Mermaid Story, Chapter 9, Part 1

So here we at Chapter 9.  Introducing Tim, the newsboy with the bright career prospects who’s world is about to get turned sideways.

Chapter 9.

Mermaids In The Big City.


New York New York, it’s a hell of a town. I loved the place. And it’s stories. I was seventeen and I could see a couple of years ago that my newsboy days were about over. So I saved for a Brownie camera and that gave me my break. My dad had not made it back from the war, intact and mom more or less worked to take care of us while dad hid the mess that his face had become by working night jobs. My corner for papers was on the Battery and near Mr. Rockefeller’s building, the Standard Oil building. Sharing the corner was Jonney the shoeshine who seemed to have an ear on the grapevine. Anyway Mr. Rockefeller came by like he does everyday and Jonney was doing his shoes like he does every day and telling one of his stories and I took a picture.  The World liked it so much that they published it on the front page.  Even better Mr. Rockefeller liked it so much that he had a big print made up for the office and paid me enough to get a real camera. I showed him some of the pictures I took around the Battery and on the docks and he said when I got older he would send me to take some pictures of the people in his plants.  Some of Jonney’s stories were not believable. Or at least I thought they were. Zombie attacks on the water? Mermaids in the navy yard and down on Coney Island? On the other hand there was the cop with the Duesie and the mobster story that we both knew was true because we’d both seen him and his car and I sometimes made deliveries to that office when I finished selling papers. I could hear Jonney going “Upstairs, way upstairs” as he was telling Mr. Rockefeller the story and Mr. Rockefeller just laughing away.  Mr. Rockefeller came over to get his paper and said; “That’s quite a story. Jonney says that you’ve seen him. I think I’ve heard his car. Not lately though. Do you have his picture too.”

“Mr. Rockefeller, you are the richest man in the world and I like you very much, but there’s no way that you could get me to take that picture unless the man in that car asked me to. We here on the street owe them and we respect their privacy and they keep an eye on all of us, you included.”

“I think I know who you are talking about and I wouldn’t intrude on them either except to call when things go bump in the night.”

He turned away and walked toward his building and I kept pushing papers. It was a slow newsday and it was lunch time before I sold the last paper and could start do my real work. I set my box that I sat on while selling papers next to Jonney’s shoeshine stand, grabbed my camera and I was off, toward Brooklyn.

I walked across the bridge and down into warren of warehouses and small factories North of the bridge.  I was trying to see if I could find out more about the missing kids. While there had been a string of of kids disappearing for years the latest had all happened within a few days of other. They also seemed to be targeting barge kids and families. I had been trying to talk to the barge people, but they more likely to tell me to scram or threaten to toss me in the river as give me anything involving them.

I walked past the string of coffee warehouses and the piers that fed them and the huge Arbuckle coffee roasting plant, with its aroma spreading over the neighborhood like a pleasant cloud. I took some pictures of the men unloading some barges of sugar and a freighter loaded with endless bags of coffee beans. I could hear the shouts of the stevedores and slaps of the bags as they slid down the chutes and were carried over to the waiting boxcars. The little railroad’s locomotive on a flatcar went past me down the street with yet more boxcars towards the huge warehouse.

I walked around the torpedo factory and North past the Navy yard. I was heading to the Wallabout Market, the biggest market in the city. It was pretty much closed this time of day with only a few farm trucks and wagons getting ready to leave. Jimmy, though was still there and that was who I was looking for. Jimmy had come up from Georgia and worked the market. Jimmy had come up from Georgia after beating up the leader of the mob that was trying to lynch him and running the rest of the mob with a shotgun and pure meaness.  He saw me and called out; “Timmy boy, still looking for the people after those kids?”

“Yes, but while you’re here let’s get a picture.”

“You trying to get me in the papers? You know better than that.”

“I need the practice, I’m collecting characters and you certainly count.  I just wish that I had color to show your true self.”

As boss of the market laborers, Jimmy wore the most outlandishly colored suits out there. He liked to be seen in the market and he was.  That made it easier to find him in amongst the trucks and wagons of the market and the customers.  His crew of blacks and Irish from Talman St were the best at getting loads transferred and getting trucks loaded and out.  Of course they charged for that and some of the other crews resented the fact that Jimmy’s crew showed them up all the time. The market wasn’t what I wanted to talk about.  Jimmy had done some work for the warehouse that was burned down and I wanted to know if any of the people involved were NOT at the place when it was raided. I took Jimmy’s picture and said; “Jimmy, your people did some work at that warehouse.  Have you seen anybody that might be connected?”

“You know Tim, I can’t say that I have. There was a guy who used to come around in a great big car, but he never came around since.  I have seen the car though, about the same time that a farm kid disappeared.  But everything about that place was weird and after I started to hear the stories about that place I pulled my people out.  I don’t want to go anybody’s funeral because I sent them into poison.  Did that during the wah.”

We looked over the market and the Wallabout canal to the remains of the burned warehouse.

“You’ve seen the car since? Near one of the kidnappings? Are you sure that it’s the same car?”

“Sure am. Great big Packard, but old, ten years or more.  Not the kind of car you would drive around unless it wasn’t driven around very much for a long time. Shortly after I saw it people started looking for that kid.  Never did find him. There was just something not right about that car.  That feeling you get, something just not right. Something the old ladies might be involved in.”

Jimmy was always talking about the “Old ladies” down in Georgia and the swamps and their mystical doings. Still this was something new. A lead and a connection.  I would have to keep an eye out for the car. I said; “Thanks Jimmy, so what else was new?”

Jimmy told me some of the usual stuff and I told him the Jimmy story, but he had already heard it from some of the boys in the outfit, but we still laughed. “Bye Jimmy, I’ll see you around.”

I decided walk through the market to the piers opposite the navy yard.  I had two pictures left on this roll of film and I wanted a picture of the skyline as it started to get dark. There in front of me was a battleship, moored in the navy yard  and as I took the picture I caught a flash as what looked like a large fish jumped up and splashed back into the water.  I took another picture and turned and started back to my flop.


I arrived at the apartment that I shared with the others of our little group. It had been a hard week at the trading house where I worked at a translator and the trip up to Vermont hadn’t made it any easier.  As I opened the door, Gull and Tiger were looking at the pictures that I had brought down from Vermont and discussing what had apparently been a debacle.  Gull said; “Athena, I wish that I had seen these before Pete’s little ambush.”

“How bad was it, Mary?”

“I didn’t stay to watch, but from the sounds of the gunfire, it was nothing much more than entertainment for the other side. I almost wish that Wolf hadn’t told us where Tom had been and that he was on his way.”

“Well I had to tell the Manager, Pete came up with that plan and the Manager went with it. At least you survived.”

“Frankly, I think that that was because they wanted me to, or at least didn’t care enough to destroy me. Pete certainly never had a chance.  Somebody ripped his shields off and he didn’t even notice. They just ignored me and I don’t think that that was because they didn’t know that I was there. In any case, looking at these, I think that Tom could have handled what we had all by himself if he was stupid enough to show up on that beach in the first place.”

“Wolf said that anything in front of his gun with him behind it is being served a death sentence.”

“Well he doesn’t even have to use his OWN gun anymore since all his relatives and their friends have been called into the party. I wonder if the Manager really understands what he was messing with. This isn’t some immigrant fae family isolated from everybody anymore without a keystone or kingdom.  These are strong families with real power and he’s managed to piss them ALL off.”

“We were doing well against the Rockaway kingdom.”

“The operative word is there is “were.” Yes, we managed to kill the king, but we weren’t able to weaken the keystone enough before the dumping was discovered and we don’t have the resources right now to start that up again. The result of all this is that the opposition now knows what we were doing, even if they don’t know why. Along with the fact that the opposition has created a replacement for the king with that young man and his car.”

Tiger said; “The Manager was concerned about that bonding and the alliances that it would create, but after the sharks were decimated it was sort of hard to deal with that. It didn’t help that we didn’t get much warning that it was happening since there wasn’t much gossip in the bower about it and the first warning we had was when they showed up at the hotel. It wasn’t like it was up at the Cape where our friend Tom’s bonding had been talked about for months.”

Gull said; “None of the gossip said anything about Tom being a gun nut. Or the rest of his family, though I think that the last little debacle was Navy and Feds, mostly. Probably as a thank you for taking these. There were enough of them guarding the little family picnic.  Not that it mattered when you had both sets of the royal fae parents there. ”

“Tom’s parents were with him? Wolf didn’t tell me that.”

“Athena, I don’t think it matters very much. One or two more guns more or less on that beach wouldn’t have changed a thing.”

“You were looking. Did both families seem friendly to each other?”

“I would say so. Everybody looked to be having a good time on that beach. And off the beach too. Certainly they didn’t seem to be very concerned about sharks. ”

Tiger said; “The Manager would like to talk to Wolf.”

I said; “I don’t think that that’s going to be easy. Wolf is sort of bound into the family up there and unless the Manager wants to risk going up there, it’s going to be hard to make a connection. She won’t want to leave. I won’t be talking to Wolf for a month anyway.”

“The Manager wants you back this weekend to send the invitation for her to come down to meet.”

“What if she can’t come?”

“That may cause some problems.”

I said; “Boonsri, Wolf isn’t tied like we are. If I press, she can just cut us off and there isn’t much we can do about it.”

“If she is reluctant, we could take steps.”

Mary said; “Are you sure you want to mess with these people? Trust me, if what I saw up on the Cape is any indication, if they all decided to come at us, we probably are in for more trouble than we can handle.”

“Athena, you’ve said that the family doesn’t really treat Wolf as a member. Do you think that they will come after us if we tie Wolf up? She has always been outside the fold. It’s not as if the Manager would hurt the boy. In any case that is only a contingency at this point, go up and give Wolf the invitation.”

As I prepared for yet another trip to Vermont I couldn’t escape the feeling that this was a big mistake.


To say the weekend was chaotic was putting it mildly. Father, Joe and I were trying to close in my apartment so that when Joe’s tank was done we could close his. This wasn’t helped by the second wave of prospective tank bed buyers, the wives that still had legs, but were looking at Change and the disruption that that would bring.  Especially those with 13 and 14 year old daughters.  Since Sal and Sillia were leaving on Sunday to head back to New York, I drew up a better drawing of Joe’s tank and father, Josh, Joe and I came up with a business plan for Noro and Sillia’s father along with some other people that might be interested.

After lunch, I drove over to Keith’s to see about doing the fittings. As I walked in Keith said; “She caught you.  I warned you about her.”

“Keith, I was an easy catch and I just wish that somebody had told me beforehand what was really going on. It worked out ok in the end though.”

Keith was busy with shaftwork but he let use his mill to finish upthe fittings for Joe’s tank, so we would be ready when the tank showed up and he helped weld up the  tank for the toilet addition and add the fittings. As we finished he said; “That’s quite a project you’ve got going there.  Could make a lot of people around here happy.”

“You’re telling me. I think we’ve had everybody around here with a tail or getting one through our place today. I need to get these fittings back and keep going so that we can get finished.”

I drove back to the boathouse and had to walk around the crowd. Chrissie was at the desk and I walked over to her and said; “Has it been like this all day?”

“Yes, isn’t it great.”

“Are you getting names and addresses? Father and Josh said that that’s important.”

I had never done a business like this before, but both Josh and father had had long experience with businesses and they were showing me how to do things.

“Oh, yes. Moira and I are working on a list.”

A couple walked in and Chrissie called out; “Stacey! Come meet Tom. Tom, this is my sister, Stacey and her husband, George.”

Joe came in and said; “Hi sis! You came.”

“Well you called and said that Chrissie and Tom were back but I never imagined anything like this.”

“Well things have been busy and then this sort of happened.” George said; “Well what’s going on?”

Josh came over and said; “Stacey! George! Come out to the boat, your mother’s out there.”

Stacey said; “Mother is here? She never comes up top.”

“That sort of changed the last few weeks. We’ve been busy though, so we couldn’t visit.”

“Well I have the kids out in the car, should I bring them in to meet grandma? You’ve sort of wanted to keep certain things a secret.”

“Yes, bring them in. Look around, that secret has sort of become rather threadbare these last few weeks and some things have happened that you need to know.  Come, meet Tom’s parents.”

Stacey went the door and returned with two kids that looked to be about seven and five. She said; “Kids, this is your aunt Chrissie and her fiancé, Tom.”

“Chrissie, This is Doris Anne and Alan.”

“Hi kids.”


They looked a little scared and rather overwhelmed. Josh said; “Let’s go back where it’s quieter. Hali, take over from Chrissie!”

“Sure, Josh.”

Nera and the cousins had volunteered when things started to go crazy. Hali rolled in and exchange places with Chrissie and I rolled Chrissie out on to the dock and out to the boat. I went back in and took the fittings off the desk and took them into Joe’s apartment. I set them down and said; “Father, Mera’s other daughter is out on the boat and I think that mother will want us shortly.”

“I think that you are right, so let’s go.”

We walked out to the boat and Mera said; Eric, Greta, Tom, meet my other daughter Stacey and her husband George.”

Since Mera was not wearing anything at the moment the kids were sort of looking rather amazed.  Doris Anne said; “Mommy, Grandma is a mermaid.  Does that mean that I will be too?”

Mera reached over, picked her up and said; “Yes, someday you will be one too, like your aunt Chrissie.”

“How come mommy isn’t a mermaid?”

“She’s on land right now so that she can have you.”

Stacey asked; “So what is this all about? This is a little stranger than normal even for us.”

Joe handed Stacey one of the packets of the photos that came from the island and said; “Tom and Chrissie’s bonding was interrupted. By sharks that were not sharks.”

“Where was Aunt Eltra? Wasn’t she watching out?”

Josh said; “She was, but when I took Tom out to that island that father marooned your mother and I on so that Tom and Chrissie could close the deal, Eltra was short handed and they slipped through the cracks.”

“Where was Mom? I heard some stuff about Chrissie before the storm and Tom leaving her on the beach.”

“Your mother and I went down to New York to do some business with your great aunt’s family and Tom and Chrissie sort of had some misunderstandings. Which your grandfather tried to raise to a higher level.”

“He’s been out of it since grandmother was killed. I wish that he had come up top more and visited the kids.”

“So do we. John Warshowski put him to work again and he’s spending time up top again.  He’s in New York right now, but when he gets back, dump the kids on him as often as you can.”

“Are you sure that’s a good idea? Look how Steve and Joe turned out.”

Joe said; “What do you mean by that, sis?”

“You know exactly what I mean, Joe. I know exactly how you pulled off that whoopee cushion and just because I can’t Change right now doesn’t mean that I can’t play around too.”

Greta said; “Stacey, you should talk to Tom then. He’s an expert at dealing with Changed adversaries.”

“Is he?”

I said; “Mother, are you trying to get me involved in still more family fun and games?”

“Well yes. It’s only fair since Stephie won’t be able to play like she used to.”

Stacey asked; “Who’s Stephie?”

Chrissie said; “Tom’s sister and a faery menace with skillets, among other things. She and Tom have apparently been going at it forever, but Tom didn’t know about his Change until we met on the boat here.”

“A menace with skillets?”

“Yes, when we’re finished here, I’ll show you the bed tank, but Tom’s parents set the tank up for us and Stephie used a skillet to bong the tank and wake us up.”

“Ouch. How bad was it, Chrissie?”


“So why did Tom leave you on the beach that first time, Chrissie? It’s obvious that you both are together now.”

I said; “It has to do with my brother.”

I told my sister in law about my brother and his being a werewolf. I added; “So Chrissie had been trying to attract my attention and catch me for months but I didn’t know about Change and wasn’t paying attention until she showed up here in the boat. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to be caught by her so I reached for the boathook, she jumped back into the water and over to your dad’s boat.  I went over there and she caught me anyway. But I was frightened by the potentials of  Change and when Chrissie took me to the beach the first time I ran away up to Vermont.”

“Didn’t your parents tell you about Change? We certainly knew from when we were kids.”

Greta said; “We had had a policy of not telling the kids until we thought they were ready to accept. In Tom’s case there were mitigating circumstances and by the time we decided to tell him he was in the  middle of the mess. For which we apologize.”

I said; “So anyway, I came back down from Vermont, right into the storm, took the boat out and saved Chrissie and then Josh took me out and marooned me with her.”

Stacey said; “Like mom and dad? I can see that that would work.”

Josh said; “Which turned out to be a mistake.”

“Josh, we’ve gone over this now several times. Stop beating yourself up about it. There was nothing that you did that, based on what you knew, that would have changed anything very much. Chrissie and I had already planned to get together, hadn’t we?”

“Yes we had, and once Joe suggested it, I liked the idea of the island. It was nice and far away from everything.”

George was looking at the pictures and said; “You really gave something a bloody nose. Those constructs usually don’t go down that easy.”

I asked; “You know about constructs?”

“We’ve had to deal with one or two before. Usually it was Josh dealing with it, but everybody in the family has had to help from time to time.”

Mike and Nera popped up out of the water along with Sal and Sillia. Nera said; “Stacey! Meet my bonded, Mike.”

Stacey asked; “So how did that happen?”

“Well, Mike was looking for Tom because of the backsplash from the werewolves and ran into Josh with Chrissie in a pot. Mike helped Chrissie out of the pot and we connected.  I went down to New York and we closed the deal. This is Sal and Sillia. We met in New York.”

“Chrissie, you weren’t sticking yourself in pots were you?”

I said; “Yes, she was and Mike even took a picture.”

Chrissie said; “Tom, don’t tell her. That picture is embarrassing!”

Stacey said; “Mike, I want a print.”

Mike said; “That photo is restricted and getting a print could be difficult. On the other hand your mother is cleared and involved in the case, so you could ask her.”

“Government stuff, huh. I know how that works. I’m sure that we can work something out.”

Chrissie said; “Watch out Mike, she has ways of finding stuff out.”

Greta asked; “Do you, Stacey? There are some questions that need to be looked into?”

Mera said; “Yes there are. How much do you want to be involved?”

“How serious is this? This is more than just some constructs and shark things isn’t it? We’ve been hearing strange stuff off the water lately haven’t we, George?”

“Yes we have. I keep seeing mob types near the house and I don’t think that it’s because I owe them any money. Did you send them, Josh?”

“No, but once they went after Chrissie, I’m not surprised that Ray started to keep an eye on you too.”

Greta said; “That’s a good thing and keep an eye on the kids. You are both high fae and near royal. We know of several cases where the other side has killed one side of the bond and used a child to keep control over the woman.”

Stacey said; “Mother, dad, how come you didn’t tell me?”

Josh said; “ We were going to. We’ve been busy with the mess with Tom and this was stuff we didn’t want spread around.”

I said; “Stacey, Mike, Sal and your mother just found out most of this after the sharks attacked us on the island and it’s very big.”

“Well I’m in now. Mike, I’ll talk to your office mom and do some networking.  It sounds to me as if you need somebody who has their ears and eyes on the weird and the strange up here. George, we need to finish with the shopping and get back home. Let’s go, kids.”

Mera said; “They could stay for a while.”

“Mother you’re obviously busy with this and it looks like a good thing. We’ll come down for Thanksgiving since you’re back up top and we can all get together. See if you can get Grandfather too. I’ll see you then.” Chrissie said; “Tom roll me back in, I want to show sis the bed tank.”

I rolled Chrissie back in and she went over the story of the bed tank and how it allowed us to live at the farm. As she finished, she said;  “The best part is that I can read in bed.”

Stacey said; “It sounds like you had quite an adventure. And our new relatives sound like fun people.  I can’t wait to hear more. I have to go and we will keep in touch.”

They left and I rolled Chrissie back out to the boat. Mike was asking; “There’s were some undercurrents that I was missing.  What was she really offering for that picture?”

Josh said; “Quite a bit,actually. Stacey keeps an ear on the fae grapevines and has all sorts of connections that she hasn’t even told me about. I expect that Mary will be hearing from her shortly.”

“And George? I was getting the same kind of vibes that I get off you or Tom. He’s high fae and powerful.”

“Yes, but his parents were killed and he came to the Cape as an orphan and started to work on the boats early. Stacey bonded with him almost as soon as she Changed but they didn’t close the deal for about a year when they were both sixteen and Stacey had Dori when she was eighteen.”

Mera said; “She grew up right in the middle of the worst of the family infighting and I think she wanted be under sea for as short a time as possible.”

Nera said; “I’m sorry, truly sorry about that, sister. When the time comes and she must return under sea I will make sure that we all make her welcome.  That is if I am under sea myself.”

“I think that right now the best thing to do is get father and Stacey together. We need father’s skills and Stacey’s networks and I think that we will need them both together.”

I asked; “How likely is it that Stacey will contact Stephie.”

Josh said; “As soon as she gets home? That is if she hasn’t already made some contacts. Eric, Greta, have you heard anything from her?”

“No, but I expect that will change. As for the rest of the family, Boris hasn’t said anything, and he would be the obvious point of contact, but he’s very good at keeping confidences and networking too, so who knows?”

Chrissie said; “I think that we can take it for granted that Stacey will have a print of the picture by the end of the week.”

Mera said; “She’ll probably horsetrade something about father for the print since he’s in New York and Mary will want to know more about him.”

Josh said; “Helmut brought up Mr. White.”

“Father is doing that again? That will make things easy as I know that Stacey went after everything she could about that just before mother was killed. She liked mysteries and father sort of led her into that.”

Mike asked; “Who is Mr. White?”

“An alias father used when he was playing games on Wall St when he was visiting my aunt and was looking for fun about 60 years ago.”

“So what happened?”

Josh said; “He had a lot of fun and made too much money before he realized just what he was getting into. The problem with that much money is that it has big responsibilities attached and they can’t just be dropped without hurting a lot of people. He basically set things up so that they run themselves and told the company when they started talking about income taxes to not make him any money.”

“So she’ll horsetrade stuff about Noro for the picture? What else does she have?”

Mera said; “All sorts of stuff that Josh has been involved in, contacts for all the local police that have dealt with our world, contacts with individual families of fae that she talks to and other stuff.”

“Does she have anything from the people Sal’s been chasing?”

“I don’t know. We’re going to church tomorrow so we can introduce Chrissie, Tom and Tom’s parents to Reverend  Stiers before the wedding. She will probably be there and we can ask.” I said; “This is the first I heard of this. Are there going to be any tail issues?”

Mera said; “No, which is why I chose him. You are not the first mer couple that wanted a real wedding.  In fact you and Chrissie are the tenth this year according to the Reverend.  There’s a chapel on the water for seafarers that also works for people like us.”

Father said; “Tom, Joe, I think we need to get back to work.”

Chrissie said; “I’m going to get wet for a bit. Tom come out and get me in about ten minutes.”

She slipped out of her dress and into the water. Josh left on an errand and the rest of us went back to work.

Joe’s tank wasn’t going to be ready by Tuesday so we couldn’t close his place up yet. We did manage to get Chrissie’s and my place closed up. The bed tank was under the back wall next to the window and when I went out and brought her back in, she looked at the rest of the walls and said; “I think we will want shelves on most of these.”

“What for?”

“Our books. This our place and you and I will want our books.”

The boathouse had our room, Joe’s and Moira’s room, a common kitchen and a common living room with the stove and the office up front. I looked at the walls and said; “How many books do you have?”

“I’m not sure at the moment. We’ll have to go over to daddy’s and see. But you will want at least two walls for yours and I’m sure that we will need to grow. So the more we plan ahead now, the better off we will be.”

It was late and Chrissie and Hali shooed people out and closed the office down.

Moira rolled in and said; “Let’s get together on the boat and eat. I made a big casserole and salad. My father is coming too.”

Alex came out with us and pushed Hali out as I rolled Chrissie out and the casserole was on the engine cover and mother and Mera were handing out plates. Mera handed me a plate and said; “Eat up. Chrissie and I are taking you and Josh for a Swim since you haven’t had your exercise today yet.”

“Where are we going?”

“Out to the bower. We’ll come back in the morning.”


I was facing what was coming with a certain degree of trepidation. My sister had inherited all of the same talents for deviousness and unfair play but tended to take things rather more seriously than I did.  There was also the the fact that we had been out of contact for a long time thanks my grief over Lilli.   I had left too much with my sons and Josh and Josh hadn’t wanted to make family connections down here in New York when he had separated from us,  Mera had been occupied starting her family and dealing with Josh and what he was to want to deal with her aunt, especially with the things that that could entail.  I had visited from time to time, but once Lilli had been killed and John had buried himself in work it was just easier to stay under sea and forget up top.  Or anywhere else.  I hadn’t realized just how bad it had gotten until Chrissie, with me trying to pour myself into that stupid weather spell right in front of the hurricane. John was right and I had let a lot of people down.

I sent a message to my sister that I was in town and coming down to visit. After I paid the cab, I walked down the street. I expected to use the warehouse that Mera had told me about to Change, but as I was walking toward it I sensed my sister already in the restaurant under the sign that said “Bennies.”  I walked in and there she was, talking on the phone.  She saw me and said; ‘Noro, give me a second. Stacey, your grandfather is here, go down to your brother’s and see what’s going on with Tom and Chrissie. I will call you back, bye. Brother! You finally came.”

“Calling Stacey, Meria?”

“Josh doesn’t have a phone for the boat and he’s never home, so I can’t call Mera directly and Stacey has kept up contact when everybody else seemed to forget that I existed. What happened to you? From what Stacey has said, you were a mess.”

“I-I sort of just lost touch with everything. Things just sort of went along after Liltra died.”

“You seem to be better now. What changed?”

“Josh stomping on me, John reading me the riot act and Chrissie needing me. I let them all down and I realized that I couldn’t just wallow in my grief and be the person that I needed to be for Lilly. So what happened down here? I’ve talked to Helmut and Mary along with Sal, Mike, Nera and Mera, but they weren’t here for the beginning.”

“Well you know that my bonded and one of my sons were killed by shark attacks and the other was injured.”

“The healers couldn’t repair?”

“He went up top and released his Change to escape and Change now would probably kill him. He owns this restaurant. Benial is actually Bennie now.  Sissy is his daughter.”

“Well that explains a lot about what I keep hearing about this place. Mera says that the pies are almost sexy.”

“Why didn’t she come down to visit? Nera stopped in with Mike but Mera spent most of her time up here.”

“I expect that she was having too much fun with Helmut’s people and had her mind back up at the Cape and our other little problem.”

“Chrissie and Tom, yes. So what happened there?”

It’s mostly my fault. I was in such a funk over Liltra that I never took a good look at Tom when he showed up and I should have.  Seriously, I bashed Helmut and Mary over Sal and I did the same thing with Tom. He was probably worse until Josh locked his shields down.  Still, I should have picked up on his issues and  before he and Chrissie became serious I should have had a talk with him. Tom had some issues with Change and monsters thanks to his brother and some left over war issues.  Chrissie pushed a little too hard and he balked when she tried to get him to close the deal the first time. Tom left afterwords for Vermont to deal with family issues and Chrissie came to me in a state.  I was so out of it that I thought I could use a weather spell to go to war against the land, which was just crazy and under the circumstances, REALLY crazy.

It was bonding issues, again. You remember all the stuff we went through with Josh and Mera.  At least Mike and Nera blew right through all of that.”

“Didn’t they though. Right here on the dock. After all that time with Nera going on for over a century about how she would never go after a lander she locks up on somebody who is apparently the most ordinary man you will ever meet.”

“I’m not going to make the mistake that most of us made with Josh about books and covers. I suspect that Mike will surprise us as much as Josh did. Al too, for that matter.”

“So Lillia’s gift to Eltra was finally delivered. Good for her.”

“Sal said that they told you about those shark attacks and the rest. We have a good handle on them now.  At least the sharks that are still alive.  We went out with Tom to the island to go over what happened. He is probably even more brutal than Lega was when he has to be.  Also, he is a wizard with machinery and guns and came up through a hard school in his battles with his sister who Changed and he hadn’t yet.”

“Tara said that Tom had pretty much destroyed them, but I think that the sharks are at best, tools.”

“Fairly stupid tools at that. Tom set them up when he came back from Vermont after taking Chrissie up there and they drove right into the trap that John and I set up for them. Helmut’s people now know who they are and Jake read them the riot act.  If they show up at the Cape they are not going to be seen again.  Mera gave them the thumbs down.  Josh killed their necromancer but they have other tools we can’t just kill. They were subtle about how they used those tools in the beginning.”

“Which is why I gave Sillia the necklace. I gave Tara one when Vinnie was killed and this all started and I have one for Stella.  Mary already has a jewel.”

“And for the rest of it? The stuff in the water? There had to be more than just making the water “unhappy.”

“The keystone. They were working to taint the keystone.”

“That goes way beyond what Mera said they had done in the past. How much damage was done?”

“Enough. I have people working to restore it now that the tainting has stopped.”

“Then Sal really did save you all.”

“Yes he did. Did he and Sillia close the deal? I know they were planning to. And that Sal was prepared to give the rest of the sharks what Tom did if they showed up.”

“Yes they did. They came out to the Cape on what was more or less a working honeymoon. The sharks never showed for Sal, but that might be because Sal set it up too fast.  As I said they did try for Tom and Chrissie again, which was just plain stupid. John and I mousetrapped the sharks, Josh had Mike, Al, Sal and Steve  and one of Steve’s platoons along with Mera, Sillia, Nera and Eltra with him and Tom had his parents. Most of them with guns loaded with specials.  From what Josh said, the zombies the necromancer sent were toast in about ten seconds after they shot one of Josh’s mob people and the constructs were bonding entertainment for Sal and Sillia. Tom and Chrissie left before anything happened and Swam through the canal to where John and I were waiting with Joe on Tom’s boat. Except for the poor mob guy who happened to get into the wrong place before anybody could warn him, the rest was a joke.

I want to know how they figured out that Tom and Chrissie were closing the deal in the first place. I can understand them showing up on that beach because Tom essentially told them that he was going to be there and his family sweetened the pot by handing the other side a set of the pictures they hate so much, but how did they know where and when to show up when Chrissie and Tom closed the deal in the first place?”

“From what Stacey said about the last person on the Cape to figure out that Chrissie was chasing Tom was Tom and once they hooked up everybody up there knew about it. When you played around with that weather magic you raised the attention on them to a whole new level.”

“I know. Still, from what we know now the sharks would have had almost drop what they were doing, drive out to Montauk right after the storm, Change and show up at the island starting right after Josh took Tom’s boat out.  We set things up for Chrissie and marooning Tom on Tom’s boat with just Josh, Ilutra, me, Chrissie and Joe with Tom’s boat going full out and I’m fairly sure that none of us said anything very much about what we were planning to anybody else before we did it. And Tom came down from Vermont and essentially just showed up during the storm to help out.”

“Talk to Stacey. She has about the best network for these things.”


“Yes. When Mera took Chrissie under sea, never came up top and Josh was so busy working, she sort of felt isolated and since she couldn’t talk to most of the family directly, talked to the people she could talk to.”

“To you apparently.”

“Well that started after Bennie was attacked and started the restaurant. He was checking out family for possible help and advice and started to talk to Stacey.  Then Stacey wanted to talk to me and we call about once a week.”

“Josh didn’t seem to know. He sent the contact through Alvertis.”

“Who I told to respond. I was hoping to get some closer contact with my niece. I did improve contact with one of them at least, but it’s likely that Nera’s moving to New York anyway to be with Mike. I want to get to the wedding and see everybody.”

“Mera is working on that. Sal had some ideas. I think that you will like Chrissie.  She resolved a lot of the family’s issues about her mother and Josh.  Of course it didn’t hurt that she drew Tom into the family as well. You’ll probably have Eltra here as well because Al works in the same building that Mike does. So what’s good to eat?”

“Wait a bit. There are some people coming that I think that you want to meet.”


“Sal and Sillia’s parents.”

“I was going to talk to them. I want to help Sal set up certain arrangements.”

“What for?”

“Mr. White is going to hire a new consultant, a very highly paid consultant.”


“Yes. He’s been chasing after the other side and I think that he’s going to need resources.”

“It sounds like your planning your usual usual fun and games. Don’t get carried away.”

“Oh no, this time I pull out ALL the stops. These people have come after me, you, killed my much beloved bonded, gone after my granddaughter and her bonded, killed my brother in law, one of my nephews and injured the other. From what Tom has said and everything I’ve seen, these people can’t handle opponents who don’t play things out their way. Well, I’ve had opponents from the toughest and smartest schools of skullduggery ever and this time, by the time I have done with them I will use very nasty thing, every dirty trick I know to take the other side out.”

“You’re not going up against them all by yourself?”

“Of course not. I have so MANY friends and relatives who are in this already.  Including some new ones. So many of them want to learn from me and this is the perfect opportunity.  Tom and Chrissie for instance. Sal and Sillia too. Stacey and George.  Steve and Joe. Tom’s brothers and sisters and Mary’s irregulars.  All those people who desire my teachings.  I can’t leave them out of this.”

The door opened and a merman carried a mermaid in and set her in one of the chairs, followed by another man and another mermaid in a dress, two men in navy uniforms with mermaids and Steve. Steve said; “Hi grandfather, Mike said that you were here, mentioned that I had to try this place and that great aunt Meria was here so I came. The Admiral and Captain Farr came too. They all sat down and Meria pointed to the first mer couple and said; “Noro, this is Dominic and Tara Calibierti, Sillia’s parents.”

She pointed to the other couple and said; “This is Mike and Stella del Vecchio, Sal’s parents. The navy people are the Admiral and Captain Farr and their wives. I assume you know Steve.”

“All too well. Admiral, I want to warn you about him.”

The Admiral said; “He’s been through one of my stations twice.  You don’t have to.”

The waitress came over and said; “ I know what most of you usually order, but you, sir are new and the other gentleman as well.”

I said; “I’ve heard so many things about the meat pies here, so I’ll have one of those.”

Steve said; “I will too.”

Meria said; “Sissy, this is your great uncle Noro and his grandson Steve. Watch out for both of them if they are not with me.”

“I will grandmother.”

Steve said; “Mother never mentioned that this place was run by family.”

Meria said; “I don’t think that she realized it. She had a lot of distractions.”

I said; “She did. She missed Al and who he was too until he showed up at the cape and connected with Eltra.”

Mike said; “Al bonded with Eltra?”

“It was something his mother did. She and Eltra had been best friends for a very long time and when she bonded she wanted to give Eltra a truly precious gift.  Neither of them knew it, but that’s what happened. They are bouncing around the Cape right now enjoying each other thoroughly. By the way Sal and Sillia were too.”

Steve said; “They are coming back to the city on Sunday and Monday unless something changes.”

I said; “I was going to contact you Mr. Calieberti-“ “Dom.” “Dom, about arrangements for Sal and some of his activities that he’s planning.  Among other things I have a house that Mr. White has had for some time and hasn’t used for very much.” “Who’s Mr. White?”

“Me. It’s an alias I used back when I was playing games on Wall St and the house, along with another one in town were for keeping up appearances. We sold the house on Fifth Ave, but the one on Long Island might just fit Sal’s requirements. I’ve also talked to Helmut about hiring Sal as troubleshooter as he shot some trouble in my building a couple of weeks ago.”

“Big Jim is in your building?”

“He’s not the only tenant that likes high security. Usually we are pretty good with things like zombies.”

“What happened?”

“Sal, actually. He was radiating so much that the zombies slipped in the cracks.”

Stella said; “We’re sorry about that. We wanted to keep him safe and he didn’t really come into the potential for Change and power until he was staying away from us and Mary wasn’t powerful enough to handle him.”

“Honestly, I think that we have all been making mistakes over this. We were so eager to protect that we forgot to talk. In any case I want to help to expedite Sal’s business dealings with the crowd on Long Island. At least in some cases. Certain families we may want to take off the customer list.”

Dom said; “Jim handles that business. On the other hand I think that Sal might end up handling more of it than he realizes, at least for a while. Jim was rather unhappy with his visitors.”

“I know. So was I. Fortunately, or unfortunately the thing responsible is on a slab up in Massachusetts right now courtesy of Tom’s rifle and Al.”

Steve said; “Dom, the other side tried to hit Tom and Chrissie again last week and we setup to ambush their ambush. The necromancer was there and Al shot him.”

Dom said; “ What about the sharks.”

I said; “Some friends and I mousetrapped them up on the Cape, took all their names and addresses and sent them home.”

“Why didn’t you just take them out?”

“Saving them for Sal.  Now that we know who they are and where they live we can use them to get those we really want.”

Meria said; “Dom, as vicious and nasty as they are, in the end the sharks are only tools, you know that.”

“Rather stupid tools at that. Jake and John were disappointed because they were such a poor challenge to bring me out of my funk. That seems to be the pattern with most of the opposition. Anyway, if they go after Tom and Chrissie again, Mera had Josh put the word out on them and next time they don’t go home.”

“Josh doesn’t allow shooting up there. Anybody in the business knows that. As far as I know he’s had a no exceptions policy and the outfit doesn’t violate it.”

“He’s made an exception, or rather Mera has. Jake let Daddy’s lawyer know that too, so I expect that the sharks will be on best behavior. As for Mera changing her mind over something like this, she’s been my daughter for over 200 years and when it’s something like this, she’s as hard as diamond.”

The admiral said; “Steve briefed us on that ambush, but we haven’t seen the pictures yet, was it as bad as he said?”

“Admiral, I talked to Tom on the boat right after he Swam through the canal and he was boggled by the stupidity even before it went off. As far as I know, from everything that Eric, Greta, Tom and Josh said, even if they had just caught Tom and Chrissie on that beach, which by the way, Tom hadn’t planned to be anywhere near until Josh gave him a small army, by themselves, it would have ended up exactly the same way. With what Steve and Josh put together on that beach, it could have ended up only one way. Tom did a long debrief, but what it comes down to is tactical ineptness.”

Meria said; “In some ways this is like our war back along the island when the country was young. Only we were no better. We relied on power and ability rather than skill and thinking, along with the road of sacrifice in the end. Brother, you said that you would never go down that road again.”

“I will not. Which is why I rarely use my abilities, why I made Josh my general and why I am glad that I have friends and allies like you all and Tom and his parents. These people use power and fear to overcome rather than skill and persuasion.  To say nothing of the fine art of skullduggery.”

Steve said; “In the ambush, the gull girl knew what was going on, but the necromancer never seemed to pick up on the fact that he was going launch his zombies into an entire beach of high fae, most of us who could sense what they were and deal with them even if we hadn’t had guns all around. He didn’t even pick up on the fact that dad stripped his shields until Al put that bullet through his knee. Tom and Al were passing Tom’s guns around so he had to know that we were armed and my people were all in uniform and carrying. Al wasn’t wearing clothes most of the time, but Mike and Sal were and they probably looked like Feds, the mob guys looked, well like mob guys and Joe’s people were openly carrying and fae. He still lit the ambush off and stayed around to watch it. I wonder if these people have really dealt with high fae before?” Meria said; “Steve, the sharks killed my bonded, one of our sons and your grandmother, as well as Vinnie and they tried for Chrissie and Tom.”

“That’s when they had surprise and the victims thought that they were fish acting like fish. I don’t think that they were facing people who knew what they were.”

Sissy served the lunches and man in an apron came out from the kitchen. He said; “Hello, Uncle Noro. Mother, I know that you would have preferred for me to stay in the background, for my kids and grandkids, if for no other reason, but other than Tom who never went below, I’m the only survivor of one of the attacks.”

Meria said; Noro, this is Bennie, who was Benial. I did tell him to stay in the background when this all started, to protect my grandchildren and their kids, but also to give me eyes and ears in here where a good part of the things that could influence down below were happening.”

The Admiral said; “So while we were cooking up our nefarious schemes for Sal and other people, you were listening in the back. Why didn’t you let us know.”

Bennie said; “I would have if I thought you were screwing things up. But you were doing such a great job and it sounded like such a good plan that I didn’t want to spoil it. How did that turn out by the way?”

Mike said; “The sharks were a no show. Which is a shame. We had some disappointed sailors.”

I said; “But they did show up a couple days later on the Cape. Has Stacey told you about that yet?”

“Not yet, but it sounds like you had fun with them.”

Dom said; “I think that Sal would have wanted to talk to you.”

“We never got the chance. Not really.  Mera and the rest were always here when he was for the most part and he and I were busy for the rest. I also didn’t want to get between him and Sillia when they were together and she was nervous enough already. And Mother wanted me to stay in the background. I want to talk to him and have a long sit down about what I went through and a bunch of other things too. I’ll try to sit down with him when he comes back with Sillia. In fact, when they get back, bring the whole family down again. There’s a whole bunch of things we all need to get straight. Mother, will you come up for that?”

Meria said; “Of course, dear.”

I said; “How come Mera never picked up on you?”

“I don’t have a lot of abilities because I can no longer Change, but I can shield, among other things, and she should have guessed, from Sissy, for no other reason than I was High fae.  I suspect that, from what Stacey said, that she had a big chunk of her mind up on the Cape with Josh and what all and the rest of it on Helmut, Mary and what was going on with the warehouse and whatnot. Since she didn’t contact mother, I didn’t want to confuse the issue.  It was also fun hiding right there in plain sight. After they left for the Cape, I did call Mary and tell her who I was, but that was to keep a line open for mother in case we needed it again.  I wasn’t going to trust Alveritis to handle that stuff anymore.  By the way, Dom, when Tony sends somebody down about business, have him come and talk to me as well as Al. I wanted to stay out of the business and let Al run things but he’s turned out to be rather useless outside the day to day stuff.”

Tara said; “Bennie, how big a wedding can you do? Stella and I want to give Sillia and Sal a good send off and we were considering you before.  Now that we know that you are family we definitely want you to be a part don’t we, Stella?”

Stella said; “Yes we do.”

“When were you planning it? How many?”

“Around the turn of the year. We don’t want to mess up Mera’s plans and a lot of the same people will want to come to both. We think about 100 or so, but it could be more.”

“I’ll be in touch. I have contacts and with enough time I can do that.”

Tara said; “Wonderful and since Dom hasn’t finished setting up the pool yet, I will need an office and I’ll do most of the planning right here with you anyway. Stella can handle the navy end and Mary will want to help too.”

I said; “Does Sal know?”

Stella said; “We haven’t told him yet. Sillia didn’t want to confuse things until she had him locked down.”

“That will help with some of our plans. The people who Sal wants to deal with are big on parties and if we have a legitmate excuse for some we can use then to show off the merchandise.”

Dom said; “The merchandise?”

“Sal is going to get back to Tony to set things up, but Josh, our Boston guy and Sal have made some exclusive arrangements for some stuff that the people that Sal wants eyes on will want very much. Apparently our Boston guy tied up the supply for the purpose giving Chrissie the biggest fanciest wedding that anybody has ever had, but we’re not that heavy drinkers or that snobbish so Mera is handing a chunk of the supply to Sal.  He wants to use it as leverage to get into the Sound bower and the Gold Coast.  I think that the mysterious and enigmatic Mr. White will want to introduce his new rather shady protégé and his bride to society.”

The Admiral said; “Mr. White being you. They could be in trouble. You do get carried away sometimes.”

“How did you know? About the trouble?”

“I ran the torpedo shop back before the war and we did some business with your company for components. I actually bonded with Mabel then, didn’t we. You introduced us. By me ending up in the drink right in front of her when you turned a boat too fast.”

Mabel said; “Yes we did. And dear, if you hadn’t ended up in the drink, how else could I have “saved” you. Noro, how are my parents doing? When we go up for Chrissie’s wedding we will visit.”

“The mysterious Mr. White has been out of circulation for a while, but he’s back now and looking for new opportunities. Mabel, as far as I know your parents are fine, but check with Mera if you’re worried. I was sort of out it after my bonded was killed.”

Steve said; “There’s another opportunity coming your way. Tom, Joe and Josh are embroiled in a new business that’s snowballing.”


“Well I know they mentioned the tank bed that Eric set up for Tom and Chrissie to you. Well Hali and her friends told their mothers, who told all their friends and when I left, half the ladies in the bower were wanting to know when they could buy beds so that they could be with their husbands and kids again.  Stelios and I had Tom and Sillia make up a preliminary packet and I handed it to Bob’s people at the yard.”

Mabel said; “Bob, you will send a copy to my office, won’t you, when you get back?”

“I will Mabel. It’s still very early.”

Steve said; “I imagine that there will be more coming.  When I left, Josh, Eric and Tom were working to do up something for a real business plan.”

Meria said; “When I called Stacey, she had just had a call from Joe and she was going down to see what was going on with Tom and Chrissie. Stacey is Mera’s daughter. I was talking to her just before lunch. I expect that I will hear more shortly.”

I groaned inwardly and said; “What kinds of numbers are we looking at here?”

Steve said; “Who knows. We’ve never had anything like this happen before.  I do know that the interest among the ladies was intense and universal.  Chrissie was making friends with women that had been giving mother the brush off since she hooked up with dad.  I think that we can expect that the numbers are going to be large.”

Captain Farr said; “Separation from their bonded is a big morale issue among our Swimmers and the navy has recruited quite a few of them for some time now.  Then it has been made clear by the events of the last few weeks that families could be vulnerable.  This could be a solution for a lot of problems. I’ll talk to  some people up in Boston or Newport about this.”

Tara said; “Sillia is involved? Perhaps we can use this as even more leverage. The booze only touches the Gold Coast crowd.  The separation issue has been growing for some time.  Something that will let mer wives be with their families even part of the time up top is going to something that is highly desirable by all mers.”

Dom said; “I’m sorry, Tara.”

“Well we are fixing things for us, but many merwives don’t have our options. I think I will call Mabel Stelletti about this. We may need Giovanni’s people for some of this. We need to get back in touch anyway, now that we know what happened to Vinnie and Ynthia.”

Some people walked into the restaurant and Bennie said; “I have to go, I will be looking for you, Tara and the rest too.”

Lunch went on and we all had wonderful time.  After the others left I turned to my sister and said; “So when does Sal take over down below?”

“How did you know?”

“Mera pointed it out to me and it’s not like Sal could hide what he is when he didn’t even know. When your bonded was killed, somebody was going to have to take over and Bennie can no longer do that because he can no longer Change. Alvertis seems like a poor choice and I imagine that Sal probably was moved to the next level about the time that Regio was killed. He said that his first contact with our world was a construct sent to kill him. Do you know anything more?”

“No. Mike came from our bower, but joined the navy and bonded with Stella down in Virginia. He came up here after Stella got her legs and started working for the navy yard as civilian contracter.  Stella met Tara when they both had legs but she doesn’t know the bower very well at all. Dom is a cousin who bonded with Tara here and my brother sent him up to keep an eye on the business like Josh does for you.  Of course he got far more involved in the business than Josh did and that had it’s downsides, not least of which is that he and Tara don’t spend enough time together. As for Sal taking over, I think that we will let things take their natural course.  Al can handle the day to day stuff and Sal will do what he does when he needs to. Right now the first priority is getting the people behind the current mess.”

“I know, especially since they seem to have made a habit of murdering any fae or fae families that they run into and twisting people into monsters. As well as using kids to manage and indenture some fae we have encountered. I want to free them if I can. As Steve said, I wonder if these people have ever run into high fae who knew that they were coming. I’m also going to see if I can recruit and educate some of Mary’s irregulars in the fine arts of fun and unfair play. If they are fae it will be a bonus, but frankly it’s skill that matters, not abilities and powers.”

The phone rang, Bennie picked it up and called out; “Mother, It’s Stacey again, for you.” “I was expecting this call.”

I waited while Meria talked to my granddaughter. When she hung up, she said; “ I think that you want to go up for Thanksgiving. The whole family is going to be there at Joe’s bonded’s home. Steve wasn’t exaggerating about the tank bed thing.  I imagine that Josh will be calling your office on Monday.  I gave Stacey Mary’s number and she wants to talk to Helmut’s people and do some horsetrading for that picture that Mike took of Josh and Chrissie.”

“You’ve seen that?”

“Of course. There were enough of those books on the table here and not all of them went directly into the trash when they were supposed to.Not that it mattered as Mary put Bennie on the distribution list as soon as I talked with her.  Mary sent me a print when I asked for it anyway. Along with those other pictures that Tom took and the dancing pictures. Those were wonderful. Bennie has them.”

“You didn’t tell Stacey that you could have sent her a print.”

“She just asked for Mary’s number. She had apparently talked a bit to Steve and Joe about some things that Mary and Helmut needed to know about that Josh had dealt with and wanted to make sure that even if Josh didn’t send the stuff that it got to Mary. There’s also that stuff about you that she has now that Mr. White has entered the picture.”

“She knows?”

“What do you think?”

“She knows. I set her on that track as a distraction just before Lilli was killed and she managed to get every scrap of anything about that. She even has a subscription to our newsletter, which is very hard to get and expensive, though I suspect that she doesn’t pay for it.”

“Subscription? The newsletter pays her. She’s their top New England correspondent and editor. She writes stuff for the newsletter on business dealings up near Boston and companies in New England. She also edits the New England section. Didn’t you know that?”

“I wasn’t paying attention. To anything really. It was so easy to sink down below into a bubble and just forget.  How did you avoid that?”

“I think that things piled up too fast and furiously. First there were the shark attacks and then the damage to the keystone that we couldn’t figure out.  Fear and terror have a way of concentrating your attention.  We lost a lot of our surface contacts and the outfit seemed to be falling apart.  It didn’t help that Al couldn’t seem to figure out how to use a telephone and that the calls he did make didn’t reach the right people.  Bennie, Tara and Sillia were waiting for Al to get a clue when Josh and Mera’s telegrams showed up. They brought Nera down here and things all happened in a hurry. Mike’s bonding with Nera made what was happening with the water obvious, Mera used her government contacts, Sal showed up, made the connections that Al couldn’t and cleaned things up in record time.  Then his dad and his friends put that breakwater in and here we are, in even better shape than we were.”

“So what do you plan to do now?”

“Help you help Sal. It’s obvious that he’s on the right track with these people.  Meet Tom and Chrissie at last.  After that, who knows?” “Well don’t do what I did.  There are people who need us and we must go forward. Why don’t we go down to the bower so that I can reacquaint myself and Swim with Dom and Tara? It’s been too long.”

I took my sister over to the dock, went back to the warehouse to drop my clothes off, Changed and had an enjoyable Swim.



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