May 30, 2024, 06:24AM

The Summer Sun, Part Six

Blinded by the white light.

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From their desert shack to the dusty coastal town of San Mateo was a journey of 100 miles down Highway 1, Susan at the Ford station wagon's wheel, during which Timmy Marcade indulged in a kaleidoscope of thought, thoughts as concentrated as a can of frozen Donald Duck orange juice, yet stretched out beyond the Pacific's horizon. Then they boarded the small schooner and set sail.

That night their tiny ship was anchored in black waters, the starless sky blacker than black. Inside they slept a black sleep, blacker than the starless sky, dreams vivid, pure and simple. They were on their way to a promised land.

Then dawn.

Susan wore a baby blue apron, and nothing else, not even slippers. The gas stove's flame was blue. Her eyes, most assuredly blue. The Pacific Ocean surrounding their boat was royal blue. The name of that boat was Bluebird. The morning sky was brilliant and stunning and so very blue. Timmy Marcade in a navy bathrobe, sitting at the table, awaiting a feast of eggs, Canadian bacon, toast, juice and a fresh pot of coffee, thought his true-blue love thoughts. He fiddled with the shortwave radio until he found a Mozart string quartet. Despite his newfound knowledge of just how nefarious the world is, despite his loss of illusion and innocence, they were embarking on a new life, within reach of a new land, a genesis. They were exhilarated.

At the shack, Susan told him about this new world, an island off the coast of Chile, a little south of Peru, a small island, privately owned, a self-proclaimed state, a micro-nation, Novus Eden. Small, but plenty large for an intrepid community to build on. It had roads and a town dating back to the conquistadors. And most importantly: fertile land for crops, and plenty of territory to expand on. There were elders, families, a future away from what lay ahead for the rest of the world. There was a military, well-trained, all young men were enlisted upon turning 18. Timmy would be back in khakis, an officer. There was even a church, Roman Catholic that had broken with Rome amidst the blasphemy of Vatican II, complete with a robust clergy: bishop, priests, brothers and a convent.

The schooner was Susan's, bought two summers ago. She'd sold her Jag, for cash, and bought the nondescript station wagon, also for cash, and added counterfeit plates. At San Mateo, they boarded her boat and sailed south.

"Where did you get counterfeit license plates? I've never heard of such a..."

"If you have money, you have magic."

As Susan had spelled things out, there was an international underground of dissidents who knew too much, who’d connected, banded, plotted, and established this new land, unnoticed by the powers that be. They came from various circles: Birchers; European nationalists (who were so far to the Right that they struck Timmy as being, almost, from the Left); refugees from sundry Communist tyrannies; obscure royals; dissidents from the United States intelligence community and military, the ones whose careers stalled at, say, major or colonel, too contrarian to advance to the inner circle, the ones who fumed about Abraham Lincoln's close ties to Allan Pinkerton and the Turner Militia, to John Brown and Euro Marxists. With eyes steely, they dismissed the fairy tales, they wanted the truth unvarnished. Susan told Timmy of one woman, a widow, but still somewhat young, from Tennessee, whose husband had been CIA.

Their voyage was placid, nothing more disturbing than an odd gentle rain, usually in the eventide. They slept in separate bunks, saving themselves for a proper Roman Catholic wedding. Timmy still had to, somehow, locate an engagement ring for his true love!

In one midnight rain, they embraced on deck for a long time. All was well, they were as one, hearts beating in time to a cosmic rhythm. They looked up, shivering in the night's chill, the sky clearing, to witness a shower of shooting stars racing across the heavens.

"Tennessee?" he thought. Why did that strike a chord, a deep twang, a remote voice, a siren's call? But the voice was far away, he couldn't put his finger on it. So, he put it aside, that lonely thought, and held Susan, inhaled the scent of her golden hair, as warm as the summer sun. He loved her so much! And he swore as much into her tender ear. She hugged him even tighter.

A few weeks later, he found out why Tennessee rang a bell when they docked at Novus Eden. Ashore, our two lovebirds strolling to town, he saw her approaching them. Reality took an abrupt tilt, a dollhouse raised high and rattled, its toy furniture falling out.

"Where were you? Where have you been?" he said, his voice as distant to his ears as the stars.

"Tennessee. Then here. Waiting. For you. Come, take my hand."

She was seasoned, but still looked pretty darn good in a sundress, slim as a sliver. He gazed into her eyes, not the azure of the Pacific, but the emerald of the luxurious late-summer trees and shrubs surrounding them. For the moment he was lost, swimming in those eyes, four to her 24, at her kitchen table in Red Wing, Minnesota, a plate of oatmeal cookies, oven fresh, and a glass of milk before him, his sneakered feet kicking.

Hand in hand, she led him up a stony path, in golden sunlight, overwhelming sparkle and shine. For a few seconds he was blinded, all was white light. Bees bumbled and buzzed, songbirds sang their little hearts out. Timmy's knees were weak. He stumbled; Beatrice steadied him. He glanced over his shoulder and saw Susan below. She was far away, so very far away. And gray, hazy gray.


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