By Forrest Wayne Schultz
On a beautiful spring morning as I was strolling up a steep path through the forest, all of a sudden a gorgeous young woman burst forth from the trees, tripped and fell, and knocked herself unconscious on the path right in front of me. An iridescent bluish-green ring fell off of her finger and rolled down the path toward me. When I picked it up the adventures began.
The ring quickly loosed itself from my grip, emplaced itself upon the ring finger of my right hand, and made itself invisible, though I could still feel it there and sense its presence. While I was still reeling with shock, the ring began granting to me knowledge of events happening in and near the forest.
The means by which I received this knowledge was not some kind of "woo woo" experience but was similar to what happens when you are watching the news on television: the TV reporter tells you certain facts about the picture you are viewing on the screen. Thus it was here: on a screen in front of me I could see a gang of twelve mages hastening toward the forest while a reporter was telling me that their intent was to steal the ring. Next on the screen appeared a man walking through the forest while the reporter said he was nearing the designated rendezvous point where he was expecting to receive the ring. The mage gang was tracking this man and intending to take it from him as soon as he received it. The reporter added that neither the man nor the gang knew who would be bringing the ring to him.
I barely had time to absorb all this when the following things happened in rapid succession: the ring allowed me to see the horrible evil in the hearts of these twelve men; I became enraged at them; the ring asked me for permission to execute them; I immediately assented; the ring slew each of them with a heart attack causing their vehicles to careen off the mountain road, over a cliff, and into the deep rapidly flowing river at its base.
The next topic on the Cyanoring TV News pertained to the super-wicked ruler of the twelve mages who had been telepathically following them on their mission. When he lost contact with them he became enraged, uttered a magical spell, and starting flying through the air like Superman searching for them. Once again the ring asked for permission to execute, which I again immediately granted, this time saying, "Amen, brother!". The ring immediately slew the ruler, causing his body to plunge down into the deep river where he joined his fellow iniquity-workers in their watery grave.
I had no time for calm after these storms. I now had to deal with the unconscious young woman. As I focused my thought upon this task, the ring granted me assurance that this woman was a very exemplary person deserving of my care. Fortunately, her only injury -- albeit a serious one -- was the concussion she received when her forehead struck a hard board on the path. I gently picked her up and carried her in my arms as I walked back down the path toward the secluded spot where I had parked my car. I placed her into the front passenger seat and buckled her in. Hearing the noise from the slamming car doors, she regained just enough consciousness to tell me that her name was Lilly, to ask for a Darvocet tablet, and to request that I call her sister Irene. After I dialed the number and handed the cell phone to her she was just barely coherent enough to tell her sister what had happened and to hand the phone back to me, after which she relapsed into unconsciousness.
Irene was so nervous she was barely able to tell me the directions to her house, which, fortunately, was close by. I drove slowly because I too was nervous as I became captivated by these young women. I found Irene's house with no problem and proceeded up the driveway and into the spacious adjoining garage. As the garage door descended, Irene entered the garage from the house and assisted me in getting Lilly out of the car and into my arms. I followed Irene through the house and up the stairs to Lilly's bedroom and assisted Irene in removing Lilly's jacket and placing her into the bed.
Irene is a nurse who has a considerable amount of medical paraphernalia in her house. I watched her place onto Lilly's head a device which scanned for skull fractures and abnormalities in the brain. She found none. The only abnormality was on the surface -- a large bump on the forehead to which she affixed a special compress to reduce the swelling and the pain. Then Irene began giggling and sashaying around the room as she dramatically announced, "Come with me and you shall behold a marvel!".
Her excitement built as she led me down the hall to a special room containing a brand new high resolution scanner which she and Lilly had just co-invented -- Irene contributing the medical knowledge and Lilly contributing the super-advanced computer and electronic knowledge. Thus began the two-hour process in which I assisted Irene in calibrating and then using it to do a super-scan on Lilly's head more accurate than any other scanner.
Irene was greatly relieved when the new scanner indicated that no abnormalities were present in either skull or brain. She was also very excited at how well the machine worked.
It was now about 11:30 AM and Irene invited me to stay for lunch, which consisted of a delicious stew which had been simmering all morning in a slow cooker. She thanked me for my compliments on the food and she was enormously appreciative that I had brought Lilly home safely and that I had helped her with her hi-res scanner.
I learned in our conversation during the meal that, although the two sisters are very close, that Lilly maintained a strict policy of NEVER telling Irene anything at all about her dangerous clandestine private investigative work nor does she ever keep any of her records in the house nor does she ever do any of her work there or ever use the phone or computer there for anything work-related. And, Irene agrees to NEVER ask Lilly about her work.
I sensed that Irene wanted to ask but was unwilling to ask whether I was a colleague of Lilly. In order to clarify matters I asked her, "Are you wondering if I am a colleague of Lilly?". She nodded her head. I answered by telling her that I was not a colleague of Lilly and had never met her before I happened to run into her today. I decided not to tell Irene about the Cyanoring or what it did. It appeared to me that the ring was probably involved in her work, but even if it wasn't, I did not want anyone to know about it and what it had done and the fact that I was wearing it.
When Irene excused herself for a few minutes to attend to a matter, the ring showed me two criminals in a van containing sophisticated electronic equipment driving to a nearby but remote location where they intended to put the sisters' house under surveillance. These were vicious crooks whom Lilly was investigating on behalf of one of their victims. The ring then spoke to me, "Well, I guess by now you know what I am about to ask!". I said, "Of course! And the answer to it is 'indubitably'!".
The van had just crested a bluff and was starting to head downhill when the ring knocked out its occupants and disabled the brakes on the van. The van continued downhill, across a short beach, and into the aforementioned deep river. I remarked, "This looks like a repeat performance!". The ring replied, "Hey, why change a proven method!". I just barely had time to calm myself before Irene returned to the living room to resume our conversation, which lasted until 1:10 PM.
Irene then said that she needed to get ready to run an errand in town. She asked me if I would be willing to watch over Lilly until around 3. I agreed to do so. Once again I received profuse thanks from Irene. Shortly before 3 Irene called me and said that an emergency had arisen at the hospital. She would need to go in at once and would return to the house around 8. I agreed to stay and wait for her.
II. (Eight Days Ago)
Polly Gordon was shaking so badly from fright that she could barely function. She had just received her weekly Sunday afternoon telephone call from her beloved brother Sam, who informed her that he had recently uncovered information indicating that several high ranking officials in the Atlanta-based company where he worked were engaging in a criminal conspiracy in collusion with a prominent US Senator. Polly admired Sam for his intense concern for truth and righteousness but she was appalled at his naive disregard for his own safety and welfare -- he had already quit one job and been fired from another because of his outspoken outrage over the stupid and wicked stuff being done in these companies and their refusal to straighten up. But in neither case was there any kind of criminality involved. This time Sam might not just get fired -- he could get killed!
After Sam hung up Polly forced herself by a might act of will to calm down and to telephone her dear friend Harry Johnson. She tried to consider him her "friend" but she was just kidding herself -- she and Harry have been deeply in love for many years and would have married long ago if it had not been for her irrational fear of marriage. Well, it wasn't totally irrational -- Harry was a PI who often took dangerous cases and she was afraid he might get killed and she would become a "police widow". When she told Harry about the call she had just received, he immediately went into action, arranging for protection for her at her Pasadena house and for assistance for Sam and protection for Sam by means of the PI he most respected on the East Coast -- Lilly Kraft.
The following Sunday (yesterday) Polly became absolutely frantic when she did not receive her weekly call from Sam and could not reach him by phone. And then the following morning (today) she almost "lost it" when she was told that Sam had not showed up for work AND when she learned that Lilly Kraft had not reported in to her colleague Jim this morning at 9 AM, as she had promised to do, and was not answering either her cell phone or her emails on her special portable computer (a very advanced version of a "Blackberry" type device she had invented), both of which she ALWAYS carried with her. Lilly is a very responsible person who always keeps her promises and Sam NEVER misses work.
Harry responded with alacrity and diligence. He and Polly flew from LAX to the Atlanta Airport after arranging with Jim for increased surveillance and protection of Sam's house (where he and Polly would be staying) and for a special car to meet them at the airport with special protection. They arrived without incident or any indication that they had been "tailed" or any indication of anything suspicious at Sam's house. Harry then left the house to work with Jim as soon as Jim's wife Sally arrived to stay with Polly and care for her. She knows what it is like to have a loved one in danger.
The report which Lilly promised to email to Jim at 9 AM pertained to her updated info and analysis on the Sam Gordon/MICO case. (MICO is the abbreviation of the corporate name of Sam's employer.) She was up all night long working on the report while staying in the house of her mother (Nancy Kraft) which was adjacent to the park where she, following her mother's instructions, was to go to take the ring to the rendezvous point. She had just completed all the work involved in the report and was about to write it up and send it when she looked at the clock and panicked -- the report would have to wait; there was just barely enough time to deliver the ring, even if she hurried. This is why Lilly was taking a short-cut through the woods and running at top speed when she arrived at the path in front of me.
All of the information above was conveyed to me via a Cyanoring News Special Report right after Irene left the house. Then I received the following information, which focused first on the MICO conspirators and then on the FBI and a Federal Judge.
About a week ago the conspirators became suspicious that someone was trying to hack into the computer files which contained info on the conspiracy. Then on Saturday one of them told the others that he believed Sam Gordon might be the hacker. They held a meeting that Saturday night in which they agreed that they should gather all their files pertaining to the conspiracy and be prepared to move them out of the MICO building. When Sam did not show up for work on Monday morning and when an examination of his computer showed that he had removed its hard drive, they agreed to put the file removal plan into action.
During the same week, Harry and Lilly had met with the FBI in Atlanta, who already had their own suspicions about MICO from another source. By Saturday the data accumulated was sufficient to justify a search warrant. By 1 PM on Monday (today) a Federal judge was convinced and ready to sign a warrant and an FBI team had been assembled and was ready to go, but both the Judge and the FBI wanted the specific names of the conspirators; and they were hoping that Lilly's report would provide this knowledge.
Then the ring brought me some "real time" info. It showed the hunting lodge owned by the Chairman of the MICO Board of Directors. He and the two other MICO conspirators -- The Executive Vice-President and the Research Director -- had just transferred their secret computer files and papers into the vault concealed beneath the floor, which opened when a special button under the kitchen table was pushed. The US Senator, who had flown in from Washington, was driving up the road toward the Lodge with his files and those of a federal bureaucrat, a high-ranking but low-profile woman in the Defense Department. When he arrived at the Lodge, his files and the bureaucrat's files were also placed into the vault. It was now about 1:45 PM. The conspiracy leader, the MICO Chairman, suggested that they take a quick break by going out to the lake to look at the swans, after which they would return to the Lodge to plan their next steps.
As they were standing on the pier gazing at the swans, the ring asked me, "Well, is it time for another execution party?". I replied, "Yeah, let's party!". The ring went into action knocking the four men unconscious. They dropped into the lake and were gradually carried by the current toward the waterfall which then dropped them into
"Well, I guess I'd better go up and check on Lilly, now. Adios, amigo!". "Und auf wiedersehen zu dir!", the ring replied.
It was now 1:50 PM and Lilly was still unconscious but breathing normally and getting some well-deserved sleep. As I was turning around to leave the bedroom my attention was diverted to a pocket in her jacket (draped over a chair) where I noticed a small blinking red light on her portable mini-in-size-but-maxi-in-power computer. Just then the latest of the frantic emails from Jim was coming in desperately imploring her, "I need your report -- like PRONTO. Am here with the Federal Judge and the FBI waiting to go. Please acknowledge immediately!!!! Over" I noticed from the way each word of the text immediately appeared as soon as typed by the sender, and the usage of the word "over" at the conclusion of the message, that what Lilly had invented was a computer analogy of a walkie-talkie.
I picked up her computer and replied to Jim, somehow just knowing what to say, "Receipt acknowledged. Stand by for super-important message. Over".
"Acknowledged. Am waiting with bated breath. Over", Jim replied.
I then quickly sent this report:
Excellent News !!
I. CONSPIRATORS IDENTIFIED
A. In MICO: Chmn BoD,. Mr. _______________________________________
Exec V.P., Mr. ________________________________________
Res. Dir. Dr. _________________________________________
B. In U.S. Govt.: Senator ___________________________________________
Dir of XYZ Div, DoD, Ms. ___________________________
II. CONSPIRATORS ACTIVITIES
A. A week ago suspicions of being investigated were aroused, and on Sat. night at a meeting
of the three MICO men, Sam Gordon was suspected of being
the investigator. Plans made to gather incriminating files and to be prepared to move
them out of the MICO bldg. Senator notified and he agreed to gather his files and
those of the DoD bureaucrat.
B. On Monday at 10 AM suspicions of Gordon confirmed. Gordon did not come to
work and the hard drive of his computer was missing.
C. Plan to remove files activated. Site chosen for hiding files is the MICO Chairman's
Hunting Lodge in a secret vault located in a secret basement under the kitchen. The
MICO conspirators and the US Senator arrive with the files and place them in the
D. By 1:45 PM the files are secreted in vault; the conspirators are planning to conduct
a strategy meeting shortly.
I. Obtain warrants for arrest of conspirators and search warrants for Lodge.
II. EXECUTE WARRANTS IMMEDIATELY !!! DO NOT WAIT FOR ME !!!
Directions to Lodge: ________________________________________________
Instructions For Gaining Access to Vault and Opening Vault___________________
Please acknowledge. Over."
"Receipt Acknowledged and MUCHO THANKS, LIL !!! Sorry I bugged you. This report was worth the wait!! Warrants now being signed by Judge and FBI teams preparing to move out. Will keep you posted. Hey -- get some well deserved sleep, will you?!
Over and Out"
"Will Do and you take care. OUT"
The FBI teams arrived at the Lodge at about 3:30 PM and one of them quickly secured the perimeter. The other agents surrounded the Lodge, saw no signs of activity, and no answer to a knock on the door, which was unlocked. In FBI style they entered the Lodge and did a room-by-room check. With all rooms "clear", they thought the conspirators might be hiding in the secret basement, which they proceeded to enter with extreme caution, following the instructions in the email received by Jim. No one was found in the basement. They then approached the vault with the utmost super-caution in case it might be booby-trapped. But everything went smoothly, the vault opened when the code was entered, and there were the files! The agents quickly removed them -- there were, of course, only five briefcases there. These briefcases were placed into a secure heavily guarded van, which was then escorted by sheriffs cars to the county line, where FBI escort cars took over for the remainder of the trip to the FBI headquarters in Atlanta. The reading of the files which began in the van and concluded at the headquarters amply confirmed the conspiracy.
Back at the Lodge the agents remaining were assembled into six teams, five of which left the site: one to impound the vehicles of the conspirators, one to search the MICO building, and three to search the homes of the MICO conspirators. One team stayed behind at the Lodge to search for the conspirators, under site team leader Byron Jones. Meanwhile in Washington, DC FBI teams were sent forth from the Washington office to search the offices and homes of the two Federal conspirators.
Meanwhile back in Lilly's room I saw another email on her computer -- this one from her partner Joe, asking for an update on the aforementioned two vicious criminals. I emailed back that the search warrant on the crook's "fort" should be executed at once because there was no danger now from them because they had been drowned when their van fell into the river. He replied he would see to it, and the police were very grateful and very pleased at the incriminating evidence they found in the fort.
III. (Late This Morning)
Nancy Kraft finally stopped wringing her hands and pacing the floor as her worry
about Lilly changed into anger
at Lilly. When she gave Lilly the ring and the instructions last night she was very emphatic in insisting that Lilly return immediately after delivering the ring, and Lilly had been very emphatic in agreeing to do so, saying that she would not have it otherwise -- she had tons of PI work to do! She would not have any time for a casual stroll in the park. So, where was she?? She should have been back hours ago. How dare she cause her mother to worry!!
"Oh No!", she moaned, "There I go again -- indulging in another self-centered pity party! I am going to have to finally heed the counsel Susan has been giving me all these years", she thought. All of a sudden it hit her -- the answer to the question that had been nagging her for a long time: "Why were Susan's compassionate warnings to her so familiar?". God, how could she have been so blind! Of course -- it was Stephen King's character Susan Snell, one of the best embodiments of longsuffering compassion in all of literature. Susan Snell did not give up when her efforts to save Carrie ended in ignominious failure. In fact, she devoted her very career to such efforts, as was so poignantly portrayed in the sequel, which occurs twenty years later -- The Rage. And for once Hollywood did something right when they had the same actress, Amy Irving, playing Susan in both movies, thereby emphasizing the continuity.
Well now, thought Nancy, my Susan is just as longsuffering -- she has been patient with me for over 20 years now. It is high time I shape up instead of getting burned up and burning someone else up!
Nancy then valiantly swallowed her pride and got on the phone for a very long -- and long overdue -- talk with Susan in which she admitted the aforementioned and other associated foolishness and begged Susan to forgive her and to help her know what to do to straighten out her life. Susan was overjoyed and very forgiving and very forthright in her counsel to Nancy. After her very long and very productive telephone conversation, Nancy further swallowed her pride and called here with the intention of asking Irene's forgiveness for the horrible attitude she had had toward her. In contrast to the praise she had always heaped upon Lilly for her boldness, she always looked down on Irene as a coward for choosing a comfortable career instead of a dangerous one like Lilly's. In Nancy's day a woman could enter careers once only open to men, but not dangerous ones -- these were still at that time reserved to men. But by the time Lilly was of age it was possible for women to do life-threatening work. So, in short, Nancy was vicariously living her life through Lilly.
Nancy telephoned here just after I had completed sending the aforementioned emails over Lilly's computer. I knew it was Nancy because her name was shown on the Caller ID. I enthusiastically answered, "Well, Nancy, I am so glad you called and I want to talk with you but not over the phone. Please come to the house and we will talk her in person, now." Dumbstruck by my boldness, she hesitated but then said, "I will be right over.". She somehow sensed I was wearing the ring and she was in the proper frame of mind and heart, so she acceded to my firmness, which was very uncharacteristic of her response to men. She had purposely married a weak man whom she could boss around. Her behavior and attitude had hastened him toward the grave and her domineering was one of the many things of which she had just repented in her lengthy conversation with Susan.
When Nancy arrived several minutes later I introduced myself and placed the thumb and middle finger of her right hand over the ring and asked her, "Do you feel it; do you know what it is?". "Yes", she replied. "OK, let's sit down and I will bring you up to date on what has been happening."
We went to the living room and seated ourselves in easy chairs facing each other. I began, "First we shall talk about Irene. Your asking her for forgiveness will have to wait. Due to an emergency at the hospital she was called in for special duty. She expects to return around 8 PM. You can speak with her then. Now let me tell you what I told her today when she sat in that chair to your left. I told her very firmly, 'Irene, you must stop demeaning yourself by unfavorably comparing your self with Lilly. You too are a warrior -- Yes, a warrior! You war against disease and other bodily ailments through your medical work. And you war against depression in your patients by dispensing love and hope to them. You are a warrior in a war that is just as important as the wars Lilly fights. I do not say that to make you feel good; it is the truth! Furthermore, you must quit comparing your appearance to Lilly's. You are a very attractive woman. I also do not say that to make you feel good. I mean it!'".
While quoting what I had said to Irene, I was facing the chair in which she had sat. I now turned and faced Nancy and continued, with a twinkle in my eye, "And, Nancy, be warned; I can tolerate a lot, but one thing I do not tolerate is anyone insulting my taste in women!"
We both had a hearty belly laugh over that one! Wow, this was really fun!
When we had recovered from our laughter I told her what had been happening to Lilly beginning with her fall in the woods and my adventures with the ring. I concluded by telling her that Lilly was now asleep and recovering from her concussion. I suggested that we go upstairs now and check up on her.
We mounted the steps and entered Lilly's bedroom where she was still soundly asleep. I whispered to Nancy, telling her about the new high-resolution scanner Lilly and Irene had co-invented. "Irene, you see, is not only a passionate and compassionate nurse; she is also very intelligent. She holds the highest position in the hospital which can be held by a nurse, and she co-invented (with Lilly) this high resolution scanner here. This scanner, by the way, can also check for amnesia. Because the concussion was so severe, Lilly could be suffering from amnesia. Irene set the scanner so that we can check for amnesia later today."
"Let's try it now," Nancy suggested. "OK". I said. "When I place this cap over her head, it will tell us if there is any amnesia, and, if so, the time period covered." The readout indicated that there was amnesia and the period was from four hours before concussion to 6 hours after concussion, and that the accuracy was plus or minus one half-hour. Since the concussion occurred at 8 AM this morning, this means that Lilly would not remember anything which happened during the hours between 4 AM and 2 PM. However, I cautioned Nancy that I myself am not a technician for this machine and that it is brand new and never been used before and that Irene really should be the one doing this.
It was now 5 PM. Unfortunately Nancy and I became careless in our conversation and had stopped whispering and had begun talking loud. Plus I banged the rollers against the bed when I rolled the machine away from the bed after the amnesia check. The noise awoke Lilly, who was disoriented and asked groggily, "Where am I? What time is it? Oh, my God, where is the Ring?", as she felt for it on her hand. She turned to see Nancy staring down at her in pity. "Mom, what is happening, and who is this man?". Nancy calmed her down and said, "You fell in the woods, knocked yourself out, and received a concussion which gave you a slight amnesia. This man is the new ring-bearer -- here feel it on his hand. Look, here is the machine you and Irene invented. We just used it and it shows you have amnesia for everything which happened to you between 4 AM this morning and 2 PM this afternoon. It is now 5 PM. You will remember what happens from now on but NOT what happened during the amnesia period. Irene had to go to the hospital and will be back at 8 PM. She will tell you more then."
Lilly was able to understand this but her head was now aching horribly with pain. I gave her a 4 hour Darvocet and told her to go back to sleep, which she did within minutes of swallowing it.
IV. (Around 1 PM this afternoon)
Two eleven year old boys -- Mikie Summers and his friend Billy Parham -- were perched on a branch high up in a pine tree on the west bank of the lake looking through a high-powered telescope at the lake and the woods and the hunting cabin on the east side of the lake. At 1:20 PM Mikie got excited when he saw three cars coming up the dirt road to the cabin. Billy took the scope from Mikie and said "Wow! Write this down in the book, Mikie". The boys always took a diary with them to record any interesting observations they made in the woods. Billy did the dictating and Mikie was the scribe. Billy's widowed mother owned a cabin about three miles west of the lake. Billy and Mikie both loved hiking and camping in the woods and they loved observing the lake, especially its beautiful swans, and the woods and the really neat hunting cabin owned by the MICO Chairman. One time they watched while he shot a deer in the woods.
Mikie and Billy also loved crime stories. When they saw the three cars coming to the cabin and the three men getting out of the cars carrying briefcases into the cabin, Mikie said to Billy, "Hey, maybe they got secret documents in those briefcases!", as he wrote down the time they arrived at the cabin. Billy remarked, "Remember, Mikie, only write down what you saw happening. No guesses about what you think it means; no speculations. Remember what they say on Dragnet, "Just the facts, ma'am, just the facts!".
Mikie got very excited when several minutes later he saw a fourth car come up the driveway. "Hey, look, Billy, another car and this has a US Govt. tag on it, Maybe it's the President!!". "No, dummy," said Billy, "The President always travels in a -- what do you call it -- uh, a motorcade, that's it -- you know a whole line of cars, and they have all these Secret Service guys there to protect him."
"OK, he's getting out of his car now and looking at the lake -- hey I've seen him before -- on the news." "Give me the scope. I know who he is; he is the Senator from South Carolina but I forget his name." "Wow!", they then both said in unison. And they noted he was carrying two briefcases.
While the boys were speculating on the significance of what they had observed, the four men exited the cabin and walked out onto the pier to look at the swans. Suddenly Mikie shouted, "Hey, Billy, they jumped into the lake to go swimming!". "What! Give me the scope so I can see. Hey, they are not swimming; they are just floating. And how come they jumped in with all their clothes on? Plus, it's too cold to go swimming now. And, hey, they aren't moving. You know what? I think they are dead!" "Oh, man, this doesn't make sense! How could they be dead? No one shot them or anything. This doesn't make sense."
The boys continued to watch as the bodies were carried to the end of the lake, over the waterfall, and down into a deep pond, and then toward a thick entwined net of branches which stopped their flow down the river.
Immediately afterward a reflection of light attracted their attention to the highway several miles below the cabin. "Hey, Mikie," shouted Billy, "Look at that -- there's a ton of cop cars heading this way and, oh wow, they just turned up the driveway and are heading toward the cabin. Hey, you must be right -- they are here to get those secret documents and catch those crooks. My God, that must mean that the MICO Chairman is a bad guy!".
The boys continued to be thrilled like never before as they watched the FBI agents secure the perimeter and enter the cabin and then emerge several minutes later carrying the five briefcases to the FBI van. "Wow and wow and wow", they exclaimed, "This is so wild, man, so wild!"
Billy then said, "Hey, we've got to tell them what we saw. My mom should be back by now. I'm going to call her on my cell. You take the scope, Mikie".
Billy's mom had just returned and was subjected to her son's intense barrage of excitement as he told her what he and Mikie had just seen. He concluded by telling her that she needed to call the FBI and tell them where the dead bad guys were. After repeatedly asking him if he was sure of what he was saying, she told her son goodbye.
Billy hung up and his mother telephoned the Lodge and spoke with the FBI site team leader, Agent Byron Jones, relaying what her son had just told her. He was flabbergasted! He immediately got on the walkie-talkie to report what he had learned and instructed all agents to proceed immediately to the corpses with the appropriate equipment and body bags. The agents went speedily into action, removed the bodies from the net of branches in the river, identified them, and placed them into the body bags and stowed them in their van. Meanwhile Jones reported this to his supervisor, and prepared to return to headquarters. "Wow", exclaimed Jones, "What a conclusion!". And what a relief -- the agents were all very tired from a previous op and were grateful that they could now head back.
Well, there was one exception, thought Jones. That feminist rookie, Alicia, who had been added to their op at the last minute. Alish -- who thinks she a real dish! Jones was a misogynist who abhorred the Bureau policy of hiring women agents. He and his men -- and all the rest were indeed men, not women, -- were dog tired. Sooooo, he assigned Alicia the task of interviewing Mikie and Billy and Billy's mother. That would get her out of sight, and, since this would be her first time conducting an interview, maybe she would screw it up and look bad!! Ha! Ha! Ha!
Now admittedly Alicia was no genius but she was sweet and she was so delighted at the wonderful mother and the two excited boys that the interview went very well. She reminded Billy of his older sister Elaine, and, indeed, Alicia conducted the interview more like a big sister than like a law enforcement officer. And she accepted the mother's invitation to supper, and they had a great, great time together. She was so captivated by the enthusiastic boys and the wonderful mother that she smothered her curiosity about the cause of death of the criminals and just put into her report what the boys saw happening -- just the facts, ma'am, just the facts.
And Mikie recorded in his diary Alicia's name and badge number and the date and time of the interview. He also got her to autograph the diary.
The fifth conspirator is too disgusting to discuss here except to say that her plan to escape justice by her fugitive flight in her private plane was foiled when it crashed into a deep snow bank near a mountain peak and the impact of the crash coupled with the heat from the burning plane caused the snow, plane, and her corpse to plunge into a certain deeep river which likes to entomb criminals.
Sam returned from hiding, was honored by MICO for his investigative efforts, was promoted to Research Director, and finally got up his nerve and proposed marriage to the gorgeous Chief Chemist, Angie, who gratefully accepted!
Nancy and Irene were wondrously reconciled with the result that Nancy rapidly became one of the finest women I have ever known, and ------- yes, we are engaged to be married!
Lilly finally got the rest she needed but she never regained the memory of the amnesiac hours. The ring and I and Nancy continue to watch over her and she soon will have another protector -- her colleague Joe is to become her husband.
Alicia received a special commendation for the interview, and Byron Jones received a special commendation for a masterful op and another commendation for his wisdom in selecting Alicia to conduct the interview. After hearing the news, Alicia rushed over to Byron, thanked him for the assignment, and gave him a big hug and a kiss on the cheek. Byron is no longer a misogynist. He and Alicia plan to be married.
Encouraged by these examples, Polly finally overcame her matrimoniaphobia and said "yes" to Harry.
Irene's new-found self-confidence led her to accept the marriage proposal from the top doc in the hospital.
A sextuple wedding is planned.
Now there may still be some bad guys out there but I am not worried about any "incidents" at the wedding ceremony because the wedding ring is not the only ring I will be wearing; AND the ceremony will be held on the bank of a beautiful pond which flows into a certain deeee-ee-eep river.
A sequel is planned. Which of the following is the title you would prefer?
____ Cyanoring 2
____ Cyanoring Rides Again
____ Son of Cyanoring
____ Cyanoring Revealed
Cast your vote on this website, www.cyanoring.com.
1. Kraft is the German word for "strength". Lilly represents strength rightly used; Nancy
represents strength misused; and Irene represents strength (partially) thwarted.
2. Everything I said here about Stephen King's character Susan Snell is true. She has
made a very strong impression on me, and I regard her as one of the greatest
characters in fiction. Since she is a character of fiction I cannot meet her. What I can
do is pay tribute to her in the way I did here. Naming Nancy's friend after her is my
way of giving her an opportunity to counsel someone who heeds it and thereby gets
3. Another female fictional character who has made a strong impression upon me is
Lilly Forrester, who appears in several of Nancy Taylor Rosenberg's crime novels.
Lilly Kraft is named after her. She is a disciplined version of Lilly Forrester.
4. The MICO corporation is wholly fictional (as is Sam Gordon and his work
experiences in corporations) but the disgusting stuff going on in "the corporate culture"
is all too real. I purposely did not give the conspirators any names because they do not
deserve any and I said as little as possible about them because, unlike many modern
writers, I do not wish to discuss disgusting things any more than necessary. For that reason
I also said the minimal amount necessary about the two vicious crooks.
5. I also do not like wasting words and time on unnecessary descriptions. In my
opinion most short stories and (esp.) novels include huge amounts of descriptions that have
no bearing on the story, and I sometimes wonder whether they insert these descriptions
and other extraneous stuff for the purpose of "padding" so that the story will look
longer than it really is.
6. My reason for including the two 11-year old boys in my story is that I thought it
would be interesting to show how things look through their eyes, and to have them
play a major realistic heroic role in a story about adults. Children are heroes in zillions
of children's stories, but not that often in stories written for adults.
7. I did not plan for the story to end as it did. I was puzzled for a while as to how to end
it, and then the idea of multiple weddings came to me as a fitting conclusion of the
momentum of the story. It was also great fun! This kind of thing often happens in the
writing of stories. The writer does not always know exactly how things will turn out
until he actually writes the story.
8. Bluish-green (cyan) is my favorite color. It is for this reason that I have written two
stories about a Cyanocube, one about a Cyanodisk, and this one about a Cyanoring.
The titles of these other stories are "The Cyanocube of Kalothor", "Lady Irene and the Final
Cyanocube", and "The Cyanodisk". The Cyanodisk is similar to the Cyanoring but
the story about it is very different. The Cyanocubes are very different because their
function is to empower magical devices.
My second favorite color is magenta, which is the color opposite to cyan on the color wheel.
For this reason after I wrote the Cyanocube of Kalothor I wrote a story about a
Magentasphere, which belongs in the Escutcheon in the palace of a medieval
Germanic king. The other stories all take place in contemporary times -- 20th and 21st
9. The Afterword is intended as a joke. I have already chosen the title of the sequel --
it is "Cyanoring 2", and I have just finished writing it. It is much shorter than this one and
is very different. Although it is a sequel, it can be read without a knowledge of this one and
this one is also complete in itself -- it does not need Cyanoring 2 to complete it.
May 30, 2008