Mermaid Chapter 10 part 2.

Sphinx has a meeting with the Manager.  Tom explores the ways in which Grand Central Terminal can be used to do the demon Murphy a favor. Tim gets an interesting job offer.


I walked into the apartment. All three of my fellow indentured were there and Naga asked; “How did it go?”

I pulled out the package of pictures and said; “She had more pictures.”

Mary looked at them and said; “Pete never looked better. I like him this way.”

Pete had never been popular with us. Boonsri asked; “Do you think she will come down?”

“She seemed reluctant. She’s busy up there for the holidays and her work.”

“The Manager isn’t going to like that.”

“I’m going to tell him to let it go. I asked the question we should have asked before he sent Tooth after Tom.”

“Which was?”

“Just how many guns did he have?”

“What did Wolf say?”

“That he doesn’t really think about not having guns. Apparently before he left last week he gave a stack away to his relatives.”

Mary said; “That ties in with what I saw at the beach. He brought out three to show off including the rifle that killed Pete. The shotgun was loaded with specials and the pistol too probably.”

“Since they make the things for the opposition you can probably bet on it.”

Boonsri asked; “They make specials for the opposition?”

“That’s what Wolf said. Guns too.”

Mary asked; “How many guns does the rest of the family have?”

“Wolf mentioned an armory that she said that she had never been in, guns scattered all over the farm, that she and Andy both had one, the rest of the family gave guns to each other for Christmas presents and that they have ten guns just next to the door. She also mentioned that a family member makes guns. I think that you can take it for granted that every member of the family above the age of ten or so has at least one and more than likely more than one and that they have stuff stashed away  that they don’t talk about. Never mind the fact that the whole lot of them are high fae with full knowledge of what they can do and don’t really NEED guns and taking them on is just asking for pain.”

Boonsri said; “But you said that she isn’t a member of the family.”

“She told me that. But she also works in Boris’ office and she’s never said exactly what she does there.  There’s also the fact that she was late and another set of eyes was on me the entire time that I was near the farm until I got on the train. She has her own little house right there on the farm and over the years she’s mentioned being with the rest of the family frequently. She’s let things slip from time to time. Then there’s the fact that Andy is the grandchild that lives closest to his grandparents and sees them every day. They’re family, trust me on that.”

Mary said; “Did you ask her about Tom’s parents being on the beach?”

“I did. She said that she didn’t know about them going until after our meeting.  It may be that she’s just in the habit of just answering the questions we ask.  I didn’t ask about the parents and so she didn’t tell me. I don’t think we ask enough questions. There are a lot of things I want to know before we try to take these people on.  For instance, how likely is the other side of the family to get involved if we do something that pisses the family off. For that matter what is the opposition going to do?  It’s nice if Wolf comes down to meet all by herself.  It might not work out so well if all the Feds in New York are waiting for the car to show up. Especially if the mob is there too.  If both families get involved I think that we can take it for granted that the New York people will just love to help their Boston friends deal with a quiet family matter.”

“How will the opposition know?”

“They were probably there before I even got on the train. The opposition is family, remember.  She works for them.  I would find it harder to believe that she HADN’T told Boris than  she wasn’t crying on his shoulder the minute I left. The opposition already knows, trust me.”

Boonsri said; “The Manager wants to bring her under control.”

“Why? It’s not as if she is of much value if he does. After all, I’ve already said that the family will act if we try and the value of the information source goes away if they know.”

“For other reasons. It’s likely that her Change can be used to create new Twist.”

“New werewolves you mean. Is that wise?”

“That is not my decision. The sharks have become a blunted tool and we need soldiers on land. Too much has been destroyed recently. We need to rebuild.”

“I don’t know how he thinks that he can rebuild anything with two powerful families of high fae looking seriously for his head while just about everybody in the city is joining in to look for us. I’ll give the report in the morning, but my opinion on this doesn’t change.  There’s just too much risk that the whole thing could come down around all our necks.”

I went to bed. The next morning I went to the park to report. Gregor was there with his keepers and I waited for the Manager. He came and said; “Will she come?”

“I’m not sure. I suspect not.”

“We will persuade her then.”

“Are you really sure that you want to do that? We will be better off letting this go.”

I handed him the pictures; “I asked some questions that maybe we should have asked a long time ago. If you do what I think you are planning to do, we will be making enemies of people who are powerful, very well armed, very well connected, working together and know far too much about what we are doing already.   I want to strongly advise that you reconsider and take another course. With the defeats that we’ve had recently we don’t have the resources to take on any of the people we are up against one at a time, let alone, all together.   We know less about the people we are dealing with and what they can and may do under certain circumstances than we really need to know and what you may think will happen may not be what will happen.”

“That is not your concern.You have your tasks and others have theirs. Be prepared to go up again next week and repeat the invitation.”

He left. I went over to Gregor and held him. He could sense the obvious worry and said; “What’s wrong, mommy?”

“Somebody has just made a terrible mistake and I hope that we don’t all burn for it.”


Monday had actually been fairly straight forward. Chrissie and I had slept in the tank bed for the first time at it’s new home which led to a lot of notes about improvements, not least of which was some way to deal with splash. And wet floors. Still, I sketched up some improvements. Then I went over to the lumber yard to get a couple rolls of Linoleum and the sheet metal shop for some aluminum strip and some rivets.  I added the splash guard and Joe and I glued the Linoluem to the floor. The crowds had tapered off from up top, but Chrissie was still having ladies show up from down below.  According to Mera and Nera, some of them were high fae who had professed to not even know that up top even existed.  Apparently their husbands did and had jobs up top that kept them away from the bower frequently enough that the ladies wanted some provisions for spending time up top.  Or their kids were up top and they wanted to visit. Monday afternoon, Chirssie and I were able to take the boat over, have lunch at the diner,  haul back the first load of my pots and put them put them up on the slip. We started to work on them. As we worked, Josh came over and said; “I had an amusing call with Noro this morning. He was up to his usual fun and games to try to snake his way out of the tank bed.” “Doesn’t he want to help? I would have thought that he would think that something like this would be fun.”

“His aversion to paying any taxes was getting away from him. The problem is that he gave me control of the business a long time ago and since I can draw on the accounts and trade for stock, he takes the hit anyway.  He’s coming up for Thanksgiving to try to convince me to turn things over to the company as a subsidiary which might be the better way to go.  In any case, now we have him and he won’t be able to pull out once we get going.  By the way, Lou said that Pratt is looking for you.”

“I know, but the way things are, I don’t think I could work in East Hartford and commute from the coast. I want my own shop anyway.”

Chrissie said; “Well you got him to come up for Thanksgiving, which is what we really wanted.”

Josh said; “I know, and that may be the most important thing. Bennie said that my great aunt and the rest had a good time with him on Saturday. I think he’s realizing just how much he was missing by being in that funk.”

“Well, when he comes up we’ll dump Stacey’s kids on him.”

“Better him than me.”

Mera rolled in with Moira and Joe and said; “It’s time for a Swim before dinner. Tom and Josh, you need your exercise.”

We Swam out for a long Swim and then went back to the boathouse and dressed so that we could go to the steakhouse for a dinner with my parents. The next morning, mother and father got a call at their hotel and came by to talk about it. They had been planning to leave today, but this call made it rather more urgent and Josh and Mera went over to the Western Union office and sent messages to Mike and Nera and Al and Eltra before joining us at the diner for breakfast. After breakfast we  went over to Josh’s boat to discuss things. Josh asked; “Has the Manager ever wanted Hilda down for a talk before?”

“No, he hasn’t. We presumed that he wanted to keep his distance and the channel covert. This is a dramatic difference.”

I said; “Do you think that they will go after Andy?”

Mother said; “That is what we are afraid of. I wish that Hilda had lied and told them she was coming and then come down here with us next week.”

“I could go back with you.”

Father said; “No, I think that I want you here. If they do take Andy I want somebody who knows him and can sense him coming from another direction that they may not anticipate.”

Josh said; “If they try to use the train I can screw them up. If they’re smart enough to use the roads and even smarter to change cars it’s going to be harder. Do you have a picture of Andy?”

Chrissie said; “I have a bunch coming. They should come today or tomorrow. I took pictures of him and Hilda at the farm.”

Father said; “I imagine that Boris, Hilda and Stephie have taken steps. If nothing happens by Monday then we bring Andy and Hilda back down with us. In any case she doesn’t get on the train. I imagine that Helmut will give him a warm welcome.”

Josh said; “How likely if Andy is somehow taken, is it that Hilda will follow instructions?”

“Probably very likely. But not in the way they think. They probably think of Hilda as some helpless woman rather than a seasoned, well trained police officer. One who knows how to shoot and spends a fair amount of time on the range. She and Stephie have a long running bet going on who has the best score at the end of the year.  They were both annoyed at your visit, Tom, because you spoiled one of their matches because we didn’t want you in contact with Hilda and they couldn’t use the range.”

I said; “I didn’t think that Stephie liked guns.”

Al walked up carrying Eltra and said; “I think that was my fault. I checked by the yard to talk to you, Tom and Joe said that you were here. What’s happened?”

Father said; “The Manager wants to meet with Hilda.”

“At the farm? Is he that stupid? We would all show up and want a long talk with him.”

“In New York. He sent a ticket.”

“That’s almost as stupid. My entire building wants a chat with him after the warehouse. Which station?”

“ Grand Central. Apparently he expected Hilda to not tell anybody.”

Josh said; “If he shows up at Grand Central, Noro and Jim will have him frogmarched up to their building and take turns with very tiny needles. That is if they couldn’t think of something nastier. If Noro got John to come down they almost certainly would.”

Father said; “Apparently he’s sending a car. Hilda said no anyway.”

Al said; “He’ll go for the kid. He wants another indentured.”

“That’s what we’re afraid of. We’re going back up as soon as we finish here. If nothing happens by the weekend, we’ll bring both of them down on Monday.”

“I’ll go up to Boston and let some people know that there may be a potential kidnapping coming up with extortion potential. On a county officer.”

I said; “What if Andy is taken and Hilda decides to go anyway.”

Father said; “She doesn’t go alone.”

“They’ll expect that. Josh, you said that Noro’s building is up the street? They probably don’t know about that.”

“What are you getting at, Tom?”

“Well I’ve been to Grand Central a few times and it’s very easy to get lost if your train say, ends up on the wrong track on the lower level. Suppose there are several women more or less dressed like Hilda wandering around the station wearing the same hat. And Hilda’s train is late and on the wrong track. With police and obvious feds all around the building because the word went out that some notorious criminal is coming in on another train and  all the taxi and pickup stands are loaded with cop cars. These people don’t deal with the demon Murphy very well. And they think of Hilda as weak and helpless.  They’ll never think that her response in a police situation will be to come up to the officer in charge, flip a badge and ask if she can assist. If Hilda gets legitimately lost and there’s all that fuss at Grand Central they won’t be able to blame her for the screw up. Meanwhile her kindly rich great uncle, Noro takes her up to his building to take care of her.”

Josh said; “This is the beach all over again, isn’t it. You want to force them to play your game rather than theirs.”

“They picked Grand Central. I just recognized the possibilities. I’ll bet that they have used the place often enough that they forgot what it’s like when you first encounter it. I, on the other hand, have had a train come in on the wrong track and made the wrong turns in the warrens.  They probably didn’t even think to say where the car would be picking her up or what would happen if they had to try to look for somebody in the place. Especially if the person they were looking for  had never been there before. I’m certain that they didn’t give Hilda a fail number to call if things break down.  So we make sure that they do.”

“I like it. So will Noro. If we need it.”

“If they get Andy, we will. I don’t think that we could force Hilda to not go and if that happens the best thing to do is make things go our way anyway. Frankly, if they do get Andy, somehow I want to make it clear to the Manager that the best thing he could do is to hand Andy over to Noro so that Noro takes him home before I arrive in town.  He’s come after me twice now and this time I go after him.”

Father said; “If they take Andy and Sphinx comes up with a message again, we will all show up and we will tell her exactly that. Especially Stephie.”

Josh said; “Noro will want first shot and I don’t think that his opinion on this will be much different than yours.”

I said; “Noro is going to be a part of it. He was disappointed with the sharks and I asked to be his apprentice, so we will share this one. His money might be useful when I go shopping.”

“Shopping where?”

“In the toy store, down there in Southern Manhattan, where all sorts of trouble can be cooked up if you know what you’re doing. Otherwise known as radio row.”

Stacey came up the dock with George behind her and said; “I wanted to say good bye to Eric and Greta and Joe said you all were here. What’s going on?”

Father said; “Hilda has been asked to meet with the Manager. We are making contingency plans.”

“Who’s the Manager?”

“The thing running the other side. We don’t know who he is, but Helmut’s little office has seen what he does.”

Mera said; “We’ve just realized how connected things are. This contact is the first time he came out of the shadows.”

“Well Hilda doesn’t go, right.”

I said; “We’re afraid that the other side will take Hilda’s son Andy.”

“Boris and Stephie will take steps won’t they?”

Greta said; “Yes, but measures can be overcome and fail. I want to make contingency plans before we need them. Tom I’ve been through Grand Central too and your ideas are valid.”

Stacey said; “What ideas?”

I said; “Confusing the other side with the circus that is Grand Central with some additions. I want to make Hilda’s train late and perhaps have a police incident going on and anything that somebody else can think of. The idea is to slip Hilda out the side door with her kindly Great Uncle Noro while the other side is driven crazy by demon Murphy. That way they have to look for Hilda and reestablish contact while we are watching them rather than just having Hilda go straight to their car.”

“So they have to find Hilda in the office, in a building loaded with high fae and Noro. I like it.”

Mike and Nera popped up. Mike said; “we got your message, what’s happening?”

Father said; “We think that they want to make Hilda an indentured. The other side sent a request to meet with the Manager.”

“Hilda doesn’t go. We decided that a long time ago.”

“We know, but Hilda, rather than saying yes to Sphinx, told her no. So we expect that they may go after Andy. We are making contingency plans in case they succeed.”

“Did Boris call the boss about this?”

Father said; “He didn’t say, but I expect he did. I also expect that he and the rest of my family took steps. Still things could go wrong and they could be surprised up at the farm.  If the other side doesn’t take action by Monday, Greta and I are bringing Andy and Hilda back here anyway.  I think that, right now, the best thing to do is for Greta and I to go back to the farm and all of us to be ready. I think that we will take our leave and start back. One thing we must remember, though. The indentured are not free agents and not monsters. If we can avoid it we don’t hurt them.” Mike said; “No. Also, if an opportunity should present itself to free one of the indentured’s kids we take it, even if it means breaking temporary security. And possibly blowing the long term plan.”

Father and mother went back to their truck and left for home. I said; “Al you said that Stephie shooting was your fault.  What happened?”

“Well I gave her the same speech I give wives, girlfriends and bonded of the agents that I work with, with the variations that I give for the occasional high fae lady like Nera or Stephie that I run into. I also did the same thing with Hilda about the same time and suggested that they compete so that they get comfortable with guns and ever since they have a bet going for the favorite dish that the other one likes, which since they are both excellent cooks, can be real work, for Christmas. After a while they both decided they just liked it, but they keep going. Frankly I wouldn’t want to down range of either one if they were shooting at me.”

Eltra said; “Al you haven’t given the speech to me. Why not?”

“Dear, because you don’t need it.”

Nera said; “Eltra, you have never hesitated to reach out for the best tools you can get, especially tools to protect yourself and others. The speech is for those of us who have doubts about that or are as arrogant as I was and don’t think about tools. As soon as we can we will setup ourselves and start to practice.  I suspect that we both will have a lot of catching up to do before we can be as good as Stephie or Hilda. There are some things that I would dearly like to eat. Like Bennie’s pies.”

Stacey said; “I can do that. He got the recipe from me and I got it from a fae upstate.”

“Stacey, right now I am just a beginner with cooking and most of what I know is, well, raw seafood,but I will make an effort to have something worthy of this competition.”

I said; “Josh, you said that you could mess trains up. Suppose we want to mess Sphinx up a bit on her way back. Maybe put somebody on that she doesn’t know.”


Stacey said; “Me. I have a monthly editors meeting coming up, George isn’t doing very much and we can take the kids down and do some shopping. Dump the kids on Noro too, if he’s there and I expect he will be. I need to stop in New Haven and talk to the Winchester people and it shouldn’t that hard to make a connection to the train from Vermont.”

Al said; “I have a package coming from them,would you be willing to pick it up?”

“What is it?”

“A large, heavy and experimental rifle. The Winchester people are letting me have it for evaluation. I was going to pick it up on my way back.”

“I think that you can handle that, can’t you George?”

“Shouldn’t be a problem.”

“Ok, I’ll let them know. I want to send some signals and parading a really big gun next to Sphinx will send a message.”

Josh said; “Even with George, I don’t want you alone with her. I’ll call Noro and he’ll get some people if we need them. I think that we all need to get back to work.”

Al said; “Tom do you have some time this afternoon? I want to have you set up some pistols and get your underwater gun report put together. I’ll get in touch when I get back from Boston.”

I said; “Sure, Al. Call me at the yard and Chrissie and I will visit. The pictures should come down today anyway.”

Josh and Mera had some business at the bower so they Swam out with Mike and Nera. Stacey and George came back with us to the yard so that Chrissie and her sister could get some time together and Stacey could get a good look at the tank bed business plan.  Joe’s tank had arrived and was waiting on the punt while Joe and his people put linoleum on the floor before we put the tank in.  The building inspector came by to look at what we were doing with his wife and fourteen year old daughter, which rather explained his interest and he had a lot of tips on getting an application set up to get the tank bed into the building codes. I hadn’t realized that that would be important, but Joe pointed out that nobody was going to install one if the insurance people wouldn’t insure it and that the insurance people wouldn’t insure something that was out of code.  The inspector signed off on a temporary certificate of occupancy so that the yard wouldn’t have insurance issues.  I told him that we were just starting out with this and that it was a project that was going to get a lot of improvements as time when on.

By then it was lunch and we went over to the house where Moira, Chrissie and Stacey had been talking to have sandwiches. The pictures from the farm came down finally and I made sure to pull the pictures that Al had wanted and the pictures of Andy and Hilda. Stacey started to look at them and said; “Wow, Chrissie, it looks like quite an adventure. You even danced.”

Chrissie said; “That was fun. At least now that they have the pool set up, visiting will be easier, though I do like the cozy feeling of the tank bed. And aside from the worries that the other side might come after us we had a great time.”

“Are these Andy and Hilda?”

“Yes. He’s a great kid, isn’t he Tom.”

I said; “He is, and he’s a light on what had been a dark spot in my life.”

“Is this Stephie and Boris?”


“And this is them in their Change, right.”

“Along with some other members of the family.”

Chrissie said; “I don’t have any of her with her dangerous weapon, the skillet.”

Stacey said; “So what are you planning to do about that?”

I said; “I’m not sure yet. It may require a fair bit of planning. I think I have some ideas from my trips through the bower, but I don’t have the skills yet to pull it off. Since this likely to be my last chance at this for some time I want to make sure that Stephie gets the full impact. It’s too bad that Tony was gelded or I would be doing some horseshopping.”

“Tony was a horse?”

“Yes. He was Stephie’s favorite dressage horse when we were growing up and a very smart horse that liked to get me in trouble with her. The problem is that Stephie bought him when he was old and as I said, he was gelded, so I doubt that he was bred.”

“So you want smart horses. For the kids?”

“Especially Stephie’s daughter. Smart horses are extra work. I think, though, that I will wait until I learn more about my abilities and have some interesting chats with your brothers. As well as another visit to the toy store.”

“What’s the toy store?”

“Radio row. I haven’t been down there for some time and I need to restock.”

“Is that how you did some of those things, radio?”

“Not usually. Radios are pretty big and have tubes. Which draw a lot of power and make noise.  Radios are also expensive. Especially transmitters. That’s not good if you are trying to hide something and make it disposable. On the other hand they also use small gears and other useful stuff.  Along  with that, small motors and timers are available.  You can do amazing things with toy music box cores and there was an entire case of the things down there once for two cents a piece. The interesting thing is that most people don’t think of a telephone as a set of wires and switches that can connect to things.  So a telephone wire is right there in plain sight. So dial a number, Tony is no longer in the barn and I’ve been plowing a field for hours, so how could I be responsible?”

“Would you take a trip with me sometime for Noro’s newsletter? We are looking for insights about how businesses operate and I think that you have insights about how that stuff goes together that most people just don’t see. Most people see things and you see parts.”

“Just about everything is parts. Machines are essentially puzzles and since Stephie wasn’t very good with puzzles, that was how I could stay in the game even when she had advantages that I didn’t even know about. The good part about that is that all my sisters got better at puzzles and their kids learned science and stuff because my sisters needed that stuff to keep up with me. I think that I will introduce Andy, Bob and Scott to the toy store when they come down. They should know about it’s potentials.  I wouldn’t want my sisters to get stale.”

“Do that. I’ll come too and that way it will make a good story.”

We went back out to the boathouse and put Joe’s tank in and started to close his place up. Al called and Chrissie and I drove over to his place, where Mike and Nera were  with them.  Chrissie joined her aunts in the pool while Mike and I joined Al in the shop.  Mike said; “Josh and I let his people out at the bower know what might be coming.  They may not be able to do much on land, but if the fun and games spread out on to the water they’ll be ready.”

I said; “If we get Andy down here, putting things on the water might be a good idea. We have a pretty good idea about what they have on the water and how they operate.”

Al said; “I let the people know that there is a developing situation and to be ready for Boris’ call if there is one. Hilda actually has a good repwith them because she’s worked with them on some cases. They like her nose for stuff.”

“If you had seen her Change you would see why that’s funny. Sphinx calls her Wolf and that’s what she is.”

“She also has a Federal ID as an auxiliary so this is automatically a Federal case and she has jurisdiction anywhere in the country if she needs it.”


Mike said; “I wonder if her Change is why they want her. After all her value as an information source goes to zero if we know that she’s been indentured, so they want her for another reason and I imagine, that after the events of the last few weeks that they need resources.”

“You’re thinking werewolves?”

“We never did figure out how they were made, at least the first ones.”

Al said; “Let’s call Helmut, right now. I suspect that you are right.”

Mike called his boss and went over our concerns. I did know one thing.  My sister in law had been through hell once and that I would do everything in my power to keep her from going through hell again. I owed Brad’s memory and Andy that.

I got out my sketch of the new trigger guards for Changed pistols out and set things up on Al’s Mill. Al had one of those Bridgeport vertical mills that I was going to look at for my shop if things would stop long enough that I could set things up. I hadn’t used one of the mills since Pratt and frankly not often my last year at Pratt as I had been kicked upstairs as a production planner and supervisor. So making the trigger guards was working with an old friend again.  As I did the trigger guards, Al had done the prep work on the pistol frames and we shared brazing the guards on to the frames.  We made frames for Al, Eltra, Sal and Sillia as well as an extra that I suspected would be a Christmas present for Chrissie.  Then Mike, Al and I went over the underwater gun stuff and typed up a report for the office and Steve. Al said; “I’ll do the finish work on the guards.  I need to get my hands dirty more often.  I forgot how good it feels. I think, though that we shold join the ladies before they feel neglected and Swim away.”

So we went out and joined them in the pool. Nera and Eltra had apparently been showing Chrissie some water magic as she zinged me as I was walking beside the pool, trying to get me to slip and fall into the pool with my clothes on. I managed to maintain my balance and diginity until I could get undressed and Change. As I dropped in I said; “This cannot stand, somebody show me how to do that so that I can zing her back.”

So the ladies showed me how to do that, along with much mutual practice with each other. When we all were more or less exhausted we went over the potential of what the other side probably planned to do. Eltra said; “The sharks wanted to turn themselves into monsters, but we still don’t know how they recruit people and turn them into sharks.”

Mike said; “We do know one thing. When we called the boss today about this he mentioned that there had been a spate of kidnappings and that the victims were likely eaten by sharks. He also said that Sal thinks that the victims were fae kids.”

I said; “The Manager is starting to really piss me off. Going after kids seems to be a default for him. That and using monsters as a preference. This whole thing with Andy and Hilda is just stupid. Especially with what we can bring to bear now that we know he exists. If any sane people had taken the hits he has in the last few weeks going against us you would think that they would retreat.  Yet here he is coming right back at us and even if he gets what he wants, we won’t stop until he’s dead. And he’s come at all of us with this one.  Yet somehow he doesn’t seem to have an inkling of just what’s coming for him.”

Nera said; “That’s what happens when you live in a bubble. I was like that until Mike showed up and I escaped the bubble into the wider world.  That was what father was like until the harbormaster brought him back to himself and I want to send John a very nice present because he did that. I watched this monster’s plans go up in smoke like the warehouse and yet here we are with another plan, that has all same things in it that can make it go wrong.  I feel sorry for the indentured, caught up in this.”

Mike said; “I suspect that Sphinx and Gull have a clue about what’s happening. The other two may not.  Both Sphinx and Gull have been used in the information gathering role, but the other two haven’t. So Sphinx and Gull have the advantage of seeing us first hand.  If the Manager is smart he’ll listen, but my guess is that he won’t because if he did he would have his bubble punctured and that’s the one thing that he can’t deal with.”

Nera had us all go on a long and arduous Swim which ended up at the bower where we all scrounged something to eat and separated to go to bed, but not to sleep, at first.


After I left Mary’s and Helmut’s office, I went over to my flop to pick up the negatives for the battleship picture and the picture of the car and drop off the camera, briefing book and dictionary.  Then I went over to the film lab and had three enlargements made of the car picture and three new prints of the battleship picture.  I took the negatives and two copies of the enlargements and one of the battleship and left them there for Mary in the morning, put the rest in my kidnap file, put the whole thing in a satchel and walked across the bridge and over to the Navy Yard. I walked up to the gate and said “I’m Tim Thomas, I have an appointment with Mrs. Del Vecchio.”

The gate guard said;  “You must be Suzy’s new boyfriend, they’ve been expecting you.  Let me call for a car. He called for a car and the petty officer drove me over to a building and there she was. I walked over and said; “Hi, I have that picture.”

Suzy said; “Roll me in, we just got your camera back from the shop.”

I rolled her in and there was her mother and two other merladies, working on something that seemd to involve quarters for merfolk. Suzy’s mother said; “Hi Tim! Sal hasn’t showed up yet. We have your camera at my desk. The photographer’s mate said that it survived it’s dip in the water just fine and we reloaded it with film. Let’s go over to my desk and talk.  She rolled over to her desk and I handed her and Suzy the battleship pictures; “Suzy doesn’t show up very well. I was sort of a long way away.”

Suzy looked at the picture and said; “you’re right and since Sal isn’t here yet, why don’t we fix that. I want you to really see me dancing. That way we can test the camera.”

I rolled her over to a filled dry dock and she unbuttoned her dress and suddenly sprang into the water so quicklythat I barely got a glimpse of her, which she quickly corrected as she leaped out of the  water in an amazing backflip and splashed back into the water, a thing she which repeated as I took her picture. She followed with a series of amazing leaps and springs that kept my full attention as I took picture after picture.  I didn’t notice Sal beside me until Suzy yelled; “Sal!” and leapt right back into her chair.  I turned to Sal and said; “I took my stuff over to your mom’s office and Suzy had my camera back from the shop so we came over to get some pictures to test it because I gave her a copy of that picture of her dancing for the Pennsylvania’s crew. She said that she was too small in the picture and wanted me to get some close-ups of her dancing.”

Suzy put her dress back on and I rolled her back to her mom’s office where his mom said; “Sal why are you wearing that ratty old suit?”

“Mom, meet Detective del Vecchio. The rattiest saddest sack in the NYPD.  He get’s the crummiest cases because he doesn’t kowtow to the connected and doesn’t care who he busts.  He’s always getting the  crap cases like poor kids being kidnapped that will never be closed and all he can do is just chase around as he is laughed at by his betters. The crooks all hate him too. Gianni and Tony said so.”

I said; “Exactly the opposite of that other guy,”gone upscale,” the hotshot with the fancy car and gorgeous mob princess for a girlfriend, right. The hard part is going to be that nobody will ever see Mrs. del Vecchio.”

Sal’s mom said; “Poor Mrs. del Vecchio that poor struggling woman with the sad sack husband. I like it.”

I wanted a picture of the detective, so I reloaded the camera and said; “let’s go outside, Sal. I want a picture of Detective del Vecchio, trying so hard to get recognition for his work on this lousy case.  A case so bad that they can’t even assign a full time reporter to it.”

We went out and took the picture facing a more or less anonymous wall. I said; “I’ll take some more pictures when we get to the market.”

Sal asked; “How did you figure out what Sillia was?”

“You introduced her parents. Dom isn’t exactly unknown and I don’t just sell papers, I read them. In fact I read it before I start selling them so that I know what to push. At least now I know why the mrs. never appears anywhere. And where Cecilia went. That has been gossip around the newsroom for some time. Your mom was talking about it and thinks that tail and all that Tara should be up top some and have some parties to show people that she and Sillia are still around. I think that she’s right.”

“Dom didn’t want to bring her up top because he thought that it would make people think he’s freak.”

“Well, tell Dom that even if people found out about the tail, it would be better than what they are saying about him otherwise. Most people won’t notice the tail and will notice that Tara is there and a person.  The hole that’s there now just makes questions and bad guessing easier.”

“When we get back to the market, tell Tony what you just said. We’ve been trying to convince Dom that he was making a mistake, but your argument was one that we hadn’t thought about.”

Since Dom was now family taking care of that little issue became important. We went back into the office and I handed the roll of film with the dancing on it to Suzy’s mother and said; “I don’t think I want to just give this to a film lab. It might scare them.”

She said; “I think you’re right, dear. We’ll deal with this film.  I think that if you have special shots like this you should take them to Mary or leave them here.”

Sal and I were just starting to get to work when Sal’s dad came over and took us to a rather scary meeting with his boss.  After the meeting Sal and I went over to the market to talk to Jimmy and I agreed to bring the briefing book over tomorrow. We went into Gianni’s office and I caught a picture of that big guy “Gone upscale” with his mob buddy and turned to head back to the navy yard. As I was walking through the market Jimmy caught up with me and asked; “How did you get mixed up with him?”

“His sister was the one who knocked the camera out of my hands yesterday. We connected when my family took me to a restaurant because they were going away and Sal and his sister were there.”

“You didn’t see anybody yesterday.”

“Because I was looking in the wrong place.”

“Well you’re in deep water now.”

“In more ways than one. At least I know what’s really at stake with those kids. I’ve got to go.”

I went back to the navy yard, the guard waved me through and I headed over to the office. Suzy asked; “So how did it go?”

“Detective del Vecchio is on the case, I have photo’s that I will give to the paper with a story and that big time troubleshooter left in his car. I caught that too, a photo that I will not give to the paper quite yet. He’s too famous and dangerous to mess with.”

Suzy’s mom said; “When we get to the house we’ll go over Sal’s cases with Vinnie. The press used to like him back then, because his cases made good copy. The brass not so much, because he created scandals that people with clout didn’t like dealing with and seemed to have too many mob connections but never seemed to be dirty.  They couldn’t figure that out and in the end transferred him to homicide,giving him those crap cases like he was talking about. He still did a lot of good and the press still gave him good copy. That’s when he disconnected himself from Vinnie, probably because of peer pressure.  Then he was recruited by a monster into killing monsters for Mary’s people. He’s never told us the full story about that.”

“Who’s Vinnie?”

“Sillia’s brother and Sal’s best friend. We used to live next door to Dom and Tara until Dom was pushed up in the business. He was Dom’s troubleshooter until he was killed by sharks. By that time Sal had disconnected himself from us and some other things and we let him get away with it to protect him. Especially after he joined Mary’s group.”

“They seem like good people.”

“Yes they are, though until a short while ago they sort of withdrew into themselves. That’s changed in the last few weeks and they and we have made some wonderful new friends and acquired new family like you.”

“Mike’s boss is scary.”

Mabel said; “No he’s not. His growl is a lot worse than his bite. You don’t want to know what it took to attract his attention and drag him under.  Shyest man ever. Fortunately Noro dropped him right in my lap so I could drag him to a beach.”

“I haven’t met Noro.”

“He’s around again, so you will. Watch out, He’s the scary one when he gets going. Fortunately his other partner in crime is up at the Cape. When you get to your paper, look up Mr. White.”

“Mary said that I should try to get his picture.”

“Do that. If you do, I want a copy too. So does my husband. It’s about time that old troublemaker got his.”

Mike and the Admiral came in and the Admiral said; “Detective del Vecchio on the case?”


“Mabel, what have you been telling this young man?”

“Not very much. Mary wants him to catch Noro, Mr. White rather, with his camera.”

“That’s not going to be easy. He’s tricky. On the other hand he has been out of it for a while. He might slip up.”

Mike said; “Let’s make this a group effort. As for Detective del Vecchio, he needs all the help he can get, the poor sod. At least this time around the bosses can’t put the pressure on him because they aren’t his bosses. They also can’t afford to take the kind of heat they would get if they blow his cover. Now all Sal has to do is find himself.”

I said; “Well Sal is the most famous person in New York right now. Detective del Vecchio, not so much, but we can try.”

Mike said; “Let’s go, if we work hard maybe we can arrange it so that Detective del Vecchio can afford a new suit.”

As I pulled Suzy back from her desk she said; “That’s not going to happen.”

Mike and I put the ladies in the car and the chairs back in the office and away we went. The house was pretty normal except for the electric garage and the elevator chair. Mike put Stella on and she went up and then the chair came back down and I put Suzy on it; “Is the whole house set up like this?”

“More or less. The downstairs anyway. The navy did it for mom when she Changed.  They also did the admiral’s house and Captain Farr’s. It’s expensive though, so a lot of people have to make other arrangements.”

We reached the top of the stairs and Suzy’s sister Cindy was there with a wheelchair; “Hi Tim, dad had me bring this back.”

Suzy got into the chair and said; “Let me show you around, Tim.”

She showed me the pool, her dad’s shop, and Sal’s room on the first floor. I said; “Sal doesn’t seem to have taken very much.”

“No he didn’t. I think he hasn’t had a place that he really thought was his yet.”

‘I’ve still got a bunch of stuff at my parents place too. I’m not sure what I’m going to do now that they are gone.  I wish that they had set up something like this.”

“I don’t think that they realized that they could. This must be hard for you.”

‘I did get hit with a lot the last couple of days. On the the other hand, if I hadn’t been in Bennies I wouldn’t have met you.” “Yes you would. We had plans. And we have plans for you. We’re together now.”

Mike came in and said; “Stella had me bring down Sal’s clippings. Why don’t we go through them and look at the stories.”

We went over to the kitchen table and Mike opened a folder filled with newspaper clippings in celluloid covers. The oldest was a young officer being involved in the arrest and shut down of a place that most people don’t like to think existed, along with some influential people being busted for pretty nasty stuff. The next few were more of the same thing, all of which seemed to be mob connected. I said; “The outfit must have hated him for shutting down all these businesses. Yet he gets along with those guys now.”

Mike said; “These were the kinds of business the outfit, at least Dom’s outfit didn’t want. Kid brothels sort of turned Dom’s stomach and Vinnie stomped on them hard. But because of connections and other reasons he couldn’t just shoot people or give them rides. So he called Sal and sort of snitched. Sal would then bust the place and shut it down, along with spreading it all over the papers. By the time Vinnie and Sal got done with them the people they dealt with probably wish that they had just taken them for a ride. They didn’t kill them, they ruined them. That was especially true of some well connected “Upstanding Characters.” Read on.”

I did and Mike was right about some of those people. Even though this was five years ago I remembered those stories of the mighty falling.  The stories went on as Sal was promoted to detective and then three and a half years ago, transferred to Homicide, where it looked like he got the garbage cases that he was talking about up until two years ago,where that was the last clipping. I said; “The last clipping is two years ago. The case where his partner was killed,but they couldn’t find what did it and nobody knew why.”

“That’s when he joined Mary’s group and went clandestine. Maybe too clandestine.”

“I can see why he complains of garbage cases. But he did close a lot of them and deal with some pretty nasty characters. What happened to Vinnie? I see a lot of stories when Sal was in Vice, but after a while he drops out and when Sal was transferred to homicide he drops out of the picture.”

“Vinnie was killed by sharks while he was, as we fae say, “closing the deal.” Have you seen the book yet?”

“Mary gave me a copy this morning, but I haven’t had time to look at it yet. From what I saw there was some scary stuff in it.”

“Well I hope that you and Suzy put off closing the deal for a while. I imagine the sharks don’t know about you, since neither you or Suzy have been connected to the bower or been in any way noticeable, but that may change.  The sharks seem to have a preference for high value bondings and yours is actually one of those.”

“It is, I’m nothing special.”

Suzy said; “yes you are.”

Mike said; “Yes you are, only you don’t realize it yet, and the fact that you bonded is the best protection you have right now. The sharks went all the way up to the Cape to chew on a pair that weren’t much older than you and Suzy and were “nothing special” either. The good thing is that the “nothing special” guy they tried to put the bite on never seems to be without a gun and has no problem using it to protect himself and our toothy friends got mostly sort of dead. Which is why they are trying to recruit more toothy friends and kidnapping kids to do it. So if you can put a crimp in what they are doing, do it.”

I pulled out my little note book and went through the clippings, making note of the juiciest stuff and the dates for all of them. I would do a quick writeup with the pictures I took and this stuff and hand it over at the paper. As I went through it I said; “I’m going to do a story about Detective del Vecchio being on the case.”

Stella said; “Mike dear, clear that stuff off, it’s time to eat.”

She put the food on the table and I realize that it had been far too long since I had had a good home cooked meal, with family. After dinner Mike took me back to my flop.

The next morning I dropped the pictures that I had taken at the market off at the lab and picked up my papers. As I started to push the papers a man in a white suit and coat stood at the corner and since he was definitely a character I quietly picked up the camera and while looking at him from the corner of my eye, took a photo across the battery at some pigeons. Then I quietly advanced the film and then as I was putting the camera away, tripped the shutter as the frame went past the man. Jonney called out; “Hello, Mr. White, I haven’t seen you in a long time, what brings you down here.”

Which confirmed who he was as he answered; “Business with this young man, I think. Mr. Thomas, I am Mr. White. I’m afraid that I need to leave town today, but if you call this number on Monday, I would like to make an appointment to discuss your work with you.”

He handed me his card. I said; “Hello Mr. White. I’ve heard a lot about you.”

He left. I turned to Jonney and said; “What do you know about him.”

“There are stories going on about him forever. He was the smartest guy on the street and loaded.  Did he just offer you a job? That’s the big time, brother, the big time. What have you been up too?”

“I ran into those mermaids in the navy yard you were talking about.”

“Did you now.”

“I entered a whole new world.”

I pushed papers and a familiar car turned the corner, slowed down and hit the horn as I grabbed the camera, took the shot and waved. He turned the other corner into his building. Jonney turned to me and said; “Did he just ask you to take his picture?”

“Sal? Looks like it doesn’t it. It has to do with those mermaids in the navy yard.”

Mr. Rockefeller came by and said; “Hello, Tim. You may have an interesting opportunity come your way. I would make sure that you discuss it.”

“I think that it already did. Man in a fancy white suit, right.”

“That’s him.”

“By the way, that picture you wanted just drove by. I’ll see how it came out later.”

“Did it now. And you had permission?”

“Mary not only gave me permission, she told me to take it. Along with any others.”

“You do know that a degree of discretion is involved with those.”

“That goes without saying. Those don’t show up in the paper.  Some of them you don’t want in the paper.”

“You’re learning Tim. Keep going.”

He picked up his paper and walked on.

I finished the morning papers and Vinnie showed up to take over so I headed over the film lab to pick up my film from yesterday and went back to my flop, picked up my notes, the extra prints that I had made for Mary, put one of the Troubleshooter Sal pics in with the Mary pics and the other in the file went over to the paper and the newsroom. George at the desk said; “Tim, what’s up?”

“I’ve got some stuff on the kidnapping case. They have a Detective on it now, del Vecchio. I also wrote a story up on how the farmers are keeping their kids out of the market because it’s too dangerous, with pictures of the Detective and the market. I think that Bill will like it.”

George took the packet and said; “If it’s as good as you say there should be a photo byline and a check.”

“I need to make another stop and then get over to the market, so I’ll see you later.”

I left and headed over to Mary’s building. On the way I went past radio row and took some random pictures to run out the roll. When I walked into the office I said to Mary; “Here’s the battleship picture, the enlargement, pictures of Detective del Vecchio and a picture of Sal and Tony in the car. I have a roll I want you to develop.”

“Why dear?”

“Well it has another picture of Sal on it and a Mr. White came by this morning to hand me his card and I may have gotten his picture, by accident when I was taking a very interesting picture of some pigeons.”

She smiled and said; “We will want to check that out, won’t we. Go to the back and ask for Steve.”

I rewound the camera and took the roll back through the office to the darkroom and said; “I was told to ask for Steve to get some film developed. Mary said yes.”

“I’m Steve, you must be Tim and what’s special about the pictures.”

“I think I accidently took a photograph of a Mr. White while I was taking an important photograph of some pigeons.”

He smiled and said; “Yes we do want to verify that.”

He took the roll of film and went into the back.”

I went over to Sal’s desk and said; “Tell your mom thanks for the dinner. It’s been a long time since I had a homecooked meal with family.”

“I’ll tell her, but you will probably see her before I will.”

“I also posted the Detective del Vecchio on the case story along with my pictures of struggling farmers and workers. They seemed happy to get it.”

“Did my mom show you that stuff she had?”

“Yes she did, and you took down some bad people doing nasty stuff.”

“I paid a price for it too.”

“So why did you break it off with Vinnie? Looking through the clippings you were tight until you were transferred to homicide and then you broke it off.”

“It was intimated to me by my superiors that having a connection like that even if it was clean, could make me look dirty and hurt the force. So I broke it off.  To be honest I just meant to do that until things cooled down and then more or less keep a clandestine connection but it just got put off when I ended up here. Of course he was killed right after I broke things off.”

“By the way I was approached by a Mr. White this morning and I may have, well accidently taken his photograph while taking a picture of some very interesting pigeons.”

Sal smiled and said; “Did you really? Oh that’s a shame.  Poor Mr. White, in the public eye again.”

“That camera shutter, it goes off so easily sometimes. He offered me a job, too.”

“That’s not a surprise. I talked to him about you. By the way, on Friday, could you check out the fishmarket. Unless I come up closer or get up at midnight there’s no way I could make it there before it shuts down and you have your place here in Manhattan. Take that first picture of the car and show it around. Tell them why too. Our fishy friends may look for new hunting grounds on this side of the river.” “I’ll do that. That way I can do up another article on that market and maybe alert some people before any kids get taken.”

Steve came by and said; “You got him. The frame wasn’t straight and he isn’t facing directly at the camera but here, Sal, you know Noro. Is this him?”

Sal took a look at the picture, smiled and said; “That’s Noro, wearing a suit almost as loud as Jimmy’s. I don’t think he even caught on that you got the picture either.”

Helmut walked by toward the front desk and Sal said; “Boss, Tim got him.”

Helmut said; “Who?”

I said; “Mr. White. He even gave me his card.”

I held it up.

Sal handed him the picture. Helmut said; “Well, well, well, you did. Noro, all dressed up. Mary said that we would know when it was Mr. White and she was right. Tim, take this out and show Mary. Steve, could you straighten this out and do some reframing and make up some large prints. I know some people who are going to want this.”

I walked out to Mary’s desk and said; “I got him, it’s not perfect but he didn’t know that I was doing it.” She looked at it and said; “That’s Noro, in about the flashiest suit I have ever seen, all right. Is Steve making up some large prints. I imagine that there are a bunch of people that will want one.”

“Mike, Stella, Mabel and the Admiral at the navy yard, Meria and Bennie at Bennies that have asked me. I don’t know who else.”

“I imagine the list is quite long.”

“I wonder how long before Mr. White figures out that I have it. Of course I will try again on Monday.”

Steve came out and said; “Here’s your negative and four large prints to start. I also made a reframed negative and put a copy of that in too. Along with the rest of the pictures on the roll. That’s a great picture of Sal.”

Helmut came out with another packet and said; “Mary, has Steve left for the Cape yet?”

“Josh said he was planning to take the 5:00 train up and get a car from Providence again. The navy is leaving a car there for him.”

“Tim are you going over to the navy yard?”

“I was planning too, why?”

“Could you drop this packet over to Steve Claytor. Mike will know who he is.”

“Ok, will do.”

Hemlut handed me the packet and I put it in my satchel along with the rest of the pictures. I left the office, went across the bridge and over to the yard. I walked up to gate and the guard said; “Hi Tim. Here to see Suzy again?”

“Yes. And make a delivery for Steve Claytor.”

“Why don’t I call Comander Claytor and have him meet you at Stella’s office. You know the way, so go right in. I walked over to the office and there they all were. I went over to Mabel’s desk and pulled out one of the envelopes and said; “I had a surprise visitor this morning.”


“A Mr. White.”

She opened the envelope and said; “You got him.”

“The camera shutter accidently tripped after I took a photo of some interesting pigeons. After that he came and gave me his card to offer me a job. I don’t think he realizes that I took his photograph.”

“Has Mary seen this yet?”

“I just came from there.”

Stella and Suzy rolled over. Stella said; “That is about the loudest suit that I have ever seen. Talk about overdoing it.”

A man in a navy uniform walked in and Stella said; “Steve,Tim got Noro! Look!”

She handed him the picture.

“Oh yes, he did. All dressed up too. Tim, the gate said that you have a delivery for me.”

“From Helmut.”

I handed him the packet. He glanced at it and said; “This looks like your kidnap stuff for my father and some other things, including a print of that picture. I’ll run this up to him when I go. I missed your briefing yesterday but Tim handed me your notes. Do you have anything new?”

“Just an enlargement of the car picture.”

I handed it to him. He looked at it and said; “There he is again. Being a real bad boy, indeed.”

“Who is he?”

“A spoiled rich kid who turned himself into a monster and went after my sister, among others. Fortunately my new brother in law likes guns and blew the hell out of most of them.”

“I’ve been busy, but I think I really need to look at that book.” I had brought it over to show Jimmy after I left the yard, but after dinner last night and the fact that I needed to get up so early in the morning I just went to bed without looking at it. I pulled it out and said; “Spoiled rich kids?”

I flipped to the back of the book and the story from a couple of weeks ago about the missing socialites. I  had wondered why that was there, so I asked; “Like these?”

“Yes, they went out to the Cape to eat my sister a few weeks ago and her bonded took offense at that and shot them to pieces while my sister took pictures of the whole thing. They tried again, but my grandfather and his friends moustrapped them, wrote them up for every traffic violation they could think of and got all their names, addresses and pictures. Then they show up in that car chasing after kids. Why don’t we talk to some of your friends next door. I’m tactical lead here for this operation and if they need them I can put boots on the ground real fast. Boats and Swimmers too if they try for the water when they get caught in the act. The Admiral was annoyed that somebody was taking kids right off our doorstep.”

“Well I posted an article at the paper this morning. So more people will know about what’s going on. And Detective del Vecchio is on the case.”

“Let’s leave the ladies to their work and talk to your friends.”

We walked out the door and Steve went over to his car dropped the packet off, grabbed a rather weather beaten pea jacket and said; let’s not make it too obvious that I’m walking around looking into this.”

We went next door to the market and over to the coffee cart where both sergeant O’Doul and Gianni were talking to each other. Gianni looked up and said; “Sal and Tony called last night and said that the car might show up.  It may have, some of the boys saw a car like it prowling around, but it didn’t stick around. Who’s this?”

Steve said; “I’m Steve Claytor. I work next door and my boss said that I should check you folks out and let you know that if you need some help we might be willing to provide. He was rather annoyed that people were grabbing kids off his doorstep. Here’s my card.”

He handed cards to both of them. “I don’t have any official jurisdiction over here, but I have a navy combat team and a lot of boats if our toothy friends show up again grabbing kids.”

Jimmy noticed us and came over; “Tim, who’s this?”

I said; “Steve Claytor. He works next door and his boss had a talk with me yesterday. He wasn’t happy with kids being taken off his front door and told Steve to make sure that people over here know quietly that there’s help next door if they need it.”

Steve handed Jimmy another card and said; “I like your suit. I know somebody who will want to know your tailor.”


“I suspect that you will run into him shortly.  I don’t want to spoil the surprise.”

I handed Jimmy the book and said; “We talked about this. I’ll pick it up Friday.”

Steve and I walked back across the market and Steve said; “I never thought that I would see the man that could out do Noro in the style of his suits, but there he was. Before he went under sea when grandmother was killed, Noro would get those outlandish getups, always just out of style.”

“Jimmy does that so that everybody in the market knows where he is. With all the moving around and work needing to be done all the time on the spot, people need to know that.  Why Mr. White does it is beyond me.”

“Tim, he’s my grandfather and was doing that when I was a kid. Up until my grandmother was killed he liked to play games, popping out in those outlandish suits and then turning the corner and making himself invisible. That’s how my brother and I learned how to do that.”

We walked through the gate and he suddenly disappeared even though I could still sort of feel him beside me. He reappeared and said; “If you keep coming down here, I’ll show you how.  It won’t work against most fae for very long, but it does have it’s advantages. And you need to learn about your shields anyway. It’s a good thing you bonded with Suzy or you could have been in real danger when your parents went under sea. Mike told me about that, and you, yesterday.”

“I’m nothing special.”

“That’s a good way to think most of the time. That’s what my brother and I do. But there are times when you will be forced to understand what you are and what you can do. You need to know yourself for those times even if you don’t flash it around.”

Steve and I arrived back a the office and he said; “If it isn’t obvious, I’m pleased to meet you. And you did get grandfather, which isn’t easy. Though he seems to have been slipping lately. Bye for now.”

He got in his car and I walked back in the office. Suzy wasn’t there but Stella said; “Suzy just went to get wet for a bit. She’ll be back soon. What are your plans for tomorrow?”

“None really. I don’t sell papers because there’s no business on my corner on holidays and normally I would go to my parents apartment. But that will just be an empty space now.”

“Well I called Bennie and your parents and your sister want to meet with us along with Sal, Sillia, Dom and Tara for dinner tonight and then you can go home with us and be with us tomorrow.”

“I told Sal that I would be at the market early on Friday. That will be easier from my flop in Manhattan.”

“Mike can take you there tomorrow evening. You shouldn’t spend all day by yourself.”

“By the way, thank you for yesterday. I haven’t had a real meal with just family in far too long.”


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