THE GARNET RINGS
By Forrest Wayne Schultz
My Ideal Job
I have the ideal engineering job. I work at home using my computer to solve problems which I enjoy doing because they are like the ones in the math, science, and engineering textbooks we used in college. My job also turned out to be ideal when my father asked me to return home to help him run the family business. This will be no problem -- I will take my computer home with me and move back into my spacious boyhood bedroom for the duration and do my engineering work there.
Woman In Danger
Several hours before I left to go home I received a visit from an old friend requesting me to do him a favor for him. He has a super-secret job about which he had never told me anything before then. He told me has had just been assigned to a task force with the mission of protecting a young woman from assassination. The day after tomorrow (Wednesday) she will be moving into the house next door to my boyhood home. He does NOT want me to use any spy-craft gadgetry or methodology but simply to keep my eyes and ears open and report anything noteworthy to him via a super-secret electronic gizmo he gave me. I am NOT to tell ANYONE about this nor am I to do anything to arouse anyone's suspicion. And I am not to contact him in any other way than through this special e-gizmo, which will enable us to communicate directly with each other (NOT via the Internet). He told me that his first e-comm to me will instruct me in how to use my e-gizmo for this purpose. He will NOT be contacting me in any other way.
I immediately agreed to do so. My task will be easier than he realized because I already know this woman, Cara, who used to live in our community when she was a girl. It will be wonderful to see her again, so that it will be natural for me to spend a good bit of time with her because we were close friends during our childhood. In fact, shortly before she left, her grandmother, one of the greatest persons I have ever known, gave Cara two very beautiful garnet-colored rings, one for her to wear and one for me to wear. I will speak more of them later.
My Father's Candor
Following my father's instructions, I went to see him in his study as soon as I returned home, which was on Monday afternoon. He too had something to tell me that I needed to keep secret. He told me that his illness was a permanent one from which he would not recover. He learned this seven years ago after which he secretly changed his will and several legal documents which made me the co-owner of everything -- his house, his farm, his stocks, and his business. He has not told my mother or anyone else: until he told me his attorney was the only other person who knew this. Upon his death I will own everything automatically -- the will merely states this; it does not make it happen. He does NOT want my mother to know because she would not be able to emotionally handle it. Starting a few months ago, the illness began slowly weakening him and he now needs me to take about half his burden in running our business, an ultra-modern, heavily computerized bakery which does not require a lot of supervision. He and my mother were splitting the supervisory work roughly half and half. I will now be taking about half of his half, i.e. about a quarter of the overall supervisory work, which will amount to about 4 hours a day. The farm takes no work at all now because several years ago he stopped farming and turned the whole of the land into pasture which he has leased to a nearby farmer using it to pasture his beef cattle.
Cara And The Garnet Rings
I got to know Cara when she was two years old and I was seven years old. We met at a special swimming hole that was ideal for toddlers and other small children because it was just the right size and depth for splashing around without having to worry about drowning or anything else dangerous. And the water was clean and refreshing and never muddy or polluted. Her family left the area and moved to California when she was four years old and I was nine years old. Cara is one of the very finest human beings I have ever known as well as one of the feistiest and most creative. She liked to make up stories and change stories -- for instance, she said it was actually the Three Bears that jumped out the window, not Goldilocks. By the time she was three and I was eight we were very close friends, and it was at that time that her grandmother gave to Cara and to me The Garnet Rings, which were and are the most beautiful objects I have ever seen.
Her grandma with great joy and solemnity gave us these rings with instructions NEVER to take them off and NEVER to tell anyone about them. She said that with them we could communicate with each other, and she said that they would protect both of us from harm. Communicating via them is easy -- when we wish to speak with each other, each of us sees the other and hears the other via a kind of holographic projection plus audio that looks and sounds just like we are with each other. We kept in touch with each other many times both here and then after she and her family moved to California when she was four and I was nine years old.
These rings are the color of garnet, which is a vibrant deep dark red -- the red of life and vitality, which is exactly the feeling Cara and I get when we see and feel our rings. Another thing special about these rings is that garnet is the color of the ring itself, NOT of a stone mounted on the ring. The ring is composed of a metal which is both ultra-strong and ultra-light, which is unusual also in that it radiates the garnet color in a vibrant manner.
Although Cara and I can see these rings, they are invisible to everyone else, and no one beside us and her grandmother knows of them. We never talk about them with anyone else. They were especially important to us after she moved to California -- it was easy for us to stay in touch. As soon as I was done speaking with my father upon my return home, I went and moved back into my bedroom and then contacted Cara via our rings. And she had quite a tale to tell me! That morning while she and her grandmother were chatting they suddenly sensed danger from a cabal of evil wizards, whereupon they prayed, and then her ring showed her the evil wizards and their magical paraphernalia being destroyed as their remote cabin was burned by a wildfire. Wow, was that exciting and really "far out". Unfortunately, I could not tell Cara about what I had learned from my friend because of my promise to him not to tell anyone.
The Girl Next Door
Suzie is NOW the girl next door and has been the girl next door all of her life. She will cease to be the girl next door after she and her parents move out tomorrow (Tuesday). She is the same age as I am, and she was one of my closest friends during our teen years, and I suppose you could call her my "girlfriend", although we rarely "dated" in the usual sense of that term. We spent a lot of time together in and around our houses, but our favorite activities were taking long walks and bike rides.
Immediately after we graduated from high school, her second cousin Billy moved nearby and he soon replaced me as her best friend. I maintained my friendship with Suzie but it became a rather inactive one because I then was spending almost all my time away at college and at my job near the college, so that I only got to see her on my few visits home at Christmas and a few other times.
Billy also liked to go on walks and bike rides with Suzie but his favorite pastime was spy stuff. He not only enjoyed reading espionage suspense stories, he also liked electronic surveillance gadgetry, and doing things like trying to figure out how he would carry out a "hit" as a sniper.
On the other side of the road that runs past our houses is a very high hill. Climbing it and gazing over the vast vista which can be seen from its summit was one of the most enjoyable things Suzie and I did together. Billy also liked doing this but in addition he liked to imagine being a sniper perched on its lofty heights. And he got Suzie interested in this as well. They spent a lot of time up there trying to figure out a good location for a sniper. They finally found it -- a rock ideally situated and just the right size and configuration upon which a sniper's rifle could be mounted for a direct shot into her bedroom window. Then, SUDDENLY, Suzie has a premonition that a sniper was intending to come very soon to this very spot in order to shoot into her window!!
Billy believed her and also believed that they needed to act immediately to prevent this from occurring. In a nearby tree they installed a poison-dart delivery-system and an electronic surveillance camera, and they installed another such camera in a tree near the spot where the sniper would be likely to park his car -- in the bushes near the dirt road on the back side of the hill. He then put his computer skills to use whereby he discovered that the assassination plot was hatched by two super-wealthy, super-reclusive, super-wicked brothers, who a very short while ago had contracted the job to a sniper who is one of the best hit-men in the business. As quickly as possible Billy paid a visit to this dastardly duo in their lair (a cabin in a remote woods) where he executed them and retrieved all their conspiratorial data.
The following day, which was this (Monday) morning, the hired sniper arrived to perform his reconnaissance of the hill. It did not take him long to locate the aforementioned ideal sniper spot. The electronic surveillance camera made a positive identification of the man -- this was indeed THE sniper! Before he could open his weapon case, Billy pressed the button which sent a super-poisonous dart into this villain, killing him in seconds. Billy and Suzie then drove to the summit of the hill in Suzie's car. They both dragged the hit man's corpse to his car and stashed it in the trunk thereof. Billy then drove the hit man's car (with Suzie following him in her car) to a long abandoned quarry, where they buried the hit man by pushing his car over the cliff which caused it to plunge into the deep lake at its base, which is now the tomb of this would-be assassin. They then returned to Suzie's place in her car. They decided to maintain the electronic surveillance in operation in Suzie's bedroom (which on Wednesday will become Cara's bedroom) and to place another receiver for it in my bedroom.
Suzie and Billy told me all of this on that evening in my room. I had arrived on Monday afternoon and met with my father soon after that. Billy and Suzie came over as soon as he left for his Kiwanis Club meeting that evening. We spent the whole evening going over this and getting caught up on lots of other stuff.
Billy and Suzie, as they had planned to do, left on Tuesday afternoon, the same time that Cara and her family were preparing to leave California, which they did, arriving here on Wednesday afternoon.
It is now Wednesday afternoon. No words are adequate to convey how wondrous it is to have her back here. After a time of joyous greeting in which I welcomed her, her parents and her grandmother and I helped them unload their stuff, I finally had some time alone with Cara. Although we had spoken to one another during our absence from each other, on the phone and by email and the contact via the Garnet Rings, these are no substitutes for being with a person. I especially was anxious for us finally to discuss something we just could not do until we were back together again, and that is whether she wishes to marry me. We agreed to devote the main time of our conversations to this, because each of us appears to wish to marry but each has some hesitations. Tomorrow (Thursday) she and the rest of her family will have a lot to do, so we have decided that we will devote all of Friday afternoon to this discussion.
It is now Thursday morning and my friend has finally contacted me via the e-gizmo. He had two messages for me. The first message stated very emphatically that Cara was no longer in danger of assassination. This is very good to hear and, of course, it confirms what I learned when Billy and Suzie told me what they had done. The second message was very different due to its uncertainties. It stated that it was not certain that anyone else here was in danger of assassination but that there was a possibility that another young woman living in our community might be the target. It also stated that the only information available was that her name was "Ready". I had a good laugh over that!! I know exactly to whom the message refers and her name, or, I should say, nickname, is "Reddie".
We have two elementary schools in our community. When I was in second grade a new girl, who had just moved to our part of the community, joined our class. She had -- and has -- beautiful red hair. We had a boy in our class who had red hair and we had nicknamed him "Red". We could not give her the same name without getting the two confused, so we decided to nickname her "Reddie". She LOVED this nickname "Reddie", and ever since then everyone here calls her that.
Like me, Reddie lives on the edge of town, and, in fact, her house is directly south of the house which Suzie just left and into which Cara just moved. As you proceed south the land gradually slopes down to a small creek and then slopes gradually up to Reddie's house. It is approximately a third of a mile from my house to hers.
As soon as I had the opportunity, very early on Thursday afternoon, I climbed to the summit of the hill, and went to that ideal sniper rock and I was horrified to see that it is also an ideal spot for a sniper to use to shoot directly into Reddie's bedroom window!!! What in the world is going on here??
Further complicating this matter is that Reddie, who has wanted me for some time, finally decided to make her move when I returned. I agreed to meet her on Thursday at 4 PM at my place to discuss this. Although this adds a complication, it will give me the opportunity to renew our acquaintance and to see if I can detect anything from our conversation that would indicate that she is in any danger.
It was quite exciting meeting with Reddie to discuss very candidly something so important and so personal. I clearly expressed to her my strong tie with Cara, and I emphasized that I would not make any decision until after my talk with Cara tomorrow. Reddie accepted this without any reservation or complaint. Our discussion was frank and mature and friendly and informative.
Our discussion also included a lot of catching up. We each told the other what we had been doing during the past five years, so that I succeeded in my plan of learning everything I could about what was happening in her life. I wanted to learn if there was anything at all in what she said or any feelings she expressed that might be a clue to whether or not she was in any danger, and if so, what kind and from whom. I did not see anything at all either in her statements or her attitude that would indicate her being in any kind of danger. Whew, what a relief!
Immediately after she left I began having some fun as I began thinking about having to choose between The Girl With The Red Ring and The Girl With The Red Hair!!
Reddie and I had had our conversation while seated on lawn chairs in a secluded spot under the shade of a maple tree on the boundary between my back yard and the adjacent woods. After our conversation, as I walking toward my house, my soliloquy about the Red-Ring/Red-Hair choice was abruptly interrupted by a cry of pain and a thump from the woods behind me. As I turned around I beheld sprawled upon the ground Miranda The Poe Girl alias Raven-Haired Randie alias Nevermore alias Goth Girl. She was a not-so-secret admirer whom I had forgotten, whose sudden dramatic appearance brought back memories of her strange attractiveness. Unlike the strange attractors in arcane physics books, Randie was a strange attractor in real life!
Not wanting to admit this to her, I jokingly reproached her: “Well, Randie, nice of you to drop in like this! I had already surmised that you were falling for me, but I never thought you would do so literally!”.
She retorted with a huff: “Hey, cut the chit-chat! Help me get up – I am hurting real bad – must have sprained my ankle!”.
“Wow! This is really exciting – a semi-nerd like me coming to the rescue of the tough Goth Girl. Well, here I am, Sir Galahad at your service”, I exclaimed as I walked over to her and gently assisted her to stand and then lean upon me as she limped toward the house with my support. I guided her toward the living room and placed her on the couch, where she reclined as I rubbed capsicum ointment on her ankle, which I then wrapped in an ace bandage.
As she was recuperating she brought me up to date on what was happening in her life. Lots of interesting stuff in her account but the only thing of relevance here was her dabbling in “psychic” stuff, including contact with a famous pychic “reader” whose services have been used by various persons, including intelligence operatives, one of whom I suspect was my abovementioned friend – I am sure this psychic was the source of the intel he gave me about “Ready”.
The reason for this conclusion was that Randie said that yesterday when she heard of Reddie’s decision to chase me, that she blurted out “I could kill that Reddie girl!”, after which the psychic appeared to her in a vision and proclaimed, “I will help you to do so!”. Randie then told me that, heeding the warnings against demonic stuff her pastor had been giving in his recent sermons, she had decided to discontinue her contact with this psychic, and to pray to God for a Hedge of Protection to be placed around her, which she received. Therefore, she told the psychic to get lost and never contact her again! The psychic in anger tried to barge in anyway, reminiscent of the Big Bad Wolf trying to blow down the brick house of the Third Little Pig, except in her case it was more like a force field into which the psychic crashed and was bounced off, then withdrew in defeat.
We had further discussions in which she said that she wanted me but had prayed to God for His guidance and would submit to His Will in this matter. Sooo, this time with Randie ended like my time with Reddie: a mature, intelligent, open discussion with no hard feelings. A very refreshing experience indeed!!! What a blessing!!
My Meeting With Cara
I was greatly encouraged by the outcome of the meetings with both Reddie and Randie, so much so that I renewed my commitment to God, which, I am sorry to say, had become somewhat lukewarm. When Cara and I met the following day, Friday, I was then ready for it, and after some discussion we both concluded that God had given us the Garnet Rings because He wanted us to marry and to work together in a special life of service He has planned for us. This is not The End, but THE BEGINNING!!!
October 16, 2013