky overheard the

conversation and gave me a fleeting look. He quickly helped Nate out to the car and rushed off to the

hospital. I took care of the clinic‟s bill and packed Adam and his small bike into the jeep. Waleed

and Samir offered to ride the bikes back to the ranch.

       Back at the casa, Waleed explained what happened. In an uncharacteristic loud voice, I

yelled at Waleed and Samir, blaming them for not being more careful.

       “You two are older and should have used better judgment!”

        Angel was distraught with Waleeds story. She grabbed the keys from me and headed into

        Edward A. Dean                                                        Southern
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       Later that evening Spanky and Angel brought Nate home. They had stitched up his leg and

gave him an additional transfusion. Angel looked haggard over the ordeal and wanted to turn in

early. The boys were resting easy.

          It wasn‟t long before Nate was up and about. The incident was quickly dismissed.

          A month had passed since the accident when Spanky asked me to join him in the winery‟s

small tasting room. I could smell the odor of pot as I entered. I knew Spanky never smoked during

the day. He pushed a glass of one of Angel‟s new blends toward me. I quizzically peered over my

glass at him as I tried it.

          “I have something I need to get off my chest Dave. I don‟t even know if you realize what‟s

going on after Nate‟s accident.” I looked at him with some curiosity.

          “What‟s going on brother? What‟s on your mind?”

          “Don‟t call me brother right now Dave. It‟s just Bill and Dowud. The real us! No more

hiding, no more dirty little secrets.”

          I was very perplexed. “What the hell are you talking about Spank? Get it out and on the


          “Okay, here it is. Did it ever dawn on your pea brain that the reason that Nate and Adam

have an unusual negative blood strain is that they could be related?”

          “Stop it Spanky. A lot of people have an RH negative factor.”

          “How about you Dave? What‟s your blood type?”

          I had to think for a moment. And then it dawned on me. “It‟s…It‟s….. A negative. And so

what? It‟s not that unusual. What the hell are you getting at Spank? Or should I call you Bill?”

          “It is Dave. Angel confessed that Nate was a blue baby, meaning that his blood was

incompatible with hers. So it didn‟t come from her side. And it‟s more unusual when the all children
         Edward A. Dean                                                             Southern
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in this extended family are all negative. Including you. Listen, I„ve already had this conversation

with Angel and she‟s vacillating all over the place. And I know Angel too well. She‟s lying her ass

off! She knows Dave. She knows! And we‟re the only two idiots that don‟t. I swallowed on a long

gulp of the wine. “But you know something Dave, I really don‟t care. I suspected as much. There is

something I‟ve never told you but see, I only have one testicle and thought I might be sterile. Are

you surprised? Years ago I had to have the one that wasn‟t distended surgically removed. The doctor

told me that if I didn‟t, there was an eighty-percent chance that it would turn cancerous, so I did. He

told me that there was a good chance that I was sterile all along.”

       “ Spank, I‟m sorry, I never knew about the operation.”

       Spanky gruffly laughed. “What the fuck should you care Dave? I wasn‟t you!”

       “What I‟m trying to say Spank is there are other possibilities.”

       “Oh sure. I‟ve already had this conversation with Angel. And you know what her answer

was? „Do you think you two are the only swinging dicks on this planet? Was I some kind of chattel

property for the both of you? It is what it is, so let it go.‟ She‟s hiding the truth. Right now Dave, I‟m

full of pot and booze but I have only one thing to say. If Nate is your biology, thanks for the gift. I

don‟t care where he came from only that he‟s my son. If it is a fact, thanks for the gift. He is and will

always be my child. If I had to choose his father from a sperm bank, I guess it might be you. Let‟s

just think of you as my sperm bank. So just let me say, thank you and let it go. It‟s gone into the

history of the past because that‟s where it belongs. I have a beautiful wife and son that love and

adore me and I don‟t want that to ever change. And it won‟t because I will never let it. Nate is not a

stupid kid and he may suspect some day but I need your word that he will never know from our lips.

Do we understand each other?”
       Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
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       “I understand Spanky. I just don‟t know what to say. Are you saying that everyone knows

except me? Oh God, where was my head?”

        “In a wine barrel Dave, you were consumed with that singularity. When you focus on one

thing, nothing interferes with it. There could be an earthquake under your feet and you still would be

focused on the task at hand. There is a fine line between love and hate Dave. But I choose to love

you, in spite of your shortcomings. You have a choice. We can remain as friends or we can part as

friends. It‟s your choice.”

       “I want to keep what we have Spank. I don‟t want to change anything. I do love everything

we have created together. I may be Nate‟s biology but you are truly his father. You‟re the man that

has been there for him through all his childhood trials and tribulations. You‟re the man that

developed his personality and mindset. If you and Angel can accept this then I will support anything

you ask of me.”

       We hugged each other with a deep sincerity and left.


       In early September we decided to have a graduation party for all of the boys. We were

fortunate in getting them all accepted into U.C.L.A. main campus. The early spring weather was

conducive for an outdoor celebration. I had Nadiya‟s uncle from the restaurant cater the food. Maria

took this as a slight but Angel quickly made amends with our matriarchal cook to allow her to

participate. She wouldn‟t have it any other way. These were her children also. Too many long nights
       Edward A. Dean                                                             Southern
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were spent in her kitchen with all four of them talking and laughing as she allowed them to sneak

glasses of wine out of her personal pantry. They reveled with glee in her animated admonishments. It

was a learning game between them. They were her children, heart and soul. Maria‟s words and food

of love touched each one of them in a different way but the common bond with all of them was the

often stern, sometimes smiling, the always-loving eyes that reached into their soul with a hug and a

kiss. Her love transcended the graveyard of her own past.

       I hired a local dabkee band from the small local Lebanese community to play. Wonderful

food and wine flowed all evening and in Arabic fashion, the celebrants‟ lavish oaths “that it was the

best party ever” were typical. I understood and appreciated their ethnic verbosity and accolades.

Nadiya‟s‟ sister Sirryah thanked me over and over again for helping her two boys to get into

U.C.L.A. Her dark eyes told me that all her sincerity was spoken from her heart.

       Nadiya and I laughed ourselves silly as we watched Spanky vainly try to keep up with the

dabkee line dance. I knew he was higher than hell on pot but I never let on.

       It was after three in the morning before the last guest left. Nadiya and I poured ourselves into

my bed. I watched as she undressed with the moonlight splashing over her soft body, as it flowed

through the window. I pulled her to me and kissed her passionately. We consumed each other in a

heated passion. Her breathless whimpers spurred my own sensitivity to new heights. My emotional

release pushed deep inside her and we fell away in spent passion. As I held her in my arms that night

I knew and understood that I wanted her for the rest of my life. Nadiya had tried to express the same

thing to me many times before but my troubled emotions were not listening.

       September and the boy‟s school came quickly. There was a soft peace in my mind. Late

evening conversations flowed with Nadiya, Spanky and Angel. For the first time in many years there
       Edward A. Dean                                                        Southern
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wasn‟t a worry of where the two teenagers were and what they assumed was their next grand

adventure. Adam and Kimberly were an easier task.

       Spanky and I pitched in and got the four boys a small car to get around in. There was little

contact with them except for the occasional letter. We knew they would be busy with school. All we

really cared about is that they were safe. We chuckled at the thought of their social interactions.

Spanky laughed at the thought and with raised arms in an animated motion shouted. “Hey Dave. The

boys are probably running around the campus and shouting, „Free at last, free at last! Thank God

almighty we‟re free at last!‟ “

       We all laughed at the sight and shared his humor. A nostalgia came over Spanky and me as

we remembered our own feelings of the first time of being on our own.


       The sweet fragrance of the southern hemisphere spring blossoms wafted through the dining

room. A peaceful dinner conversation flowed between Nadiya, Spanky, Angel and me. Angel‟s

small remark changed the direction. “It feels like old times Dave. Nadiya‟s mannerisms remind me

of Jade. It‟s like my mind can‟t tell the difference between them anymore.”

       Nadiya squirmed uncomfortably. “Thank you Angel. I know you mean this from your heart

and I accept it as such.”

       Angel blushed with embarrassment. “I apologize to you all. I did mean it in the kindest way.

I know we all never spoke of her and I want you all to understand that I am getting attached to

Nadiya in the same way. But I‟m going to beg a favor of you Nadiya. I have never accepted the facts

of Jades passing. Is it possible that you could examine the records and let us know what your opinion
        Edward A. Dean                                                         Southern
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is? It would ease my mind to know that we did everything possible.” Angel turned to me. “And I

know that this has been something that has haunted you for years Dave. Maybe just knowing the

truth will set us all free.”

        Nadiya saw the hurt in my eyes. “I don‟t know if this is a good idea but maybe it is time to

bury the past. I don‟t even know if I want to know.”

        Nadiya grabbed my hand under the table. “It‟s always good to know the truth Dave. If you

want me to, I can look it up.”

        “Maybe you‟re both right. Take a look whenever you can.”

        Her soft smile warmed me. We all let it pass and turned our conversation to other things.

        It was nearly two weeks later that Nadiya gave us the news.

        She started by reaching for the wine and refilling our glasses. “You will need this.

        I did what you asked of me Dave and pulled Jade‟s medical records. You all are not going to

be happy with what I have to tell you. Her death was very preventable but there was no neglect.”

         “Please Nadiya, just tell me the truth. It has been something that has haunted me for years. I

have to know so I can let it go.”

        “The septicemia was treatable but she received out-dated antibiotics. Their potency was not

what it should have been. It wasn‟t the fault of the doctor.”

        Her remarks raised Spankys ire. “Are you protecting the doctors Nadiya? Why would they

knowingly give her outdated medication?”

        “Listen to me, all of you. This unfortunately is not uncommon in third world nations. This is

one reason that the Chileans have pushed to have their own pharmaceutical companies. For years the

big American pharmaceuticals have been giving, selling or diverting out-dated products on to the

world market. It is simple economic greed. If they give it away as a humanitarian charity, they get a
        Edward A. Dean                                                             Southern
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big tax write-off. If their corporate balance sheet needs some extra income at the end of a quarter,

They will push their sales people to divert it.”

       “What do you mean divert?” I queried.

       “Diverters are companies that promise to buy truckloads at heavily discounted pricing. They

then promise not to sell it in the U.S. They simply re-label it and sell it in third world markets. This

has happened to me many times in Palestine. We get over-labeled product and I know it is wrong.

The diverters use the premise that they are applying a bi-lingual label on the product. When I was an

intern in the Middle East, I lost many patients this way until an older doctor opened my eyes and told

me the truth. His advice was to over-medicate. Never under-medicate because that produces better

results. Death from over –medication is five to seven percent. Under-medication can cause thirty to

fifty percent mortality. It is the lesser of two evils. So now when I go to the camps I only kill five

people instead of fifty. Isn‟t that wonderful? On every visit I get the opportunity to murder more of

my own kind because of their greed”

       The sarcasm of her words caused her to break down. Her face was streaming tears. “Your

country gave me the opportunity to become a doctor. And I use those skills to help my own people

survive in ungodly concentration camps. Hoping beyond hope that one day they will be free to live a

life without tyranny. And your big pharmaceutical companies help me murder them. They give me

the tools to kill more Palestinians than any Israeli soldier could hope for. Don‟t you taste the irony

Dave? Maybe one day the Israeli government will award me the Star of David for uncommon

service. It‟s to laugh! It‟s to cry! And right now I choose to cry for the savage greed and the death

that it wreaks.”
       Edward A. Dean                                                         Southern
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       Angel reached for her and put her arms around her quaking body. “I‟m so sorry Nadiya. I

didn‟t mean to bring up all this pain. I should have kept my big mouth shut. You‟re safe here with

us. Please don‟t go back to the camps anymore. Stay and let your pain heal.”

        “You don‟t understand Angel. There are so few doctors in those camps. I have to do this.

When I hold a beautiful dark-eyed baby in my arms and need to medicate it, I am playing Russian

roulette with its life. Go with the odds or ignore them. Every day I am there I do this. Every day I am

Doctor Death or a savior. What would you choose for your people Angel? I choose but I do not like

the choices I have. I must decide just like a Las Vegas gambling junkie. I choose to gamble.”

       The anger flushed bright red in Spankys face. “This is just typical dirty international

corporate greed. They buy American elections just like they did here in Chile and Argentina. Reagan

and all his right-winged mammoths are no different. Their trickle down economics are simple. Feed

the corporate beast and their trickle down is to piss on our heads. Us small businessmen are just as

stupid. We‟re not part of the home team, we just have an umbrella; sometimes!”

       I knew Spanky was getting off on a tangent. “Let it go Spank. We‟re not going to get a

chance to change the world from this vineyard in the middle of nowhere.”

       The eerie look on Spankys face grabbed me. “You‟re wrong Dave. This is a small planet and

everything affects everything else. You can‟t play Stop the world, I want to get off, because it

doesn‟t work that way. We need to help Nadiya support her endeavors. There must be something we

can do. Let‟s find a way.”

       Nadiya leaned over to Spanky. “Thank all of you for your love and support. But The

Palestinian need is the same basic need of all people through the ages. Dignity! Isn‟t this what the

Jews asked of the Romans two thousand years ago? Isn‟t this what they asked of Nazi Germany?
       Edward A. Dean                                                             Southern
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And they have the gall to deny it to the Palestinians? How small and contrite the world is. Forget

history and we forget our heritage as a human race.”

       Angel interjected. “But this is their homeland.”

       Nadiya‟s hard look belied her voice. “Excuse me Angel? Someone shows up on your front

porch steps after two thousand years and says this is my home. I want it back. Do you walk away? If

the Arucandian Indians came to you tomorrow and asked for your vineyards back would you leave?

We offered to share but Zionist greed wants all of it, including our now squalid camps. Where do

you put three million homeless and deprived people? The Saudis don‟t want us. The Jordanians can‟t

hold us and we have overrun Lebanon. We cannot run away from the only life we have known for

two thousand years. The land is our houses, our farms, our orchards but now they are bulldozed for

more Israeli apartments for Western Jews that have been absent for millennia.

       Angel interjected. “But Nadiya, why do you all the Arab nations say they want to drive the

Israelis into the ocean? Why can‟t they shut up and acknowledge Israel‟s right to exist?”

       It is our mouths and rhetoric that will be our damnation in the West. You need to understand

the Arabic culture. Rhetoric is what we live and die by. When you Americans swear, you overuse

just one word; fuck! When we swear we are prolific. We damn your soul, your family and all its

members; your honor and your mother‟s vagina for giving birth to you; to name just a few. We are a

verbal culture. We paint our venom and concerns in words. When those words are translated in the

Western press we sound like ignorant maniacs.”

       Spanky belly-laughed. “It makes sense to me!”

       “Of course Spanky; look at your own. The Irish have sworn and dammed the English for

centuries in song and verse. It is their Irish rhetoric that has made them great and small. It is that

verbosity that has allowed the English to paint you as an ignorant bunch of rabble rousing potato
        Edward A. Dean                                                             Southern
        Crossed dean
eaters. But it is that same verbal eloquence that has given a voice to so many of your writers and

humorists. Our poets do not have an English or Western voice. Our agony is divided and

misunderstood by language. Through the interpretation of our language, we are treated as an asinine

and irrational noise in the wind.”

        Angel smiled and the quandary. “There‟s a simple solution Nadiya. Just tell them what they

want to hear. Tell the Israeli‟s you agree with their right to exist. It could be a start.”

        “Let me explain. Israel and Palestine are like two schoolyard boys fighting. When one is on

top of the other he says „Say uncle. Say you surrender.‟ And the other little boys pride gets in the

way. He would rather take a beating than look like a coward in front of his classmates. He knows

that if he does surrender, the beatings will never stop from the other bullies.

        Angel reached for her hand. “I understand Nadiya but I also understand the suffering of the

Jews. The one‟s I have experienced are good and decent people”

        “Again, that is the crux of the misunderstanding. That is exactly the Western mindset. We are

not against the Jews. Judaism is a religion. We are against the Israeli government. They are not the

same thing. It is nation against nation. Not religion against religion. As vocal and vociferous as Iran

and Syria are, they have never said anything against Jewry. Listen to their tirades. It‟s always against

the Israeli government. As true Muslims, they cannot hate or take up arms against the Jews because

in the Koran the Jews are called Ahil kitab; the peoples of the book. And it is a mortal sin to harm

them in any way. Nor can they be asked to convert; unlike the Christians.

        Understand me now. I want life, liberty and respect for my people. A simple request and that

denial is the root of the problem. When all hope of redemption is lost people resort to guns and

violence that is what we have. And guns and violence are answered in their own kind. The brave

generals sit in their back line huts and order the young and beautiful boys to die. Their answer is war
        Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
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is glorious and in the name of the motherland or fatherland, whichever war is current. On both sides

they get to die in the name of country and God! How, when or why does God get to choose sides?”

        Let America‟s money stay out of it. If you leave the money in the equation, there will never

be peace. Their misplaced support will never let this war end. Israel needs to feel the economic

suffering to want to stop this. As long as they have a lot of money, guns and bodies to support their

expansion they will never stop. Just as your country tried to do in Vietnam. When the common

people in your country gagged on the money and body bags, the war stopped.

       I ask your countrymen to do just one thing. Don‟t try to solve the world‟s problems, just

solve your own! And God knows, you have your own.

       The answer is easy. Give that money to your black and Hispanic poor. Have you read your

newspapers lately? Your Reagan government throws the mentally incompetent out on the streets and

closes the mental hospitals. He is crazier than all those Vietnam Veterans that he threw out on the

streets. He doesn‟t understand mental illness and he doesn‟t understand global warming. It is not that

he is stupid. He is ignorant; ignorant of the facts of science. He listens to our corporate lobbyists and

they chirp into his ear a lot of disinformation. And there you have my problems and yours. We are

all interconnected

        It will come home to roost one day in your own country Dave. It will devastate your people

but they will not tolerate it. The right-wing Reaganite‟s will go the way of the mammoths, for that‟s

what they are. Your corporations own and rule your country and someday their avarice will consume

them. And what of the Israelis? They steal your most valuable secrets with impunity and make a

mockery of your press. And nothing is said or done because if you dare, they will call you an anti-


       “So what do the Palestinians really want Nadiya?”
       Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
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       “We don‟t want Israelis‟ lives or their land. We want freedom and self-determination for our

own people. Is that too much to ask? Your country has it. Europe has it. Why can‟t we?”

        But mark my words. One day your people will wake up and find that trickle-down

economics is urine! As your friend Spanky likes to say, „someone is pissing on my head.‟

       Spanky gave her a wry smile. “What can we do to help?”

       “I don‟t know, maybe just understanding would be a start. You see good people on both sides

really want to end this bloodshed. I have many Israeli friends and people that want to help end this.

But you know what the problem is my friends? It is the old right winged religious zealots on both

sides like Meier Kahane, who claims to be a Rabbi and think that God has given them the power to

speak for everyone and espouse murder and genocide. They want to destroy our humanity but they

want do it in God‟s name. The only thing that would help is a law; a law that says that every

religious zealot politician over the age of sixty should be summarily shot. I‟m sorry. I guess my dark

humor isn‟t working. Where are your strong liberal voices of the sixties? I always loved their

vociferous enthusiastic voices. They passed down the courage of my own. When did they disappear?

Why did their voices die? It was such a beautiful moment in time. They were so right and so wrong

but they spoke to the joy of life. If we ever understand only one thing, it is the vibrancy of youth.

Your countries leaders want to turn them into young Republicans and young Democrats. They want

to quell their voice and idealism. They remembered that wonderful voice of your forefathers. The

language in the motto, Don‟t tread on me. But they lost their voice and were turned into clones of

the masters.”

       I simply shook my head. “Maybe the sixties died in the self-indulgence of the eighties and

I‟m probably part of that group. We all just lost the idealism and zeal of youth, except maybe

Spanky.” We smiled knowingly into each other. I looked across the table to the ladies. “Spank has
       Edward A. Dean                                                       Southern
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never given up on humanity. The real reason him and me complement each other is he‟s my

conscience and I‟m his greed. He takes care of the heart and I take care of the wallet.”

       I saw Spankys eyes narrow. “It‟s not the way it is Dave. Sure, I‟m your alter ego sometimes

but your heart is clean. Do you handle most of the ugly shitty things in our lives that I abhor? Of

course you do because you relish in tearing everybody a new ass. We are friends and brothers

because we understand and respect each other‟s views. And God knows that if we were gay we

would be screwing each other!”

       With that remark, everyone broke out in laughter. Spanky always had a way of putting a

humorous spin on things to ground our emotions. He was always basic and his raunch could always

put a twist on the perspective. My reflection turned somber.” Sometimes life has a way of smacking

us in the face and tells us to get in line. It‟s our survival mode. We do what‟s necessary to survive

and we fall in line with the current agenda. It‟s life! On paper, Spanky and I are millionaires. We‟re

in the wrong class.” Spanky wanted to object but I stopped him

       Nadiya squinted her eyes at me. “No Dave, it‟s not life, it‟s surrender. You have surrendered

to the right. My young Palestinian children will not let it die. They take to the streets every day. The

Israeli government has closed their Universities and schools because their teachers have espoused

truths. They have been put on the street with nothing more than frustration and hatred. They are now

your Kent State and Chicago Seven all rolled up into one venomous pile. Do the Israelis expect them

to go away whimpering? It is a huge mistake! When your people closed Berkeley and other

Universities, did they cower in a corner? No! Your youth took to the streets and fomented

revolution. Your country will never realize how close they were to that precipice. I‟m tired Dave.

Please excuse my ranting. I have had too much wine and pain. This is my dark side. I told you many

times before. This is why I scare off many of my friends. They won‟t put up with my rhetoric.”
       Edward A. Dean                                                               Southern
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       Later that month Nadiya returned to the West Bank to help in a hospital near the town of

Ramallah. She wrote to me almost every day. I walked to the postal box with anticipation. Her

graphic observations shocked my sensibilities. I shared her love and pain in every letter. The

attendance of a birth of a child, and the dying wishes of the old; to the shrapnel and rubber bullets on

the West Bank.

       “Hello my loving man;

       Today was easy. There were no major confrontations, only the birth of four beautiful babies.

Their washed pink skin never ceases to amaze me. Little wrinkled faces, peering out from a dirty

blanket. The mother only wants to count ten fingers and toes to know the child is all right. Their little

lungs cry to survive. It is good because that is how Mother Nature makes them breathe. But my real

worry is not about fingers and toes, it is about survival. How will this little wrinkled faced creature

survive the rubber bullets of the streets? I whisper these words into each child‟s ear as I hand them

to the mother; Allah ma‟ak. (God be with you) You will need every blessing, because you have been
      Edward A. Dean                                                              Southern
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brought into the hellhole of humanity. A good thing is that the sun shines and the weather is warm

and no one died today. I do love you and miss you.

       Love Always;


       I did cheat and share her ongoing letters with Angel and Spanky. They cared almost as much

as I did. We shared the funny laughter and tears as any family would. I missed her so dearly that I

wanted her to quit and come home but I knew that she was sacrificing her own happiness for the

love and care of her people.

       Every day Angel would ask if Nadiya had written and every day I would share all the pain

and love in her letters. The last letter I received was when she told me she was going into Lebanon to

help the Hezbullah fighters in the south.

       Hello my lover;

       I miss you greatly. The war in the south of Lebanon is raging. There are many Palestinian

fighters along side of Hezbullah patriots. The Israelis and their paid Phalangist scum have invaded

southern Lebanon. Hezbullah believes they will annex it into Israel. It doesn‟t matter who is right,

there are many wounded. Six of us doctors and nurses are going in to attend the wounded. Two of

them are Israeli medical staff. We all have sworn by our Hippocratic oath to attend the needy

regardless of kind. It is a breakthrough I need to pursue. I know we will be safe because we will fly

the colors of both sides. After this venture I will come home to you. My body and my soul need your

loving arms. I miss our quiet easy nights on the verandah and most of all I miss the cool evening

mountain breeze washing over our nude bodies as we lay in your bed; to relish in the scent of our

sex. There is not a flower on earth that can give me the fragrance of us.

       Always and faithfully;
       Edward A. Dean                                                                Southern
       Crossed dean

       That was the last letter she sent. I waited for days on end but I understood she was in a war

zone. My anticipation and hope was a blank slate. Weeks later, my answer arrived from a

nondescript International Red Cross letter.

       My beautiful Nadiya is dead. Once more the dogs of war had eaten. The worth and beauty of

her person does not show up on the statistical level. My magnificent, loving, giving Nadiya is dead!

It doesn‟t matter which bullet or shell ripped her body apart. Was the munition Israeli or American

made? The origin of death doesn‟t matter. A wonderful universal soul that believed in the love of

all mankind is dead. That added statistic is just one! We all want to understand love, truth, and

beauty and but the statistic is one. How many other statistics have cheated the human race? The

newly added score is one; one hundred; one thousand; one million! When and how do we pull the

scoreboard down? One life is not significant or insignificant. One more name in the human parade

does not stop it. It is only the name next to yours and mine that matters. It is that single individual

step that can make the parade turn right or left. As we walk through our existence, every step

matters. No life is cheap or expendable. Every smile is an integral part of our journey. I have lost a

step, a smile and a piece of my being. I must place a name on this statistic. Her name is Nadiya. A

lovely and giving soul that only wanted to heal mankind. She was a doctor. She was a woman. She

was my lover. She held my heart but to the world she is just number; just one more statistic of war.

         According to Islamic law, her body was taken to her family‟s hometown for burial. I called

her sister and uncle in Santiago to arrange a memorial service for her at our casa. The huge

Palestinian community showed up in force. I flew all the boys‟ home from college to attend. Both

Butch and Khalil called to say that they were coming in for her memorial.
       Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
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         Khalil quietly harbored a great love and respect for her constant endeavors. I never

realized how much he really loved her. I could feel the hate fume from his eyes but his lips said

nothing. I never knew that he was the one that paid for her charitable flights back and forth from the

Middle East. It was Waleed that told me.

         The daylong memorial service was full of praises for her endeavors and mutterings of the

damnation of Israel for causing her death. I was told many beautiful stories of Nadiya growing up.

For the first time I was exposed to many facets of this quiet gem. Waleed and Samir were both very

vehement with their epitaphs of Israel. I understood and shared their overriding grief but not their

hatred. The heavyhearted day was cathartic for me.

         Butch quietly slipped his arm around me in comfort. He was never more than a step away

trying to help me through this trying time. I smiled at him in thanks and casually asked, “Where‟s

Rita Butch?”

         Butch smiled. “One of her cats is terminally sick and she couldn‟t make it. I‟m sorry

cousin; it‟s a bad attempt at humor. Actually she‟s up for a job as an Assistant Secretary of Health

and Human Services. It‟s something she‟s worked her whole life for. She really deserves the

appointment. I never did control Rita. Actually she always controlled me.”

         I smiled in surprise. ”Oh really? I always thought she was your main…..”

         Butch threw his head back with laughter. “Naw, naw Dave. You got it wrong. I love that

little bitch. I‟m her slut puppy not the other way around. Remember the Bob Segur song? „I used her

and she used me and that is the way it should always be.‟ Well it wasn‟t. I finally fell in love with

Rita and she fell in love with her career so that makes me the-odd-man-out. I don‟t have a problem

with all of it. She deserves the power and status. She‟s worked her ass off for it. He gave me a wry

toothy grin. “But we‟re still great in bed together.”
        Edward A. Dean                                                               Southern
        Crossed dean
         “I‟m sorry Butch, I never realized…. “

         His arm around my neck pulled me to him as we strolled in the outer garden. “It‟s okay

Dave, nobody does. She plays the acquiescing female to my King Henry very well. She will never

let anyone disrespect me and that‟s why I really care for her so much. Yea we let our hair down

around family and that‟s why we love to needle each other in front of you. It lets us be us. You know

Dave; she‟s kinda like Nadiya. She has that humanistic soul that wants to heal society. Just like you

wouldn‟t take away Nadiya‟s‟ need to give back, I can‟t interfere with Rita„s ascension; not that she

would let me but if I put a permanent relationship on the table, she might stumble and I could never

do that to her. It‟s ironic Dave isn‟t it? You physically lose a love in your life and I and lose one

emotionally. Mine was a choice, yours wasn‟t. His strong arm pulled me to him and he tilted his

head on mine. “After all these years our childhood still connects us Dave. Whatever I did, you did

and vice versa. You think there is a brain stem connection that links our lives?” I pulled up to a halt

and threw my arm over his shoulder and pulled him to me. I pressed my cheek to his and I could feel

wetness on his face.

         “We‟re connected cousin and we will always be. We‟re family, we‟re friends, we‟re

antagonists and protagonists. Are roots are who we are. And if we can‟t appreciate us than who


         Butch pulled away and looked at me with a solemn face. “Aw fuck Dave, I came down

here to console you and here you are consoling me. Ain‟t that a fucked up thing.”

         “No it‟s not Butch. You came all this way to honor a beautiful lady and a beautiful soul.

Let us both take her caring and continue it in her honor. Rita is helping with her own journey. Maybe

there will be things that cross our paths that we can do for her memory. Can I make a suggestion?

When is the last time you and Rita had a heart to heart?”
       Edward A. Dean                                                                Southern
       Crossed dean
        “Never or rarely Dave; what‟s your point?”

         “My point is why don‟t you two get down and dirty and talk about your needs? Have the

two of you ever had a little bud, a lot of wine and got naked face to face?”

         Butch smiled. “Oh oh; no sex toys? Come on Dave, that‟s not us. We deal with reality.”

         “Maybe that‟s your problem Butch. Guys deal with reality. Women deal with fantasy. Get

fucked up for once in your life and give her the fantasy she deserves. Maybe you need to get really

fucked up to come out of your hard assed shell. She understands that persona but she knows it‟s not

you. She wants to deal with the little Butch that loves to sail and went hunting with an air rifle for

dragons. Women know us but the problem is we don‟t know ourselves. We want to be the dragon

slayer and bring it home to dinner but women only want a corn bread sandwich. If you want that

lady, find a way to make it the two of you.”

         “Let me think about it. I do want Rita but I don‟t know if she needs me.”

         “Quit being a wimp, of course she needs you. Don‟t lose her like I lost all the women in my

life. I never did what I‟m preaching but I wanted to. Life got in the way and my pompous ass never

told them. I never told them how dear they were to me. I never told them Butch and that‟s the sin to

my own hell. I never gave them the simple respect of telling them that I loved all the things they

were trying to hide because I‟ve been hiding my own inadequacies. It‟s a bitch tying to be a dragon

slayer all your life because you forget what‟s real. Reality is that soft loving piece of flesh lying next

to you in bed who understands you better than you understand yourself. But the only thing we dream

about is building a better sword.”

         Butch looked at me quizzically, not quite understanding if the talk was for him or me but

deferred to my grief. “I guess you‟re right Dave, The good die young and the scum lives on.”
       Edward A. Dean                                                         Southern
       Crossed dean
        His hand subconsciously rubbed across his face and forced his quintessential overbite

smile. “Especially at the Pentagon.”

         We both laughed at his cynical comment and walked back.

          Khalil arrived quietly and slipped into the throng. All of the family heads greeted his

presence with a knowing nod. At first I didn‟t notice but when Waleed and all the young men

gathered around him, it piqued my curiosity. I understood the Arabic custom of paying homage to a

wealthy successful person and I assumed that‟s what was going on. But why? I simply assumed it

was his generosity to the Palestinian cause. As the evening waned, Nadiya‟s sister Sirryah

approached me. “Please Dowud; can you talk to Waleed and Khalil? I don‟t want Waleed and Samir

to go back.”

         I looked at her questioningly. “What are you talking about Sirryah? Go where? Do you

mean back to school?”

         “No Dowud. I mean I want them to go back to school not Lebanon. Do you understand

what is going on today?”

         “I‟m sorry Sirryah, I don‟t. Please explain.”

         “All the young men want Khalil to fly them to Beirut and give them safe passage to the

Januub (the South). They want to go as fighters. They all have been drinking and have taken a blood

oath to avenge Nadiya‟s death. Khalil has agreed only if they have their parent‟s permission. They

will lie to him Dowud. Please talk to him and tell him not to take them. I don‟t want my sons to die.”

         I was astounded at her words. “What does Khalil have to do with all of the Sirryah? He‟s

Lebanese and an International businessman.”

         “Yes I know this Dowud but he knows most of the leaders of Hezbullah. Khalil is…. He

is….. a very powerful man in Lebanon.”
       Edward A. Dean                                                              Southern
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        I read into her hesitation of holding back. “Tell me the truth Sirryah. Is Khalil a leader in

the Hezbullah movement?”

         Her dark eyes looked away. “The devil take my tongue! I never said that. I would never say

that. Khalil is only a very responsible businessman. His generosity helps my people. He is a friend to

all of us. Please, please talk to him about my boys. I can control Samir somewhat but Waleed is a

hothead. He will not listen. He was very attached to Nadiya. He idolized her and wanted to walk in

her footsteps to become a doctor. Please tell Khalil not to let him go.”

         I looked into her tear-swollen eyes and put my arms around her fragile shoulders. “I

promise you Sirryah, I will talk to Khalil. Do you want me to talk to Waleed also?”

         “No. He will know that it comes from me. Say nothing to him. Only Khalil can stop this.”

         “I will talk to Khalil before he leaves.”

         Sirryah took my hand and kissed it. Embarrassed, I pulled her up. “Thank you Dowud. I

will be forever grateful for your kindness and generosity to my sons. I also need to tell you that my

sister loved you with all of her heart and soul. Sister‟s share and I know this from her lips. I know

that we all feel the pain of losing her Dowud but I am begging in her memory that we do not lose

again. I can‟t take anymore losing. I lost my husband and my sister to all of this and if I lose my

son‟s my life will be over.”

         I could feel the horrible pain gush out of her being as she drifted into the comfort of the

confines of the crowd.

         At sunset, I approached Khalil. “Khalil, I need to talk to you alone. Let‟s walk.”

         With a nod of his head and a charming smile, he agreed. “You have such a magnificent and

beautiful place here Ummo. It is such a perfect place to get away from it all.”
       Edward A. Dean                                                             Southern
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        It was a curious remark but I let it pass. ”Listen Khalil, what‟s going on with all the young

guys? Is there something I should know?”

         His smirk told me that I already knew. “Let us not mince words Dowud. Has someone

spoken to you about them?”

         There was no reason to lie. “Sirryah is worried sick. Is it true what she says? Are you going

to help the Palestinian boys go to Lebanon and join the fighters in the south?”

         “Of course I will help them. Only on the condition that they think on this for one week and

they consult with their families. This is not an easy thing. Right now their blood runs hot and

Hezbullah needs dedication and money not hotheaded children.”

         “The truth Khalil, are you some kind of recruiter?”

         “You make me laugh Ummo. I am what I told you I am; a businessman. Do I support the

Hezbullah freedom fighters of my country? Of course I do; with my wallet and my mouth. Let me

tell you about your dumm. (blood). We have many, many fighters of all ages. We do not need

children. Hezbullah needs weapons. We exist for only one thing; the freedom and democracy of

Lebanon. If Israel, the U.S., and their surrogates let us live in peace to work out our own politics,

there would be no reason for Hezbullah to exist.”

         I was incensed and confused. “Cut the crap Khalil. Hezbullah is a terrorist organization.

They were blamed for the marine barracks bombing and a lot of other things. Patriotism I can

understand but terrorism is another matter.”

         His eyes squinted under a curled brow. “Terrorists? Terrorists operate outside the bounds

of their own country. Terrorists foment revolution and fear. Who are the real terrorists? It is Israel

and America. They invade our country and terrorize our people. They are our terrorists. The Israelis

bulldoze our family homes with impunity any time they THINK a Hezbullah member lives or was
       Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
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hidden there. They have invaded our country, with impunity in hot pursuit of some Palestinian

faction that they have thrown out of Palestine. “

         “Aw bullshit Khalil. You have to separate the Palestinian issue from the Lebanese issue.”

         “You see, that is the crux of the problem. You can‟t! Israel asked the Arab nations to accept

Palestinian refugees, carte blanche. And because of the Lebanese culture and heart, we did it to the

tune of one million souls. And yes, we are stupid. Our thought was that we did it for the Armenians

and the Greeks when the Turks persecuted them, why can‟t we do it for our own kind? But the

problem was not of heart but of logistics.”

         I was now more curious than incensed. “How so?”

         “Lebanon is a country of eight million. Add one million refugees and we have inherited a

huge logistical problem. Add to that, that most of them were Muslim, because the Christian West

took in many of the Palestinian Christians. It is as if your country had an influx of twenty-five

million Canadians that were dispossessed. You would take in your own kind but where would you

put them? It is easy to say that your gigantic western plains could hold them but they would not stay

there. They would want to be in the cities and town that can afford them houses and a job. Look at

your current problem. You have a few hundred thousand Mexicans that crossed the border and your

people are screaming to send them back! It is not about heart my friend; it is about logistics.

Multiply your Mexican problem by two hundred and fifty times and you will appreciate ours.”

         “I can appreciate the Palestinian problem Khalil but what does this have to do with


         “The problem has destabilized our country. Look at what has happened over the last twenty

years. The Palestinians run to the south and tweak the tail of the Israelis with cheap Russian rockets

that are as meaningful as dangerous fireworks. For every thousand rockets there is one death. The
         Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
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Israelis respond with an army of tanks that kills thousands. Add to that the destabilizing of our

countries democracy. Israel waves the flag that they are the only democracy in the Middle East. But

Lebanon was a democracy thirty years before Israel existed. What has happened is they have taken

upon themselves to arm the Phalangist Christian right wing with arms and money. The Phalangists

are a twenty percent minority that holds much more power than they deserve. With the influx of

Palestinians, the Muslims are now a sixty percent majority. For years, Lebanon has always had a

Christian Prime minister and a Muslim president. This arrangement has appeased both sides. Now

with the force of arms that the Israelis have intervened with, the radical Christian right is in control. I

say radical because in Beirut if you are stopped by a Phalangist guard and show an I.D. card as a

Muslim, you are immediately executed.”

         “I know all of that Khalil, I can read the newspapers. Hezbullah is no better than the

Phalangists. They kill with impunity.”

         “But that is where you are wrong! We refuse to be divided between south and north. We

only ask for others to stay out of our politics and country. Leave us to our own devices. We have

solved them in the past and we can solve them in the future. Take your guns and money and let us

settle things in a democratic way. We are not and never have been a violent society. Look at us! We

don‟t even have a decent standing army because there was never a need for one. In a nation of eight

and a half million, we have never ever threatened Israel or spoke against them. But because we share

a boarder, we are their next target of opportunity. They want to control the Januub as a buffer state.

But the problem for them is that is the stronghold of Hezbullah. They have a hornet‟s nest in their

hands. It will never happen. They can bulldoze our houses, terrorize the people but it will never last.

We fight inside our nation, for our nation and nothing else needs to be said. Join us in our fight for

freedom and self-determination like your cousin Butch, or step aside.”
         Edward A. Dean                                                         Southern
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          His words stunned me. “Hold on Khalil, are you telling me Butch is involved in all this? He

can‟t be. It would never be allowed.”

          Khalil smirked. “Allowed? By who? Your cousin is a free man. Yes, he has provided

military discipline and we have provided his dream; his own navy. It is not the grand Spanish

Armada but he makes it work. Your cousin is a magician of deception. We desperately need leaders

like that.”

          As shocked as I was by his revelation, I had to laugh. “Butch has his own navy? Come on

Khalil, Lebanon has no large gunships.”

          Khalil smiled back. “Why do you laugh? He does very well with what he has. It is enough

to keep the large ships chasing their tails. I do not know how he does it but he keeps the

indiscriminate shelling of the coastal cities at bay. Do not discount his abilities. He is a very brilliant


          “Oh I don‟t deny him that Khalil. Butch is a very smart man and I doubt there is nothing he

can‟t accomplish when he sets his mind to any task. I laugh because of personal memories of our

childhood past. But I laugh because of my amazement and pride. Butch was born to lead. He could

convince priests to leave the seminary and fight alongside of him. But he is endangering himself and

the boys, that‟s my concern. I don‟t want any of them in harm‟s way.”

          “It‟s not your choice Ummo. Let them follow their heart. When a man does this, you will

never stop him. I will cash my ticket with you. Let it be and stand aside.”

          I was desperately losing and when he called his hole card with me, I had no choice.

          I decided to reveal Nadiya‟s request of me. “I understand all this Khalil and as a man of my

word I will honor the promise I made to Nadiya. But why is a man of your stature so vehement? You

don‟t need all of this. Why do you need to be so involved?”
       Edward A. Dean                                                          Southern
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        His face sunk and his eyelids dropped. I knew he was tiring with our conversation.

            “I saw much of this coming in the early eighties. My family is from Bint Ijjbail. I forced

my mother and three nephews to move to my luxury condominium near the seashore in Beirut. In

eighty-three when the Israeli and American ships bombarded Beirut off shore, they were killed by an

errant shell. Violence and munitions have no conscience. My remaining family was wiped out in a

blink of an eye. And if I had left them alone in the South and I would have been there instead. If that

was the case this conversation would not be happening.”

            “I‟m so sorry Khalil. I had no idea of the length of your pain.”

            “Please spare me your pity. I do not want or seek pity. I ask and dream of only one thing;

Justice! Whether it is to tend a fragrant orchard or dig a little garden in the back of an archaic house;

it is that simplicity of life my mother asked for. But because of me, it was reported to the Israelis that

the Shaheen family name was suspect. They bulldozed her little cherished two hundred year old

home. So you see Dowud, logistics are life. I chose the wrong logistics and my family paid the

price. And now I choose not to let any foreign occupier desecrate my mother‟s homeland. Let all our

dead lie in peace. Deal with today!

       “I‟m dealing with today Khalil and that‟s why I refuse to be a party to more death and

destruction. I‟m begging you not to take those boys! Let the Arab nations step into the twentieth


       “As I told you, this is not of my choosing. Her nephews seek revenge and will go anyway. I

do this for only one reason and that is for Nadiya, God rest her beautiful soul. I do it to protect her

loved ones. I am offering safe passage to keep them out of trouble. They can be kept behind the lines

and help as translators or radio operators. We have enough fighters. Our people are patriots. They
        Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
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fight inside our country, for our country. What Hezbullah needs is smart people; technicians, not

hotheads running around with a gun.

        Allow me to rant a little longer Ummo. It is for your education. Right now the Middle East

is the focus of the Western world. Why? Because of Israel and oil. If we did not have oil and the

Israeli problem we would be simply another Southeast Asia or Africa. The West would leave us to

our own devices. We were once the flower of humanity and culture. Now we are the gas station to

the world. It is all about money, politics, press and perception! I refuse to discern between Lebanese,

Palestinian, Syrian, Jordanian, Saudi, Egyptian, Iraqi, or all the rest. In the Western mind the same

pencil colors us all. We are the Sand Niggers of the West. Face it. This is not a religious clash it is a

cultural and economic clash. It is about forcing us to be another Euro centric Christian country and

changing our cultural values. We refuse to be a clone of your culture. You and I will always be

construed as second-class citizens of the world. Mention your name or religion and the pencil comes

out. Do they have the right? Yes, because they have the might. Might makes right. Learn the lesson

of the mighty and play by their rules. And what are the rules? If you play in our sandbox, you obey

our rules. And right now the West is playing in our sandbox of oil. Just think of where we could be

today if they put all that money and ingenuity to a better purpose; the purpose of peace. ”

       “You‟re right Khalil. I do understand, but I can‟t abide the mayhem.”

       “But the difference my friend is we see the bodies on the ground. Your press does not show

your dead; dying and human carnage. We put it on the front page of our newspapers so our people

will understand and take heed. You call it exploitation; we call it reality.

       As for the young men, if you and their families can convince them to stay here, that would be

fine. But if they appear in my back yard I will help them to survive. I owe this to Nadiya.”

       “ Not out of jealousy Khalil but I have to ask, were you in love with Nadiya?”
        Edward A. Dean                                                             Southern
        Crossed dean
        “As I said before, there will never be any lies between us. Yes I did have strong feelings for

Nadiya. She is the only woman I would have married in a moment. But it was not to be. She had no

appetite for my lifestyle or me. “

        His intense gaze met mine. “Let us return and take care of the business at hand. By the way,

your cousin Butch is going to join me at the hotel for dinner. I know it is a bad time for you but I

extend this invitation as a break from all of this grief.”

        “Thanks Khalil. You and Butch go. I need some time alone to think.”

        He nodded his head in understanding.

        The next morning I pulled Nate and Xohal into my office. “I need your help guys. I‟m sure

you know what‟s going on with Waleed, Samir and the rest of the Palestinian guys. They want to go

back and fight the Israelis. Their parents and I are trying to circumvent this. They want to avenge

Nadiya‟s death and it‟s not the right way. Can you two help convince them that this is the wrong


        Nate cast me a surprised look. “Uncle Dave, Nadiya was only the last straw with them. I

guess you don‟t understand. U.C.L.A. is a hotbed of a lot of radical Palestinian and Iranian students.

They have a meeting and a protest nearly every other weekend. We‟ve all been involved. Waleed is

our cell leader. Me and Xohal have been marching right alongside of them.”

        My eyes lit up, like a deer caught in the headlights. “What do you and Xohal have to do with

all of this? This isn‟t your fight.”

        Xohal furiously rose from his chair and blurted out. “America and Israel are pieces of shit.

You don‟t have the right to keep people in concentration camps. America helped that dirty bastard

Pinochet do this to my people and they killed my parents. Do you know that my own Indian brethren

are still on reservations in my own country? They are no better than concentration camps. Do you
       Edward A. Dean                                                         Southern
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understand what they do in South America in the name of capitalism? Let me count the ways for you

Uncle. Chile, Argentina, San Salvador. Nicaragua, Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru! And now it is the Middle

East that they need to control. We must stop this now in the name of justice for the people. South

America is your Nixon, Reagan neo-Nazi playground. Now you want to do this in the Middle East?”

       I didn‟t know whether to laugh or cry. For the first time, I heard the boys talk with

conviction, regardless of their bias. Their exuberance amazed me. They were learning.

       “Whoa, hold on a minute guys. I‟m an American first. We can do all of the things you say

but understand this is a worldwide problem. It‟s easy to blame but you must understand who you are

and what you stand for. And if you choose to change things, you must be involved in the political

process. If you want to change the world then do something positive about it.”

       Nate interjected. “Don‟t get upset Uncle Dave, we are! I‟ve chosen to go into International

Law.” Nate threw a cutesy smile at Xohal. “And Xohal has chosen to be an International rabble


       I sat back to let the moment sink in. I didn‟t know whether to laugh or cry. “Oh my God,

when did you two grow up so fast? You two sound like……like…!”

       Again Nate smiled at me. There was something in his smirky, knowing smile that struck me.

It was the attitude. It was that cocky little attitude that flew into my face. An epiphany shocked my

senses. It was me! Could it be? I refused to acknowledge the thought.

       “You two have a very privileged life. Why would you want to reject it? There are many

things you could be doing to help correct these problems without violence. Violence is the last straw

for the weak but all of you are not weak.”

       “And that is why we are willing to help this cause; because we are not weak! Don‟t confuse

ideals with weakness. Listen Uncle, we know your heart was with us. You‟ve been on your own
       Edward A. Dean                                                         Southern
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journey for a while and we‟ve missed you but we‟ve grown into our own ideals without you. Mom

and dad have been our support. Dad has told us to march in every parade we want and mom has

helped us focus on the long term. For the last four years, Waleed and Samir are like our older

brothers. Xohal and I need to support them. You never abandoned your friends did you? We all live

in the same house, share the same food and share the same ideas. Regardless of what you say, we

will support them.”

       I guess being outsmarted enraged me. I jumped. “Stop this, stop this right now. You two are

going to talk them down from this crazy idea or I‟m going to cut funding off for all of you. I‟m not

sending all of you to college to become idiotic rabble rousers!”

       Again, his wry smile came over the desk. “I‟m sorry Uncle but you sound like Uncle Butch.

He doesn‟t ask, he demands and commands. I respect him because he is your first cousin but he‟s a

piece of work! We love him dearly but he‟s funny. He thinks he‟s still an Admiral in the navy. I

don‟t know if he knows how to deal with civilians. Mom and dad have their own money. We don‟t

need funding from your joint corporation. There is no disrespect intended Uncle but you‟re trying to

control us through the money. You like to use money as a security blanket but that‟s not who we are.

The money is okay but it won‟t change our convictions. Did you count the money when your own

brother was in trouble? Of course you didn‟t. It‟s the burning passion in their souls that we support. I

don‟t know if you remember the words of the Second World War correspondent Martha Gelhorn. „If

we close our eyes to this inhumanity in war then we do not deserve peace.‟ Sure we learned those

prophetic words in class but isn‟t that what history is all about? And it brings us to the famous

saying; „if we don‟t learn from history we are doomed to repeat it.‟ And here we are, repeating

       Edward A. Dean                                                         Southern
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       He reached over and placed his hand on Xohals shoulder. “Xohal and I are brown and white

brothers. Our skin doesn‟t dictate who we are. Our hearts do! Our younger siblings, Kimberly and

Adam are with us heart and soul. So you‟re the odd man out. You need to accept the facts as they

are. All of us are determined to support Waleed and Shamir‟s commitment to save their people. As

you always told us Uncle Dave, be a part of the solution, not part of the problem.”

       I looked into his eyes and again, saw myself. It was eerie and disconcerting. This pompous

little shit was lecturing me. He was taking me places where I didn‟t want to go. I knew if I attacked,

I‟d lose them. My internal fight was trying to control myself. Deep down I was proud of both of

them for forming their own opinions and speaking their mind but I refused to allow them to insult

me. I was fighting desperately to control my words.

        “Okay guys, I‟ll respect your commitment but why can‟t we turn this into something

positive? If you both truly believe in this cause follow your dream and go to law school. Attack the

problem on the world stage in a positive way. Violence won‟t make the Israelis or the U.S. pay

attention. You will only feed the perception of the Palestinians being kooks and radicals. Israel

depends on that to paint an ugly face of violence in the press.”

       Nate looked sternly at me. “You‟re right Uncle but who controls the press? It‟s the neo

conservatives of the Western world. The Jews in World War Two tried to peaceably alert the world

to what was going on in Germany and look what that got them. The Palestinians have been in

concentration camps for forty years and it‟s bred a whole new generation of radicalism. Waleed and

Samir will go with or without outside help. It‟s time to fight.”

       Xohal rose to his feet. “Nate is right Uncle Dave. It is time to fight in South America too. Do

you know what is happening in Nicaragua? Instead of letting their duly elected government alone

they are funding the Contra neo-cons. It is the same thing they did in Chile and gave us this bastard
       Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
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Pinochet. And in Argentina the U.S. and all the exiled German Nazi‟s support the junta. Don‟t you

think it odd that Reagan and Nazi‟s are on the same side? Or is it because neo-cons have one agenda;

suppress the people. Why can‟t we start right here in Chile and rid ourselves of that Pinochet


        I stumbled for words then lashed out. “Okay, that‟s enough of this radical bullshit. I won‟t

tolerate it and neither would your parents. Stop it right now.”

        Xohal pushed Nate aside. “That is not true! My mother fought against the injustice in Chile. I

will not her valiant fight stay in her grave.”

        I was perplexed at losing an argument to the two of them. “Okay guys, let‟s just calm down

and look at this. Remember when you asked your Uncle Butch the question of who wins a war? And

he told you that it is the soldiers that fight the war but it is the generals that win or lose it. Why don‟t

you both go back to school and get your degrees first. Once the two of you are armed with

knowledge and ready to take on the world, and lead I‟ll support you.”

        They both simply nodded with pursed lips and headed down the corridor. I heard Xohal

whisper to Nate. “I told you he wouldn‟t listen.”

        Nate poked at him.” No, I told you!”

        Xohal pushed back. “No I said it first. “

        And the last faint whisper I could hear was, “He‟s turning into just another neo-con!”

        It tickled me. Our adult conversation turned into a boyish jousting match between them. It

was the last remark that caused me to reflect. Was I?
        Edward A. Dean                                                              Southern
        Crossed dean

        Months later I received an International call from Butch. ”Hi Butch, where in the hell are


        “Hey Dave, you got your thingy on?‟

        His words confused me. “No, why? What‟s going on?”

        The snickering voice announced, “everything. I‟ll give you a moment; turn on the thingy to

channel B.”

        I reached down and turned on the new high-tech voice scrambler that Khalil had given me. It

gave me cause for concern. I knew he and Khalil had developed a very close relationship over time

but I had no idea how extensive it had become.

        “Speak freely big guy. Where are you?”

        “I‟m in Lebanon. Remember the Bellefonte song, Island in the Sun? That‟s where I am Dave.

You need to be here too. It‟s that beautiful. But the problem is the Israeli invasion. They‟re tearing

this country to shit and all the factions are helping them. The political infighting between the Mo‟s,

O‟s and C‟s, (Muslims, Orthodox Christians, Catholics) are only helping them. If we don‟t stop and

join together Sharon will make this country a suburb of Tel Aviv. If this maniac thinks he‟s smarter

than me; bring it on. I‟ll fry his fat ass from the highest mountain I can find. In my mind, that

motherfucker drew the line in the sand and I mean to answer it! I‟m a better military leader than he

ever thought to be.”

        His words rattled and shocked me. “Don‟t tell me. Please don‟t tell me. Did you run out of

brain cells? You‟re in a middle of a civil war and an invasion and having fun? You‟re a bigger

asshole than I ever imagined.”
       Edward A. Dean                                                             Southern
       Crossed dean
       “Stop it Dave. For the first time in a long time I‟m alive and back in my element.” I heard a

little laugh in his voice. “You‟re talking to the new admiral of the Lebanese navy.”

       “I know Butch, Khalil told me.”

       His easy laugh gave me ease. “Well let‟s call it the Hezbullah Lebanese Navy and I have a

great contingent of Christians with us. I am in total command of eight pissy assed gunboats and a

vast flotilla of fast-boats and high-powered skidoos. Ain‟t that a laugh Dave? But you know

something? They work beautifully. You gotta remember the Phoenician heritage. They know the

water better than the land. We‟ve got the Israeli and American navy‟s so frustrated that they have a

price on my head. Don‟t you just love it? Me! The renegade commander of the U.S.S. Nautilus and

Pargo, came back to bite them in the ass? “

       I was shocked with his pronouncements. “Explain to me what the fuck is going Butch?”

       “Listen cuz. I came here to help but got stuck in a never-ending upward cycle. They need

help desperately and I organized a navy for them out of what they had. It‟s a joke Dave. I took a

page out of our own history during the American Revolution. We had a bunch of privateers and

assorted crafts that just harassed the hell out of the serious English fleets. My mission is to keep the

Israelis and American ships awake, twenty-four-seven more than harm them. It‟s a psychological

war we‟re fighting. If we can keep them from the indiscriminant of bombing coastal cities, we win.

If I can keep the ocean open to our fighters and commerce, we win.”

       The long silent pause gave me time to think. “You never cease to amaze me Butch. With you

I never know whether it‟s religion, frustration or resentment but I resent the fact that you‟re fighting

against y our own country.”

       “Well that‟s where you‟re wrong Dave. I‟m not fighting against something. I‟m fighting for

something. I‟m fighting for the dignity of our heritage to live in the freedom of their own choosing.
       Edward A. Dean                                                               Southern
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I‟m fighting to make them stop using the coastal cities for target practice. There is nothing to be

gained in Lebanon by the U.S. Only Israel gains and I won‟t let that happen.”

        His reasoning made sense. “I have to laugh through all of this Butch. How did you end up

       with your own navy?”

       I could sense his toothy grin. “It was easy Dave. When Khalil introduced me as an American

Admiral they threw the position at me. Even the Lebanese commanders were impressed when I told

them about my background. Now how can you refuse hospitality like that? So here I am, the

Admiral of the Fleet.”

       “So Khalil got you into all of this? That asshole never quits. I should be pissed at him for

recruiting you but you sound so happy. Is this the right thing Butch?”

       “It‟s my right thing Dave. I found a purpose, or maybe the purpose found me. Whether it was

God or Khalil, I want and need to be here. My blessing is I‟m finding ways to keep these kids alive.”

       “How so Butch? It‟s a war.”

       “Here‟s the take Dave. I‟ve organized them into a fighting group to hit and run. Our main

objective is to scare the shit out of the other kids in the other navy‟s. We maneuver the fast boats

under their radar and lob a few magnesium RPG‟s at them and run. The Israeli‟s are using aluminum

gunships and enough magnesium causes the aluminum to burn. All those constant fire drills are

driving them nuts. And you gotta hear about one of my best tactics. It‟s the „tomato soup cans!”

       I had to laugh. “Explain that one to me will you please.”

       “It‟s an old idea from the Korean and Vietnam wars. You punch a lot of holes in a tin can

and launch it on the top of a mortar round. The screaming shrill sounds like an incoming major

round. The deck crew‟s go crazy thinking that they are being attacked by a big ship and the mortar
      Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
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makes a big enough bang to keep them guessing. They‟re reporting all kinds of phantom stories to

their commanders.”

       “I‟m not sure I understand Butch. Those are jokes you‟re throwing at them”

       “Trust me Dave, they‟re not funny to the recipients. It‟s psychological warfare. You don‟t

realize it but most of the casualties of any battle is stress trauma. If I can keep them in sickbay with a

band aide on their head they‟re out of action. Even the kids in peacetime on the subs were subjected

to the same trauma. Every little noise and bang they heard on the bulkheads wears on them. It‟s

strange shit you can hear underwater; the cracking and moaning of the metal under contraction or

expansion fatigue. The constant little bumps in the night from friendly fish or whales that think the

sub is a family member or food. ”

       “You keep saying kids Butch. They‟re men.”

       “Not really Dave. They‟re kids waiting to be men. Oh sure there are mature men in the

service but that‟s the glue that keeps it together. Even my junior officers were twenty-something

kids. It‟s the blind leading the blind. My Petty Officers were my glue. They were the long-term guys;

the true professionals. They held the baseline for me and it‟s no different here. The older sailors

know this coastline better than any radar system. They can read every rock and reef like their own

back yard and that‟s our advantage. We can lure them into attacking a reef or make them spin into a

rocky shoal. I just love these old fishermen. We don‟t need a map, radar or GPS system. They can

read and smell the area night or day. The kids jump on the fast boats and throw their spit balls

against the big ships and run like hell.”

       I wanted to laugh at the bravado but my mentality was serious. “And what if they blast a hole

in your little stink boats Butch. It doesn‟t take much to cripple those things.”
       Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
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       I could feel him roll his eyes with the comment. “See? That‟s where the skidoo‟s come in.

They triangulate with the fast boats to confuse the enemy radar but if a ship gets hit they scurry in

and pick up the survivors. Hey fuck it Dave, we‟re marines too! You know, „no man left behind‟.

Even the American cruisers are reluctant to come in too close. I personally know their pussy admiral

and the last thing he wants is to be embarrassed. I have my fast boats fire a lot of parachute flares

with time fused grenades at the big ships and they get so fuckin‟ spooked their radar is locking on to

all the commercial traffic around them. They don‟t know whether to shit or go blind Dave. Their

kids are blowing up any Greek, Cypriot or Turkish vessels in range and don‟t you think those

countries are pissed? The fleet is getting more shit from the international front than we could ever

hope for. We‟re winning Dave, we‟re winning in the short term.”

       “What about the long term Admiral? Who wins?”

       I could feel the stressed anxiety in his voice. “Only God knows Dave. Only God knows but I

know I‟m doing the right thing for our people. Their deepest fear is that Israel and the U.S. are just

another invasion of the Middle East trying to subjugate them. Their terror for a thousand years has

been that everyone wants the Holy land or their gateway to the West. To them it‟s not about religion,

it‟s subjugation. ”

       I knew I wasn‟t about to change his mind but he was changing mine so I simply bade him

good luck and hung up.

       We talked on and off for months and Butch would always bring me up to date on what was

happening. The surprise was when he told me he had taken on a new name. They had insisted he use

a pseudonym. “So what‟s the new moniker Butch?”

       “You‟re gonna love this Dave. From now on call me Abu Salaam.”
       Edward A. Dean                                                          Southern
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       He could hear me laughing out loud. “Abu Salaam? I gotta love it Butch. Abu Salaam;

father of peace? Only you would have the balls to call yourself that in a war torn nation.”

       I could hear his teasing voice respond. “Laugh all you want asshole but the spooks and

Israeli‟s have put a price on my head of one million dollars. Do you want to earn some quick money


       I had to laugh. “Oh screw you asshole. You‟re not worth the phone call. Besides, I don‟t even

know where you‟re at.”

       I listened to his chuckle. “Well for half the money, I‟ll tell you. I‟m in Syria. So deep in the

interior, they‟ll never come here. It‟s really funny how politics work Dave. Syria is now the

stabilizing force in the Mid East. What fucking irony. Syria has the only standing army that has an

affinity with Lebanon and the Israeli‟s and Americans know it. Back channel diplomatic feeds are

telling them if they intercede the Israeli‟s will back off. What fuckin dirt bags the politicians are

Dave. One day Syria is the scourge of the Mid East and the next day they‟re the saviors. It‟s like one

day you call a lady a whore and the next day you call her up to marry you. I‟ll never understand

politics Dave. I‟m leaving that job up to you and Khalil.”

       I was confused. What are you doing in Syria Butch? Are they on you? Do you need to lay

low? Come and stay with me. I can help you here.”

       Naw Dave. I‟ve been traveling throughout the countryside and you know what? It‟s fabulous.

You would think you‟re on another planet in a Star Trec episode. These people are so laid back it

feels like home. They could give a shit about the political spectrum. They know what‟s going on

around them but they treat it as another day in the life of. Their families have been dealing with these

scenarios for a thousand years. Can you imagine Dave? A thousand years of conflict? And they

never blink. And if you press them they laugh. Their only concern is how to live and love from one
        Edward A. Dean                                                             Southern
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day to the next. The prevailing philosophy is one day at a time. I found this fabulous little city

outside of Damascus.”

       I was rattled. “Why are you there Butch? What are you doing?”

       I could understand his sensitive chuckle. “Here‟s my day Dave. I get up at sunrise and walk

the desert roads out of town. I come back and bathe in a leaky shower. I have breakfast in the Souke

with all the merchants. I give some of them a break near lunch and tend their stalls till they get back.

After closing we go to the coffee house and play five-hundred gin rummy till early evening. And

when my coffee soaked brain insults enough of my partners they leave for their homes to have

dinner with their families. And then I wander into the desert to seek God‟s peace at sunset. It‟s an

easy feeling Dave. I have never been so at peace with the land but somehow I feel I‟m home. My

whole life has been the sea but somehow I‟m home.”

       My heart was in my mouth. I choked on my thoughts. “Something‟s wrong Butch. I can hear

it in your voice. Tell me the truth. Are you in danger or something?”

       There was a hesitation in his voice. “No, nothing Dave.”

       “You were always a terrible liar Butch. Put it out there. What‟s going on? Do you need me to

come and get you?”

       I could feel his worried laugh. “You‟re a beautiful idiot Dave. Thank you and screw you. It

came back Dave. The cancer is back. The doctors in Damascus told me it‟s all the stress but I keep

telling them I‟m having fun. I think what we have here is a failure to communicate.”

       I choked on his words. “Come home Butch. We can get you the best possible care. I can

move up to Arlington for a while and help Rita take care of you.”

       “Both you and Rita don‟t understand Dave. I‟m not going to come home to be a burden on

the family. Do you think I want to lie in a bed and let my loved ones watch me die? Piss off! I
       Edward A. Dean                                                             Southern
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thought you knew me better than that. They say I got a lotta time left and I‟m going to enjoy every

last minute of it. Get the picture Dave? I‟m in the land of my ancestors and my bones will nourish

the land that gave our grandfather life. Do you think I‟m going to give up one day of laughing,

arguing and fighting over a deck of cards and a cup of coffee for a bed of long faces on a

deathwatch? Get real. Besides my fight‟s not over yet in Lebanon. Nabbi Berry and Amal are going

to join us. We‟re going to be a political force to be reckoned with. Screw the cancer Dave. We‟re

winning. I‟m winning. Abu Salaam lives. Don‟t you get it? Right now I‟m invincible. I can do the

right thing because they can‟t hurt me. It‟s good to know the writing on the wall because that‟s my


        “I do get it Butch but I have to tell you. You‟ve always been that way. The pronouncement

didn‟t change you. I have to tell you that you always felt you were unbeatable. To me this isn‟t news.

I know your heart as well as anyone. You‟ve always bordered on the edge of megalomania and had a

disdain for small people and maybe I‟m one of them. But if this is the way you choose to go out then

God bless you. You‟re going to take that Valkyrie ride in a Viking boat ride regardless. My only

thought right now is can I light the first match?”

        I could hear the deep throaty laugh. “Thanks Dave. I would expect no less from you but don‟t

light the match before they pronounce me dead. You know me well enough to understand that I‟m

going to hang on till the very last minute. I got time Dave; I got a lot of beautiful time. Minutes are

days; days are months and years are a lifetime. On every soft arid breeze I can smell and taste life.

My mornings are made with the wafting breeze of freshly baked bread and strong coffee, my

afternoons are tasting the smells of the spice market and my evenings are made up of relishing the

words of God. They are tasty morsels on my tongue as I speak my evening prayers at sunset in the
        Edward A. Dean                                                        Southern
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desert. He feeds my soul and I am nourished. I‟m at peace with my journey Dave. I‟m at a place in

my life where I belong Dave. I am home!”


        The wine Expo was coming up in the next month and I asked Angel and Spanky if they

wanted to go in my stead as they have done for the last few years. Angel enjoyed The Paris trips

immensely and I thought it was a good idea for her to get away on a little vacation with Spanky.

        At dinnertime Angel showed up alone. “Where‟s Spank Angel?”

        “He‟s not feeling well Dave. Maria is going to prepare a doggy bag that I can take back to


        “Anything serious? I noticed he‟s been very quiet since the boys returned to school.”

        Angel‟s eyes were intently gazing at her plate. “No nothing serious. He‟s just….just not

feeling well. Might be a touch of the flu or something.”

        “Her strange behavior piqued my interest but I decided to let it pass. “Hey, the Wine

Expo is coming up and I‟m sure you two are raring to go again. Do you want me to make

reservations for the two of you?”

        Angel‟s eyes were still downcast as she picked at her food. “You know Dave, I was thinking

maybe this trip would be good for you. You could use a break. Why don‟t you go instead?”

        “Thanks for the thought Angel but are you sure you and Spank wouldn‟t like to go?”
       Edward A. Dean                                                             Southern
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       “I think we‟re just going to pass on this one. I‟ve got a lot of things going on with the new

wines and Spanky may not be up to it either. Do us a favor and you take it.”

       I wasn‟t sure what her concerns were but I was anxious for the break. “Suit yourself Angel. It

would be nice to get away. Hey! I have a thought. Why don‟t all of us go? The kids are old enough

and Julia can stay over to keep an eye on them. You‟ve got this place running like a well-oiled

machine. And Maria is smart enough to keep an eye on the field supervisors. What do you say?”

       “It‟s a nice thought Dave but I would feel more comfortable staying behind with Spank.

These kinds of illness‟s can linger. Let‟s be safe. You go.”

       “All right, It‟s not a problem Angel. Are you sure Spanky is okay?”

       “He‟ll be fine Dave. Just go and have fun. Those pretty Parisian women need a hound dog

like you on the hunt. Just have fun.” She winked.

       I smiled at her with an uneasy thank you.

       I made reservations for a few days in advance of the Expo. I wanted to make sure I didn‟t run

into Rikki on the way. It wasn‟t that I harbored any ill feelings; it‟s just that I wasn‟t up to any

complicated conversation.

       The extra days gave me a chance to go to all the museums I always wanted to see. I was

enamored with the Pompidou and the Louvre was always spectacular. The weather was sunny and

pleasant and I made the best use of it with the outdoor cafés. Angel was right, the Parisian women,

young and old were always dressed to the nine‟s. It was a way of life for them. Rarely would you see

a pair of jeans on them and never, ever would they don a sweatshirt or tennis shoes in public. They

were a glorious parade of haut couture. The range was clean simplicity to elegant but every one was

well thought out. I always appreciated the French joi de vie. Maybe after all the death and

destruction of two world wars that they understood the true meaning of living for the moment. It
       Edward A. Dean                                                         Southern
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wasn‟t fashion; it was feeling good about themselves. Even the men were well groomed. Their food

reflected the same ideals. A simple breakfast of strong black coffee and a croissant to a complex

dinner cuisine expressed their range and appreciation of life. It piqued my curiosity why the

disparity between the U.S. and them. Running suits and tennis shoes were the norm in the U.S.

Flagrant was the norm! Why? It was in your face; love it or leave us alone; a cultural thought

process. Was it the idea of forever in blue jeans or the Peter Pan syndrome of I‟ll never grow up? I

had to stop my rambling mind because I didn‟t want to dwell on either one. I chalked it up to an easy

wine induced reflection. Paris was always a state of mind and I loved it.

          The Expo flowed easily for the first few days. A lot of meaningless conversations gave me a

headache. Suddenly, Rikki flew by with an easy glance. I caught her eye and smiled uneasily. She

read me completely. Her flighty ease propelled her down the hallway. After a few hours she stopped

back. “Hello Dave. How are things for you? The show I mean.”

          My reserved smile gave her pause. “Excellent Rikki, thank you for asking. How have you

been?” was my trite answer.

          Rikki‟s eyes turned to the steely gray that I had seen before. “It‟s been a long while Dave.

How is your lady friend doing? Well I hope.” My heart went to my throat. I didn‟t answer. Rikki

read the point of distress and did not pursue it. “Well it‟s nice to see you‟re back in Paris. By the

way, Khalil is having a party for some of the vintners and business people at the Allard Restaurant

on the left bank tonight. Are you going?”

          I smiled with surprise. “No I wasn‟t invited Rikki. It might be an oversight but I have other


          In less than an hour Khalil showed up. “Hello cousin, I didn‟t know you were coming to the

Expo this time. My apologies. I would be honored if you can make it tonight. I took the liberty of
        Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
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telling Rikki about Nadiya. If it is your wish not to get involved, I can get you a lady escort. These

things are easy in Paris. Would you like that?”

        “No thanks Khalil, I have other plans. I appreciate your generosity.”

        Khalil would not be dissuaded. “A mutual friend is in Paris on business also. He wants to see


        It dawned on me; Butch! Was it true? I knew Khalil wouldn‟t say because of Butch‟s

newfound notoriety but I knew. Khalil nodded his head in understanding and walked away.

        The next day I busied myself with the business at hand when Rikki re appeared. “Hi Dave.

Do you have time for lunch today? I have something to discuss with you. It‟s business.”

        I wasn‟t sure what her intent was but I curiously agreed.

        Our choice of a late lunch gave us space in the café. Rikki spoke first. “I have heard many

things on the street about your fabulous fakes. I‟m curious. How do you do that?”

        I was confused. “Do what Rikki?”

        “Oh please Dave, I know you and Khalil are in bed together. Your vines and your little magic

winemaker are the only answer to where Khalils fakes are coming from. They are too good and too

perfect not to be from Chile.”

        Her chatter muddled my mind. “Look Rikki, I‟m confused. What the hell are you talking


        Her gregarious smile lit up her face with surprise. “Oh my God, you don‟t know. You really

don‟t know. This is too precious. Are you not aware of Khalil‟s great fakes?”

        “What fakes Rikki? What the hell are you alluding to?”

        “Oh my God, silly man. Khalil is flooding the worldwide market with fabulous fake French

Bordeaux‟s. It is the talk of the industry. I know it‟s coming from Khalil but they don‟t. He is taking
       Edward A. Dean                                                         Southern
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your blends and re labeling them as Bordeaux‟s. Your little lady winemaker is a genius. How does

she do that without you knowing?”

       It dawned on me why he wanted the bulk barrels instead of the bottlings. Was it possible that

I could be that big of a fool? “Are you certain what you‟re talking about Rikki? Khalil would never

do that. He is………. a man of honor.”

       “Dave you have been duped by a world professional. Do you realize who he is and what he is

capable of?”

       My thought was just to listen. “Obviously I‟m the stupid person in this conversation Rikki,

please enlighten me.”

       Rikki was thrilled with the idea that she had a leg up on me.“ Let me explain what Khalil is

doing. He sells the fake Bordeaux‟s all over the world, from Hong Kong to Dubai. And even to

Israel. They are fetching astronomical prices. He trades the fake wine for fake antiquities from an

Israeli source. He is selling the fake antiquities to Americans and religious people worldwide. His

business is vast! You call him a man of honor? Khalil is an elegant prostitute. The most elegant

whore you could imagine. This man is a genius in duplicity. No one knows where his next deal is. I

just love this man, don‟t you?”

       “Hold on a moment Rikki. How do you know all of this? How can you be certain?”

       Her smile intrigued me. “From his paid consorts. His bedroom chatter sometimes leads to my

bedroom. He chooses nothing but the loveliest creatures. The industry is full of gossip about the

fakes and they assume he is one of the leading candidates.”

       I assumed her innuendo. “You‟re gay? Is that what you just told me?”

       “No but sometimes a woman is warmer than a man. I enjoy smart elegant women.”

       “So you‟re bi-sexual. Is that correct?”
       Edward A. Dean                                                       Southern
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       “Yes, no, maybe, sometimes. A little too much Cognac can get me there. Why do my sexual

preferences surprise you? Maybe we should try a threesome sometime. Does that pique your

interest? It‟s every mans‟ fantasy. My husband enjoys the idea. He likes to watch; not participate. ”

        I was surprised but not shocked at Rikki‟s sexual appetite. It was always excessive. “Not in

the least Rikki. I know that this would be a kinky dream of most any guy but I have a simplistic taste

of being one on one with a lady. I‟m not a prude; it‟s just my preference. Let‟s get back to reality.

Explain to me how Khalil manages all of this! I see the money trail but why?”

       “I understand money also but the why is in the mystery of the man. He deals in everything

from arms, oil and women. He has an insatiable appetite for commerce and is very well connected. I

know the person but I really don‟t know the man. His circles of influence are above me but I love the

intrigue. You know him better than anyone Dave. What is your take? I am dying to know.”

       “This is all a revelation to me Rikki. Obviously I know less of his dealings than you and I

promise you I will get to the bottom of this. Thanks for the enlightening conversation.”

       With that I excused myself with a need to attend a mythical meeting. I could see the glee in

her face with the consternation she wrought. I wasn‟t going to give her the satisfaction of her

expose‟. My mind was spinning out of control. I needed to get away and think this through. I walked

out of the building leaving the booth attendance to the reps.

       There was a small cafe outside my hotel. I grabbed a back table outside. Things slowly came

together in my mind. I remembered the bank transfer of funds to pay for our wine shipments were

coming mostly from restaurants. It seemed odd but not unusual. And why he took all the shipments

in bulk instead of bottlings, then of course, no labels. French Bordeaux‟s were going for

astronomical prices. But what I couldn‟t understand was why he would want to deal in fake wines

and antiques? He was making a lot of money in his legitimate ventures. Why the huge risk of doing
      Edward A. Dean                                                       Southern
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something illegal? It slowly came together. Khalil was using the money to fund Hezbullah. The

strange bank transfers of funds were coming from Lebanese supporters around the world.

He was ending up with a one hundred percent profit on all the wine. They were paying for the cost

of the wine. I had to hand it to him. His elaborate ploy was too perfect but what really pissed me off

was that he involved the winery and me in his nefarious dealings and had dragged Butch into this

whole mess.

       I felt a constant stare in my direction and I looked up from thoughts. It was coming from a

pair of early thirty something Parisian ladies sitting at a front table. I decided the distraction to my

black mood might be fun. Our eyes met in a smile and I nodded my head in acceptance of their grins

and giggles. As always their Parisian dress was outstandingly elegant. I noticed that they were

drinking a white wine so I called the waiter over and had him deliver a bottle of a 1 st Cru Burgundy

Chardonnay. I watched the surprised look on their faces as he delivered it and nodded his head in my

direction. I waved politely. I watched them elegantly make eye contact with me over rim of the glass

as they sipped. I walked over and introduced myself. “I hope you two beautiful ladies speak English

because my French is horrible at best. Might I join you for a quick moment?”

       Two pair of bright smiling eyes and nodding heads bade me to sit. The pair of blue eyes

spoke first. “My name is Josette, Messier and this is my friend Carla. Your choice of wine is superb.

Thank you.”

       I smiled at the both of them. “My name is Dave, I make it a practice to try and enjoy the finer

things in life so that‟s why I decided to join you two lovely ladies.”

       It took them a moment to absorb the compliment and they both smiled demurely in

appreciation. They explained why their English was well practiced. They were managers at the

department store across the street. Our teasing conversations led us on a journey of discovery.
        Edward A. Dean                                                        Southern
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Josette held my focus. Her short reddish auburn hair framed her soft milky complexion. A stunning

pair of deep blue eyes only added to her mysterious beauty. A lithe frame controlled her body.

French women were rarely busty and they never exaggerated them. Understanding my interest and

focus, Carla graciously excused herself with the lie of having to get back to work.

       My mind was still buzzing with Khalil. I subconsciously formulated a plan to go to Khalils‟

party and take Josette as a cover. She quickly accepted. “Do you live in the area? I can pick you up

around nine.”

       “No David, We live in the twenty-third district. It is much too far. I will meet you at the

restaurant or your hotel. Is that acceptable?”

       I didn‟t want to walk into the restaurant alone. ”My hotel would be preferable Josette. It is a

private party at the Allard Restaurant on the left bank and we should arrive together.” She quickly

agreed and understood.

       Our late arrival at the famous left bank restaurant was easy. Everyone had enjoyed enough

Champagne to be mildly warm and open. Khalil bolted from a corner of the room to greet me. His

eyes drank in Josette‟s Parisian beauty. “Saahtine Ummo.(enjoy in good health.) Impeccable choice.

I would expect no less. Thank you for reconsidering my invitation.”

       With a glance from his raised head, there were two glasses of Dom Perignion in our hands.

Josette‟s‟ eyes gushed over the room. Khalil quickly understood the situation and took Josette by the

arm and introduced her to one of his ladies. The statuesque blond read Khalil and whisked Josette

away to another part of the room. Khalil gave me an easy knowing smile. “Are you here to observe,

enjoy or talk?”

       I smiled brazenly. “All of the above cousin!”
       Edward A. Dean                                                       Southern
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       He simply shook his head in a commanding way. “Let us get the pleasantries of business out

of the way and enjoy the evening. You and I will talk later.”

       He guided me through the room and introduced me to a myriad of people. As we approached

a bevy of lovely women, a huge portly hulk of a dark-skinned Mediterranean man stepped forward.

Khalil waved the women away. He tapped the portly man on the shoulder. ”Dowud, this is my good

friend Adnan. Please talk freely, we are blood.”

       I instantly knew it was Adnan Khashoggi the infamous arms dealer. His broad smile

welcomed me into his circle. “Hello cousin, it is a pleasure to meet you. Any blood of Khalils‟ is a

friend.” He nodded his head to the on-looking bodyguards for my recognition.

       After some small talk we made our way through the overflowing rooms. Josette was

enamored in the throng. I caught a glimpse of Rikki eyeing her. After our conversation of this

afternoon, I wasn‟t sure if it was jealousy or prurient. I let it pass and refused to approach her.

Khalil approached two European looking men.

       “Dave, these are my good counterparts, Ari and Shlomo.” I recognized them to be Israelis

when Ari addressed me as Daveed, which was the Israeli pronunciation of David. I made the

assumption that the two were Khalil‟s counterparts in the fake antiquity business. We traded

pleasantries and headed on. I whispered to him. “Your friends?”

       He winked. “Business Ummo, business. We are friendly business partners. And I assure you

that they would never allow me to marry one of their daughters.” With that, he laughed and strode


       Sometime in the waning hours Khalil approached me. His words were direct. “Come cousin,

let us get some air and walk.”

       I looked back in the direction of Josette. His eyes followed mine.
       Edward A. Dean                                                          Southern
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       “Don‟t worry about her. She is in good keeping. She will be well tended and schooled by my

other ladies.”

        I followed him out to the narrow dark street. Our walk and pleasantries took us toward the

Seine River. A shadow force of two men dogged our steps. As I glanced back, Khalils‟ words

assured me.

       “They are my people cousin. Talk to me and tell me what your concerns are.”

       “How do you know about my conversation with Rikki, Khalil?”

       “Rikki‟s mouth is bigger than her cunt. I make it a point to have many ears.”

       “My concerns are simple Khalil. You have put me in a bad position. You have put the winery

and me at risk of an International felony. How dare you misuse our friendship for money”

       Through the faint light I could see his hard darkened eyes peering at me. Yet his voice was

soft and controlled. “You are not in any danger. What we have between us is a simple transaction.

You sell wine; I buy it. There is no trail back to you. What is your concern?”

       I desperately wanted to hold my temper back but I exploded. “My concern Khalil is you have

brought me into a worldwide problem that I will not be a party to. Just get me out of it. I want

nothing to do with your ongoing battle. Just let me out of your problems.”

       There was a quiet anger that welled up in his face. “Our problem? Our problem? I need more

champagne to discuss this further. I brought you out here to talk to a mutual friend. Maybe he can

enlighten you.” With a wave of his hand a tall portly figure appeared from an alleyway. A shadow

spoke. “Asshole as ever Dave.”

       I was stunned. It was Butch. “Butch? Butch? Is that you?”

       “Of course cuz, it‟s me in the flesh. I‟ve been having so much fun it‟s irresponsible. You

look like shit and your getting a gut but I like the little piece of Parisian tail you found. What a
       Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
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hound dog you are. That‟s what I always was jealous about. You find great tail anywhere in the


        I raced over to the darkened voice and hugged him deeply. “You idiot. Why are you here?

Don‟t you know your fat ass is in danger? You‟re sick and you‟re running around the world like a

tourist. What‟s going on?”

        “I know cuz. I really needed to see you and I came to support Khalil. We need your help.”

        “What do you mean, what help?”

        “Listen to me Dave. We need your clean contacts in Chile as a conduit. I‟m going to talk

plain like we always do. We‟re going to funnel millions of dollars into your bank account as receipts

for wine purchases. All you need to do is forward them to Khalils‟ bank of choosing.”

        I was stunned with his pronouncement “I told you two before I want no part of this. I‟m not

doing it Butch. Are you asking me this as my cousin or Abu Salaam?”

        “You want an honest answer Dave? It‟s me, Abu Salaam; the new me. Butch died a thousand

deaths but not the fatal one. Abu Salaam needs this Dave but Butch is asking.”

        “I love you Butch but I don‟t know if I can do this. You know I can‟t refuse you anything.

I‟m just not into all of this international intrigue.”

        “Your part is easy. Quit being a pussy. You have never made a radical commitment in your

life ever. You always want the easy way out. Jump into your soul and find the man that you grew up

as. You get everybody to carry you Dave. You‟ve never had to carry yourself. You have Spanky

and Angel that carry your ass. And God bless them, you had Jade and Nadiya. You love playing

Mister Macho but they carried your dead ass. Step up to the bar and be the man you are. Do you

want to understand what commitment and integrity is? Let me tell you.”
        Edward A. Dean                                                         Southern
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        I resented his remarks. He always knew what buttons to push with me. He sounded more like

our grandfather when he got into his lecturing mode. I dearly wanted to push back but I gave him the

courtesy to vent.

        Through the faint light I could still see his face flush with emotion and then subside. “You

see that tall man behind us? I call him Talall. His real name is Naimi. Do you remember the movie,

Lawrence of Arabia? I have the digital master of it. Maybe I should send you a copy. I watch it

many times over again to remind me why I do all of this.”

        “I know the movie Butch. That‟s history.”

        “Yes it is history but remember the famous saying? My take on it was if we do not learn from

history, we lose the essence of who and what we are. There is a scene in the last part of the movie.

As they approach the fleeing Turkish army after the Turks have massacred a Syrian village. I‟ve

visited that village Dave and those stone markers are real and still there. I touched them. In the

movie a bold gallant young horseman, sword in hand, with a bloodlust in his heart, rides to the front

and cries out from his ultimate being. „No prisoners; No prisoner! All the leaders look at him as if he

is crazed from the sun but they hear the passion in his soul. And again the words from his heart; „No

Prisoners!‟ Lawrence looks at the scene with confusion on his face and Omar Sharif; with a stone in

his heart tells him, „that was Tallal‟s village.‟

        As history repeats; there was a beautiful village high on a small rise in southern Lebanon that

the first Israeli invasion conquered for a command post for their artillery. It was called Wadi

Issalam. The Israeli‟s indiscriminately bulldozed every house in the village. Isn‟t the name ironic

Dave? The Well of Peace? Well that was Naimi‟s village. He has the bloodlust burned into his soul

just as Tallal did in the movie; to ride headlong into the Turkish army facing certain death. If I

asked Naimi to take that same ride into certain death for vengeance; he would! I don‟t want his
       Edward A. Dean                                                              Southern
       Crossed dean
young death. I want his dream to be a civil engineer. The Israelis have land lust, we have blood lust.

One feeds on the other. It is our country and I mean to protect it. Israel can eat shit because they will

not violate our country or any country in the Middle East anymore. Hezbullah and even the

Christians will not tolerate conquest of their homeland. Leave them to their own devices. They will

solve their own problems. Don‟t assume that because people are Christian or Muslim they are not


        “Another thing from the movie I want to bring to your attention. Remember the French

diplomat, Claude Raines? His words were very prophetic. „Treaty? There is no treaty, only an

agreement between clerks, who told half-truths. And when you tell half truths it can mean anything

you want!‟ So the eloquent words come out of the mouths of our esteemed leaders but the duplicity

is in the half-truths of our clerks. Ayan Rand told us to beware of the clerks some sixty years ago in

her book The Fountainhead, In no uncertain terms. Isn‟t it uncanny how her prophetic words come

back to haunt us? And here we are in some back street of Paris, heading for the lights of the Seine

River. Searching for answers to the same old questions of human existence? Step up to the bar and

help us. Do it for yourself; don‟t do it for me.”

        I paused for the challenge. “Butch, this is the same old Arabic rhetoric for hundreds of years.

I agree that they should be left to their own devices but their devices are now the property of the

West. They don‟t have a choice anymore. Their choice is to serve the masters or get crucified. And

right now they don‟t have a world voice. Do you really believe the world is going to listen to a

bunch of rabid rag heads? The Roman Empire is back with a new name and this time it‟s not for

wheat and spices but oil. My heart is tired of being on the losing side Butch. I have my worldwide

Roman citizenship and want to stay out of all this bullshit. I can‟t risk the business because Angel

and Spanky are equal partners. This isn‟t their fight. Come on Butch. We paid our dues. Why are we
       Edward A. Dean                                                        Southern
       Crossed dean
going backwards? Print winner on our asses and let‟s move forward. But god damn it Butch, I have

an obligation to Spanky and Angel .If it was just me, I would do it for you.”

       I could feel a presence walk up behind me. It was Khalil. He put his hand on my shoulder

and spoke.

       The distant lampposts on bridges over the Seine loomed before us. It was as if a light switch

had been flipped on. I turned to look into his eyes. They were dark with truth. His graying hair fell in

curly ringlets on to a furled brow. He walked stylishly to the railing over the Seine. He posed himself

in a nonchalant manner and he gestured his finger over the dark sullen water.

       “Come look! This is humanity Ummo. The water goes on with or without us. We can be the

wave that changes the course of the tide or we can go quietly with the flow into a darker sea.

Choose! Be a wave or be a ripple. No one will ever condemn you for your choice.”

       I walked slowly toward the light. His every thought and word mesmerized me. Every syllable

was poignant. “Oh shit Khalil, this isn‟t fair. If you two were women I would be proposing marriage.

Why aren‟t you two taking this speech to the world stage?”

       With crossed legs and arms stretched over the rail and an easy smile, he leaned on the rail.

“You see Ummo, we Arabs will always have a poetic voice. That is our God given talent, but we

will never have a worldwide stage. That is our cross to bear. The clerks and technicians of Ayn

Rands‟ book now control the world. Who reads poetry anymore? Poets are a dying breed and so are

we. In Western eyes we are Gomer Pyle at the gas pump to the world. Mention your Arab name and

they will resign you to that attendant at the pump. The stupidity of bias is in perception.”

       “I‟m sorry for all of us Khalil but how do you find a world voice? You‟re eloquent. Where

and when do you find a real stage?”
       Edward A. Dean                                                          Southern
       Crossed dean
       His coy smile surprised me as he cast a glance toward Butch. “It‟s coming Ummo. It‟s


       My puzzlement pleased him. “The funds will be more invested in Al Jazeera than Hezbullah.

It will be a true Middle Eastern free press network. We will buy that dream; a true news network,

with a Middle Eastern voice. It is your cousin‟s idea. He is a very smart man. Not just Arabs, all of

the Middle East. Butch wants a channel of truth. This is our dream and we will make it happen.”

       “How do you suppose that you‟re going to go heads up with NBC and the rest of the

networks guys? You‟re a dreamers.”

       Khalil‟s knowing smile caught me. ”You‟re behind the times Ummo. Have you heard of

CNN, FOX and MSNBC? They command the cable networks. Someday cable and the Internet will

overpower your so-called free air space because it is not free. The child now controls the adult. Your

networks were spawned of your government but they have gotten so powerful that they now control

the government and they are the voice of the government. Even your public broadcasting system and

their fairness and truth is relegated to a back channel because the big three wishes it so. Their money

controls your politics. Remember what I said? Always follow the money trail. That is the key to


       “Okay, you never openly asked me for a personal favor but I think you‟re doing it without

asking. You have my support but I can‟t speak for Angel and Spanky. I can‟t drag them into this

mess without their knowledge. Your dreams are not beyond me, only different. I‟m sure they might

understand. I will do my best to convince them but I cannot promise. ”

       Their knowing smiles gleamed off the twinkling lights of the Seine. Khalils casual

nonchalance leaned into the rail. “Listen Ummo. We are vibrant young men in Paris and we speak of
       Edward A. Dean                                                       Southern
       Crossed dean
old men‟s thoughts! Let us go back and claim the warmth of our women. They will make our

thoughts less intense in the flow of the evening.”

       After the passion of our conversations, I couldn‟t agree with him more. I reached over to hug

Butch but Naimi was ready to push him into a waiting limo. His aging dark brown eyes twinkled as

he took his seat. “Isn‟t this funny Dave? It‟s the same old story we were born with. You get the

pussy and I get the limo. Wanna trade cousin?”

       I had to laugh. “Not on our best day Abu.” I had an eerie feeling this might be the last day

that we would see and touch each other.

       The restaurant had thinned out considerably. Josette was in a back corner of the room

engaged in a conversation with Rikki. I sauntered up to the pair. As I took Josette‟s arm Rikki

smiled. “I was just mentioning to Josette that we all might stop at my hotel for a nightcap.”

       I read Rikki‟s intent clearly. “Thanks Rikki but no. We have other plans.”

       Rikki smiled devilishly. “But Josette is willing. And you?”

       “I have no interest Rikki. Let‟s let it go and say goodnight.” I watched as Rikki‟s steely gray

eyes grew into slits. Her face was starting to flush with anger. With that visual cue, I tugged on

Josette‟s arm and turned toward the door. I watched the confused look on Josette‟s face as we

walked away. “There is a nice quiet bar at my hotel where we can get a nightcap Josette. Would you

like that?”

        She wrapped her arm into mine and smiled coyly but her eyes glanced questioningly back at

Rikki. “Oui, I would like that Dave.” She giggled.
       Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
       Crossed dean


       Angel and Spanky welcomed me home with bad news. The boys had called from school that

Walled and Samir were in the middle of a radical Palestinian movement on campus. Their rhetoric

was getting worse.

       “Maybe this could be a good thing in the long run Spank. They have been running on the

edge and this might be a way for them to get in out of their system.”

       Angel interceded. “I don‟t think so guys. It will only inflame their motives even more. I‟m

afraid they might start infecting Nate and Xohal.”

       “Easy, Angel. This is all just young male verbosity. Ask Spank. He never could keep his

mouth shut when he was close to Nate‟s age. He was into every cause on the street.”

       Spanky smiled weakly. His look and pallor struck me as odd. “Are you feeling okay buddy?”

       Angel spoke up. “He‟s fine Dave. I told you he was a little under the weather when you left

and it‟s lingering on.”

       “I‟m fine Dave, really. Tell us about the Expo. How did things go?”

       I didn‟t know if this was the right time to discuss Khalil and Butch. I was stalling. “Hey, why

don‟t we all get dressed and go into town for dinner? My treat.”

       Angel glanced at Spanky and then back to me. “Another night Dave. Besides, you‟ll spoil

Maria‟s surprise. Julia Child has a cooking show on the local channel and Maria is trying some of

her recipes. You can‟t beg off. Spanky and I already had to stomach her jalapeno soufflé. But you

might be surprised. She really is getting good at the French foods.”

       We all chuckled. “Well I guess I can‟t pass this adventure up.”
         Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
         Crossed dean
         I took a walk to look at the vineyards and collect my thoughts before dinner. Angel and

Spanky were seated as I entered the dining room. Maria had set a beautiful table with poached

Chilean sea bass with a hollandaise sauce. It was excellent. Her dessert of fruit crepes was well

executed. I was pleasantly surprised and complimented her profusely.

         I mentioned meeting Khalil in Paris. “Our business with him has been a real rock for the

vineyard over the years but I have to ask you two something. Once he buys the wine from us, do you

care what he does with it?”

         Spanky answered easily. “Not really Dave. He‟s giving us a very good price for it and he‟s

not interfering with our distribution. Why the question?”

         Angel looked up from conversation with Maria. “What „s your point Dave?”

         “Well, I think he‟s re-labeling our wine.”

         Angel looked at me curiously and then toward Spanky. “I guessed that after the second year.

I figured when he wanted bulk barrel shipments he probably was putting his own name on it. Rich

people and vanity go hand in hand.”

         They both had just let me off the hook and decided to accept it. “He bought and paid for it so

I guess he can do whatever he wants with it. I just wanted you two to know and agree.”

         Angel rose from her chair. “That‟s fine with us Dave. For us, it‟s a labor of love; for him it‟s

just another commodity. It‟s been a long evening. Spanky and me are going to turn in early. Do you


         “Not at all Angel. Goodnight guys.”

         I breathed easier as they left but I wasn‟t feeling good about hiding part of the truth. I

remembered Butch‟s parable from the movie Lawrence of Arabia. „Half-truths can mean anything

you want.‟
       Edward A. Dean                                                               Southern
       Crossed dean

       Later that next month Julia approached me as I walked Kimberly and Adam back from the

hillside school. “Senior Dave, can we speak when you have a moment?”

       “Anytime Julia. Why don‟t you stop over for dinner?”

       “As always, thank you Senior. The food and company are always pleasant.”

       Later that evening, after dinner, Julia and I discussed the children. “Senior Dave, they are

ready for the University. They are asking questions that are beyond me sometimes; especially Adam.

I can deal with Kimberly as we relate as females. But Adam is very curious. His need is beyond me.

I know he is young but his mind is insatiable. He is ready for higher learning.”

       I was stunned by her analysis. “What are you suggesting Julia? He is only sixteen. Is that

mature enough for college?”

       “Exactly Senior. If he and Kimberly would enter at the same time and he would have the

comfort of the two older boys. They are all like brothers. At UCLA, he would adapt very easily. His

mind is voracious and it needs to be fed by professors far above me. His years do not speak to his

maturity. He is much like you. He watches and absorbs everything. He speaks only when he is

certain of his thoughts. He needs to develop his creative side. ”

       “Thank you Maria. That was a nice compliment. I see that in the boy but I don‟t want to push

him farther than his maturity level.”

       “Let him be Senior. Nate and Xohal will guide him and keep him safe. You don‟t understand

the relationship between the boys. Many times Adam will lead the other two by force of will. He has

a powerful presence without being demanding. He uses his intelligence to take control. And

Kimberly? Well Kimberly is my special child that I identify with. Her words and thoughts are like

poetry on a night wind. She is naïve but highly intelligent. She sees things with her right brain; the
        Edward A. Dean                                                              Southern
        Crossed dean
creative side. Sunshine and butterflies are her life. She can see the beauty in a dusty clouded

chalkboard and a picture in the broken mark of a pencil. The two will serve themselves together. It is

time. I cannot give them anything more. They are both ready for their next grand adventure in life.”

       Her words struck me. „The next grand adventure.‟ Obviously I wasn‟t ready but they were.

The idea that Nate and Xohal could give them a comfort level of family made up my mind.

       The S.A.T.‟s for both Kimberly and Adam came back at a high level. Julia‟s heart pounded

with delight as she read their acceptance letter to me. I made a mental note to reward her

handsomely for her years of service to all the children. In Chile, it could be enough for her to retire

on; if she chose. Her teaching and mentoring abilities were a godsend. It was the joy of learning that

she brought into the classroom. That kind of dedication could never command a price.

       Months later, I made a point to include Maria in the limo ride to the airport. The last two

were off to the University. Maria‟s busty body pushed me out of the way as the two were ready to

board. Her crocodile tears stained their cheeks. They were all her children more than mine.

Unrequited love was her gift to all of them. This portly little Indian woman had filled in all the blank

spots of my neglect. I was too busy making plans for life and it passed me by. The teary sendoff

even touched Angel and Spanky.
       Edward A. Dean                                                                Southern
       Crossed dean

       The Nineties came as a mixed a blessing. The invasion of Iraq was imminent. For the first

time in the modern area, all the Arab nations, from Morocco to Syria, pledged their support with

troops and money to fight one of their own. It was if they were showing the West that they could be

counted on as partners against inhumanity and wrongdoing. I was hoping that this could be a

breakthrough in international understanding and co-operation. Even though Syria was an outcast

nation and had a Baathist political regime, they were willing to offer up to one hundred thousand

troops. The message was twofold. That they too would not tolerate an indiscriminate invasion of the

stronger preying on the weak. On a back channel, even Iran was willing to get involved. It could be a

huge political breakthrough but the Bush administration turned them down.

       Khalil and Butchs‟ dream of a free independent international news source was realized. Al

Jazeera was taking center stage in the Middle East as a quoted voice of reason and truth. And there

was a glimmer of my dream that the United Nations could be a power for what they espoused; a

voice for rich or poor; strong or weak; a voice for all of humanity.

       My own enigma collided with reality. My fiftieth birthday was on the horizon. Not that it was

important to my body but it was a millstone in my dreams and aspirations. I had accomplished many

things for my wallet but there was a serious deficit in my soul. I still had this nagging feeling that I

was emotionally bankrupt. Women came and went out of my life like an ocean breeze. I refused to

give love in fear of another disappointment or loss.

       The newly created Internet gave me solace. E-mails from all of the kids flowed freely;

sometimes voluminous, sometimes none. It was heartwarming to read their comments, notes and

snippets of their lives. I made a point to call Maria into the office to read them to her. She begged me
        Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
        Crossed dean
to teach her how to use the e-mail. I couldn‟t deny her anything. Her crude English epistles were

punctuated with an abundance of fluent Spanish. It was okay because the children understood her

more than me. I loved that their bi-culture and tri-culture upbringing could adapt so seamlessly. It

made me realize how easily the human family adapts when they understand the languages and

cultures of others. They were truly Maria‟s children because she helped mold their hearts. I finally

understood that it was the one true emotion that made us human. Their teasing notes and jibes were

sometimes beyond me but they made her giggle and puff. At every meal she would slyly stoop over

my shoulder and ask. “You hear from the children Senior?”

       I only shook my head with a smile and answered, “Come on Maria, you know how to use the

computer. Go look!”

       A meal never finished without Maria checking the computer screen two or three times. She

was addicted to that thing. I let it go as something that gave her joy and peace. My mind was a

million miles away. My only thought was they were safe and secure and their life was an adventure.

I was called into being, only when there was a problem or issue to deal with. A lonely melancholy

came over me and I held on to it like a warm blanket.

       Time and sunsets flew by as I watched from my verandah. This was my solace. A fading

sunset into the ocean; the peaceful feeling of nothing and everything. A sunset signified more than

the end of the day for me. It was a day well spent. The color and artistry of every placid scene was

different as was its personal meaning to me. I watched in peaceful awe in the good company of a

Cuban cigar and glass of Cognac.

       Months Angel and Spanky received a call from Nate. He proudly announced that he and

Samir had been accepted into the law school. Xohal needed a few more credit hours and would join

him in the fall but Waleed was more involved with the human rights groups on campus than his
       Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
       Crossed dean
schoolwork. Angel suggested I talk to his mother, Sirryah. I agreed. We were all thrilled with the

news. At least three of the boys were doing extremely well.

       Within weeks of the good news the bad followed. I received a call from Nate.

       “Uncle Dowud, I need to talk to you. Waleed and Samir took off. Waleed came home a week

ago and we all had....... sort of an argument.”

       I thought it was a minor tiff between the boys; nothing more than they always would get into.

“What‟s the problem Nate? We always talk plain, tell me.”

       “I‟m gonna tell you straight up but don‟t tell mom or dad. Waleed convinced Samir to go to

Lebanon and then to Palestine with him. He wants to join Hamas and he‟s convinced Samir to join

with him. I‟m afraid.......I‟m afraid for them Uncle. After their mother called, Waleed got all bent

outta shape. I didn‟t tell you or the folks about this but Waleed has been very active with some of the

on-campus radical groups. I just thought it was their outrage over the Intifada and all and Xohal and

me supported them. But Waleed is way over the top. It‟s not about protest anymore. Waleed wants to

be part of the action.”

       My jaw dropped. “Holy shit Nate! Is there any way to find out where they‟re at right now?

Maybe we can all convince them to come back.”

       “It‟s too late Uncle. I saw plane reservations for the both of them to Beirut. I thought you

could call your friend Mr. Shaheen. Doesn‟t he live in Beirut?”

       I anxiously tried to collect my thoughts. “He does from time to time Nate but I have no idea

where he is right now. Tell me everything you know so I can help.”

       Nate blurted out the ongoing machinations of what Waleed and Samir were involved in. He

also told me that they were pissed at him because he was dating an older graduate student in the

International law school.
        Edward A. Dean                                                              Southern
        Crossed dean
        I was confused. “What business is that of theirs Nate?”

        “Well Uncle, I know you‟re not going to be happy either but she‟s an American Jewess.

And..... and.....”

        “So what Nate? Talk to me!”

        “Well her family lives in Israel. So they say that makes her an Israeli and the enemy. We

have a great time together Uncle and I think I‟m in love with her. She understands all of our

backgrounds and she supports the idea of a separate Palestinian nation. She and I are humanists. We

don‟t believe in organized religion. They all have their flaws. But I guess the bottom line is I do care

for her very deeply.”

        I didn‟t know whether to laugh or not. “Listen to me Nate. You go where your heart tells

you. It doesn‟t matter what her family religion is. It is who she is and what she is. The thing I love

about you Nate is that you are your own person. Don‟t ever change because of anyone‟s opinion. If

you have strong feelings for the woman, trust your emotions. I know and trust your judgment, as do

your parents. Trust in who you are. I‟m sure your mother and father will have their own opinion but

believe in yourself. I don‟t give a crap if she is an Irish scrubwoman from Nairobi. From now on

your choices are going to be about who you are. If there is one thing your parents and I have given

you, it‟s you. Your view of the world is yours. Trust your instincts. That is the only gift we can

convey. But there is only one question I have to ask. How much older is she than you?”

        He was still absorbing my thoughts. “Three, maybe four; I‟m not sure, nor do I care. She is a

beautiful person, inside and out.”

        The obvious male question I really, really wanted to ask was, „How is the sex?‟ But I

couldn‟t go there. I remembered the beauty, glory and intensity of young sex but I couldn‟t put that

memory on the table. It caused me to get lost in my own distant memory. I made a simple offer.
       Edward A. Dean                                                        Southern
       Crossed dean
“Listen Nate, thank you for your extended love and concern for Waleed and Samir but they are on

their own journey. Be the stand-up guy you are. The only thing I will ever ask of you is keep an eye

on Kimberly and Adam. They need an older brother. They need your broad shoulders of experience.

Be my rock for them. Can you do that for me?”

       “Of course Uncle. But can I tell you something? They are the least of our worries. No one on

campus has a clue to Adam‟s age and Kimberly needs a fly swatter to keep all the guys away. They

are so neat and well adjusted that it gives me such pleasure to tell everyone they are my siblings.

Even Sarah loves them. She thinks Adams big round dark eyes are sexy and a lady-killer.

       Uncle, we‟re trying to help but it‟s a big burden on us with what‟s going on with Waleed and

Samir. I‟m trying my best but I don‟t know which priority to put in front. The reason I need to talk to

you is because I feel I‟m you all over again. Don‟t think that I didn‟t realize how everyone hung

their crap on your shoulders from time to time but I‟m beginning to feel it‟s my turn. I‟m confused

Uncle. Just tell me, what should I do? What should I say?”

               “Listen to me Nate. You do nothing; you say nothing. You sit in the weeds and listen.

       This will be the best and most confusing times of your life. Your job is to go enjoy Sarah,

       keep an eye on your siblings and I‟ll handle all the rest. Do you understand me? Don‟t be

       bigger than your boots. If your mom and dad need to know any of this conversation, I‟ll tell

       them. Until then; be Nate.”

               “Thank you so much for understanding Uncle. Sarah sends her love.”

               I laughed. “No Nate, I think I heard you say you loved me and I love you back; with

       all my heart.”

       I heard his silly wholesome childhood chuckle on the other end as he hung up.
          Edward A. Dean                                                             Southern
          Crossed dean
          I immediately put in a call for Khalil with his answering service. I desperately wanted to find

a way to get Waleed and Samir back before I broke the news to their parents. It was more than a

week before Khalil returned my call. When he finally did he addressed me by my proper name.

          “Mister Nasser? This is Khalil.”

          My antenna came up. Something was wrong. I simply answered, “Yes.”

          “You need to find a payphone and call me back on my private number. Do you understand?”

          His curt voice gave me pause. “Yes. Give me an hour and I‟ll call you.”

          He didn‟t answer and hung up.

          I Raced into San Felipe and found a payphone in the lobby of a small hotel. My words were

anxious. “What the hell is going on Khalil? Why all the mystery?”

          Again his curt words gave me pause. “Where are you at?”

          I explained. “Listen to me Ummo. You need to buy a new scrambler for your home telephone

so we can talk for our future security. The analogue system you have is very outdated and

dangerous. ”

          “What‟s going on Khalil? What are you talking about?”

          “If anyone should realize, you should. With all that is going on, the U.S. has the capacity to

monitor all telephones. Super computers allow them to filter key words. If a key word is detected,

the conversation is immediately recorded as well as the phone numbers. One simple word will make

us suspect. No more words are going to be spoken until you get the item I told you about. Once you

get it, call me with the proper access numbers and then we will talk. You give the numbers to my

answering service as a telephone contact and then I will call you back. Do we understand each


          I simply answered, “Yes.” and hung up. His conversation bothered me all the way home.
        Edward A. Dean                                                          Southern
        Crossed dean
        A voice scrambler was easy to find in Santiago. With the evolution of computer chips a

complex rotating key chip was easy to purchase. I installed the device and did as Khalil told me. No

sooner was the device installed that I got a call from Khalil.

        “I‟m sorry to upset you Ummo but these are ridiculous times. War is imminent and your

country is not wrong in doing this but I choose not to be a casualty and locked up in your

international prison in Guantanamo, for the duration. Tell me what is going on?”

        With that I explained that Waleed and Samir had gone to Beirut.

        “I already know. They came through Cyprus and have joined Hamas. They are true to their

cause because they are now in Gaza. Hamas will care for them and train them. It is out of my

control. Don‟t believe what you have heard about Hamas in the Western press. It is a home guard.

They do not venture out of their own area of concern, mainly Palestine territories. They are sectarian

nationalists not terrorists. I told you before; it is a political movement not religious.”

        “Stop the preaching Khalil. I don‟t care about the politics. I need to find a way to get them

back. They don‟t belong there. They need to be in college where they belong.”

        “I‟m sorry for you Ummo, you don‟t understand. They are where their heart is. Their

education can be a blessing for their people. They have a chance to be a voice of reason once they

taste true carnage and humiliation in battle. Battle makes us cowards. Reflection makes us

diplomats. Damn Hamas for what they are but they are a true political movement in their own

country. Just as Hezbullah is in Lebanon, you cannot deny the will of the people. Violence is a

frustrated voice of those that have been denied but you will never quell it. Peace is easy. It is called

respect. Remember old Khayyam‟s words, your favorite poet?

        „The moving finger writes; and having writ, moves on; nor all your piety nor all your wit.

Shall lure it back to cancel half a line. Nor all your tears wash out a word of it.‟”
       Edward A. Dean                                                         Southern
       Crossed dean
       I had only one focus. “Quit preaching Khalil. Right now my needs are simplistic.. Help me

bring the boys back home where they belong!”

       “It‟s what I‟m trying to tell you Ummo. It is beyond our control. They are men! Realize it.

They don‟t want you or need you to interfere in their commitments of life. Remember the lesson you

taught them? Fly free. Be what you are. And when your wings have taken you to a place where you

cannot breathe, come back to earth. As the poets say; you need to let go before you can possess your


       “So let me paraphrase this Khalil. Are you telling me to get out of the fucking way?”

       “In essence, yes. Let life flow. Be the solution instead of the problem. Listen to Xohal for a

change. That subbie (boy) has more heart than you will understand.”

       “What does Xohal have to do with this? When did you talk to him?”

       “I talk to him a lot Ummo. I gave him my phone number and he is my back channel. It is not

devious. It is what is happening in the real world. This young man needs a mentor and I chose to be

that mentor. You forgot him in the mix. He has been calling me often about Waleed and Samir and

he has become your quiet little surrogate. His concerns are that you not be bothered or upset. The

three of you have done a marvelous job with this subbie. Be proud for what he has become. He has

carved himself a place in my heart and I respect him for his fortitude. Just be aware of the depth of

his soul.”

       “Thank you for helping him Khalil but I need to find a way right now to help Waleed and

Samir. Can you get me in contact with them so I can convince them to come home? I can‟t allow

them to be in a death camp.”
        Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
        Crossed dean
        “Cousin, I will do my best but I can‟t promise you anything. I have some contacts with

Hamas but they are moderate at best. And even if we do get through to Waleed and Samir, I don‟t

know if it will do any good. As I told you, their blood runs hot with their cause and their youth.”

        “Whatever you can do Khalil I will greatly appreciate. I would be in your debt.”

        His voice grew solemn. “When it comes to doing good things, we do not keep score. I will


        The next day I made it a point to call Xohal. I waited till late in the evening because of the

time change. A manly raspy voice answered. “Hi Xohal, I just wanted to tell you how proud I am of

you for becoming the man I always knew you were. I talked to Khalil and I understand you better.”

        A long pause made me anxious. “Thank you Uncle for the kind words but I am only doing

the things you taught me. I have been very fortunate to have three fathers and four mothers. There is

no one I know that can claim that blessing.”

        His words made me reflect into melancholy. I was crushed with a wave of remembrance and

I blurted my words. “I love you Xohal and I respect you for all the things you are and the man that

you have become. You truly are a son to me.”

        I heard a slight sniffle on the phone and before the phone hung up, I heard words that would

be forever carved into my heart. “Thank you dad, because that is who you are. I will always love you


        With those beautiful words still ringing in my ears, he hung up the phone.

        I waited for days on end for word about Waleed or Samir but none came.
       Edward A. Dean                                                              Southern
       Crossed dean


       A quiet wind coming off the Andes and it gives me pause to reflect. Was it all worth it? The

fragrant breeze through the nearly empty casa caused the hanging wine glasses to tinkle like a brief

hello from my old friends. It gives me a melancholy peace.

          Sounds of a soft voice outside on the verandah occupied my attention. It was female. But I

know Angel is thousands of miles away. As Maria entered the room, she calls out in her hushed


          “Senior Dave, you would like something before I go?” “No thank you Maria, I‟ll see you in

the morning” Maria paused in the doorway. “You hear anything from the children Senior?”

          “Nothing yet but I will let you know as soon as they call.” Maria loved and adored all the

children but was more concerned about Xohal. She was his surrogate mother. There was a special

bond between the two.
        Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
        Crossed dean
        It‟s been nearly two weeks since they called from Paris and I was getting concerned but I just

knew that the puppies would take care of each other. How very odd to still think of them as puppies.

Spanky and I were no older when we went off on our own grand adventure. I have to get some sleep.

The harvest would be starting in the morning. To this day, it still makes my mind tingle with

excitement. The grape harvest was now a part of my soul. As I passed through the hallway toward

the bedroom, the hanging Indian art that Jade purchased years ago, still gives me a warm feeling of

serenity. It is always good to feel her presence in the little things.

        It was early morning just before sunrise and the shrill ring from the telephone that startled

me. I bolted up in bed and searched for the phone. “Hello, hello.” I mumbled, still groggy from

sleep. “Mister Nasser, there is a problem.” The female voice confused me at first but I recognized it

as Sarah. Sarah was Nate‟s girlfriend from law school “What‟s going on Sarah? Where are you?”

“I‟m calling from Tel Aviv. The Mussad arrested Nate. He‟s in an Israeli jail.” My mind went numb.

I was doing my best to sound calm but my voice screeched to a high crescendo.

        “What? What are you talking about? Nate‟s not in Israel. All of the boys are together in Paris

and Khalil was going to show them Beirut.”

        “They were, but after Beirut they headed down to your families‟ village in the south, Nate

was followed by Mussad agents and thrown into a car and, taken to Israel. They won‟t tell me why

he‟s being held. They say that terrorists have no rights.”

        I couldn‟t believe what I was hearing. My mind was swimming with confusion. Could this be

true? My heart was beating wildly. Oh God, this was all my fault. Had I put the boys in harm‟s way?

        I searched for a glass of wine to stop the ideas in my head but it was only a stopgap to the

next day‟s reality. As I laid in my bed, I realized it was as empty as my life. The warm body under

the covers was only mine. Warm bodies could be purchased but a loving mind wrapped in beautiful
        Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
        Crossed dean
flesh could not. Love is not a commodity. To get love, you need to give love but I never learned to

do it well. Was life too perfect to never learn to need? Depression makes us all fools and needy and

the next glass of wine told me I was both.

        I exhausted every avenue I knew to get Nate released. Small John was working the

diplomatic side but the Israelis would not acknowledge Nate as a U.S. citizen since he was carrying

a Chilean passport.

        A cooler Andean breeze that descended down from the mountains signaled the coming

autumn. The shifting winds were a harbinger of my life. Angel was busy in the vineyards checking

the ripeness of the fruit for an impending harvest. I just observed. This year for some reason my

heart wasn‟t into it.

        Uncharacteristically, Angel tugged at the vines. Her always-gentle hand told me she was in

        pain. Her forceful manner signaled her inner conflict. A glancing gaze beckoned me to her as

        I strode casually down the row. She turned to me in a defiant manner and blurted.

        “I have to tell you Dave. We‟re both leaving and I‟m taking Spanky back to California. As if

you never noticed, Spanky‟s ranting and raving moments are a serious problem. For years I‟ve

hidden his depression from all of you. Spanky has been diagnosed with a type of Bi-polar disease.

There are new drugs in the states that can help him. It‟s like having diabetes. It‟s a chemical

imbalance. Because it affects the brain everyone wants to call him crazy. Did it ever occur to you

why he needs pot so desperately? It calms his wide mood swings. It‟s the only thing he knows that

works for him. You all saw the manic Spanky; him trying to do three things at once; his grandiose

ideas and thoughts. That‟s the Spanky we all know and love for his craziness. But what he has

disguised from you is his deep ugly depression.”

        “I‟ve really never seen that side of him Angel. Are you sure?”
        Edward A. Dean                                                          Southern
        Crossed dean
        “Am I sure? For years I‟ve held him in my arms in the middle of the day or night watching

him curl up in a pitiful fetal position and whimper; nursing him through the worst. Do you really

understand how dark depression can be Dave? It‟s not a downer moment. It‟s deeper than dark. As

Spank described it to me; „it‟s like being in a pitch-black room and frantically searching for the light

switch. And when it gets so unbearable, you don‟t care if there is a light switch.‟ His only comfort is

in his blackness of nothing. He didn‟t care whether he lived or died because for him they were the

same. That‟s the Spanky you‟ve never known. Sure he self-medicates on pot and booze and the

constant Librium refills from your old prescription. It‟s time to stop. He needs help and I intend to

get it for him. There is a new class of experimental drugs that offer hope for him. I have to take care

for my wonderful man. He is a stand-up guy in every sense of the word. When I made that pledge,

for better or worse, I meant every word of it Dave. For better or worse, I deeply love that silly,

sensitive guy. I love him for everything he is and isn‟t. And if you truly do love him as much as you

say, it‟s time for all of us to step up.”

        “I never knew Angel, I swear I didn‟t. Oh sure? I saw the little peccadillo‟s in him but I just

chalked that up to his being Spanky. What do you want me to do Angel? Anything, just tell me.”

        “Here‟s what I expect of you Dave. Right now I can‟t handle this situation with the boys.

I‟m overwhelmed with fear. I‟m putting my son‟s fate in your hands. Not just my son Dave. Our

collective son; yours, Spankys and mine! I know that you know! Spanky told me of the conversation

between the both of you. Yes, I lied my ass off to him. It wasn‟t to protect you; it was to protect his

fragile ego. In all of our hearts, we know that Spanky is his soulful father but you owe that boy

something. This is what‟s pushed him over the edge. I don‟t care if it takes everything we all have to

save them from an Israeli hellhole. Those boys do not belong behind bars forever with no trial. You

need to solve that problem. I have to save Spanky. My tears and heart go out to both my son and my
      Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
      Crossed dean
husband but I have my hands full with Spanky and I‟m trying to control what I can. Our collective

son, yours, Spankys and mine is a strong young man with his whole life ahead of him. I‟m charging

you; do whatever it takes! As his biological father, you need to save our flesh and blood. Fail this

and you fail all of us. Sell anything and everything, sell your soul but save him. I will not let him rot

in an Israeli jail because of their archaic laws and prejudices. Our airline flight is leaving the first

thing in the morning. I‟m feeding him his favorite plant right now until I can get him into the


         My mind was swimming with every possible solution. I knew I couldn‟t let them down,

much less myself. “You have my word Angel. Whatever it takes, I‟ll have all the boys home safe

and sound.”

         I knew my words were only an appeasement but I there was only one person that I knew I

could push to the limit and that was me. I was determined to not let my promises fail.

         My mind was racing with possible solutions. I put a call in with the international answering

service for Butch. If I didn‟t hear from him within a day, I planned to fly to Tel Aviv myself and get

in touch with an attorney.

         Early the next morning I was awakened with the jangling of the telephone. I raced to the

office to take the call. A raspy voice answered my hello. It was nearly unrecognizable but it was


         “Hi cuz, I hear bad things about Nate. What can I do to help?”

         My racing thoughts paused. “Hey Butch, you don‟t sound too good. Are you okay or did you

just get up?”

         I heard a chuckle. “Don‟t be stupid Dave. It‟s noon here and I‟ve already had my sunrise ride

in the desert.”
       Edward A. Dean                                                     Southern
       Crossed dean
       My ears perked. “Ride? What happened with walking? Something‟s wrong Butch. Level with

me. Are you okay?”

       A long pause filled me with anticipation. “The truth is it‟s all over but the shoutin‟ Cuz and

I‟m okay with all of that. I‟m making my peace with God. Let‟s put this aside and get to the problem

at hand. I still have a lot of connections but let me call Khalil. He‟s still working both sides of the

fence and has a lot of pull with some influential Israelis. That man- whore is still working the

antiquity business and the moneyed Israelis love him for it. We have to be careful though. The

Israeli Mussad is in overdrive right now. The right-winged Israeli government is giving them more

money than they know what to do with. I suspect this might have something to do with them

grabbing Nate. All their agents are looking for promotions and they‟re doing anything for rank right

now. Let me talk to Khalil first and one of will get back to you.”

       “Thanks Butch but I‟m flying over on the first flight I can get out of here. I‟m sorry Cuz, I

didn‟t realize you were this bad. When this is all over, you‟re coming home with me. Maybe

Bethesda has a solution to help. You need to be stateside with family. Don‟t argue.”

       The raspy voice grew in crescendo. “Oh bullshit Dave, I‟ve already been through all of that

with Rita. The hospital in Damascus traded my information with Bethesda and their prognosis is that

the experimental drugs I‟m on are as good as it gets.”

       These multiple problems were tearing at my insides. Tell me where you‟re at. I‟m coming.”

       His angry voice lashed out. “Stop the shit Dave. If I wouldn‟t let Rita come here why would I

want you? You don‟t understand. It‟s easier this way. I got my gin rummy guys at the coffee house

every evening, who don‟t know shit about me only laughing for the next card to fall. I like it this

way. I get to live multiple lives through their bitching and complaining about their families and

politics. I‟m having fun with all of it Dave. I truly am. I don‟t want people I love fawning over me
       Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
       Crossed dean
and break their hearts with a deathwatch. Let me enjoy my desert sunrises and sunset‟s and laugh at

the card table in between. I don‟t need any emotional clutter nor do I want it.”

          “My sinking heart rose to accept his wishes and I tried to make light of it. “Okay asshole,

have it your way. Just send me your ashes in a bottle of my best wine and I‟ll spread them along the

Atlantic and Pacific Oceans you‟ve learned to love.”

          I could feel a smile in his voice. “You know I can‟t do that Dave. It‟s harram (forbidden) in

the Koran to be cremated. I‟ll pick my spot in the Syrian Desert for my resting place. It will be nice

to be buried with my ancestors.”

          I chocked on my words. “Butch…..Butch….I do love you guy!” More sentiment failed me.

          I clearing of his voice nearly pulled me to tears. “I love you too Cuz but my miserable ass is

not dead yet. You‟ve given me a new mission to handle. Let me get into this with Khalil and we‟ll

get it handled. Just promise me that you won‟t do something stupid and wait till you hear from one

of us.”

           I arrived at the casa late one night after a jaunt into Santiago. An eerie quiet grabbed me as I

entered the house. Apprehensively I quietly called out Maria‟s name. The non-response puzzled me

but I shook it off. Maria had the hearing of a wild animal. Nothing passed through her domain

without her knowing. No sooner were the words out of my mouth, than I was slammed against a

wall. Four burly arms wrapped my body and mouth with a huge force. My body raced with

adrenalin. My ears were shocked.

          “No need to resist Senior. There are three of us and the alarm system has been cut. We mean

you no harm if you comply.”

          My eyes searched the darkness for the voice. The offering moonlight told me the voice was

correct. I was dragged to a chair in my office by two of them as the voice trailed our steps. My hands
       Edward A. Dean                                                              Southern
       Crossed dean
were quickly taped to the chair arms. I desperately tried to collect my thoughts and respond in a

direct manner.

       “Who the hell are you and what do you want?” There was a long calculated pause. The voice

paused to breathe deeply as if it were staged.

       “Simple truths and information Senior. It will cost you nothing but co-operation and in return

you will earn our respect and friendship.”

       “Who the hell are you and what do you want?” There was a long calculated pause. The voice

paused to breathe deeply as if it were staged.

       I was still in shock and panic mode. “Where‟s Maria; where‟s Maria. If she is harmed in any

way you can shoot me now because I will give you nothing. Understand me….Nothing!”

       A paused voice came through the darkness. “She is sleeping blissfully senior. No physical

harm; just a type of chloroform. She will be fine in the morning. But the old man….what a fighter he

was. It took all three of us to subdue him. He has a bump on the head but he will be fine.” I heard a

chuckle and a pause. “The old devil dog bit me deeply. I guess I‟ll have to get a rabies shot.” Again

there was a bemused chuckle. “You may not be as fortunate if we do not get the words we came for.

We always get what we want. It is just a matter of when. You do not strike me as the hero type

Senior. Are you the hero type that likes pain?”

       My mind gagged on his subtle and schooled interrogation technique. It reminded me of a

distant past teacher in the NSA. This man was no common criminal. His accent was very Eastern

European but with an underling tone. I closed my eyes to focus only on him. My early NSA training

had prepared for this but to experience it in real life was a leap of faith. I knew the two things that

were in their favor; fear and panic. I desperately tried to get my mind into a meditative state. I

simply tried my best to shut down my wild thoughts. After a moment I heard his words clearly.
       Edward A. Dean                                                         Southern
       Crossed dean
       “Listen David.” There was a long breathy pause. “Is it David or Dowud? What do feel

comfortable with? Your American name or your Hezbullah name?”

       My mind jumped. He knew everything about me. They weren‟t Chilean police thugs as my

thoughts raced. The accent, the knowledge, the daring; they were Israeli Mussad! I felt death wasn‟t

imminent because they needed something from me. If I could only focus well enough, maybe I had a

chance. Humor was my weapon of choice.

       “Call me Daveed, it might make you more comfortable.”

       I could hear a chuckle through the darkness. “Very good Daveed. How did you guess?”

       “In America we call it a SWAG; a scientific wild ass guess. Let‟s be plain, why are you here

and what do you want with me?”

       “Good, good, let us be very plain. We know you are a cover and money conduit for

Hezbullah. We need to know your contacts and your method of transferring the money.”

       My mind was racing to a business mode. Interrogation was nothing more than a transaction.

You give something, you get something. Just make sure you get more than you give.

       “I‟m sorry but I didn‟t get your name? I‟m very uncomfortable talking to shadows.”

       “Very good Daveed. You haven‟t‟ forgotten your training. Just call me Ari.”

       “And the other two?” Again, the throaty chortle came through the darkness.

       “Call them your worst nightmare Daveed because they can be.”

       “You‟re making this ugly Ari. I thought we were going to be friendly?”

       The voice grew stern and edgy. “Okay Daveed. Let us cut to the pursuit and stop this shit.”

       I was forcing my mind to confuse him. “I think you mean chase.”

       The voice grunted. “I have to speak several languages and you will forgive me if I don‟t

know all the nuances but we need to stop this right now. You will like this. Here are all my cards.
      Edward A. Dean                                                             Southern
      Crossed dean
We have your nephew Nathan in jail. And let me explain that a terrorist suspect has no rights to an

expedient trial in Israel. We can hold him forever! You co-operate and he can go to trial. You don‟t

co-operate and all the both of you will get is ugly. Do you understand how ugly things can get?”

       Once again I breathed deeply to force my mind to focus and calm down. It was racing with

anticipated answers. I had a thought and carrot to redirect his anger. “Listen Ari. What‟s a high

profile person like you doing in Chile on a strong-arm job like this? Did you do something to make

someone mad?”

       There was a quiet stillness that lasted far too long in the darkness. I had hit a nerve. All I

heard was two or three mumbled vain attempts at an answer. I knew I was winning. Again I probed.

       “Are you a Lieutenant or Captain Ari? You must be an officer of rank to be so well

schooled?” His brief loud bark broke my train of thought.

       “Major if you must know. I‟m tired of this silly shit. You will give me what I need before I

leave here or your nephew will be older than you before he gets a trial.”

       What could I give him to end this standoff? My mind raced with possibilities. Then it struck

me; Rikki‟s father-in law. That could be the golden carrot! The thought warmed my mind. I tried to

mentally measure every step.

       “Okay Ari. What would it take to get you a promotion to Colonel?”

       “A lot Daveed. More than you have to offer. I just want to get out of this South American

shithole and back to civilization.” I smiled in the darkness.

       “How can you talk about this beautiful country like that? What would be the value of a

ranking ex-Nazi for you and your cell?” I felt a tug on my throat from the agent behind me. His

hands cupped my ears as he murmured at Ari.

       “Since you know so much, maybe we should get everything.”
        Edward A. Dean                                                        Southern
        Crossed dean
        Heavy fingers swept through my hair and viciously jerked my head back. I could see Ari‟s

hand push him aside. “You have my attention Daveed. I‟m growing weary of your pettiness. Speak


        “Here‟s the deal Ari. I can give you the name, location and even the phone number of a high-

ranking Ex-Nazi. In exchange I want Nate to be brought to trial within forty-hours of verification of

our deal; with a Mussad defense attorney and a sympathetic judge.”

        “You ask for miracles? Like the biblical Daveed you better deliver a miracle. Give me just a

name I can verify and you just may have a deal. Speak quickly or you will begin to bore me with

your American bullshit.”

        “How does Albert Heim‟s commanding officer strike you?” Through the icy silence I could

feel the burly man behind me pull his hands around my throat with a sudden powerful squeeze. A

bark from Ari made him stop.

        “You must forgive this idiot for his viciousness. His grandparents were patients of that

esteemed Doctor. Your words need to be precise because he has little patience. There is a lot of

heartfelt grief and anger in his fists. Your first lie will feel them. Speak!”

        “Gerhard Von Trumpf. Does that ring a bell for your friends?”

        I felt gloved hands cup my ears as the mummers ran through the room. A satellite phone was

hastily brought into the room and after a very short conversation Ari announced the deal.

        “If this information is correct, Nate will have a very short fruitful trial, with a one-way ticket

to Los Angeles within seventy-two hours.”

        “What assurance do I have Ari?”

        Again the voice chortled with his own humor. “None, except to say there is honor among

thieves. This will make me a Colonel and my ticket out of here. And your good friend the American
       Edward A. Dean                                                          Southern
       Crossed dean
Senator makes it difficult to harm you bodily. Beside, we know your banking connections and we

can trace that easily by making small deposits and see where they end up. This is a clerk‟s work.

Give us the right information and we will be out of my life forever.”

       “I need some assurance other than yours Ari. Let me hear the words from your superior that

you spoke to on the satellite phone. A few minutes and we can get this deal done.”

       I heard the soft clicks of the keypad. The phone was placed to my ear. A sharp guttural voice

spoke. “I will guarantee all of Benjamin‟s promises. Do we have your co-operation?”

       “One condition. Can you call this number I will give you and tell this to Senator Calhoun. He

is my contact and resource. I understand you will not lie to a U.S. senator. Please call Senator John

Calhoun with the details and we have a deal. Is that agreeable?”

       “Agreed but understand one thing. Benny has a very short fuse and I will not be responsible

       for his reaction to deception. Do we understand each other?”

       “I understand and the information I give him will be correct. The rest is up to your people.”

       “It better be. Your service will not be forgotten.” A nod of my head and a click of the phone

       ended the ordeal.

       I conveyed the information and watched them leave. I waited for more than three hours

before I called Khalil. His phone service was nearly six hours ahead of me. I left a discrete message.

I quickly took inventory of the house. Nothing was disturbed except the pistols in my office and

bedroom were gone. My computer was on. Obviously they downloaded my files. The ring of the

phone unnerved me. I picked it up. Before I could utter a full greeting, Khalils voice overpowered

       Edward A. Dean                                                             Southern
       Crossed dean
       “What is so important that you are calling at three in the morning, your time? Speak to me.

This is not like you. If this is about Nate, I have been working with Butch. It is not a simple thing. Is

there something else is wrong?”

       I swallowed hard. “Your right Khalil, something is very wrong. I just had a visit from the

Israeli Mussad and not a pleasant one.”

       I told him all of the details. There was a long pause as I heard his mind working feverishly.

       “You could have emptied the Palestinian jails for the information you gave them. You sold

out too cheap Ummo but it is done. You and Butch are truly cousins. His plan was to offer himself to

the Israelis as Abu Salaam in exchange for Nate‟s release. I had to force him to let me handle it.”

       I frantically screamed my trauma . “Bullshit Khalil, I want out. You put me in this position

not Nate. He was just a pawn in all of this. Why didn‟t you warn me that all of this could happen?”

       “There was nothing to hide with you. Nate was the key that they found. I will have my Israeli

people get him to the airport and out of there. I will put Xohal and Samir on the next plane out of

Beirut. They are both in a Hezbullah safe house. By the way, Xohal is addicted to kibbee nayaae.

(Raw ground lamb and cracked wheat dish.) He even learned to make it.”

       I found some solace in his reflective humor but I dearly wanted to call him the pompous ass

that he was but I understood that this was his façade. Khalil deftly deflected every personal aspect of

his life. He allowed no one inside. I suspected the boys entered a chink in his armor. The purity of

his heart let them in for some reason.
       Edward A. Dean                                                               Southern
       Crossed dean


       Three days later I received an early morning phone call. It was Nate.

       “Hi Uncle Dave, I‟m at the airport. Thank you for helping me through my stupidity. I don‟t

know how you did it but we‟ll talk later.”

       “Oh God Nate, I‟m glad you‟re safe. Did you call your mother?”

       A soft mellow voice answered. “Of course Uncle, she was crying with happiness but she is

okay. Sarah and a contingent of people I don‟t have a clue about are here also. I feel like a celebrity.

I just wanted to let you know our plane takes off in thirty minutes. I‟ll call you from New York.

Sarah says she loves you Uncle.”

       I smiled and understood his underling coded message. “Tell Sarah I love the both of you

back. Just get out of that hellhole and I‟ll talk to you when you land in New York.”

       His choking thank you was all I needed to hear.

       Later that day, I called Angel in Santa Rosa California. I was shocked when Spanky

answered the phone.

       “Hey Spank, how are you? It‟s good to hear your voice. I didn‟t know you were home.”
       Edward A. Dean                                                          Southern
       Crossed dean
       “Thanks for calling Dave. Yea I‟m out of the hospital. Thank God for these new drugs. It‟s

like a miracle. I can‟t tell you what the difference they make in my life Dave. It‟s like coming out of

a raging storm and feeling safe.”

       “Good for you Spank. I have to apologize guy, I never knew the extent of your suffering.”

       I heard softness in his voice. “How could Dave? I never knew the real me but I was one hell

of an actor wasn‟t I?” He laughed.

       “I wanted to call you too. I heard from Nate and he‟s out of jail and safe at the Tel Aviv

airport, on the way home.”

       “Yea, we know. He called a bit ago. I can never thank you enough for what you and Khalil

did Dave. I don‟t know how you did it so fast and I don‟t care. You‟ve given me back my son.”

       Angel was in tears when she heard his voice. She truly has been my Angel Dave. I don‟t

know what I would have done without her. You know that beautiful nymph as more balls than the

both of us Dave. When I was in the hospital she ran those Psyches‟ like a circus act. She was there

every day that I was in. She willed me through all of this.”

       “I‟m really happy for the both of you Spank. Hey, why don‟t you come back here and we can

have a reunion with all of the kids?”

       “Naw, I‟m not ready to do all of that traveling just yet Dave. We have a beautiful place hear

in Sonoma that Carol found for us. Why don‟t you come up here and we can do that with the kids?

They‟ve never experienced the Valleys. I could be good for them. Oh by the way, Small John and

Carol have been stopping by. Wow, you won‟t believe the difference in Carol. She‟s been totally

sober for the last two years and looks great.”

       Before I could get the words out my mouth Spanky offered my thoughts back to me.
       Edward A. Dean                                                        Southern
       Crossed dean
       “I know what you‟re thinking Dave. Yes we did hear from Reanna also. She‟s one powerful

lady Dave. She‟s running Modesto like a well-oiled machine. Carol say‟s her husband is really a

great guy.” There was a pause in his voice and then a chuckle. “Carol says he looks and acts a lot

like you but he adores her and treats her like a Madonna. Shortly after they got married, they adopted

two little girls and Reanna seems to be quite happy. She still has that protective shell around her but

every once in a while I hear her soft side leak through.”

       “That‟s so wonderful to hear Spank. I couldn‟t be happier for her. Listen, you and Angel

decide on a date and I‟ll be there.”

       “That would be great Dave. I‟ll let you know. Angel will be thrilled with the news.”


               A month had passed and I hadn‟t heard from anyone. I guess I was feeling an inner

       peace in the silence. I chose to lose myself in the occasional woman and the vineyards.

               A large special delivery package arrived late in the month with Syrian postal

       markings. I opened it with some apprehension. There were six large wine bottles of a labeled

       „Chateau Le Pin‟ with an envelope. I opened it apprehensively. Instantly, I recognized the

       handwriting, it was from Butch.

               “Hi Cuz, what a way for us to get back together again? Obviously I lost the most

       important battle in my career. My life. You and God gave me new avenues of discovery in my

       life and I loved every minute. I could never have imagined the propose and adventure that

       you added to my existence. I want to thank you for that. It was one hell of a ride Dave.
Edward A. Dean                                                          Southern
Crossed dean
Thank you for sharing your family with me. Alec was a highlight. That heart-pumping sea

cruise with Rita was fabulous. I thought sometimes I should have paid you for that adventure.

The kids were the topping on my banana split. You will never know how much I envied your

life Dave. I‟ve always enjoyed our little times of going after each other because it was a

competitive thing. You got the best of me in so many ways that I would never admit to.

        These wine bottles are my last poke–in the-eye for you. They contain my ashes. I hope

God will forgive me for being so selfish but I wanted your idea of being spread into two

oceans. Would you contact Rita for me and make that happen? My last joke is these are the

fake bottles that Khalil was selling with your wine. Ha, I know you‟ll see the humor in all of


        It‟s been a fabulous ride Dave and thank you for sharing. I‟ll always love you for

being my brother in heart and soul.

        I‟ve asked Rita in a separate letter to have the Atlantic bottles to be sent out on my

sloop and burn the boat in a Viking funeral. God forgive my vanity but it was always my

dream to go out in a blaze of glory. Please make it happen.

        Allah maak. (God be with you)


        I had to pull the reading glasses from my teary face. I could see his toothy smile and

presence in every word and felt his love. He was my brother and he made me know him.

        A few days later I lied to the local Imam and told him that Butch had been burned in a

fire and this was his last wish. He agreed reluctantly to pray over the ceremony. I only did

this for Butch. I wanted to be alone with his ashes as he went into the vast ocean. There was a

calm on the waves as the evening sun peaked out of the low hanging clouds. The brilliant
       Edward A. Dean                                                          Southern
       Crossed dean
       orange colored sky gave me reason to believe that he would be well received. A beautiful

       soul would never be denied. For all of his hard-ass edge, underneath was a warm and caring

       heart. Deep in my soul was a true belief that the Universe could never reject love, as it was

       the ultimate evolution of our being. Beyond knowledge, beyond understanding but never

       beyond love.

              I watched the soft ashes sank beneath the waves as if mother earth was welcoming

       him back. A puff of wind blew some of the ash into my face and I breathed deeply as if to

       consume his being. I wanted my lungs to live on for both of us. As I stood precariously on

       the rocky shore, I could feel the sincere warmth of his toothy smile fill my mind and I smiled

       through the loving remembrance.


       I rented a car at the San Francisco airport and drove to the valleys. I was amazed at all the

changes along the way. The house that Angel and Spanky bought backed into a hillside just outside

of the town of Sonoma. As I walked up the drive, the door flew open and Carol burst out screaming

my name with joy. She flew into my arms crying with joy. I could see Spanky and Small John
       Edward A. Dean                                                          Southern
       Crossed dean
standing on the porch. The overriding chatter of hugs and conversation had my head spinning in

every direction. Small Johns smiling gaunt frame grabbed me. Spanky joined us and shouted.

       “The Three Musketeers are back!”

       We all settled into a rapid conversation of questions and answers. I asked where the kids

were. Angel looked up with a smile. “They‟re all together at the sports bar in town. Nate brought

Sarah with him. I guess they think we‟re too old to let us listen to their exploits. I can only imagine

the adventurous conversations they‟re sharing.”

       We all laughed at the thought. As the champagne took effect the chatter got louder and

funnier. No sooner had we settled into an easy afternoon on the back patio when we saw a black

limousine pull up. Carol giggled. “Here‟s Reanna! She still loves to make that dramatic entrance.

Let‟s tease her and just ignore her when she comes in.”

       Angel interjected. “We can‟t be that mean to her Carol. She‟s going to be uncomfortable

enough with......” Her eyes glanced in my direction. I got her drift immediately.

       “Your right Angel, I‟ll go say hello first and get it out of the way.” With that I swung through

the doors and went inside. As I opened the front door, I could see Reanna‟s‟ tall frame leaning

toward two older teenage girls. A good-looking man with dark hair and eyes flanked her. He did

resemble me in some ways but he looked very Italian. As she straightened up I could see her hair

was cut shorter and the gray peeking out of her temples. As our eyes met, we nodded to each other in

understanding. For the first time in our existence there was a warmness of friendship; nothing more.

The composed look on her face softened for just a brief moment. Long harbored emotions gave way

to an easy smile of recognition. Age never gives way to sweet memories easily. We both were

caught in our own fantasy of thoughts. Her eyes drifted over her shoulder to young girls standing

behind her.
         Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
         Crossed dean
         In her typical business fashion she introduced me to her two daughters, Lexi and Roxanne

and her husband Gino. As we exchanged pleasantries Reanna brushed past me and opened the patio

doors with a flourish. “If I had a glass of champagne right now Carol, I could drink the hell out of

it!” Her smile darted toward Angel and Spanky. “And it better be French because I don‟t have time

to drink crap.”

         Carol rose and interjected. “Oh but sister dear, we bought Modesto‟s Canneros Creek

champagne in your honor. I knew you‟d enjoy that.” Carol giggled.

         Reanna mockingly rolled her eyes with a smile. “Oh God no; not that crap. I‟m sending my

driver out for a case of Moet.”

         Small John tilted his head mockingly at her. “Hey sister-in-law, go first class will you? Have

him get a case of Dom Perignon.”

         The good-natured banter didn‟t stop. Reanna shot back at him. “Except for the choice of my

sister, your taste was always horrible SJ. I‟m getting the Veuve Cliquote.”

         Laughter abounded as her husband Gino and the girls joined us. His uneasy eyes told me that

he was in charge of himself and his quite caring nature dotted over girls comfort level with all the

participants. The role reversal didn‟t matter to me only the sublime happiness they found in each


         We all settled into an easy rhythm of questions, conversation and food. I glanced fondly at

Reanna knowing her maturity had given her a new lease on life. We shared easy pleasant smiles. The

simple warmth of the past gave us ease with the present. All the shared giggles popped to the surface

of our minds like the tiny Champagne bubbles in our glasses.

         A bawdy entrance by the kids interrupted us. They were all feeling no pain. My parental

mode jumped, as did Angels. She blurted. “Have you kids been drinking?”
       Edward A. Dean                                                       Southern
       Crossed dean
       Nate laughed. “Let‟s see mom. A twenty something group no longer qualifies as kids. Have

you adults been drinking?” He teased.

       We all gathered for an early dinner on the patio. Reanna‟s eyes were all over the place as her

two daughters were laughing joyously with the other young adults. She was particularly eyeing

Adam and Roxanne, as they grew friendlier. She leaned toward me and whispered. I‟m not

comfortable with the looks those two are giving each other. I have a lot of plans for Roxanne and

she‟s too young to get involved.”

       I knew when Reanna had an underlying message. I answered curtly. “What do you want to

do Reanna, lock them in a closet? They‟ll be off in different directions soon. What‟s your problem?

You haven‟t changed much. You always read more into a situation than is there.”

       Her sharp determined gaze met mine. And for the first time in our existence she let go with a

thoughtful smile. “I‟m sorry Dave, you‟re right. His look and mannerisms somewhat remind me of

you and it scares me. Actually, I think he‟s trying to be you. That‟s what‟s bothering me! My

Roxanne is a beautiful innocent child and I intend to keep her that way.”

       I deeply understood her remark. I looked at her full in the face. “What we had; was it so bad

Reanna? We‟ve both had a lot of years to grow; was it so terrible? These kids have no clue as to

what and who we were. Let them be who they are. We‟ve given them our best shot. It‟s time to let

go! Let them all use our love and guidance without interference. We don‟t need to impose our past

on them. You‟ve got a great guy, a great family, a high-powered career and you‟re still a beautiful

lady. What more can you ask for? And me; you wanna trade?”

       Her face fell into a soft reflective mood. “God, you still cut to the chase Dave, don‟t you? I

wish my top exec‟s had that ability. They can be such long winded pussies at times. And you‟re

right. The kids are what they are. If we haven‟t mentored them properly by now, we didn‟t do our
         Edward A. Dean                                                          Southern
         Crossed dean
jobs. If you don‟t mind, I‟m going to do the same Dave, cut to the chase. You‟re not going to like

this but I‟m stealing Angel from you. I‟ve tried her fabulous fakes and they‟re awesome. I‟m amazed

with what that gal has done with the Chilean fruit.”

       I gave her a painful and shocked look. “You know about that?”

       She threw her head back in a heady chuckle. “That‟s what I always loved about you Dave.

You can be so naive at times. You remind me of my kids being called out on something. Of course I

know. You forget, as big as this industry has gotten, it‟s still a very gossipy small clique. I‟ve offered

Angel a very lucrative contract with Modesto to do a totally separate upscale label with a new

identity and all. She wants to jump at it but she is afraid of walking away from you. She won‟t

abandon you if you persist. Just like that cigarette commercial, understand that she has „a chance to

be all she can be‟. You need to know that this is not about retribution, it‟s about recognizing talent.”

       I jumped. “What about Spanky?”

       She smiled. “Oh yes, men‟s bruised egos‟. I offered him a spot in our sales training

department with more money than he deserves but the asshole won‟t leave you Dave. He‟s the key if

they stay or not. You owe Angel this favor. You need to cut them loose. If you don‟t we‟ll be

wasting a huge talent. And since we‟re at opposite poles, she has the freedom to come down in our

winter to help with your crush. Can you find it in your heart to do this?”

       I searched her face for the truth. All the old clues were there. “I understand your motives and

your heart Reanna. You‟re right they need their own lives without me. We grow or we go. Just like

the kids.”

       Her wry smile told me she had my meaning. “I don‟t want to leave you out of this totally

Dave but I have something for you to consider. With our huge marketing and distribution arm, I

would consider a joint venture with your Chilean vineyards. I‟m thinking the Rothschild‟s and
     Edward A. Dean                                                       Southern
     Crossed dean
Mondavi are down there. Why not Modesto? Can you expand your surrounding acreage? Are you


        My head was buzzing. “Very tempting Reanna. You‟re always on top of the game. I have a

lot I need to think about. If I can get one or two of the kids to help me with it, I might consider

another expansion.”

        I heard her giggle like she used to. “Angel had the same idea. She says your daughter

Kimberly has the talent to do the winemaking and blending with her supervision. Angel doesn‟t‟

know if you realize it but Kimberly has been following and absorbing Angels every step for the last

ten years. With a little schooling at U.C. Napa and working with her in the Valleys, she could be top

notch. I know she loves that girl very deeply and has become her second mother Dave but I promise

you I‟ll get under Kim‟s wings and find out very quickly if she has the talent. As for the vineyards

Angels thought is that Xohal has the native ability to run the expanded acreage with the locals. All

the solutions are sitting under your nose. Give them the chance to use their talents. What better gift

can you give your children?”

        “Let me think about it and get back to you when I‟m on home ground Reanna. Damn if you

haven‟t thought this whole thing through like the brilliant Exec you are. For now, let‟s enjoy the

simple moments in our life.”

        I chuckled under my breath. “What irony Reanna. How ironic. We‟ve come full circle.

You‟ve always had it all over me. Here you are driving the bus again. You‟re a smart lady!”

        She smiled easily. “Look Dave this could give you time to pursue some of your other

interests. “

        I thought for a moment. “You know Reanna, I don‟t know if I really have any other interests.

It kind of hit me as we were talking about the kids taking over. Ever l since I lost Jade and then
      Edward A. Dean                                                           Southern
      Crossed dean
Nadiya, everything in my life changed. I put my protective armor back on and kept locking all the

doors behind me. And I have to admit; In the middle of many lonely nights, I‟ve thought about you. I

owe you the honest truth of what you have meant to me. Please don‟t misunderstand this as a plea

but an honesty you deserve. And here you are again solving all the puzzles in my life. You keep

giving with a huge subconscious heart like the dragon slayer you are. Remember when you said we

were too much alike to like each other? Well it‟s true. We could have been each other in drag.         I

can‟t tell you how many times I felt like I‟ve been walking through life detached from the reality of

myself. I guess I relished handling all the crisis‟s because it allowed me to get involved in someone

else‟s life so I could feel again. I guess the bottom line to this conversation Reanna is to tell you, I

envy you; I respect you and will always cherish the unrequited love that you gave me.”

       A tearful softness returned to her face. “Oh Dave, I didn‟t want this nor did I expect this but

thank you for giving me back a piece of a lost life. We both are on a different journey. I will always

know you as a friend and confidant and that‟s a blessing I will cherish.”

       A hanky dabbed at the tears in the corner of her eyes as the old Reanna appeared.

       “Now that we‟re over all the sappy stuff, give me your cell phone number Dave and we‟ll

talk later after the party. Tomorrow maybe?”

       With a warm easy smile I agreed. The party roared into a sixties motif. A champagne glow

and rock and roll mesmerized the kids as they joined in. Nothing was left forgotten till the early

morning hours that called our tired bodies to bed.

       Warm remembered dreams filled my head into the next late afternoon. The silly buzz of my

cell phone brought me to my reality.

       “Hi Dave, you were a man on a mission last night. Are you okay?” The words echoed in my

ear but my mind smiled at her easy voice. “Sure I am Reanna. What‟s up?”
       Edward A. Dean                                                            Southern
       Crossed dean
       “Nothing. I was in the car and on my way to the office and I wanted to talk. Are you up to a


       “Damn; your one dedicated bitch! Do you know what the word really means Reanna?”

       I felt her angst. “Okay, I‟m listening!”

       “It‟s an acronym for “Babe in Total Control of Herself.‟ Listen gal, give me ten or so to get

some coffee and juice and I‟ll call you back. Will that work for you?”

       “Sure Dave. Call me when you get yourself together. By the way, I like the acronym and I‟m

going to have a sign made for my office.” A hurried click reminded me of our last phone

conversation in Monterrey. For some reason that always hung in my mind.

       My brain was still buzzing with last night‟s good times and wondering about our next


       I smiled as Carol‟s automated coffee pot welcomed me. I carried the juice and coffee to her

placid Sonoma patio overlooking the scenic hillsides of vines. No sooner had the sun warmed my

groggy face than my cell phone rang.

       “Are you together Dave? Can we talk?”

       My mind smiled though the apprehension in her words. “Sure we can Reanna. I‟m on the

back deck and even the kids are still asleep. How are you doing?”

       I heard and read the serious breathy pause in her voice. It was Reanna‟s trademark.

        “I‟ve been on an emotional rollercoaster for the last few days and I need to tell you this. For

all we‟ve had and all we were to each other I‟ve finally learned to let go. Please don‟t interrupt, let

me get this out. My mind and body responded to you when I walked in the door but I know I realize

we were never meant to be. I wanted the fun and easy you right then and there but my serious

thoughts went back to Gino and all that he brought to my life. It made me realize there was a huge
        Edward A. Dean                                                         Southern
        Crossed dean
difference between the two of you. You were and always will be the angst and adventure in my

mind‟s eye but Gino is the soft dedicated love I never had. Gino is my grounded soul that will love

me in spite of myself. He is my life and he is my husband that I‟m dedicated to and it will always be.

And you? You will always be the voice of my Myna bird chirping unreal and erotic suggestions into

my reality. For all we were, we will only forever be a warm distant memory on a pillow that I will

cherish. It‟s a component of our age trying to recapture our lost youth. Our lives have grown as

distant as the vineyards we inhabit. I don‟t know if we can be friends but I‟m willing to try. I needed

to say this because if we go on with a business venture, it will never be more than that. Is that an

acceptable term of our arrangement?”

       A flood of soft easy memories flowed through my mind but what got to me was her last

sentence. My lips pursed, “Of course, Reanna, of course. A lot of years and water has gone under

the bridge between us and if emotions get in the way we can simply turn it over to the bean counters.

Is that an acceptable term of our arrangement?” I repeated in a mocking feedback.

       I heard her understanding laugh over the phone and my funny side kicked in; something that

tickled me.

        “You know Reanna there has always been one thing that I always dreamt of doing. Did you

ever have a distant memory of something you always wished you could do?”

       I waited anxiously through her long pause. “Sure Dave, a lot of things. What‟s your point?”

       “Remember our last phone call in Monterrey?”

       A warm grin flashed in my mind and with falsetto voice I pronounced, “CLICK!”

       I waited arduously for her response.

       “Dave, Dave; are you there? Don‟t do this to me Dave. It‟s very childish.”

       I waited for her scream. “You ass!”
Edward A. Dean                                          Southern
Crossed dean
I pushed the off button with a smile of satisfaction.

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