A Tonic for Bitterness

Reads: 62  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Stories Galore
Mary Margaret known as MM is living in a loveless marriage. She meets a young man whom comes to her aid. She discovers that her husband is living three lives-business-girl friend and criminal activity.

Submitted: January 03, 2019

A A A | A A A

Submitted: January 03, 2019

A A A

A A A


A Tonic for Bitterness

 

Jack Kay

 

Emporia is one of those small hidden cities nestled in the area which is called the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. It is only accessible by ferry or air from the mainland Emporiums as they choose to call themselves thrive on the knowledge that their community is unique. With 2400 hours of sunshine each year the place lives up to its name. Except for Emporia, the region is made up of small fishing Villages strung along 90 miles of coastline. The short ferry trip gave one the feeling that they are touring islands but the Sunshine Coast is firmly attached to the mainland.

The community of Emporia has all the conveniences of the big city, hotels, restaurants, stores and two large shopping centers. Churches numbered in the at least 20, and many denominations are represented. Canadian Government offices take up almost a full city block and many of the resident’s work within it’s walls. There are three modern high schools, each containing a recreation gymnasium and an auditorium. There are several elementary schools and a division of the BC Maritime College with extensive grounds.

 

The incomes are above the average for British Columbia and municipal tax rates are low enough to ensure that the inhabitants lived well. Many of the homes are older two-story family residences with two and three car garages. The marina located on the waterfront is a mass of expensive sail and motorized schooners and luxury yachts. The parking lots are often jammed with Lexus, BMWs and Lincoln cars. Saturday night the city’s three main restaurants are full with the wealthiest citizens of the metropolis enjoying the luxurious meals along with expensive wines and liquor.

 

Crime is at a minimum in this bustling region. Private police monitor all the traffic in the gated communities and several RCMP patrol the city 24/7 to seek out transgressions. There has not been a major crime in years and other major crime is limited to break-ins and car theft. Young people have been known to use illegal drugs, but the biggest source of the police work was speeding and other traffic violations. Street people are hustled back on the ferries when they arrive and most new faces in town are scrutinized by the police for criminal intent.

 

Emporia is a model community in which most people vote Liberal in the Provincial elections and Conservative in the Federal elections. The Member of Parliament is Conservative Tim Bester. Some of the town’s people refer to him as Dim because he rarely ever speaks in the House of Commons in Ottawa and when he does, he uses overworked expressions like at the end of the day and the bottom line. His longest adventure into making a policy statement on behalf of the Conservative party was a five-minute lecture he gave on the economy which drew laughter from both sides of the house.

 

The city is the face of White Anglo Saxon Protestants and Catholics in British Columbia. There is but one Chinese family in Emporia. Jimmy Chan who runs the only Chinese restaurant in town as his father did before him. His children attend the Catholic schools and Jimmy’s wife is a Caucasian girl from Kamloops. Blacks, East Indians and Pakistanis live in surrounding localities, but none are made welcome in the staunch for-whites only area of the city.

 

According to the rules of municipal elections, the town officials are elected every two years and the mayor Malcolm Smythe has been in that job for twenty years. He had made claims that he was a graduate clergyman from a seminary in Cleveland Ohio but there is no certificate to prove this assertion. The council members are also long term elected and thus the old boy network is maintained from year to year. If you want something done, then you have to go to church on Sunday and make sure you are seen. Church going business leaders have a tight grip on all community affairs.

 

The city had to fight a very sensitive issue some years before when there was a sudden taxpayer rebellion from new home owners who had property on the edge of the golf course. They complained that the golfers were trespassing on their lawns and backyards and also many windows were broken. The mayor and council decided to fight the rate payers in court. One of the senior council members, Archie Dunlop said

 

“if you want to really win this fight get a Jewish Lawyer from Vancouver named Joel Levin’

 

The Mayor in fact did hire Levin and the city were successful as the judge agreed with the city that the property owners knew before they purchased their homes that they were in harms way on a golf course .Mayor Smythe was so happy with Joel Levin that he invited him to open a practice in Emporia and the city would make sure he had full access to all the new mortgages being granted and all the city legal business. Levin was the only Jewish person living in Emporia. He lived alone in a apartment in the luxurious Belvedere House located in the centre of Emporia. He was often seen in the company of attractive women whom he brought over from the mainland. It was a known fact that the Pulpits in the community proclaimed the city was free of hanky panky and that it was tacitly agreed that Gays, Lesbians and same sex couples were not welcome in the squeaky-clean city of Emporia

 

 

TWO

 

Mary Margaret awoke from her dream reaching desperately for her husband whom she realized had not slept with her. She had a recurring dream-fantasy of being ravished from behind. It had begun some weeks before when she discovered that her husband of 26 years was no longer sleeping in their marital bed.

 

She reached down and felt the wetness which had begun spreading on to her legs and noticed that each time she had dreamt of the sexual encounter her breathing had become more labored, suggesting she was nearing an orgasm.

 

She sprung out of bed and headed for her morning shower, hoping she could still catch her husband before he left for work.

 

After briefly showering and running a brush through her hair she dressed quickly in jeans and a plain blouse under which she did not wear a bras.

 

Her husband Ed Agnew sat hunched over a bowl of raisin brand cereal with his newspaper propped up against the box. As usual it was the business section where he carefully studied the investment tables. The rest of the paper laid on the floor where it usually remained until Mary Margaret straightened up the kitchen.

 

Agnew was a man without any distinguishing features in middle age. Once a good-looking agile man he had become stooped and overweight. He still had a full head of hair albeit prematurely white He dressed casually in expensive Tilley clothing and wore Italian soft soled shoes . His appearance was unkempt and even at his young age of 49, he looked very old. He always seemed to constantly need a shave and his facial features bore the craggy look of a fisherman, full of creases and various blemishes. He very often wore red suspenders which made him look like a farm worker. He smoked cigars in his office at work and the smell lingered on all of his clothing. Other than his business his only hobby was fishing and the occasional golf game. He liked to walk alone on the many beaches which surrounded Emporia. Hidden away in the attic of his 5 bedroom house were several pornographic magazines which he would often view , waiting until Mary Margaret was away. His hidden passion was to pleasure himself by masturbating.

 

“I want to talk to you Ed” she said quite forcefully pulling out a chair and resting her coffee cup on the large family sized kitchen table.

 

He grunted and flicked the paper onto the table

 

‘Make it fast MM , I have a big order of computer desks coming in and the boys are both in Calgary at furniture show this week”

 

“I think it is time to talk Ed, you have decided not to sleep with me, for some reason and your conversation is becoming limited to a few grunts and groans, I want to know what the hell is going on, tell me what I have done” .

 

By now she was becoming quite teary. Ed stood up and walked over to get a cup of coffee and flopped back down on his chair.

 

“Look MM we have three kids all grown up, Mary Beth has kids of her own and both the boys are married and Sean’s wife Katelyn has a kid on the way. I’m nearly hitting fifty and you are forty-six. What is the use of us fooling around like kids, we have other interests? I am still working hard at seeing my furniture business grow and the competition is constantly after my ass. I just don’t have the energy to do it anymore and you were making more demands for some reason which I don’t understand. You have lots of activities to keep your mind occupied. Church, bible classes, your aerobics, lunches with your friends. We have two grand children and Mary Beth calls you ten times every day from the office. I think she would like you to baby sit the kids sometime All this stuff must surely keep you busy. You can go to the mainland anytime and shop, you have a brand-new car. You can spend money at a reasonable level so all in all you have a quality life and I am a good provider. I need my sleep. I think I mentioned that you need a nose strip or something because you are snoring and well… also you know what happens when you eat rich food. It is time to move into another phase of our married life, I did discuss this scenario with Father Paul and although he didn’t really right out say that this was the answer he implied that people need to take a break in a marriage”.

 

Mary Margaret looked at the man with whom she had been married for twenty –six years and suddenly realized that she did not know him at all. It was as if all that time he had harbored a desire to be alone. She had felt over the years that he was selfish but could never actually finger this hateful part of his character. She knew that he enjoyed doing things on his own, he liked fishing but never took his children on fishing trips. He had often taken vacations to Mexico and Hawaii alone. When Mary Margaret did along go he spent much of his time in the bar or in front of the TV, or even walking on a beach. She tried to understand and reflected that it was part of the aging process.

 

He got up suddenly and began to move toward the door leading to their indoor garage.

 

“So, you have made a unilateral decision to stop boinking me and replace our love life with computer desks. You dissed me with our priest of all things. Or do you have a little piece of ass stashed somewhere who doesn’t snore or fart”

 

He bristled at her suggestion and pointed his finger at her. “Look MM don’t start that stuff, and you know I don’t like you using that language”

 

Boinking was a word used constantly by her daughter, to describe her love life with husband Don, who Mary Beth reported was addicted to boinking.

 

“Okay so we won’t be fucking anymore . How is that for plain language. No more cunt for you Mr clean, no more quickie fucks, or fucking you pants off or fucking in the car or fucking in the pool , I am being handed a sentence of self fucking ,but just no more FUCKING”

 

She began to weep, slowly at first and then hysterically, continuing to hurl invectives at him until he charged out of the kitchen, telling her to get a hold of herself.

 

After Ed had bolted she remained seated , contemplating some of her options. The phone rang twice but she decided not to answer. She knew she had limited future wherein she would be nothing more than a servant. She cried often wondering why she was unable to see this change in her spouse coming and for not having the intelligence to deal with it earlier.

 

Her early life, she acknowledged to herself had not given her a vision of the pitfalls inherent in a token marriage. She had grown up in a loving and caring atmosphere, one in which she was the center of attention and in where she had been treated like a princess.

 

THREE

 

Mary Margaret had been born in March 1959 to Angelica McGarrity, in the Assumption Hospital for Women in Cork Ireland. Angelica had been advised by the nuns at the hospital and her priest Father Malone to put the child up for adoption.

 

A few days after the baby was born and christened, Sister Rose, a wide-eyed nun came to visit Angelica.

 

“I have the most wonderful news for you dear girl, we have found a home for the child with a young Doctor and his wife. I am unable to say more but they are very generous and have said they will give you 10 pounds to assist you, and we will take only 3 for our trouble and so you shall have a nest egg to start your life as you wish”.

 

Angelica, began to shake with laughter which eventually shifted into long slow weeping. Eventually she turned away from the nun and wiped away her tears. The holy woman waited patiently to hear what she had come to expect as the usual answer from young girls who had children out of wedlock.

 

“And so they have offered the princely sum of 10 quid for a child” she said with rancor.

 

The nun was taken aback by the girl’s aggressive response .She was quite inexperienced in dealing with a girls who were not pious and respectful of people of her ilk.

 

“And what is you are wanting then my dear girl, you are really in no position to barter, after all we have delivered the child and given you a place to rest and one must not forget that this child was conceived in sin against the very ordnance which our lord Jesus Christ has ……..

 

“You can spare me the sermon. I have heard enough of your gibberish. Here are my terms take it or leave it, I carried the baby for nine months, and I want to be paid for each of those months and future expenses for the next few months, so I can get a new start. I can’t go back to Invermere and I will have to possibly emigrate to Australia. My boyfriend is a poor sludge who hasn’t got the pot to piss in and he is useless beside his natural male ability to screw me and make babies.”

 

The Nun, Sister Rose, was appalled at the girl’s cheek, and became quite tongue tied. Her expertise was based on love, kindness and polite chats in what she believed were messages of good tidings.

 

After Angelica had seen the beautiful baby who had long blonde curly hair, she was quite convinced that if they did not take her offer, she would take the baby anyway and go to her aunts in London, who had said she would help her. Her aunt was childless and said she would be able to care for the baby and Angelica could get a job as a domestic as employment of this kind was plentiful. The next day Sister Rose, returned with the Mother Superior. She was a very domineering personality who used her position to bully her subordinates and anyone who did not follow her line of reasoning.

 

She came to the point immediately and used her strong badgering tactics speaking in a loud and threatening voice.

 

“What do mean by making demands, girl, when you know that you are within our walls and taking our bread. You have no right to anything. We have not made you an offer which is negotiable like a union, you are in the House of God”

 

Angelica had grown up in a home where her father and mother were terrible drunks and she was familiar with violent confrontation. She also knew that bullies can be controlled by similar tactics and standing up to them in a way that the antagonist will often become vulnerable. She had planned for the assault and worked out what she would say. She was also aware from other girls in the same situation that the fee paid by the adopting parents was quite high, and that the Catholic hospital thrived on the money earned from girls who bore children without the advantage of marriage vows.

 

Angelica arose from her bed and wrapped herself with her robe, and took the one chair in the room, which she felt gave her an advantage as if she were the one conducting the interview. She swept back her hair, seemingly unafraid of the Mother Superior’s words.

 

She now spoke in a low hushed voice, making the two women lean closer to her, making them supplicants to her soft and careful words.

 

“Listen to me woman, because I will not repeat this again, you will not get a second chance in this transaction. I want what is mine, I am owed this money and I will get it or I walk out of this hospital with the baby, with a police guard if I need to. You have only two options pay or else I go with my baby, now get out of my fucking room and don’t come back unless you have the money or my baby”.

 

Mother Superior Donalda Delaney was speechless, Sister Rose flushed with embarrassment. Under previous circumstances she had taken to slapping vulgar young woman who worked at the hospital. The thought passed her mind but she also noticed the girl was beginning to clench and unclench her fists. She thought about calling an orderly but that would mean a serious departure from her style of management. She motioned to her subordinate to leave the room and she herself sat on the bed.

 

“Okay what will it take for this matter to go away” she said in a pitifully weak and religious voice.

 

The next day the Nun, Sister Rose came to Angelica’s room and handed her an envelope stuffed with Irish Pound notes. She dressed and put on her coat and left the hospital through a side entrance. She believed she had bright future, but she learned that it was self indulgent. The money she had soon on clothes high living and a need to seek attention. She eventually began a downward spiral finishing up in a Dublin coffee bar, barely surviving on tips and a low pay.

 

Mary Margaret’s new parents were Dr Colin Kennedy and his wife Mona. Kennedy was a graduate of the Cork University Medical School. Perhaps the most important of his training was the revolutionary new form of medical education whereby students were instructed at the bedside of the patient. Mona Kennedy was a graduate nurse from the University medical School Training hospital also at Cork.

 

They were astounded at the beauty of the child and paid the Nun handsomely for the child. Mona had outfitted a room in their small garden home with a every conceivable item available for babies at the time. The child was christened Mary Margaret Teresa Kennedy and a baptismal certificate was presented at her baptism at age of three months. The new parents doted on the child. Lavishing nearly all their attention on the little girl.

 

Kennedy was employed in an Irish National Health Clinic. He received a monthly salary which the government set, and the number of raises was determined by the Parliament, not by the number of patients he saw on a daily basis or the Medical Association which he belonged. The amount of abuses in this system forced him to begin looking for other work outside of the United Kingdom.

 

When Mary Margaret was four in 1963, Kennedy saw a full-page advertisement in a British Medical Journal for military Doctors in the Canadian Army Medical Corps.

 

He applied immediately and within weeks a letter arrived inviting him to Canada House on Piccadilly Square in London. He kissed his wife and daughter goodbye and flew to London the next day. The employment was exactly what he was looking for in a medical career. He wanted to work in trauma medicine and this was by far the easiest way to achieve his goal. On his arrival at Canada House he was met by the military attaché at the Canadian Embassy and was driven to the Consulate office where he met a Colonel named Steinberg who was the coordinator of medical services for the Canadian Army.

 

He was also introduced to two other young Doctors who were British trained. During his visit he was taken through a series of tests which were designed to determine his ability as an officer. He passed all the tests with flying colors and when told that with his qualifications and experience he would be immediately commissioned as a Captain with a salary as a specialist of two thousand Canadian Dollars per month which was twice what he was making at the clinic in Cork.

 

That night he called Mona with the jubilant news and the next day he signed on in the Army for a five-year enlistment. His airline ticket and expenses were also reimbursed, and he was given one month salary to help him with a move. Colonel Steinberg welcomed him into the Corps and gave Kennedy and his fellow Doctors a history lesson on the Canadian Medical Corps. He also asked Kennedy if he would mind serving in Germany for his first posting. Kennedy again was relived because he could not move Mona and little Mary Margaret until he found suitable lodgings, as well as being an easy flight home to Cork.

 

Kennedy was posted to Soest in West Germany where he was to work in the newly erected Canadian Military Hospital. The medical facility was for serving members and their families. Down the road was the British main hospital complex which housed British, French and Canadians who required trauma treatments.

 

Within a few months of arrival and several phone calls home Kennedy found suitable accommodation in a private home located near Soest in Iserlohn. The house was really a duplex, which had a private entrance. Kennedy liked the area because it was in the country only a short distance from the base and Mona could easily drive to the city or take walks with their child. He purchased an old BMW from a Canadian Officer who was returning to Canada for a very small amount and within weeks his furniture arrived. Mona and Mary Margaret soon thereafter.

 

The German couple who owned the duplex were childless and they prized the thought of a young child in their home. Both spoke English fluently as they had been teachers and conversed easily with the Kennedy family

 

Kennedy studied very hard at night but also took a great deal of time to help nurture his daughter. During a Christmas party in their first year in Soest, Mona had a chance discussion with the head nurse at the British hospital. Her name was Bridget McCormick and she had attended the same nursing hospital in Cork. Mona was thrilled when she was offered a part time position in the children’s ward of the hospital. By now Mary Margaret had become use to the German couple known as Lisl and Alfred Dorf. Lisl agreed to look after the child three afternoons a week when Mona worked at the hospital.

 

To the Kennedy’s delight MM as she became to be known was speaking both German and English. She spoke to the German couple in German and to her parents in English. Kennedy was sent on several medical courses to military hospitals in West Germany run by the US military services. He was developing an expertise in trauma treatment, but most of the people he saw were involved in traffic accidents. His only gunshot victim had been a Sgt whose wife had gone berserk and shot him.

 

In the winter of 1966 , the Kennedys received notice of a posting to Canada in July. They were delighted. Kennedy had made one trip to Ottawa to the National Defence Medical Centre for 10 days, but Mona had not been to their newly adopted country.

 

They bid their goodbyes in July and with their possessions packed flew to Trenton Ontario from Frankfurt. Kennedy had been granted 2 weeks leave and the three of them began to explore Canada, visiting Toronto and Montreal and several other cities in a rented Volkswagen van.

 

By now MM was 6 years old. She loved the attention she received from her parents. They took her to places that most tourists enjoy, but they also introduced her to the food and interesting landmarks. They arrived in Petawawa in August and Kennedy took up his position of second in command of the Canadian Forces Base Hospital. He had become a very experienced military Doctor and constantly made rounds to ensure that the servicemen were cared for properly. He organized and designed several classes for medical orderlies in hygiene and was always volunteering for field assignments particularly where he could develop a dressage unit which could care instantly for any servicemen who were hurt during an exercise.

 

His work did not go unnoticed, Colonel Steinberg was now a Brigadier General and chief surgeon for the Canadian Army Medical Corps and he often called Kennedy to discuss various medical techniques. He recruited Kennedy in 1968 to provide a detailed plan for a Canadian Forces Medical training facility in Camp Borden near Barrie Ontario. Kennedy was elated and worked none stop on the plan. It was adopted by the Forces and Kennedy was urged to sign on for an indeterminate length in the Canadian Forces and he was immediately promoted to Major.

 

Mona had also begun work as a nurse as her credentials gave her the right to work in a hospital in the town of Pembroke outside of Petawawa. No sooner had she begun work when Colin was assigned to the National Defence Medical Centre in Ottawa and in 1969 was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. His rise through the ranks had been rapid.

 

Mona, Colin and young Mary Margaret moved to Ottawa, and they purchased a garden home near the Centre and little MM enjoyed all her new surroundings. Colin and Mona were Catholics and decided to enter MM in a private school for girls located in Hull, Quebec, just across the river from Ottawa. She spent her formative years in the school, learning to speak French, and maintaining her expertise in German.

 

Mona wanted her to learn to dress as exquisitely as possible as well as develop good manners and have a grounding in numerous cultural activities. She was given piano lessons when she turned 10 and took dancing at age 13. When she was 15, in 1974. Colin who was by now a full Colonel took them on a grand tour of Europe.

 

MM graduated from the High School when she was 17 and was considering a vocation in modelling when her father decided to make a career change. He asked for a posting to the west coast of Canada in Victoria, and his request was approved. He was appointed the base surgeon at Esquimalt in the summer of 1977.

 

MM completed her education in the Glengarry Academy for women in Victoria and enrolled in the Science programme at The University of Victoria. She intended to follow in her father’s footsteps and become a Doctor. Suddenly without warning she quit school and cited a lack of interest in the subjects.

 

Colin and Mona were quite disillusioned but accepted her explanation. She had been a perfect child and had been very obedient. Her parents had been quite strict, but she felt loved and cherished. While at the Academy she had learned to play tennis, played on the basketball team and been in the debating club. When she had turned 18, they had purchased a new Mustang convertible for her. She had however never been on a date, or been out with boys and when she had started University, her inexperience was a total embarrassment to her. She was quite attractive and had had several overtures while at University but other girls warned her that the hormones on young male students were rampant and she could become the target of possible date rape. This caused her to be very leery and frightened of the young men in her classes.

 

Her parents were mystified by her reluctance to find another career at University and when asked about her future she was vague and disinclined to discuss the matter.

 

She visited the manpower Center and put her name in for various employment, but it was not until the spring of 1978 that a well paying position fell into her lap As a senior serving officer on the military base Colin was often invited to meet and greet functions . A new Base Commander had been appointed on the base and the senior staff were invited to his home with their wives and families. Mona made sure that MM had her hair done and helped her to pick out a new evening dress.

 

They were met at the door of the Commanders quarters and he immediately was struck with MM’s charm and beauty. Some weeks later while the Commander was undergoing his annual medical, he approached Colin and asked if he would meet with him at the mess for lunch. They had the meeting  and Colin was surprised that the Commander was interested in his 19 year old daughter.

 

“Not romantically you understand” he said with a broad smile.

 

“I would like to ask you if I could interview her for the position of receptionist. The woman who has the job at present is unfortunately not what we need in this position. I want to have a younger person with vitality and who can speak both official languages”

 

“I am sure she will be very agreeable to this idea. By the way how do you know she speaks French.?” Said Colin

 

“I didn’t know but she told me she attended school in Hull and I put two and two together”.

 

Colin was quite excited about the prospect of MM getting a job on the base and when he broke the news, Mona was also very thrilled. MM however was not outwardly euphoric. She remarked that her typing skills were quite poor and went on to disclose several problems she said she would be confronted with on a job like receptionist for the Base Commander.

 

“You can go to the interview and see what is required, if its not to your liking then we will accept your decision. But let’s not have a lot of roadblocks standing in your way”

 

“I will help you get several outfits which you will need, and I will find out if we can find a night school to upgrade your typing skills” remarked her mother.

 

Mary Margaret soon learned after her interview with the Base Commander that typing was not a prerequisite for the job. Pleasant courteous phone technique was essential. She was also told that she must answer in both languages and that she would also be needed at times to assist the Base Commander in translations as he was not fully competent in his French language skill. When he learned she also spoke German fluently he was even more convinced she was the young woman for the job.

 

She was offered civil service position at a level 7 which paid 35,000 per year with benefits. Her father was stunned it had taken him 6 years in the medical profession to make that kind of money. But he waited for her to decide without trying to influence her.

 

The job proved to be a boon for her confidence. She arranged meetings and escorted visitors to the Commander’s office. She attended luncheons and reminded the Base Commander of the names of those in attendance. She kept his agenda and answered all calls to his office and learned to be very selective on whom he would speak.

 

Several young members of the military at the command level, often asked her for dates and although she did go out on several occasions, she always bore in mind her mother’s admonition, to be wary of invitations to their homes or apartments.

 

“You must remember that you are a lady and to hang onto your honor” her mother commented to her one evening when they had dinner at the mess.

 

Mary Margaret loved her job and the lustre of being the receptionist for the base. In March 1970 she turned 20 and she had her job description raised as well as getting a new car from her Father. Her mother took her on a jaunt to Paris and bought her a mountain of finery. She also took time to go to Monet’s Garden and was so impressed her mother purchased a very valuable print which she told MM was from her trousseau when she married.

 

When MM returned, she had numerous calls from different base officers including the Base Purchasing officer and Base supply officers. They wanted to arrange a meeting with the Commander to introduce the regional representative for Sklar Peppler furniture. The base was undergoing changes and nearly every one of the offices and messes as well as common areas of the base needed upgrading with new furniture.

 

MM spoke to the Commander with the following week being set aside for the visit of the representative who was based in Vancouver. His name was Ed Agnew!

 

Agnew was quite taken with the Mary Margaret and made numerous appointments with the Base Commander in order to continue his appraisal of her. She noticed that he was taking an interest and waited patiently for him to make the first step.

 

On the day the deal for the furniture closed and the Base Commander signed off, Agnew shyly asked her out for coffee to the base restaurant located near the dockyard. She was not very enamored with the place and suggested a coffee bar on Old Esquimalt road near the Army base. She finished work at and made her way to the shop which was empty at that time of day in late afternoon.

 

Agnew was waiting for her and bought coffee which he brought to her. He mentioned that he was from Calgary and that he moved to Vancouver at the urging of his company, Sklar Peppler. Agnew was 25 and had risen quickly as a sales representative to the regional manager of sales. He asked about her life and she told him about her early life and that she was Irish born. He related that his family were also Irish and that he had been born in Canada very soon after his parents’ arrival in Canada.

 

He studied MM’s features and was dazzled by her appearance and her bearing. She was quite attractive and had good taste in clothing and without expressing to himself any feelings of affection he secretly considered her value as a trophy wife.

 

He visited Victoria quite often, calling her before to determine if they could meet for lunch and other occasions. Mary Margaret did tell her parents about him but played her cards close to her vest, maintaining that he was a good friend, and nothing more. She stuck with her premise that she would not sleep with him and to her surprise he was a perfect gentleman. His did kiss her cheeks mostly in brief hello and goodbye kisses.

 

In the late spring of her twentieth year she invited him to her home and her father and mother were restrained in their discussion of him after he left. Colin nurtured the thought which he conveyed to Mona that he felt the guy wasn’t very sincere.

 

He was not really very romantic, and MM realized that if she was going to get anywhere with him she needed to awaken some passion within him. He appeared quite serious and spoke about his business and what he planned for his future. That summer Mary Margaret visited his parents in Calgary. He had two sisters and a brother, and they were extremely religious. They kneeled to pray and attended the late Sunday Mass. His sisters who were unmarried went to church every morning before work. They were staunch Irish Catholics who more than lived their religion they wrapped themselves in all of it’s catechisms. MM felt uncomfortable within this environment. Her mother and father were lip service Catholics and one spiritual day a week was enough for her.

 

Not once during their visit to Calgary did Ed try to touch her. He acted like a pal rather than a suitor. Ed’s lack of communication became quite troubling to Mary Margaret. On their flight home after a very stressful visit, where on only one occasion did his father address her directly. She asked Ed what his father did for a living. MM was startled when he told her that his father was the superintendent of the Western Region of the RCMP.

 

MM told him she was astounded that Ed had not spoken about his father’s employment even though Ed insisted he had told her about his family. His father had addressed her about her own father’s occupation.

 

“He is a Military Doctor” she had said quite proudly

 

“What else does he do” asked Ed’s father

 

She was stunned at the ignorance of the man in asking such an absurd question.

 

“He is the Base Surgeon and a expert in the trauma medicine” she retorted sharply.

 

She did not wait for a response but went on to explain to all of them what it meant and his work in the military.

 

“So, you see he is fully occupied with being a Doctor, which he has been for 30 years”

 

To change the subject Ed asked for his mother to pass the potatoes.

 

When MM had returned, she reported everything to her mother who was very critical of their lack of warmth and hospitality. Her mother warned her that the man was a product of a cold bunch of religious fanatics for whom real affection was impossible. Their religious convictions did not express the true essence of veneration and love for others. Just look our homeland of Ireland for the best example she had said. Catholics and Protestants praying, all week and attending church on Sunday, many with murder in their hearts.

 

MM thought long and hard about what her mother had said, but she had a opinion she could change Ed, that he was too much under the influence of his family. She reflected once they were married, he would become warmer and more understanding. Her faith in him was shattered a week after they had returned from Calgary when he called her to say that he had discussed marriage with his parents and that he wanted her to marry him.

 

Mona and Colin were outraged that he had the effrontery to propose to their only daughter on the phone. MM was devastated because she had blithely told him that she would call and let him know. Her mother was furious with her for letting him think that by calling him that it was a valid response to a proposal of marriage.

 

Her father was very distressed and decided to call Agnew.

 

“Look here Ed this is not on” he told Agnew in no uncertain terms.

 

“Playing around with a girl’s emotions and treating the situation like it were a sport or a game, What kind of childish immature person would make an offer of marriage to a young woman over the phone?”

 

Agnew played out his embarrassment and apologized profusely to Colin. But once he had hung up the phone, he cursed Colin by referring to a him privately as an asshole, that should keep his nose out their business.

 

Ed eventually brought MM flowers and took her dinner and proposed marriage, offering her a engagement ring was a massive diamond set in a group of other large chips The wedding took was in November and took place in the Base Catholic church with a reception at the officer’s mess. MM asked her friends from the base to be bridesmaids with a special place for a friend from Ottawa, Jo-Anne Saunders as maid of honour.

 

Ed arranged for them to honeymoon in Maui and they left the next day from Vancouver.

 

MM was quite frightened of being with Ed in bed, but her fears were in vain as he knew even less about the physical part of marriage. It was weeks before they got the hang of it and she noticed that both liked doing it when they became accustomed to each other’s bodies. He particularly enjoyed the rear position which seemed to be their position of choice through their married life. They expected their first child the following year who was Mary Beth and eventually she was joined by two little boys a year apart.

 

Ed remained distant for much of their early years. He left Sklar a few years after they married, and they had settled in Emporia where he found a managerial job with the town’s main furniture store called Emporia Furnishings. Later he purchased the company and took over ownership burying himself in expansion and sales. The gap between them grew as they often didn’t speak for days on end while he worked long hours in his business. MM often visited her parents with the children during the early years. Her father retired in 1983 and moved to Vancouver where he worked in clinic and assisted police in medical diagnosis of gunshot wounds.

 

Mary Margaret glanced at her kitchen clock and realized she had been lost for several hours in her reverie of her past. She straightened up the kitchen and went back to her bedroom and dressed again noting that her daughter had called and replied to her asking her for lunch at the Emporia Grill. She also called her mother in Vancouver and arranged to come over for a few days. Her mother asked her several questions, but MM said she needed to discuss a matter with her in person.

 

She met with her daughter and discussed her grandchildren and when they parted MM told her she was going to visit Mary Beth’s Grandmother for a few days.

 

MM went home packed her suitcase and left Ed a note saying that she was going away for a while. She was careful not to say where and before leaving took out several hundred dollars from their bank , just in case. She caught the next ferry to Vancouver and arrived at her parents home at dinner time. When she saw her parents she broke down and sat for a long time sobbing as her mother and father consoled her, about what they did not know!

 

FOUR

 

After her father had left for work, MM sat down with her mother and tearfully explained in vague terms the reasons for her unhappiness. They spoke quietly of the difficulties of marriage and how each of their lives had evolved.

 

MM saw her mother as a very strong figure in her life and realized how her parent had aged. The reddish hair of her mother’s youth had become a snarl of white, grey and red. Her once clear face had shrivelled somewhat and she had a way of squinting even though she wore glasses. But to Mary Margaret she had a wonderful sweetness about her , when she spoke of her relationship with Colin , MM’s father.

 

“We were unable to have children, but you were the answer to our prayers and once we brought you into our lives there nothing more to be said or done except to give you all the love we could. ”

 

She smiled and awkwardly described her own love life as satisfying and often. ‘Your father was very passionate and as you will get the meaning of what I say, the fire is almost out but with stoking it sometimes gives off heat.”

 

MM studied her mother for a moment and then walked over to hug and kiss her.

 

“You know mother you are still having a love affair with a strong and sturdy man who adores you . Your lives are rooted in each other. In all the years of my childhood and when I became old enough to recognize your total dedication to each other, I never once heard a cross word spoken. It still remains mystical to me. But I also never heard cross words from Ed, or would I speak anything more than a simple chiding.. My situation was by contrast an unbroken silence, placing me, more like a piece of furniture, to be admired but never addressed. We have been married twenty-six years and other than Ed’s once or twice weekly semi-detached high-speed raid on my anatomy, his love is for his furniture store.”

 

She stopped to return to her chair dabbing her eyes and looking off into the living room .

 

“I’m sorry mother I am being crude but its just not the sex or the stony silence. He never comes with me to visit you here in Vancouver, and I do make an effort to visit his family in Calgary. You know how I really feel about that bunch of hypocrites. But what bothers me mostly is that Ed doesn’t care about me. I mean if he has a girlfriend then just tell me and I will move on, but until our blow up he never speaks except in monosyllables. Its as if he has peeled back my skin and bared my soul and heart without once ever saying anything that amounts to showing love for me. And now the final cut of a thousand knives, to just discard both my feelings and my desires.”

 

Mary Margaret’s mother lapsed into a meditative silence.

 

“A walk will do us good she said rising and they began to plod along the narrow and winding streets of the North Vancouver estates of her mother’s neighborhood.

 

They walked in utter tranquillity both lost in the thoughts, waiting for one or the other to pursue MM’s dilemma.

 

“Her mother began “You know my darling when I was a child of about nine, I slept in a room which was next to my parents, and I would sleep very soundly going to bed quite early especially in winter. One night I awoke from some childish dream fantasy, and I could hear through the paper thin walls of our home the sound of the bedsprings and the bedstead thumping, almost like the sound one hears from a kid’s drum set. There were also frightening sounds of moaning and the as well as words I didn’t understand. The noise grew louder until a final cry , like one hears at a soccer match. I lay awake shuddering even though the room was well heated and I had a down filled bedcover. Then I heard laughter, both my parents were laughing uproariously. I could actually hear them in amazing high spirits and I fell asleep, with the mixed message of what I had heard that night.”

 

Her mother stopped and nervously turned away from MM and it was obvious she was amused by her own clandestine admission.

 

She continued, as they walked to a bench adjacent to a park. “The next day on the way to school I asked my brother Eamon if he knew what all the noise and laughter was about. He was 3 years older than me and although we were not pals he was my protector and I often asked him questions.. He was shocked that I had heard them through the wall but said they were…as he said and don’t think I use this word indiscriminately dear Mary , he said they were fucking”

 

Mary Margaret hooted with delight at her mother’s disclosure. She had never previously heard her mother utter the dreaded F word .Before she had time to speak her mother carried on with the narrative.

 

“Well I didn’t know what he meant. But I was sure to find out and I asked some other children at the school which as you will remember was St Patrick’s elementary school. I was still in somewhat of a dither but I got a warning from an older girl who said if you ask the nuns, be sure not to use that word or no doubt you will get a good warming on your backside”.

 

She stopped to chuckle and coughed , reaching into her purse for a farmers cough drop.

 

“I learned to describe what they were indulging in was called fornication. I then asked the nun who was our home room teacher during our afternoon tea what it meant. She said why would a little spite like me want to know such things. But referred to it as a grave sin and that we all born of this transgression. I thought long and hard about what she told me, and what she had not said. She described it only as a sin. Then I reflected why were my father and mother having such a happy time. Why in fact were they engaged in something which was so pleasant that it made them gleefully laugh even though they had moaned and howled. Later when I learned the facts of life and brought all of what I knew into perspective then I realized that it was not immoral or sinful at all. It was the evolution of life and making love is one of life’s greatest joys. To be denied sexual gratification goes against the very fundamental nature of our lives”

 

“How can I deal with this then mother, must I move on, or find a lover, or dry up and go on as nothing happened..”

 

“We make choices in life. You made one to marry Ed, even though it can be held he was not in my estimation the right man for you. I won’t say why I feel that way, but some how you made a go of it. You invested 26 years of your life in your marriage and in him.. He became devoted to a business and left you with few exceptions to your own devises. His interest in you faded and the marriage cooled. This is not anything unusual, he is no different than some other men your father and I are acquainted with. Dad’s best friend and golf partner Art Goldstein is on his third wife. I haven’t made good friends with her because one never knows when the door will hit her in the behind as she exits from his life”

 

Mary Margaret chuckled at her mother’s candid appraisal of her Dad’s friend and at that moment her mother looked at her directly in the face and said “ I know what you are asking me. I will not help you make a judgement, I will not insert any notions in your mind or say something that will even remotely send you a message”.

 

Her mother stood up as if to suggest the conversation was at an end. “One last thing though, you should consider. If you decide to move on, I firmly believe you will be in for the fight of your life with Ed. You can expect as I see it, that he will probably give you up easily but hang on to every morsel of his possessions like his business and your home. Art Goldstein, your fathers friend spent a an entire evening not long ago giving us a litany of dirty tricks by his second wife.

 

They returned to her mother’s home and they were greeted by her father whom had taken the afternoon off to spend with his daughter. She invited them to dinner at the Vancouver eatery, Norton’s Fine Steak house. After a leisurely dinner where her father enjoyed his favorite Irish Beer, Killkenny, they drove around to the Lions gate Park where they sat enjoying the lights and warm breeze which had finally signalled the arrival of summer in Vancouver.

 

Mary Margaret left the next morning and asked her mother if she was interested in going on a cruise to Alaska in August. Her mother was delighted and they agreed to talk on the phone later in the week. She caught the noon ferry home and when she arrived , she discovered Ed’s car in the driveway and she hurried in to find him. She called to him but there was no answer. She went to her bedroom , but when she passed the upstairs landing she noticed the door to the attic was ajar. She had removed her shoes as was her custom and silently walked up the stairs . When she reached the top of the stairs she could hear moaning and tiptoed to the doorway of the partition which contained some extra beds. On one of the beds turned away from her was Ed completely nude and he was holding a magazine and was utterly oblivious to anything except the movement of his hand on his sex as he stroked it, rhythmically moving his buttocks in an effort to reach a climax.

 

She watched in total incredulity as he masturbated and moaned until he cried out in joyful expressions of success. She hurriedly slipped down the stairs. She kept running until she reached the front door where she quickly grabbed her shoes and ran in stocking feet to her car and drove away barely missing his car ending up two blocks from her home where she stopped and fell back against the seat and wept like a child.

 

FIVE

 

She remained in her car for some time playing back in her mind the scene she had just witnessed. She knew that men and women needed a release which was not always available when partners were not nearby. But she was stunned at Ed because she was willing and able to have sex and the masturbation was unnecessary unless as she wondered was he now only satisfied with himself or had he now entirely become a formless man with a intense need for solitude.

 

She began driving stopping only for gas. She drove several miles up the coast, stopping at a newly built ocean front hotel and checked in for the night. She took a leisurely stroll around the grounds and later had a dinner in the hotel restaurant. She went to her room and again was overtaken with emotion. She called her mother and told her what had taken place and she commiserated with MM but had no answer. She also placed a call to her friend Jo-Anne Saunders who was living in Calgary and who was separated from her husband. She spoke for only a few minutes realizing that her friend had company.

 

She made a decision to return home she did not want a confrontation with her husband and eventually decided on the status quo.

 

The next morning after sleeping very poorly she checked out of the hotel and drove back to town eventually calling Ed at work on her cell phone.“Ed I am heading home, can we have dinner together tonight, I will stop at the market and pick up something”

 

“ Yea , okay I will be home at about 5:30 also if you are going away again would you get me some hot dogs, there is a just a bunch of crap in the freezer, steaks and other stuff I can’t make. I had to eat out the last few nights. Gotta go” he said as the line went dead.

 

She stopped and picked up several items and after putting everything away she started a roast and , called her mother to tell her she was home.

 

“Oh Mary Margaret I have bad news about Alaska, Dad and I are going to Ireland for three months in August. He has made all the arrangements. He has been talking about going to see the family and now since your Aunt Delia has been diagnosed with breast cancer, he feels a need to see her and the rest of the family”

 

“It s okay Mom I will ask Mary Beth to go or Jo-Anne who is in Calgary now. She has a boy friend now that she has left Larry. We can talk more about it later.”

 

She checked the time and called her travel agent Marcia and told her to check in on Alaska cruises for August and within a hour, she had the information from Marcia.

 

“Its fairly high season in August Mrs Agnew but I can get you an outside cabin at a reduced rate. Also if you want a balcony they are still a few on the August 15

 

“Thanks Marcia I will still need to find out if my husband can get away but I think we will want a balcony, so maybe if you can hold one for a few days that would work for me.”

 

Ed came home late insisting that he was tied down with work. They had good meal which Ed enjoyed . He spoke as usual about his business, but he did ask about how she was feeling and about her parents.

 

She waited to the end of the meal to speak to him knowing he would lurch suddenly from the table and head back to work. “I am thinking of taking my mother on an Alaskan cruise , and I will need some money, unless you would like to go” she said eyeing him directly.

 

“What kind of money ” he said guardedly .

 

“About ten thousand” she retorted quite unabashedly.

 

Ed sat back and blanched a bit but sucking himself up he agreed. “I will get the accountant to put the dough in your account tomorrow, and MM I certainly don’t deny you the cash but I want you to understand that I won’t be handing over this kind of money on a regular basis and I think I should tell you that you really pissed me off when you intimated that I had a girl friend downtown. I would never let you down like that, its not fair for you to say because I can’t fool around anymore that you should presume I am having an affair”.

 

“Ed, I am sorry about what I said but this isn’t it a situation where you can’t screw, its because you won’t. I have desires like most women my age and it sure sounded like you were tired of me”

 

“Look MM I got to go but you know our church is strict about this kind of thing, I am not tired of you, you are my wife. Anyway I just don’t want to talk about it anymore. Thanks for dinner it was great”.

 

He waved his hand and bolted from the dining room.

 

For her the tears were at an end. She just needed as she told herself to play for time.

 

The next morning she called her friend Jo Anne Saunders in Calgary and after a long conversation, Jo Anne told her she was heading home to see her mother in August. MM signed off and then called Mary Beth who was working at her father’s store in the office. Mary Beth was quite excited about going to Alaska but later she called her mother to say that Don said he couldn’t get a week off work in August to take care of the kids. Mary Margaret called a few other good friends but they all begged off. She decided to call Marcia and put the matter on hold for a week and Marcia said she would hold the Balcony for a forty-eight hours. But she would keep on reserving for a week. She also mentioned that a special single supplement could be used if MM decided to go alone.

 

The following Sunday after church MM invited her family to lunch at the Pacific Shores Grill, a fixture in Emporia and one of the best sea food restaurants on the Sunshine coast. May Beth and her husband Don and MM’s grandchildren made up the party for brunch. Ed had begged off citing work. Both Mary Margaret’s sons were on a fishing trip although they often attended her Sunday -after –church family functions.

 

Don typically spoke about his work as a Marine biologist, which MM listened with one ear. She mostly paid attention to her granddaughters who related all their school occurrences.

 

Near the end of the meal MM cast her eyes about the large dining room and observed a well dressed young man sitting with an older fatherly type figure. Suddenly the younger of the two also glanced over and caught her eye and grinned. She smiled back and turned away feeling a rather hot flash come over her. She waited a few moments and spoke briefly to her daughter who was talking to her husband Don. MM turned her attention again towards the young man and his eyes had not wavered from eyeing her.

 

“Someone you know mom” Mary Beth asked her and broke her reverie.

 

“No, I just was day dreaming” she stammered.

 

She glanced back at the table across the room and realized that the men had their bill and were walking towards the exit. Out of the blue the young man made a bee line to their table. In an instant he was standing over them and MM could feel a moment of panic. He went immediately to Don her son-in-law and Don recognized that he was a man whom he was acquainted with at the Emporia leisure center.

 

“Oh hi Eric how you doing ” Don said in a rather flustered way

 

“Hey Don I’m great is this your family,” he said glancing around the table

 

Don introduced Mary Beth and the his children and then also made mention of Mary Margaret, by telling the young man that she was treating them to the brunch.

 

MM was able to have a good look at the young man who stood near their table. He appeared to be about 36 or so and was immaculately dressed. He wore a knit white rugby sweater and pants with a very sharp crease , His shoes were no doubt Italian brush finished and his hair was perfectly groomed and quite short.

 

His smile as he shook her hand was enough to melt her into what she felt was jelly. They spoke for a moment and he wished them a good day. As he left he continued to smile and look directly at MM. She could feel heat throughout her body and a she was blushing, but it was seemingly unnoticed by her daughter.

 

“That was Eric Campbell, who works for Revenue and Customs. He was in the RCMP and moved here about six months a go from Vancouver and he works out at the gym on the same nights I go. He is terrific volleyball player and plays on the Government team in the Leisure league.

 

Eventually they left the restaurant and Don took the children to the park across the street. Mary Beth and her mother walked down the main street window shopping for a while .

 

“You know Mom that guy Eric is the one Don told me about.” Said Mary Beth in a very secretive low voice.

 

“So don’t keep me in suspense what did he say ”

 

“Ah well that the guy is , well you know quite……..”

 

“Well hung is the expression Mary Beth but why on earth why would I need to know that information, you know TMI,- too much information”. broke in her mother with a nervous laugh.

 

“I can see how he was looking at you and boy if that wasn’t a boinkers look I don’t know what is” Mary Beth said looking directly into a store window.

 

“Listen darling you know your dad would blow his cork if I ever started down that road.” she said quite earnestly. “Mom I wouldn’t blame you if you did, dad is not really a very good husband to you, I know what’s going on”

 

Tears welled up in MM eyes and she looked away from her daughter and felt a tissue being pressed into her hand. They stared at each other for what seemed like ages and then Mary Beth wrapped her arms around her mother hugging and her and both wordlessly wept.. MM was sure she now had a wonderful ally in her daughter and she also felt a great warmth of both pride in her daughters perception as a woman.

 

That night MM again had a fantasy sex dream, she was unable to see who was ravishing her from behind but this time she had a multiple organisms, and awoke crying out lustfully, before burying her head in the pillow.

 

SIX

 

The next day MM did her usual housework and mid way through the morning her travel agent Marcia called to relate that the balcony on the cruise ship would be lost if she didn’t pay a deposit. She agreed and asked the total price. It was quite steep for one person but she was determined to take the voyage and she decided to move ahead hoping someone would share the cabin with her . The agent also advised her that she would need a passport.

 

Mary Margaret dressed combed her hair put on her cosmetics and despite the fact that there was an unusual summer storm brewing drove to the travel office and obtained a passport application. She needed privacy to fill it in and headed to the Emporia Library on main street near the government buildings. She realized that she would need her birth certificate and two recent passport photographs. They had to be signed by an RCMP officer or a pastor of a church. She stopped off on the way home at the local portrait photographers office and they took the pictures and had them ready in a few minutes. She knew she had to think carefully about whom she would have sign the passport and the photographs. She made it home just before the unusual storm hit, and the rain lasted for about an hour before, blowing off to the west.

 

That night she attended a bible study group at the catholic church and made a firm resolution that she would not ask the parrish priest Father Paul. He was, she realized very inquisitive and the fact she was going on a cruise alone,it not be long before the news would be all over town.

 

After the meeting she sat in her car debating on whom she could call for the passport signatures and it suddenly dawned on her that she once worked on a massive charity event with a woman who was pastor of the local United Church.

 

She called the next day and the woman, Marion Bletzma readily agreed and they met at the small cluttered United church office where Marion inked in all the required monikers. MM invited her to lunch later in the morning but she apologetically said she was up to her ears in church financial statements.

 

Armed with all her material including her birth certificate and Canadian citizenship card MM drove to the government building where she snapped up a parking place which had just been vacated. She entered the building asking the commissionaire where the passport office was located , waiting for the elevator to arrive to take her to the forth floor. Just as it arrived a voice from behind spoke her name.

 

“Hello Mary Margaret”

 

She turned thinking it was an acquaintance but she discovered to her delight it was the young man Eric Campbell who she had met at the restaurant.

 

Well hello” she began to splutter his name but became uncharacteristically tongue tied.

 

“I met you with your family at the restaurant on Sunday, I’m Eric Campbell” he said quite confidently.

 

Of course how foolish of me not to remember” she responded quite coyly.

 

“What brings you to the O Canada building eh” he said laughingly.

 

“I am going on a Alaska cruise and I am told I need a passport so I am hand delivering it today so it will be back shortly, I think that’s the best way, rather than mail it.”

 

They had reached the 4th floor and Eric also stepped out with her, there were several people waiting inline ups and many more sat around chairs and as well some sat on the floor. She glanced around the room and felt quite dismayed ,. A commissionaire pointed to a set of paper number for her to take one.

 

Campbell, took hold of her arm just as she was reaching for a number and motioned for her to walk over with him to one side. He then held up his identification to the commissionaire and she immediately walked with them to a entrance which read, government employees only “I know the manager of this department and I will get you fast tracked and you can be on your way, quickly ” he said

 

She breathed a heavy sigh of relief and smiled quite broadly at him, noticing he could barely take his eyes off her.

 

Pointing the way he saunter into an office located in the hallway they had just entered.

 

The room was quite large and contained one small desk, behind which sat a lanky man she estimated to be in his early fifties.

 

“Morning Eric”, he said looking up and quite surprised as he studied MM .

 

“Oh Hank this is Mary Margaret, a friend of mine and I need a favor can we get her fast tracked with her passport”

 

Hank didn’t hesitate or flinch, he stood up and shook her hand taking the application which she proffered to him. He smiled and waved them to easy chairs near the window and Eric grinned at her. They chatted about how great the weather was in Emporia while Hank looked at her application

 

“Looks in order Mary Margaret- that is Mary Margaret Agnew am I right.”

 

“Yes” she responded becoming quite relived that the whole matter was suddenly arranged.

 

Okay I will fire this off today and you should have it back in about a week, I will need a cheque for 85.00 or a credit card would be better and will save you some more time. I also was just wondering if you were related to Mary Beth Agnew-Thomas who I think is married to Don Thomas the Micro Biologist at the Marine studies unit in Port Ann.

 

“ Mary Beth is my daughter and Don is my son in law. How do you know them” she said as she rummaged around in her purse for her wallet and credit card.

 

Mary Beth and Don are good friends , we belong to the Rotary club together, my wife Angie is also a member, she runs a flower shop out on Marina drive.”

 

Eric stood up and went over and shook Hanks hand and thanked him . MM also offered her profuse thanks and Eric mentioned to Hank that there was a practice coming up later in the week and they left as Hank walked with them to the front desk with her application.

 

“See you Mrs Agnew”

 

“Thanks again Hank, it was good of Eric to introduce us.”

 

They took the elevator down to the main floor and she felt she should at least buy him a coffee or his lunch for his help. There was a Tims on the main floor, and she asked if he would like to join her for a lunch and she was going to treat. He charmingly told her it was not necessary but he would enjoy having a break with her.

 

They sat in a far corner of the coffee shop and he went up to the counter returning some moments later with a tray of sandwiches with coffee. He set them down and she realized she was quite famished and launched into her sandwich. Eric mentioned that he and Hank played on the same volley ball team and that they were also both former RCMP officers. He said that Hank was nearing retirement. He told her he was originally from a small town in Ontario , but had spent the last 15 years out west. He continued to make light conversation but kept his eyes riveted on her face.

 

He had never seen a woman with such a beautifully soft features. Her eyes which he guessed were hazel, seemed to mirror a hidden loveliness which he had never imagined seeing in a woman. Her complexion was clear and she had a natural blush to her cheeks. He was memorized by her reddish blond hair which bore a sheen of gold. She wore her hair swept back and it was very becoming, he decided

 

“Your staring at me Eric and its making me quite nervous”, she said

 

“I won’t apologize, because you are absolutely beautiful”

 

She could feel a gradual warmth creeping up her back. The coffee shop was air conditioned but MM felt perspiration on her upper lip, and a tightening in her loins.

 

“Eric I appreciate your wonderful kind comments and your help with the passport which is a godsend, but you know I am married and I am a dedicated catholic , and we believe in the sanctity of our marriage vows. I know where this headed so I want to just let you know that I am not available”

 

He continued to stare at her , and nibbled his sandwich, taking short sips from his coffee.

 

“I guess I should tell you I met you indirectly long before I actually met you last Sunday”

 

How so” she said

 

“By a photograph of you with your mother which I saw several times on your father’s desk in his office in Vancouver.”

 

“She bolted upright in her seat ”You know my father?’

 

“Yes you see Mary Margaret, I was on the Anti-crime unit as the RCMP liaison with the Vancouver Police and your father is the medical officer for the squad in relation to gunshot wounds. There are a lot of shootings and I was in constant contact with him. He spoke of you living here in Emporia. I didn’t feel it was appropriate to look you up and the chance meeting on Sunday, actually gave me an opportunity to see you in real life so to speak”

 

She could feel a few pangs of remorse at her remarks earlier and hoped to soften her stand, but she was also very much on her guard.

 

“We are a very close family. We emigrated from Ireland when I was a child and my dad served in the military for several years. I am adopted but it really never made any difference. I was completely spoiled and they lavished me with a beautiful childhood and have been by my side for all of my married life. My husband as you may already know is completely and utterly consumed by his business and we sort of have been living separate lives. My children are kind to me but they also have their lives so I have to seek other diversions, including this Alaska cruises which I am going on in August.”

 

He listened quite attentively to her short history lesson and they eventually finish their sandwiches and coffee. Eric took their trays and they walked to the building entrance.

 

“Mary Margaret I know you are married, and that you have your principals, but that does not stop me from admiring you. If I can be of any help to you then, just don’t hesitate, to contact me. I am not a stalker or will I in any way try and break down your barrier, but just the same you should know I am here. I have a McGregor motorized sailboat docked at Hammonds point and if you ever want to go sailing it would be my pleasure, you can bring family members. I just sail it , the bank owns it” he said light-heartedly.

 

She patted his hand and exited to her car which now had a ticket on the windshield, for which she uttered an expletive, and laughed out loud.. She also knew as she drove home that Eric Campbell had taken a small but important place in her consciousness.

 

SEVEN

 

Later the following week, Mary Margaret received her passport and the return of her personal documents. She also noticed that Ed seemed to be coming home more often at an earlier hour and began to prepare dinner meals. As usual he was not very talkative. MM decided to persuade Ed to go on the Alaska holiday. But he said he had a big furniture show coming up in the states. She told him that she wanted to increase her fitness level and was able to extract the money from him to join the leisure club. He was astounded at the cost and the fact that she wanted a personal trainer, but readily agreed.

 

After he had left to return to work, she climbed the stairs to the attic to have a closer look at his hiding place. She detected immediately that there was a rank odor coming from the bed , no doubt due she thought to his continuous masturbation. But she also was perplexed by the fact that there were several candy bar wrappers and empty beverage containers. Under the bed she found a box containing what she recognized as hard porn magazines. One other disturbing thing caught her eye, a pair of sun glasses which had fallen under the bed, she picked them up and realized that they were a very expensive woman’s prescription glasses.

 

She went straight away to her bedroom and opening her desk drawer extracted a polaroid camera and returned to the attic, taking several photographs of the room and the sun glasses. Just as she turned away from the bed she spied a something sticking out from under the pillow and carefully moving the pillow she discovered a pair of a girls pink satin panties. She gave them a momentary inspection , identifying them as thongs.

 

She also photographed the panties and returned them to where she found them. MM made sure that the area was as she had found it and returned with her camera and pictures to her room. She found an envelope, inserted to damning photographs and casually prepared for bed.

 

The next day she went directly to her bank and had them bring her safety deposit box where she sealed the envelope and placed it with the rest of her valuables. She also removed an investment certificate worth several thousand dollars . She opened a saving account in her name and cashed the certificate funds and had them deposited to her account. She received a guarantee on the interest for five years and hoped to eventually cash in several certificates which she owned and were gifts from her father and mother.

 

She felt the need to speak to a lawyer but also she was wary about seeing a local lawyer. She stopped for a lunch in order to think things out. A senses of foreboding came over her . It had been certainly bad enough to discover that Ed was pleasuring himself, but now she was certain he was involved with a younger woman.

 

A personal trainer was assigned to MM at the Leisure center and she began to work out on a regular basis, trying to avoid as much as she could seeing Ed or having to speak to him. Usually she went during the day during the week and later in the evenings on the weekends. One night she spied Eric Campbell playing volleyball. The game was against her son-in-laws team. She made sure that she was unseen and watched the game from a vantage point of a balcony which overlooked the gym . She remained unobserved and watched as the games progressed. She left the Centre by a side entrance and walked around to her car which was parked in the front of the building.

 

She drove to the nearest coffee shop and ordered a sandwich and coffee. She began to read the local newspaper , but was interrupted by a woman’s voice that sang out her name and without invitation sat down across from her. MM knew the woman but had forgotten her name. Finally the woman seeing her dilemma , told her that she was Evelyn Kell, a person whom she knew through the church. The women seemed almost oblivious to MM and spoke rapidly about her family and her husband. MM responded politely, eventually not even hearing what the woman was saying as she lost her self in her own thoughts.

 

Without warning MM stood and grabbing her purse walked away briefly waving.

 

Her sudden departure was due to having seen her husband’s Lincoln town car arrive in the parking lot. She strode quickly to the side entrance and bolted to her car. She then realized that there was someone with her husband. She was unable to make out the person but knew instinctively that it was a woman. She was able to view the panorama of the restaurant through her car windows which were tinged , so no one could see into the car. . The waitress took the couple to a table far in the back but MM could see them quite clearly from her vantage point. She tried to make out who the woman was who sat across from her husband . She recognized that she was mere girl of about seventeen or eighteen who looked vaguely familiar. She had long blonde hair but the table covered her clothing. MM watched for a few minutes, which felt like a lifetime. She became fearful that her husband might recognize her car and drove off, almost hitting a car which was entering the parking lot.

 

She was not aware of how long she had been driving but become conscious of the roadway becoming quite dark. She was a short distance from the Emporia city limits and the street lights were no longer visible. She found a rest stop and pulled off, parking in a all night parking zone. There were a few other cars, but the drivers were not discernible. She pushed the seat back lever and closed her eyes in an effort to concentrate. Obviously the young girl was a new employee or she was Ed’s girl friend. He had graduated from masturbating to having a young partner was Mary Margaret’s rationale. Her daughter would have mentioned to her if new young blonde girl had been hired, but often Mary Beth was close mouthed about store activities.. She became mired in a self discussion, mulling over the situation. How did she hope to find out if he was involved? He had been very careful to declare that he was not mixed up in a sexual affair. Did he lie ? Why would he blatantly come into the restaurant with a girl when she knew that small town lips would wag.

 

MM could not erase the scene from his mind. She wept for a some time constantly viewing in her mind’s eye the scene of her fat husband sitting with a young blonde girl who was young enough to be his granddaughter.

 

EIGHT

 

Ed did not come home till quite late and since he slept in the guest room she was unable to know exactly when he arrived. She watched television in her room until she fell into a deep sleep, which was filled with dreams which caused her to awake several times with anxiety.

 

He left before she was awake, and she moved quite slowly. Everything became a blur and she had become quite numb, finding it difficult to concentrate.

 

As the day wore on she began to developed a short term plan but she knew she needed help.

 

Early in the afternoon she called Eric Campbell’s office , and she as told he was out on a call. She left her cell phone number and while she was resting at mid afternoon, he called and when she told him she needed help, he said he would meet her immediately. Eric convinced her that the most out of the way spot was his boat at Hammond’s point which he guessed would take her about 20 minutes to reach if she took the main highway. She told him that they would meet within an hour and then she called her father at his work in Vancouver.

 

They exchanged pleasantries and he asked if she was still troubled by Ed’s behavior.

 

“Dad how well do you know a former RCMP officer named Eric Campbell”

 

“Her father waited few moments before answering and MM began to ask for a second time when he responded.

 

“He is a wonderful guy MM he was one of top constables in the Vancouver Major Crime Unit and he and I certainly got on well. He worked very hard to bring in some tough characters and his record on clearing cases was as I learned quite excellent. He quit the force because he was passed over for promotion and felt he was not treated with enough respect. If you know him he is straightforward, reliable and very polite. I think he was married for a while but his wife was also a member of the force and she was in Richmond. It wasn’t working out and they separated on a friendly basis. I won’t ask you why you want to know MM but if you are dealing with him for some reason , be prepared to be upfront, he hates bull crap.”

 

MM chuckled and wishing her father well she rang off and called her daughter at work

 

“Mary Beth, please don’t ask why but is there a new young blonde girl working in the store?”

 

“ Oh Mom why do you ask questions like that’ she quipped. ”If there was a new young girl working in the store Dad would be patting her on the behind, like he does me. If you saw him with a young girl it might be Ron Audet’s daughter. She is working this summer for Ron at the Floor covering place. I think she goes to UVIC in Victoria. and is about twenty.

 

“Have you seen your father with her?” MM said rancorously

 

“Mom , dad comes and goes like a fart in the breeze. He works in his office for ten minutes, talks to customers, tells the salespeople lewd jokes, which are becoming more plentiful since he got on the internet. Sean was looking for him all day yesterday and he was not available and his cell phone was on text message only”

 

Mary Margaret thanked her daughter and started her trek to Hammonds Point which was on the western tip of Sunshine Bay. The traffic was quite heavy at the dinner hour. She got behind several leisure vehicles and it took nearly forty-five minutes to reach Hammond’s Cove at the angle of the Point where the Marina was situated. He was waiting at the car park for her and they walked up the dock which was divided into several U-shaped configurations. Eric was dressed casually in white chinos and he wore a T -shirt which showed a facsimile of the RCMP musical ride. She was glad she had decided to wear jeans and a halter top which she had covered with a short wind breaker. His white fibreglass sail boat was parked ear the end of the boardwalk docking area and she was impressed by its trim beauty. The McGregor had mainsail running up the center of the deck which was fastened to the to the jib and the sail fluttered in the breeze. He asked if she wanted a short jaunt but she demurred and he gave her a fast briefing on what he described as his cream puff which had the name Stetson printed in large script on the hull .

 

He explained about the propulsion which was a Honda 4 stroke engine and that he had a fresh water system and there was a port-a potti if she needed it. The interior cabin was well lit and there were cushioned benches and a table which he invited her to sit. He reached into a storage bin and extracted some glasses and opened them two cans of soft drinks, one of which she gladly consumed .

 

“Wow you are thirsty, sorry I have nothing stronger”

 

“No this is great , I rarely ever drink anything stronger than wine anyway”

 

He recognized that she was in hurry to speak about her problem and they talked about the weather which had been quite brilliant. He related a few sea tales from his last weekend aboard the Stetson and explained how the name was used for the sail boat.

 

“A Stetson is a mountie hat. You probably have seen them many times. I thought it would make great name. This boat was barely used, with fewer than two thousand nautical miles. There is a VHF radio and a terrific stereo” he said quite proudly

 

She rather enjoyed listening to him, he had a kind of enthusiasm, she hadn’t heard for a long time. He was quite outgoing and seemed at ease with her . She noticed that she also began to feel more relaxed and she realized that his way of getting her to open up.

 

“”Eric, I know I can trust you, although I really don’t know you very well, my father told me you were an honest man and I have a situation for which I am really needing help. Don’t feel any obligation, if it is not ethical or against your principles I …….”

 

He broke in , sensing that she was going to make a long preamble to the crisis she faced.

 

“Mary Margaret best to just get to the difficulty” he said not unkindly

 

MM than began to relate her having seen her husband with a young girl, and also about what she shyly described as his hidden activities. She did not mention that he had made a unilateral pronouncement not sleep with her.

 

Eric reflected on what she had revealed. .

 

“You know MM I think there is something more perhaps you need to tell me”

 

“Dad said you would know if I was holding back. I just am so damn angry and frustrated that I don’t know how to say this”

 

“Look, you have to put all the cards on the table to someone, maybe its not delicate , but you know I was a cop and I want you to be frank”

 

She then gradually divulged the story of her husband’s having turned a cold shoulder to her and was now sleeping in the guest room. She recounted their conversation and how her husband had volunteered later that he did not have a girl friend.

 

She surrendered the Polaroid pictures she had taken of the attic room which Eric studied quickly before returning them to her , where upon she placed them in her jacket pocket.

 

Eric listened intently as she spoke, watching her and studying MM reactions to her plight. He sensed that he was suddenly catapulted into her life and that he also recognized that it was more than just friendship that he was experiencing. She was exquisitely beautiful and he was coming under her spell, even as she spoke explaining what had happened.

 

He was quick to bring himself to his senses. He knew quite well that he could not be a conduit for action himself, but he could advise her.

 

When she was finished speaking a silence engulfed the cabin. Eric stood and motioned for her to follow him out on the deck where he pointed to two deck chairs. The cabin had become quite humid and he felt the perspiration on his brow. He took hold of a towel and wiped himself and gestured to MM if she needed a towel that there was one nearby on the deck.

 

The sun had begun to set and the shadows had begun to streak across the bow of the ship and water lapped at the sides. He brought her another soft drink and then launched into his response to her account of her husband’s alleged infidelity.

 

“You know of course that I cannot personally assist you , basically because I do not have the wherewithal to conduct a investigation. I am in a very difficult position , mainly because I am an investigator for a government agency and they have strict rules about engaging in private dealings. You know a lot of people send us anonymous letters about tax dodgers and we have to follow them up. Many of them are bogus , but they still need very careful review. It’s the part of the job I hate, but people being what they are, will do anything at times to squeal on a friend , or relative. In any event my hands are tied, I can’t lift a finger for you. Not to say though I know what you need to do and I have someone in mind that you can trust to work on you behalf. It will cost you , and I hope you have the money. But in the long run it will be worth it.”

 

He stopped waiting to see if she had any comment. But she thoughtfully nodded and he continued.

 

“You need to employ a private detective who can undertake surveillance of your husband. You also should have the room he is using or the attic as you mentioned, bugged. A voice activated microphone has to be put in place and the conversations recorded. The man you want does not live in Emporia, this place is just too hard an egg to crack for a private eye. There is a chap whom I know in Vancouver who would work for you and probably get you the evidence you need, if it exits. He is honest, forthright and can blend very well into any environment. I won’t tell you his name , but I will say that he is a former member of the force who worked in undercover work. He retired five years ago and worked for the Insurance corporation for two years before setting out on his own”.

 

He stopped to take a drink from the soft drink can glancing around to the other boats which were docked close by. He also lowered his voice considerably and she was forced to lean in closer to hear what he was saying. He also cautioned her with his finger to his lips for her not to reply.

 

“You should also get a cell phone that does not require registration except for the telephone number. You need only buy minutes occasionally. We will need a special code for you to respond and it will be the only form of contact we will have. I hope you know MM that this is a clandestine activity which I should not be engaging but I do like you and I also feel that I am offering you advice which your Father would approve. I am doing this because of him.”.

 

MM began to feel tears and he waved his finger for her to stop crying, and leaned in very close to her.

 

“MM please get hold of yourself , this is strictly a time for you to be in control of your emotions”.

 

With that he wrapped his arms around her and she cradled herself to his chest. It was she supposed, just a reaction to what she sensed was an effort to console her.She remained resting her head against his chest for sometime, and then when her emotions had subsided she gently pushed him away and immediately wiped her eyes with the towel she hand wrapped around her head earlier.

 

MM asked him about the phone in a very guarded voice and he gently squeezed her hand to warn her not to discuss the matter in the open. He stowed a few items around his boat, locked the cabin securely and they made their way to the parking lot where he motioned for her to go to his car. Once inside Eric acquainted her with the phone code and how it would work

 

“Go to one of the major stores at the mall and buy a phone called a Jimmy. There are no fees . Buy at least twenty- five extra minutes. When you have the phone registered, call my office and leave a message for me . Phone from a telephone booth somewhere. I get my messages usually in the morning so call me exactly at three, so I am sure not to be in. The following day, be at the same booth at 10:00 am, I will know where, as we have access to all phone booth calls in Emporia and I will meet you there. If I have a cup of coffee in a container go to the food court and wait, otherwise meet me in the parking lot .Don’t acknowledge me on any account My car will be at the J marker or nearby. This is a blue Toyota Corolla, if you haven’t noticed

 

“What if I am delayed for some reason.” she said quite calmly

 

“”I am getting to that. If you are not there we will do the whole episode over in the afternoon at three. Think of some code words, because once we finish our meeting, we must not meet again. The code is what I will use to call you and it will have a text message only, which will give you the information regards the private detective. He will also text message you about the surveillance he will be conducting. For now that’s it and MM….”

 

He looked at her and he began to say something, but she suddenly impulsively kissed full on the mouth. He held her for a few moments and then the sudden realization that she had bridged a very large gap in his life..Her kiss made him feel quite uncomfortable about his involvement in her predicament. He had some strong misgivings, but somehow his desire drove him to enter the arena which he had for so long denied himself.

 

She sprang quickly and wordlessly from his car and he remained seated for some time in an effort to refocus .One unremitting fact that plagued him was that he had been aroused by her show of affection and still could feel the effects of an intense erection.

 

NINE

 

The next day MM arose early. Ed’s car was not in the driveway and she noticed his bed was not slept in. She prepared to dress and go to the mall when he called to tell her he had stayed very late at the store and had slept on the couch in his office. She nonchalantly accepted his explanation and asked if was going to be home as she had errands to do and would be away until later in the day. She was quickly learning how to cover her own tracks. Ed was vague about his plans and Mary Margaret said she would make him chicken and it would it would be ready for the dinner hour. She reminded him that she had a meeting at the church and she would be home late as there was lots of business to discuss. He said he would be home.

 

MM headed into town and went to the Big Ticket electronics store near the entrance to the Mall. She purchased a cell phone, carefully making sure she paid with cash also buying extra minutes. She went home and called the number displayed on the box and they gave her a cell phone number which she took pains to memorize. Her cleaning lady arrived shortly after lunch . MM waited until she had finished the cleaning , paid her for a month’s work and then again headed back in to town. She found the telephone booth in the Mall entrance and went to the food court where she had a late lunch. At exactly three o’clock she called Eric’s office and she was told that he was not available but they would take a message. She gave a false name and also left the new number for her newly purchased phone. She headed home and prepared her husband’s dinner.

 

The next day she went to phone booth and on seeing Eric she walked to a store window and waited until he had left the building. She spied his car and immediately opened the door. As she sat down she took out sun glasses which were very large and he glanced at her he couldn’t hold back a guffaw of laughter. His laughter was infectious and she joined in.

 

“”Good work MM, or should I say Sherlock”

 

“So you like my disguise Dr Weston”

 

“Yes it’s great but its Dr Watson if you must know.”.

 

“Okay, down to business MM very quickly , what is your cell phone number.”

 

She gave him the number and they spoke for a short time and then MM slipped out of the car and headed home to await the call from the investigator.

 

She felt quite light headed and took a mild sedative to settle down and fell asleep. She awoke refreshed very early the next morning Ed had not come home that night. She made her breakfast and decided to take her car in for servicing. When she reached the garage she was startled by the sound of the cell phone playing the telephone message music she had selected. A very strong and forceful voice began speaking to her without the usual preliminary.

 

“Please listen carefully and try not to speak except to respond to my questions”

 

She continued to take note of the questions without responding

 

“ I will begin my operation tomorrow and I want you to keep your regular schedule. Do not do anything differently, I want access to your house . Leave a backdoor key, in the flower bed to right of your garage door. Put it in a plastic bag and slip it into a small paper envelope. Do not on any circumstances go back to your husband’s hiding place, because I will be inserting a hidden camera as well as sound equipment in that space. Do not follow your husband or attempt to make any effort to draw him out. Leave all the detective work to me. I charge 500.00 per day with a minimum of 10 days. I want you to leave twenty-five hundred dollars in the freezer of your fridge. I will be coming to your house to-morrow morning and hopefully your husband will be out. I will let myself in and will be dressed as a plumber, my truck will have the name of a regional plumber on the side. You can stay out of sight , but remain at home, with your car in plain sight in the driveway. Now I must know if your husband is at home and his car is in the garage. , open the curtains in your front living room if he is not home, closed if at home. Stay in the front living room while I am working and if by chance he comes home signal me by banging on the west wall of the living room. When I am finished I will let myself out. Please stay out of the kitchen and the upstairs, just keep watch as I have asked. I will take it from there. Arrange to take trip somewhere so the house will be empty. Any questions?”

 

She responded no and the phone went dead. She felt a thrill of excitement almost like a sexual encounter . She headed out to withdraw money from her bank. She called her daughter and notified her that she was going to visit her friend Joanne Saunders in Calgary. She called to speak to her husband but he wasn’t available and so she left a message that she was leaving that morning for Calgary, she apologized for the short notice but was vague about the reasons. She called her friend Joanne in Calgary and told her the story and she agreed to go along with the story.

 

“Let me know MM where you are staying just in case” she said and rang off.

 

TEN

 

The private detective was Ron Almond. He had spent several years as a detective in the RCMP. He was known around the Force as a loner. He worked mostly as a an undercover operative and once he came up with solid evidence , he was able to make airtight cases for crown prosecutors.

 

When he decided to leave the RCMP he knew he could work efficiently in the private field and opted to work alone, without going to nationally known agencies. He had made the right decision. His work particularly in the field of marital indiscretion was eagerly sought . He used state of the art equipment and had a complete monitoring arrangement built into the back of his van. The truck was sound proofed and was outfitted with a small kitchen utility, which included a hot plate and refrigerator. He also had built in a bunk bed which he used quite often. The cab was divided off from the the rear of the van with one way flexi-glass. He had also installed anti theft devises and carried both licensesd glock pistols and high powered rifle with a scope for distance.

 

Almond worked very quickly in setting up in the secret room. The cameras he positioned were very tiny and were placed in strategic areas of the room. He also placed a transmitter for sound under the mattress attached to the plastic corner. He sequenced the remote wireless function on the transmitter and immediately exited the building after taking his envelop from the refrigerator freezer, MM stayed out of sight as directed. Almond carried plumbers snake in his hand and his tool chest in the other and returned to his van and drove to street three blocks removed from MM’s home. The location he had selected was an unoccupied cul-de-sac. The street was the site of a future expansion of homes but no houses had been constructed on the lots which had FOR SALE signs, on the vacant fields.

 

Almond had an electronic aerial, which he activated. Next he turned on his receiving units, including a TV monitor and both VCR and DVD recording devises. The secret room immediately came into focus when he tuned into the frequency and he set up the VCR record and digital backup. He reached into his well stocked fridge and selected a ice cold beer and sat back to relax. And waited thoughtfully organizing his next move which was 18 hour surveillance of Ed Agnew.

 

MM took a suitcase she had packed and making sure none of her neighbours were outside, flipped the bag quckly into the trunk of her car. She then drove out to the end of the driveway and took 3 plastic bags and deposited them in the trunk , to give the effect that she was going to the land fill located nearby. She immediately drove off taking the south ring road, heading for the Vancouver Island Ferry taking time to drop off the bags at the landfill.

 

She was late for the ferry to Nanaimo, but waited patiently, reading and taking a short nap. She became quite hungry and opted for a sandwich at the terminal sandwich bar.

 

On arrival on the Island she headed immediately for Qualicum beach checking into a nondescript motel located on the main highway. She freshened up and then took a turn around the area looking for restaurants and the beach. She was satisfied that the location would suit the purpose and that the room was spotless as well as having sturdy locks.

 

She settled in and after a few days she fell into a schedule of a thrifty breakfast, a walk on the beach and reading in the air conditioned cover of her motel room She had a Spartan lunch and then napped for an hour, read some more and then walked for a an hour. She neither met or spoke to anyone other than motel staff. On the stroke of 3 he called.

 

“Hi MM it’s Eric, how are you making out”

 

“ Eric how nice to hear from you , in one word it’s boring” she said wondering why he had called when she had been told no contact.

 

“Eric, I rather thought we were not suppose to be in touch, although I am happy to hear from you, what’s up?

 

MM I got a call from the private detective this afternoon. He has discovered that this case is more than just a domestic issue”.

 

“What do you mean Eric, is Ed in trouble?”

 

Look MM I can’t tell you very much about what is going on, but you should know that the PD has turned over evidence to the RCMP and ED and your two sons are being arrested as we speak for the illegal importation of drugs for the purpose of distribution.

 

ELEVEN

 

They talked for a few more minutes and then Eric told her to get back as quickly as she could to Emporia. She sat numbly, going over the bit of information she had received, unable to move from her chair, even to go to the bathroom. MM finally got up and went into the bathroom relived herself and washed her face and hands. She was extremely frightened, and she regretted she had started the entire turn of events.

 

Suddenly she was startled out of her thoughts by the cell phone which she had placed on the bed.

 

“This is Paul Almond, calling, you know the private detective you hired,” said the voice on the line.

 

She muttered a response and continued.

 

“By now I guess you know that there are serious problems which have surfaced. I didn’t go looking for this trouble, Mrs Agnew, I was involved in following your husband as I usually do, he and two other men and a woman who I will tell you about later, went to a small inlet where I recognized they exchanged a suitcase for a metal trunk. The whole thing looked in my eyes like a drug buy, the item was transferred to a pickup truck and the group returned to your husband’s store on Marine blvd. I wasn’t sure that anything illegal was happening, and it was outside my purview up to that point. They all remained at the store, and later that evening your husband left with a small suitcase with the woman. He went to your house and went in to make sure you were not home . The woman and your husband entered the room and opened the suitcase and it was obvious that they had 4-5 large bags of cocaine or a similar substance. After snorting a considerable amount, they stripped down and began to engage in coitus, which I have fully substantiated on film.” He stopped waiting for her response, hearing none he continued

 

“I will give you a full report of their activity. I am sworn under my license to report a federal crime and therefore I had to contact the local RCMP office to tell them what I had seen and then I called Eric as I know he would be very concerned. It appears the woman is involved and I realized that the two men who I had taken pictures were your sons, Sean and Timothy Agnew”.

 

“Who is the woman”, said MM in a very timid and soulful voice

 

“Her name is Ruth Stella Stapleton and her father is Malcolm Smythe the mayor of Emporia”.

 

TWELVE

 

MM contacted her father immediately, he advised her to try and remain calm, and said he was on his way over to her..She took the next ferry back to Emporia.When she arrived she went to her home but the house was surrounded with a yellow crime scene ribbon.She contacted her father and they made arrangements to meet at the ferry terminal.

 

“I think your first move is to separate yourself from this situation” he said when they met in the restaurant of the ferry terminal. “Dad, these are my sons and their father that are involved in this crime”

 

“Just the same MM, you can be painted with the same brush, you will be lumped in with them, they are in big trouble and no doubt will get prison time. Have you spoken to Eric”?

 

“No, I think he is also in trouble now, because of his involvement with me”

 

Her father waited momentarily to respond to her.“Have you been having an affair with him?”

 

“Absolutely not, we are friends ,good friends, but just friends.

 

Her father looked directly into her eyes as he had often done when she was growing up. She stared him down, and they both laughed.

 

‘Okay your next option is to get yourself to the police and make sure that they know you were not a party to any of this. Next get a lawyer for the boys, to get bail. Forget Ed its his family’s concern now. You must separate yourself from Ed as much as you can, he must have been in financial trouble. Get all of your own finances in order.”

 

She nodded at his declarations. Looking away when he mentioned her husband.

 

“MM you have to get your emotions under check, if every time you are confronted with a further trauma you start bawling you will just fall into a trap of letting things take course when you need to be able to act.

 

She promised him that she would try , but even then she broke down.

 

As they were getting ready to leave the terminal, she noticed the Vancouver paper on the newsstand with a headline.

 

RCMP Crack Drug Ring

 

She could barely contain her anguish as she walked back to her car, in the parking lot.

 

She knew life as she had lived with Ed in Emporia was over. She had to make sure that she saved her sons .

 

Chapter 12

 

MM suffered through her husbands trial and his eventual incarceration as resiliently as she could. Her son’s both received 18 month sentences . Ed wasn’t as lucky he got 7 years, in prison. MM wasn’t surprised because he hired a inexperienced lawyer who was very timid.

 

The business was completely lost and was taken over by a Franchise from Vancouver. They had to sell the house to pay for the legal expenses . She rented an apartment near the downtown area but the problem followed her around, She realized her life in town was over.Her boys were in prison and everywhere she went people gazed at her.She said she felt it was like a zoo. She fel ta need to be in contact with Eric and put out a call for him to contact her.

 

. The next day he rang.

 

“MM , I intended to , because I am ll but work has piled up and I also wanted you to have time to yourself”

 

“Eric I would like to see you if it is okay.My dad asked about you and I can meet you in private if possible?”

 

’Of course it is , lets go out to my boat , we have a meal of some kind and talk“

 

“To tell you the truth it is not food that I need or talk”

 

He hesitated for a few moments and then responded. “ I am okay with whatever you want MM but please be sure that is what you need because frankly I don’t want to just be a tonic for your bitterness, I need you for many other reasons. I adore you and I just cant see us getting together just for the sake of satisfying some lustful position.”

 

“We can talk and eat if you like Eric , she said chuckling with laughter.

 

“Lets meet at 5:30 at the boat. I love you MM.” he said and quickly hung up

 

~

 

She parked near the boat on the jetty . He arrived some minutes later and they hugged. She kissed him quite passionately and they made their way out to Eric’s Sail boat.

 

By the time they were aboard , she was clawing at him. He clutched her behind and she ground herself into his center feeling his arousal. She loosened her slacks and pulled down her panties and helped him to unzip his pants. By now she was so wet that it was sliding down her leg. She turned around and bent over and he understood she wanted him to enter her from the rear

 

“Slower, Slower .he murmured

 

She was now quite out of control and her motion was causing him to almost explode. Within seconds he had the most joyful ejaculation of his life.

 

MM lay still on the couch she had fallen on and was unable to speak. . She felt no guilt only a complete exhaustion. The absolute giving of herself was foremost in her mind. She had a feeling of euphoria. She laid on the couch and realized that Eric was sitting at the end of the couch watching her. She rested for several minutes and then stood up and removed all of her clothing and stood before Eric completely in the nude.

 

He watched her with a grin on his face as she rolled over close to him, and placed her hands on his penis .

 

“You have my dear darling Eric given me a clear picture of the future and that our getting together will satisfy in me some lustful position!!

 

Without waiting fora reply she reached up and put her arms around him .

 

“You are absolutely the best tonic I know for my bitterness.


© Copyright 2019 Jack Kay. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

More Mystery and Crime Short Stories