Docstoc

Russ Chenoweth - DOC

Document Sample
Russ Chenoweth - DOC Powered By Docstoc
					                                              1




                                       NEWHOUSE



                                    by Russ Chenoweth




       Martin Newhouse is an alias that my father sometimes used in his writings.

„Chenoweth‟ is Cornish for „new house.‟ In either form, he thought it was a particularly

appropriate name, as he was adopted and considered himself the first of a new line.

       Part One of his story is largely biographical except for some minor plot elements.

Most of the dialogue is invented, but not all. Much of the story is based on my father‟s

own conversation, letters, and writings. It is the story of a man of considerable

intelligence, unusual imagination, great curiosity, and an admirable decency.

       Part Two is more fictional but still contains much detail from my father‟s own

writings.

       My father died, under his own name, at the age of eighty. My mother, Eve in the

story, lived for another sixteen years, more or less to her own satisfaction until a few

months before her death at ninety-four.
2
          3




.| Part I – The Life |.
                                             4




                                       .| Chapter 1 |.




               "If it's any of my business, how the devil did you ever get into
           that bally jungle?"
               "I was born there," said Tarzan quietly. "My mother was an
           ape, and she couldn't tell me much about it. I never knew my
           father."


       Martin Newhouse closed the tattered paperback and slid it under the thin hospital

pillow. He lay with his fingers laced behind his head and inspected his ample stomach

and spindly legs. “Bird legs” Eve called them, but they‟d carried him without complaint

for nearly sixty years.

       As a young man he‟d been slim and strong, a fine athlete although only five feet

six. He was captain of the soccer team at the Malanthy School and played varsity

football for three years at University City High. Even the biggest men went down with

Martin clamped to one leg. In 1928, he won both the hundred yard dash and the javelin

throw in a St. Louis County track meet, a performance unlikely to be duplicated. His

hero in those years was Johnny Weismuller, the Olympic swimmer who would later play

a lumpish movie Tarzan.

       Martin threw himself into every sport with such enthusiasm that it was rarely

noticed he didn‟t care who won. In a game with Ferguson High during his senior year the

other team came to the field a man short, and Martin offered to change sides. He knew

City‟s plays and held them scoreless until they assigned two men to block him. Eve
                                            5



Frohock, a Ferguson cheerleader, yelled herself hoarse for the handsome right end who‟d

taken on his own school. His hair was thick and black in those days, and he was thought

vaguely to resemble Clark Gable. They called him the Cleated Sheik. Eve had caught

his eye, but when Martin looked for her after the game the cute blond was gone.

       Martin studied his small feet and wiggled his toes. He felt like hell, but he was

damned if he was going to die at fifty-eight. He glanced up and saw a large man staring

at him with distaste from just outside the door to his room. The stranger‟s overcoat was

draped over his shoulders. He had short sandy hair, a well-trimmed beard, and stood like

a military officer. Merchant marine, Martin decided. When he raised his eyebrows, the

man walked on, and Martin was relieved. He‟d been reminded for some reason of his

stepfather, waiting to backhand him with his heavy ring for any breach of table manners.

       Paul Russell Newhouse had been dead for twenty years. Martin rarely thought of

him. Paul hadn‟t kept his promise to adopt Martin when he married Lulu Jenneman, and

he hadn‟t been much of a father in any sense. He spent his free time playing golf or

bridge. In later his years he took up deep sea fishing and the stock market. Martin was

never one of his interests.

       The last time they saw his stepfather was on a visit to Florida during the war when

Paul took Martin and his young son fishing at John‟s Pass near St. Petersburg Beach.

Bud snagged his hook on the rocks and Paul muttered something about expensive tackle.

Martin was so angry he stripped to his underwear and dived into the dangerous current to

untangle the lure.

       Bud managed to choke down one of the gluey tongue sandwiches that Paul had
                                               6



brought for their lunch. Martin was proud of him.

         “Sir, would you like a magazine?”

         Martin looked up to see a pretty girl in a candy-striped jumper waving a copy of

U.S. News.

         “Do you have anything else?”

         “I have Time, sir”

         “Time? Lucky you,” Martin said. “Sorry, miss,” he added, “not now, but

thanks.”

         If P.R. spoke to Martin at all it was to criticize him. Martin learned to stay out of

his way. He spent most of his time at friends‟ houses or running for miles on the school

track.

         At the end of his Junior year in high school, Martin was expected to work over the

summer at a Kroeger Market, for a manager known to his employees as Horrible Harris.

His cousin Pinky had a job in his father‟s foundry. They both asked for a week‟s

vacation after school let out, but neither Paul nor Uncle Frank could see any reason why

school kids needed a vacation. Martin and Pinky decided to go AWOL.

         Martin‟s mother, always a willing conspirator in any revolt against Paul, drove

them to a town on the Merrimac River where they could rent a canoe. As she wouldn‟t

be able to pick them up at a distant location, they planned to paddle upstream thirty miles

and float back. The river was low and the current feeble. There were many shallow

places where had to portage. They covered only a few miles each day and were

exhausted by the evening. It was far better than working, however. They cooked over an
                                             7



open fire and slept under mosquito netting. On the fifth day a bad storm hit, and they

were forced to shelter for two nights in a deserted cabin. The river was surging now and

the trip back was dangerous but fast. They arrived home dirty, tired, and many pounds

lighter. Martin was proud of his week‟s growth of beard.

       The boy‟s fathers were in a rage. Pinky was given the dirtiest jobs at the foundry.

Martin‟s grocery store job had gone to someone else, but Paul found him work cleaning a

gas station and doing oil changes. Martin was fired several times for insubordination,

and Paul was dragged into the hassle each time.

       Martin was delighted, on the other hand, to take a job as a clerk on a pipe-laying

crew that Paul found for him the summer before he left for college. The patch of blue he

could see through the window of his hospital room reminded him of the Oklahoma skies

that long ago July. The job turned out to be a sincure, someone‟s favor to his old man.

He felt foolish making checkmarks on a clipboard while the sweaty crew ignored him.

When the half-witted old man who kicked the forty-foot steel pipes down from the

railroad car onto the big flatbed trucks managed to have both ankles smashed, Martin

eagerly replaced him.

       They laid an oil line across Southern Oklahoma and into Texas. Martin jumped

the rolling pipes and landed on his feet the way he‟d carried the ball for City. The crew

respected him now, and the rank old villain who shared scruffy hotel rooms and slept in

his boots all summer had become a friend. Some days Martin walked beside the silent

Navaho who went ahead of the trenching operation to shoot rattlesnakes with his long-

barreled revolver. He kept a few yellowed snapshots of oil pipes being loaded onto White
                                                8



diesel trucks and a picture of the whole crew, with Martin looking small and mean.

          He had too many beers one night in Wichita Falls, Texas and woke in the morning

to find his initials tattooed on a scroll inside his forearm. His colleagues were dismayed.

Several of them had been identified on wanted posters by their tattoos. For years Martin

wore long-sleeved shirts, but the initials faded over time and were almost lost among the

bruises from his I-V.

          "Belly dancing, Martin?" The floor nurse was grinning at him from the doorway.

"That‟s a no-no, hon. It puts pressure on your heart."

          Martin smiled and lowered his arms.

          “What did you say to that poor girl?”

          “Miss Peppermint? I told her I didn‟t want a Time magazine.”

          “You upset her.”

          “Sorry,” Martin said. “I wasn‟t thinking. I‟m tired of reading about the damned

war. The politicians should take each otherr on with samurai swords and leave the kids

alone.”

          “Good idea. Just save the anger until you‟re out of my ward.”

          “I know. It‟s bad for the heart. Peppermint‟s a swell kid, but maybe slapping

down old farts isn‟t her thing.”

          “You could be right.”

          P.R. was a millionaire on margin by the late twenties. He couldn‟t refuse Martin

a college education, but he insisted on a business course. Martin would have preferred to

study journalism.
                                             9



       He boxed and wrestled for his fraternity at the University of Missouri and was

their social chairman. Under his direction the Sig Eps spent a week once folding paper

roses to cover the ceiling of their ballroom for a sweetheart dance. Martin's academic

efforts were less focused, but he‟d learned the basics of business administration before

flunking out in his senior year.

       It hadn‟t mattered to him back then. He‟d gotten what he really wanted from

college, which was Eve Frohock. He recognized the little Ferguson cheerleader as she

danced the Black Bottom on a parade float and had stumbled down the fraternity house

stairs before she could get away a second time.

       Eve and Martin carried on a casual courtship for the next three years. They both

came from well to do families, but only Eve had spending money. She drove a ‟29

Chrysler convertible and loaned Martin a dollar every Sunday evening so they could buy

onion sandwiches. They eloped a month before Eve's graduation.

       Eve‟s father swallowed his anger, but after Martin had spent two summer months

in the Frohock back yard writing poetry, Maurice found him work at Malincrot. Martin‟s

first job had been heaving hundred pound sacks of chemicals onto a truck. This was

difficult for a man who weighed only a hundred and thirty pounds himself. Working with

him was a very short fellow with broad shoulders and bulging muscles who carried the

sacks with ease. He was Polish with an unpronounceable name and was always smiling.

His constant cheerfulness bothered Martin. One night the man cut his throat. No one

knew why.
                                             10



       That all seemed like a very long time ago. Martin had been Corporate Secretary

of U. S. Tobacco Products for the past six years. He was listed in Who's Who once but

was just as glad to be dropped the following year when he didn‟t buy the next edition.

       He listened to the beep of his heart monitor. It was annoying, but most of the

time he didn‟t hear it. Bolo Anderson said they were pulling for him at the office. Andy

was the president and a good friend. He considered Martin an honorary North Carolinian

because Martin could mimic the southern drawl the other officers had retained through

decades of living in Rye and New Rochelle.

       "Cain't lose our Happy Warrior."

       Andy called him that because of Martin‟s cheerful practicality more than for his

round-faced resemblance to Hubert Humphrey. Decades of office work had softened the

rakish Clark Gable look. Martin was a capable manager who was generous to his staff,

and Andy cherished a belief in employee loyalty. Andy had begun his own career as a

stable boy on J.B. Andrews' stud farm in Winston-Salem and had been the old man's

protégé as Martin was his. Martin assured him he was doing fine.

       The joke about his looking like the Democratic Vice-President was better than

Andy knew. Eve and Martin had left the University as devoted followers of Emil Schute,

a charismatic sociology professor and Trotskyite. Newly married and jobless, they spent

the summer after Eve‟s graduation stuffing envelopes for Norman Thomas. It was

another source of irritation for Eve's father who mistakenly blamed their liberal politics

on his son-in-law.

       They‟d voted Republican since 1952 when Martin became a junior officer at
                                            11



UST, but he admired Humphrey as a compassionate man and a skillful politician.

        There were voices in the hallway. The chief cardiologist swept through with

half-a-dozen medical students. Their white coats and twitchy faces reminded Martin of

nervous laboratory rats. The students avoided eye contact while Hirschhorn described a

fifty-eight year old sedentary male, a heavy smoker who‟d survived a major heart attack

and appeared to be recovering. It sounded like a moral judgment.

       “What about family history?” Martin asked. They all looked at him in

astonishment.

       His mother and grandmother had both suffered serious heart attacks in late middle

age. They each carried two hundred pounds on five-foot frames and continued to scrub

their houses with Teutonic fury into their mid-eighties.

       “It‟s a factor,” Hirschhorn snapped and continued his lecture.

       Martin wasn‟t entirely sedentary. He cut the grass and raked the few leaves that

blew onto their lawn from next door and sometimes he walked the twenty blocks from

Penn Station to his office. Naturally he smoked. Everyone smoked at U.S. Tobacco.

Their response to the Surgeon General‟s Report had been to buy a cat food company and

to begin importing scotch whiskey. Martin‟s liquor cabinet was always full. Just

thinking of it reminded him of how much he missed the cocktail hour with Eve. Despite

the formulaic quality of the doctor‟s assurances he‟d begun to think he might live to

enjoy these small pleasures again. He badly wanted to. In the aggrieved last words of

Cecil Rhodes, he had too much to do.

       He dozed off and wakened again when a middle-aged woman set a tray on his
                                              12



bedside table.

          "Good morning, Mr. Newhouse! You're looking chipper. I think it‟s time we did

something about those whiskers."

          "Whiskers?” Martin said. "Let me see them.”

          "What‟s that, dear?"

          “Can I have a mirror? I‟d like to see how I look.”

          The woman left and came back with a hand mirror. She was distant laughter.

Another nurse grinned at them from the hallway. Martin studied his face. It was pale

and battered, but his whiskers were nearly a quarter of an inch long and were coming in

evenly.

          "I‟m going to grow a beard," he told her. The possibility had just occurred to him.

          "It's your face, hon," she said. Something about his appearance seemed to puzzle

her.

          "Hubert Humphrey," Martin said resignedly.

          Her mouth dropped open and she laughed. "Don't you though! If it wasn't for the

whiskers... That must be interesting for you."

          "It‟s a pain in the butt!"

          A guffaw erupted from beyond the nylon curtain beside his bed. He‟d acquired a

room mate.

          The woman smiled. "My hubby swears by the Hump. I'll have them put it on

your chart about the shaving, Mr. Newhouse.” She hesitated in the doorway. “You know,

dear, a beard could give your face some character.”
                                              13



       Another laugh.

       "She‟s right about beards." The voice was deep and authoritative..

       “My face could use some character,” Martin said. “And you, sir...?"

       "Kostas Kikapopoulos. I teach history at the University."

       "Martin Newhouse. The history of what?"

       "Excellent question, my friend!"

       “It is?”

       "Absolutely. Most people think of history as one long story, but it‟s more like a

battlefield heaped with corpses. The past is is dim and fragmented, but it‟s all we have.

The present and the future are just words."

       Corpses, just words? Martin visualized history as a giant hourglass that funneled

the sun-bleached stones and broken columns of Greece through the narrow neck of

Palestine before it opened into the confusion of the medieval and modern world.

       "I read somewhere that the present lasts three seconds," he said. It was awkward

not to see the other man‟s face.

       “That‟s the „remembered present‟, my friend. It‟s as much in the past as

Napoleon and Plato. Do you read?"

       "Some," Martin risked. “I don‟t feel that I know much."

       "The wisdom of Socrates, amigo. None of us knows much. What are you

reading?"

       He thought about the paperback under his pillow.

       "I‟m part way through Millicent Whatley's History of Early Medieval Europe." It
                                               14



was in his bag, but he hadn‟t felt up to it.

        “Whatley,” Kostas said, sounding doubtful. “I'll give you a copy of my own book

on the Byzantines. So, who are you, Martin, when you‟re not in the hospital growing a

beard?"

        "I‟m just a businessman. I'm... I‟ve been the Corporate Secretary of U.S.

Tobacco Products for the last few years."

        "A captain of industry who reads! What do they think about that at the office?"

        "We don‟t talk about books. And I‟m hardly a captain of industry. The

Secretary's Department pays the taxes and writes the Annual Report. The president says

we don't earn them a dime."

        "I‟m sure he's worth every penny of his generous salary?"

        "Andy‟s a good guy. His predecessor was fourth generation Carolina gentry.

Dumb as a stick, but good to me. It's thanks to him I'm not a chicken farmer in Missouri.

That still has its appeal."

        "A chicken farmer! Good God, man, there are better alternatives to the rat race. I

hope you aren‟t planning to go back to work. I don't mean to offend you, but writing

annual reports is no occupation for a thinking man."

        "It pays well, Professor, and I have a thick hide."

        "Will they let you keep your beard?"

        "No, we‟re much too serious. We‟ve been called a bank with a tobacco front. I'll

ask me my wife to take a picture."

        "So it‟s your money or your life? That wouldn‟t be a difficult choice for me, mon
                                              15



vieux."

          Mon vieux? Did he sound that old? „Your money or your life‟ was a fair way to

put it. He and Eve had been looking forward to his retirement, when it could include a

house at Boca Raton and a cottage on Casco Bay. They'd talked of a cruise through the

Greek islands. Kikapopoulos was right. If not now, when?

          Martin‟s mental checklists rarely settled anything, but they helped him live with

his decisions. This time the choice appeared to be between retirement while he was able

to enjoy it and the income that could make it possible.
                                              16




                                        .| Chapter 2 |.



         "Mikinos, my friend, is the most beautiful place on earth. It's a paradise of olive

groves and whitewashed stone, purified by sunlight and set in the bluest of blue seas."

         "It sounds nice," Martin agreed.

         Eve and Martin liked to travel. They‟d been to Europe twice in the past five

years. Martin‟s photographs of England, Italy, and Greece filled several albums. He had

a shoebox full of match books and beer coasters as well as a doughnut-shaped pebble

from Brighton beach, a piece of granite picked up at Stonehenge on a rainy morning

when he was alone with the megaliths and a stray goat, and a chip of marble from the

Coliseum. His prize was the finial bottom of an amphora that he‟d unearthed with the toe

of his shoe at Ephesus.

         They‟d enjoyed the long drive from New Jersey to St. Louis the previous July for

the first and only Jennemann family reunion. West of Chicago, U.S. 30 crossed northern

Illinois through nearly deserted towns that reminded Martin of his childhood. The white

clapboard houses, worn storefronts, and dusty streets were little changed since the

interminable drives from St. Louis to his uncle‟s house in Redbud, Illinois fifty years

before. Now the countryside seemed almost emptied of life. They roamed south and

west on back roads through central Missouri to visit the University before heading to St.

Louis.

         Most of the Jennemanns had done well in life, but they were no more interesting
                                             17



now than they had ever been. Missouri, too, had lost whatever appeal it once held.

       The only other Missourian at the New York office of UST was Harvey Moss.

Harvey and his wife spent every vacation on the hog farm in Joplin that they owned with

Harvey's brother Pete. Martin almost envied them their pedigreed Hampshires, but he'd

been glad to leave St. Louis in 1947 and had no wish to return. He‟d been back to

Missouri only twice before in twenty years, the second time for his mother's funeral, and

that was the better trip. Lulu had lived a full life by the age of eighty eight. She‟d

survived two husbands and several lovers, enjoyed a long stretch of financial

independence, and spoiled five grandchildren. Martin had to remind his long faced

cousins how much Lulu would have enjoyed her wake.

       At Eve‟s request, they drove past the brick row houses Martin helped his uncle

Lee build when he was eighteen. It brought back memories of hide-and-seek among the

back alleys and ash pits, the prickly feel of horsehair sofas on bare legs, of portieres and

doilies, and the smell of sauerkraut. Lee's houses were in good condition, but the streets

around them had deteriorated. It was a slum.

       He was suddenly aware of Kostas‟s voice.

       "Mikinos was an island where each man was king, but not even a king could

make a living. We left after the First World War and began our journey to the Promised

Land. It‟s a grand bit of social history, Martin. I'm sorry I didn‟t collect my parents‟

stories while they were alive. They say exiled Greeks die of homesickness, but my

mother passed on last year at eighty-five and my father went the year before, full of life at

ninety. The aunts and uncles are all dead now, and the younger generation has no interest
                                            18



in the past. It‟s a pity.

        "Imagine a mountainous countryside dotted with temples that were already in

ruins three thousand years ago and markets bustling since the Bronze Age. The Greek

islands saw the beginning of Western civilization while northern Europe hunkered in

caves. Our children depress me. Do you know anything of your own roots?"

        "A little," Martin said. "My wife and I have done a bit genealogical research."

        "Begats!" Kostas snorted.

        "More than that. A little history. Eve's ancestors fought in the Revolution. My

own background is hazy. I‟ve told our kids that all four of their great grandmothers were

barmaids."

        "A noble profession."

        "Two of them owned their taverns. Our families were earthy but colorful." It was

a strange conversation to be having with someone whose face he still hadn‟t seen.

        "I assume you were referring to the American Revolution a moment ago?" Kostas

said.

        "My wife's a member of the D.A.R. She thought our children might find a

membership socially useful. I was pretty sure they wouldn‟t. Eve hasn't been to a

meeting in years."

        "These are the ladies who turned away Marion Anderson?"

        "As painted with their tea cups by Grant Wood. The Lincoln Monument was a

better location. They‟re snobby and prejudiced, but so am I. I sneer at bankers and

business executives. At least the D.A.R. gives scholarships and funds historical
                                            19



preservation. Don't you find the Revolution interesting?"

       "I'm familiar with the events, Martin, but I haven‟t studied the period. I gather

not many Americans have. Must your wife‟s forebears have been combatants for her to

be a member?"

       "I don‟t know, but I‟d bet even the merchants who supplied the troops with

tainted beef qualified. How else would most of the D.A.R. have gotten in?      But Eve‟s

great, great, great, great grandfather, Thomas Frohock, was a genuine foot soldier in the

New Hampshire militia. According to the Maine Historical Recorder he was pressed into

the British navy and jumped ship in Portsmouth, New Hampshire to join the Colonials.

I‟m sure life was hard on an eighteenth century brigantine, but I‟d like to think he saw an

opportunity. He didn‟t escape the fighting. The Revolutionary War Rolls say he marched

from Maine to Canada with Benedict Arnold and was in the platoon commanded by

William Eastman that dug entrenchments on Bunker Hill. There was a relief every two

hours, but Thomas worked all night and earned a commendation. It may have been

mostly for self-preservation. The fortifications at Bunker Hill were quite small. I know

I'd have been terrified."

       "You can‟t know that." Kostas sounded surprisingly serious. "Your Thomas was

a regular Yankee Doodle."

       "My wife's Thomas, and I‟d say more a Yankee-come-lately. Isn‟t 'Jan Cheese'

what the New York Dutch called the clod-hopping English settlers in Connecticut?

Unless „Yankee‟ is from the Cherokee for „coward‟. At any rate, Thomas became a New

Englander after the war. He was given £9 and a piece of land in Gilmanton, New
                                             20



Hampshire. We mean to look for his grave some day.

       “He married Katherine Kelly, an Irish girl who they said peeled boiled potatoes

with her fingernails. They had fifteen sons and daughters, most of whom lived to raise

their own families. Kate must have been tough as leather.

       "Their fourth child, another Thomas Frohock, was born in 1785. He moved to

Lincolnville on the Maine coast and married a local girl. They had thirteen children, and

their offspring stayed in the area long enough to have a mountain and a creek named after

them. You‟d think we‟d be up to our eyeballs in Frohocks."

       "They won't have all survived, Martin. The settlers had to be fruitful, because

their children died in droves when the crops failed or the flu struck."

       “We did see a lot of pitiful little gravestones in Lincolnville,” Martin said. “I‟d

always assumed the big families just happened."

       "Over the long winters without radio and TV? They practiced birth control when

they wanted to, amigo. Children were their social security and status symbol. I suppose

they‟re a basic human desire as well, just not one of mine. Human beings were still

considered assets back then. If they were healthy they earned their keep, and if they

weren't they died young without expensive medical care. Fifteen children sounds

excessive, but you can't count on the nurturing instincts of every child. Your wife‟s from

New England?"

       "She grew up in St. Louis, but she was born in East Boston. The Frohocks had

farmed along the Maine coast for a hundred years. They fished and shipped out in New

Bedford whalers. A Captain Frohock was captured by the British in 1812.
                                              21



       "Eve's grandfather left the sea in the 1860's to join the Boston police force and

rose to lieutenant. That was before the Irish took over the police. His son Maurice, Eve's

father, was the first in the family to get an education. He won the Latin Prize at Boston

Latin School and was planning to go to Harvard on a scholarship when he got the girl

next door in trouble. The families kept the marriage secret while my grandmother

finished high school, but Maurice had to get a job. That was unfortunate. He‟s the one

who should have stayed in school. He had the intelligence and the moxie. It's another

reason he was upset when his daughter eloped with a college dropout.

       "You eloped! How romantic."

       "It was purely practical. We wouldn‟t have had a chance in St. Louis. A man

was supposed to be able support his family, and I couldn't support myself. It was 1932,

I‟d flunked out of college, and I was lucky to have a job pumping gas. I drove up to

Columbia on a Saturday night in April. When Eve got back from a date, we collected

her best friend and my drunken former roommate and woke up a Baptist minister. My

roommate went to prison with the the Pendergast gang a few years later. The minister

ended up in an asylum. We considered these good omens.

       "Maurice was a conductor on the Boston & Lynn Railroad for a few years before

he moved his family to New York City. They lived on Columbus Circle near the old

Madison Square Garden. I can‟t imagine Eve's mother as a New Yorker. Emily was

sweet and far from stupid, but she always acted helpless. I suppose Maurice liked her that

way. She was a beautiful girl and still attractive in her eighties, with skin like a china

figurine. I don't mean I didn't like her, I did, and our kids adored her.
                                            22



       "Maurice got a job as a time-and-motion man for the Kerry Company in New

York, one of the world‟s first systems-management firms. F. W. Taylor had just done his

experiments with shovels and published Principles of Management. Self-advancement

must have been easier back in the days of Horatio Alger, but I think Maurice would have

succeeded in any age. He was the vice-president of a chemical company when I met him.

He wore three-piece suits and smoked Havana cigars. He knew I wasn‟t good enough for

his baby girl, but getting married was her idea. He was pretty decent to me in the long

run.

       "He was offered a management position with Malinkrodt Chemicals in St. Louis

in 1917. The Malinkrodts were Jews, but Maurice was red-haired and olive-skinned. He

looked more Jewish than they did. They called him Morrie and managed to forget where

he came from."

       "St. Louis is where the Frohocks and the Newhouses got together?"

       "Not right away, though. My biological father was a building contractor named

Martin von Engle who claimed to be descended from European nobility. He said his

grandfather was Baron Johann Friedrich von Engle, a Prussian general born in 1788 and

killed in 1848 in the war between Denmark and Schleswig Holstein. The Baron‟s lands

were confiscated, and his one surviving son, also named Johann, sailed for the U.S. with

his mother and sister. Both women died on the voyage, and Johann arrived in New

Orleans alone and with no assets but his size and strength."

       "The classic immigrant. Wouldn‟t he‟d have inherited his father's title?"

       "If the story‟s true, but my old man was a champion bullslinger. His sister used to
                                             23



say, 'There‟s dear Mottie clearing his throat, getting ready to tell another lie.' “Mottie”

may have been an eastern pronunciation of Marty. His mother was from Pennsylvania.

It‟s more likely that John Engle was one of the millions of starving peasants who were

forced to leave Germany in the 1850‟s. In any case, he found a job on a Mississippi side-

wheeler around the time Mark Twain was working as a river pilot. I've wondered if he

and Twain ever met and if Engle could have been the inspiration for the Duke in

Huckleberry Finn."

       "A charlatan as I recall.” Kostas said. “Soem say that hucksterism was the basis

of American civilization."

       "I‟d say it still is. The Duke was a medicine show man and a model for Engles to

come. Johann made money somehow and went north to Cairo, Illinois and then up the

Ohio and the Wabash to Terre Haute, Indiana. He bought a farm outside Indianapolis

and married Nancy Flesher, a girl from a Pennsylvania mining family. But it‟s also

possible that he was the John Engle that the 1870 Census says was born in Illinois.

       "At any rate, my father was definitely born in 1872 on a farm in Indiana, the

oldest of five children. He said he knew he couldn‟t be a farmer, because farm work was

never finished. He taught himself carpentry and was bossing a construction crew in his

late teens. He claimed to have built half the barns within a hundred miles of Indianapolis.

These were real German barns, the English had built dinky little sheds until the Germans

showed them how do to it right.

       “My father was a devious bastard, but apparently he was a good builder. He

owned a construction company in St. Louis by the time he was thirty. They built houses
                                                24



and office buildings, and a few barns, he said, for old time's sake. His Princess Theater

was famous for its stonework, one of his specialties. Years later, he ran an ornamental

masonry and iron-work company in Chicago. He helped put up some of the iron clad

buildings they're just beginning to restore."

        "An impressive man. So why aren‟t you an Engle."

        “Because Martin Engle left my mother for another woman, women actually. She

divorced him in 1912. The last time I saw the Baron was during World War II, probably

not long before he died. He came to visit us in St. Louis, and my son shot him in the

head with a marble. I guess I‟d told too many nasty stories about him. The rumor was

that he‟d run through nine wives.”

        “Good Lord! But why marry them?”

        "Respectability. Engle was a brawler and a ladies man, but he was also a lay

preacher in the Methodist church. My mother said his sermons were so loud he could

have waked the dead. It must have been quite a marriage while it lasted, but fortunately

I don‟t remember anything from those years.

        "He was very handsome and evidently extremely charming. My aunt Adeline

said he was the most fantastically beautiful man she'd ever known. 'He used to roar with

laughter,' she said, 'and he'd pick me up as if I were a feather and kiss me. I wouldn't get

over it for a week.'

        "In 1907, a young man named Peter Jenneman went to work for Engle as a

carpenter. They became friends, and when the construction business slowed for a while

Martin started Pete on his professional boxing career. He'd threaten promoters with
                                               25



hellfire and damnation until they got Pete good matches. During the war, Pete was light-

heavyweight champion at the Great Lakes Naval Station. He fought professionally again

after the war, but he always drank.

       “They must have been quite a pair, the ranting teetotal preacher and the boozy

boxer. Uncle Walter said they cleaned up in small towns all over Kansas and Missouri.

They'd pretend to let Pete be suckered into a match with a much bigger fighter, and Pete

would put him away in a couple rounds. Sometimes they had to get out of town fast.

Pete died of alcoholism in his mid-thirties.

       "Martin Engle met Pete's sister Lulu on a moonlight riverboat cruise in 1908.

Louisa Jenneman was twenty-two, short and plump, and she had even more admirers than

her sister Lydia who'd won a beauty contest. Lulu was with Paul Newhouse that night.

She‟d met him at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904 and had dated him off and on ever

since. They‟d even talked of marriage. Paul said he wanted a son named Russell Paul

Newhouse because his mother was named Mary Russell.”

       “Paul was your stepfather?”

       “Yes, but not until much later. This is soap opera, Kostas. Lulu liked Paul and

strung him along for years, but the rest of the Jenneman family despised him. They said

he was arrogant and dressed like a fop. The neighborhood kids threw rocks at him when

he came to call. Two more of Lulu's admirers were with them that night, Herm Zuchel

and Adolf Schittie. Adolf eventually married Lulu‟s best friend Lititia Biddy, therafter to

be known as Liddy Biddy Schitie. None of them was a match for Martin Engle. He and

Lulu were married a month later."
                                            26



       "A party girl and a Don Juan."

       "Neither of them was as shallow as I‟ve made them sound, but they weren‟t an

ideal couple. I was born in 1909, in an apartment on Labadie Avenue in North St. Louis.

It was what they called a „railroad flat‟ because the rooms opened off one side of a long

hallway, and there was a coal bin in the back.

       “My bother and I loved our mother, but she wasn‟t an easy person to live with.

She was very smart, she spoke both fluent German and flawless English, but she was

extremely stubborn and highly emotional. She insisted on naming me Russell Martin,

after both her husband and her former boyfriend, Paul Russell Newhouse. You can

imagine how that went over with Engle, but she'd been married to him for a year by then

and was probably hedging her bet.

       "Martin couldn't talk her out of it, but he refused to use my name. He called me

“Billy Bones” because I was a skinny kid. That was also the name of the old blind horse

that hauled a trash wagon in our neighborhood."

       "Martin, I hesitate to ask...."

       "No, it's a reasonable question.” Engle was six two, and I‟m five six, but I was

definitely his son. I split the difference. Mom was big but barely five feet tall. Her

mother was the chief cook for the Buschs of Anheiser-Busch, and Lulu was a scullery

maid. They always ate well."

       "Impeccably plebian origins,” Kostas said. “My forbearers were peasants too, of

course. They made a meager living from the sea and burned goat dung to warm their

stone hut. I was just a child when we left Mikinos, but I remember the smell."
                                             27



       "I'll bet. I still think I'd rather be poor on Mykanos than in Illinois. The winters

are cold in Red Bud.”

       “You have a point, amigo. The Umayyad Turks weren‟t that disappointed about

losing at Poitiers. I‟ve always wondered how the West Indians can stand to work in the

London Underground.

       “By the way, Martin. Do you know a large man in his fifties, short hair, dark

overcoat? He was in the doorway staring at you before that woman came in with the

razor. Do you have enemies?”

       “Not that I know of. I saw him earlier. He doesn‟t seem to like me.”

       “I‟ll keep an eye out for him. Tell me about Red Bud.”

       “It was the small German farming community in Illinois where my grandmother

grew up. We went there many times to visit family when I was a kid. It was a hundred

miles from St. Louis, nearly an all day drive back them. Eve and I thought it was pretty

when we went through it two years ago, but it still smelled like cow manure.”

       “Goat is worse.”

       "I‟m sure it is. Lisa Lotte Rosemeier went to a German school in Red Bud until

she was sixteen, which was a lot more education than her children ever got. After high

school she was sent to St. Louis to cook for a wealthy French family. All German girls

had to go into service for a while to learn to be proper housewives. The husband

translated his wife‟s instructions from French to German every morning.

       “Lisa met Uncle Pete‟s father, Peter Jennemann Senior, in St. Louis. He was a

Roman Catholic saloon keeper from Alsace. She married him, quit her job, and cooked
                                            28



the free lunch at his saloon.

       "When Lisa‟s father died she inherited his house in Red Bud, and Peter decided it

would be better for their children to live in the country. He sold his saloon and opened

one in Red Bud. Apparently he never considered a career change. Grandma Jenneman

continued to cook the free lunch."

       "What exactly was the free lunch, Martin?"

       "Just what it sounds like, but it was a come-on of course, like salted peanuts in a

bar. You've heard the old saying, 'There's no such thing as a free lunch.' Food was

cheap, and they made their profit selling beer."

       "A nation of hucksters.”

       "The business of America is business. Peter was doing okay apparently. I once

asked Grandma what sort of a man he was, and she said she hadn't really known him that

well. They worked long hours at the saloon, and the only time she was alone with him

was in bed."

       "That‟s too bad. Family history shouldn‟t be lost. My parents had to leave my

grandparents in Greece. The old folks couldn‟t read or write, so they never heard from

each other again. It was as if we‟d all died. Illinois may have cold winters, but it sounds

more prosperous than Mikinos. We had enough food, and surroundings of great beauty,

but our cultural resources were limited."

       "I‟m not sure how much culture there would have been in a nineteenth century

Illinois farm town. Grandma's stories of making blood sausage and force-feeding the

geese were pretty barbaric.”
                                             29



       “They made fois gras in rural Illinois?” Kostas was incredulous.

       “No, they just stuffed a few pounds of grain into the geese before taking them to

the market, to make them heavier. Grandma told great stories. I especially liked the one

about the molasses barrel. I remember seeing it on their porch. It was filled with

blackstrap every summer. One spring the children began to complain about hair in the

molasses, and Grandma fished out an old barn cat that had been missing for months.

       "The Jenneman sisters were all great talkers. I was never sure how much to

believe, but Mom and Grandma told the same story about Grandpa Jennemann's death.

The town of Red Bud caught fire on Christmas Eve in 1899. Grandpa carried buckets of

water all night and saved his saloon, but he died of pneumonia a few days later.

       "Grandma had to sell everything to pay their debts. She took the children back to

St. Louis in a farm wagon. That‟s when she went to work as a cook for Adolphus Busch

the beer baron. None of her children was able to go to school past the fourth grade. They

learned to read and write and do simple arithmetic, but after that the girls went into

domestic service and the boys worked at Busch or the Bemis Bag Company. My mother

grew up a highly intelligent but uneducated woman. Grandma Jenneman did the best she

could for her seven chidren, but I think she truly loved only Uncle Pete, who caused her

the most trouble until the day he died. She admitted it herself. She always said, „That‟s

why God loves the Jews, the trouble.‟”

       "Which brings us to her meeting with Martin Engle on the river boat, your birth in

the railroad flat, and the reintroduction of Paul Russell Newhouse?"

       “Is it too long a story?
                                                 30



           “Not at all. We have the time, and you tell it well. I don‟t suffer fools, Martin.”

           “I suppose that‟s good to know. Anyway, Engle went off to Denver on a

construction job the year after I was born and didn't come back. After a few months, my

mother left me with Grandma and went to find him. Naturally, he'd settled down with

another woman. Mom let him come home that time, but when it happened again she

divorced him. Paul Newhouse showed up soon after that."

           "The arrogant fop had waited for her all those years?"

           "No, he‟d married a woman named Kitty and moved to Mexico. Kitty fell down

a flight of stairs and broke her neck, so Paul came back to St. Louis."

           "Good Lord. But the Newhouse dynasty was finally established?"

           "If there‟s a dynasty, I established it. It has nothing to do with either Martin or

Paul. Paul looked like a gentleman. He knew how to dress well, and he knew how to

make money, but the Jennemans were right. He was mean-spirited and stingy. Mom had

made him promise he'd adopt me when they married, but he backed out after the

wedding. He couldn't stand the thought of my ever getting a dime of his money. He

certainly wasted as little of it on me as he could. He cut my hair himself until I was old

enough to complain. I was Martin's kid, so he didn‟t care what I looked like. He'd have

called me Billy Bones, too, if Mom had let him. I don‟t acknowledge him as any kind of

father."

           "It occurs to me, Martin, that this isn‟t a happy story. Presumably things

improved eventually? You've kept your biological father's given name and your

stepfather's surname."
                                              31



        "I wanted to be called John Carter Warlord of Mars when I was a kid. I couldn‟t

decide which of my so-called fathers was worst, but I didn‟t know as much about Martin

so I took his name. I‟ve always called myself Martin Newhouse even though I was

legally an Engle until I was twenty six. I was going to have my name changed by the

court before our son was born, but Mom browbeat P.R. into coming through with the

adoption."

        "So your son would be a Newhouse?"

        "So he'd be something. Mom could be practical on occasion. Eventually P.R.

died in Florida where they don‟t let you cut your children out of your will. I inherited a

few bucks. Do you have kids?”

        “No, nor a wife. Like your P.R., I have other interests.”

        When it was evident that Kostas wasn‟t going to elaborate, Martin continued.

“Children are trouble, but I‟m glad we had them. As I said, I like to think that I or my

son is the first of a new line. My life did get better after I went to college. In fact it was

never really bad again. Paul was a millionaire on paper by 1928, and Mom shamed him

into paying for my education. I was already nineteen, and he wanted me out of the house,

but he insisted I study business although I wanted to be a journalist. I‟d have been a good

one.”

        "You were nineteen when you started college?"

        "We‟d moved a lot. My mother kept me home from school for a whole year when

I was eleven. Just couldn‟t be bothered finding me a new school. She taught me to cook

and iron shirts. The ironing came in handy at college when I needed spending money and
                                            32



I‟ve always cooked. Mom played golf every day in the summer and won tournaments.

She was a champion bridge player, too."

       "Forgive my saying so, Martin. I'm sure she was a good woman, but she doesn't

sound like an ideal mother."

       "Someone called her a good woman once and caught hell for it. She knew she

was trouble. I suppose she was a pretty poor mother by most standards, and a bit of a

fruitcake, but my brother and I adored her. She certainly loved us. She was warm and

affectionate, and when she wasn't flipping out she was a lot of fun. She'd literally shake

all over when she laughed and sometimes fall on the floor. She never worried about her

dignity. When she was really upset she'd yell and scream. Once she ran down the street

in front of our house in her nightgown howling like a banshee. She wasn't easy to live

with, but you couldn't blame her considering what she'd put up with from her husbands,

and from Joe and me.

       "She calmed down after she was on her own. She took a factory job during the

war even though she didn‟t need the money. Paul had paid her a whopping divorce

settlement so he could marry his popsie. She worked her way up to master mechanic and

shop foreman. Mom was in her sixties then, and she could dismantle a machine the size

of a football field. The girls she worked with called her „Mother.‟

       “I‟m glad she lived to see me be moderately successful, not that she cared, and

that she could be there when our son graduated from high school. I was the kid the

family had voted as most likely to end up in Leavenworth.”

       “They thought you‟d be a criminal?”
                                             33



       "I‟m sure some of them did. I gave my relatives a lot of trouble. I didn‟t respect

my father, so why should I care about my aunts and uncles, except for Uncle Lee. My

brother Joe tagged along and got in trouble with me. Once when Mom threatened to

leave home, we stuffed her clothes in a suitcase and took it out to the street. She was

furious but she ended up laughing as usual. We were lucky she didn't go. It's funny now.

I've told these stories to our kids many times, but you're right, it wasn't nice to have your

parents screaming and cursing at each other. I tried to lose myself in books and

daydreams, and I went out for every sport in high school. I swore it wouldn't be like that

when I had a family."

       There was silence on the other side of the white sheet.

       "I never got to Mars, Kostas, but other than that it's been as good as anyone could

ask. Which is why..."

       "Quite so," Kostas agreed.
                                              34




                                        .| Chapter 3 |.



        "You're looking much better, love." Eve sounded so relieved that Martin laughed.

She'd walked over from the college after her ten o'clock class and talked her way into the

hospital before visiting hours. She looked extremely alive to someone who still felt half

dead.

        "I feel better," Martin agreed. "I'm ready to go home as soon as the chief nurse

lets me do a belly dance."

        "We have to talk about that."

        "Belly dancing?"

        "About you're going back to work." She glared at him. "I've never interfered

before, but I'd be terrified all the time. I‟d be afraid you‟ll collapse on the subway, or...."

Martin had raised his hand an inch above the sheet and waved it tepidly.

        "I'm not going back."

        "You're not?"

        "I'm retiring. Tell Andy when he calls."

        "Oh, my darling. That's...so wise. And it can work, it truly can. I've talked with

Will Watson. He says you can get medical tax breaks and disability. I'm sure I can find a

teaching job in Florida. It‟s cheaper to live there. With your pension and our

investments we'll be just fine. I was so afraid, Martin. Honestly, you're the most sensible
                                             35



man I know."

        "I probably am," Martin agreed. “I can really get disability? I‟m not planning to

be disabled.”

        There was a chuckle from the other side of the room.

        "Pull back the curtain, Eve,” Martin said. “I want to see this lunatic."

        Eve slid the curtain to the wall, revealing a large man in his mid-sixties. A

grizzled beard covered the lower half of his face. Beneath bushy brows the eyes of an

expensive teddy bear glittered at them.

        "Kostas Kikapopoulos, professor of history,” Martin introduced him. “My wife,

Eve. Eve's a math instructor at the University. Kostas approves of my decision, although

he plans to go on working."

        "Teaching is a privilege, not a job. Isn't that so, my dear?"

        Eve nodded, and Martin felt a pang of guilt. Eve had been the first to mention

Florida, but he knew how much she loved her work. After the effort it had taken to earn

a master's degree with honors in her late forties and her good luck in landing a job at the

University....

        He was rescued from this dreary thought by the arrival of an attractive and

expensively dressed woman. She nodded to Eve and Martin and embraced Kostas.

        "Eve and Martin Newhouse, Liebchen. Eve teaches at the University, and

Martin‟s a business executive who reads history. My dear friend, Helena Megairos."

        Martin and Eve chatted with Helena for a few minutes and then talked quietly to

each other. Martin didn't mention Florida. There would be time to assess Eve's feelings
                                             36



when he was home. Eve and Helena left together.

         "The ladies seem to have hit it off, amigo. We‟ll have to get together in more

agreeable surroundings. Your firm doesn't import Cuban cigars by any chance?"

         Martin explained that cigars were another business altogether but that he knew

someone who might help, and Kostas was delighted.

         "There are few greater pleasures. Is it true, my friend, that smoking sharpens the

mind?"

         "I seriously doubt it, Kostas. They called them coffin nails a hundred years ago.

Hirschorn tells me I have to stop smoking because nicotine constricts the capillaries."

Martin offered to supply Kostas with scotch. He commented that Helena was an

attractive woman.

         "Mrs. Magairos is the wife of Benton Cortenay. Cort is the world's leading

authority on Malebranche. He's been working for years on a definitive life and works and

he doesn't have time for Helena." He smiled. "We'll all get together. You'll like Cort."

         "Fine," Martin agreed. "Assuming we survive."



         Kikapopouolis was rolled away shortly before lunch and returned late in the

afternoon, groggy and subdued. Martin was hungry for the first time and ate a good

supper. Eve and Helena came for evening visiting hours, but Kostas was sleeping and

Helena soon left. Eve talked about her day and gave Martin a letter from their son. After

Eve left, Martin read for a while and slept. The floor nurse looked in on them just before

midnight.
                                              37




         Martin wakened in semi-darkness, aware of someone bending over him. He

thought it was Kostas for a moment but saw it was a tall, thin man with a goatee rather

than a full beard. The man turned away and walked around the screen towards

Kikapopoulis. Although he was wearing a white coat, he hadn't looked like any of the

doctors Martin remembered, and why would a doctor be in their darkened room in the

middle of the night? Martin pressed the call-button that lay beside his hand.

         The lights came on a moment later.

         "You there!" The nurse stood blocking the doorway. Martin had done the right

thing.

         The man shoved the nurse aside and ran from the room. She gasped and stood

leaning against the wall, her hand on her chest.

         "Are you all right, nurse?"

         "Stay calm, Mr. Newhouse."

         "I‟m perfectly calm. Check on Kikapopulous." It was an order.

         "Nurse?"

         "He's asleep. He's all right."

         "You're sure?"

         She came back around the screen. "He's fine, Mr. Newhouse. Did you know that

man?"

         "No," Martin said. "I think he was looking for Kostas. Shouldn't you call

Security?"
                                            38



       "I will, but it won't do any good. They‟re worthless Just go back to sleep, dear."

       It was some time before Martin slept.



       "Tall and bearded? No idea."

       "Not Benton Cortenay?" There was the slightest smile on Martin's lips.

       Kostas laughed. "No, Cort‟s short and fat. He doesn't care about me, Martin.

Why can't the man have come to see you?"

       "He did see me and he wasn't interested. I'm not the sort of person who‟s visited

in the middle of the night by assassins."

       "You think I am?"

       "Of the two of us you‟re the more likely, but maybe he was just a thief or a nut

who likes to prowl around hospitals in the dark."

       "A ghoulish notion. Your colorful family made no enemies?"

       "I‟m sure they have. Two of Eve's cousins spent time on a Georgia chain gang,

and there were all of the Baron's abandoned women and their husbands and boyfriends.

Eve's uncle Gene may have bilked investors of millions. He owned a gold mine in Upper

Porcupine, Ontario. The stock was overvalued, and when the bubble burst Gene

disappeared. The feds found his yacht sunk off Cape Hatteras and declared him dead, but

he and his mistress turned up in Switzerland a few years later. He was friendly to me the

only time I met him. He was wearing plus-fours."

       "A kind of shoe?"

       "Golf pants, knickers with elastic below the knee. They were fashionable in the
                                             39



thirties."

        "Golf." Kostas' scorn was evident.

        "It's the chief pastime of the American businessman, Kostas, almost his only

leisure activity other than booze and televison. Apparently your family hasn't become

fully acclimated."

        "Not to games. I'm often puzzled by the greatness of our nation."

        “Europeans get excited about sports.”

        “Certain classes of Europeans.”

        "It‟s freedom, Kostas. Our government doesn't tell us how to waste our time.

Both Eve‟s family and mine had their knaves and con men, but that was a long time ago,

and I doubt their victims have it in for me. I don't gamble or chase women and I have no

ties to organized crime. If I didn't make money for my company, at least I didn‟t steal

any. You're sure we're not going to be murdered in our beds for some skullduggery of

yours?"

        "Skullduggery? A good word. No, not entirely, Martin, but I wouldn't lose sleep

over it."
                                              40




                                        .| Chapter 4 |.



       "Your husband is an interesting man, Eve."

       "Yes, he is. He‟s also a very nice man and remarkably sane in my opinion,

considering his family history. My family was difficult too. I'm the only completely

normal person on either side for generations."

       Kostas laughed. "I like definite people." Eve was slim and cultured, a Bostonian

certainly, if not a Brahmin. She was both good looking and sharply intelligent. He

imagined she was quite effective as a math instructor.

       "I'm sure of myself,” Eve said. “My ancestors were Yankee traders. They were

capable and dangerously charming men. Martin's were clever humbugs. Did he tell you

his uncle Lee invented the airplane?"

       "Shortly after the Wright brothers," Martin explained, "but he did his own

research, and he was probably the first man to fly a plane west of the Mississippi. We

have a photograph of him standing in the wreckage of his third airplane. He‟d been paid

to fly over a circus, but he snagged a telephone line. He was lucky in his crashes. His

wife finally made him give it up. That was only one of his inventions. He air-

conditioned a chicken coop sometime before 1920 and spent the summer in it with the

chickens. He read a lot. He was a successful master plumber and building contractor
                                                41



who retired in his fifties to collect books."

        "He sounds like a sensible fellow. A hero of yours evidently?"

        "He was a thoroughly decent man and I was very fond of him. I wouldn‟t have

called him a hero. Jesus Christ and John Carter of Mars were my heroes when I was a

kid, and later Johnny Weismuller the Olympic swimmer who played Tarzan in the

movies and Jesse Owens the runner, but I swore off heroes after that. You had to know

Lee to appreciate him. He was tall and gawky like Lincoln. He may have had Marfan‟s

Syndrome. The family thought he was lazy because he never stood when he could lie

down, and he put a lot of effort into inventing labor-saving devices. He could have made

a fortune with his automatic furnace stoker."

        "But he didn‟t?

        "It was too much trouble. He moved to his own beat as much as anyone I've ever

known. They said he walked barefoot from Arkansas when he was a boy and took a job

at the Brown Shoe company in St. Louis. He realized right away he couldn't work for

someone else. He got into the plumbing and construction business and did well. Lee

married one of Lulu's calmer sisters and raised two boys and a girl, my cousins Virgil,

Ann, and Pinky.

        “Pinky?”

        “Red hair. Lee moved into housing construction when I was in high school. I

worked with him a couple summers and got to know him pretty well. It was through Lee

I learned that all grown men aren‟t bastards. He taught me about craftsmanship. Not to

be a craftsman but to appreciate good work. His houses are holding up pretty well fifty
                                              42



years later. Unfortunately, Lee re-invested his profits in the business and had half a

dozen unsold properties in 1930. He made wooden toys until the economy recovered,

and then he retired.”

       “Your Lee sounds like a good man.”

       "He helped me a lot, but he was a peculiar roll model. He hated work and yet he

was always doing something interesting. I think that's what was so appealing about him

to a kid. He‟d never entirely grown up. Sometime during the First World War he put

together a crystal set and made a mechanical amplifier for it. He invited the whole family

over to his house to listen to one of the earliest radio broadcasts in St. Louis. P.R. said it

was nonsense, but Mom made him take us. Lee had built a giant wooden trumpet that

filled one end of his living room. It was so loud you could hear it a block away. They

had to stuff pillows in it to lower the volume. He was too independent to patent his

inventions."

       "He was more than independent," Eve said.

       "Slightly loopy," Martin agreed, "but that was part of his charm. He got away

with being himself in a family that was always hurling moral invectives at one another.

He was even religious in his own way. He knew the bible practically by heart and loved

to point out its contradictions to his fundamentalist cousins who barely knew it at all.

       "He was a lifelong teetotaler, but he brewed first rate beer during Prohibition.

People came from all over St. Louis to get his yeast. He gave up beermaking the day the

Volstead Act was repealed. He just wouldn't be told what to do. He boasted once that he

could build a car from junkyard parts, and his brother-in-law took the bet. Lee paid
                                             43



fifteen dollars for a couple of wrecks and put together a contraption that he drove in his

business for years. There are lots of Lee stories."

       "My favorite is the jar of beans," Eve prompted.

       "It was a contest put on by a drugstore chain," Martin explained. "You had to

guess the number of beans in a very large apothecary jar. It was filled with bands of

different kinds of bean. Lee bought a jar just like it and went to the store and measured

the bands. Then he filled his jar in exactly the same way. Eve and I were married by

then, and we‟d stop by Lee's house in the evening and count beans. Someone else won

the car, Lee figured that was fixed, but the Brukmann family took all the other prizes.

The drug company yelled foul and tried to weasel out, but eventually they gave in."

       “What a marvelous character. Society could use more men like that."

       "Kook that he was. You seem to have a thing about heros, Professor. I thought

history as the accomplishments of famous men was out of fashion."

       "We study demographics and cultural forces, but history is still the interplay of

individuals and circumstance. It's the kooks that make it interesting."

       "Lee was certainly an individual. I guess that‟s the quality I most enjoyed in him.

It‟s what I‟d like on my own tombstone.”

       "Of course," Kostas said.



       Kikapopoulos went home the next morning. He assured Martin that they‟d talk

again when Martin was out of the hospital.

       Hirschhorn popped into the room and having impressed on Martin the continuing
                                              44



uncertainty of his condition announced that he'd be fishing for two weeks in the Florida

keys. Bonefish were inedible but a challenge to catch on light tackle he explained tersely

in answer to Martin's questions. Martin grinned and wished him luck.

         He knew he wasn't out of danger, that he‟d never really be out of danger, but it no

longer bothered him. He‟d resumed his life.

         He watched a line of absurdly puffy clouds drift past the window. He always

found clouds delightful but incomprehensible, like modern art and contemporary music

and so much else. Except for spectral fish bones, he never saw the exotic shapes that

others claimed to see, but a dramatic sky could sometimes produce in him a feeling of

wanderlust, a vague longing to see whitened stones and olive groves and to sit in the sun

in some distant place and drink wine. Martin enjoyed nearly a whole day of relative

peace.



         Late in the afternoon, there were loud voices in the hall, and a large man was

wheeled into the room. He was directing the move himself. "All right, girlie," he

bellowed. "Straighten this thing out and give it a shove. I can climb off the goddamn

cart myself. I'm not the kind of fellow who makes a fuss."

         After a great deal of fussing, the man was finally settled. Martin sank into his bed

and pretended to be asleep.

         "Hey, there, buddy!" his new room mate called out to him. "Name's Bert. What's

yours?"

         Martin told him.
                                              45



       "Well sir, Marty, it seems the good Lord meant us to be bedfellows so I reckon

we'll get along fine. Say now, girlie, I don't like to trouble you 'cause it ain't my nature,

but I gotta ask you to poke up this here piller. I like my pillers puffed, and these are on

the skinny side for a coconut like mine. I see my buddy's got a bigger one," he added

hopefully.

       Martin explained that his pillow was quite ordinary. Bert had more to say, but

Martin tuned him out. Bert didn't appear to notice.



       That night, Martin dreamed of their first trip to Maine twenty years before, when

they stayed in a primitive cottage on a deserted lake. They'd been wakened by the loons

each morning and breakfasted on white perch that he and Bud caught the night before and

cleaned under the porch light in a cloud of mosquitoes. None of their subsequent

vacations was quite as magical.

       They‟d explored the rugged Maine coast, climbing the rocks and finding broken

lobster traps and driftwood. He and Bud had set up tin cans on the hillside behind the

cabin and fired off a box of 22's. He could almost smell the cordite. They'd done a lot

together in those days and they‟d stayed friends through Bud's college years and his

marriage to Susan.

       Martin woke up once with the odd sense of being in a strange room, but all rooms

were strange now. Everything was dark and different and out of his control, and he was

drifting on a loon lake in an oarless boat.
                                            46



        Bert's bed was stripped in the morning. No one offered an explanation for the

sudden disappearance of his oafish companion. The usually talkative nurses seemed

subdued. Bert hadn't appeared to be in such precarious health, but presumably he‟d

gotten the call and gone more quietly than might have been expected. Martin wondered

briefly whether in a case like Bert's the staff were ever tempted to misuse the power of

life and death.



        He woke from a nap late in the afternoon to find the other bed occupied again,

this time by a distinguished looking man with white hair and a patrician nose. He

appeared as lifeless as a corpse.

        "Wake up, Mr. Stanton," a nurse was saying querulously, "I have to take your

temperature."

        Mr. Stanton didn't move. It was obvious to Martin that he was dead.

        "Mr. Stanton, can you hear me?" the nurse persisted.

        She put the thermometer in the man's mouth. It fell out. Martin began to wonder

about the quality of care at St. Peter's.

        The woman went away and came back with the head nurse, who immediately

shook the man's shoulder and roared at him.

        "We need to take your temperature, George."

        George opened his eyes. "So goddamn do it," he said. She held the thermometer

in the man's mouth until she got a reading. George had closed his eyes again.
                                               47



       Before Eve arrived for her evening visit, an elderly woman came into the room

and approached Stanton's bed.

       "I'm here, George," she said.

       "Bully for you," George said. Martin hadn't seen him move for hours.

       "How are you are doing?"

       "I'm terrific, Margaret. Why did you bring the cat?"

       "The cat, George? There's no cat here." The woman seemed genuinely puzzled."

       "Don't tell me what I see. There's a goddamn dirty-faced pussy on my bed."

       The woman turned to Martin. "We don't own a cat."

       "No cat," Martin said.

       "George hates cats. George, shall I ask Bob and Agnes to come see you?"

       "Hell no," George answered with considerable force. "Tell them I died, and take

that thing with you."

       "All right, George." Mrs. Stanton patted her husband's shoulder and left. She

hadn't seemed disturbed by his hallucination.

       When the woman had gone, George turned towards Martin and winked. Then he

closed his eyes and resumed his wax-like immobility.



       It was a truly surreal three weeks, from the moment he‟d been rolled more than

half dead into the Emergency Room and had heard the scrawny old man in the cubicle

next to his being interrogated by the nurse.

       “Who‟s your doctor, Henry?” the nurse had said.
                                             48



       “Doctor?” Henry said. “I ain‟t never had no doctor. No, wait just a minute. I

broke my leg in the lumber camp years ago, and the camp cook he set my leg and I was

fine. I think we called him „Cookie‟.”

       “So you don‟t have a doctor at this time?” the nurse said.

       “Well, sure I do,” Henry said.

       “And who is that?” the nurse asked.

       “Why, it‟s that damn Chinaman standing right there.”

       A week later, dressed in his own clothes for the first time in a month, Martin was

being wheeled towards freedom by a cheerful orderly. He heard the head nurse bellow

from the room across the hall.

       "Let's see your bed pan, Arthur. Oh good work, good work!"

       Martin concentrated on the approaching elevator door.
                                              49




                                        .| Chapter 5 |.



       His first weeks at home were quiet. Eve was persuaded to return to her classes

after only a day, and Martin spent his mornings reading and trying to answer an

accumulation of mail. It was a time of waiting, a time for recovery as well, but that was

rarely in Martin's mind.

       In the afternoons he began to organize his long neglected stamp collection.

Philately was the ideal pastime for an invalid, a kind of cerebral golf which occupied the

mind while barely using it and provided a sense of accomplishment with minimum effort.

It might even be considered mildly altruistic in his case, as he specialized in the attractive

series issued as a source of income by third-world nations. It was not an unpleasant

existence.

       Once some years before, while browsing along a grubby street off Sixth Avenue

Martin had wandered into a small shop that was a pack rat‟s dream. It appeared to have

one of every useless thing in the world. The owner, a seedy little man of around eighty,

said that he‟d spent much of his life collecting all this junk. When his wife had

threatened to burn down their house if he didn‟t get rid of it, he‟d opened the store. He

made enough to pay expenses, he said, and a few dollars over. Martin felt briefly

envious. The man‟s story probably changed every day, but it seemed to him a better life

than that of a salaried employee US Tobacco.
                                              50



         Eve came home at noon each day. They ate shrimp salad sandwiches in front of

the television and watched Jeopardy. Together, they always won. Eve went to teach her

afternoon class and then did their errands. She was generally home by four.

         Occasionally Martin looked through the picture window at the foot and a half of

dirty snow that covered their yard and was heaped beside the walk and driveway. He had

no desire to go out into it, or to go anywhere except to Florida later in the spring.

         Their old friends, Helen and C.B. Smith, were looking into real estate for them.

Boca Raton was out of their price range now, but they had pleasant memories of visiting

Eve‟s parents in St. Petersburg during and immediately after the war. They wavered

between a new house in a development and a condo on the bay. Martin knew they would

eventually make a decision and not look back. A trip was finally planned for the end of

March.

         They never had the talk about Eve's career that Martin was dreading. The doctor

made it clear that his chances of long-term survival would improve in a milder climate,

and Eve said there was nothing to discuss. But Martin hadn't forgotten that only a week

before his heart attack she‟d asked him how he‟d feel about moving back to the city.

         Christmas was good. Bud and Susan came in the morning and stayed for an early

dinner but left before the grandchildren became cranky. Martin watched television for a

while most evenings. He wasn't sure whether this indicated a softening of his brain or

just a more accepting attitude towards life. He didn't care.



         Two weeks after his return from the hospital, shortly after Eve had left to teach
                                             51



her morning class, the doorbell rang. The young man at the door introduced himself as

Sergeant Leland Murray of the New Castle police department.

        "It's about an incident that happened when you were in the hospital, Mr.

Newhouse. I called your Dr. Hirschhorn, and he said it would be okay to talk with you if

you felt up to it."

        "Sure," Martin said, "I feel fine. I'm glad to have the company." This wasn't

entirely true. Martin had begun to enjoy his solitude. He'd briefly considered the life of a

hermit when he was young, and it still had some appeal.

        He hung the detective's coat in the hall closet and pointed him to the living room.

The chief nurse must have reported the intruder after all.

        "Coffee, Sergeant? I'm supposed to go easy on caffeine, but life without coffee

isn‟t worth living. We grind our beans."

        "Thanks. I take it black. You're really feeling all right then, sir? You look well."

        Martin said he'd looked even better before his heart attack. Murray decided to

take this as encouragement.

        "You may not be able to help us, Mr. Newhouse, but we have to ask. Do you

remember Bert Hanley? He was a heavy set man who shared your hospital room for a

day."

        Martin's eyebrows shot up. Not Kostas.

        "I couldn‟t forget Bert, Sergeant. He was a cheerful loud-mouth. He called the

chief nurse 'girlie'." Martin smiled. "I assumed he was dead."

        "He is, but it wasn't his heart. He was murdered, Mr. Newhouse. Shot in his
                                               52



sleep in the bed next to yours. You didn't know that, did you?"

        Martin was open-mouthed. Murray looked as if he were afraid it might have been

too much of a shock for an invalid.

        "I certainly didn't. That's...incredible. Someone fired a gun in our room? Why

didn't I wake up?" He suddenly remembered the dream and the smell of gunpowder.

        "The shooter probably used a silencer. No one heard the shot. The night nurse

looked in on you around one thirty and found Hanley with two bullet holes in his

forehead. We had them wheel you into another room while we went over the scene. The

hospital did its best to keep it quiet. It didn't get in the papers until several days later, and

the details were vague. Hanley had no family to make a fuss.

        "That was weeks ago, and we‟re out of leads. We haven‟t found anyone with a

reason to kill him. He seems to have been a very ordinary man, a feed salesman and

something of a self-taught expert on pig diseases. He was a widower with no children.

Can you think of anything that might help us, Mr. Newhouse? Anything Hanley might

have said."

        "Nothing that I remember, sergeant. I did everything I could to avoid talking to

him. I wasn't feeling so hot, and I‟m sorry to say he came across as a jerk. More

ridiculous, though, than unpleasant. I can't see anyone shooting him. There was

something that happened at the hospital, but it was before Bert came." Martin told

Murray about the mysterious visitor.

        "Yes, sir. Miss Wales mentioned it. You thought he‟d come to see Dr.

Kikapopoulos?"
                                             53



       "He didn't come to see me. I kidded Kostas about it. I said I hoped we weren't

going to be murdered in our beds for some stunt of his. It was a joke. I guess the man

could have come back."

       "And shot Hanley thinking he was Kikapopoulos, a large bearded man where he

expected to find him. It's a possibility we've considered."

       "What does Kostas say?"

       "Dr. Kikapopoulos says he knows nothing about it. He says there's no reason

anyone would want to kill him. How about that, Mr. Newhouse? I understand you two

were pretty friendly."

       "He was a friendly man and good company unlike poor Bert. He's a character

certainly, an extrovert with a high opinion of himself. I liked him a lot."

       "A character in what way?"

       "Nothing bad. Just larger than life. Apparently he runs around with another

man's wife, but from what he says it's in the open and not a big deal."

       "Helena Courtenay. She and her husband vouch for each other. Dr.

Kikapoppoulos is a member of a Greek patriotic organization that supports resistance to

Greece's military dictatorship. Did he say anything about that?"

       Martin sensed that this was what the man had really come to ask. "No,” he said.

“He talked about Greece. My wife and I want to take a Greek island cruise some day.

Kostas said we should go despite the political situation. He said the ruins have been there

for thousands of years and every government is glad to take the tourists' money. He

didn't say anything about his own activities."
                                            54



       The policeman thanked Martin and asked him to call if he thought of anything. It

seemed obvious that the police believed Kostas had been the killer's target and that it had

to do with Greek politics.



       “How was your morning, love?”

       “More interesting than usual,” Martin said. “I had a visit from the police. Why

didn't you tell me about Bert?"

       "Would you have told me that a patient in the bed next to mine had been

murdered?"

       "I would have eventually."

       "Well, you found out eventually. To tell you the truth I‟d half forgotten it. You

think he was after Kikapopoulos?"

       "We could ask him."



       Kostas telephoned in mid-January and invited Eve and Martin to dinner. They

accepted with some misgivings. An amusing character in an adjoining hospital bed had

been a welcome diversion. An evening at the home of someone involved in international

intrigue and targeted for assassination was an adventure.

       Kikapopoulos' penthouse overlooked Bugler Park. Martin could see across the

river to where the ornamental street lamps of the university merged with the lights of the

town. The six large rooms were filled with Mediterranean pottery and statues that Martin

was sure were genuine and valuable. It was a museum. Eve was glad she‟d dressed more
                                               55



formally than she might have for supper at a bachelor's apartment.

          Helena Magairos was the only other guest and acted as tour guide and hostess.

She fixed their drinks while Kostas sat in a big leather chair and talked. They discussed

Kostas' and Martin's recovery and the usual scandals at the university. Eve brought up

their Florida plans and their projected trip to the Greek islands. This had its intended

effect of inspiring a lecture on ancient and modern Greece and eventually a detailed

account of the Kikapopoulos‟ early life.

          In order to leave their beautiful but impoverished island, the family had had to

pass through a gauntlet of corrupt officials and greedy ship's officers. After months of

hardship, they entered Boston Harbor in good health but as penniless and ignorant of

their new country as any immigrants before them.

          "It was how your own ancestors arrived," Kostas pointed out, "your Thomas

Frohock and John Engle, with nothing but their minds and bodies. From peddler and

farmer to college professor and corporate executive in a generation or two isn‟t bad,

Martin.

          "My father began with a borrowed pushcart, hawking onions to Boston

housewives. It was vegetables or fish for the Greeks. Papa's cart grew into a succession

of wholesale food businesses, but he always meant for me to be a scholar. There was no

point in success, he said, if it produced only wealth. I was happy to go to college and be

able to sleep past four in the morning.”

          “Poor baby,” Helena said. “You‟ve been making up for it for forty years.”

          "Let me ask you, Martin. Does it ever worry you that we've had things easier than
                                             56



our parents and that our children have even less demanding lives? What becomes of the

human species without challenge?"

       "Toynbee?" Martin suggested. "Their lives are easier in some ways, but they'll

always have challenges. There‟s Vietnam. Greece has its troubles. Poverty and greed

and human predators seem here to stay, and if the world‟s population keeps growing

things will probably get worse. There are always problems closer to home. I had to

watch my ass even in a stodgy company like U.S.T. Is the university really an ivory

tower?"

       “Oh bosh, Martin.” Eve laughed. “You always did what you pleased at the office

and played dumb when they objected. You‟ve told me so.”

       “That‟s a survival skill, too. People let you get away with a lot for the pleasure of

feeling they‟re smarter than you are. What about it, Kostas? It was a serious question.”

       "No, you're right, Martin. The university can be nasty as I'm sure Eve has told

you. I have tenure despite the machinations of my colleagues, but I'll never be the

chairman. I might have cared a few years back when I could have done some good. My

interests are entirely academic these days. Tell me about business. It doesn‟t sound as

cutthroat as I‟d have thought."

       "At U.S.T. it was more whose ass you kissed and mostly it was just boring. As

you said, taxes and proxy statements. Pretty dull stuff. At the last directors' meeting I

went to we spent an hour discussing the price of scalded ox lips."

       "Not, I hope, as a tobacco additive?"

       Martin laughed. "No, not yet anyway. We own a cat food company." Kostas
                                               57



made a face. "It's a natural complement. Cat food, popcorn, liquor, and tobacco. It's the

food business, Kostas. The same distribution patterns. We're developing other products

too. The company is I mean. I keep forgetting I'm out of it. They read the surgeon

general's report.

        "My last years weren't bad. After Hendricks retired, I was able to get the

Secretary‟s Department into shape and start taking time off. Hendricks.... God, I haven't

thought of him in years. I gave up on heroes after Jessie Owens, but I did have a

nemesis. Bolo Anderson says my sticking it out under John H. was the best

recommendation I could have had. It was the main reason I got my title. They felt I'd

earned it."

        “You did earn it, Martin,” Eve said. “Don‟t listen to him, Kostas. He worked like

a dog. Hendricks was a monster.”

        "What was wrong with him?"

        "An incompetent, a crackpot, and a vindictive son-of-a-bitch,” Martin said. “He

tried to get me canned about once a month, but in those days U.S.T. never fired anyone,

not even Hendricks. We let one lush sleep off his hangovers in the mail room for thirty

years. There's a lot to be said for loyalty, but we carried it pretty far.

        “It sounds comical now. There were so many Hendricks stories, even back in St.

Louis. He used to spend his summer vacations at a dude ranch in Arizona. He'd come to

work wearing a cowboy outfit the day before his vacation, and they‟d send him home

early which was what he wanted. He bought some Navajo rugs in Arizona, and when the

colors ran he complained to the Indians. They told him he had to soak them in horse
                                              58



urine to fix the colors, so he brought back a dozen more rugs and collected a barrel of

horse piss from the Peavely Dairy. His house smelled like a barn, but the rugs looked

good.

        “He got drunk at a party once and chased my mother around the dining table.”

        “Kostas told me about your mother,” Helena said. “She sounds like a character

herself.”

        "She could handle men like Hendricks without any trouble. There was a big

celebration in St. Louis when he was transferred to New York in '46. The next year they

closed the St. Louis office, and I was given the chance to go to New York to work under

him for a year and take over his job when he retired. That‟s when I seriously looked into

chicken farming.

        “It was a hell of a time, that first year in New York. Besides doing my own work

and most of Hendricks‟s, I had to eat lunch with him every day. He made me go with

him to his tailor while he tried on suits, and sometimes we went to a warehouse to admire

his rugs. He knew I was trapped. I was making good money, and we had a house in the

suburbs, a mortgage, and two kids.

        "When I‟d get thoroughly sick of him, I'd go sit in a toilet stall for a while and

read. Eventually Hendricks figured it out. He came in the men's room one day and

shouted, 'You'd better get your ass out here, boy.'

        "I knew he'd make it a big deal of it. Tell everybody I was hiding out in the

crapper. He had no sense of decency. He used to tell everyone how he drank mineral oil

for his constipation.
                                             59



       “I got out of that one, though. The men's room was in a public hallway because

U.S.T. shared the floor with Robert Harwood, the producer. Harwood was six foot seven

and weighed three hundred pounds, but he had a tiny high-pitched voice that was easy to

mimic. I took a chance and squeaked at Hendricks, "I'll come out all right, fellah, and I‟ll

break your face.” I heard Hendricks say, 'Oh shit,' and the door banged. He never

bothered me after that.

       "I was happy to go to his retirement party. He patted me on the back and told me

to carry on the good work. He said, 'It's over for me, Newhouse, but there's one thing I

can say. In my forty years at U.S.T. I never made a mistake.' He may have been right,

considering how little he did."

       "I gather you're not going back for your own retirement party?"

       "God, no. I left the office at 5:00 pm eight weeks ago, and I don't plan to see it

again. I told Andy I didn't want a fuss, so he's taking care of things. He‟s determined to

keep me on the payroll for a year, in case I lose my mind, but I couldn't go back, Kostas.

I can't lie to them any more, and I certainly can't tell them the truth, not Andy anyway.

I'm happy as hell to be out of it. I've already forgotten what most of them look like. I am

sorry they can't see my beard."

       Kikapopoulos smiled and nodded.

       "It‟s coming nicely,” Helena said. “Didn‟t you leave things in your office?"

       "Just junk, some of it was left over from Hendricks. His paperclip collection.

Thirty different kinds."

       "Remarkable," Kostas said.
                                            60



       "I never even brought in a picture of Eve and the kids. I could remember what

they looked like."

       "It seems sad, though,” Helena said. “You spent a lot of time there."

       "Thirty-two years with the company, Helena. What was sad was spending all that

time at a pointless job. If someone had just given me the money and told me to live a

good life I might have made some difference in the world, the way Kostas has."

       "We made fine use of your money," Eve chided him. "It fed and housed us and

put two children through college. Tobacco‟s given the world more pleasure than

mathematics."

       "Maybe, but I‟m glad to be out of it. I wonder what they'll make of my lockbox."

       "I didn't know you had one," Eve said.

       "Oh yeah, every officer had a box in the company vault for his personal papers. I

don‟t have any personal papers, so I never used mine. I didn‟t leave it empty, though."

Martin grinned. "I wanted the last word if I dropped dead on fifty-second street, but I

never expected them to open it while I was alive."

       "What‟s in it, Martin?" Eve asked, alarm struggling with amusement.

       "The biggest bathroom syringe I could find." Martin made a jabbing motion.

       "Oh, Martin."

       Kikapopoulus laughed until the tears ran down his face.
                                             61




                                       .| Chapter 6 |.



       After so many weeks of inactivity Martin found it difficult to complete even the

smallest project. His thinking was fuzzy, a side-effect he supposed of the colorful pills

he took throughout the day. Hirschhorn had explained the purpose of each, but Martin

hadn't listened. He'd never been preoccupied with his body and he didn't see a reason to

start now. He paid the doctors to manage his health and followed their advice when it

made sense.

       He told himself it was the transition that was getting him down, shedding one life

to take on another. It was the problem of the hermit crab that outgrew its shell and had to

scuttle bare-assed down the beach to find a bigger one. Even so, he was puzzled that he

should feel so much turmoil in exchanging three decades of dreary responsibility for a

carefree retirement.

       At the end of January, after Eve commented on his resemblance to an aging rock

star, Martin got his first haircut outside the Concourse at Rockefeller Center in over thirty

years. It was satisfactory as a haircut, but it was accompanied by a stream of senseless

patter about the Celtics and the Knicks. His barber in the International Building had long

ago been bribed to silence. The man trimmed his beard nicely, however, and seemed to

find a modest tip most generous.

       The beard had become a major factor in Martin's life. It needed daily shampooing

and frequent combing, and it effectively concealed the former clean-shaven executive.
                                            62



For a while it dominated conversations with family and friends. In public it attracted

attention like a friendly dog.

       Beards were still rare on men his age. They were associated with foreigners and

hippies. In the shadow of the University it was natural for a waitress to address him as

„professor‟, and he didn't correct her. He'd been a far bigger fraud as a businessman, he

felt, discussing productivity and market share as if cared about any of it. He knew more

about archaeology and ancient history than about the tobacco business.

       It was the effect of his beard on children that was most gratifying. In the past

they‟d walk into his leg as if he were a lamp post and still seem unaware of his existence.

Now children not only noticed him, they approached him cautiously as they might edge

near the brink of a chasm.

       Occasionally a child asked him if he were Santa Claus. Martin always told them

he wasn‟t but that he was one of Santa's helpers.

       He considered this undeserved attention to be a judgment on his former life.

When you could end more than thirty years of honest if undistinguished labor without

receiving the slightest recognition and then, with a bunch of whiskers, become an instant

celebrity what did that signify?

       Whatever they thought they saw in him, it made him feel as much a humbug as

the Baron. He knew he'd be called to account for it someday, but in the meantime it was

becoming clear that his effort to be a good and useful man had obscured a higher calling.

Like his father he was a born charlatan.
                                            63



        The trip to Florida at the end of March was wholly successful. Eve and Martin

arrived at the Tampa airport on time and without a side trip to Cuba. Martin was almost

disappointed. It would have been a good story.

        They drove their rented Buick to St. Petersburg and found a motel not far from

where Eve's mother and father had lived from 1939 until Maurice‟s death in the early

fifties. Their two-story Spanish style house was in good repair, but the street looked

smaller and less trim than he remembered. Some of houses were shabby. The area must

have been going to seed for some time since they‟d last seen it in the 50‟s. The next door

neighbors at the time, a disabled first world war veteran and his wife, had raised ducks in

their garage. The trees and yard still looked good. Maurice had had a man come and cut

the grass with a gasoline mower, something unheard of in suburban St. Louis in those

days. It was special grass he said. No doubt it was, it looked tough, but Maurice Frohock

had never operated a tool more complex than a putter.

        The Smith‟s had assumed correctly that Eve and Martin would prefer to look in a

newer area, but Martin had to see the old place. Vacationing with the Frohocks had been

pleasant so long as Maurice got his way, and Florida itself had more than made up for

any difficulties.

        Eve and Martin explored the northern reaches of Pinellas County before supper.

They drove through new developments with names like Seminole Hill Estates and

Tamarack Villas. Some were little more than a sales office and a model home. Newly

paved roads and sidewalks meandered off into an expanse of roiled sand and scabrous

underbrush.
                                             64



       As Martin pointed out, it looked much like the abandoned developments they‟d

found oddly romantic when they came to Florida in 1933. The infamous bank holiday

had trapped them in Bradenton for a month, but they'd lived well on the generosity of

Eve's Aunt Oriana. It was then that Martin had fallen in love with the palm trees and

perfumed breezes.

       Helen and C.B. collected them at their motel the next morning. Martin and Eve

were pleased to renew their long acquaintance with the Smiths. C.B. was an

encyclopedia of information, and he and Helen were cheerful company and made the

prospect of a move less daunting.

       C.B. had retired early from the Columbia physics faculty some years before and

moved his large family to Florida where the climate was kinder to his crippling arthritis.

He earned a good living though his investments. C.B.'s knowledge was broad and

impressive. Tax law, securities analysis, history, politics, and all areas of science were

neatly compartmentalized in his mind, along with a surprising expertise in building

construction and industrial processes. Martin always found him to be a fascinating and

flamboyantly opinionated companion, precisely the kind of person he most warmed to.

Martin's own mind, as he was well aware, tended to flit from one interest to another like a

dragonfly, but unlike C.B.'s his observations weren't channeled in any particular

direction, nor were his conclusions pre-ordained.

       “You‟re a lucky son of a bitch, you know,” C.B. told him. “You‟d have been

sitting on the pot up there for another seven years, pushing coffin nails.”

       “None of that‟s fully understood, you know,” Martin said. “The scientists think
                                             65



tobacco, alcohol, and hard drugs may all do about the same kind of damage to the body.

Maybe we should be banning booze and pushing marihuana.”

          “Why ban anything?” C.B. asked. “Let the sheep separate themselves from the

goats.”

          “Maybe,” Martin agreed. “Except for my flock. How did you feel when you had

to come down here?”

          “Angry as hell,” C.B. said. “I loved my job. It took about two weeks before I

realized I wasn‟t hurting and could get around without my crutches. To hell with winter.

We raised four kids and a greenhouse full of orchids, and I haven‟t worn an overcoat in

ten years. I hobble around like an old man now, but the part that matters is still ticking.”

He tapped his temple with a nicotine stained finger. “I should have counted all the books

I‟ve read since we moved. It‟s the sort of thing I usually do.”



          Helen drove them through half a dozen nearly identical housing developments

and across the causeway to Tampa where they toured the University. They dropped in on

a friend of the Smiths, a faculty member who was recovering from surgery.

          Martin never got her name, and the visit itself seemed somewhat pointless unless

it was to provide Eve with a university contact. It was pleasant, and it occurred to Martin

that he didn‟t care where they went or what they did. C.B. was right. There was nowhere

he‟d rather be. He could sit all day in a stranger's living room and enjoy C.B.'s witty

observations on Florida. They would buy a house or an apartment, tomorrow or next

week, in Largo or Tarpon Springs. They could live on a houseboat in Fort Lauderdale or
                                              66



a shack in the Everglades. It simply didn't matter. He loved all of Florida, the over-

bright flowers and the absurd palm trees, the spongy lawns alive with fire ants and little

green lizards, the encompassing sky and water, and most of all the bright sunlight. He

gloried in it as he had forty years before.



        In the late afternoons he paddled in the lukewarm surf and walked the beach,

scrunching the fine white sand between his toes and looking for shells along the high

water line. It was far more gentle and luxurious than the raucous Jersey shore.

        They tried a new restaurant each night, most of them inexpensive and good and

with the effortlessly gracious service that could not be found in the north at any price. He

understood its shallowness, he hadn't worked for a southern company for thirty years

without learning that, but it was a conspiracy that was easy to join.

        They sat by the pool until late in the evening, and Martin enjoyed the softness of

the tropical nights and the unfamiliar scents and sounds. Even the improbable colors of

the gaudy neon signs along the road were soothing. He was in his element.



        They bought a house. Or rather they signed a contract, with the promise of a

house by July. It was in a new development of mid-priced two and three bedroom homes

that ringed a golf course. Neither Martin nor Eve had played golf in decades, although

Martin had been a near par golfer once, but the broad expanse of fairway, dotted with

palms and ponds, was definitely agreeable. The clubhouse lake was rumored to contain a

six foot alligator.
                                                67



        The model they chose had two bedrooms, a large bathroom and separate powder

room, modern kitchen, and good-sized living, dining, and Florida rooms. The latter was

a twelve by fourteen foot covered porch with adjustable glass blinds. They were to learn

later that the blinds failed to keep the room comfortable on cool winter days, but they did

shed torrential rains and deflect golf balls.



        The final months in New Jersey were busy yet anti-climactic. There was no

single event that marked their break with the past. A series of minor chores each day cut

some small tie and moved them closer to the end. There were countless phone calls,

many documents to sign, and half a dozen going-away parties. It was so much like their

normal existence that none of it seemed to be preparing them for the giant step they

meant to take. It reminded Martin of cutting off a large tree limb. There‟s much hacking

and sawing for a while, but nothing happens until the last little bit is cut away and it all

comes crashing down.

        A series of earlier moves dating back to Martin's transfer from Saint Louis had

already winnowed their belongings and they were able to rid themselves of another two

decades of accumulated junk with ease. There was no tradition of valued heirlooms in

either of their families. Martin had lived in over forty different houses and apartments by

the time of his marriage. The only baggage that survived his youth was the semi-comic

tales of domestic turmoil.

        Martin had left U.S. Tobacco Products without a backward glance. Saying

goodbye to the friends they‟d made through Eve's years of study and teaching was more
                                            68



difficult. They hoped to see many of them again.

       They‟d certainly not lose touch with Kostas and Helena. Kostas overwhelmed

them by his gift of a magnificent set of luggage. “...for your trip to Greece”. It had been

custom-made, he told them, for an elderly cousin who had died inconveniently. Martin

wondered about this unlikely story, but Kostas could clearly afford the expensive gift.

       "You'll have no excuse not to travel," he said. "You have your freedom and your

health. I've provided the bags, and you'll bring your own good company. You must see

the world, Martin, and then explain it to me. I know no one better prepared to make an

objective judgment."

       "Really, Kostas...."

       "Listen to me, amigo. Most of us are analysts. Brilliant or stupid, educated or

ignorant, we can take the world apart, but we can't put it together the way you can. You

don't draw on a lifetime of accreted prejudice."

       Martin laughed. "You make me sound like some sort of idiot savant. I just try to

see things as they are. I can't imagine doing anything else."

       "Precisely," Kostas agreed, as if this proved his point.



       The head of Eve's department gave a picnic supper for them. There were brief

and amusing speeches of the sort that might be expected from mathematicians. Martin

sensed that their regret was genuine, and he was happy for Eve. One of them should be

missed when they folded their tents. It was better that it was she. He was included in the

well-wishing, of course. He liked Eve's friends, and like many academics, they were
                                              69



curious about the business world and pleased to find someone who could speak of it with

authority and disrespect.

       Ken and Marion took them to the faculty club, and Dorothy Denning and the

Rawls hosted dinners. Their good friend Francis Stein, a widow who lived across the

hall, was openly saddened by their leaving.

       They‟d moved many times before with few regrets. In those years they‟d

socialized mostly with their neighbors, people living in the same circumstances as they

but often quite unlike them. Eve's friends from the University had less money, but they

took pleasure in the same activities that she and Martin enjoyed. A few, like Ben White,

had become Martin's friends as well, the first new friends he'd made in decades.

       Martin had long ago concluded that the vast majority of human beings were

morally weak and that a good number of them were rotten to the core. He'd begun to

wonder in the last few months if his perspective had been too limited. Ben, a brilliant

and sensitive gay man, was both principled and courageous, and Kostas, for all his

posturing, was a serious scholar and perhaps a good deal more.

       Their son's friends John and Betty came to dinner near the end of June, to say

goodbye and to collect a marble coffee table that they'd been offered. As they were

leaving, John said sadly, "It‟s the end of an era, Mr. Newhouse."

       It was, although it seemed to Martin to be ending on a surprisingly hopeful note.

His forced retirement could be considered a quiet call to adventure, and although he

didn't think of himself as a brave man, he'd always been ready to try something new.

       As a child, he‟d copied the lifeguards at the old Tower Grove pool in St. Louis
                                             70



and taught himself to swim because it had looked like fun. In the half-century since then,

swimming seemed to have become a duty rather than a pleasure. Television

advertisements for the YMCA threatened 'danger in the water' and promoted swimming

for safety. It was a depressing comment on the contemporary world, although it was true

that a boy had drowned in the flooded quarry where he and his friends liked to dive.



        Along with the packing and errands, Martin found time to read a book on

underwater archaeology and to work his way through Tolkein's trilogy a third time.

Bilbo's song as he left Bag End seemed particularly apt. 'The road goes on and on...and I

must follow, if I can.'

        He read the Times each morning and listened to the news. The conflict in

Vietnam and its cost in lives and political turmoil and still higher taxes might be thought

disturbing to a man entering early retirement. Eve and the children were vehemently

against the war. Martin would have liked to agree with them, but humans had been such

violent creatures for so long that conflict seemed to be as natural to them as it was

pointless and destructive. He was inspired to write a fable for his idealistic children:

        "We must have peace," said the dove. "We will lay down our swords and

show the fox our true intentions." Many had been wishing the end of a war they did

not understand and did as the dove suggested. But when they called on the fox to do

the same he began to slaughter them. "Why do you kill us when we offer you

peace?" they cried. "You shall have peace, my feathered friends," the fox answered

them, "and I, as is my nature, shall enjoy a fine repast."
                                             71




    If war were as inevitable as it seemed, it was better to be on the winning side. It

would be best, of course, if only the old men fought, with staves and swords like the

Samurai blade he'd found in a shop on ninth avenue and kept razor sharp in their bedroom

closet.

    The agreed on mid-July closing date was approaching, and the house in Florida was

far from finished. The Smiths made weekly visits to the building site and reported on its

slow progress. Late in June, C.B.'s sharp eyes had spotted crates containing a 'Sea-Foam'

tub and sink instead of the 'Sand-Tone' models that had been ordered. Armed with this

information, their Florida lawyer, Arthur Hallam, was able to refute the contractor's

apologetic claim that the fixtures had already been installed.

          There were more delays and nothing to do but put their much reduced belongings

into storage in New Jersey and find an inexpensive motel in Florida.



          They felt no regrets at leaving the three bedroom ranch house which had been

their stopping place for the past two years. It was now more associated with Martin's

illness than anything else. It wasn‟t one of the homes in which they'd raised children.

The last and best of those was a three-story Dutch Colonial set among the big oaks and

elms of an affluent old neighborhood in a north Jersey suburb. It was here that they‟d

decorated a dozen oversized Christmas trees, celebrated many birthdays and graduations,

and held the rehearsal dinner for their son's wedding. That house was too big for them,

but they‟d moved to the apartment and later to the smaller house as much out of
                                             72



restlessness as need.

        By the time they finished sweeping the empty rooms it was too late to begin the

drive south. They found a motel for the night and had dinner in their favorite Hungarian

restaurant. The refugees from the Hungarian revolution of '58 had been held for some

months at old Camp Kilmer and many had found their way no farther than the nearest

city.

        Martin ordered a spicy goulash and drank two bottles of imported beer. He and

Eve reminisced about their thirty-five years of marriage, their jobs, and their highly

satisfactory children. They spoke more optimistically about the life ahead of them than

either felt.

        Fueled by alcohol and heavy food, Martin's dreams that night in his unfamiliar

bed included a strange vision of an uncertain future.

        He was standing in the middle of a large room, wearing jockey's silks. There

were other riders and race officials in a semi-circle around him, and he had apparently

been addressing them.

        "Based on these facts, gentlemen," he was saying, "I feel I should have the right to

ride my horse."

        "Very well," an official said. "The committee has decided that in spite of the fact

that you are ridiculously large for a jockey, you will be permitted to enter the race. Our

decision is based mainly on the fact that your horse will allow no one else to ride him."

        Martin picked up his saddle and went to the paddock with the other jockeys. His

mount was small and nondescript and seemed neither pleased nor sorry to see him.
                                            73



Apparently they were already acquainted.

       There was a good deal of fuss at the starting gate. The horses were nervous and

jumpy except for Martin's which stood quietly and seemed disinterested. When the gates

opened, Martin's horse took the lead immediately and held it throughout the race. He

won by three lengths.

       Back at the stables, Martin dismounted and patted the horse's nose. "I don't

understand how you won so easily against much bigger horses."

       "I'm not a horse," the animal replied. "I'm a dragon."

       He told Eve about it at breakfast.

       "It's your sort of dream," she said. If Eve had dreams, she kept them to herself.
                                             74




                                       .| Chapter 7 |.



       Martin turned off U.S. 301 at Lumberton, North Carolina and stopped at the large

and cheerful looking Chafee‟s Family Restaurant. Although it was nearly 11:30 in the

morning, there were few other customers. A bored young woman approached their table.

       "I'm sorry ma'am," she said. "We've just stopped serving breakfast."

       "That's all right," Eve said. "We'll have lunch."

       There was a long silence. "Waaa'll, it's a little early for lunch." More silence.

"But if y'all want to wait...." She looked at Martin with sudden interest.

       "Wha..., aren't you Colonel Sanders, sir?" she asked in a hushed voice.

       "I'm afraid not, miss," Martin told her. "The Colonel‟s an older man than I am,

and he has a goatee rather than a full beard." The waitress nodded and left them without

another word. A short time later a large woman approached their table.

       "I‟m Mary Lee Chafee," she said rather sternly despite her cheerful smile. "I'm

the owner of Chafee's, and I do believe, sir, that you are indeed Colonel Harland

Sanders."

       Martin considered showing the woman his driver's license, but he doubted even

that would convince her.

       "Well now,” he said, “if I were he, Miz Chafee ma‟am, I'd rather not raise a

ruckus about it." His voice had softened and reflected the woman's drawl. It was

something Martin tended to do without thinking.
                                              75



       Mary Lee seemed satisfied. She studied Eve a moment.

       "Haven't I seen you somewhere, my dear?"

       "I don't think so," Eve said coolly.

       "Uh huh. W'aaall, we're greatly honored, sir. I'll bring you our menu. Y'all have

a nice lunch now."

       "Why did you say that?" Eve asked. "Now she's sure you're Colonel Sanders."

       "She was already sure, and it's a better story this way. The Colonel traveling

incognito with a beautiful woman."

       Their juicy hamburgers and crispy French fries were served in an atmosphere of

cheerful conspiracy.

       Before they left, Miss Chafee returned to their table.

       "Ah hope y'all enjoyed your lunch, sir, and you too ma'am," she added. "If I

could prevail on you...." She was holding out a menu.

       "Of course, my dear." Martin flourished the expensive gold fountain pen that

Andy had insisted on bringing him from the office and wrote across the menu in a large

neat hand, 'Good eating at Chafee's. All the best, Harland Sanders.' "A grand lunch, Miz

Chafee," he added, in a deeper drawl.

       "Would y'all have any suggestions for us, sir? We're trying to make Chafee's the

finest restaurant in the county."

       Martin smiled. "Just keep up the good work, my dear. We cooks are the last of

the rugged individualists." He waved a finger at her. "Value the old ways and never

change them for unworthy reasons. And at all costs keep your sense of humor."
                                             76




        "Poor Colonel Sanders," Eve said, when they were back in their car, "he'll have a

lot to explain. Maybe he was the mysterious man in your hospital room."

        "A preemptive strike? What was wrong with what I said?"

        "Nothing," Eve said, "it‟s just not the Colonel."

        "And what is the Colonel?" Martin asked,

        "The Colonel is fried chicken,” Eve said.



        Contrary to Martin's hope that the television ads were overblown, the South did

appear to have experienced a considerable rebirth since their last visit. When they‟d

come with their children in the fifties they were often the only tourists staying at a six

dollars a night motel in the July heat. They'd have the pool and the restaurant to

themselves. Luxury of a sort. Now some motels were filled by five o‟clock. They

stopped at three. They were in no hurry to get to Florida, where only uncertainly awaited

them.

         On the other hand, the accommodations were far more comfortable than the

cinder block affairs with noisy in-room air conditioners that had been the best available in

the previous decade. Southerners ate better, too. Martin twice ordered Smithfield ham

for breakfast, and once it was the real thing. The eggs were large and flavorful.

        Segregation might be ending in the South but not without a struggle. Quite a few

cars displayed Wallace stickers, and a billboard near Wilson, North Carolina pictured a

hooded horseman carrying a firebrand over the caption, "This is the Heart of Klan County
                                             77



-- Join Today." It wasn't unexpected, but it was still a jolt. Klansmen had always

seemed like cartoon figures, hardly real at all.

       There were other cultural differences. Churches, and even individual pastors,

advertised their spiritual services. A large billboard showed a man lying on the ground

with a tankard in his outstretched hand. "A product of the brewer's art." Florida was not

the South, of course, not the part they were moving to, but even so he found these marks

of an alien society disturbing.

       Martin was tempted by the gaudy displays of fireworks that were offered at

Stuckeys and Lloyds. He could think of no good use for them, however, and Eve refused

to have them in the car. Their presence, and the pervasive culture of auto racing, guns,

and hunting suggested a libertarian ethos that seemed to clash with the promotion of

religion and sobriety. Many southern counties were in fact dry, but Martin carried his

own supply of scotch in a handsome leather case he‟d bought for the trip.

       A more agreeable difference was the steady fall in prices as the miles fell behind

them. Their motel in New Jersey had cost $23. A similar room in South Carolina was

$12 and a good dinner was a third of what it would have been in the north.

       They had left New Jersey at noon on Wednesday the 24th of July and by Saturday

had driven only 860 miles, approximately eleven miles an hour by Martin's calculation.

Florida, when they at last crossed the border, appeared grayish green and much subdued

beneath the summer sun. It was hot and the air was thick with moisture, but daily life

went on. Road crews and construction workers labored in the steaming heat.

       They reached St. Petersburg on Sunday. Despite the slow pace of their trip, or
                                            78



perhaps because of it, they were exhausted. They pulled into a motel only two blocks

from the end of the causeway at Indian Rocks Beach. McMurray's Abbey Apartments

was on the water. It was clean and utilitarian, and its small grove of palms offered a

pleasant oasis of shade. It was at Indian Rocks that they first swam in the Gulf of Mexico

back in the 1930's, when the coast was thinly populated and still half asleep.

       They chose a one-bedroom cottage set back twenty feet from the line of seaweed

that marked high tide. It had a small kitchen, an air-conditioner, and a TV and was

furnished with saggy twin beds and ancient rattan furniture. Eve disturbed a giant roach-

like creature in the cabinet beneath the sink. It was a palmetto bug, McMurray explained,

quite harmless. He sprayed insecticide around the baseboards, and they saw no more

insects until the storm. Was there some genuinely harmful quality about cockroaches,

Martin wondered. Did they carry disease or destroy food? Or was it mainly their

threatening appearance, which was in fact remarkably like that of the large but innocent

palmetto bugs?

       Apart from the house pests, their temporary quarters seemed to be the almost

effortless realization of Martin's dreams. The life of a comfortably situated beachcomber

had appealed to him ever since he‟d first heard of such a worthless existence. It wasn‟t

simply that his own work had been unsatisfying. Nearly all the frenzied activity in the

streets and offices of Manhattan had seemed to him ultimately pointless. Jammed in with

other commuters on the Seventh Avenue subway, he‟d often imagined himself in a place

very much like this one.

       Martin would have been content to sit on the beach for the rest of his life,
                                             79



watching the gulls and reading books on history and archaeology, but he was concerned

about Eve. While he had easily adapted to the heat, she spent much of the time inside

their tiny cottage with the air-conditioner roaring.

        The St. Petersburg Times said it was the hottest summer on record. On most days

it would be midnight before it felt even slightly cooler and still not be sleeping weather.

Everyone talked about the heat, comparing Florida with the places they‟d come from in

the northeast and the upper middle-west. And it wasn‟t just the heat. The weather in

New Jersey had seemed to be good or bad almost randomly but without malice. The

weather in Florida was generally fine, but somehow it always contained a threat. The

clouds could pile up quickly over the Gulf. Lightning would flicker on the horizon and

distant thunder rumble for half an hour. The wind would pick up and the waves climb

higher on the shore, and then more often than not the threatened storm would simply fade

away.

        Martin frequently suggested shopping expeditions and other diversions, and they

tried a new restaurant every day for lunch or supper and sometimes both. Restaurant

meals cost little more than the ingredients for a home cooked meal back north.

        Eve was determined to make the best of it, but Martin feared that she‟d been

quietly devastated at having to leave her job and to take herself so completely out of the

lives of their children and grandchildren. However satisfying Martin found their musty

Shangri-la on the Gulf, it clearly wasn't altogether Eve's cup of tea.

        The children claimed to feel that their parents weren‟t that far away. But of

course Bud and Mary hadn‟t gone anywhere. Their letters were gratifyingly frequent and
                                             80



informative. Bud‟s wife had developed the useful habit of collecting his unfinished notes

and sending them along with additional comments. When Bud was in the army they had

periodically received a fat envelope filled with a week‟s worth of fragmentary thoughts

and observations.

       They were surprisingly busy with their shopping expeditions and long lunches,

and appointments with their lawyer, their tax consultant, and Martin's new heart

specialist. They frequently had dinner with the Smiths.

       Even so, Martin was able to begin reading the books he‟d acquired over the past

few years for a quieter time. He made steady progress in the Greek grammar

Kikapopoulos had given him, and he knew that he was happier than he‟d ever been

before in his life. Eve knew it too.

       Much of his pleasure came from the beach itself. He walked a mile on the firm

sand each morning in the relative cool of pre-dawn. The sun would rise above the palms

as he strolled along the water's edge and he could feel its heat on the return trip. He

looked for shells and driftwood that might have washed up during the night. The exotic

specimens he remembered from forty years before were rare now, but a small shark's

tooth or an immature tulip shell easily satisfied him.



       On a broiling August afternoon as Martin lay on his stomach, his bifocals

dangling from one ear, and poked through a mound of tiny shell fragments with a

toothpick, he became conscious of someone standing over him. It was the quiet teenaged

boy he'd seen reading in the shade of the Abbey's palms. The boy was living in one of
                                             81



the larger apartments with his mother and sister. His grandparents visited frequently, but

there didn't seem to be a father. Martin always observed the behavior and interactions of

the people around him, although it would usually be Eve who finally struke up a

conversation.

         "Are you looking for something?" the boy said.

         "I'm trying to find the smallest coquina on the beach," Martin explained.

         "Why?" the boy asked. It was impossible to walk on the sand without crushing

hundreds of the tiny butterfly shells with every step.

         "Just curiosity. I already have a miniature turkey wing and an olive shell a

sixteenth of an inch long." He brushed the sand off his hand and held it out to the boy,

who hesitated a moment and then shook it firmly.

         "Martin Newhouse."

         "Harold Stern,” the boy said. “What will you do with them?"

         "I‟ll enjoy them for a while and then glue them to a piece of cardboard and send

them to my granddaughter in New Jersey."

         "Does she collect shells?"

         "Probably not. She's only two years old. But my son might like them. He used to

collect shells when he was a boy. Shells and rocks, arrowheads, matchbook covers,

almost anything. I don't think he collects much now. He says possessions weigh him

down."

         "That sounds like a hippy."

         "He‟s sort of a hippy. Or maybe more an upper-Bohemian like me. He's a
                                            82



librarian. He's married to a very nice woman, and they have one little girl. He reads and

paints. He isn't interested in money."

       "You don't mind that?"

       "That he isn‟t interested in money? Why should I? It's his life."

       "My granddad would. I'm going to the University of Florida next year. I‟d like to

study French, but Granddad says I have to get a degree in business."

       "That's exactly what my father said."

       "So did you?"

       "He was paying for it. Working your way through college wasn‟t really an option

during the Depression. I've talked to your grandfather. He seems like a nice man."

       "Oh he's great. He's taken good care of mom and me since my dad died. It's just

that he used to be the World‟s Greatest Salesman."

       "I know," Martin said. "He still is. You do what you have to in life, Harold. The

company I worked for made cigarettes and cat food." Martin smiled. Harold smiled too.

       "Look, Harold, why not get the business degree your granddad wants for you and

take as much French as you can? Maybe you could work for a few years and then go to

graduate school. We had a house built for us by a contractor with a master's degree in the

cello from Julliard. He played in a local string quartet. Or maybe you could get a job in

France."

       "That's a really good idea, Mr. Newhouse. Is that what you did?"

       "Call me Martin, Harold. No, I‟d never have thought of anything like that. And I

probably wouldn't have done it if I had. I didn't know what I wanted back then."
                                               83



       "I always see you with a book. What are you reading about?"

       "Everything, but mostly history and archaeology. I've been working through an

introduction to classical Greek that a friend gave me."

       "You're learning Greek? That's great."

       "I‟m trying to. „Polla pion kai polla phagon kai polla kak eipon, anthropos

keimai, Timocrion Rhodios’."

       "That sounds good. What does it mean?"

       "It's an epitaph. 'Having drunk everything and eaten everything and done

everything, I lie here a man, Timocratis of Rhodes'."

       "That sounds like you, Martin. Except, I mean..."

       Martin laughed and shook his head. "No, I haven't written my epitaph. And I

haven‟t done much either, except in my dreams."

       They talked until Harold was called in to dinner. He turned to Martin as he was

leaving.

       "Do you know a tall man with a beard? I saw him in your cottage the other day

when you and Mrs. Newhouse were out."

       "Maybe it was the exterminator," Martin said. "We have bugs."

       "So do we, foot long cockroaches that McMurray calls palmetto bugs. I‟ll see

you, Martin. I really liked talking to you."

       "It was nice meeting you, too, Harold. We'll talk more. Take it easy."

       "Okay. And uh...Martin, you can call me Harry."

       "Sure thing, Harry."
                                            84



        Martin watched the boy walk away. A nice kid, with a family that didn't

understand him. Nothing new about that. The tall fellow with the beard sounded like the

man he'd seen bending over his hospital bed ten months before, but that couldn't have had

anything to do with him. He'd ask McMurray.



        Martin had discovered the local-interest shelves at the public library and had

become an instant authority on the history and biology of the Florida coast. There was

little competition.

        He was soon able to distinguish the herring gull from the ring-billed and laughing

gulls as they swooped noisily over the beach. He could name the terns and plovers and

the snowy egret and he took particular pleasure in watching the sandpipers dash after the

receding waves. The disheveled boat-tailed grackles that walked pigeon-toed to the

water's edge and launched themselves into the air screeching wildly when the water hit

their feet reminded him of foolish old ladies wading in high-button shoes.

        Although Martin delighted in the baking heat of the summer sun, Eve made him

buy a fringed straw hat to protect his bald spot. The leathery skinned old men who

slumped on the benches near the fishing pier had boiled their brains, she said, and she

wanted Martin compos mentis for as long as possible. With the hat and beard and a pair

of baggy white pants, Martin hoped he no longer looked like a tourist.

        One morning he identified a flock of Bonaparte's gulls for a vacationing couple

from New York who might have passed him on fifty-second street the year before.

        "Have you lived here all your life?" the woman asked.
                                              85



          "As long as I can remember," Martin told her, and they were satisfied they'd met a

native.

          He noticed with approval that women's bathing suits had become skimpier since

he‟d seen his first bikini at St. Cast on the Riviera. He generally wore long pants and

covered his stomach with a loose Hawaiian shirt, but Eve commented that he was

approaching the color of a toasted muffin.

          Late each afternoon, he and Eve took a brief dip in the warm surf and then sat in

beach chairs with the other Abbeyites and sipped gin and tonic while they watched the

sun sink into the Gulf. There was always a small round of applause. It was hokey and

absurd, but Martin happily joined in. He knew he‟d regret leaving their seedy beach

colony.

          There were minor imperfections. McMurray began each day by sweeping the

walks and shuffleboard courts with a huge gasoline-powered vacuum. There was a

period of relative quiet after that, but sometimes on otherwise pleasant mornings a kid

would bring a portable radio to the beach, and the frantic pounding of rock music would

compete with the crump of surf. The traffic on Gulf Boulevard could be heard all day

and well into the evening.

          At dawn the beach was Martin's, and by ten at night the hardiest swimmers had

left, the boulevard behind him was empty, and he could hear the waves hiss out in the

sand. He let the warm water wash over his feet and feel its pull. He stared into the

darkness and sometimes shuddered at the terrifying fascination of the Gulf.
                                              86



         A violent August storm raged for two days. The surf thundered nearly to the door

of their cottage, and the howling wind drove rain through the cracks around the window

frames until half an inch of water covered the floor. Palmetto bugs were flushed from the

walls, and there was an invasion of infuriated earwigs. Eve and Martin escaped for a

night to a motel further inland.



         Eve kept up a steady pressure on their contractor. She accused Carson of treating

them as a numbered building lot. Work would progress more quickly for a few days after

one of her controlled outbursts and then return to its normal pace, but Eve was

determined that they would be in their new home by the end of September.

         Over the course of a single week they bought an entire houseful of furniture and

appliances at the big Maas Brothers department store in Clearwater. A sofa and living

room chairs upholstered in a silky off-white fabric seemed right for Florida. They bought

a dining room table with high-backed caned chairs in light wood. Their dresser and night

stand were made of distressed pecan. Martin asked the salesman what this meant and was

informed coldly that it was just a name.

         For their Florida room they selected a round, glass-topped table, long a desire of

Martin's. It was a symbol of impracticality that contrasted with the dark furniture and

horsehair sofas of his childhood in North St. Louis. Buying a truckload of furniture for a

house that still lacked doors and windows was in itself a satisfying rebellion against good

sense.

         His mother-in-law would have been delighted. Shopping for dresses at Maas
                                            87



Brothers had been the high point of her existence until her death a few years before at

eighty-five. Eve and Martin had a cup of soup and split a sandwich at the Maas tearoom

three days in a row.

       They stopped at the house on the way back to the Abbey one afternoon and found

that the drywall had been taped and compounded. Two of their new neighbors

introduced themselves. Edna and Elsie were retired office managers who lived directly

across the street. Edna reminded Martin of Joan, his formidable secretary of many years,

a woman who was far more competent in financial matters than he and who now owned

many acres of priceless Long Island real estate.

       While they were talking a golf ball landed in their back yard. One of the gray-

haired men in the foursome shouted a joking suggestion as to how Martin might deal with

duffers. Martin glumly anticipated more such merriment.
                                             88




                                       .| Chapter 8 |.



       The nearest Episcopal Church was quite large, and the ten o'clock service was

well attended. Martin and Eve sat near the open rear doors on their first visit. Many

Episcopal congregations were like private clubs, proud of their traditions but reluctant to

share them with newcomers. They could slip out if the atmosphere were too oppressive.

       They were pleasantly surprised by St. Peter's. Several parishioners introduced

themselves and seemed genuinely friendly. They‟d begun to notice a consistent warmth

on the part of Florida‟s large population of retirees, compounded perhaps of honest

interest, abundant time, and the steady loss of old acquaintance. Any vaguely acceptable

candidate was immediately a part of whatever group he stumbled into.

       The scent of oleanders mixed agreeably with the ecclesiastical aromas of floor

wax, moldy kneelers, and the faintest hint of incense. The handsome stained glass

windows, the familiar liturgy, and the passable choir seemed surprisingly at home among

the tall palms.

       The rector of St. Peters proved to be a transplant from New England whose

scholarly sermons were as satisfying as they were unexpected. Episcopalians leaned

towards faith, but as they didn‟t wish to discourage profitable good works they generally

stayed away from the topic of salvation altogether. Dr. Neville had clearly thought the

matter through. He pointed out that as they had already been saved from the

consequences of sin, they might show their appreciation by taking pleasure in their lives
                                              89



and sharing their good fortune with others.

       Neville's Harvard doctorate in 18th century French literature had been earned in

middle age and was carried lightly. His sermons touched on literature, philosophy, and

history in a witty manner which seemed both vaguely spiritual and yet down to earth.

They later learned that he was a fine watercolorist and an excellent tennis player. It

seemed almost unfair that one person should enjoy so many talents. They liked Neville‟s

quietly beautiful wife as well.

       After the sermon, Martin's mind was free to wander. He knew the prayers and

responses and could growl the words of florid nineteenth century hymns without

disturbing his train of thought.

       He believed himself to be a reasonably good Christian for a pantheist, and to be as

decent a man now as he was ever likely to be. Three-hour Sunday services in a hellfire

obsessed congregation of Missouri Lutherans had turned Martin against religious fervor

of any sort. Lulu had sat her boys in a front pew on either side of her substantial bulk in

an attempt to expose them to the controlling powers of faith. Martin always felt that the

pastor‟s spluttering rage was directed at his own faintly insolent face. Lulu‟s strategy had

been counterproductive. Martin‟s subsequent efforts to be a good husband and father,

and to be generous and fair to those who depended on him, were entirely his own doing

and had brought their obvious rewards.

       He found Sunday worship to be a pleasant time of enforced idleness, like a long

train ride during which reading and thinking were doubly enjoyable. He had day-

dreamed many adventures when he was a young boy and his life offered few other
                                              90



satisfactions. Tom Swift, Tarzan of the Apes, and John Carter of Mars provided his

models. Comfortable living and a happy marriage had tamed his fantasies, although even

as a child, Martin‟s daydreams had been realistic. To have imagined himself as stronger

and cleverer than he actually was would have spoiled the game. Throughout the 40‟s,

Martin had put his imagination to use inventing stories for his children. He made up

hundreds of gently moralizing tales about Elmer the Elephant, the Little Red Ant, and the

Three Corgies. As his confidence grew, he could speak the formulaic opening words of a

story and listen to it unfold according to the established personalities of his characters.

       He‟d tried more than once to write the stories down, but on paper his effortlessly

invented tales became stiff and cluttered. Even so, he enjoyed writing. He‟d once edited

a newsletter for the Ferguson, Missouri Lion's Club. He wrote entertaining letters to

friends and relatives which were rarely acknowledged. His only published article was

accepted by Parents Magazine in 1946 but not printed until the early 50's. It was about

the Indian Guides, a father and son organization that he and Bud had belonged to. The

Guides was based on American Indian lore and promoted racial justice and conservation

decades before these causes became popular. Fathers and sons shared duties, and

physicians and PhD‟s socialized easily with shopkeepers. A Native American would

have been welcomed if they‟d know where to find one.

       While their children were away at college Martin wrote them long letters in which

he commented on the news of the day and the books he was reading. These were

appreciated and answered.

       Although he‟d always read a great deal, Martin read fewer novels as he grew
                                             91



older. He‟d experienced just enough of life to be bored by improbable plots and invented

emotions. He watched more television than he had before his retirement. It was so easy

to do. The news was better in Florida he half seriously told Eve. The local coverage was

less threatening than New York's daily body counts.

       McMurray suggested the fishing pier as an entertainment. Martin had fished in

the Maine lakes when he was younger, and they‟d enjoyed many breakfasts of freshly

caught bass and perch coated with cornmeal and fried in butter until one morning the

sight of a fish gasping in the bottom of the rowboat, its iridescent scales turning gray and

lifeless, had suddenly ended his pleasure in the sport. If he did catch a fish at the pier,

where there were more kibitzers than fishermen, someone would be sure tell him what it

was and how to cook it. He didn't feel the need to be initiated into another brotherhood

of hearty men.

       He'd earned a good salary for thirty years by doing what was required of him and

sometimes swallowing his pride and judgment. He was finished with that. He had no

intention of joining the comatose fishermen or the brain-dead pensioners on their park

benches. Whatever he did from now on would be his own choice, and when the time

came for him to be slid into his drawer in Memorial Park he'd go as himself.

       For the most part he was content to read and to walk the beach and watch the

thunderheads form fantastic shapes above the Gulf. The weather had been generally

good, but there was always a vaguely agreeable threat behind the deep blue of the Florida

sky.

       Eventually, however, he began to share some of Eve's restlessness and to feel the
                                             92



stirrings of what he called his creation factor, the hunger for something new that kept

humans meddling with their circumstances, often at the cost of their comfort and safety.

One day they passed a new development named Serenity Gardens. Martin shook his

head in amazement. Despite the name it wasn‟t a cemetery, just another retirement

community and a fairly decent looking one at that.



       A few weeks before they were to move into their house, Martin went for his usual

late evening walk along the beach. It was a starless night. The Gulf was black except for

the reflected gleam of a few whitecaps. The temperature was in the mid 80's and the

humidity still very high, but the air felt almost cool compared to earlier in the day.

       Martin found it difficult to decide whether he got more pleasure from his morning

or his evening strolls. In neither case was anyone else out. He wasn‟t the recluse he once

thought himself to be, but he disliked crowds and he valued periods of solitude.

       Although houses were relatively cheap in Florida, land near the coast was very

expensive and was fully occupied. There were few places to walk other than along the

beach itself. It was ironic, he felt, that space should become a costly luxury in a universe

that was growing constantly larger and where light years of emptiness separated the few

measurable specks of matter.

       He was halfway to the fishing pier when he heard behind him the familiar sound

of shells being crushed beneath shoes. There‟d been no talk of crime at the beach, and

there was no reason to suppose that this wasn't just a fellow evening stroller.

       He stood a moment and looked out to sea as if to listen to the waves hiss and die
                                              93



across the sloping sand. The footsteps stopped. He walked on a few feet and bent down

to pick up a shell. He did this several more times and when he thought the person behind

him would be visible in the lights of a motel, he bent down again and looked back.

       He saw a large man wearing dark pants and a long sleeved shirt, peculiar in itself

on a tropical evening. It wasn‟t the figure he‟d half expected, the person who had leaned

over his hospital bed months before and had recently searched their cottage. It was the

other one, the big sandy bearded man who‟d looked at him with loathing from the

hospital corridor, the man who might have been a ship's officer.

       Despite what he'd said to Kostas about Eve‟s ancestor at Bunker Hill, Martin

wasn‟t a coward. He'd managed to avoid trouble most of his life, but the few times it had

come to him, his instinct had been to fight rather than run. His present situation was

unpromising, however. The man was younger and much larger than he. He would cut

Martin off before he could reach the nearest motel, and Martin‟s cries for help would be

lost in the roar of the surf and the whine of air-conditioners.

       He had nothing to use as a weapon. A handful of sand might surprise an attacker,

but it wouldn't stop him. Martin saw only one way out. He angled unhurriedly towards

the water and walked into the surf. When the waves reached his thighs, he slipped out of

his trousers and began to swim.

       He treaded water a hundred feet off shore, well into the darkness. He could see

the man silhouetted against the lights of the boulevard.

       It was a half mile back to the Abbey, but the water was warm and buoyant.

Martin was an excellent swimmer and had no doubt that he could make the distance
                                             94



easily if his heart held out. He felt certain that his chances were better in the Gulf than

with the motionless figure that stood staring out at the black water.

       Martin began an effortless crawl. His breathing was easy. There were no

complaints from his chest. He would swim regularly from now on, he decided. The

captain, as he thought of him, had left the beach. There was nothing to keep the man

from walking back up the road to the Abbey where Eve was reading, alone and

unsuspecting, but he didn‟t think he would. Somehow this was between the two of them,

and the captain would find him another time.

       Perhaps he didn't mean him harm, but Martin couldn't forget the way the man had

looked at him in the hospital. Could he have sent the other intruder as well, the one

who‟d glanced at him and gone on to Kikapoloulos? Had he simply been checking

whether Kostas was asleep? None of that was clear.

       A hundred yards short of the motel, Martin decided to worry about Eve after all

and quickly swam ashore. His legs were shaky but his breathing was normal.

       Their air-conditioned cottage was freezing. He bolted the flimsy door behind

him.

       "What in heaven's name!" Eve had put down her book and was staring at him.

       "I'll explain," he said.

       "Where are your trousers?"

       "Let me get a shower first.”

       He took a two minute hot shower, dried off, and put on his pajamas.

       "I went for a swim," he said. Eve just looked at him.
                                           95



       "For a reason," he added. He wrapped a robe around himself and sat for a

moment in one of the crumbling wicker chairs. He got up again, put two ice cubes in a

whiskey sour glass, and poured himself a jigger of scotch. Then he told Eve what had

happened.

       "You're sure it was the same man? You saw him for a few seconds almost ten

months ago.”

       "Positive. His size, the way he moved, his hair and beard. I got a good look at

him in the light from Coolie‟s Cottages. What would anyone be doing on the beach at

half past eleven on a hot night wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirt? Why did he

stop when I did and leave the beach as soon as I swam away? And why didn‟t he think I

might be a suicide and holler at me or go for help? Do you think I'm being paranoid?"

       "No,” Eve said, “I can't imagine anything more unlikely. You think you‟re too

cosmically unimportant."

       "It isn‟t just me. Most people seem to find one another beneath notice unless

there‟s a good reason. I can't think why someone would be interested in me, and I can‟t

go to the police about something that makes no sense. We'll just have to keep our eyes

open. I'm sorry, Eve. I didn't want to worry you.”

       "Well you have. But I don‟t see what to do either, unless you think we should

talk to Kostas?"

       Martin considered this.

       “The police thought there was something going on with him. If he‟s gotten us

into something dangerous he owes us an explanation. I'll write him, Eve. I don't want to
                                             96



call. And I'll ask Harry to keep an eye out for the captain.”
                                             97




                                       .| Chapter 9 |.



       "What‟s it about?" Harry asked.

       "You know as much as I do," Martin said.

       "Nobody‟s angry at you?"

       Martin shrugged. "I like a good argument and some people take me too seriously,

but not that seriously. I really don‟t know, Harry. I worked for the same company for

thirty two years. I made a few enemies, but just in the office and they‟re long gone. I

never walked off with more than a paper clip."

       "Do you think they're in it together, the tall man and the Captain?"

       "They almost have to be, but in what? There‟s no reason for anyone to be after

me."

       "It's a mystery. I always thought it would be neat to be in a mystery."

       "I did too. The kind where an ordinary fellow stumbles into a mess and figures it

out, but these characters are real. I don't want anyone getting hurt, including you and

me."

       "You're not ordinary, Martin. Ordinary people don't collect the smallest shells on

the beach. I‟ll bet we could solve it together."

       "Sure, and if we have to run after anyone you can do it. I‟d have a heart attack.

Where do we start?"

       "You think it‟s about Dr. Kikapopoulos?"
                                             98



       "I don‟t see what else. The bad guys must think I work with him. Two agents

meeting in a hospital room with heart attacks seems far fetched to me, but maybe

nothing‟s ridiculous if you're in the spy business."

       "And it‟s Greek government agents that are following you?"

       "They can follow me all they want. It's what else they might do that worries me.

What do you know about Greek history?"

       "Not much. Plato and the Olympics, Lord Byron, Troy and Heinrich Schlieman,

the military coup last year."

       "That's probably more than ninety-nine percent of Americans would know. How

about we go to the library this afternoon? If it's okay with your mom."

       "I‟ll ask her, but she won't mind. She thinks you and Mrs. Newhouse are neat.

Grandpa‟s impressed by a big shot New York executive."

       Martin grinned. "Then we won't disillusion him."



       "Kostas? Of course, we'd love to see you. Martin, Kostas is in Tampa, and he

wants to take us to dinner. Why don't you come here? No? He says he‟d better not come

to us. How about the Kapok Tree?

       “The Kapok Tree, Kostas. It's a big restaurant. A crazy place, but the food's

good, and it‟s easy to find. Yes, it‟s really huge. No one will notice us. Turn right on

Courtney Campbell Boulevard just after you get off the causeway and follow the signs.

It's a couple of miles on your right. You can't miss it. We'll meet you in the bar. At six,

Martin? At six. We eat early like the natives. We are the natives."
                                              99




        Kostas had turned up shortly after 6:00, looking fit and cheerful and blending in

surprisingly well with the acre of casually dressed tourists and locals seated around the

gigantic tree.

        “What do you think of your tropical paradise?" he asked.

        "I love it,” Martin said. “It is a paradise for me. I feel at home. I was born to

decompose on a tropical beach. But you‟d better ask Eve."

        "I go where he goes,” Eve said. “He's the man who wrote me poetry in my

father's back yard the summer we were married. I was sorry he ever had to get a job. Of

course he feels at home. It doesn't seem like a paradise to me yet, but it will. We're

adaptable. How are you doing?"

        "Tip top, Eve. The new semester‟s going well. I have good students, and some

attractive young ladies from the institution across town are sitting in on my courses,

which helps civilize the beasts."

        "Pretty busy, it sounds like."

        Kostas nodded. "I'm going back tomorrow. I came to see you and Martin. I got

your letter, Martin. It's time we talked. I seem to have entangled the two of you in my

own affairs, and I don't know how to extricate you. I should have forgotten about you

after I was out of the hospital, but I didn't want to. It was foolish and selfish, and you‟re

paying the price. I‟d apologize, but it‟s too late."

        "What are you saying, Kostas? We‟re mixed up in something dangerous."

        "More or less, Martin. It's my involvement with an organization that promotes
                                               100



democracy in Greece. Imagine! Democracy in Greece! I know the tall man. He

probably is an assassin. I very likely owe you my life, and, although it was foolish of me,

that's one reason I didn't want us to lose touch."

       "A sentimental Greek." Eve smiled at him.

       "I just pressed the call button," Martin said.

       "The right button at the right time."

       "How about the Captain?"

       "I don't know him, but they have many agents."

       "This is the Greek government we're talking about?"

       "The Papadopoulos military junta, not that despotism is un-Greek. The

Ummayids, the Turks, the English, the Nazis, the communists. All totalitarians, and

we've survived them all. Freedom rings so insistently in Greece that it's hard for us to

hear each other, but we're generally not fanatical. Most of us would rather argue than kill

one another."

       "What should we do?" Eve asked. "Are Martin and I really in danger?"

       "I wish I knew. I've been open about my opposition to the junta. I write articles,

and I try to pressure congressmen. They don't have to spy on me. I try to be careful, but

if they're determined to kill me, they will. Maybe they thought it would be easier in the

hospital. I‟ve presumed they shot poor Hanley by mistake. I told the police I didn‟t

know what happened, and that‟s the truth. Tell me again about the sailor."
                                             101



       Martin described the man he‟d seen at the hospital and recounted his adventure on

the beach in as much detail as he could remember. Kostas looked increasingly disturbed.

       "If you have no enemies, they must be mine. I'm terribly sorry, my dears. I wish I

could offer you protection. All I can suggest is that you be watchful and I‟ll try to attract

more of their attention. I hope you won't give up your plans to go to Greece. The old

stones will always be there, whatever uniform the police are wearing.”



       “I‟m glad you feel at home in paradise,” Eve said. They‟d stretched out coffee

and dessert and taken a walk through the lighted gardens before Kostas went back to his

hotel in Tampa.

       “It‟s a good place.”

       “Yes, it is,” Eve agreed.
                                            102




                                      .| Chapter 10 |.



        “Do you understand all of this, Martin?” Harry handed him the book.

        “I wouldn‟t want to take a test on it, but I have a rough idea. Greece has been in

trouble since the civil war in the forties. The government is fragile and corrupt. The

poor people want social justice and the rich want to hold on to what they have and we

support the conservatives. Last April, there was a coup by a group of junior officers,

supposedly to defend Greek civilization from the communists and western imperialism.

When a counter coup failed in December around the time Kostas and I were in the

hospital, Colonel Papadopoulos took over as an unpopular dictator. We support him

too.”

        “I‟ll bet we won‟t when McCarthy becomes President.”

        “McCarthy‟s a nice man, Harry. He‟s smart and probably as honest as any other

politician, but I wouldn‟t count on his winning. I don‟t think he has many supporters old

enough to vote. I‟m not even sure who I‟ll vote for. Eve and I supported Roosevelt.

Truman was a cheap politician and probably a petty crook, but we voted for him because

Roosevelt picked him, and he fired McCarthur. Then we got Eisenhower, honest

Republican horse‟s ass, the man who‟s famous for doing nothing in peace and war. Then
                                             103



came God, then the Devil‟s Advocate, and finally the Devil himself. Nixon and Agnew

should finish off the Republicans. As Hitler said, „opposition only harms the people, as it

prevents the leaders from giving them what they need.‟ Nixon‟s an opportunist. He got

on the anti-communist band wagon with the House Un-American Activities. He even

called Truman a traitor.   Rockefeller‟s a good man, but he‟s rich, he‟s divorced, and

he‟s a middle of the road liberal which Americans think is wishy-washy. Reagan was

dopey even as an actor. I‟ll probably vote for Humphrey. He‟s a muddler and a machine

politician, but, crooked or not, the political organizations are the best thing about this

country. They take care of the people and keep out the „isms. Humphrey can‟t say it, but

I doubt that he‟s any more enthusiastic about Vietnam than McCarthy. He‟ll end it if he

can. I see McCarthy as a dove in shining armor and we had enough of that with the

Kennedys. The thing is, Harry, we usually elect the right men. Wilson, Roosevelt, and

Truman all had their faults but they did what they had to. Even Eisenhower was all right,

although he made me sick. History will have to judge Johnson. He‟s a good old boy, but

he‟s smart and funny, and he‟s done some good things. I held my nose back in 1960 and

voted for Nixon. Kennedy was elected on a wave of emotionalism, which is always a bad

idea. „Ask not, what your country can do for you...‟ Come on, Harry, we’re the country.

The government‟s supposed to...... Sorry son, I get carried away. Kennedy is one thing

your grandfather and I agree on.”

       “That‟s okay, Martin. But, you‟re not a hawk are you?” Harry sounded

genuinely distressed.

       “Lord no, Harry. Hawks and doves, left and right, that‟s just people not thinking.
                                             104



When a bunch of people scream and holler at each other the answer is always in the

middle. Eve says I‟m a sanderling. Those little two ounce sandpipers that run up and

down the beach. They stake out their patch and then move into the territories on all sides

to create a buffer zone and fight their battles outside their own territory with ferocious

courage, even against gulls and egrets. Smart birds. No, I‟m opposed to any kind of

extremism.”

       “You‟re an extremist in defense of moderation!”

       “Exactly,” Martin agreed. “I say what I mean, but I don‟t expect anyone to agree

without thinking things through. Your grandfather might not understand.”

       “There are lots of things my grandfather doesn‟t understand.”



       Martin‟s ulcer acted up. He spent several days growling and barking with pain.

Retirement had eased his stomach for months, but the stress of dealing with the builder

had gotten to him. Eve ignored his complaints in the kindest way.

       Miraculously, during the first week of September, the final stucco coat was

applied, the sprinkler system was installed, and the lawn was sodded. When the grass

immediately began to turn brown, Martin asked Edna and Elsie why the lawn sprinklers

weren‟t operating.

       “Their bill was two thousand dollars the first month,” Edna explained. “The

sprinklers haven‟t run since. But the water isn‟t metered, so just use your own hose.”

       Martin laughed and thanked her. A million times over men had sold one another

Paradise.
                                              105




        They moved on September twenty-fifth. After four nights of sleeping on the

floor, their beds and most of their other furniture arrived all at once in a great honking

and confusion.

        The house was neat and perfect and they loved it. The view from the Florida

room was unobstructed for half a mile. The golf course was well trimmed and artistically

dotted with live oaks, Norway pines, and a dozen varieties of palm. Hundreds of birds

sang, chirped, and twittered in the early mornings. By day it was easy to ignore the

golfers. At night it was satisfyingly dark.

        Edna and Elsie were dolls, ready for drinks and conversation at any time. The

next door neighbors, the Trims, a retired army colonel and his wife and mother, were

more dignified. Like many of their new acquaintances, they trailed as much of their past

glory as people let them. Martin was generous about this, and amused.

        Trim played golf daily, or so Martin assumed. He asked Trim about his game one

Sunday afternoon when they met on the sidewalk.

        “I never play on Sunday,” Trim said gruffly.

        “Oh, of course,” Martin said. Religion had kept its place in New Jersey. Here it

often intruded. On a Sunday evening at the Abbey Motel a few weeks before they

moved, the usual crowd of guests was drinking Daiquiris and watching the sun set over

the gulf. Eve had asked a man who was known as a fanatical angler how his fishing had

gone.

        There was stunned silence for a moment, and then he said solemnly, “I never fish
                                           106



on Sunday.” After another pause, he continued, “I never hunt on Sunday, either.”

        “And I never knit on Sunday,” his wife added.

        Neither Martin nor Eve could think of an adequate reply. The couple drifted off,

and the sun went down.

        “It‟s a good thing we moved from the middle-west when we did,” Martin said.

        Eve smiled. “You liked it all right when we lived there. You‟d have enjoyed

being a chicken farmer.”

        “I know I would have,” Martin agreed. “That‟s why I‟m glad we left.”



        There were reports of frost in New Jersey by the third week in October. Martin

stood in his back yard watering the lawn and felt a deep gratitude as sweat rolled down

his arms in the ninety degree heat. He had no need of anything cooler than a scotch and

soda.

        There were many different kinds of insect in their yard and many lizards, frogs,

and toads to eat them. When a few dragonflies the size of small birds approached him,

Martin squirted them with the hose. Soon forty or fifty of the amazing creatures swooped

and hovered around him. Charlatan, beachcomber, dragonfly charmer.



        Towards the end of October they anticipated their first hurricane. They‟d moved

the porch furniture and plants inside and bought a supply of candles and bottled water.

There didn‟t seem to be any other preparations to make.

        The Trims left for Ocala. Martin found Edna and Elsie planting trees in their back
                                            107



yard. Edna told Martin that they weren‟t doing anything to get ready for the hurricane.

       “Edna, that just isn‟t true,” Elsie objected. “I baked a meatloaf.”

       Martin went home and told Eve that all was well, they could count on Elsie‟s

meat loaf.

       At the Publix Market, they found the aisles filled with elderly couples emptying

the shelves into their shopping carts. There was no bread.

       Martin bought one of the two remaining loaves at a 7-Eleven. An old man

grabbed the other and exulted, “The last bread in twenty miles. I‟ve been looking for an

hour and a half. Those damned television newscasters have everyone so riled up they‟re

hysterical.”

       After several days of stern warnings, the storm arrived on Friday afternoon with

torrential rain and shrieking ninety mile an hour winds. It was an interesting experience

but not one Martin wanted to repeat. They spent the evening showing slides to Edna and

Elsie and drinking gin and bitter lemon. When the electricity failed they went to bed.

       The main force of the storm passed directly over Ocala and chased the exhausted

Trims on to Orlando.



       Eve and Martin had dinner at the Smiths the following Sunday. Jack and Helen

had been busy for a week entertaining Jack‟s sister and brother-in-law. The couple had

retired and sold their house in Connecticut, along with most of their furniture. They‟d

been planning the move to Florida for years and had spent their last ten vacations in St.

Pete, but after six days of dispirited house hunting, they couldn‟t wait to get back to
                                             108



Connecticut.

       Martin felt smug. He‟d had his own brief moment of doubt before they‟d moved

south, but he hadn‟t looked back since. Life in Florida was shallow and artificial.

Martin‟s beloved palms had the quality of stage props, and the lawns and flowers were

trimmed to an unnatural perfection. But it was very pleasant to sit on a porch late on a

beautiful afternoon and drink cocktails while conversation droned on about grass and

flowers, houses and drainage. The few opinions that might be expressed on world issues

were predictable. Martin was used to this. Except among Eve‟s friends from the

University, it had been little different in the north. They had each other and their books

and thoughts and a few good friends like Jack and Helen and the Lowells, a retired

English professor and his energetic wife. At its worst, life among the palms was just a bit

more honestly false than life in New York. There was a reluctance to give up old titles

and honors, but that was true everywhere. They were all in the same frail boat.

       For the most part, their community was content to pursue happiness through food

and drink, films and plays, cards and shuffleboard, and always golf. Even golf was

played with less seriousness than in the north. Sitting in his Florida room, reading or

writing, Martin had become an authority on the seventh hole. Each new foursome

brought its own drama of hopes and uneasy relationships. He could usually predict a

player‟s performance from the way he or she addressed the ball. Hookers hooked, slicers

sliced, and no one appeared to be overly frustrated. One woman managed to place

successive shots in the back yards of six of the houses that lined the fairway before she

cheerfully picked up her ball and carried it to the hole.
                                          109



       There were many books in the local library that offered suggestions as to what

people might do with their retirement. Martin had seen none that described what they

actually did.
                                             110




                                       .| Chapter 11 |.




       Christmas was in some ways a disappointment. Both Martin and Eve had secretly

looked forward to their trip north more than they admitted to one another. It went well

enough on the surface. It was wonderful to see the children and grandchildren. Everyone

was in good spirits, and unlike so many earlier family Christmases no one was sick.

       But there was no real going back. That their welcome was warm and enthusiastic

was all the more upsetting. They had to admit finally that they could never now be more

than visitors in their children‟s lives. This was what you raised children for, but that

made it no easier.

       They spent Christmas Eve with Bud and his family and drove to Mary‟s late in

the evening. Mary‟s children were older and would appreciate having their grandparents

with them on Christmas morning. It was pleasant being the guests of their children,

something to be proud of, but sad as well.

       The trip itself was ghastly. The weather was cold and dank and far too much like

the previous November for Martin‟s comfort. Eve fussed over him uncharacteristically

and asked Bud and Mary not to let the children tire him. It was a strain.

       Even the car-train was not the luxurious journey they‟d expected. Their sleeper

was old and dirty, and the food and service were poor. It wasn‟t like the old days.
                                            111



Martin claimed to miss the clickity clack of train travel before welded rails. The stops

and starts, the long delays, and the hours of limping along at ten miles an hour were even

worse than during the war, when the food was still remarkably good.

       Was he becoming a curmudgeon, or was the world falling apart? The next time

they‟d take their chances on a Cuban detour and go by air. And they‟d never go north

again in the winter. Martin saw a sign in Auburndale, Florida advertising “Christ‟s Auto

Supply” which cheered him considerably.

       The first thing they did when they were safely back in Florida was buy a new sofa

bed and prepare their guest room for visitors. It would clearly be better if the world came

to them.



       The next few weeks drifted past lazily. Martin read about the blizzards and sub-

zero temperatures in the North and gloated over their consistently beautiful weather.

They socialized with their undemanding neighbors, took small trips, and explored the

surprisingly numerous attractions of the Tampa Bay area. Busch Gardens, Disney World,

Tarpon Springs, and Weekiwatchi Springs all had a glossy charm. Living in vacationland

was a peculiar experience. It was sometimes difficult to believe that they did actually

live here and weren‟t simply on an extended visit. Or that the grass and trees and beach

were natural and not serviced by utility tunnels that ran beneath the streets. And yet it

was no sillier than thinking that because you were the owner of a hundred year old

Victorian house on an elm lined street in a quaint New England village you were more

rooted in the real world.
                                            112



       Martin gathered scraps of wood from the construction sites in their neighborhood

and built shelves for his books and his collection of sharp-spined cacti. He‟d read a

magazine article which described a hundred ways to build shelves, and he built his in the

hundred and first, ugly but strong. C.B. shook his head. His own suggestion would have

been better.

       He read a good deal. He picked up a biography of Pontius Pilate at the Library. It

sounded like a doubtful enterprise considering the small amount of possible source

material, but he‟d always felt sympathy for Pilate. What was the man to do? Martin had

once disgraced himself in Lutheran catechism class by defending both Pilate and Judas

Iscariot as helpless pawns in God‟s plan. As this was merely the worst of similar

remarks, he‟d finally been thrown out of class. Revered Peters called on his mother, and

Martin was forced to apologize to the teacher and to take an extra year of catechism. It

had made no difference. Reverend Peters claimed that it was a sad business even to have

been born, and it was best to pass through the vale of tears as quickly as possible. Martin

had rejected this as abusrd and had grown up without a fear of Hell and with no illusions

about resting safely in the arms of a merciful savior.
                                            113



                                       .| Chapter 12 |.




       Their life proceeded in a thoroughly miscellaneous manner. Martin had no desire

to swim, to play golf, baseball or football, to hunt or fish or do a thousand other things

even if he were able to because he had done all these at one time or another, some more

successfully than others. Among the many things he would still like to do were to drive a

racing car, fly an airplane, cross the Gobi Desert on a camel, hunt for gold, dig for

archaeological artifacts, and chase dark-eyed maidens through the Casbah. These he

hadn‟t done, and it was clearly too late. A visit to Petra or Antarctica might be possible.

       Every evening the television news poured out the day‟s events like a pile of bricks

on a vacant lot. You could sense that something big was going to happen, but you didn‟t

know what. Huntly and Brinkly didn‟t know either, but they‟d tell you anyway. Many of

their Florida friends were obsessed with the news. The most unlikely threats were

terribly real for them. Disaster waited around every corner. It seemed to be the elderly,

who in theory had the least to live for, who were most worried about starvation, war, and

death. They had met a couple who claimed to have a two year‟s supply of food hidden in

a closet. It was in the bible, they pointed out.

       “That‟s good to know,” Martin had told them. “We‟ll know where to come when

we‟re hungry.” They didn‟t seem to find this amusing.
                                           114



        They went to a few plays and an occasional movie. In 1928, Glenn Valvia of

Zion, Illinois had predicted the end of the world. Martin stayed up all night with his

friends, waiting to see the big show. The end could come now and he wouldn‟t even get

out of his chair.

        Eve was a superb bridge player. Martin was competent and obliging. When they

didn‟t play as partners the rubbers went so quickly that they would be finished and home

by nine. Eve finally mentioned this. “We won games that were almost impossible to

win.”

        “You didn‟t win them,” Martin explained. “Your father hated to lose, so when I

played against him I always made sure he never did.”

        Everyone of their generation played bridge. None of the next generation seemed

interested. When they got old what would they do at parties? Maybe they would sit and

talk, but that seemed unlikely.

        May Townsend, their neighbor from across the hall, was the finest bridge player

Martin had ever known with the possible exception of his mother, who played

magnificent bridge but for whom it was just a game. May was brilliant in other fields as

well, as she was always glad to tell you, and she was deadly serious at all times. Most

people didn‟t realize that they were being needled, but May was smart enough to know it,

which made the needling worthwhile.

        Martin was good with tools and did a few small chores around their new house

almost every day. When their neighbors, the Joneses, Dear Heart and Kathy Dear,

became aware of this they they began to ask him inane questions about the upkeep of
                                            115



their own house and garden. Martin soon realized that this was a bid to get him to take

care of their problems, as they had undoubtedly organized the peons to do for them in

Equador where Dr. Jones ran his mission. Martin managed not to understand them.

Fortunately, their neighbor on the other side was flattered to be asked.

       Martin and Eve kept in touch with their children by phone and letters. Martin had

written to a number of old friends, but few were interested in beginning a

correspondence. Perhaps that was just as well.

       People often asked them if they‟d been to Disney World. They had gone once

with friends. Martin didn‟t attempt to explain his dislike for Walt Disney. He‟d often

visited the eighty-acre Missouri Botanical Garden when they lived in St. Louis. It had

been founded in 1859 by the wealthy botanist and philanthropist Henry Shaw. Shaw‟s

tomb was the garden‟s secret focal point, almost hidden by a surrounding grove of trees

and shrubs so dense it shut out the world. It was the most peaceful place Martin had ever

been. Shaw planned it that way, a gardner had told him. Many times Martin had sat on a

bench near the tomb while waves of silence flowed over him. Other people rarely came.

It had been twenty-five years since he‟d seen Shaw‟s Garden. He wondered if it were the

same or if it, too, had been Disneyfied.

       He played at his many hobbies and thoroughly enjoyed them all, stamp collecting,

painting, writing, and making wooden toys to sell at the church fair. He organized his

collections of rocks and leaves, insects, snake skins, air pistols, knives and swords,

ceramic frogs, and first editions of Edgar Rice Burroughs. He‟d read an eight hundred

page biography of Burroughs that weighed seven ponds. It followed Burroughs almost
                                            116



hour by hour. Unfortunately his life had been far less entertaining than his fiction. No

libraries had Burroughs when he was young because the stories might have put ideas in

boys‟ heads. No girls ever read them. Later the libraries ignored them because

supposedly Burrough‟s sentence structure and language were poor, although it seemed to

Martin that he used a far larger vocabulary than any contemporary best sellers.



       The exterminator who was spraying Martin‟s den for ants admired the bull whip

hanging on the wall. “You any good with that?”

       “Not as good as I used to be,” Martin said. “I missed a fly the other day.”

        “I guess you‟re one of those guys that can knock a cigarette out of a lady‟s

mouth?”

       “Not anymore,” Martin said. “My wife gave up smoking.”



       “I presume,” Reverend Tom‟s wife Alice had asked him once, “that you schedule

time for each hobby, in order to achieve the maximum result?” Alice had seemed at first

a particularly attractive and intelligent women. Martin felt a bit sorry for Tom.

       They‟d gone to Tom‟s church for a while despite the longer drive, because they

enjoyed his thoughtful sermons. Others found him cold and intellectual. The elderly

liked cheerful clergymen, and most of them couldn‟t hear the sermon anyway. Tom and

Alice might have learned something from the Newhouses, Martin felt, but they were

evidently past the learning age.
                                            117



       They went shopping often, sometimes simply for the pleasure of eating lunch at

the Maas Brothers tea room. Once a man in his 80‟s approached Martin in the shoe

deparment. “I hope you won‟t be offended, Sir,” he said, “but my grandfather had a

beard and mustache exactly like yours. You look a good deal like him in fact. He was a

wonderful man, and I loved him very much. Thank you for bringing back a beautiful

memory.”

       “You‟re very welcome,” Martin said. “I‟m deeply honored.”

       “I can now feel that my life has been worthwhile,” he said to Eve after the old

fellow had tottered off towards the tea room.

       “You‟ve doubted that?” she said.

       “Always,” Martin said, and it was true. He doubted his worth, although this had

never troubled him very deeply. People still asked if he enjoyed being retired, and he

always answered that he‟d been ready for retirement after his first day of work in 1932.

He liked to tell the story of Eve‟s English cousin, Philip Stump, whose father had

inherited a silk mill at the age of twenty one. It upset Philip to have had a father who

frittered away his money and whose only accomplishment was a book of riddles. Philip

did admit grudgingly that the riddles were clever and that his father had lived a long and

extremely happy life.

       They went to a lavish dinner party at McKowans restauant. Martin told Eve he

hoped someday to go to a party in Florida where at least one interesting thing was

discussed.

       “They like to talk about what they know,” Eve said, “which apparently isn‟t
                                             118



much.”

         “There‟s an Old Chinese proverb,” Martin said. “If every man confined his

observations to subjects on which he was qualified to speak, there would be throughout

the world a deathly silence.”

         “You can‟t have everything, Martin.”

         They planned to travel when Martin was up to it. Soon probably. They knew a

couple in their 80‟s, already in dangerously poor health who had set off on a three month

round the world cruise. They were never heard from again.



         Martin‟s brother and his wife, Joe and Alma, came for a long-planned visit. They

drove the 1200 miles from Chicago in two days and arrived in time for dinner on the

second day. The next morning Martin and Eve drove them around Dunedin and

Clearwater and took them to Maas Brothers for lunch. As they were walking through the

toy department, Martin asked Joe if he remembered his Teddy Bear. Joe did, it was his

most beloved possession when he was a little boy and he still had it. Alma asked Martin

if he still had his Teddy Bear.

         “I never had one,” Martin said.

         “Oh, no,” Alma said, “not another one of those terribly sad stories!”

         “What do you mean?” Martin asked.

         “I mean like the bicycle,” Alma said. “You do remember the bicycle? I cry every

time I think of it.”
                                            119



       “I remember,” Martin said. “But those things seem just funny to me now. If they

ever seem sad again, I‟ll know I‟m getting too old.”

       Of course he remembered the bicycle. He‟d badly wanted one when he was ten.

Everyone else already had a bicycle. PR said he‟d have to work for it, so over eight

months Martin had saved ten dollars. It wasn‟t enough. One day he learned that the

janitor of their apartment building owned an old English bike that he‟d sell for fifteen

dollars. PR went to the janitor, and after a long discussion the man agreed to sell it to

Martin for twelve. Martin would give him ten dollars and pay twenty five cents a week

for eight weeks to cover the rest.

       The bicycle was rusty. The tires were shot, and the wheels were warped. Martin

worked on it for weeks and finally got it useable, but the tires continually blew out.

Martin asked PR if he would buy him new tires. PR said that he could buy them for him

wholesale at a good price, but Martin would have to earn the money. Martin was having

trouble saving the twenty-five cents to pay the janitor, who continually threatened to

repossess the bicycle. When he complained about this to his father, PR told him that the

janitor had a right to take the bicycle if he didn‟t make his payments. Lulu would have

given him the money, but PR wouldn‟t let her.

       One day, miles from home, the bike frame simply broke in two. Martin left it

lying beside the road.

       When Martin‟s brother Joe asked for a bicycle a few years later, PR bought him a

new one. Joe didn‟t ride the bicycle very much and eventually took it apart and sold the

pieces to his friends. The following year, Joe wanted a bicycle again. He explained what
                                            120



he had done with the first bicycle. PR thought this was extremely amusing and bought

him another new bicycle.

       Martin hadn‟t thought of this story in decades. He didn‟t find it as amusing as

he‟d told Joe and Alma, but despite the sometimes mean circumstances of his youth he‟d

had a good life by almost any measure. He‟d told people that he‟d never been bored, and

that was still true. He could always amuse himself. He could read and think and watch

the little green lizards who sat quietly in his garden waiting for the sun to warm their

blood. Was that really enough? He once asked Grandma Jenneman what she had done to

reach eighty except sit around and refuse to die. She‟d made some strong German noises

and laughed. She was very old when she finally died. At the time Martin had felt this

was just part of life. When spring came the following year, however, he remembered

that Grandma Jenneman had been stoical about most things, but spring was her eternal

love and she was missing it for the first time in 85 years.
            121



.| Part II -- The Afterlife |.
                                              122



                                        .| Chapter 13|.




        Eve had gone alone to a women‟s bridge club. Without him to move things along

Martin knew she was unlikely to be home before eleven. Ordinarily he‟d have read or

watched television, but tonight he sat in the dark and waited. Harry had seen the man

earlier in the day, the tall one with the little beard who searched their cottage at Indian

Rocks. He was talking to McMurry. MacMurray told Harry the man said he was a friend

of the Newhouses and he‟d given him their new address. Harry called Martin

immediately.

        Martin had said nothing to Eve. It was unlikely that anything would happen, but

if Edmund Dantes could stay alert in prison for fourteen years, Martin could sit in the

dark for a few hours one evening. He had noticed that when he didn‟t try too hard,

things tended to fall into his lap, like the pink pearl he‟d found in a fresh water mussel

from McCurdy Pond. He‟d read an article in the newspaper about the pearls in Queen

Elizabeth‟s crown that came from mussels in the Passaic River in New Jersey. The first

mussel he opened had contained a perfect little pearl. A lot of innocent bivalves had

fruitlessly suffered for that bit of good fortune.

        Shortly before nine he heard a scratching sound and the kitchen door opened

almost silently. A tall man was silhouetted in the doorway. He listened for a moment

and then carefully shut the door behind him. Martin watched while the man removed

each drawer from Eve‟s small desk, dumped out its contents, turned it over and inspected
                                             123



the bottom.

         After a minute, Martin decided that enough mess had been created. He switched

on the lamp at his side. “Please don‟t move,” he said. “I don‟t want to shoot you.” He

held the heavy automatic in his right hand, his left hand clamped over his wrist as he‟d

seen it done on television. He pointed it at the man‟s chest.

         “Don‟t shoot,” the man said. “I‟ll go. You have nothing I want.” He had an

accent that Martin couldn‟t place.

         “No I don‟t,” Martin said, “but you have something I want. What are you looking

for, and why were you in our beach cottage last month and in my hospital room a year

ago? I don‟t want to shoot you, but I will. Florida is very forgiving of homeowners who

kill intruders. I want to know what this is about. I think I half know already, so don‟t

give me any crap. Let‟s hear it before I get impatient.”

         Martin thought he‟d done well. He remembered his role as a tough guy the only

time he‟d ever been in a play. It was years ago when their children were small. They‟d

all been impressed and he‟d enjoyed doing it but had never done it again. He wondered

why.

         “I look for money,” the man said.

         “That won‟t do and you know it,” Martin said. “I‟m going to count to ten, slowly,

and if you don‟t give me a reason not to pull the trigger it‟s going to be very loud and it

will make a big hole in your chest. You life will be over, and for what?” He began to

count.

         “I‟m Greek,” the man said hurriedly. “A patriot. Traitors are trying take over our
                                            124



country, and you are hiding something for them.”

       “Kikapopoulos,” Martin said.

       “Yes, Kikapopoulos. He is dangerous man, traitor.”

       “I don‟t know anything about Kikapopoulos. He‟s just a man I met in the

hospital. What am I supposed to be keeping for him?”

       “Papers. I am told to look for papers written in Greek. But I am wrong. You

have nothing. I am sorry that I troubled you. I will go.”

       “I‟m sorry too, friend, because I‟ve counted to eight. That gives you two seconds.

I‟d suggest you tell me the full story right now.”

       “Yes, yes, all right.   Your friend is a criminal, Mr. Newhouse, a criminal and a

traitor. A cowardly terrorist who makes plans for others to carry out in which innocent

Greek citizens will die. I look for money. It is true. Very much Greek money, but is not

here. That is all I know. Don‟t kill me.”

       “I have nothing to do with Greek politics,” Martin said. “I haven‟t heard from

Kikapopoulos in months. I don‟t have papers or money or anything else of his. Nine!

Get the fuck out of here, and don‟t let me see you again.”

       The man ran from the room. Martin continued to sit in his chair for a few

minutes. Then he stood and laid the plastic replica of a 45 automatic on the table beside

his chair and went to close the door.



       Martin waited until Eve had recounted in detail her victory over the formidable

May Townsend. He fixed them cups of cocoa. Finally Eve stopped talking and looked at
                                            125



him.

       “What is it you‟re not saying, Martin?”

       He told her. They had long ago agreed to be completely honest with one another,

and it had worked for them.

       Eve was understandably upset. “I almost wish you hadn‟t told me. You‟re sure

he won‟t be back?”

       “I think he believed me. And even if he didn‟t, he won‟t expect to find anything

here now. I‟d have gotten rid of it. So that‟s one down. Now I have to find the

Captain.”

       “You used to be so sensible, Martin. What‟s happened to you?”

       “I think it was Alma and the bicycle. I looked back at my life and saw a man

who‟s always made the best of things, a good best most of the time, but essentially I‟ve

been passive.”

       “I don‟t agree at all,” Eve said. “You‟re a very successful and forceful person,

and you‟ve done everything you really wanted to do. But if you‟re going to go on with

this, Martin, just use good sense and try not to leave me out of it. I‟m sure you realize

that this man could have shot you while you sat there holding your fake pistol.”

       “I know that, and I will be sensible. I was sure I could pull it off this time. I

don‟t know why. I‟ll send Kostas a note. He should be told.”

       “Do think he is a conspirator?”

       “Of course he is,” Martin said, “but what I don‟t understand is why anyone could

think I was.
                                             126



                                      .| Chapter 14 |.



       It was Harry who thought of it.

       “An Identikit, Martin. Like the police use. If you can remember enough of what

the captain looked like.”

       “I remember exactly how he looked. It‟s a good idea, Harry. I‟ll bet my friend

Nick could do it.”

       “Who‟s that?” Harry said.

       “Nick Koutouzis. He lives up the block. He‟s a painter and sort of a hermit, but

he likes me because I‟m a bit of a hermit too. He usually doesn‟t answer his phone, so

we‟ll have to go see him.”



       Martin waited a full minute before he knocked a second time. “Not answering

today,” he said. “He‟s in there, but if he doesn‟t want company we won‟t bother him.”

        Just then the door opened.

       “Good,” Koutouzis said, “come.” He held the door open and waved them in.

       “This is Harry Stern,” Martin said.

       “Please to meet you, Harry. Coffee, Martin? You drink coffee, boy?”

       “Yes sir,” Harry said. Koutouzis laughed. “Then you will have some, sir. Sugar?

I have no milk.”

       “Black is fine,” Harry said.

       “You interested in art, young man?” Katouszis asked.
                                             127



        “Yes,” Harry said, “but I‟m more interested in French literature.”

        “There are a lot of Frenchmen in Greece,” Koutouzis said in French. “Many of

them artists and some are not so bad.”

        “I didn‟t know that,” Harry said. “I don‟t think Martin speaks French.”

        “Perhaps not, but he can surprise you. It‟s good to see you Martin. I hope you

and Eve are well. Is this a social visit?”

        “It‟s always good to see you, too,” Martin said, “but I also have a favor to ask. I

don‟t know if this is something you‟d be willing to do, Nick. I‟d like you to make a

drawing of a man who‟s been following me. I think I can describe him pretty well.”

        “Following you? I told you he‟s a surprising man, did I not, Harry? After our

coffee, we‟ll give it a try.”



        “Why are you both smiling?” Martin asked.

        “You don‟t see it, do you, Martin?” Nick said. “Look at this handsome fellow.

He doesn‟t seem familiar?”

        “A little,” Martin said. “Who do you think it is?”

        “It‟s you, Martin,” Harry said. “You‟ve been describing yourself.”

        Martin looked again at the drawing. “I don‟t see it, but I never do think photos

look like me. It‟s a perfect likeness of the captain, though. Good job, Nick.” Martin

studied the drawing. “You know who it does look like. My father. It could be the

Baron.”

        “He could be your twin,” Koutouzis said. “Do you have siblings?”
                                              128



       “It doesn‟t look at all like my half-brother Joe,” Martin said, “but I probably have

other half brothers. The Baron is supposed to have had fifteen wives.”

       “But you don‟t know?”

       “I know almost nothing about Martin Engle. I‟ve seen pictures of him when he

was young and handsome, but we met only twice after he left my mother when I was two,

the last time towards the end of his life. He promised to make me the president of his

company and to leave me a safe-deposit box full of gold. Completely nuts. I‟d heard

plenty of stories about him though, none complementary.

       “I never really thought the Baron was German nobility. So now I should believe

that a homicidal half-brother wants to kill me so he can inherit the family estate?”

       “There has to be some reason he‟s stalking you, Martin,” Harry said. “We‟ll find

out. Maybe you can claim your title and your inheritance. Do you speak German?”

       “Like a five year old. It‟s what my mother and grandmother spoke when I was a

kid. The Germans would laugh at me now.”

       “Not if you‟re the heir,” Harry said.

       “Heir to what, Harry? Seriously, the general and all his other sons were

supposedly killed in 1848. Johann escaped to the U.S. without a penny. The peasants

would have taken over his estate. Ninety year later the Nazis came in, and after them the

Russians swept through and destroyed or carted off anything that was left in East Prussia.

The Communist East Germans have been in charge ever since. There can‟t be as much as

an ornamental chamber pot left to inherit.”

       “Maybe he just wants the title,” Harry said. “I think that‟s still important to some
                                           129



people in Europe.”

       “What do you think, Nick?” Martin asked.

       “Titles aren‟t worth shit anywhere, unless there‟s money attached to them.”

       “Maybe I should put an ad in the paper? „Martin Newhouse renounces his

baronetcy.‟”

       “I think you have to die to pass on the title, Martin. We need to get this guy!”

       “Well, thank you both,” Martin said. “I‟ll buy a set of dueling pistols.”

       “It‟s not funny,” Harry said. “We can outsmart him. It‟s two against one, three,

if Nick helps.”

       “Thank you, Harry, but I can‟t let you do this anymore. Maybe it isn‟t just the

captain. There could be a whole Prussian mafia.”

       “I‟ll just help with the research. You can tell the police when we have some real

evidence.”

       “I‟m in,” Nick said. “We‟ll hunt them down. You have no choice, my friend.

It‟s them or us.”

       “You‟re romanticizing this,” Martin said.

       “Yeah? Who‟s talking about dueling pistols and mafias? You‟re enjoying this as

much as I am, Mr. John Carter of Mars.”



       “You want to go to Germany to look for a killer with an eighty year old man for a

bodyguard?”

       “I‟m his bodyguard,” Martin said, “and we‟d just be doing genealogical research.
                                           130



Nick knows German. He telephoned the Deutsches Adelsarchiv in Marburg, and they

pretty much verified Engle‟s story. Frankly I‟m amazed. The Engles really were

German nobility. Would you mind? We can wait until you‟ve finished classes if you

want to come.”

       “No, you go ahead. It‟ll be good for you. You‟re spending too much time with

your stamps.”

       “I did think I might pick up a few for my Weimar collection while we‟re there.”

       “I‟m sure you will. Can Nick get around? He‟s so...large.”

       “Some of that‟s muscle. He‟s really looking forward to this trip. He‟s bringing a

sketch pad.”

       “Well, I hope you boys have a nice time. Just be careful. You‟re much

appreciated here, you know. Edna and Elsie would be devastated if you weren‟t around

to glue their broken teacups together.”

       “We‟ll be careful,” Martin said.   “I‟ll bring the ladies a cuckoo clock.”
                                            131




                                       .| Chapter 15 |.



       Martin and Eve had visited their son when he was stationed in Darmstadt ten

years before. They‟d rented a car and driven through the black forest and on into

Switzerland. In general they found what the American soldiers had found, that the

Germans were friendlier than either the English or the French, although there had been

several occasions when Martin, of pure German ancestry and driving a German car, was

thought briefly to be an idiot.

       There had been many changes in Germany in only ten years, new construction

everywhere and the roads full of cars. The schnitzle bags in which office workers had

carried their lunch and the motorcycles with side cars that transported whole families had

vanished.

       A morning at the Adelsarchiv had proved almost too fruitful. Engle was a

common name, and the descendants of Martin‟s forebears were scattered all over

Germany. Much information had been destroyed during the war, of course. The ruined

buildings and piles of rubble were almost completely gone now, but the lost lives and

family histories would never be replaced. Martin felt fortunate to have found as much as

they had. A penciled reference to the diary of Feldherr Johann Friedrich von Engle, held

in the library of a nearby monastery, sounded too good to be true, although Nick warned

him that nineteenth century diaries were usually dull affairs, containing little more than a

commentary on the diarist‟s aches and pains and the daily weather.
                                              132



        “The countryside is pretty as the dickens,” Nick said, “but it‟s too domesticated

for my taste, not a damned thing out of place. Just what you‟d expect in the Fatherland I

guess. They do keep beautiful records. Let‟s eat before we hit the monastery. That‟s

something else they do right. I‟m going to have the Rippchen mit Sauerkraut. I love the

food and the beer. The people are all right too, when they aren‟t telling me what to do.

They know I‟m Jewish.”

       “I thought you were Greek.”

       “My parents told us we were Greeks. I was just a kid when they left Germany. It

wasn‟t until I was fifteen they set us straight. They‟d never been religious. Look at those

girls, Martin. They could carry a bale of hay on each shoulder. I almost wish I were

young again and I haven‟t wanted that for a long time.”



       “He says we can see the diary in the reading room. We can take notes but no

photocopies. We have to wear gloves. Freaking little Gauleiter.”

       “Isn‟t that standard with rare books, Nick? Oil from your fingers gets on the

paper, and the heat from the copier can damage it.”

       “And this is such a priceless item?”

       A few minutes later, the librarian brought them the manuscript diary, tied in a

library carton. He mumbled something in German.

       “They close at five, for vespers.”

       Nick spent the next hour paging through the fat diary, occasionally showing

Martin a passage. There were daily weather reports, but the entries were far more
                                            133



interesting than Nick had predicted. Several months were taken up by a long sea voyage

of diplomatic and scientific significance. Their ship touched at ports in the

Mediterranean, Central and South America, and the West Indies before visiting New

England and Canada on its return to Europe. Each entry during the voyage was set off

by a drawing of a little sailboat and the text was enlivened by literate descriptions of

islands and ports, scientific observations, and elegant pen and ink sketches of fish and

ships, plants and animals, life in foreign ports, and handsome semi-clothed women whose

profession was clearly not that of artist‟s model. Even so, Martin watched Nick‟s eyelids

gradually lower until he was afraid he would nod off. Suddenly Nick was wide awake.

       “Ah, Jesus.”

       “What?” Martin said.

       “You‟re a lucky I‟m an honest man,” Nick said, “and too old to care. The general

buried the family jewels before he went to war. I guess he had a premonition. And I do

mean jewels, and gold ingots, a couple of small Rembrandts. Who knows what else.

They aren‟t interested in your title. They want the lolly.”

       “That actually makes sense. My father said something about a treasure thirty

years ago, and I laughed. But what does it have to do with me? They‟re such sticklers

for propriety they need to kill me off to make it legal? Did the librarian say anyone else

had looked at the diary?”

       “I didn‟t ask, but it doesn‟t look to me like it‟s been handled in a hundred years.”

       “Why not? Unless... the archive just opened, didn‟t it? They probably don‟t

know about the diary. But why would they expect me to know anything about the
                                             134



treasure, a retired businessman sticking stamps in an album in Florida? I‟m not poor, but

obviously I‟m no multi-millionaire. There‟s a lot missing here, Nick. I don‟t suppose it

says where the stuff is buried?

       Nick grinned. “Yes and no. Mostly no, but he says he‟s telling us where it is, and

he must mean in the diary. We‟ll have to look more carefully.”

       “If we did find a treasure, we couldn‟t just take it. There‟d be all kinds of legal

issues. We‟d probably never get our hands on it.”

       “Not we, Martin, you. Why not take it if it‟s yours? You‟re certainly more

entitled to it than the captain, who it seems to me has lost a lot of credibility by trying to

kill you. Otherwise the German government will take it and put a down payment on an

aircraft carrier. How would you use it?”

       “I‟d set some aside for the grandkids‟ education and give most of it to charity?”

       “There you go. We‟ll have to find it first. We‟ll come back tomorrow.”

       Nick took the manuscript to the librarian and talked with him for a few minutes

before they collected their coats and left. They stopped for a beer at a Gasthaus on the

outskirts of Marburg. Nick seemed particularly pleased with the day.

       “I guess we‟ve made progress,” Martin agreed, “but I wish we could have made a

photocopy of the diary.”

       “We did better than that,” Nick said. He reached into his coat pocket and set the

diary on the table.”

       “You stole it!”

       “Hush, Martin, most of these krauts spik da English. Of course I didn‟t steal it. I
                                            135



bought it from Brother Fred. You bought it, actually. Four hundred marks, a bargain.

You can pay me when we get home.”

       “But it wasn‟t his to sell.”

       “Who‟s to say? I bought it fair and square. Most of the art in any big museum

has been stolen a few times.”

       “What happens when someone goes looking for it?”

       “I‟m sure by now any records of its being at the monastery will have been

destroyed.”

       “You‟re too much, Nick. Okay, let‟s see it.”

       They were admiring the general‟s elegant drawings when the waitress stopped at

their table. She said something in German and Nick answered.”

       “I speak English pretty well,” she said to Martin. “I said to your friend this is a

lovely book. But it is sad binding is ruined. That is what I would like to do, das

Buchbinden. My father thinks I am crazy? You think?”

       “Not a bit,” Nick said. “Everyone thought I was crazy to want to paint, but when

I began to sell my paintings they said I was a genius. Follow your dream. In fact, if you

come to Florida I know a book binder, an old man who I‟m sure would like an

apprentice. American kids all want to be engineers and corporate lawyers.” Nick

laughed at her expression. “No, Fraulein, I‟m not a kidnapper. I‟ll give you the guy‟s

name and you can write him if you like. You may have even heard of him, Herman

Mueller. For a book binder he‟s famous.”

       Nick wrote Mueller‟s name and address on a sheet from his pocket notebook and
                                              136



gave it to the girl.

        “I‟ll talk with him and tell him you might write. What‟s your name?”

        “Lisa,” the girl said, “Lisa Schumacher. You are serious?”

          “I am if you are, if this is what you really want to do. I believe it takes years of

  study and a lot of patience to become an expert fine binder, but why not? I‟m eighty

    years old and I‟m still learning to paint. Now, may I ask what‟s good to eat today,

                          Fraulein? Something smells delicious.”
                                            137



                                      .| Chapter 16 |.



        “I‟m astounded, Martin,” Eve said, “truly astounded but not surprised. It‟s your

kind of thing, Uncle Lee‟s kind of thing. Of course you‟re a nobleman, I‟ve always

known that, and naturally your Greek friend, Nick, who‟s really a German Jew, would

buy a rare manuscript from a thieving monk. I‟m disappointed in a fellow librarian, but

he wouldn‟t be the first. You and Nick really shanghaied a beautiful maiden and sold

her to an octogenarian bookbinder? She‟s coming to Florida?”

        “That‟s what Mueller says. I think she‟s crazy. Marburg‟s one of those ancient

towns that were such backwaters that nothing changed for hundreds of years. Then

medieval architecture became fashionable and the tourists started to pour in. It was a

hospital town during the war so it wasn‟t even badly bombed. It‟s a beautiful place, and

it has one of the oldest universities in the world. But Lisa‟s folks are working class. She

went to a trade school, and she‟s never been farther from home than Frankfurt. This is a

great opportunity if she wants it. She seems quite serious about bookbinding.”

        “Good for her. I‟ve never thought fine binding had much to do with books, but

it‟s certainly an art. I‟m glad you and Nick had a good time, but you haven‟t solved your

problem. You still don‟t know who‟s following you, and you don‟t know where the

treasure is.”

        “Maybe I should put another ad in the paper,” Martin said. “Baron Martin von

Engle-Newhouse knows all about the family jewels, but he hasn‟t a clue where they are

and doesn‟t care, so please leave him alone.”
                                               138



          “I don‟t think so,” Eve said.



          Martin and Nick had poured over the diary fruitlessly for several weeks. Martin

quickly learned to decipher the peculiar nineteenth century script, and he remembered

enough of his childhood German to read the entries with a dictionary. Motivation is

everything, he told Eve. Unfortunately it was no guarantor of success. Eventually

Martin put the general‟s manuscript in their safe deposit box.

          Lisa Schumacher began her trial apprenticeship with Herman Mueller, and Nick

reported a month later that it was working well. Lisa was a bright and enthusiastic

student and appeared to have a taste and a talent for the exacting craft of fine binding.

She also liked the Florida beaches.

          Shortly after Christmas, when Lisa returned from a visit to her family, Mueller

telephoned Martin and suggested that as Lisa‟s first serious project he‟d be willing to

help her rebind the diary which had inspired her new life.

          Martin was delighted to lend it to them.

          Lisa telephoned him several days after he‟d left it with Mueller. She sounded

breathless and asked him to meet her at a small luncheonette a few blocks from Mueller‟s

shop. She was waiting for him when he arrived.

          “I almost called last night, Martin, but I was afraid it was too late. I could hardly

sleep for excitement. Look what we have found when Herman and I removed the back

cover!”

          She unfolded a square sheet of paper and handed it to Martin.
                                           139



       “A shoreline, a stream emptying into a large body of water, a small pond, a tree, a

cairn maybe? And „X‟ marks the spot. The treasure! It must be, but it could be

anywhere in the world.”

       “There‟s something written on it. It‟s hard to make out.”

       “It looks like „williwilli‟. I don‟t suppose there‟s anyplace like that in Germany?”

       Lisa laughed. “I don‟t think so. That would mean something rather rude. There

must be a clue in the diary, no?”

       “We‟ll go through it again,” Martin said. “At least we‟d have some idea of what

we‟re looking for. Could you make a photocopy of the whole thing when you take it

apart for rebinding?”

       “Yes, of course,” Lisa said. “It is a good idea. Herman has a machine and I will

do it myself so no one will see. We will find the treasure, Herr Baron, and you will

become a famous <em>Menschenfreund.</em>”

       “Philanthropist?”

       “<em>Ja, ein Philanthrop</em>, and the bad guys will go away <em>mit den

Zahnen knirschen</em>.”

       “Gnashing their teeth.”



       But a month later they had gotten no farther. Eve suggested they hold a strategy

session, and they‟d all gathered for a picnic on the Newhouse‟s screened porch on a

particularly fine spring evening, Martin and Eve, Nick, Lisa, and Harry.

       Lisa was a year older than Harry, but he was a freshman at Gainsville, which
                                             140



seemed to her quite impressive. Harry had always spoken simple German with his

grandparents, and Lisa spoke excellent French as well as fair English, as did most of her

classmates at the Realschule in Marburg. Harry was often home from school to see his

mother and grandparents. He and Lisa had met at Martin and Eve‟s and had become

cautious friends.

        Nick was less of a recluse these days. He occasionally accepted Eve‟s invitation

for supper or a drink. He‟d noticed Martin‟s paintings and offered to teach him if he

liked. A time-limited opportunity, he pointed out.

        “Any helpful thoughts?” Martin asked as they drank after dinner coffee in the

fragrant semi-darkness of a Florida night. “We haven‟t been able to link the map and the

diary. And there‟s been no further sign of the captain. Maybe I imagined him.”

        “No, he‟s just lying low,” Harry said, “waiting for us to find the treasure so he can

hijack it.”

        “He‟ll have a long wait,” Martin said.

        “I still think we ought to find out who he is.”

        “Harry,” Eve said, “I‟ve been trying for months to get Martin to forget this whole

business. You know he doesn‟t really care about the treasure. I don‟t think any of you

does, you‟re all too sensible.”

        “There are useful things that could be done with a few million dollars,” Martin

said, “but you‟re right, it‟s mostly curiosity, for me anyway, the eternal search for truth.”

        “Well put,” Nick said.

        “Prima,” Lisa agreed.
                                   141



“Truth,” Eve said disgustedly, “is the source of much mischief.”
                                           142



                                         .| Chapter 17 |.



        They had been planning a visit to Joe and Alma for months. Eve agreed that they

could use the opportunity to research Martin Engle‟s years in Chicago.

        They‟d taken a quick sidetrip to Saint Louis first. A guided tour had seemed like

a good idea, but apparently too much time had gone by. Nothing in the city looked

remotely the same. As it turned out, they were the only people on the tour. The driver

said he was willing to take them wherever they wanted to go, but he balked when Martin

asked to see Russell Avenue, where they had lived when Martin was fifteen. It wasn‟t a

safe neighborhood, he said, but he agreed to drive them past the address without

stopping. The apartment building looked exactly the way Martin remembered it from

1924.



        In Ferguson, Martin pulled to the curb at the corner of Hereford and Flourisant.

These had both been narrow, tree shaded streets in the 1940‟s. The Lions Club held it‟s

annual carnival on Brown‟s lot on the corner. The small brick house just beyond the lot

was owned briefly by Martin‟s cousin and his wife, Marge and Harold Cummings. Then

came the house of Goldie and Frank Givins who collected large chunks of rock on their

road trips to the west.

        Perhaps that was where he had gotten the idea, Martin thought. He collected and

labeled a few small stones from each place they visited, but he had learned to be

circumspect about it on their Greek island cruise. Alice Morton had been a rock collector
                                           143



too, but as often as not she forgot to pick one up and asked Martin if he had extras. After

Mildred Whitikar tried the same trick, Martin told them that he had stopped collecting

rocks. He hadn‟t, but collecting was a solitary hobby in which it was each collector for

himself.

        They went to see the tall narrow white house at 21 Hereford that the Frohocks

had built in 1920. Across the street was a supermarket where Dr. Holden‟s large

Victorian had stood. By 1970 the old neighborhood was almost entirely gone.

       While they still lived in Ferguson, the Lions Club had built a new public library

but then threatened to fire the Librarian when she put Partridge‟s Dictionary of Slang in

the collection. Martin was the editor and staff of The Dandylion, the Lions‟ newsletter, in

the mid-1940‟s. He threatened to profile the objecting members to determine how

qualified they were to judge what books the library would hold. Several members said he

should be fired from the Dandylion, but no one else wanted the job.

       A similar thing happened years later in Westfield. Only this time a group actually

invaded the library and tore up Partridge and several other books. The offenders were

arrested and fined and made to replace the damage titles.

       They visited Jean Frohock, who still lived in the old house near Central School.

Jean seemed well and cheerful at only 80 pounds. She had always been a tiny woman.

They took her to dinner and to lunch the next day. She was lively and amusing company.

       Her daughter and her three grandaughters came to visit after lunch. They all

seemed to be angry about something and barely spoke. Dale had been invited to lunch

but had refused to go to. “I‟m just odd,” she‟d told them.
                                            144



        Jean was haunted by the thought that her money would go to her daughter and

immediately into a herd of goats. Everything that she and Mel had worked for would end

up on a manure pile.

        “You won‟t care when you‟re dead,” Martin told her. “But if you really don‟t

want her to have it, spend it now. Take a trip around the world.” But that really put her

into shock. Jean had stopped buying salt pork when it went to fifty cents a pound.

        “We were delighted to leave here twenty years ago,” Martin said to Eve as they

drove back to the motel, “and we were right to go.”



        Joe and Alma had done a good deal of work on the house in Granley Park. They

were kind and warm hearted hosts. It continued to amaze Martin that people changed so

little with the years.

        At dinner, Alma asked him if he didn‟t believe that God wrote the Bible. Martin

said he thought God was too busy looking after the universe to compose the Bible and

had arranged for a bunch of Jews do it for him. But didn‟t God direct their minds and tell

them what to say? Martin said he thought God directed all men‟s minds, so he planned to

write his own Bible. As usual, she was shocked or at least pretended to be. Martin

wasn‟t sure how much of Alma‟s proslytizing was serious.

        Alma wasn‟t really interested in discussing religion. She‟d set out years before to

save Martin‟s soul. He‟d upset her on their last visit to Florida by insisting that Crackers,

their Chihuahua, expected to be received at the pearly gates. He‟d also asked her where

Cain and Able had found their wives. Alma didn‟t know, but she said she‟d write to
                                               145



Billy Graham. Joe said she often wrote to Graham, but he didn‟t think she‟d ever

received a reply other than a request for money.

       “I‟m glad you still have your beautiful wheat field,” Martin told his brother. “It

must be like living at the edge of the sea.”

       “I wish it was ours. It‟s worth a mint and it‟s for sale. Nothing lasts, but we‟ve

had some good years here.”

       “You‟re still planning to move to Branson?”

       “Half a dozen golf courses, theme parks, fishing and boating, lots of theater and

shows. There‟s even a college where you can take courses.”

       “You‟re going to take college courses?” Martin grinned. He‟d written most of

Joe‟s papers in high school.

       “I might,” Joe said with a trifle heat.

       “Joe, you‟re living in one of the greatest cultural centers of the world, on one of

the biggest lakes and near some great vacation country.”

       “Sin city,” Alma said. “Don‟t make trouble for us, Martin. There are more

churches in Branson than there are bars in Chicago, and it‟s a lot cheaper to live there.

Joe says you‟re looking for information on the Baron?”

       “I‟m trying to. You‟ve never had any curiosity about him?”

       “No, but I understand why you would. Whatever else he was, he was your

father.”

       “He was a son of a bitch,” Martin said, “and no father to me, but I have my

reasons. Thanks for getting this stuff together for us. It‟ll save time. We‟ll have lunch in
                                             146



town, visit the city archives, and try to be back by four. Will that be that all right,

Alma?”

       “Of course,” Alma said. “The kids won‟t be here for the barbecue until six. I

don‟t know though, Martin, eight wives? It might take you more than a day to track

down all the children. You sure you really want to do this?”

       “I‟ll tell you tomorrow night,” Martin said.



       “Nothing?” Joe said. “I can‟t believe it! What did they say? What about his

company?”

       “As far as I know we talked to all the right people and checked all the right

sources. I told them it was about an inheritance, I thought that might spur them a little,

and they gave us a lot of good suggestions. We tried everything, but his name just

doesn‟t turn up. Not in death records, births, marriages, business directories, even phone

books. I didn‟t know they kept phone books that far back. I don‟t think he was ever in

Chicago, Joe. It was just another of his stories.”

       “I‟m sorry, Martin,” Alma said, “but I‟m not surprised. If you don‟t mind, I‟d

prefer that you didn‟t mention any of this to our kids. It‟s so...sad.”

       “I wasn‟t planning to,” Martin said, “but I don‟t see why you‟d care.”

       Alma hesitated. Joe looked away. “It‟s because they don‟t know, Martin,” Alma

said. “We‟ve never told them that you and Joe have different fathers.”

       “Jesus,” Martin said. “Why not?”

       “Please don‟t take the Lord‟s name in vane.”
                                              147



          “Don‟t pull that holy stuff, Alma. You‟ve lied to your children for thirty years?”

          “Not lies. We just... We thought it was for the best. You and Joe were always so

close.”

          “We‟re brothers,” Martin said. “It has nothing to do with who our fathers were. I

can‟t believe this. I won‟t upset your applecart, Alma, but you might think about being

honest with your kids someday. All right, it‟s no business of ours. Let‟s forget about

it.”

          “I was afraid you‟d take it badly,” Alma said.



          Joe and Alma‟s daughter Ruth was a lovely woman with a zest for living that left

them breathless and laughing. Her brother Don seemed innocent, naive, clever, and

talented, a ham actor, a will-o-the wisp. Don‟s wife Gale was a solidly built girl with a

small voice. As Don prowled the room like a panther, Gale looked perpetually

astonished. “I do wish I could pin him down once in a while,” she told Martin. Don and

Gale had bought a two bedroom house which Don had turned into a thing of beauty with

an artist‟s studio above the garage that he built by himself. A clever fellow.

          “So, how‟s the Baron?” Martin looked at Don Newhouse in surprise. He still

sometimes found it difficult to think of his handsome nephew as a grown man with a wife

and children.

          Don grinned. “Dad fessed up years ago,” he said. “I asked him why you two are

so different. I think it was hard for him, but he told me. You know Mom, she lives in her

own world. So, did you track him down?”
                                            148



       “No,” Martin said. He told Don what they‟d found.

       “What about his brothers and sisters?”

       “They‟re probably all long dead. When I talked to him in the late thirties, he said

his twin sisters had never married, and his brothers didn‟t have kids. Of course he said

lots of things that weren‟t true, but it looks like I might be the surviving member of his

line and the first of mine. You might as well know the rest of the story. Someone who

looks very much like a young Martin Engle has turned up several times on the fringes of

my life. I assumed he was a half brother, but now I don‟t know.”

       What about cousins? Did Martin‟s father have brothers and sisters?”

       “Supposedly John Engle‟s seven brothers were all killed along with their father in

the war with Sleswig-Holstein in 1848. His mother and sister died on the boat that

brought them to New Orleans. I guess one of the brothers could have survived, but in

that case John wouldn‟t have inherited the title, so why would they care about me?”

       “It looks like you‟ll have to go to Germany to find out.”

       “We went once already. There are just too many Engles. I wouldn‟t mind trying

again though.”
                                             149



                                        .| Chapter 18 |.



       “Have you and Alma declared a truce?” Eve asked. They were at the airport

waiting for their flight to Tampa.

       “I think it‟s mostly a game by now. She knows she‟s not going to convert me.

And she likes to keep things rosy when the children are around. She‟s afraid of what I

might say.”

       “She should be. Who knows what else they haven‟t told them.”

       “They‟ll have figured it out. Kids do. Parents never notice when they stop being

children. Don says I ought to go back to Germany to find what‟s left of my family.”

       “Don said that? Martin, you have to have to stop palling around with kids.

They‟re going to get you in trouble.”

       “I don‟t see how. Nick and I would love to see Munich and maybe the Bavarian

Alps and the Berlin wall and to poke around some of the old Engle haunts.”

       “Where are those?”

       “Bremen, Mecklenberg, Hesse, too many places. There‟s a town called Engle in

Bavaria, south of Munich, and there are some Jewish Engles in Hungary.”

       “You‟re not Hungarian.”

       “No, probably not, but wouldn‟t that be interesting? Grandma always claimed the

Rasemeiers were Jewish, although I think she said it mostly to annoy the rest of the

family.”

       “And she liked you.”
                                            150



       “She was the only one besides Mom, and we liked her. The rest of them were

horse‟s rosettes to quote Grandma. Would you want to go this time, Eve?

       “To Germany? Not now. Take me to Paris after I‟ve finished my course. Why

not see if Nick will go again. You two had a good time.”



       Norman and Edith Bellows came to dinner. They were both in their seventies and

acted as if they were ninety. Martin wondered why he and Eve continued to entertain

them, but evidently some traditions had to be kept up.

       They were invited over to Sebring to visit Uncle Ed. Ed was eighty-nine, sound

on anything involving money, but dotty on most other topics.

       “I talk to you like this, “Ed said to Martin, in his office after lunch, “because I

know you‟re a good Christian, a Lutheran like me and your mother. You can‟t change

that.” He brought out a huge red bible and slammed it down on his desk beside the two-

foot tall model of an oil well. “My God and my money,” he said with a laugh.         Martin

asked him how Ed‟s parents Peter and Anna had met.

       “No idea,” Ed said. “Probably at his bar. My father was a wonderful man. He

was brilliant and marvelous.”

       “But what was he like?”

       “How should I know. I was only a baby when he died. I want to tell you about

this excess profits tax that‟s killing people who own oil wells.”

       Martin persisted. “Can you tell me anything about my own father?”
                                            151



       “I liked your stepfather better. See these, they‟re all my original teeth. Go

ahead, pull on them, try to take them out. You father never did anything for me except

make me your babysitter when he and your mother wanted to go out, and they went out a

lot. He paid me, but that wasn‟t the point. Martin did great things for my brother Pete,

but not for me. He taught Pete to be a prize fighter. Your father was a powerful man and

very smart, too. He also taught Pete about the construction business and saw to it that he

always had a job.   I just bought a new Lincoln, you know. I paid seventeen thousand for

it. I still have my Rolls. It cost eighty thousand. When I‟m dead, God gets all my

money. My no good son gets nothing.”

       “Why did you like my stepfather?” Martin asked.

       “When I got out of the army Paul got me a good job in the oil business where I‟ve

been all my life and made my money.”

       Martin said that Paul had gotten him the job that he‟d worked at all his life, too, a

job he‟d always hated, but he didn‟t mention that.

       “He was a good man,‟ Ed said. “I just wish he‟d been religious.” He peered at

Martin intently. “Your father Martin Engle was a very religious man, but he had trouble

with women. He always caused a scandal.”

       Ed said his father‟s name was spelled „Jennemann,‟ and he was Jewish. His

mother‟s name was Rasemeier and she was Jewish too.

       Martin said he‟d thought Ed‟s father was a Roman Catholic, his brothers were

both Catholic priests, and his mother‟s family had been Lutheran for generations?
                                             152



       “That‟s all true,” Ed said, “but they were Jews, and Jews do strange things. I

never should have gotten married, you know. Irene stayed an old maid all her life. All I

got out of that marriage was a rotten son.” He paused and added, “Her father was rich.

That helps in a marriage. Irene is my wife in God‟s eyes, so I have to be buried beside

her in St. Louis. Besides, the plot‟s paid for.”

       He patted Martin on the knee and said he was a good boy and when Martin got to

heaven he‟d be watching for him.

       Martin smiled. “My father said the same thing thirty years ago.”
                                            153




                                       .| Chapter 19|.



       Nick was delighted to be going back to Germany with Martin. “I‟m just sorry I

waited until I was eighty-five to become a world traveler,” he said, “but I guess it‟s better

too late. Have you decided what we‟re doing there?”

       “I figure to try to talk to some Engels, see if anyone‟s interested. We can poke

around Munich first, see the museums, eat, drink some beer. And just for fun I want to

go to visit the town of Engle in Bavaria.

       “I‟ve been studying the map. If it could possibly be „Weisensee‟ on the sketch,

there‟s a lake with that name near Fussen on the Austrian border. It‟s not far from Engle,

and there‟s a place on the lake shore that fits the drawing better than anything else I‟ve

seen. It‟s near Schloss Neuschwanstein.”



       “I should probably hate the Krauts,” Nick said. They were in a rental car heading

south from Munich.

       “They‟re just people, Nick, with an exceptional tradition of respect for authority.

The war was twenty-five years ago. No one under fifty could have had much

responsibility for it, and rest of them went along to save their skins. I doubt that I‟d have

done any differently. Of course someone as cantankerous as you would have been shot

early on.”
                                            154



        “Especially being Jewish,” Nick said.

        “Those must be hop poles.” Martin pointed to several acres of tall poles that

covered the nearby low hills. “I guess the hops have been harvested. I‟ve never

understood what hops had to do with beer.”

        “Aroma, flavor, longer shelf life, a better head. Beer goes back eight thousand

years, but Hops have been used for only the last few centuries, and Munich‟s beers aren‟t

particularly hoppy. That Thomasbrau was the best stuff I‟ve ever tasted.”

        “It was good. How do you know about beer?”

        “Personal experience. Why doesn‟t the countryside look this good in the U.S.?”

        They were on the highway to Garmish. The ultra-neat farm fields were dotted

with wooded hills and small villages. Each village had a church, often with an onion

dome.

        “I think it‟s because most people live in the villages,” Martin said, “instead of on

the land. It makes the country look like a park. Personally I can‟t imagine country life,

now, even with TV and telephones. I must have been insane to think I could be a

chicken farmer.”

        “That‟s because you and I are Europeans at heart. Most Americans believe

they‟re still pioneers. They want a detached house on a big property so they can shoot

trespassers.”

        “Someone‟s following us,” Martin said.

        Nick looked behind them.

        “There are a lot of cars are following us.”
                                               155



         “The dark green Mercedes five cars back, it‟s been with us since we left Munich.

When I speed up or slow down, he sticks with me. Why do they put onion towers on

their churches?”

         “Zwiebelturm. I guess they like the way they look. I think onion domes started

in Russia, copied from mosques. Maybe so the snow slides off, or evil spirits? Why does

anybody do anything? But I agree they‟re classy. You really think your family could

have come from Engle?”

         “Of course not, and I don‟t think the treasure is buried at the Weisensee either. I

just think it would be interesting to look.”

         “The guy‟s still back there. Maybe your people found us?”

         Martin was suddenly reminded of the last visit from his father. “So you‟re called

Martin Newhouse?” the Baron had said, scratching his chin with a fist. “God help us.

What kind of name is Newhouse?”

         “Events occurred,” Martin told him, “and that‟s how I ended up.”

         “Lord forgive the sins that caused this great tragedy. What happens when you

knock on the Pearly Gates and Saint Peter says „who is it?‟ and you say „Martin

Newhouse,‟ and Saint Peter looks through the Big Book of Life and says „there‟s no

Martin Newhouse here?‟ What will you do then?”

         “I‟ll tell Saint Peter that my father was named Martin Engle,” Martin said, “and

he‟ll call you and you„ll come and say, „yes, sir, this is my son,‟ assuming you’re in the

Book.”

         “As God is my witness,” the Baron had said, “you‟re right!”
                                            156




       The Mercedes dropped out of sight as they drove into Garmisch. They checked

into a comfortable mid-priced hotel and after consultation with the owners decided to

take a cable-car to the top of the Wank, a 1700 meter peak. There were few other people

on the mountain, and despite the chill they spent a pleasant half hour looking at the silent

panorama.

       “When I was a boy,” Martin said, “it was still a mystery to people why seashells

were sometimes found on the tops of mountains. Reverend Peters explained that Satan

who put them there to confuse us.”

       “I‟d always wondered about that,” Nick said.



       “I‟ll have the Jagerschnitzel,” Nick told the waiter, “and my friend would like the

roast duck. And two dunkels, please.”

       They had just been served their beer when a tall man in a well-cut tweed jacket

approached their table and asked if he might sit with them for a few minutes. It was the

captain.

       “How did you find us?” Martin said.

       “I‟m a pilot for Lufthansa,” the man said. “I have a friend in Reservations who

recognized your name. I would have spoken with you sooner if I could. My name is

Gerhardt Engle. I believe we are distant cousins.”

       He held out his hand and Martin shook it. The waiter appeared again, and the

captain ordered a beer.
                                             157



       “It is good to meet you at last, Martin. You too, Herr Koutouzis.” He offered his

hand to Nick, who hesitated before he took it.

       Gerhardt shrugged. “I will apologize for my country. It was a dreadful time, but

I was just a little boy. My father was killed in the first months of the war.”

       “No need,” Nick said. “What‟s done can‟t be changed.”

       “You are right. I acted unwisely that night on the beach, Martin. I wanted to talk

with you alone. There were many ways I could have done that, and I picked a foolish

one. I had to get back to Miami for a flight the next morning, so I decided to let it go.”

       “Let what go?” Martin asked. “You were outside my hospital room three years

ago. You didn‟t appear very friendly then either.”

       “I did not think you would remember that or even have noticed. You are a very

observant man. Yes, I had finally tracked you down and had to see you. One look and it

was obvious. We could be brothers. The current Baron von Engle was an American

businessman in a hospital bed. It offended me, which was stupid. Nobility means

nothing in Germany today except to a few silly people. The real reason I wanted to find

you was the inheritance, of course, which probably does not exist. My great uncle, the

Feldherr, was extremely wealthy. His estates stretched for miles and provided a home to

hundreds of tenant farmers and day laborers. He saw what was coming in the 1840‟s, and

he put a great deal of his money into portable assets like jewelry, gold, fine art, and rare

manuscripts. He hid much of it before going off to war the last time.

       “I believed that you were probably quite wealthy although living modestly, and I

thought... But I was wrong, was I not? You have never heard of this?”
                                           158



       “You‟re right that I‟m no more than modestly well off,” Martin said, “but my

father did mention a treasure to me, sometime in the late thirties. I assumed it was

another of his wild stories. He‟d told too many lies to be taken seriously by anyone who

knew him. I have no idea where it is, or even that it exists. Why do you think it does?”

       “It may not, and it if once did it has most likely been found and disposed of. It is

a family legend. Someone brings it up now and then, and we talk about it. Some

relative in Saint Louis or New York had heard of you and passed it along, a rich

American, who was possibly the current Baron von Engle. It was mostly curiosity, a

little greed perhaps, and even anger. The Engle fortune was family wealth. If there had

been no war or revolution, and Johann Friedrich had died peacefully, his estate would

have been divided among the surviving members.” Gerhard stopped talking and took a

long swallow from his beer mug.

       Martin was smiling. “That‟s what I told my wife, that it was curiosity, the search

for the past. Maybe Nick and I are like those dedicated men who pillage wrecked

galleons and ancient ruins for historical purposes. No, Gerhard, we don‟t expect to find

anything. It was mainly an excuse to return to German and enjoy the food and beer.”

       “You‟ve been to Germany before?”

       “I was here with my wife in the early sixties, when our son was stationed in

Darmstadt. We combined a visit with a little touring. We got to Switzerland and

Liechtenstein.” Martin hoped Gerhardt hadn‟t noticed his hesitation.

       “I was born in Frankfurt,” Nick said. “My parents found it convenient to leave in

the early thirties. We were Greek, and foreigners had begun to feel unwelcome.”
                                            159



       “Of course,” Gerhardt said. “Tragic times. It looks like your dinners have come.

I‟ll leave you in peace. Sorry again to trouble you. I wanted to explain and to give you

this.” He took a fat envelope from his jacket pocket. “It is information on the Engle

family and addresses of relatives in Frankfurt and Bremen who would be happy to speak

with you if you would like. I hope you will look me up if you come to Bremen. My wife

and children would like to meet you. We do not know many Americans.”



       “Well, that was interesting,” Nick said when Gerhardt had gone. “Do you think

he believed you?”

       “No,” Martin said. “Would you? Not that I told him anything untrue, but I

imagine they‟ll keep an eye on us. A family legend, what a burden that must be. All

those Engles watching each other for signs of unearned income. It reminds me of a

young couple some friends introduced us to years ago. They were pleasant and attractive,

but they seemed characterless. Our friends told us later that they were waiting for a rich

relative to die. They had been for years. It ruined their lives.”

       “Greed is motivating until it kills you. You want to have a look at this town and

the Weisensee anyway?”

       “Sure,” Martin said. “We‟ll go to Neuschwanstein and see the lake on the way

back to Munich. Then I‟d like to visit some of the relatives, if you‟re up for it? Be

honest, Nick.”

       “No, that‟s fine. I don‟t know why I hesitated like that. Gerhardt was just a kid

like he said. Talk about a burden. Just so long as nobody says it didn‟t happen.”
                                               160



                                          .| Chapter 20.



         The road from Garmisch followed deep valleys between the small but jagged

mountain ranges and flowed out into prosperous farmland. It was a fine fall day, New

England weather, Martin told Nick, who said he knew all about New England weather

and you could keep it. They spent two hours at Schloss Neuschwannstein and ate a

heavy and satisfying lunch in Füssen.

         “Strange place,” Nick broke the peaceful silence, as they headed west towards the

Weissensee. “A brand new hundred year old castle. They could sell replicas of that

gorgeous hardware for good money.”

         “They probably do. We didn‟t go into the gift shop.”

         “But no Weinstube? I thought every German hill had a restaurant on top of it.

Did you notice, it looks sort of like Disneyworld?”

         Martin laughed. “You‟ve got it backwards, Nick. Disney copied Neuschwanstein

for Sleeping Beauty‟s Castle. They‟re hokey, but castles were meant to be over the top.

Great location, though. You‟re not going to paint it?”

         “I‟m sure it‟s been done, and anyway I don‟t paint fake castles. How far to the

lake?”

         “About ten k‟s. You know there‟s not a chance in a million we‟ll find anything?”

         “Be a lot easier if we don‟t.”

         “Definitely,” Martin said. “I‟m counting on it.”
                                               161



       “Now this is rather nice, actually,” Nick said. “Rolling hills, fallow fields, red tile

roofs, the lake, the pine woods, and the mountains in the background. You mind

stopping while I make a sketch?”

       Martin pulled off the road. They‟d stopped half a dozen times in the past two

days. Nick could sketch a scene and make notes about color and texture in under two

minutes. He took longer with this one.

       “The treasure should be about half way up the east side of the lake,” Martin said,

“a couple hundred feet from a bridge across a small stream.”

       There was a well-worn gravel road running north along the lake shore. They

soon came to a single-lane bridge and pulled off the road under the trees.

       “We have to walk from here,” Martin said. “You can wait in the car if you want.”

       “Not a chance I promised Eve I‟d look after you.”

       “Good,” Martin said. “I promised her to look after you.”

       There was a faint path through the dark pines. The stream emptied into the lake

through a clearing that seemed slightly smaller than the one in the General‟s sketch but

was in the right relation to the stream and the lake. There was no cairn, however. In

Munich they‟d bought a metal detector which folded neatly into a shoulder-carried case.

Martin paced off the location given on the sketch and carefully tested the ground within a

thirty foot circle. When that produced nothing, he used their small shovel to dig a hole

in the center two feet deep and tested that.

       He shook his head. “We‟ve done our duty, Nick. If it‟s here it can stay here. I‟ll

tell Gerhard, and he can give it a try.”
                                            162



       “Good idea,” Nick said. “A test of Prussian honor.”

       No more than a half hour had passed since they left the car.

       “Uh, oh,” Nick said as they came out of the woods. “Cops.” A van was parked

behind their car and two men were watching them approach. One was large, the other

short and thin. They were well dressed but hard looking, and both wore hats and dark

glasses. It was impossible to see their faces. They didn‟t look like Forstmeisters.”

       “Find anything?” the smaller man asked in broken English.

       “Just some salamanders,” Martin said, “Salamandroidia salamandra. I‟m a

limnologist. I study lakes and streams, but this is sort of a busman‟s holiday.” He was

fairly sure they had no idea what he was talking about.

       The small man drew a gun from inside his jacket. He opened the back door of the

van and motioned for them to get in.

       “I don‟t think they‟re the police,” Nick said.

       “No,” Martin said. “We have a rental car, fellow. You‟d better call the company

and tell them where we left it.” Nick laughed.

       The body of the van was closed off from the cab and there were no windows. It

was dark and noisy as they rode for thirty minutes. When the van doors opened, they

were inside a garage. The men motioned them through a door and down a flight of stairs

into a roughly finished basement. There were chairs, a desk, a filing cabinet. The

telephone on the desk was turned towards the wall. The room looked dusty and unused.

       “Look around,” the smaller man said. Martin had concluded that the larger man

didn‟t speak English at all. “Unless I get answers, this will be last thing you see. Take
                                             163



off coats and empty pockets. Martin had stuffed the sketch in an inner pocket of his

jacket. The man found it immediately. “What is this?”

        “It‟s a treasure map,” Martin said. “There‟s not much to tell you. My father told

me about the Engle treasure thirty years ago and gave me that drawing. He said he didn‟t

know where it was. He was a big time bullshitter, but we thought we‟d have a look. You

can see it looks sort of like the Weisensee, but there was nothing there.”

        “I think you are liar,” the small man said. “You tell me all you know or we kill

you.”

        “I wouln‟t like that much,” Martin said, “but I‟m afraid that‟s all I know all I

know. And this oaf here doesn‟t even know that much. You‟ll have to shoot us.”

        “I will shoot you in knee. It will be very painful.”

        “Ouch, I‟m sure it will,” Martin said, “but it won‟t help you, because I still don‟t

know what to tell you. You‟re obviously too smart for us to lie to you.”

        The man looked at him for a moment, then he motioned to his companion and

they left the room. Martin heard the lock click. A minute later the van started up and

they drove away.

        “They didn‟t kill us,” Nick said.

        “You knew they wouldn‟t,” Martin said, “but I‟m still relieved.”

        “The dark glasses?”

        “Yeah, and the stupid hats, and they weren‟t very good actors. „I will shoot you

in knee.‟ I don‟t know if you noticed, but he couldn‟t even point his gun at me. I also

think he probably believed what I said.     Which was essentially true except for how we
                                            164



got the map. Somebody is behind them, Nick, and told them not to hurt us. I have a

feeling they were also supposed to put us back in the van and leave us somewhere in the

boondocks, but I doubt they have any connection to where we are. No, they had the

sketch and got flustered. Let‟s get out of here before they change their minds.”

       Nick had to do little more than lean on the door for it to burst open. They were on

the edge of a village and could walk to a store from which they called a cab to take them

back to their car. It was undisturbed. The case containing the metal detector was on the

ground where Martin had left it.

       “You were pretty cool, you know,” Nick said.

       “I surprised myself,” Martin admitted, “but I never could take them seriously, not

from the first moment. I can‟t see going to the cops now, can you? ”

       “No,” Nick agreed. “Kidnapped by a couple of clowns? But Hitler was a clown

too, and he destroyed a civilization and fifty million lives. We still on for Heidelberg?”

       “Sure,” Martin said, “if you‟re up for it.”

       “As long as they have wurst and beer.”
                                             165




                                        .| Chapter 21|



       After they‟d checked into the sixteenth century Hotel zum Ritter and taken the

nineteenth century elevator to their fourth floor room, Martin phoned Herr Professor Otto

Engle. The professor had been expecting his call and invited them to supper. The Herr

Doctor Otto and Frau Anna Engle lived near the University in an old but fashionable

building which overlooked the Neckar. Not surprisingly, they both spoke fluent English.

       “We had a great day,” Martin told them. “It‟s a beautiful city and it‟s so old.”

       “It is beautiful,” Otto Engle agreed. “We love it. Unfortunately, it‟s one of the

few genuinely old cities left in Germany, although many are being rebuilt now. There

are many theories as to why Heidelberg wasn‟t bombed during the war, that it was too

historic, or it was traded for Oxford or that the Allied forces wanted to use it, which is

why Oxford wasn‟t bombed, because Hitler wanted to use it. The real reason is probably

that Heidelberg wasn‟t worth the trouble. It survives off of the university and tourism

and has no other industry. At that, it was largely re-built in the eighteenth century and

later. Your hotel is the only building in Heidelberg that survived the war of the Palatinate

Succession in 1688. You have buildings that old in your country.”

       “I suppose we do,” Martin said. “I‟d never thought about it. There‟s a cemetery

on Cape Cod with headstones for several pilgrims who were born in the 1500‟s. I always

found that rather amazing.”

       “Then, consider this. Your nation is a hundred years older than Germany. It‟s the
                                             166



oldest democracy in the world and almost the oldest continuously operating government.

We had our chance at democratic government in 1919 and bungled it. The Federal

Republic was created only twenty years ago from the French, English, and American

occupation zones. I‟m hopeful, but we have a long way to go.”

       “Germany looks good to me,” Nick said. “Don‟t run it down.”

       “You‟re right. We still carry some guilt. You haven‟t said so, but you‟re Jewish,

are you not?”

       “I told you they‟d know, Martin. We don‟t forget either, professor, but your guilt

feelings aren‟t worth a dime, and an apology for something you personally didn‟t do

would be insulting. I find it hard to believe you were a Nazi. I say open your country‟s

records, prosecute the real war criminals, pay reparations where you can, return the stolen

art, support Israel, and move on. If I looked back at all the shit that was done to me over

eighty-five years, I‟d lose my appetite, and that‟s about all I have left.”

       “Good idea, Nick. No, I wasn‟t a Nazi, thank God, just a tank commander in

North Africa until I lost my leg. It seemed a small price at the time. I was able to go

back to school in the relative safety of Heidelberg, and I‟ve never left. I hope you don‟t

mind my asking, but I would like to know what you intelligent and educated gentlemen

think about your present war.”

       “Vietnam?” Nick said. “Stupidest thing we‟ve ever done. Should‟ve let the

commies fight it out with the crooks. I don‟t blame the kids for running to Canada.”

       Martin laughed. “Nick‟s a libertarian. He thinks anything our government does

is dumb. He may be right about Vietnam, but I the government is us, and we‟re all
                                            167



responsible. I‟m just glad my son is past draft age. I‟ll tell you what the war is good for,

to blame things on, inflation, drugs, crime, family breakups, invasion of privacy, long

hair, you name it. You probably have your own list, Otto. I don‟t know if was is ever a

good idea, probably not, although I don‟t want to live under Communism, but now it‟s

political, and no one knows how to get out without taking the blame.”

        “The truth is never simple. Gerhardt tells me that you are hoping to learn more

about the Engles. We have quite good records from the thirteen century onwards which I

would be glad to share with you. I can have a copy made and mailed to you. The sources

have been thoroughly researched but do not seem to be of enough general interest for

publication.”

        “That would be great,” Martin said. “For a retired businessman I‟m pretty

interested in history, particularly European history. I‟d like to know where my own

forebears fit in.”

        “The Engles were nobility, Barons and Freiherren, which usually meant ignorant

soldiers, but there were a few educated men among them. Apparently Johann Friedrich

was something of a scientist and a serious amateur astronomer. He experimented with a

reflecting telescope with a gimbal mount for stability on board a ship. He was a great

admirer of Goethe as a naturalist. Are there scientists in your family?”

        “Not really. My father was a good builder, and a carpenter and stoneworker. An

intelligent man but too busy chasing women to be a thinker. I find history and science

fascinating, but I don‟t have the concentration to be a scholar.

        “Look, Otto, Nick and I are here mainly as tourists. We‟ve enjoyed the scenery
                                            168



and the castles and museums and your food and beer. Today in Heidelberg was

delightful. But there is another reason we‟re here besides historical curiosity. Or there

was. My father told me about the Engle treasure over thirty years ago and gave me this

sketch. He wasn‟t a trustworthy man, and I didn‟t take him seriously.”

       Martin handed Otto the photocopy.

       “That‟s a copy obviously, but somebody who knows these things says the original

looks authentic. It‟s supposedly by von Engle, I suppose showing the location of his

treasure, but there‟s no clue as to where in the world this is. We found a place on the

Weisensee in Southern Bavaria that on the map looked like a match. Only there was

nothing there. It was a nice treasure hunt in gorgeous country, and I‟m not sorry we did

it, but I don‟t think we‟ll look any further. Nick and I are too old for adventures, and

there are too many places to look. You know your country a lot better than we do. Send

a copy to Gerhardt, too, if you want, and I wish you both good hunting.”

       “This is amazing!” Otto said. “To be honest, I‟d never take the General‟s

„treasure‟ seriously either. Are you sure the sketch is genuine?”

       “Not at all. As I said, the paper and the ink and penmanship seem right, but my

father was a pathological liar. According to you and Gerhardt, though, at least some of

his story may be true.”

       “I share your skepticism,” Otto said. “The treasure is a perennial topic of

conversation among the Engles. Almost a joke but not quite. We will give it another

try. I teach European history at the University and in a local gymnasium. I can offer one

of my beginning classes an extra-credit assignment in map reading. If we find the
                                             169



treasure and can make a reasonable claim, we will pay the taxes and discuss with you

what to do with it. Would that be acceptable, Baron von Engle?”

       Martin laughed. “That‟s fine with me. I honestly don‟t care about the treasure.

We‟re fine, our kids are doing fine, and Dunedin has a first rate public library which is all

I really care about. If you find the treasure set up a foundation that offers scholarships. It

would be satisfying, though, to upstage my friend Leon. His cousin found a sunken

Spanish treasure ship, and Leon is pretty obnoxious about it.”

       “Where did he find it?” Otto asked.

       “Off the Florida keys. Leon‟s cousin and his twenty year old son were in Key

West poking around for sunken ships when a young woman who was studying

oceanography in Miami heard about it. She was a rabid ecologist and started a campaign

against treasure hunting, but then she and the son fell in love. They got married, and the

girl caught the treasure bug. With her help they found two sunken galleons carrying four

hundred million dollars in gold. Treasures aren‟t always a pipe dream. Leon had been

idiotic enough to buy a quarter share in their corporation, so he was looking at millions.

       “Then just last month the State of Florida decided they were entitled to most of

the treasure, and finally the Federal government got into it and claimed anything found

between four and twelve miles off shore. Leon‟s treasure is eleven miles from shore.

The case could go on for years.”

       “I‟m not sure the German government would be any more reasonable,” Frau

Engle said. “But I‟m sure Otto will look. He likes to sound casual about his discoveries,

but historians are always digging for buried treasure of some kind. He‟s still a boy at
                                               170



heart.”

          Otto and Anna went into the kitchen to put finishing touches on the dinner.

          “You like this guy, right?” Nick asked.

          “Yes, don‟t you?”

          “Sure. You think he had anything to do with the clowns?”

          “Of course not.”

          “Then shouldn‟t we tell them?”

          “Sure we should. It‟s just that it‟s probably somebody in the family.”

          “All the more reason, I‟d think.”



          “That was a very pleasant evening,” Nick said later at the hotel. “They seemed to

handle our kidnapping rather well. No mention of the police you must have noticed. I

guess they‟ve been through worse. I wondered if you were going to mention the diary. I

thought you finessed finding the map rather well.”

          “I think he just let it go. He‟s no dummy.”

          “No indeed. What if they do find the treasure?”

          “I hope they do, but I doubt that they will. I think the map was meant to go with

the diary.”

          “It hasn‟t helped us so far. If they had the diary they might be better able to

figure it out.”

          “Probably. I‟ll give it to them eventually, but I‟d like to be sure we‟ve taken our

best shot. The answer is in there somewhere, just not in so many words. Nick, do you
                                          171



think we ought to check out Paris on our way back to the states?”
                                             172



                                        .| Chapter 22|.



       “I hope you haven‟t forgotten that you‟re going to take me to Paris.”

       “I haven‟t at all,” Martin said. “This was just a quick reconnaissance on the spur

of the moment, for planning purposes. I found us the perfect hotel on the left bank and

some inexpensive restaurants. We went to the Louvre and the Jeu de Paume, but there

are dozens of other places I want to see. You‟re not angry?”

       “Of course not,” Eve said. “I‟m glad you and Nick had a good time and you had a

chance to have some fun treasure hunting even if you didn‟t find anything. Have you two

decided to call it quits now? I don‟t want to spoil the party, but you‟re not the Hardy

Boys anymore.”

       “I think we have, more or less. I have to tell you something about our treasure

hunt. It was a little more exciting than I‟ve let on.”

       “Oh, dear,” Eve said.



       Martin called another meeting, this time for a Saturday brunch. He and Nick

recounted their German adventure for Harry, and Lisa.”

       “I‟d have been scared,” Harry said.

       “Did I say we weren‟t?” Martin said. “But I knew they were bluffing. They

weren‟t going to hurt us, and it was pretty obvious we had no idea where any treasure

was. If I really thought they were going to get rough, I‟d have told them about the diary.

       “You wouldn‟t!” Harry said.
                                            173



       “Sure I would. Sorry if I disappoint you, but I‟m not good with pain. I learned

that when I was a kid.   I had to have my tonsils out, and my stepfather thought a seven

year old should be able to take a street car to the doctor‟s office by himself for something

as simple as a tonsillectomy. Fortunately my mother insisted on going with me. The

doctor was so old he couldn‟t see what he was doing and just sliced off the tops of my

tonsils. I screamed bloody murder and bled all over his office, and all over the streetcar

on the way home.”

       “Everybody blames the old guy,” Nick said.

       “With good reason in this case. When I was thirty-five I had to have them taken

out again, this time by the Head Surgeon at the Jewish hospital in Saint Louis. He

promised me a five minute operation and a teaspoon of blood, but it took him forty-five

minutes. The local anesthetic wore off, and I behaved disgracefully. He blamed me for

having to take so long. Anyway, I‟m planning eventually to send a copy of the diary to

the Engles and return the original to the abbey.”

       “You‟re not giving up, are you?” Harry asked. “We‟ve learned a lot. There really

is a treasure, and other people are looking for it. We know the General was rich and

educated and he was a scientist. That might help us find the clues.”

       “How?” Lisa asked.

       “Because he‟d want to show off. He talks a lot about the stars and constellations.

Maybe he‟s using a mathematical code of some kind.”

       “You should be able to find it then,” Lisa said. “It‟s „up your alley,‟ right.”

       Harry and Lisa left to go to the beach.
                                            174



        Nick considered Martin for a moment. “You say kindness and truth is your God,

and I can‟t think of a better one, but didn‟t tell Harry the truth. You weren‟t afraid.”

        “I‟ve been afraid, Nick. Not often and usually not for myself. But not this time,

no. They looked like a couple of fake eastern European Tonton Macoutes. You weren‟t

afraid either.”

        “My pleasures and accomplishments are mostly behind me. The grave yawns,

although I‟d regret missing more of that German cooking. I don‟t necessarily expect

good food where I‟ll end up.”

        “My Uncle Lee always said if you were as good as you could be you‟d live

forever, and if you were bad you‟d die forever. I have no idea what he meant.”
                                            175



                                       .| Chapter 23|.



       Eve and Martin went on a two week cruise through the West Indies with the

Walters. The Princess Grace was an enormous ship, but it was efficiently run and the

cruise proved to be quite pleasant. The food was excellent, the weather perfect. The on-

shore excursions were pathetic by contrast. Many passengers stayed on board after the

first few stops, but Martin and Eve always went ashore.

       Karl and Miriam Walters were a lively Welsh couple in their seventies who‟d

retired to Florida, where months of cold North Atlantic mist were unknown. Karl was

delighted to discuss British politics with Martin, sea battles, and druid archaeology, as

well as subjects he knew nothing about. Martin was willing to overlook Karl‟s interest in

the spiritual aspects of the ancient world. He accepted all peculiarities in his friends,

short of conscious deception, and he was happy to discuss politics and religion with the

most outrageous extremists. Martin could talk sports as well, having played most of them

at one time, although his own interest was now slight and he watched only an occasional

boxing match on TV. He knew a fair amount about science from his reading, more than

enough to ask intelligent questions, which was all that was generally required in

conversation with a scientist. He neither knew nor cared much about economics, but

economists didn‟t seem to need a responsive audience. If the talk about politics became

too heavily partisan Martin would say he preferred an honest crook to a hypocrite, which

generally ended the conversation. He tried to avoid discussions of business, about which

he knew quite a bit but didn‟t believe that he or anyone really understood. How he had
                                            176



made a living had always seemed somewhat mysterious,s even to himself. He shuffled

papers, wrote letters, added columns of figures, had many inane conversations, and at the

end of the month he would be given a great deal of money. He might have preferred to

earn an honest dollar as a butcher.

       The main quality he valued in the Walters was that they paid attention to the

passing scene. And not just the other passengers but the islands and the islanders as well,

and the birds and fish and the ships they passed. Most of their shipboard companions

noticed very little beyond their dinner plates and bridge hands.

       One afternoon a man named George Gross struck up a conversation with Martin

as the stood on the sun deck. He asked Martin if he was unwell. Martin was surprised, as

he‟d been feeling rather good.

       “As far as I know, I‟m fine. Why?”

       “You are pale,” George said. He spoke with a slight German accent.

       “I was born pale,” Martin said. He knew the man was referring to his own tanned

and sculpted body.

       “No, no,” George said, “You should get out in the sun like me. I‟m seventy years

old and strong and healthy. I swim and exercise every day. You do that and you will be

strong too.”

       “I think you have it backwards, George. You aren‟t strong because you swim and

lift weights. You can do those things because the good Lord gave you a strong body.

He gave me a pale one. If I exercised like you I‟d be dead. In fact I‟ve known at least a

dozen people my age who jogged religiously and exercised every day, and they‟re all
                                             177



dead.”

         George shook his head and turned his attention to more appreciative listeners.

         Martin gave little thought to his personal health these days. He did more or less

what his doctor told him as long as it seemed reasonable. Otherwise he got on with his

life. His brother Joe had written that several of their friends had had to have serious

operations and were in poor health. “I‟m exercising a lot,” Joe wrote, “and I‟m taking

more vitamins.” Joe played golf seven days a week. He jogged five miles every morning

and took dozens of vitamin pills. Joe wrote that Alma, too, had increased her vitamins

and had taken up vigorous exercise although she was overweight, had a heart problem,

and had suffered a mild stroke.

         Martin loved his brother and was fond of Alma. He knew she meant him well

although she drove him crazy at times. Alma and Joe traveled with a bag of medical

equipment and frequently checked their vital signs. During their visits to Florida Alma

would have liked to take Martin‟s blood pressure and listen to his heart as well as to read

to him from the Bible. When Martin showed genuine symptoms of flu, however, she and

Joe left immediately for Miami. The Japanese, he‟d read, enjoyed life and spoke of

death as another adventure. Evidently this attitude allowed them to live years longer on

average than westerners.

         After their Uncle Ed died, Alma and Joe had come for a quick visit. The point

was to see rich Ed‟s widow, May. May took them to lunch. They were careful not to

mention the disgraced son, and they didn‟t talk about money. “So May wouldn‟t get the

wrong idea,” Alma said. But there was never any danger of May getting the wrong idea.
                                           178



       Before dinner one shipboard evening, Martin and Eve were watching a beautiful

sunset which was sandwiched between the gray green sea and a heavy bank of clouds.

       “Those clouds are full of rain,” Martin remarked to the elderly couple sitting in

deck chairs next to them.

       “There isn‟t any rain in those clouds,” the husband said with authority.

       “Really?” Martin said. “They‟re so dark I thought there must be.”

       “Well, there isn‟t!”

       “Do you think they‟re just dirty,” Martin asked, “from all the smoke and soot of

civilization?”

       The man gave him a strange look but said nothing. Within minutes, long

streamers of rain began to fall from the clouds and rumple the surface of the water.

       “I was pretty sure there was rain in the clouds,” Martin said.

       “That isn‟t rain,” the man said. “There‟s no rain in those clouds.”

       “My mistake,” Martin said. “I can see now that it‟s a curtain drawn across the sky

by God to hide the sunset from sinners.”

       The couple got up and left.

       Cozumel was a dirty town with pot-holed streets and broken sidewalks. Either the

citizens were too poor and lazy to fix them or they kept them that way to create a quaint

third-world atmosphere. The dusty shops sold overpriced duty free goods.

       Their van driver had given them no indication that he knew more than a few

words of English: „cathedral,‟ „Mayan ruin.‟
                                             179



       “Isn‟t it strange,” Karl said, “that in Greece they have ruins that are much older

than these, and yet the Greeks are still there. I wonder what happened to the Mayans?”

       Clearly the driver had been listening and had sensed something simpatico in

Martin. He turned and looked at Martin for an instant, then turned back to the road and

spoke over his shoulder with a desperate earnestness.

       “The population of Yucatan is seventy-five percent Mayan and twenty-five

percent Spanish. We are still here. But does anyone care? Are our hotels safe and

clean? That‟s all they want from us. Are the shops full of interesting curios? Are the

meals American enough to agree with your stomachs but foreign enough to be

memorable. Are the ruins interesting, historical, beautiful, and easy on the legs?

       “We expect soon to find oil in Mexico, sirs. We hope it will make a difference,

but it will more likely to destroy our lives as it has the lives of the poor in Africa. The oil

will belong to the government. The money will go to the politicians and the army. The

rich will become richer and the poor will become angry. In Chiapas in the south you can

see many burned haciendas. Once a few Spanish overlords owned all the land. Then the

Indios revolted and killed them, but the government took the land, and the land died, and

now the peons are poorer than before.”



       “He won‟t get many customers talking that way,” Karl said after their tour.

       “We weren‟t going to be repeat customers anyway,” Martin said. “I thought he

was interesting, but you‟re right. If every native we met on this cruise told us what they

really thought of us there‟d be a lot less tourism.”
                                             180



       They saw only a small sample of Jamaica in their half day on shore. It was not a

place of great beauty in Martin‟s opinion, but it did have wonderfully rich vegetation. A

bus took them from the squalid port of Rio Ochos to the top of a plateau. From there, a

tractor pulled them in a large tumbril over rough dirt roads, stopping occasionally so they

could admire a tropical tree or catch a glimpse of the distant Caribbean. At the end of the

two hour trip, Karl said, “That was the worst excursion I‟ve ever been on.”

       Martin agreed that it was dull but said he‟d enjoyed seeing the trees, especially at

the Pimento Plantation. The seeds of the pimento were ground to produce allspice. It

was explained that the small red objects in olives were not pimentos but „pimientos‟, a

European sweet pepper which was also the source of paprika and had nothing to do with

Jamaica.

       There were two very tired looking mongooses in a cage at the Pimento Plantation.

Mongooses had been imported to kill the sugar cane rats, but the rats were nocturnal and

the mongooses worked normal office hours. They never met. Instead, the mongooses

killed all the snakes and then started on the chickens.

       They went to Dunn‟s River Falls, a small stream that flowed down six hundred

feet over a hillside of attractive limestone boulders. This was Jamaica‟s signature tourist

sight, and it was as charming as promised. You could put on a bathing suit and walk in

the falls, but fortunately no one on the tour had brought a suit.

       Much of the rest of the Island was impoverished and sad. Martin wondered why

no one made even simple repairs to the houses and roads. It was not just poverty, he

surmised, but something psychological. The roads, although narrow and poor, were quite
                                             181



busy. Their driver assured them that very few pedestrians were killed because motor

traffic had the right of way and pedestrians had learned to be wary.

       The next day on Grand Cayman Island they were taken to see a turtle farm. Here

over a hundred thousand turtles were being raised for their meat. The tour members all

passed up the chance to try a turtle burger, but they gleefully mailed postcards from the

nearby town of „Hell‟. The card Martin sent to himself arrived some weeks after their

return, postmarked „George Town, Cayman Islands.‟

       “The General spent a lot of time in the Caribbean,” Martin said to Eve one

morning as they went on deck.     “Maybe it wasn‟t a lake at all. He could have buried

his treasures on any of these islands.”

       “Anything‟s possible,” Eve said.



       Port au Prince, Haiti was an elegant name for an unfortunate and smelly city.

Nearly all the buildings appeared to have been damaged by war, riots, hurricanes, or

neglect. They were told that it had looked more or less the same as long as anyone could

remember, the result of extreme poverty, massive corruption, and an almost total lack of

organization. The crumbling, weather-beaten houses, stores, and public buildings

straggled helter-skelter up the steep hillsides like the broken ranks of an army in retreat.

       Neither the tour guide nor any of the travelers mentioned Papa Doc, but he

remained a presence their entire time on the island. They passed his palace, huge and

beautiful in its way. In the square was an enormous sign. “DR. FRANCOIS

DUVALIER, PRESIDENT FOR LIFE.”
                                              182



         “What did you think of Port-au-Prince?” said a tall man across the table from

Martin at dinner that evening.

         “It was interesting, but poor and sad,” Martin said.

         “Poor!” the man said. “My God, it was awful. Such terrible poverty, but

fortunately they don‟t need much. They‟re such a naturally happy people.”

         “You think so?” Martin said. “All I saw were sullen, unhappy faces.”

         “At least there isn‟t a lot of crime,” the man said, “like all the muggings and purse

snatching we have in our cities.”

         “I didn‟t see many purses either,” Martin said.



         “I think you lost another friend,” Eve said later.

         “It‟s all right,‟ Martin said. “We happy-go-lucky poor prefer to live in ghettos

with our own kind,”

         The general impression was that Haiti‟s condition had been created by Papa Doc,

but Martin wasn‟t so sure. He thought Papa Doc‟s bizarre activities might have been all

that kept Haiti from sliding into the sea while he bled it white. Jamaica, on the other

hand, had been a fairly prosperous island under British rule, prosperous for the British

colonists at least. It had declared independence in 1962 and appeared to have gone

rapidly downhill. Haiti had been independent since 1804 and had been declining for 160

years.



         A very old lady at the next table turned to Eve. “Excuse me my dear. I‟ve been
                                           183



trying to remember..., but no, you‟re too young.” She studied Martin a moment. “Now

you, sir, you must recall the World‟s Fair of 1897.”

       Martin couldn‟t remember that there had even been a fair in that year, but he was

pleased to assure her that it had been particularly impressive although he could no longer

remember much about it.



       Of all the islands, they liked St. Lucia best, perhaps because it was so small and

lush. The tiny volcano was accessible and non-threatening, little more than a hot pool

and a few wisps of steam. The rain forest was lovely, thickly grown with palms and

ferns, banana, nutmeg, mango, and breadfruit trees.

       The guide told them there was a serious rat problem on Santa Lucia as well.

Once again mongooses had been imported, apparently with the same result as on all the

other islands. You‟d have thought the word would get around.



       The islands were beautiful, even if they all had similar vegetation and began to

look a great deal alike after a while. The islanders were mostly black. Someone joked

that they had probably spent the whole two weeks visiting the same island. The cruise

ship simply anchored off a different port each morning, and they made the traffic change

sides on alternate days.



       Mildred Whitaker, their table companion one evening, said, “I get sick every time

I look in a mirror.”
                                            184



       “It‟s not a good idea to look into a mirror after a certain age,” Martin said. “Our

faces don‟t bear up under close scrutiny. One solution is to grow a beard.” She gave him

a sour look.

       A large woman in her 60‟s said, “I know a lot about religion. I‟ve read the Bible,

Billy Graham, Norman Vincent Peale, and Oral Roberts.”

       Martin said, “You‟ve read about the fringes of one aspect of one religion. There

are thousands of religions, and I believe in all of them.”

       “I‟ve decided,” Eve said later, “that some people actually enjoy being insulted.”

       “They prefer it to being ignored,” Martin said.



       On the last night of the cruise the Captain gave an exceptionally delicious and

very rich dinner. Between the dessert and the savory Martin had to excuse himself to get

his stomach medicine.

       As he rounded a corner into their corridor he saw a tall man in a steward‟s

uniform close the door to their cabin and walk quickly away carrying their two suitcases.

Martin followed as quietly as he could, catching up just as the man pushed through the

door to the deck.

       “What are you doing with our suitcases,” Martin said calmly to his back.

       The man whirled around. He dropped the suitcases and came at Martin. It had

been forty-five years since Martin had played football for University City, but his

reflexes were still adequate. He threw the chunky room key at the man‟s face and kicked

him in the groin. As the man bent over in pain Martin whipped a silver fountain pen
                                              185



from his jacket pocket and jabbed it toward the man‟s stomach, simulating a knife.

         Caught off guard, the tall thief backpedaled to the rail and in an instant had

flipped over it into the dark sea.

         Martin stood frozen in horror. His first thought was to run towards the dining

room and shout, “man overboard,” but they were only a hundred feet from the stern of the

ship. If the steward hadn‟t been cut in ribbons by the ship‟s giant screws he would

already be a half mile behind them, and many miles by the time the ship could stop and

turn. Martin had no doubt that it might easily have been he who was beneath the black

water.

         He picked up the suitcases and carried them back to their cabin. They had been

almost fully packed for their disembarkation in the morning. The contents seemed to be

undisturbed. His camera was still sitting on the chest of drawers. Eve had taken her

purse with her to dinner. The steward had lost his life in an attempt to steal two suitcases

full of inexpensive clothing.

         Obviously the right thing to do would be to report the incident, but he‟d already

waited too long. He took his pill and returned to the dining room.

         He hadn‟t seen the man‟s face clearly in the few seconds of their confrontation,

but he was fairly sure he knew who it was. There was no indication at breakfast the next

morning that the steward had been missed. Martin listened for an announcement on the

evening news and checked the newspapers carefully for a few after they‟d arrived home,

but it was as if the man had never existed. It was surprisingly easy to think that nothing

had happened.
                                           186




                                      .| Chapter 24 |.



        At the marina one morning, Martin was asked by an old man carrying a net and a

bucket where the minnows were running. The minnows followed a predictable pattern

each day which Martin had found interesting and always observed carefully. They

talked while the man seined a bucket of the small fish for bait. Martin explained that he

didn‟t fish because there was an excellent fish market a block away. The fellow retiree

seemed to find this perfectly reasonable. Other than the occasional fisherman with a skiff

and an outboard, Martin rarely saw anyone around the boats. In his experience none of

the nearly two hundred massive cruisers ever left the marina during the summer and few

even in the winter. He puzzled over why this was but decided that he didn‟t need to

know.

        One afternoon when Eve was playing bridge a few weeks later, Martin wandered

over to the club house to drink a cup of coffee and read. He found reading in the midst of

what passed for activity in Florida quite pleasant. Occasionally something happened

worth noting on his pad.

        There were the usual dozen people in and around the pool. By mid-afternoon it

became apparent that a storm was brewing. The wind began to pick up, inky black

clouds scudded across the sky, and great flashes of lightning produced earthshaking claps

of thunder that seemed to be approaching rapidly. No one paid any attention until the
                                             187



first drops of rain fall. Then they all screamed and climbed out of the pool to run for

cover.

         Martin didn‟t fish, and although he often swam in the Gulf he never used the pool.

He once explained to someone who asked him why that he didn‟t want to soak in other

people‟s germs. They were offended. He walked two miles every morning before the

worst of the heat.



         The days passed. Eve was at a bridge luncheon again. Martin decided to drive to

downtown St. Petersburg to visit a few bookstores and eat at Morrisons Cafeteria.

Morrisons was an institution in St. Pete and a good place to watch people. Martin always

sat near the steam tables, where on this day two elderly women were discussing their

choices.

         “I‟m going to have the brilled lever, Gert,” Marta said. She asked for the grilled

liver, but without the smothered onions. When the women had paid at the cash register

two cheerful girls in Morrisons uniforms appeared and reached for their trays.

         “Vat you vant?” Gert said.

         “We‟ll carry your tray to a table and take your order for drinks.”

         “Go avay. I carry my own tray.”

         An important looking woman in a green uniform approached them. “It‟s the

policy at Morrisons for the girls to carry your trays to a table.”
                                           188



       “Vat‟s the matter. You tink I‟m too old to carry mine own brilled lever? Fooey. I

carry mine grandchildren. Already I‟m cheated out of two cents for onions dat you gonna

sell to somebody else. Now we got to pay girls for carrying tray!”

       “No, no,” the woman explained, “there‟s no charge.”

       “Dat‟s vat you tink. Dey gonna vant a tip. I no give tip, so dey slam down tray

and give us dirty look. If this vasn‟t such nice lever I vould give it back. Come on

Marta, ve find a table.”

       Martin enjoyed a bowl of chowder. Morrisons never failed to satisfy.



       Despite having all the time in the world, their lives seemed to be always filled

with minor duties and activities. The exterminator arrived one morning to deal with their

ant and roach problem. He looked at the bull whip hanging on the wall of Martin‟s den.

       “You any good with that?

       “Not as good as I used to be,” Martin said. “I missed a fly the other day.”

       “Yeah? You one of those guys that can knock a cigarette out of a lady‟s mouth?”

       “Not anymore,” Martin said, “my wife gave up smoking.”



       Martin was sent by Eve to the Publix Market for a few items for a dinner party.

He heard a three year old ask her mother, “Why don‟t we ever have eggs like a normal

family?”

       “I thought we were a normal family?” her mother replied.

       “How can we be?” the ten year old said. “All my friends eat eggs and they‟re
                                            189



from normal families.”

       “Eggs are full of cholesterol.”

       “What‟s cholesterol?” the seven year old asked.

       “I don‟t really know,” the mother said. “But everyone says it‟s bad for you.”

       “When I grow up,” the ten year old said, “I‟ll eat an egg and see if I drop dead.”

       “Me too,” said the seven year old.

       “Oh, all of you, please just shut up,” the mother said.

       When he went to check out, the checker picked up Martin‟s package of razor

blades and giggled.

       “Why do you need razor blades?” she asked, pointing to Martin‟s beard.

       Martin smiled. “I shave my arm pits.”

       The man behind him laughed heartily. The checker turned red and hurriedly

finished his order. Martin remembered the time, back in the late 1930‟s, when Eve sent

him to Bellville‟s Market in Ferguson. You asked Mr. Bellville for each item on your

list. “One loaf of white bread, please.” It was necessary to say „please‟. “Four nice pork

chops, please.” You always specified „nice‟, although Belleville carried only nice meats.

Then Martin made the mistake of saying, “Two rolls of toilet paper, please.”

       Mr. Bellville stood frozen for an instant and then in reproving tones said, “I

presume you wish to purchase two rolls of bathroom tissue?”



       One Sunday the service at St. Paul‟s began with the Litany, a laundry list of sins,

afflictions, and supplications with a medieval flavor that Martin always enjoyed. “From
                                             190



fornication, and all other deadly sins and deceits of the world, the flesh, and the devil..,”

the rector intoned. The congregation solemnly replied, “Good Lord, deliver us.” Martin

looked around with amusement at the sea of weary bald-headed men and snow-white

haired women with ancient faces.

        The rector announced that they would be using the Authorized Communion

Service Number Two. After the service Eve asked Martin if it had bothered him to have

to follow a different liturgy.

        “I never followed the old one,” Martin said. “I don‟t care what prayers we use, but

I could certainly do without the Kiss of Peace. That‟s the sort of thing I go to church to

get away from.”

        Norman Sanders had told Martin that his brother Russell never went to church on

Christmas or Easter because he said those days were for amateurs. Norm was what

Martin considered a sensible Christian. The church was currently having a Stewardship

Canvas, and Norm had been stuck with the job of neighborhood captain. He asked Eve if

she thought Martin would help.

        “He wouldn‟t touch it, Norm,” Eve said. “I‟d rather not either, but I‟ll help if I

can.”

        Eve went to a canvasser‟s meeting but slipped out when it became clear that it

was to be a dragnet in which every church member would be badgered into making what

they called a „sacrificial‟ pledge. She told Norm she couldn‟t do that. He said he

doubted that any of the canvassers would. In his experience people did exactly what they

wanted to do.
                                           191



       Eve said that was hypocritical. “We‟ll make a pledge, Norm, but I can guarantee

you it won‟t be sacrificial!”

       When Martin mentioned the canvas to a Methodist friend, he was told that giving

should always be a sacrifice. Martin asked him if it wasn‟t foolish to attempt buy your

way into heaven. It‟s not that way, he was told. So, what way was it, Martin wanted to

know, but the man seemed to feel that Martin was a lost cause.



       When Martin first retired he‟d thought briefly of writing an article on old age and

retirement, but he decided no one would be interested. He continued to refer to the

subject in his writings and collected odd stories connected with retirement. The St.

Petersburg Times had profiled a sixty-five year old man who spent his days in a small

store in downtown St. Pete checking blood pressure for a dollar.

       “Why do you do this?” the reporter asked.

       “To kill time until I die,” the man said. Martin was surprised that the Times

would publish such a downbeat story. The paper used to be free on any day the sun

didn‟t shine, but they‟d stopped that some years ago.

       The First National Bank of St. Petersburg offered new depositors a free copy of

The Kennedy Family. Evidently someone at the bank had a better sense of humor than

might have been expected. Their part of Florida was heavily Republican. Martin had

been as horrified as everyone else by the assassinations of Jack and Robert Kennedy, but

he‟d disliked the Kennedy clan on principle as opportunists and aspiring demagogues.
                                               192



“Ask not what your country can do for you,” was something a dictator might say. In his

opinion the nation existed for its citizens.



       Martin watched through his den room window as an elderly couple strolled past.

They were unhurried and peaceful. There were no troubles resting on their shoulders.

That was as it should be, but he often saw aimlessness in the meanderings of the old and

heard meaningless babble in their conversation. How could they do nothing when there

were so many things to do?



       Summer and winter the parties continued, and they went, partly for entertainment

partly from a sense of obligation to friends and acquaintances, and in some measure for

self-preservation. If you didn‟t go, you weren‟t asked. Even the worst parties were

entertaining.

       At Caroline and Ray‟s open house, a fussy old man pointed at the punch bowls.

       “What‟s this stuff?” he asked Martin.

       “This is punch and that‟s eggnog.”

       “Does it have whiskey in it?”

       “The eggnog does, the punch doesn‟t.”

       “Then I‟ll have some punch. Drinking whiskey is a dirty habit.”

       An hour later, Martin saw the old man waving a cup of punch and talking loudly

to a small group of amused listeners. He hadn‟t asked, so Martin hadn‟t explained that

the punch was laced with vodka.
                                            193



       Martin mentioned to Caroline‟s daughter-in-law, the wife of a professional

football player, that he and Eve had been to the dog races.

       “How could you!” she said. “It‟s despicable and cruel to make those poor

animals run senselessly around a track.”

       “I‟ve never known a greyhound well enough to ask him,” Martin said, “but they

look as if they‟re having at least as much fun as a football player.”



       Leon and Ada took them to the Yacht Club. As usual, Ada spent the evening

waving at any strangers who looked important. They waved back dutifully. Later that

evening, in the middle of playing bridge, Leon announced that he had written to over a

hundred congressmen protesting the return of the Panama Canal to Panama.     Martin

didn‟t know much about the canal, but he asked Leon why it shouldn‟t be returned. After

all the canal was located in Panama. Leon explained that it was a communist plot

directed from the White House.

       Each of their friends seemed to have at least one bizarre idea and some had more

than one. Martin supposed he must have a few himself.
                                            194




                                          .| Chapter 25|.



       Martin was glad to find that the state of Maine was still off the beaten path. They

spent five days in an old inn in Damariscotta and enjoyed the bright cool weather and the

smell of pines and clams. All the old familiar places were older still and seemed just a bit

smaller and grubbier, except for the ponds. He knew we can‟t go back in time, not for an

instant much less for twenty years, but we‟d probably never stop trying. They visited

every gift shop within miles, as far south as Bath, and found in each one the same useless

trinkets. The old wooden ships in Wiscasset harbor appeared not to have more than

another year or two before they were washed out with the tide, but that was how they had

looked when he‟d first seen them more than twenty years before. Florida evolved as you

watched. Maine slowly crumbled over time.

       The bought a copy of the Lincoln County News. “Here it is July,” one article

began. “Soon it will be autumn and then the snow will be falling again before you know

it.” The social event column reported that, “John Blundon was at Sally Whitney‟s place

last Tuesday night, on business.”

       They went to Cheechako for dinner. Eve mentioned Aunt Oriana‟s luncheons

here and how she invariably sent the rolls back to be warmed. The finch feeders in the

window boxes were gone. Bill Small still owned the restaurant, but the quality of the

food had suffered. The locals blamed Bill‟s son.

       Maple Lodge, Oriana‟s lake house, was sagging with age like the Red Barn
                                           195



Restaurant on the old county fair grounds. Bob‟s Underground, Store of Fantastic

Bargains, had raised its prices. Most of its stock could be bought more cheaply in other

shops. Everything was expensive in Damariscotta. Perhaps it was a summer

phenomenon, and the locals waited until winter to buy more than bread and cheese.

        Their good friend Bob, the poorest boy ever to grow up in Damariscotta, now

owned half the town. The plumber who fourteen years before had fixed the leaks in their

summer cottage owned the other half. Bob and Louis had businesses in two dozen Maine

towns now. The law held true even in backcountry Maine that the money flowed to those

who had a talent for attracting it.

        They were walking down Main Street one evening a half hour before Cheechako

opened. As they passed the Old Pine Tree Dime Store a young woman came out and

stared at them in amazement.

        “My word,” she said, “you are dressed so lovely. You both look beautiful. I

haven‟t seen anything like this in Damariscotta in years!”

        They thanked her, and she went on her way.

        “I told you we‟d make a scene if we came to town like this,” Martin said.

        Eve laughed. “You do look lovely.”

        It was partly that the people of Damariscotta looked terrible. A woman who had

once worked for Oriana stumbled drunkenly towards them with her hand out. They gave

her ten dollars. Five years ago Martin‟s beard would have caused a minor stir, but now

there were many scruffy members of a local commune on the streets. They generally

acknowledged his beard with an obscure hand salute.
                                           196



       The only person they knew in Lincoln County who dressed well was Jeanne

Adderley, an eighty-five year old woman who lived in New Harbor. They‟d taken her to

dinner at the Bradley Inn, which served the best roast lamb anywhere around. The Inn‟s

paper napkins showed a lion and a lamb lying down together, with the notation, „Isaiah

11:1-10‟. Martin checked the reference in the Gideon Bible that evening. As he had

suspected, it was never specifically stated that the lamb lay down with the lion, only with

wolves, although it might be argued that a „fatling‟ could be a lamb as well as any other

tasty young animal. He suspected that a lion was simply easier to mythologize than the

crafty and more familiar wolf.

       In Maine you drove miles to see or do anything.

       “The older I am the longer it takes to get anywhere,” Martin told Eve. “When I

was young a mile was a mile. I‟d say let‟s go to Pemaquid Point, and we‟d be there. I

think I‟m approaching the speed of light, when everything stops. Or maybe absolute

zero. I‟m getting old.”

       As they stood and watched the waves pound the rocks at Pemaquid Point, Martin

remembered the years he‟d climbed the ledges with their children. He‟d felt sorry for his

father-in-law who sat quietly smoking his cigar and watching them. He knew now that

the old man had been glad not to have to make the effort. Age had its ignoble

compensations.

       Pemaquid was still beautiful, and, amazingly, it was still open to the public

without charge. Rocks changed, but only over thousands of years. Did they ever become

tired of lying at the edge of the sea being slowly ground to sand by the waves?
                                               197



        Martin had bought a U.S.G.S map of the Damariscotta quadrangle at Bob‟s

Underground and spent an hour that evening studying it with a magnifying glass.

        “You‟re looking for the treasure aren‟t you?” Eve asked with some asperity. “You

said you were finished with that.”

        “I am, more or less,” Martin said, “but I believe in serendipity. We know the old

general‟s ship passed this way. There‟s no reason he has to have buried his treasure in

Germany or the West Indies. He knew Europe was going to implode, and the voyage was

a chance to hide his hoard somewhere safe. Maine would be safer than the Caribbean. If

nothing else I‟ll get some credit from the crew for looking. Harry and Lisa are

disappointed with me. Even Nick wants to go on with it. And I have found something

interesting. Take a look.”

        Eve looked. She didn‟t say anything.

        “It‟s close, isn‟t it?”

        “The odds are absurd, Martin, but you‟re right, it is nearly identical to the

drawing. There‟s even something here.” She pointed to the small square in almost

precisely the position of the general‟s „x‟. “Bilberry Pond? I‟ve never heard of

bilberries.”

        “I think they‟re a kind of wild blueberry,” Martin said. “Good for night vision.

It‟s a little off the road, but we could find it.”

        “If we aren‟t shot by a farmer or attacked by wild dogs.”

        “I‟ll bring my walking stick,” Martin said.
                                              198



          Fortunately there was a place to pull off the gravel road just before the bridge and

the small stream. Another faint path led through the pines towards the pond. It was quite

dark in the woods.

          “I hope no one‟s waiting for us when we get back.” Martin said.

          Even a tenth of a mile seemed long in the pine forest, but water soon glinted

ahead of them, and they emerged into a small open area with a pond beyond it. It

resembled the clearing on the Wiessensee, but where the cairn should have been were the

remains of a burned out cabin.

          “Shoot,” Martin said. “I guess they didn‟t find the treasure when they built the

cabin.”

          “On the contrary,” Eve said. “The found it when they dug the root cellar and

immediately burned down the cabin and left the country.”

          Martin was poking in the ashes and thought he saw the glint of gold. He leaned

down and picked up a large brass key that had been turned reddish by the fire. He

handed it to Eve. Moving the rotted boards aside with his foot, he uncovered more keys.

          “Hundreds of them. Some lovely old brass ones. Keys to what? It‟s not the

general‟s hoard, but it‟s treasure of a sort. Do you think we could take some?”

          “We?” Eve said. “I didn‟t want you to buy the map in the first place. I‟d say let

your conscience by your guide. You generally do.”

          “It‟s flexible in some areas,” Martin agreed. “The keys have been here for years,

probably decades. I believe I could safely liberate a few.”

          Martin filled an old coffee can with the biggest and finest of the brass keys and
                                             199



carried it back to the car.”

        “A good days work,” he said.

        “I‟m glad you think so,” Eve said.



        “There are lots of people in the county with names like Pinchenback, Pinchenpaw,

and Pinchenbough,” he said to Bob Parker. “Isn‟t that a little strange?”

        “It‟s not strange at all,” Bob said. “It‟s the same family, but some of them

changed their names so they could marry their cousins.”



        “There‟s quite a bit going on these days according to the Lincoln County News,”

Martin said. “The home of Mrs. Mildred Smith was moved away one day recently. Mrs.

Mandolyn Barnard and a friend spent the weekend at a motel recently. Mr. and Mrs.

Ernest Munchpaw spent the weekend with Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Whiting. Mr. and Mrs.

Munchpaw are at present patients at Miles Memorial Hospital. Different birds are

coming to our area. I recently saw one that was as large as a robin but had the feathers of

a Plymouth Rock. Mrs. Edith Barr Jones was killed by an automobile one day recently.

        “That‟s the way it goes, I guess. One day recently you‟re here and one day

recently you‟re gone.”

        “Are those the headlines,” Eve said.

        “Those are the stories,” Martin said. “It leaves you wondering. Maybe next week

we find out where Mrs. Smith‟s house moved to, who Mandolyn‟s friend was, why the

Munchpaws ended up in the hospital after their visit to the Whitings, what the mysterious
                                           200



bird was, and whether there was anyone driving the car that killed Mrs. Jones.”
                                            201




                                       .| Chapter 26|.



       Martin was walking Crackers before the day became too hot. Peg Moses looked

out her door and called to him, “Aren‟t you going to work?”

       “Hell, no,” Martin said. “I‟m on vacation.” They both laughed.

       Edna told him that someone from Metropolitan Insurance was asking around the

neighborhood to see if Martin was working. At least he was providing employment for

insurance investigators. It would have seemed sacrilegious to his former colleagues to

make fun of honest employment, but for Martin work was anything unpleasant that you

were forced to do. Doing something you enjoyed or could be proud of wasn‟t work at all,

but he had found little like that in his job with UST.

       Martin was keeping busy as a retiree. He had his hobbies, they had a modest

social life, and there were always some repairs to do around the house. Lin Yutang had

written that the happiest man is the man of the middle class who had earned a modest

means of economic independence, who had done just a little for mankind, and who was

slightly distinguished in his community. Lin Yutang also counseled avoiding excitement.

       Martin put in a garden that was neat and pretty but quite small in comparison with

their neighbors‟ efforts. He clipped and weeded and watered only what needed attention.

The beauty of their plants was that, if not thwarted, they grew by themselves. Their

garden wasn‟t troubled by insects because it was swarming with frogs and bright green

lizards. Martin built small houses for them and installed a tiny pool in which they could
                                             202



shelter from the heat of the day. When he found a four inch hornworm on the gardenia,

he sprayed it with insecticide. It made menacing gestures until he grasped it with tongs

and plunged it onto a bucket of water. The bagworms grew six inches long and could be

killed only by chopping them into pieces. Gardening was a daily adventure.

       He dealt with projects around the house a little at a time, visiting the local

hardware almost daily. Browsing in hardware stores had always been one of his greatest

pleasures, although now all the stores carried the same products, most of them

unhelpfully pre-packaged in quantities larger than you needed.

       He‟d gone many times with his Uncle Lee and Cousin Virgil to Brown‟s

Hardware in Kinloch. Despite its Scots name, Kinloch was a black neighborhood.

Brown‟s Hardware was essentially a junk yard inside a tumbledown warehouse. A

winding path led among piles of assorted jumble and rows of crammed shelves. There

was no counter. Mr. Brown sat in an old rocker, reading a newspaper under a bare bulb.

If you asked for something, he‟d say, “We have one, but I don‟t know where it is, and if I

have to find it for you, that‟ll be twenty-five cents extra.”

        “Mr. Wright, what‟s the best file to sharpen knives?” the clerk called towards the

back of Ace Hardware during one of Martin‟s visits.

       “An eight inch bastard,” boomed a voice. An elderly lady looked shocked.



       They were dinner guests at Ann and Jim Green‟s. Most people provided a modest

selection of foods to suit various tastes, but Ann‟s dinners were unforgiving. She placed

a large bowl of red slurry in front of Martin.
                                            203



       “This is your soup and your salad,” she said. “It‟s a mix of healthful vegetables

that have been put through a blender.”

       Cold soup was one of the few dishes Martin truly disliked. Nor did he

particularly care for salads. Raw onion and cucumbers gave him a stomach ache, and

he‟d hated tomatoes all his life. He managed to gulp down a respectable amount of the

soup because he liked the Greens. They were intelligent and interesting to talk to. They

were health nuts who jogged five miles a day and refused to install air conditioning, but

that was all right. No one he knew was entirely sensible.

       They rarely turned down an invitation. If Hell was other people, so was life.

They gave their own parties. This was expected, too. But theirs were always good ones,

with plenty of good food and drink, an effort to invite compatible guests, never too many

at once, and no singing.

       Entertaining family members was another process altogether. Their previous

visits with Eve‟s distant cousin Bea and her companion Violet had been in the stuffy and

mold-infused living room of Vi‟s ancient house at Cape Elizabeth on the Maine coast.

On these occasions they sat on uncomfortable chairs holding cups of cold tea and said

nice things about the family for as brief a time as possible.

       Bea and Vi had finally made their long-planned trip to Florida and were staying at

a nearby Ramada Inn. Eve and Martin invited them to dinner. It was a surprisingly

pleasant evening. The ladies were excited by their adventure and had much to say.

         Before they left, Vi took Martin aside and told him how difficult it was for her to

live with Bea.
                                            204



       “You have no idea what it‟s like to have someone constantly hanging on your

neck. She can‟t drive or cook. She won‟t do housework. She depends on me twenty-

four hours a day. I need to get away, Martin. I‟ve written to her sisters, but they don‟t

even answer my letters. They don‟t care what happens to her.”

       Bea had also taken the opportunity to speak to Eve.

       “I‟m ill,” she said. “I have nowhere to turn, and I‟m so frightfully afraid that Vi

will leave me.” She paused for a moment. “It‟s a good thing we came tonight because it

seems to have pepped her up. She‟s been very sick, you know. I‟ve had to take care of

her all week.”

       “Vi said you went to the doctor this morning,” Eve said. “What did he tell you?”

       “He said there was nothing wrong with me, but how would he know?”

       They had both complained about how difficult it was to care for their old barn of a

house, how expensive it was to heat, and how long and cold the Maine winters could be.

Martin shuddered when Eve suggested that they move to Florida, but they were both

horrified by the idea.

       “What would we do with our things?” they said.



       Just before they left for their tour of Ireland Eve and Martin went to a dinner party

at Vanessa Greer‟s. Her drinks were weak, but Martin could fortify himself with a stiff

scotch before they went, and the food was beautiful. The subsequent price was heavy,

however. After dinner, Vanessa handed out song sheets. Her new boyfriend, Bill, acted

as choir director and expected everyone to sing. There was much slam-bang piano
                                            205



playing, accompanied by howling contraltos and growling male voices. Martin

understood that in the nineteenth century, before radio, television, and mass produced

popular literature, this was the standard evening entertainment, but presumably people

had been better prepared to perform in those days. At one point, Bill saw that Martin

wasn‟t even pretending to sing. Before the next song he said to him, “Come on, Martin,

we all have to sing.”

       “I can‟t,” Martin said. “It‟s forbidden by my religion. I‟m a philatelist.”

       He had expected laughter, but there was a moment of stunned silence. Bill made

a gesture of apology. The singing continued for a few minutes, but Martin noticed that

several people had joined his quiet rebellion and returned to the drinks table. He

supposed they might not be invited to Vanessa‟s again.

       Later in the evening, someone pulled out a pill box and explained what each of his

pills was for. Several others did the same and someone looked questioningly at Martin.

       “We drink,” Martin said.

       For all its limitations, Martin thoroughly enjoyed their life in Florida. His

occasional curmudgeonly remarks hadn‟t seemed to affect their social life. Perhaps it

was expected of him by now. Tarzan, as he recalled, had become disillusioned with life

in London, but he wasn‟t Tarzan, not really.
                                             206




                                       .| Chapter 27 |.



       Passing through Heathrow Airport on their way to the Air Lingus desk, Martin

stopped at a rest room. He came out with a few sheets of toilet paper faintly imprinted

with „Her Majesty‟s Stationary Office? He showed them to Eve, who was unimpressed.

Did the Queen know of this, Martin wondered. Was it an authorized use of her

stationary? It was fairly awful stuff in fact, like glazed onion skin, but their majesties

themselves were rather stiff for his liking. He decided that these would be the first

specimens in his international toilet paper collection. Or bathroom tissue, as Mr.

Bellville would have insisted.

       Their guided bus tour of Ireland was a great success, although Martin had found it

exhausting at times. He could manage the walks and the occasional flights of stone

stairs. It was the constant socializing that wore him down. Everyone except Martin

seemed to talk constantly. At one point he didn‟t hear someone ask him a question and

thought he‟d begun to lose his hearing. He mentioned this to Eve, and she reminded him

of an incident that had happened the previous day. Someone had spoken to another of

their traveling companions, an imperious old lady named Maude Cummings, and she

hadn‟t answered. The comment was repeated, and Maude had snapped, “I heard you the

first time! I‟m just not listening today.”

       They had been told by friends that their long lucky streak of good travel weather

would most certainly end in Ireland. They‟d arrived in London under cloudy skies and
                                            207



left the next day in a drizzle. In Dublin it was clear and warm. They had perfect May

weather for the remainder of the trip. Michael, their driver, was amazed. “I haven‟t seen

the sun for more than a few hours in months,” he said. Martin didn‟t try to explain about

their luck.

        They were driven completely around Ireland, over a thousand miles. As was

often mentioned in the course of their trip, the Irish countryside displayed countless

shades of green from the peat marshes to the tops of its small mountains. For some

reason Martin had always pictured Ireland as flat, like Illinois. In Illinois you could roll

along a highway under sunny skies and see half a dozen rain storms at different points on

the horizon. Some of Ireland was flat, but towards the west there were many miles of

beautiful rolling hills. Nearly every reasonably level and un-forested acre was used as

pasture for the black-faced sheep and the big black and white Holstein cattle. The driver

pointed out that in each herd there was always one brown Jersey cow. Annoyingly, he

didn‟t know why.

        They stopped at Blarney Castle near Cork. To kiss the Blarney stone you had to

climb to the third floor of the castle and then continue up a narrow spiral stairway.

Martin stopped at the first floor. “I don‟t really want the gift of gab,” he told Eve, “and

you already have it.” After a moment of consideration Eve agreed that this was so.

        They were driven past a great many battlefields, where according to Michael

kings had been slaughtered and much blood had flowed. The battles were clearly of great

importance to the Irish, but Martin managed to tune them out. The town of Tipperary,

made famous by the First World War British marching song, was not impressive.
                                           208



„You‟ve Come a Long Way,‟ a road sign said. Martin had always assumed that

Tipperary was somewhere near the White Cliffs of Dover. Michael explained that the

song‟s composer, Jack Judge, a fishmonger turned music hall performer, had written it on

a drunken bet in Stalybridge, England, the town where Eve‟s grandfather Lowe had been

born, but that Judge‟s family had come from Tipperary in Ireland.

       They passed by the little village where according to a sign the Book of Kells had

been written, but they didn‟t stop.

       When they came to the town of Ennis, Michael explained that „Ennis‟ meant „the

river road.‟ If you were born in Ennis and your name was John, you‟d be called John

D‟ennis, and if you lived in the town, you‟d be John Denniston, John of the Town of the

River Road.

       “Is that all true,” Martin asked.

       “Oh, aye,” Michael said. “‟Tis true, but there is nothing in the Good Book that

says you have to believe an Irishman.”

       A little later Michael asked Martin if he was looking for someplace in particular.

“You‟ve been studying that map pretty closely.”

       Martin showed Michael the general‟s drawing and explained that it was a genuine

treasure map, but that they had no clue as to where it was in the world. Ireland was

simply one of the places his great grandfather‟s ship had stopped.

       “This fellow who sold you the map,” Michael asked, “would he be an Irishman?”

       Martin laughed. “No, I got it back in the 1930‟s, and it hadn‟t cost me a dime

until now. It was given to me by my father, a first generation German-American who
                                             209



was one of the biggest bullshitters of all time.”

       Michael shook his head. “Ye‟ll never find this place by looking on a map. Ye

don‟t have enough information.     Ireland‟s a land of lakes and inlets. There‟ll be a

thousand pretty scenes like this one. Treasure is buried by the stars, by latitude and

longitude. Do you have the original map?”

       “Yes,” Martin said, “it‟s in a safe deposit box.”

       “Take it out when get home and look for the numbers. That‟s how you‟ll find the

treasure. Invisible ink maybe.”

       Martin thanked him and said he‟d try that.

       At a scheduled stop in the tiny village of Knock, Michael told the story of the

fifteen Irish men and women, in age from six to seventy-five, who at eight o‟clock on the

evening of August 21st, 1879 saw a vision of the Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph, and Saint

John in a blaze of heavenly light at the south gable of the Knock parish church. The

witnesses watched the vision for two hours while standing in the pouring rain. Not a

drop appeared to fall on the spectral figures.

       Martin could think of several problems with the story, but as there were a number

of devout Catholics on the tour he kept them to himself. It had all happened nearly a

hundred years before, and Knock was now one of the most important places of

pilgrimage for Roman Catholics in Ireland and England. Later, after giving the official

spiel, Michael told Martin that in 1879 there had been a serious famine in the area, a land

war, a bitter controversy with the local clergy who supported the owners against the

tenant farmers, and a large protest meeting shortly before the apparition.
                                             210



       Martin‟s mother had been a generous-hearted woman who befriended Negroes,

Jews, and Asians and most other religious and ethnic groups as equals, but she had a

lifelong hatred for Roman Catholics. Her only explanation was her mother‟s fury that her

father, born and raised a Catholic, had been refused burial in a Catholic cemetery because

of his marriage to a Protestant and his failure to raise their children as Catholics. Martin

agreed that this was mean of the Catholic Church, and perhaps even a little self-defeating,

but it didn‟t seem to be an altogether unreasonable position for them to take. His own

objections to Roman Catholicism had more to do with the Church‟s intellectual

totalitarianism and the frequent ugliness of its modern places of worship. Whatever their

shortcomings, Episcopalians could usually be counted on to put up a tasteful edifice.

       Ireland would be a good memory for them. He hoped his photographs of Irish

houses would come out well. He meant to try painting some of them. Michael‟s

suggestion about numbers was a good one. Not on the drawing itself, although they

would check it again, but in the diary. Harry had the right kind of mind to sort it out.

Eve too, the family mathematician and bridge shark.

       On their way home they had briefly visited the Hulls in their suburban London

house. Nothing had changed since their last visit. The petulance, the seething emotions,

cross-purpose byplay, innuendo, bickering, and misunderstanding had evidently been

continuous over the years. Willard gritting his teeth, Kay close to jumping out of her

skin, and Glenda, tall, slim, attractive, and still weirdly off base. Willard and his step

daughter had always despised one another. At sixteen Glenda had been tall and lanky

and had bumbled around like a newborn colt. At thirty-two she was just as awkward,
                                          211



spilling the tea and breaking several dishes. Willard spoke sharply to her and Kay

shriveled.

       In their baggage on their return flight were two dozen more interesting examples

of British bathroom tissue.
                                            212



                                       .| Chapter 28|.



       Soon after they‟d returned from Ireland, the Newhouses were invited to a dinner

party for ten at Lillian Hayes‟. Lillian was a widow and not adept at entertaining.

Guests were expected to volunteer assistance with the preparations. She spared no

expense, however, and her dinners were always excellent.

       Conversations at these parties largely involved children, long ago business

successes, restaurant meals, and travel. Their friends had been everywhere, so travel was

always a safe topic, but most of the talk was about the children, grandchildren, and all the

brilliant nieces and nephews.   Martin spoke to a woman who gave him a complete

biography of her daughter from her birth to her fortieth birthday party the previous

evening. Fortunately Martin had a great deal of patience for life stories, even largely

embroidered ones. An hour later he heard her telling another guest the same story word

for word.

       Els Holter, an old Pennsylvania railroad man, had only one topic of conversation,

railroads. Martin asked him what people did about toilets on the trains in the 1800‟s.

“They didn‟t have toilets,” Els said. “The train stopped at every town, so you just got off

and went behind the station.” “

       The women too?”

       “Certainly,” Ed said. “They dressed more primly in those days, but natural acts

were taken for granted.”
                                               213



        Later they were discussing reincarnation. The usual suggestions were offered,

lions and tigers, dogs naturally. Martin said he couldn‟t imagine being anything better

than a fifty-nine year old man who had just retired. Jack topped him, though. He would

like to return, he said, as a beautiful New Orleans whore.



       The eternal circus had continued while they were out of the country.

       Martin stopped to get gas the next morning. The Gulf station on Bayshore had a

huge fighting watchcock with steel spurs. The owner was a middle-aged woman.

           “Sure is stinky hot today,” she said. “I‟ve seen a lot of funerals lately. I guess

the old people can‟t take this heat.”

       “No, they actually like hot weather,” Martin said. “It‟s being old they can‟t

handle.”

       Dave Wilson had put up a flag pole. In their small community nearly half the

houses flew American flags on tall poles. The effect was absurd. It looked like the

officer‟s quarters on an army base. Martin could understand a man in his twilight years

taking up religion in a last ditch bid for salvation, but it was puzzling why anyone would

want to raise a twenty foot flag pole in his front yard. There was a good deal of quiet

social pressure in Tamarack, but it was usually about spotlights, noise, lawns, and trash

cans. It was rarely about politics or religion. Dave wasn‟t a super patriot by any means,

nor were the other flag raisers so far as Martin knew. He supposed they had just always

wanted a flag pole, the way many men wanted to own a truck at some point in their lives.

Martin had wanted to live in Florida.
                                             214




       Kay and Dave Wallace invited them to lunch at the Clearwater Hotel. Martin

understood it was to be a Dutch treat, but Dave announced on the way to the hotel that he

hadn‟t brought his wallet. Martin paid for the expensive dinner and drinks without

comment. The Wallaces always asked for a doggy bag when they ate at a restaurant or

even at a private home. “Do you mind if we take a few scraps for our dog?” Then they‟d

shovel in as much as they could, and it would reappear in soups and casseroles,

sometimes even at dinner parties. Their dog was a Chihuahua.

       Kay begged them to come to dinner for their anniversary. She and Dave would be

crushed if they had to celebrate alone. Eve and Martin agreed, but a few days later Kay

called and said they had been invited out, so they didn‟t need them to come. Shortly

after this, Claire called and said that their daughter Ann was visiting from Pittsburgh, and

she wanted them to come to dinner, along with Raoul and Claudine. They went, fortified

with a stiff scotch, as Claire didn‟t serve alcohol. The important thing with parties, Eve

told Martin, was never to keep score.



       They visited Leon and Ada in their new apartment in St. Petersburg. It was an

exclusive address, and Ada was in her glory although she was disappointed at being no

higher than the tenth floor and facing the city rather than the bay.

       Leon was retired. His day began with physical therapy for his polio. The rest of

his time was spent in church and club work and assorted good deeds in support of Ada‟s

social climbing. He was like Miss Effie‟s cat, Eve said, a fighter but getting old and
                                              215



without the sense to know it.

       Once a year Ada and Leon went to the dog races with Eve and Martin. On these

occasions Leon always laughed at the silly and irreverent things Martin said. Years ago

Ada had tried to suppress the race outing as bad for Leon‟s image but she‟d finally given

up.

       Leon and Ada wanted to play bridge later that evening, and Martin wanted to be

home in time to watch the nine o‟clock movie. The rubbers went so quickly that that the

game was finished well before nine. Eve knew why, of course. Martin was an expert at

losing intentionally. “I‟m afraid you‟ve raised Leon‟s expectations,” she said. “He now

thinks he can beat Ada at bridge.”



       Ed and Jill Underwood lived just down the street. When Ed died, Jill was undone.

She continued to talk with Ed every morning at breakfast. She also talked to the Norfolk

Island Pine that Ed had given her shortly before he died and which she had planted where

she could see it from her window. Eventually she recovered enough to want to travel.

While she was away, Ed the Norfolk Pine died in a sudden freeze. This seemed to

release Jill. She took a trip to New Zeeland and met a man named Howard. They

traveled through Africa together and were married shortly after her return to Florida.

Martin found them both good company. Howard didn‟t talk a great deal, but that didn‟t

bother Martin, and Jill could talk for two.
                                             216



       Eve received a letter from a distant cousin, complaining that their Aunt Oriana‟s

estate still wasn‟t settled. He was terribly in debt and his family had just destroyed four

cars. Then two more cars were wrecked and his son ran over a drunk. Their oldest boy

came home for a visit and broke his neck in still another automobile accident.

       “You should have known not to open the letter,” Martin said. “It could easily

have been lost in the mail.

       “I can‟t do that,” Eve said. “I‟ll tell him I‟ll write the lawyers.”

       “Good idea,” Martin said. “Do you want to hear the latest from the Lincoln

County News?”

       “Of course,” Eve said.

       “One day recently we had a fog so thick you could lose your hand just pointing

down the road. Della Hall is a surgical patient in the Farmington Hospital. She is very

weak but is receiving nourishment, care, and what have you. Had spinach Sunday. Some

good. The Reverend George Atkinson will not be in the pulpit at the Bunker Hill Church

next Sunday because of previous commitments, but I‟m giving you fair warning that he

will back in the pulpit the following Sunday. Among those who attended the reunion

were Everett Michenback, Barbara Giptol, Beryl Creamer, Agnes Michenpaw, Maria

Acorn, Elwoon Kuthbertson, Vera Bangs, Connie Sidelinger, Minnie Orff, Paul Croak,

Arlice Picnic, and Alice Toothaker.

       “You‟re making those up.”

       “I‟m not. Shall I go on?

       “Please do.”
                                            217



       “We reported that Mr. and Mrs. Barley Bender passed away last weekend in

Rockland. The item should have said that Mr. and Mrs. Bender passed the weekend in

Rockland.”

       “Let me see that, Eve said. “Oh, I don‟t believe it. They‟ve got to be playing for

laughs.”

       “Maybe, but I honestly don‟t think so. Unless it‟s all been made up, and none of

these people exists. Do you think that‟s possible, that the local news column has been an

extended hoax for twenty years? It‟s the only reason we subscribe to the paper, probably

the only reason anyone subscribes. Listen to the rest of this.

       “Young Buddy Bender and Butch Atherton have been added to the new fish plant

at Moxie Cove. The McNamaras have a raccoon for dinner each night. Emily says he‟s

quite nice. Tillie Sepson had a baby coon in her maple tree. The Fourth of July passed

quietly at the Lincoln Home For the Aged.

       “Oh, Jesus.” Martin folded in laughter.

       “I think it is a hoax,” Eve said. “It‟s all tongue in cheek. We‟ve been had.”



       They spent a pleasant evening at the Smiths. Martin and Jack chatted. Jack gave

him a capsule history of the manufacture of Kem playing cards and discussed the

intricacies of life insurance, the peculiar accounting system used by railroads, the

construction of hot water tanks, the manufacture of ball bearings, and several little-

understood features of Income Tax Law. He also offered Martin complete plans for

building strong and beautiful shelves. Martin thanked him, although he had already built
                                            218



strong and ugly ones.

        Jack said that over the years seven of his doctors had given him very little hope of

survival, but he‟d already outlived six of them and he thought the last guy was worried.

Martin laughed and told him about the time his sister-in-law had sent a post card saying

Aunt Lydia was dying and asking if they‟d share the cost of flowers for the funeral. Eve

and Martin sent their own flowers fifteen years later when Lydia finally did die.

        Edna and Elsie invited them for dinner. After they‟d accepted, Elsie said, “We‟re

having Sloppy Joes. I‟ve never made them before, but I have a pound of hamburger in

the refrigerator that‟s getting old, and I thought we should do something with it.”

        Along with the Newhouses, Edna and Elsie had been invited to a Sixtieth

Anniversary party. “You don‟t get many chances to go to a sixtieth,” Elsie said. “Most

people don‟t reach that age.” She paused and then asked Martin, “When will yours be?”

        “In nineteen years,” Martin said.

        “You‟ll never make it,” Elsie said gloomily.

        “That‟s just as well,” Martin said. “You wouldn‟t be there either, and I‟d miss

you.”

        The big entertainment after supper that evening was a visit to a lake south of

Oakhurst road to see Abercrombie, a twelve foot alligator. Edna threw the skin from a

boiled chicken into the water, and Edna and Elsie repeatedly called out, “Abercrombie,

Abercrombie!” Several people who lived nearby watched them with amusement. Eve

and Martin were embarrassed.

        “It‟s too bad he didn‟t show,” Elsie said. “But we still have the chicken. How
                                         219



about a picnic on the beach tomorrow?”
                                            220




                                  .| Chapter 29 |.



       “Do you think Harry and Lisa would like to go to the Cape with us the week

before school starts?” Martin asked.

       Lisa had been accepted at Gainsville. Harry, Martin, and Herman Mueller had

talked her into it. The tuition was modest for a state resident, and Herman and the

Newhouses would pay it. Herman said Lisa could continue her bookbinding

apprenticeship whenever she had time, but that it was more important that she get a

college degree. The only difficulty Herman saw would be if he were to die too soon. He

would leave her something in his will, but it would be an incentive for him to hang on.

       “You think they‟d want to go on vacation with a couple of old fogies?” Eve said.

       “Who‟s a fogy? Anyway it‟s Cape Cod. If we put Lisa on our car rental

agreement they could go to the coffee houses and P‟town on their own. Unless you think

Harry‟s mother wouldn‟t go for it?”

       “She adores you, Martin. She‟d agree to anything you want to do for her kid.

We‟ll just mention it, and they can think about it.”



       Eve was right. Harry and Lisa thought it was a terrific idea after Martin

convinced them that it wasn‟t an extravagance and that it would give him and Eve

pleasure to show them one of their favorite places. Harry‟s mother had taken to Lisa at

first sight. Martin had the sense that she may have thought of her as an older sister who
                                            221



might keep Harry safe from college girls. Martin doubted this, but the trip to the Cape

would be a fairly innocent adventure.

       They rented a three bedroom cottage near the bay so Martin could walk on the

sand flats at low tide, his favorite thing to do on the Cape. They ate out occasionally, but

Eve insisted on cooking most of their meals and got no argument. The children did the

dishes. Martin read. The weather was good. They spent a lot of time on the beach but

also walked on the nature trails. Harry and Lisa took the car to Provincetown twice.

They had a really good time, they said, but they didn‟t go into detail. They all went to

P‟town together the day before they were to fly back to Florida.

       Provincetown had grown up on a strip of sand that ran three miles along the beach

and a half mile inland before it was overrun by the dunes. The tacky gift shops and

clothing stores, the little restaurants and attractive shingled houses reminded Eve and

Martin of Boothbay Harbor, but with an edginess. Other older couples poked along

Commercial Street looking in store windows and enjoying the bright sun and the cool

breeze off the water, but most of the tourists were young, and they often traveled in small

groups. Harry and Lisa said they would wander a bit on their own and meet them for

lunch at the Mayflower. They were soon lost in the crowd.

       Long hair seemed to be universal these days, for young men as well as girls.

Martin had one of the few beards in their part of Florida, but here there were dozens,

although few were snowy white like his. Despite the incense wafting from many shops,

some of the young people smelled quite ripe. In general, though, they were cheerful and

attractive. A beautiful and minimally dressed young woman with shoulder-length blond
                                             222



hair walked past them with her hand trucked deep into the rear of her companion‟s blue

jeans.

         Martin waited on the sidewalk while Eve explored one of the better dress shops.

Everyone who walked past seemed to be trying to express his or her individuality. Some

of them worked quite hard at it. A huge man lunged noisily down the street. He was

well over six feet, with a great bushy head of hair, an enormous beard, and a chest as

hairy as a bear rug. He wore only a skin-tight pair of lederhosen with desert boots and

thick woolen stockings. Quite a few girls were wearing sacks of unbleached muslin with

sleeves that covered their hands. Their feet were bare and dirty. He supposed it all

meant something.

         The tall blond couple that he had seen a few minutes before was beside him

suddenly, talking with two other couples. “Last week we were in a place that was really

bad,” the young woman said. “It was full of bugs and shit. My God, the fleas were

terrible, but mostly it was the shit. Shit everywhere.”

         The only person Martin knew when he was young who was allowed to say things

like that was his grandmother, and she said them in German.

         They were glad to sit down at a table in the Mayflower. They had fish and chips

and talked about the treasure for the first time in weeks.

         “It‟s easy now to find your latitude and longitude at sea by radio signal,” Harry

said, “and it‟s always been possible to calculate latitude by the height of the sun or of the

north star above the horizon. Sailors have done it for hundreds of years with the cross-

bar, the astrolabe, and the sextant. Longitude was a lot harder.
                                             223



       “After John Harrison invented a reliable chronometer in the eighteenth century

navigators could use time to find longitude. Imagine three hundred and sixty lines

running from pole to pole, each representing one degree of longitude. If you knew on a

particularly day exactly what time the sun was at its highest point at Greenwich, England,

then every hour of difference between that time and noon where you are would equal

fifteen degrees of longitude. For instance, the time difference between here and

Greenwich is four hours and forty minutes. Four and two thirds times fifteen is seventy

degrees west, the longitude of Cape Cod.

       “Before chronometers, the best they could do was estimate the distance they‟d

traveled east or west. They‟d periodically throw a log in the water from the prow of the

ship and count the seconds until it reached the stern to find the speed the ship was sailing.

This was increasingly inaccurate the farther the ship sailed. Lots of ships were sunk

because their captains didn‟t know where they were.

       “They tried various ways of siting on the sun and stars, but nothing worked for

longitude. When Galileo saw the moons of Jupiter through his telescope, he realized that

the moment a moon was eclipsed by the planet itself could be seen simultaneously from

anywhere in the hemisphere. Tables could be drawn up to show at what time that would

happen at Florence to compare with time on shipboard. The Italian astronomer Giovanni

Cassini compiled accurate tables for Jupiter's satellites in the late seventeenth century. It

worked beautifully on land and was used to map the continent. It didn‟t work at sea,

however, because it was too difficult to focus a telescope on the moons of Jupiter from

the deck of a ship.” Harry grinned. “Maybe that‟s more than you wanted to know.
                                             224




                                            .| Chapter 30 |.



       “Dear me,” Jimmy Ray said, “don‟t Pop‟s cigars stink up a room. They should

take them away and not allow him to make such messes.”

       Eve disliked Jimmy Ray intensely. She felt that Marion‟s father, who she had

known and loved since she was a little girl, should be addressed as Captain Goodin. It

was unclear why Jimmy Ray was present at all. They were visiting Eve‟s childhood

friend at the Towne‟s large estate near Sarasota. Bob had retired from Monsanto and

now did little besides play golf and shoot his 45 automatic competitively. He was almost

stone deaf but was cheerful company.

       Marion told a joke. “Two women hadn‟t seen each other in years. The first

woman talked for twenty minutes about her rich husband, her beautiful daughter who‟d

married a wealthy man, and her handsome and successful doctor son. The second women

would say, „fantastic‟ as each accomplishment was flourished. The first woman finally

ran down and asked her friend what she‟d been doing. I went to charm school, the friend

said. I learned to say „fantastic‟ instead of „bullshit‟.”

       Marion said that the teen-aged girl who lived next door to them once asked

Marion‟s adult daughter, “Do you talk over your problems with your mother?” “Good

heavens, no!” Sara told her. “My mother is my problem.”

       In Martin‟s experience members of the medical profession would always insist

that if you had only one hour to live you should use half of it to exercise. Captain Goodin
                                            225



had worked very hard as a policeman and later ran his son-in-law‟s gentlemen‟s farm

until the age of seventy-five. Now that they lived in Florida, he said, he planned to sit in

his easy chair and do nothing but drink whiskey and smoke cigars for the rest of his life.

       Mr. Binder, another friend of Marion and Bob‟s, said he had once had a very big

job. He was foreman of the maintenance crew for the railroad tracks between Detroit and

Lansing, Michigan. Martin expressed amazement and commented that he did indeed

have a big job. Eve said afterwards that it wasn‟t necessary for him to be sarcastic.

Martin said Mr. Binder didn‟t recognize sarcasm and was perfectly happy with what

Martin had said. He hadn‟t asked what Martin had done for a living.
                                            226



                                           .| Chapter 31 |.




       “I love that painting,” Lisa said. “Has it been in your family a long time?”
       Martin explained that the large painting of a three-masted sailing ship which hung

in their living room was a link with Oriana Walker and Eve‟s father, Maurice Frohock. It

was painted around 1890 by an artist of the Maine school of T. Bailey which had

produced many such paintings. Oriana bought quite a number of them, but this was the

largest and best. It had hung in the Walker‟s Cove Acres estate on the Damariscotta

River and was among the few things saved when the house burned in the early twenties.

It then hung in Maple Lodge in Bremen, Maine until Oriana gave it to her brother

Maurice in 1929 to hang over the fireplace on Hereford Avenue in Ferguson, Missouri.

In 1932 Maurice increased the size of their living room to thirty feet so he could practice

chip shots indoors. The painting served as his target and took a beating. Eventually it

became quite dirty, and after Maurice tried to scrub it with kitchen cleanser the pitiful

remains went into the attic. Martin found it there in the early 1940‟s. After considerable

study of marine paintings he repainted the parts that had been erased, especially the lines

and sails. It hung at Roberta Avenue in Ferguson for two years, and when Maurice and

Emily moved to Florida in 1943, the Newhouses moved to the house on Hereford and the

painting was again hung over the mantle. It went with them to Jackson Heights, N.Y. in

1947, to Harding Street in Westfield, N.J. in 1948, and to Tice Place in 1953. From 1955

it hung in the Colonial Avenue house in Westfield for ten years and went to the Colony

House Apartments in New Brunswick, then to Drake Road in Somerville. In 1969 it
                                             227



came to Florida with them. A professional painter was called in at this point and said he

would repaint it for $200. Once again Martin cleaned and repainted portions himself.

Since the 1960‟s it had been washed occasionally with Woolite and was newly coated

with varnish.


       “You probably didn‟t want to know that much.”

       “Yes, I did,” Lisa said. “What would the Baron‟s ship have looked like?”

       “Not like this. It was probably a German naval ship. He didn‟t say so in his

journal, but my guess is it would have been a steamship. I think the little sailboats

marking his journal entries were just easier to draw.”

       “He could have used a rubber stamp,” Harry said.

       “No he couldn‟t,” Lisa said suddenly. “The ships look the same, but that‟s what

makes the masts stand out. The cross-piece thing...”

       “The yard,” Harry said.

       “It‟s too thick. It‟s more like a cross than a mast.”

       “Maybe it is a cross.”

       “No, he‟s not religious, and it‟s too big even for a cross. Besides, it moves.”

Lisa was becoming excited as she leafed through the pages of the diary. “Here in January

it‟s the way it looks on most ships, about two-thirds of the way to the top, but by March

it‟s too low, and then it moves up a little by June, than down again and finally back to

where it started or a little higher. It‟s the only thing that changes on the boat. I don‟t

think that could be an accident.”

       A cross piece that slides up and down, Martin had seen it in a book only two days
                                              228



before.

          “A cross-staff?” he said.

          “A Jacob‟s staff,” Harry said. “They were used from prehistory up into the

nineteenth century. In the diary it moves down and then back up through the trip from

Europe to the Americas and back to the North Sea. And look, the last entry where he

tells about the treasure has its own ship! We can check, but I‟d guess around twenty-

eight degrees north latitude, a line from northern Mexico and southern Texas across north

central Florida to the Canary Islands and Morocco.”

          “What about the longitude?

          “They‟d have had a chronometer on the Baron‟s ship by the eighteen fifties. I

don‟t see how the drawing helps with that. There‟s no way to turn the ship into

numbers.”

          “How else did you say they used to measure longitude?” Lisa asked.

          “By estimating by the distance they‟d traveled. Like I said, they‟d throw a log in

the water from the prow and count how long it took to pass it. That would give them

their speed in knots which they‟d multiply by the hours they‟d sailed at that speed to find

the distance they travelled. It wasn‟t much better than a guess. That‟s how Columbus

could think he‟d gone far enough to reach the East Indies. The problem of longitude

wasn‟t really solved until Harrison‟s chronometer.

          “The only other thing was Cassini‟s tables for the moons of Jupiter that I told you

about. Longitude is the difference between the star time at a Florence and the local star

time, in degrees of a circle instead of time. It worked fine on land, and it would have
                                             229



been a lot than throwing a log in the water except that a ship moves too much to see the

moons through a telescope.

        “What did the tables look like?”

        “A line of five circles, one bigger than the others to represent Jupiter, and a date

and time.

        “The waves!” Lisa said. “There are always five crests with one slightly larger

than the others, and they‟re different in every drawing. They‟re tiny three quarter circles

like pearls along a string. Remember, Martin, Professor Engle said the Baron was

experimenting with a reflecting telescope and a new kind of mount. He must have been

trying to use Galileo‟s‟ tables to find the longitude at sea. It was an experiment. Where

could we find a copy of the tables?”

        “Probably at the University Library,” Harry said, “but if Lisa‟s right all we need

to do is find the ship in his diary that matches the one with the treasure.”



        “I‟m about to go blind,” Lisa said an hour later, “but I think this might be it. It

was when they anchored off the coast of Florida just a little north of Tarpon Springs and

went ashore to collect plant specimens. It shouldn‟t be hard to find a match with the

drawing if there is one.”

        “We don‟t have to look,” Martin said. “I know where this is. It always did seem

vaguely familiar. I‟ve seen it myself, and it won‟t be covered by a mall. It‟s Seminole

Springs. The pond, the clearing and the stream, and the little jungle river are all going to

fit.”
                                           230



       Where‟s Seminole Springs?” Lisa asked.

       “It‟s a commercial theme park north of Tarpon Springs, small-time. They have a

mermaid show, but the jungle river ride is the part I remember best. It‟s an actual river

about a dozen miles long. It empties into a pond, and there‟s an outlet from there to the

gulf. It was probably woods or palmetto back in the 1840‟s. It might be where the

menagerie is now.”

       “Not alligators!”

       “As I remember, it was more like a petting zoo.”
                                            231



                                       .| Chapter 32 |.



       “Until well after the war nothing little changed in Florida,” Martin said. “All

around St. Petersburg and along practically the whole gulf coast was palmetto fields and

mangrove swamp. There were a few developments of tiny pastel houses for the retirees.

Everyone had an orange tree, a couple of cabbage palms, and if they were lucky a live

oak hung with Spanish moss. It was the way God meant it to be. It‟s all different now.”

       They saw something of the old Florida on the drive to Seminole, palmetto plains

dotted with longleaf pines and a few haciendas looking more shabby than gracious.

Occasionally a stretch of cracked pavement led off into overgrown brush, a reminder of

the 1930‟s bust.

       Seminole Springs was a survivor. As an attraction it dated from before the

thirties, and the land had been in one family since the turn of the century. Its present

owner, Nettie Weeks, was in her eighties and was apparently a local character. The real

estate people told them with obvious regret that the Springs was not for sale. Even so,

Martin and Eve had been able to make an appointment to see Miss Weeks the following

Sunday afternoon.

       They had gone to the park as tourists the previous Friday. Martin dimly

remembered seeing the Springs with their children more than twenty years before. He

was surprised to find it looking more like a state park now than an old-style Florida

reptile farm. Although they were early, the parking lot was already half full. There was

still some hokum, but simply not being Disney World was much in its favor. The
                                             232



management had capitalized on the beauty of the springs and lagoon and of the jungle

river that wound off towards the Gulf.

       Martin had liked marshes and tame swamps and jungles since reading Tarzan in

his teens and from their first visit to Florida in the early thirties. Like the mountains and

the seacoast, swamps were a link to wilderness and a source of renewal.

       He‟d remembered correctly how lovely the little river was. They barely spoke

during the ride. The water was so clear in some places that the boat seemed to float in the

air above the white sand bottom. There were gar and mullet and a dozen other kinds of

fish nosing among the water plants. Small green turtles wobbled past like clumsy birds.

Live oak and pine towered over a layer of frilly palms, and broad leafed arums and

palmetto competed for the jungle floor. The guide pointed out the vultures sitting on a

dead branch hung with Spanish moss. It was a pocket jungle but a real one.

       “Martin,” Lisa said, “it‟s beautiful. I‟ve never seen anything like this.”

       “Look well,” Martin said. “It may not last.”

       The boat was only half filled with tourists. The boatman and guide could talk to

them easily without a loudspeaker. Although he must have given his lecture eight to ten

times a day, it was more a conversation than a spiel. They asked questions about the

river and the birds and animals. The wildlife seemed to have learned to ignore the boat.

The guide talked with such enthusiasm about the land and water that when the ride was

over Martin asked him if these were his feelings or the owner‟s as well. Both, he‟d said.

       “The old lady gives us a pep talk every year about stewardship and public service.

She means it, and it‟s good management. I came down from Boston a few years ago, got
                                                233



sick of the cold weather. I love this park. I believe in it. I wish there were more places

like it, but land near the coast is too valuable. A stretch of palmetto that‟s been lying

empty for hundreds of years will suddenly be all foundations.”

       Nick asked whether Miss Weeks allowed artists to paint in the park. Free

admission to serious artists, the guide said.

       They saw the exhibits and the bird and animal shows and found them very well

done, like finding haute cuisine at a family restaurant. Martin began to wonder even

more about Miss Weeks.

       Around noon they bought cokes and sandwiches and sat in the outdoor cafe under

a big live oak. It was the Florida that Martin had always liked, green and quiet, and not

air conditioned.

       The most likely location for the Baron‟s cache, based on the dimensions of the

lagoon and the river, was just beyond the jungle zoo, behind the donkey house. By

agreement, Martin left Nick, Harry, and Lisa at the cafe. He was dressed in a khaki shirt

and pants and had stuffed a workman‟s cap in his pocket. Under his shirt he wore the flat

body of a small metal detector.

       There was a service road just behind the zoo. Once he‟d crossed a patch of tall

grass and slipped behind a big cabbage palm there was no one in sight. He began

searching at the point where they hoped to find the treasure and it wasn‟t long before the

earphones began to roar like a hive of bees. Martin stuck a small metal stake in the

ground and began to walk around it in ever larger circles. There was nothing else in the

area. If this wasn‟t it they were out of luck, probably permanently. He‟d send a copy of
                                               234



the diary to Heidelberg and forget about it.

       It had taken only ten minutes and no one had seen him. The others were drinking

cokes when he returned.

       “I think it‟s there.” He hadn‟t meant to sound so positive. “I mean, there‟s

something there. It could be an old engine block.”



       The parking lot was unlighted when Nick and Martin returned after dark that

evening. Seminole was strictly a daylight operation. Martin left a neatly lettered sign in

the front window of the rented van saying, “Will be towed.”

       The two step ladders fir easily inside the van. Nick had insisted on coming with

him for moral support. Harry and Lisa had wanted to be with them, but Martin refused to

let them take a chance of being arrested. He insisted to Eve that as they weren‟t planning

to take anything from the park the most they could be charged with was trespassing. She

wasn‟t happy.

       The stile concept worked perfectly. Martin set up a ladder at the fence and was

able to climb it easily and place the second ladder on the far side. There were no dogs,

perhaps because of the animals. There would be a watchman, but in Florida watchmen

generally stayed inside after dark, where there was air-conditioning and no insects.

Martin and Nick wore dark long-sleeved shirts and had slathered on a thick layer of

mosquito repellent. Nick didn‟t attempt the fence. He stayed in the woods near the van,

with the walky-talky.

       Martin heard a lot of scuttling in the brush but saw nothing. Jungle birds called
                                             235



from their cages. Frogs and insects kept up a high-pitched continuo. The donkeys were

either sound sleepers or disinterested in prowlers. He found the stake almost immediately

and began to dig.

       Martin‟s health had been Eve‟s greatest concern in this venture, far more than the

possibility of his arrest. He had been digging and refilling a hole in his backyard for

practice. The Jones were away at their mission, so there was no one to question this

strange activity. He had Eve half convinced that he was in good physical condition.

       He planned to dig slowly for half an hour. If he found nothing, he‟d refill the

hole, and they‟d have to think of another way. Could the level of the ground have risen

in 150 years? He didn‟t know.

       Digging was easy in the sandy soil. At two feet he began to dig up bits of rotting

wood. Another few inches and he hit something hard and metallic. He shined his light on

broken planks and what looked like small muddy bricks. When he scraped the shovel

across one of them, a thin gold line appeared.

       He stared at it for a few seconds before he let out his breath and began to pry it

up. The brick was two inches by five and about an inch thick. He thought it weighed

over two pounds. He scraped away enough dirt to see that there were dozens of the bars.

He removed a second one and filled the hole. Dead palmetto leaves easily concealed the

dirt. He was careful while returning to the fence not to leave a trail.

       Nick was waiting. Martin put his finger to his lips and climbed over the fence and

retrieved the ladder. They each took a ladder and returned to the van.

       “See anyone?” Martin said.
                                          236



       “Not a soul,” Nick said. “You going to tell me?”

       “In the car,” Martin said.

       He started the engine and drove out of the parking lot. He reached into his jacket

pocket and handed Nick one of the bars.

       “Holy shit,” Nick said.

       “There‟s more,” Martin said. “No way to tell how many without digging them

up.”

       “So,” Nick said, “what next?”
                                                237



                                       .| Chapter 33|.



       “I honestly didn‟t think we‟d find anything,” Martin said. “I know, Harry, I

should have been more optimistic. But in the back of my mind I also knew that if we did

find the treasure we‟d have other problems. There aren‟t unclaimed spaces on the map

anymore.    I don‟t know about the law, but I‟d suppose the treasure must belong to Miss

Weeks, with probably a cut to the state government and the IRS. Maybe even to

Germany. Remember Leon‟s trouble with the Spanish galleon. We could just tell her

everything and hope she‟d contribute to a scholarship fund, but I can‟t help feeling our

efforts have earned a little more than that.”

       “We could try to buy the land,” Nick said.

       “They say she won‟t sell. Anyway, that wouldn‟t be right. If you buy a

Rembrandt at a junk store, even being pretty sure it‟s a Rembrandt, at least the owner had

a chance to have the painting valued, but no one expects buried treasure in a palmetto

field. She would have sold the place already if she were going to. Some developer

would have scooped it up.”

       “Tell her about the treasure,” Harry said, “but just that it‟s somewhere on her

property, and she can have half. The park is hundreds of acres. She‟d never find it

without our help.”

       “She could try,” Martin said, “if she believed us. The field by the river is one of

the places they‟d look first.”

       “Martin,” Lisa said. “Maybe if we told her what we wanted to do with the
                                            238



money, with your half. You do want to give it away don‟t you? To the Engels in

Germany and for scholarships? Maybe she‟d like that. She‟s an old lady, and she‟s

done a really good thing with Palmasola. She must be a nice person.”

       “Maybe,” Martin agreed, “but again she could do that herself, do it with all the

money not just half of it.”

       “What we need,” Nick said, “is a way to get her to agree to share something

valuable without telling her that she already has it or can find it on her own.”

       “I‟m not sure that‟s any more ethical than trying to buy the field,” Lisa said.

“What we really need is a convincing reason why we‟d all be willing to share something

that valuable.”

       “You‟re right,” Martin said. “That‟s exactly what we need.”

       “Try this,” Eve said. “You have assets you don‟t know about, and we will tell

you if you agree to give us a finder‟s fee of one half the value of those assets. We agree

that one hundred percent of our half will go into a scholarship fund administered by a law

firm, with the stipulation that fifty percent of that goes to students in Germany, and a

small portion of the remainder goes to full tuition through graduate school for two

students of our choosing. Have Ed Bennet write up a contract. At least we could ask him

if he thinks something like that would work.”

       “Your wife is smart, Martin,” Nick said.

       “Smartest person I know.”

       “Thank you,” Eve said, “but you have to understand that I don‟t actually know

what a „finder‟s fee‟ is, except as a small percentage of a transaction for finding a buyer
                                            239



or seller. For all I know what I‟ve suggested is a felony. The gold bars that you boys

took particularly bothers me. Maybe if you gave them to her... I wish I was a lawyer.”

       “If you were a lawyer,” Martin said, “we‟d have been rich a long time ago. Let‟s

talk to Ed. The worst that can happen is he‟ll tell us we have to give it all to her and hope

she‟ll feel obligated to give us something for our trouble.

       “Harry, you look disappointed,” Martin said. “I‟m sorry. Maybe it will work out,

but it has to be legal, or at least ethical. “Just imagine if Nick and I had found something

at the Weisensee. If we weren‟t murdered on the spot, we‟d have an ever bigger legal

nightmare.”

       “It‟s okay,” Harry said. “It‟s cool that we found it.”

       “Yes, it is.” Martin said.
                                            240



                                       .| Chapter 34|.



        Twelve hundred Palmasola Road was a nineteen-twenties Spanish style mansion

set on several acres of citrus orchard and surrounded by a high wall and rows of full-

grown royal palms. These trees had always seemed magical to Martin, their graceful,

chalk white trunks more like the columns on an Indian temple than living plants.

        An elderly woman met them at the door. She was dressed in what was clearly

meant to be a maid‟s uniform despite her running shoes. Her cheerful greeting dispelled

the funereal atmosphere of the old house.

        The windows were open, and the hall was cool. A faint smell of orange

pomander hung in the air. There should have been an organ playing.

        “She‟s expecting you,” the woman said with an expression that Martin couldn‟t

interpret.

        He and Eve were shown into a very large, high-ceilinged room that was filled

with huge pieces of chinoiserie, vases, a large ebony and mother-of-pearl screen, and a

grand piano. The walls were lined with book cases. He thought for a moment that they

were alone until he saw the big fan-back wicker chair by the French windows. It was set

between potted palms. A small, round woman was propped in its center by cushions.

        She wore a black dress with a white lace ruff around her neck and a small cap on

her balding head. A gold cross hung on a ribbon at her throat.

        “Sit down, please.” It was more an invitation than an order but only a little more.

“I rarely see young people. I hope you‟ll have tea.”
                                            241



       Eve said they would love some tea and introduced herself and Martin. They

talked about the house and about Florida and the latest assaults on the economy, while

Grace, the cheerful maid, served tea and ginger snaps.

       Miss Weeks was a good talker. She knew books and told Martin she‟d like him to

look at several of hers. They talked about Austria, where she‟d spent several years before

the war.

       It seemed to Martin that this intelligent old woman was enjoying their company

but was secretly amused by something as well. Miss Weeks finally relented.

       “Well dear, what brings you? Not my reputation for hospitality.”

       Eve was the obvious spokesperson.

       “We have an offer to make,” Eve said. “You have a European asset that we will

tell you about, if you would agree to donate half of its value to scholarship funds, in

Germany and the United States. There would be no cost to you at any point, no liability,

nothing for us personally, and you should consult with your lawyers before making any

agreement.” Eve handed her the contract that Ed Bennet had prepared.

       Miss Weeks read through the contract and smiled. “This is a much better offer

than the other one I received today, but I‟m afraid together they‟ve rather given away the

game. Seminole is not for sale, and although the local real estate people and developers

burn with hope and desire, they know better than to waste their time. Someone came this

morning, a rather distinguished looking Austrian gentleman. He wished to buy Seminole

Springs for a generous price and to maintain it unspoiled, he said. This is not a

coincidence I presume?
                                               242



          “No,” Eve said, “It isn‟t.”

          “It strongly suggests, does it not, that this mysterious asset is already present at

Seminole Springs, waiting to be plucked?”

          Eve nodded. “It‟s a long story, but the substance is that the personal fortune of a

wealthy Prussian nobleman, Friedrich von Engle, was buried here over a hundred years

ago. You could find it yourself eventually, but there‟s no reason for us not to tell you.

Frankly, I‟m relieved. My husband is the baron‟s heir, or at least he may be, but it was

all long ago, and we don‟t know who it really should belong to.”

          “Excellent. And in fact I‟m inclined to sign this document. I will speak with my

lawyer first, who may have a few suggestion, but he‟s even older than I and quite

conservative, and he does what I tell him. I‟m an autodidact with a strong belief in

education. My personal estate will be divided between a fund for the maintenance of the

park and scholarships in science education. If you‟ll stay for supper, we can discuss the

details. I‟m thought to be a clever old eccentric by the local establishment, but I have

only one real talent which has served me well throughout my life. I can recognize

honesty. Unfortunately I can‟t always tell an honest fool from an honest wise man, but

you two seem bright enough. Grace, get Coates on the phone. There‟ll be five for

supper.

          “I‟m concerned about this man, Scharnhorst,” Amelia said. “He was furious that I

turned him down, although he tried to conceal it. He has to have known you found what

you‟ve been looking for. It was certainly no coincidence that he came to see me this

morning. I don‟t think the people he represents are likely to give up.”
                                            243



       “It‟s your property, Amelia,” Eve said. “Why not call the police, or hire private

security?”

       “Because we don‟t know what we‟re dealing with yet. I‟ve had too much trouble

over the years with the State of Florida, the EPA, and the Cultural Heritage Commission

to trust the government with anything. If they learn I‟ve dug up a treasure on my land,

we‟ll have even the Seminoles, God bless them, making a claim.” She laughed. “I‟ll

make sure they get scholarships too. I‟m afraid you‟re no better off than before. You

should have dug it up and carted it away. No, I can‟t call the police yet. What do you

suggest?”

       “We should dig it up now,” Martin said, “and put it someplace safe, but that could

be a big job.”

       “We have a power shovel and a truck,” Amelia said, “I haven‟t operated the

shovel in years, but I remember how. I even know where to stash the treasure. I bought a

mausoleum in Memorial Park. An old one, never used.”

       “An unused mausoleum?”

       “Best laid plans, I suppose,” Amelia said. “I plan to have the name chiseled off

and my own put on. It‟s the perfect place. We‟ll dig up the goods after dark when we

can make sure no one follows us and put them in the mausoleum. It‟s built like the

proverbial brick shithouse with a lock the size of an armadillo.”



       Coates was a sweet old man, and sweet on Amelia obviously. He trusted his

client‟s judgment without question. Martin and Amelia signed the agreement and Coates
                                           244



and the maid witnessed it.

       When it was fully dark, Martin, Eve, and Amelia drove to the park. Amelia

opened the gate to a utility road that led to an equipment shed. She started the digger and

drove it to the palmetto field. Martin and Eve followed her in the old Ford truck. Martin

found the marker easily. He‟d begun to worry that the captain might have come in the

early hours of the morning, but nothing had changed since the night before. It took

Amelia only five minutes to scrape away three feed of sand and uncover the cache and to

gently scoop up the gold bricks and several sturdy wooden chests and load them into the

truck bed. Amelia refilled the hole. They had the truck stowed in Amelia‟s garage

within the hour.

       They planned to go back to the house for a supper of conch chowder and poached

red snapper. The maid‟s husband was the cook. Martin said he‟d be with them as soon

as he‟d tied a tarp over the truck bed. He was about to go back into the house when he

saw two cars turn into the driveway. A small station wagon was followed by a Mercedes

sedan. Both stopped in front of the gate, partially blocking it. Four men got out.

Martin thought he saw handguns.

       The truck engine started noisily. There was no time to hesitate. He backed out of

the garage and continued to back as fast as he dared. He crashed through the gate as if it

wasn‟t there. The station wagon flipped over like a discarded toy. The Mercedes was

brushed off the road. He turned in the street and roared down Palmasola towards the

highway. A mile away he stopped at a pay phone and called the police to report a serious

accident outside 1200 Palmasola, and no he wouldn‟t give his name.
                                             245



        He hung up and called Amelia. They had heard the crash and had seen the sedan

drive away. They‟d keep the doors locked until the police came.

        The drive to Memorial Park in St. Pete took him an hour and a half. He was

careful to do nothing to attract attention. The rear end of the truck was battered but still

serviceable.

        Memorial Park was in an old residential neighborhood that was no longer

fashionable. Martin stopped at a shopping center near the cemetery and called the house

again. The police had come and gone. The men had driven off in the damaged

Mercedes. The station wagon had been towed away. Martin said he would finish what

he had to do and get back as soon as he could.

        The cemetery gates were closed and locked with a light chain. A gentle push with

the truck‟s bumper snapped this easily. Amelia‟s directions were good. The mausoleum

was a pseudo Greek temple, not unattractive but sandwiched between a miniature version

of the Albert Memorial and a group of Angels who appeared to be waiting for a bus. The

key worked, and, as Amelia had promised, the mausoleum was empty and large enough

inside for a family reunion.

        It took him a half hour in the pitch dark to transfer the treasure. His arms and legs

were wobbly by the time he was finished and had closed and padlocked the heavy steel

door.



        Amelia was in bed by the time he arrived back at the mansion, haggard and dirty,

but Eve and Nick had waited up for him. They opened a bottle of champagne and sat and
                                              246



talked for another hour. They didn‟t want to leave Amelia and at three AM there seemed

to be little point in going home.

        “I don‟t expect them back tonight,” Martin said, “or maybe at all, but you can

never be sure about people. I remember when I still worked in New York a dozen of us

got on the elevator on the thirty-ninth floor of the International Building just after five

one evening. We stopped at thirty-two and picked up the most beautiful woman I, or

apparently anyone else on the elevator, had ever seen. We were stunned to silence. Then

another young woman rushed toward the elevator yelling, „Millie, don‟t go! Mr. Webster

needs to see you!‟

        “The beautiful young woman snarled in a thick Brooklyn accent, „Tell the old

bastard to go take a crap. I got a date, and I ain‟t comin‟ back for nobody.‟ The doors

closed, and the silence lasted all the way to the first floor.

        “At times like that I enjoyed my job,” Martin said. “The other day I heard about

the Child‟s Mental Health Program. It‟s supposed to help young people answer the

question, „Who am I and where am I going?‟ I‟d asked PR exactly that when I was a

boy, and he said, „You‟re Martin Newhouse and unless you work your ass off you‟re

going to be a goddamned bum.‟ I could have been a bum, too. I was late to my first class

as a college freshman because I followed a girl with a perfect rear end four blocks out of

my way. Eve once pointed out that I always tilt a little in group photos? It‟s because

when I was a kid they stuck me at the end, and I had to lean to be in the picture.

Remember when we were doing Meals on Wheels and you thought we delivered the

wrong dessert to a diabetic, and you called, and she answered the phone, and we never
                                               247



told anyone?”

       “I think you‟re drunk, Martin,” Eve said.

       “Maybe a little, Martin said. “Maybe it‟s cemetery jitters, except that I‟ve always

liked cemeteries. Remember the pretty guide who told us about the Parsee funerals

where the bodies are washed with bull‟s urine while being watched by a dog and then

after four days the corpse is taken to the roof where the vultures strip it clean in twenty

minutes? When we were there the dog was sleeping in the door to the temple and the

vultures were just sitting around in trees.”

       “I remember,” Eve said. “I‟m going to find a bed somewhere. Good night,

Martin. Good night, Nick.”
                                              248



                                          Chapter 35



          “The Lincoln County News reports a tragedy in New Harbor,” Martin read.

          “Oh?”

          “We are sorry to hear that Robert Bender died while trying to save another man

who was caught in a big under-toe. Neither one survived, but I‟ll say this for Robert, he

tried.”

          “Under-tow is spelled „toe‟. I hope they put that on his tombstone. Remember

our neighbor with the license plate, „ITRYD‟?”

          “Yes,” Eve said, “I always thought that was rather sad, especially in his case.”

          “Apparently the Lincoln County News doesn‟t dwell at length on tragedy.

Moving on...”

          “Heddi Marly took me over to Back Cove and showed me what marsh greens

was. I cooked them for 25 minutes with potatoes, but they weren‟t none too good.

Maybe a little salt pork would help. Mr. and Mrs. Narold Farland celebrated their forty-

fifth wedding anniversary and got a money tree with $10 on it. Considering inflation it

should have been at least $45. Lillian Bender won the raffle at Sampson‟s in Rockland.

It‟s so nice when you know the folks who won. When you don‟t know them, you kind of

wonder. I got a most handsome table cloth up to Punk Gammage‟s. It doesn‟t nearly

cover the table, but as long as I‟ve got nothing better I‟ll just keep it on. Bristol Days are

coming up. Heidi Elkins has been trying to walk her new turkey, but the turkey doesn‟t

want to be walked, especially with the socks on. The turkey either takes her dog chain in
                                             249



her mouth and runs for dear life or she just stands still.

       “What do you think?”

       “I‟m not sure,” Eve said. “It should be a joke, but I don‟t think it is.”



       It all worked out pretty much as they had hoped. Kostas helped them convert the

treasure into cash, which Martin assumed had been supplied by the Greek government in

exile. Otto Engle was overjoyed with the amount that Martin sent the European Engels.

They were able to set up Foundations for the scholarships and the Seminole Nature

Preserve and to assure that Harry and Lisa‟s education was paid for. Not a penny came to

the Newhouses. Nothing linked them with the treasure. Life went on.

       Some days Florida was all cool sea breezes. Some days it was heat and bugs and

frogs, wildly growing shrubs and grasses, and masses of exotic flowers. Edna said

Florida had too many interesting plants. She was constantly forced to dig them up to

make room for new ones like her Moses in the Bulrushes and Ethiopian Pen Wiper.

       Martin wondered how it was that he‟d been born in the center of the United States

when so many of his ideas and his sense of beauty seemed more allied to the Far East and

the tropics. Inside of him lived an adventurer, a scholar, an artist, a carver in wood and

stone, in gems or ivory, perhaps of the fiercely humorous Japanese netsuke.

       By now he knew very well the moods of the sea, the roar of the waves, and the

ebb and flow of the tides. The sands and shells, and the vegetation, trees, shrubs, and

flowers seemed eternal. He loved to walk on the beach early in the morning when his

would be the first footprints in the sand. Later in the day it was equally agreeable to
                                             250



watch the boats and the birds and the children playing on the beach, always the same and

yet always different. He loved even the storms. Dashing out into thunder and lightning

was one of life‟s greatest thrills. His mother had yelled at him when he was a boy that

only a fool would stand out in a storm, but he always did it anyway. Martin had dreamed

of just this kind of life for forty years. When he was a little boy in Oak Park Illinois he

liked to walk through the snow to the top of a small hill at the end of their street and look

back at his own footprints and then ahead at the empty whiteness of the wheat fields

stretching to the horizon. This is the curiosity and the pleasure in life that is expected of

us.
                                               251



                                            Chapter 36



          “Martin, it‟s Costas. He says he wants to make us an offer we can‟t refuse.”

          “I certainly hope he‟s joking.”

          “Greece, Kostas? No, we can‟t do that. That would cost...what? Oh, Kostas, I

don‟t believe you. It sounds just like the luggage. Here talk to Martin.

          “He wants to give us a free trip to Greece. You talk to him.”

          “Kostas, my friend, I wondered when we‟d here from you. When do you want us

to go?”

          “Martin!”

          “I think we‟re doing him a favor,” Martin told her. “Next week? What about

reservations? Taken care of? He says the weather should be perfect and we‟ll beat the

tourist season. We should do it, Eve. I‟ll explain why as soon as I get off the phone.

Special delivery? Great. He says the tickets will come by Special Delivery. Will we see

you? No? I didn‟t think so. And it‟ll be safe? All right. Okay, we‟ll be in touch, and

thanks. Sounds like quite an adventure.”

          Martin hung up the phone. “Wait,” he said to Eve and disappeared into his office.

He appeared a minute later carrying the biggest suitcase from the set of luggage that

Kostas had given them two years before. They‟d carried it on the Caribbean cruise but

nowhere else.

          He opened it. “Feel that,” he said to Eve and put her fingers on a ridge that ran

around the bottom of the suitcase. “The other cases don‟t have that. I think it‟s what
                                            252



we‟ve been keeping for Kostas for two years, what the bad guys have been looking for.

It‟s what we‟re going to take to Greece for Kostas next week. I don‟t know what it is, but

I don‟t think it will be in the suitcase by the time we pick up our baggage in Athens.”

       “Why do you think that?”

       “Because Kostas said when we get to Greece we won‟t have a worry in the world.

I assume the baggage handlers, who are bound to be Communists, will remove it.”

       “You want to do this, don‟t you? And obviously I have to come with you.”

       “We don‟t have to go, Eve. There might be a risk. That‟s why I had to tell you.”

       “No, we have to do it. You have to. Tarzan would do it, and I have to be with

you. Why else have you lived your life, Martin, except to save Greece?”




                                        THE END

				
DOCUMENT INFO