Good Morning Ted and Jody:
All weekend the news media out of Portland forecast heavy traffic between 1 and 6 for the Fourth of July. When we went to lunch, traffic was the lightest it has been since June 10th. So after lunch, we drove up to the Centralia, WA, Factory Outlets so Nancy could pick up some replacements for some mugs she uses for her breakfast gruel. She has used the same design mugs for 11 years and only the newest ones, colored rather than just white, chipped. So she obviously needed replacements. So off we went. The traffic remained light. However, up at exit 63, we got off and took WA505 down to WA504 in an attempt to save mileage. Well, we saved about 1.2 miles by taking that back road. I wonder if we will remember and have to drive it again just to check?
Summer weather never quit kicks in, for sure, around here until after the 4th of July. So, today it is really kicking in. That means the fruit over in Eastern Washington, Yakima area, is carried all over the state by enterprising people to sell at the oddest roadside stands. I stopped at one about halfway between I-5 and our house this morning set up in a cluster of log cabin type buildings that 50 years ago were probably a motel on the highway out to Spirit Lake and Mt. St. Helens upon which several permanent camps were built—Boy Scouts and the like. The camps are all gone. Somehow no one wanted to rebuild after the mountain blew. The motel has been converted to rental housing. One very ancient woman, her name is ‘Punky’ because she does not like her given name, has a canopy and a bunch of signs selling strawberries, cherries, and raspberries just next to one of those converted motel cabins. Punky has lived there 43 years. This morning she was, err, irritated as the fellow who brings her fresh berries around 11 most days got there when she was in she shower at 8:30. Well since I stopped and had the pleasure of meeting her, I bought some raspberries and Rainier Cherries. Punky’s language was a deep shade of red—we got along just fine.
Nancy is teaching a purse making class today. So I will have to find out how little trouble I can get into without adult supervision. I need the practice of pretending to be responsible for when she takes her next two-week to visit grandchildren who now live in MI, VA and GA. Moving closer to, hell just visiting, her children and grandchildren gets more and more complicated as the years progress.
Warmest regards, Ed
017 27 Years Before the Present – Part IV – Verdict
Fiction in 1081 words by T. Edward Westen, 2017
The Judge asked, “Has the Jury reached a verdict.”
A thin, middle-aged, woman rose and said, “We have, your Honor.” The bailiff walked over to her and she handed him a piece of paper. The bailiff carried the paper to the Judge who read it and handed it back to the bailiff who carried it back to the middle-aged woman.
“The defendant will rise.” After the defendant rose, the Judge intoned, “Will the Forewoman please read the verdict.”
The middle-aged woman unfolded the paper and began “We the Jury in the case of the People Versus Salvatore Persico find the defendant guilty of the First Degree Murder of Vincent Sargon.”
“Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, of the jury for your service, you are excused.” Then the Judge turned to the defendant and said, “Sentencing, Wednesday morning at 10:00. The defendant is still remanded. Court adjourned.
A man sitting in in the middle of the third row back from the rail separating the spectators from the participants in the trial did not move. Most of those rushing to the door were members of the press. The reminder of the spectators exited in a more orderly fashion. Agnes Malcolm, the court reporter notice the man still seated as she folded up her machine. She hesitated and since the man was not moving she went over to the rail and leaned in and asked, “Are you O.K., mister?”
The man hesitated and said, “I guess I am O.K., but I don’t understand what just happened?”
“The Jury just found the Don guilty of murder?” replied Agnes.
“I thought he was the most powerful man in New York City,” said the man.
“I suppose he still is,” replied Agnes. “The thing is he will now spend a lot a time in a very small space and have serious limitations on what he can do? But, until he dies he will remain one of the most powerful men in New York City.”
“How can that be?” asked the man.
“I have been a court reporter for a very long time,” said Agnes. “These organized gangsters have a highly structured organization. He got to the top; and, he stays at the top until he dies. He’s not dead so he stays the head of his family.”
“Family, what is this?” asked the man.
“It is just slang for the participants in an organized ongoing criminal gang,” replied Agnes. “He will continue to run his family from prison.”
“Don’t the members of his group object to his being in charge if he is not there to actually run things?” the man asked.
“If you were in his organization you would have a bit more freedom from having someone look over your shoulder and insist on their cut of your activities,” said Agnes. “So you tell me, would you rather your boss were standing behind you or behind bars.”
“Ah, I see, greed,” replied the man. Thank you. I think I understand a bit better now. Where are they taking him?
Agnes said, “A cell at Rikers Island until Wednesday morning.” Agnes turned to finish folding up her machine.
As soon as Agnes turned her back the man vanished.
When she finished packing up her machine, Agnes turned to say good-bye to the man but he was gone.
The man materialized in Salvatore Persico’s cell in the short term detention center at Rikers Island prison complex. “I am sorry if I startled you, but could not think of any other way to see you. Stephen sent me to be of any assistance that I can.”
While visibly shaken and thinking to himself ‘Thank God he is not from one of my under bosses who want my job,’ Salvatore Persico had the presence of mind to ask “How is Stephen? Has he got an angle on this dimension yet?”
The man smiled. “It would appear over here we can move about temporally. That allows us to re-enter our dimension at different points in time. That is coming in very handy. Very.”
“I thought it was way out when Stephen came to me and told me he was from another universe or dimension that parallels ours. But now you tell me you can also move about in time over here.” Salvatore Persico was showing his astonishment and looked more like an innocent 5-year-old discovering the step stool that would allow him to access the cookie jar on the counter. One could almost see the wheels turning in his head. “You know who I am, but I do no know who you are.”
“It was most remiss of me. My name is Ralph,” the man replied. “As you know we do not have more than one name in our dimension.”
“Yes, Ralph,” said Salvatore Persico sticking out his hand. “Do you not shake hands in your dimension?”
“No, we have not yet seemed to have developed that nicety,” said Ralph grasping Salvatore Persico’s hand and moving it about in an awkward manner.
Salvatore Persico chortled and said, “I think I see why. Now, how do you think you can help me?”
“For starters, I can get you out of here,” replied Ralph.
Salvatore Persico shook his head and smiled. “My reach in here is somewhat limited in time, but I still have a reach. If I went on the run, my reach would be even less. Then too, if I went to stay with Stephen, I would have no reach at all. So, I will stay here.” He paused, “You know life is a series of challenges. This is just another challenge.”
“But, Agnes says your people will cheat you,” Ralph replied.
“Since I know that and they know I know that, they will cheat me far less than if I were on the run or staying with Stephen,” replied Salvatore Persico. “Besides, I can still reach out through my family and kill that SPO that testified against me and his wife.”
“We are not schooled in this thing you call vengeance or revenge,” replied Ralph. “For us, one wins or loses. Then one moves on. We seldom look back. However, with this temporal ability in this dimension, we may look at the past and future a bit differently now.”
“Once you have tasted it, you are going to like revenge,” said Salvatore Persico.