In to The Mystic (sneak preview bit)

Into The Mystic.

Five golden men.  That is what three of five witnesses believe that they saw, two probably didn’t really see anything.  But Detective Bryce took their statements anyway, I waited in the car like I was told.  I am still trying to figure out why a Deputy Director of the FBI sends Scully and Mulder to bang on my door at two in the morning and fly me to Minneapolis, of all places.  I think that I am finally getting some traction with this mystery-probably-Finnish-blend from Starbucks, at least enough to have had the foolish experience of calling the Dean only to find out that he was so glad I was OK, and I had nothing to worry about, just rest and Get Well Soon.  A very Hallmark sort of moment, one I will have to follow-up with somebody soon so I make sure not to do something else too stupid.  Five golden men.  Still working on that one, but still working on what made this so ­‘Vital that you come with us immediately and that all of my questions will be answered as soon as possible’ because I still had no clue, at all.  But this is at least good melodrama – detectives, ambiguous reasoning and thunderstorms at least made mystery tractable, especially when I glance over expecting only to see my reflection and am looking into Chrys Pembrights rain-spotted face looking at mine.  We both had to squint as the brightest white headlights we had ever seen cut an arc like ivory chopsticks crossing a bowl as a black Escalade decked-out in cop-looking stuff pulled sideways in front of us.  By the time my eyes had started loosing their garden of spots, the door behind me was opening and Chrys was pulling up the belt to her raincoat as her protector-from-dripping-clouds stepped back and very definitely didn’t close it in the door.  I immediately reached for mine and found it most securely slammed in mine.  I had a brief minds-eye of be cutting of the diseased end and hemming a new point on my Bernina.   I had to scoot my butt closer to the door so as not have to give-away my plight when trying to turn around to see her.  I for whatever reason thought I was just lucky she had not started out with “Jean, did you know your belt was caught in the door?”

I said “Well, at least now I don’t feel clueless and lonely!”  Chrys smiled at me with those beautiful eyes of hers and blew a curl away cross-eyed for effect.  That kind of says most of what I would have about her playfulness, but better.  She got that in good measure – both of her parents were a hoot – double-doc Historian-linguists, they had named her Chrysothemis[1], after a character in one of the few surviving plays of Sophocles, written somewhere between 435 and 410 B.C.  .

Tell me about it.  I was just minding my own business screwing my brains out when the place lit-up like the second coming or some fucking thing!”

I couldn’t help but bark a “Whaat?!” through a laugh, getting the perfect mental picture of she and Paul that she wanted me to.  Oh, did I mention she could get rather colorful when she was inconvenienced?

“I mean, Jesus!  Who are these guys, anyway?” she piped, plopping one foot on either side of the center-bump and scooching so close I almost not thinking just rested my elbow on her kneecap.  “I don’t mean don’t you think this has very weird plastered all over it?  Seriously!”

“So I guess they told you about as much as they told me,, huh?”

Sounds of approaching voices mumbling through the windshield had Chrys’ eyes telling me I should turn around for show-time, and she was right,  Now this was classic cop-show melodramatics, right down to the too-cool-to-wear-a-hat guys-guys in trench costs and their soaked FBI windbreaker counterparts walking-up before totally-thinking-through the whole where do we all sit? thing.  We both beep pressurized laughter, doing our damndest to appear steely at the same time.  Meanwhile, apparently sorted-out-on-the-fly the FBI guys head for their rig, the two mystery-men get beamed back into their Escalade, and after making sure his buddies are all tucked-in, Detective Bryce drips-in the fogged-window carriage with us.

“You’re back!” I say as soon as the two seconds of silence bell rings inside my head  He looks at me, but eyes don’t quite.  He doesn’t see Chrys in the mirror, then a somewhat distracted “Hi!”, he says to Chrys, apparently forgetting the rest of his manners.  Alright, playing fair, he was the one doing most of the work, and he definitely was looking like he was trying to figure out either what to tell us or what to ask us, or which to venture first.  Me the introduction type decides to get that over with, though doubtless redundant.  Chrys wins, cocking a wrist barrel down, she says,

“Chrys Pembright”

“Bryce.  Pleasure to finally meet you, Doctor Pembright”, he says taking her hand in the only way he could from there, his eyes for only an instant leaving ink-running notes.  I doubt he saw her raised eyebrows and ‘Oooooo’ lips.  I look back at Chrys then back at him.  I say,

“You seem befuddled, Detective – perhaps if you could enlighten us, we could help you with that…”

“Interesting choice of words, Doctor Breen,” he begins.  That’s right, Jean Breen – thanks, Dad.  “To be honest, I’m not quite sure how to do that – this one is already a real…, a real –“

“Cluster-fuck?”, spouts Chrys with a wink, but I get the glare.

“Don’t look at me!” I say, hands-up, no-backs.

“Sorry.  But she’s right!”

“Don’t like your new pals?”, I ask.

He looks at both of us – twice, then starts a smile… and a rather attractive one, at that.

“Ha1”, he chuffs/  “Nooo, not really – speaking of being enlightened.  One thing I do know is that as tight lipped as these guys are, stir-in you two falling out of the sky, and then the who-knows-who’s – this is way over my paygrade.”

“Oh, c’mon Detective – I can tell you got game!  Let us in on what’s pingin’ around in that top-cop brain of yours!”

“Hey!  All I know is that I get a call to check-out what the uniforms said looked like some sort of Highlander-gang-war thing and the next thing I know I got Feds popping like frogs on a hot-plate!”

That gets both of us – then he can hold it looking at the two of us looking at him and we all three come un-hooked.  I’m sure none of us had any doubt we were probably getting the hairy-eye-ball from the other two cars.

“You didn’t say anything about gang-war!  All I heard was something about…”

“Five golden men” he finishes.  “Sounds like something out of Mother-Goose-From-Hell!”  We all almost start to sputter again… way too punchy.

“OK.  So here’s the deal.  My pals over there are on about some sort of religious bigotry like I just fell out of the trees.  So I do have to ask you: who’s paying your bill?”

“Oh no!” Chrys begins shaking her finger, “You want to know who’s on first, and as far as I’m concerned, that would be you!”

Really?  I was expecting the exact opposite!”

“Hey –“, Chrys begins, “neither of us are too keen on the shut-up-and-come-with-us boys…”

I heartily nod in agreement, taking the segue (yeah, we’ve done this before).  “Absolutely.  Besides, you have all the info!”

“What in the world makes you say that?  I mean, you’re right, of course, but I’m curious…”.  His dark eyes flash with mischief.  He’s playing.

“Because if they did, we’d be riding off into the sunrise and you would be on your way to… to do whatever you do when they do that!”

…… continued


[1] Chrysothemis or Khrysothemis (Ancient Greek: Χρυσόθεμις “Golden Justice”), sister of Electra, daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra

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