Archive for November, 2008

Shades of Hemingway / Deja’ Voodoo – Part 11, From the Back End of Beyond

November 26, 2008

Author’s note: This is a continuation of a series. For more information see, Shades of Hemingway and Shades of Hemingway / Medium Exposure.

*

And then a strange thing happened. Not that talking to a ghost no matter how often you do it doesn’t seem strange. But in the weeks that I had been associated with the spirits, this was something that I had not witnessed before. Hem, the shade of Hemingway that was the representative of his age at mid-life, where he had achieved his international celebrity began to morph into Papa. This was the Hemingway at the twilight of his years on earth, the image of his most reflective self.

“Best not to utter that name to Lord Cristobal, Chris. I doubt he’d receive it or you too kindly.”

After witnessing such a transformation from the back end of beyond I was temporarily awestruck. My meetings with the spirits were generally not as theatrical. As a matter of fact, they seemed no less than normal had I been chatting with a neighbor. Papa’s reassuring countenance helped me quickly regain my composure. Papa raised his hand and touched his nose, a gesture that recalled the antics of St. Nick inThe Night Before Christmas.

“But take heart… you may be on to something.”

“Papa?”

“Hello, Chris.”

I had not spoken with Papa Hemingway since we had last met at the public library in Key West. It was there that he told me of the kyklos tod mene’ and warned that I might be it’s next victim. In all the excitement of coming to Cuba to try and rescue Rachel I had almost forgotten about him.

“Am I glad to see you!”

Papa seemed genuinely warmed by the fact that I expressed my relief and optimism at meeting him once again. He sat at the desk that Hem had occupied only moments before and looked regal, poised and reassuring. He smiled that grandfatherly smile of his and my heart’s rapid percussion seemed to ease a little.

“It is good to see you again, Chris. Sorry I had to materialize in such a fashion but I haven’t been available much of late. Tell me about your progress, how are things going?”

“Whoa… Papa! This is a tough nut to crack! I keep getting in deeper and become more confused with each step I take! And now I see this man in the picture with Rosetta? How could this be? I had no idea what was going on around me with this guy. Now I find out he is involved with this Lord Cristobal? And Lord Cristobal is your godson? When did all this happen? And what about Rachel? Am I to presume that one leads to the other?”

“Easy, Chris… all in good time. The association between that man and Lord Cristobal is a fragile alliance at best. How did that relationship begin? As usual, one is in it for the money and prestige, of course. The other wants his control and influence to spread. Originally each saw the collaboration as a means of furthering their individual goals. But it is not that solid of an arrangement now.”

“And finding Rachel, Papa. How do I find her if not by using this guy’s influence? I need some way in to see Lord Cristobal or they’ll turn me away at the gates.”

“Well, Chris… you can’t just march up and accuse someone like Lord Cristobal of kidnaping. What would you say even if you could get in to see him? ‘Hello, I’d like my girlfriend back?'”

“I haven’t worked it out that far, I’m afraid. I figured having a name as a calling card might open up some doors. I was going to ad-lib the rest.”

.
“Listen and believe me. Ad-libbing can get you killed, especially if you go up and announce yourself uninvited. Your friend’s dabbling with the practices of the Santeria faithful has gotten their babalaos very upset.”

“This forced suicide thing Hem was speaking of? That is based in the Santeria practice?”

“Exactly. The cycle of the death moon is more a condition than an adversary, Chris. Humans are at their most vulnerable state and easily influenced by the kyklos tod mene’. I’m sorry I couldn’t make that distinction clearer to you before now.”

“Wait a minute! What about exposing the killer, Robert Jordan and possibly Rosetta’s? I presumed them to be one and the same. I mean, I figured it was… he was…”

“A person, place or thing? I’m afraid that was your own conclusion, Chris.”

“Meaning that this exposure business that I have undertaken is about a condition, not a perpetrator?”

“Well… there are certain elements of human influence that agitate the kyklos tod mene’, Chris. Methods to direct it’s desired effect, ways to accelerate it’s potential outcome. This is one of the tools used by the babalaos, or his progeny, to punish an enemy. But the ‘killer’ you are to expose is more diabolical than the cycle of the death moon in itself. It just isn’t as easily resolved as walking up and pointing him out.”

“Sheesh, you didn’t leave much else to go on beings everything helpful seemed ‘out of bounds’.”

“There is such a thing as a need to know. What you will need… you will know.”

“Okay, what about this being Lord Cristobal’s godfather? I didn’t need to know about that? Just whose son is he, anyway?”

“My guide, Tenete’s. His relatives christened his son ‘Miller’ and asked that I return with him to Cuba after Tenete’ had been mauled to death by a lion while we were on safari.”

“Miller?”

“My middle name, Chris. I was named after my grandfather on my mother’s side, Ernest Miller Hall. Tenete’s Miller came to Cuba with me and when he grew older took the name ‘Cristobal’ after the cathedral in Havana. Later he searched out his ancestry and took to the Santeria faith, progressing rapidly to the rank of babalaos.”

“What does this have to do with my friend, Keith?”

Naty looked up at me, her eyes moist with tears. I had spoken the name out loud standing there in her living room. Naty was in anguish, that was plain to see. But it had more to do with my discovery of who the culprit in the photograph was than what the outcome had been. Her sister had taken her own life, but the reason given earlier was because she had been rejected and another woman had been chosen to take her place. That other woman, as it turned out after a long and tearful confession, had been Naty.

I tried to recall my first meeting with Keith, long before that fateful first trip to Key West. I had made the habit of visiting a local coffee shop in the early morning hours on my way to work. Keith would occasion the place and we would acknowledge each other politely as ‘regulars’ and go about our business. One day as Keith was reading the paper he asked me a question.

“Have you been following the news on these Cuban refugees washed up over on Sanibel Island?”

I had been. Our area on the S.W. corner of Florida was still regarded as a sleepy little retirement community. All the newsworthy things happened over on the east coast. Even Hurricane Andrew managed to pass us by to the south. So this refugee news was international, CNN stuff placed right at out back door.

“Yeah,” I replied, more interested in the sports section than the local news or world affairs, but I was polite. Keith and I had made comments back and forth in the past, but nothing real substantial… until now. “What a thing to have happen, right?”

Keith let his paper drop to the table. “How do you feel about them coming here?”

I hadn’t really thought about it before. Florida gets reports of Cuban refugees arriving fairly often, those that are fortunate enough to make it to land. More often than not we heard of the Coast Guard turning away the rickety crafts that the hopeful bind together and make the 90 mile trek with.

“I can’t say as I blame them.” I said, finally setting my sports report aside and looking squarely over at Keith sitting a few empty tables away. “I imagine if I lived in a country like that under the thumb of a cruel dictator I’d want to get away to a better place, too.”

“I’ll bet it has those rich folks over on Sanibel singing a different tune.”

“Oh? How so?”

“You know that everyone that moves over there wants to be the last one, don’t you? Once they have their little piece of paradise they want to close the causeway down to keep anyone else from coming over.”

“Really, you think so?”

“Oh yeah, the ones that complain the loudest about the overcrowding and the pollution are the new arrivals. I call them the NMIs, ‘new money islanders.’ Now that they’ve achieved that status of living on Sanibel or even better yet, Captiva, they don’t want the riff raff coming over and spoiling it for them.”

“You think these people from Cuba are ‘riff raff’?”

“I don’t, THEY do!”

“Yeah, well… I feel badly for them. Like I said, you can’t blame people for wanting a little piece of paradise, too. I think that we as a so called ‘Christian Nation’ ought to be more concerned about the plight of these poor immigrants that through no choice of their own have come to be suppressed by the likes of Castro.”

“Now you’re making it a moral issue.”

“It is a moral issue, we have plenty… like you say about the ‘new money islanders.’ They have plenty. Why should they worry if the lower class want to bask in the same sun they do?”

“There’s more to it than spending the day on the beach. I think you know better than that.”

“All I know is that if I were living in poverty without hope because of some cruel dictator I would hope that someone would be willing to stand up to him and end his regime.”

Keith looks at me with a devilish grin, like he had stirred up the pot and all the heads have come bubbling to the surface.

“Who says he’s cruel?”

“What?”

“Castro, how do you know he’s a cruel dictator?”

“It’s in the news! People that have left tell us what is going on over there!”

“They only tell you what they want you to know, you realize that right?”

“How do you mean?”

“The government they had before wasn’t all that great. Besides, we were only interested in Cuba for our own gain, not for the liberty of it’s people. American interests, that’s the bottom line. Castro dared to defy us, that’s his crime.”

“I suppose there is some politicking in there.”

“You KNOW there is. Besides, one man’s dictator is another man’s liberator, it’s all in how you look at it.”

The conversation is veering off into a direction I’m not that familiar with but Keith was just getting warmed up.

“Here’s a moral issue for you. Imagine you were someone that could profit off another person’s misery while at the same time rendering them a service. Would you still provide that service?”

“You mean like selling booze to an alcoholic?”

“Kinda sorta. You had nothing to do with that person’s choices, had no control over conditions or locations or politics. But you could make money by providing them a service even if it seemed a little unethical by some people’s standards. Would you do it?”

“By providing them this service, would it help in making them better? Would it lead to a cure for the condition they found themselves in? Not like putting fuel to the fire, or giving them more poison to slowly kill themselves with?”

“Let’s just say it could give them the opportunity for a better life, if they took advantage of it.”

“Then… yeah, I probably would have a clear conscience about doing it, why not?”

“Hmm… that’s very interesting. Given that, how do you feel about the guy that brought the boat and dumped those refugees off over on Sanibel Island?”

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Shades of Hemingway / Deja’ Voodoo – Part 10, the Lord Giveth Away

November 20, 2008

Author’s note: This is a continuation of a series. For more information see, Shades of Hemingway and Shades of Hemingway / Medium Exposure.

.

“I have to see Lord Cristobal now!”

Naty, Miriam and the children have just returned from the open market. I was so convinced that I had to depart immediately that I put my clothes back on even though they were still damp.

“Chris, what has happened?” Naty is startled at my abruptness.

” I have to see him right away, Naty. He knows where Rachel is, I am sure of it now.”

“Chris, even if he did have her or know where she was, you don’t just march up to the La Casa Vinales de Eden and demand to see Lord Cristobal. It just isn’t done.”

“It is when you are referred by someone, Naty. That is how I’ll get in there and speak with Lord Cristobal by saying I was sent to see him.”

Naty crosses her arms in front of her chest, resisting my logic. “And just who has referred you all of a sudden?”

Over looking my self-incrimination of wandering through her personal items while she was gone I go into her bedroom and grab the picture with the smiling woman. Naty follows in behind me and gasps as I pick up the photograph.

“That is my sister, Rosetta!” She exclaimed, also overlooking my rude behavior. “You’re going to say she referred you to Lord Cristobal’s villa, Chris? She has been dead over a year now!”

The gears are starting to grind. Of course this was Naty’s sister, it all made sense now. Connect the dots… just as Hem had said.

“I’m not going to say Rosetta has sent me, Naty. It is this man,” and I tap the face in the background, “he will get me in.”

Naty snatches the picture out of my hand. She is suspicious of me now and for good reason, as I am about to find out.

“This man? How do you know this man?” She is holding back her anger and/or fear but is just a decibel below screaming at me. Her face has turned near hysterical. With lips quivering tense emotion her darting eyes penetrate past my exterior skin and search my soul for credibility. By then Miriam has followed behind us and is also looking at me in disbelief.

“Mr. Fiore,” Miriam begins, “this is not a good man. It is because of him that Rosetta is dead.”

Now I am more intrigued and also having my own share of wonderment.

“This man is the father of her children?”

“Yes… this man is very dangerous.”

“Not only that,” adds Naty, “if you know him we must assume you are dangerous, too, and not to be trusted! Who are you and why are you here?”

“But I’ve told you why I am here.”

“You did not tell us that you knew this man!”

“Naty, how could’ve I? I didn’t make the connection until now… after seeing this picture.”

Naty puts the photo back on the dresser, leaving her hand hold it for a moment while it rests there. She slowly starts to calm down, breathing a sigh.

“I keep this picture as a reminder of my sister brought to such a tragic end by this man condoned and abetted by Lord Cristobal. He has used the teachings of the Santeria and the influence of the babalaos to get away with murder. Each time I look at it I swear my family’s revenge.”

“Naty, I thought your sister killed herself…”

Naty raises her hand to cover her mouth then walks out of the bedroom sobbing, followed by myself and Miriam. She falls onto the sofa in the small living room and Miriam finds a seat on the edge to comfort her. I stand once again looking at pictures of people I do not recognize then scan the bookcase, trying to ignore Naty’s sobs and the soothing coos of Miriam struggling to console her. It is then that I see the binding that I had overlooked earlier while trying to entertain myself during their absence. It is the only book written in English, tucked down towards the bottom, easily blending and fading into the fabric of the other books more aesthetically pleasing. I step over and pull the book out… Men Without Women by Ernest Hemingway.

“Know this, Sport… nothing’s as you suppose…”

Hem is still propping his argyle socked feet back on his desk. I have opened the book and am looking down at it’s dedication. ” A mi amigo bueno Juan Revuelta despue’s de que agana’ramos el “grande.” Muchas gracias, Ernesto.”

“What does this mean?” I ask, standing dumbfounded before the apparition whose fantasy only moments earlier had been the wearing of a new pair of socks daily.

“To my good friend, Juan Revuelta, after we caught the ‘big’ one. Many thanks, Ernesto” He states with a shrug, “Or some variation thereof. He was the only Juan that got away with calling me ‘Ernesto” because I knew he was using it as a measure of respect.” Hem smiled at his little joke.

” I mean, WHAT THE HELL DOES THIS MEAN? “My good friend, Juan Revuelta?’ Why didn’t you tell me you knew the Revueltas?”

Hem seems a bit put off by my loud tone, but he quickly acquiesced.

“Juan was a friend of Goyo, the captain and caretaker of my boat, Pilar. He’d go out fishing with us on occasion… prior to the Revolution, of course.”

“But you didn’t say anything of Juan or his family at the La Floridita… and what the Hell is a ‘Goyo’?”

“Goyo is what he goes by, the entire island knows him by Goyo. His full name is Gregorio. Gregorio Fuentes is the best fisherman in all the Caribbean!”

.
“Okay… it still doesn’t explain why you didn’t tell me about the Revueltas.”

“Why should’ve I? What was going to develop would take place in the normal course of time, Sport. You know certain revelations are out of bounds for me to disclose. I can only steer things by having YOU make the choices. Besides, what difference does it make now? You’re on your way to finding Rachel… right?”

“I need some answers.” I snapped the book closed and tossed it on his desk.

“What kind of answers?”

“There’s a connection, there’s gotta be.”

“What kind of a connection?” Hem was playing it all wide eyed and innocent.

“Between you and this Lord Cristobal! There’s some link… some common denominator that I’m tiptoein’ around but can’t quite put my finger on! There’s more to this than your interest in having me expose Officer Jordan’s killer. I mean , why would you care? Why would you waste your time and mine? Except you have all the time in the world, right? Well, I don’t! This is some fun for you, right? Some ghostly perversion? Get the mortal to run around in circles and become all discombobulated? I have a life… HAD a life! And now this picture of Naty’s sister, Rosetta! You’ve got to tell me what is going on. RIGHT NOW!”

Hem sits there in his high backed chair and rocks it a little, back and forth, staring at me with a fixed little smirk on his face while I am thrashing my arms about pacing in animated fashion. Suddenly I begin to wonder if getting agitated at him was such a good idea. I could imagine all sorts of unpleasantness caused by an enraged poltergeist. Had I gotten just a bit too carried away?

Finally Hem draws his legs in and sits up, resting his arms on the desk top and folding his hands formally before him. I have initially calmed down and stopped before him, standing with my fists on my hips as Hem looks up at me with his crinkled brow. Then he nods.

“I knew you were a bright boy, Chris… knew it when I first laid eyes on ya.”

It was the first time I could recall Hem addressing me by name. There was an ease in his manner but a solemness I was not accustomed to. This was not coming from the more forceful and cavalier personification of the shades of Hemingway. Before he seemed amused and condescending towards me, almost appearing gleeful at my chagrin at being twisted about since I embarked on this quest of theirs. But now Hem was reflective. He continued nodding as if affirming what he had to say while he said it.

“And you’re right, it’s time you knew everything. Before it wouldn’t have mattered and might have hindered you. But if we’re going to proceed it may be helpful for you to know. Lord Cristobal is… my godson.”

“Whaaat?”

“My godson. Lord Cristobal is the son of my Nigerian guide, Tenete’.”

“The man carving the ivory shoehorn?”

“Precisely. Cuba has ancestors linked to the African nations as well as the Europeans. Much of the religious practices here are traced back there. A blend of Spanish Catholicism and that ol’ black magic.”

“And the kyklos todd mene’ I’m supposed to be wary of? The killer that is influenced by the ‘cycle of the death moon’ that Papa warned me about? What’s become of him?”

“Yes, well… we don’t wanna forget him, do we? Not that you could now that you think you’ve got it all figured out’ Are you familiar with the term, ‘a forced suicide’?”

I have calmed down by now… way down. I sit opposite Hem intrigued. For the first time since I’ve met him, Hem seems to be less abrasive and more persuasive towards my intellect. We are approaching middle ground where I am feeling like an equal, albeit… momentarily.

“You mean like the shoguns who lost face and killed themselves because they felt they had dishonored their emperor?”

“That’s it in principle.”

“Yeah, sure… I know what you mean. People losing hope and ending it all rather than face the humiliation of the consequences of their actions.”

Hem looks at me coolly, leans back in the high back chair and begins drumming his fingers on the desk.

“Or perhaps not…” Hem begins, his tone full of foreboding, “there are circumstances we are put into physically… emotionally, that the mind cannot cope with. Sometimes with just the right prodding, the correct amount of urging or power of suggestion… ” His voice trails off.

I sit there and begin to grow more inquisitive, remembering a snide remark Hem had just made.

“What do you mean I think I have it all figured out? I know who is in the picture with Rosetta.”

Hem begins the slight rocking again looking like his old self, gleefully witnessing my misguided confidence.

“Tell us who you imagine it is…”

Shades of Hemingway / Deja`Voodoo – Part 9, Connecting the Dots…

November 9, 2008

Author`s note:  This is a continuation of a series.  For more information see Shades of Hemingway and Shades of Hemingway / Medium Exposure

.

“Lately I`ve been runnin`on faith,

what else can a poor boy do?”

                        – Eric Clapton

     Of course by now I have figured out that I am in the middle of a kidnapping ring that grabs it`s victims from the southern parts of Florida.  Once that is accomplished, the abducted are held in Cuba free from the investigative powers of the U.S. government awaiting their ransom to be paid.  Enrique assumed that I was a courier about to settle accounts with Lord Cristobal and en route to the villa must have figured he could make a quick score.

     “Why does Lord Cristobal live in a villa here in the Western Province?”  I ask as we travel the narrow road way from the house of Juan Revuelta, thrilled that I could make the distinction between the areas.  “Wouldn`t it make more sense for him to be in Havana where all the industry and government influences is at it`s strongest?”

     I am in the front passenger seat as Naty drives her Volkswagon “Thing.”  I imagine this rough and tumble vehicle is a throwback from her days in Miami, Florida where having a convertible may not be a prerequisite, but it certainly helps.

     “His hand is long, Chris… his influence is not limited to locale.  Besides, he believes the history of the island.  The Santeria origins amongst the early cave dwellers in Vinales holds much power over the superstitions of my people.”

     “You don`t believe in the Santeria like your countrymen do?”

     Her hair is blown back by the wind, her dark sunglasses are the remnants of her past life in the States.  She is a chamaeleon, comfortable here in her homeland but obviously bolstered by the blend of cultures across the Florida Straits.  Naty could be a revolutionary figure in her own right.

     “Our faith has been held hostage by the corruption of this government.  My people are enslaved by traditions and ignorance.”

     Naty has tasted the sweet, forbidden fruit of freedom and it has left her bitter.  As we drive through the countryside towards Vinales I am wondering what part she will continue to play in my quest to find the sister of a dead rookie cop from Key West.

     One of the ironies of Cuba is the fact that they rely heavily on tourism as a means of income.  That the socialistic nation emulates the West in such a glaring contradiction must really eat at the Castro brothers who have continued to deny any link to our influences.  Capitalism seems to have it’s good points after all.  But I keep this opinion to myself.

     The scenery in the lush Vinales Valley is breathtakingly beautiful.  Unlike the gradual slopes of hills and mountains in Cuba and every other part of the world, the macotes are limestone formations that appear to have been gigantic bowling ball cases dropped randomly from the sky and then covered with vegetation.  I am taken by the simpleness of life here; where an automobile, even a battered vehicle some thirty years old like ours, still garnishes attention from the people we pass by as if it were an alien craft from another galaxy.  Looking out into fields and seeing oxen pulling crude farm equipment recalls turn of the century technology that denies the viewer the mentality of the new millennium.  It is a rugged life here.

     “The tourists must view you as fairly quaint.”  I observe to no one in particular.  But Naty picks up on the slight right away.

     “Oh?  How so?”

     “Well, what I mean to say is that it seems a little backward here, like you have not caught up with the rest of the world.”

     “It wasn’t until recently that we were allowed to have something as simple as microwave ovens.  Can you imagine?”  Naty shakes her head in disgust.  “The government keeps close tabs on what Cubans are allowed to be exposed to.”

     “That seems absurd to me.  What is the big deal?”

     “Control, Chris…  keeping people ignorant in the ways of the world keeps them in line.”

     “But surely your people see stuff with the arrival of tourists, things like cell  phones and video recorders.  Doesn’t all this just make èm curious as to what else is out there?”

     “When I first arrived to Miami I was overwhelmed with all the neon and glitter!  Every building looked new and clean.  Automobiles filled the streets and highways.  There were people and fashion everywhere!  Of course my people want for these things, Chris!  But we have no one to come to our rescue, we are shackled by a federal government that controls our every move.”

     I ponder this briefly then ask, “Are you sorry you left Miami, Naty?”

     She looks intently at the road for a moment.  “No,” she eventually replied, “I`m sorry I ever left Cuba.”

     And in that moment I felt ashamed because of the freedoms I took for granted.  Naty had a longing for the morsels she might never enjoy again while I feasted on a banquet I had acquired no taste for, at least… not until recently.  I had been nourished to the point of excess, I had never known a hunger for freedom.  Naty and people like her were starving and would be satisfied with the crumbs falling from our table of democracy.

     “Why not make arrangements to return?  You`ve saved money, you are established in America.”

     “It is much easier to enter Cuba than to leave.”  She drops her head and looks over the rim of her glasses.  “As you may well find out.”

     I am feeling a bit disconcerted by that remark but then she quickly adds,  “Besides, I have some business to attend to that concerns your friend.”

     “My friend?  Hey, I don’t know the guy.  Not only that, I’m beginning to feel like I’m on a wild goose chase.”

     “You’ll have to explain to me how you got on this chase in the first place.”  She smiles, amused at her rhyme.

     “You’d never believe me.”

     “And why not?”

     “Because I hardly believe it myself.”

     Naty’s smile continues.  She is having a good time with me and despite the fact that I seem to be complaining about my lot in life a little too much, I am enjoying her company as well.

     Vinales is a sleepy, quaint little town, a village that has not seen the tides of change or progress since it`s inception, or so I imagine.  The main street we travel down is crowded with houses that have been painted in colorful pastels.  I see signs of the revolution painted on billboards and the sides of buildings as we are passing through.  Naty’s home is tucked in between the others on this quiet main artery.  With the job she has at the resort hotel, Naty has a financial status that enables her the luxury of a house with two bedrooms and a small garden in front with a flower draped trellis off to one side.

     It is a modest but clean structure and a world of difference compared to her father’s digs.  So I am grateful for the cool running water of her shower.  Naty’s mother offers to wash the clothes that have been supplied to me by Sgt. Garcia in an old wringer washer just off the back door.  While the tropical sun dries them on the clothes line, Naty has taken her mother and the children to the open market.  I am left to lounge around the small living room with a thin bedspread serving as a toga to cover my nakedness.

     There is no television or radio, only some books on a small bookcase and a few photographs set out on a mantle.  I scan the books for a familiar title and then gaze at the pictures into the faces of people I do not know.  The larger of the two bedrooms has a set of bunk beds along with a single bed.  The other room, which I presume to be Naty’s, has a solitary bed and a dresser with more pictures.  I wander a bit around the house then allow myself the boldness of entering her room to get a closer look at the photographs on display.  I reasoned that if they were not meant to be examined they would not have been placed in full view so prominently.

     One picture is of Naty bathing on a sunny beach with someone’s abandoned beach towel stretched out beside her, possibly the person taking the picture.  Another picture has a much younger Naty standing with a group of people, possibly her relatives.  A third photograph was of a young, attractive woman poised with a drink in her hand and laughing at the camera, the setting being at some night club.  The picture (taken with a flash) had her sitting at the outside of a booth, one of those that formed a semi-circle.  The place was crowded and had several people crammed into the seating and the picture showed body parts cut off by the frame sitting around, beside and across from her.  But from the inside of the booth a face was peering out; the face of a man who was not smiling but looking anxious, annoyed that the picture was being taken.  He was frozen in that moment during the striking beauty’s carefree revelry.

     A chill sprints up my spine and I find myself beginning to shake.  It was a face that I recognized…