This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
by J P Ronan
Mother Alfreda, PCJ
ISBN 1-4196-2985-9 Pub 2006 by Booksurge ,LLC
Villi Knatuek; Russian ex colonel Prana Lal; female astronomy student Mrs. Tessie Lewis; permanent resident of villa Mr. Richard Lewis; permanent resident of villa Hilmet Pasha; male astronomy student Dyhan Von Schmidt; collector of antiquity Famaraz Shahbazian; Persian businessman Bing Bing Soriga; head house cleaning for villa Ling Ling Soriga; business agent, and head of villa's casino Umit Taskin; Chief Inspector Ankara Police Dr. Samuel Tarlach; American astronomer Fetih Terim; sailor of the Aegean Dr. Sophia Torrenti; Italian Astronomer
Saeed El Amin; male student astronomer from Afghanistan Deni Beaudoin; French Canadian traveler Lady Abatha Christown; owner of the villa Dincer Gundez; local merchant Subha Gundez; daughter of Dincer Geyre Gurcay; male astronomy student Murten Hotuk; Turkish American wife to Uptil Dr. Uptil Hortuk; Turkish Astronomer Cathy Jones; an American buisnes secretary
Tugay: servant to Lord Christown Farooq Yousef; male astronomy student
Title = sea birds Chp1 = observatory Chp2 = fountain in Rome Chp3 = entrance to villa Chp4 = rear of villa Chp5 = village Chp6 = sea shore near village Chp7 = hills above village Chp8 = students Chp9 = return to Rome
At one time every railroad's schedule in the USA was coordinated by the daily astronomical readings taken at this observatory. Every train station kept a clock that was adjusted to the stroke of midnight as measured by the astronomers at the Allegheny Observatory. In 1860’s, the observatory was paid some $3000 annually to provide an accurate standard for time. Today the observatory is an active part of the University of Pittsburgh's Department of Astronomy's Research Programs. A most current topic is the search for extra solar planets. The astronomy's physical appearance is unique and it is used today as a landmark for the navigation of local transportation. Three large silver metal domes rest upon a two-stored brick and mortar structure, which resembles an ancient Greek temple. The exterior is decorated with numerous Corinthian columns. The entrance is the form of a classic rectangle formed by the golden ratio of Ancient Greek builders. The center dome houses a 30-inch refracting telescope. One side dome is home to a 30inch reflecting telescope. The second side dome houses the original 13-inch refractor.
Three rivers partition urban Pittsburgh. The Allegheny, and the Monongahela Rivers join to from the Ohio River at one point. The center of the city is found inside a triangle bound by these rivers. The northern addition of the city sits on top of a gathering of hills. Here one may look down upon the Allegheny River with a spectacular view of the golden triangle that is the city's cultural and business center. One of the city's parks surrounds a northern hill of greatest height. River View Park not only commands the best view of city but it commands the view of the night's sky. On the apex of this tallest hill is a grassy knoll upon which was built an astronomical observatory in the middle 1800's. This knoll is tree lined. The land used by the observatory adjoins a corner of the park.
Inside, Professor Sam Tarlach is just finishing the removal his personal items from the director's desk of the Allegheny Astronomical Observatory. After many years as a research astronomer with the University of Pittsburgh, it is time to step down. He intends to stay active with work on smaller astronomy projects that have collected over the years for want of the time or money. These special interests should keep Sam busy for years yet to come. His new office is located on the upper floor of the observatory is in a converted corner storeroom. Not as palatial as the director's office but it places him with closer access to the 30-inch telescope housed under the main dome of the observatory. Besides, he will be
traveling more often. Sam has plenty of time now to visit one or other of the many smaller observatories around the world. His time is his own. Sam is placing his personal possessions into small boxes. Each box is labeled using a scheme of rectangular three-dimensional coordinate specification. The markings of the boxes are simple but guarantee a faithful reconstruction of the spatial details of his office. Those who encounter Dr.Tarlach or his office for the first time are distracted by the extreme degree of organization that confronts them. His coworkers and family have long viewed his attention to detail and spatial arrangement of his surroundings as odd. Sam's attire is quite neat and appropriate. He wears a style of clothes that is severe of line but fashionable. His dress is most simple but elegant. The arrangement and coordination of all items in his dress and about his office are impeccable. The ordinary soul in Sam's presence appears inadequate. The common man acquires an impression of Dr. Tarlach as endowed with an unordinary gift for making the ordinary in life extraordinarly special. A collection of pencils and pens that are usually seen as clutter become for Sam's desk an arrangement of order and purpose that may only occupy a single predestined location. Such grandeur in organization, and elegance of functionality is the hallmark of Dr. Tralach's life and of his mind. As Sam attends to his work his thoughts turn to his wife. On many occasions he would hurry off to a remote mountaintop to use an available grand telescope while leaving Ruth at home in Pittsburgh. How guilty he yet feels! How he wishes Ruth would be waiting for him now. His Ruth had passed away a short time ago. He's world has never been the same. She was all the sweetness in life for him. Sam's eyes swell with tears almost ready to fall. Ruth's
suffering had been brief. Sam was left alone. He yet has no idea of how to continue life without her. His wife was much younger than he. She was a very active, and an attractive woman. A few years earlier she had found a small lump in one breast. The cancer had been removed and she had resumed her normal life for the next two years. One day she became complained of pain in her lower back. Both her kidneys were rapidly failing. She had been in the hospital for just a few days when she knew that she was dying. She asked Sam to phone each member of the family, and their close friends and inform them personally of her impeding death. In the last moments she filled her thoughts of the needs of others. After a few private words with Sam, Ruth eye's closed while looking up at Sam. She died gazing into his eyes. His wife's passing left Sam drained of emotion. The drive for serious duties as teacher, and administrator are gone. Retirement from his official duties seems the only responsible option. The many years of orientating telescopes to search the heavens have been an activity that as yet he can undertake. Sam wishes to use the time remaining before he joins Ruth to finish the final pieces of his career. He wants his life's work as astronomer to be left completed. He intends to travel the world where opportunity provides and work on lingering scientific notions that he will let wait no longer. "Well everything of mine is out of the old office now. The new guy…the new lady may occupy the old place without delay." Sam has recently developed the habit of speaking to himself.
Sam is to be succeeded by a young whiz of a lady astronomer. The university is excited by her recruitment. Although Sam has known of her work, he has never met the lady. He decided not to recommend or interview candidates for his director's position as a new broom sweeps clean. It is better for all concerned at the observatory to leave the new director with no compromises from the past. Sam is just steeping into his new office. Many boxes are stacked about the corners. Tommy McDonald's head appears from the doorway. "Hey boss you’re just one of us boys now". "Not to the end of the month Thomas...My time is not officially expired for 5 more days...So look sharp before the old administrator's urge to correct the budget brings out the ax." Tommy laughs as he recalls when Sam had hired him 17 years ago as an operator's helper on the 13-inch telescope. At first Tom would assist with public tours of the facility, and help the children look through the smaller telescope. Over time, Sam came to rely of his work. Three years ago Sam had promoted him to chief operator of the whole works. Tommy is responsible for all the telescopic operations in the observatory now. "Boss when's this new babe going to take over?" "Thomas this new babe is one Dr. Torrenti. She's a very serious professional. She is European and she's not accustomed to the ways of we ex-GI's". This remark is a remainder to Tommy that his new superior will not share their common experience of the US Marine Corps. One of the reasons Sam had taken Thomas on years ago was the need for extended personal discipline in the telescope's operational crew on long nights of observation.
"Thomas you're a hard man ...The best at shooting a telescope there is around." Tommy's laugh is uncontrollable. Sam's reference to a telescope as a cannon is a play on Tommy's first experience with his misfiring of mortar rounds in basic military training. "Still haven't blown any thing up yet boss!" "Seriously, Thomas if your crew mans the old 30-inch for Torrenti's work as you did for my research, the gal may end up as the next the Mrs. McDonald." Tommy's late night escapades have given rise to a list of former wives. Hard work, hard play, and a hard life are Tommy's way. Sam feels that one day Tommy is to have a change of life and some lady might have a chance to last as his wife. "What's the show on the 30 inch tonight Thomas?" "Boss were cruising the vicinity of the galaxy Centaurus-A for variably bright stars." "Can you squeeze off some shots of Saturn's rings through my new encoding spectrometer? I need to check the optical calibration on the thing before I pack it up for shipment to Turkey." "Sure thing! We'll try to get it during warm up!" "Let's see today is Tuesday...I need the calibration results by Thursday evening...So you can shoot the works as late as Wednesday night Thomas if you get into a jam. I'll be gone for the next couple of days. You’ll be own your own again." "You’re going to try to make your old idea work?" "Thomas, some think I'm wasting my time on it but it's my time now." "Why don't you let us work on the idea here in Pittsburgh?" "The cost here is too high and the idea is too controversial. I need to run that encoder for days, maybe a couple of weeks at a time. Your gazing schedule is too busy with too many
priorities. No, I'll find a small observatory with lots of prime viewing time available. If the goods are real on this idea, then it will have top priority and you'll get your fill of working with it." "Where's this telescope located that has no one is using it?" "Dr Hortuk has an old 13 inch refractor located on the Aegean Coast of Turkey. He occasionally points the thing for student training. Hortuk will provide the technical help and the telescope. Dr. Torrenti will provide the independent expert analysis. The encoder and myself will collect the data." "You mean that this Torrenti babe is interested in your idea?" "Actually, quite so! If the encoder works out her research will benefit. In addition she will get credit for help developing the idea, and keep this observatory very busy with grant money." "She sounds like a winner, or at least the hope of a winner. Tell old Uptil hello when you see him. He still owes me a beer for my help in getting his thesis done on time." "I'll see him in a week or so. Your regards will be passed on to him." "Is this Italian dish going to be in Turkey with your team?" "She insists! I'll meet her in Ankara then will move on to the observatory for at least two weeks of night viewing. By the by, she'll be returning to Pittsburgh with me so you shall have time to paint and polish. I understand she runs a clean, very clean ship. So buy some temporary man power if it is needed." "There are bucks in the budget?" "I left about some for this occasion. Charge it to my relocation fees." "How will you pay for the Turkish expedition?"
"My own money plus time and manpower is provided for no cost by Dr Hortuk. He wants his students to get some publications out of the deal. Dr. Torrenti insists to pay her own airline tickets. The housing, food and local expenses are very reasonable." "Sounds like a piece of cake. How does that encoder of yours work boss?" "Thomas do remember how we camouflaged ourselves in the military?" "Yah! We used lots of green and black face paint and we tied stems of long grass on our helmets and backpacks. Why?" "Yes! The idea is to hide your presence from an enemy’s sight. Well suppose you wanted to increase you chances to be seen by some one. What would ou do?" "Well boss man, I would wear bright colors that contrast well with my immediate surroundings in daylight. At night, I'd build a large fire." "What you are describing is a reverse camouflage! You mix your own form with an additional visual aide." "So how's that relate to the encoder?" "I designed a simple optical encoder that works on the principal of reverse camouflaging. In fact, the encoding process uses a comparison of a weakly seen object in the night sky to one or other another nearby bright star." "So the weakly light object you want to see is made observable with aide of a brighter object? Isn't that confusing though?" Tommy is anxious to follow this development. "The light observation is made by the telescope on both objects at the same time. The data is mixed. Using mathematical techniques the enhanced form of the weak object is derived from the original confused data." Sam has confidence in Tommy's intuition. "Exactly what weak objects do you have in mind for this encoder?"
"Information about time changes that are typical of the weather activities of a distant planet may be uniquely embedded within the observation of a nearby star." Sam speaks confidently but he knows the concept has yet to be proven. "This gives billions and billions of possible combinations for data encoding. Seems to me boss, such a technique would provide an absolute unbreakable code for sending secrets." "Actually Thomas you are correct. Since the data is recoverable only with a specific star's activity no one could break the code without knowing which of trillions of stars to use." "Wouldn't the government like to know about this?" "They know Thomas! They have some interest if secrets could be mixed in with star data. The technique presently requires use of a high-resolution telescopic device so it's use is limited to orbiting satellites." "You'll get a Nobel Prize yet boss!" Tommy gives a sign of cheer by raising the extended thumb of his right hand. "I don't know! I would be grateful if this encoder will identify the presence of an atmosphere on a distant planet. Sooner or later we will be able to identify water based environments somewhere in our galaxy." "There's where we'll search for life!" Tommy is excited. "Well for now we best find distant planets to use with your encoder. With a smart military style salute, Tommy is off. The crew of operators has long given Sam the private label as the ‘old man’ as an military term of endearment. Most others around the observatory refer to Sam privately just as Tarlach. Out of respect by Sam's piers, and by way of avoiding confusion, everyone refers to Sam by his last name.
As darkness sets over western Pennsylvania, Tommy's crews become busy. Sam makes his way out of the observatory toward his nearby home. As he passes along the main hall of the observatory the night receptionist calls out. "Dr. Tarlach do you want one of the boys to bring your mail over to the house until you return." This is a courtesy that the office adopted while Sam tended to his wife at home during her final days. Ms. Rose Kerr looks out from under a pair of large reading glasses that cover her face. "No need my dear Rosie ...The rush is off me...All news may keep till Friday or later if need be!" Sam reaches over the receptionist’s desk and gives the stout short woman wearing a blue dress covered with white polka dots a warm kiss on the check. "Oh! Rose, if I haven't said so today, you look quite lovely." Rose stares at the sad eyes of Dr. Tarlach. She recalls his eyes hace always shown a bit of saddness. No one can mistake the loss that shows from the passing of his wife, she thinks to herself. "Thank you Dr. Tarlach you always notice." "You’re welcome Rosie, and I am always gratefully for your good work here at the observatory...No doubt the new directress will value you as we all do." "Dr. Tarlach you are a dear man! God bless you." "He has many times Rose...Goodnight!" Rose watches Dr. Tralach pass out of the building. She wonders how this fine man will ever recover some happiness in his life. The drive home is just minutes from the observatory. The road passes down winding hills with the best S-curves in the region. Sam finds himself popping gears in his vintage Porsche as he follows the rhythm of the dips and bends in the streets. Ruth never approved of his testosterone binges behind the wheel.
In three minutes and 40 some seconds Sam is home. He knows could make the trip in much less time if the speed limit was ever suspended. Sam himself has restored the old Porsche. His love of detail and functionality are both expressed in the process of the car's rebuilding. The elegant style and color of the car are returned to the original. The engine purrs as if new. The car's immaculate appearance and its exceptional performance are typical manifestations of Tralach's unique abilities. Sam is quite delighted with his skill behind the wheel. "The old boy can still handle a great automobile", he says to himself as he walks up the path to his home. As Sam enters his home, he realizes that the place is in need of dusting and cleaning. Sam will call his wife's favorite niece in the morning and ask her to stay in the place while he goes off to Turkey for several weeks. His wife was from a large Pittsburgh family. Her niece, Heidi loved Ruth's taste and adores the house. Ruth would be happy to know the place will be kept pretty much unchanged. Sam is going to ask Heidi to give up her apartment, move her things and keep the place year round. Free rent, no utilities, and all of Ruth's furniture in a turn of the century stone two story...Heidi will jump with joy! Besides, it will save time for Heidi in the event providence does not allow his return. Sam sits down in his favorite chair...favorite because it looks across the room to where Ruth would sit while fussing with a needle or reading her latest library book. The old chair lets his spirits down any more. Sam sets loose his tie, fills his glass with brandy, and his mind is given freedom to wander. He muses at the many joys he shared with his family as a boy. His mother had been a nurse. She was always available to the people in the small town in the hills of Virginia
where he was raised. Many times when no doctor could be reached his mother went out on call. Besides most folks new she would not charge for her help. She would go out even when she knew some might be taking advantage just in case they were not. Sam is much like his mother but the military has taught him to expect others to carry their weight. You could call Sam out if help was needed but no one took advantage of Sam twice! "Dad… what a character! The old guy knew just about everything there was worth knowing." Sam was never able to match his dad's many interests. It seemed that Sam's dad liked to tinker with machines, and all things electrical. His dad hadn't finished high school as most did not in those days. But as most, his dad never stopped learning even after he had retired from the foundry where he worked since he was 13 years old. His dad started working for 10 cents a hour's wage! Sam can never forget his dad, and mom. God how he'd would love to pass ball once more with the old boy, and sit together for a supper with mom's specials on the table. Life was just great...simple and great...and tough on his parents. May they rest in their eternal piece, and may he be fortunate to see them there one day! Boot camp...no way was he going to spend any memory time on that part of his past. The military had sent him to college through officer's training. Sam loved those hard guys pounding out the miles in formation all day just to sleep in an open ditch in the rain with weapons at the ready. The old uniform hasn't quite fit for some years. Sam has lost some weight with the strain of the past years. Sam presently feels tired but he is really yet quite fit for his age.
Ruth was a beauty of a young girl. Sam thought she would never become anyone more than a friend. Then one day, the fire works started. Somehow the fire never did go out. Each day with Ruth was special...not Hollywood but her sense of humor always gave him cause to smile at himself. It was easy to be with Ruth. It isn't easy to be without her. That's why he married the girl and that is why he loved her. Morning's light awakes Sam. He has slept again on the couch. Too hard to go upstairs to the bed he has shared with Ruth. The ringing of the phone moves Sam off towards the kitchen. "Good morning Sam Tarlach here!" Sam is always the professional. "Unkie T...it's Heidi! I’m calling to see if you found anything for me while you were in Arizona last week." Sam had forgotten about his recent trip to a conference in Tucson. Heidi asked him to bring back a cooking griddle. Sam had never heard of such a thing let alone ever seen one. He did however manage to locate a place that sold lots of the damn things somehow. "Heidi I found you a Wagner for $15.00...the guy says that's the best made." "Good going on griddle getting unk. I'll be by this morning if it's okay?" "Sure thing sweetie and on your way over bring all you belongings. It's time you move in to my house and take over the old homestead." "I love your house, and all of Aunt Ruth's things. But it's your home!" "Heidi girl I'm not using much of it. The bills will be mine. You and yours will have the place to yourselves most of the time. Look! Try it! Save yourselves a bunch of money and move again later if you don’t get along comfortably." "I could be moved in by the first of the month."
"You can drive the Porsche...on sunny days...around town. The keys to the house will be with your griddle on the kitchen table…what does one do with a damn griddle anyway?" "Hot cakes unk! Lots of hot cakes! See ya in about an hour or so." Sam thinks of the many thrills he has gotten from Heidi. He is sure she will come with some boxes. The girl could read his mind just like Ruth. He also knows he will be showered and packed for the Mid East before the girl will land in the house. ~ ~~ ~ ~ Sam regularly goes to a neighborhood barber, one Franco Bolla. Sam has worn a military style short hair cut since his youth. Franco is popular for his entertainment and for his inexpensive cuts. An overhead bell rings as Sam steps inside the shop. "Bon journo Professori!" Franco calls out as Sam enters waving a hello. "You’re next to sit in my chair", Franco smiles with glee as he looks forward to Sam's visit. "The big man...He's come to Franco". The middle-aged barber calls out to his friends seated about the wall facing the big mirror behind the barber's chair. Franco is heavy set, bald and rugged looking man. His shop is lined with pictures of famous Italian American sports heroes from the thirties to present day. Many are complete with autographs to Franco. Some photos contain Franco shaking hands with the famous. There are photos of a young trim boxer with thick dark hair named Franco ‘iron man’ Bolla. "Franco please square away the old crown as usual", barks Sam smiling at his friend holding the scissors. "Still pumping iron Franco?"
"Yes, every day up my body goes up in the morning. If God, he approves, I make the cup of coffee, go down the stairs to the room in the basement and work with the weights. If I don't work out, the whole day she's sore my legs, my neck, my back because I stand so much." Sam has a long abiding admiration for this hardy smiling man. "How many houses do you own now, Franco?" "Eleven! But one house she goes to my son Marco. He's gets married soon. I say Marco what you want from papa? He says pop give me one of your houses. So I make the house ready for him to live. Sam, it has no garage so I built a four car garage." "Did you do all the work yourself Franco?" "No I pay the man to do the brick work but all the labor she's down by me. I think maybe that I do too much. I pay too much for a help if the help doesn't work a hard. So I do myself!" "That's a fine present. What's Marco doing these days?" "He's finished school. He's works as a buisness man. He buys and sells stocks." "Did your son help with the garage?" "No Sam he's too busy. He has the good education. It's no need to him to work like the animal. When I come to this country I have no education, I have no good job to take. I work like a mule six, seven days a week. I work the gas station eight to ten hours each day after I close the shop. I save the money. My first home, I pay off the debt in five years. The second home I pay off in three years. Now I have eleven houses all in Forest Hill. My son's house is bellisimo. I put the addition to the kitchen so I can make the covered hallway from his a house to the garage with no go outside for him."
"Your are very good to your son and daughter Franco. How's your little girl Maria." "Sam she's no little, she's the mama two a times already." "Did you give her a house also?" "No, she no want the house. Her husband he's a lawyer. He makes much money. She wanted the big wedding. So my wife and I spend lots of dollars to make her smile when she marry. But I still rent the houses and make plenty of money. I no work like the animal Sam. Now I work for the fun." "Forest Hills is very rich neighborhood Franco. You could sell the houses and put the money in the bank." "Hey Sam, the money from the bank she can be stolen, but no one can pick up a house and take away. Besides the rent she goes up as the taxes go up with the value of the house. No?" "Franco why did you work so hard?" "You have the best education. You are the professori. You can work anywhere here in America. I no have the education. There is no good job for man without education. I can just write my name only. Only the work like the jackass and save a the money." "You don't need to save now with all your expensive real estate." "I have much a money. I don't need any more money. No, I never waste the food! Even to day, my wife she no wastes either. But if we want we buy, we no live any different but we like to see the joy in our kids a eye when we give to them." "Franco you words, and the life you and your wife have lived is the very heart of our America."
"It's a great country. No way back in Italy we make this much money and live so well. No way! I love my Italy home but my mama she's here with my brother and me. He's come America too. My children are American. I'm American." "You must have some thing you do privately for fun. What's your pleasure Franco?" "Sam I like to hunt. I have ten to fifteen thousands dollars in the guns. When the seasons come I go everywhere I can to buy the license to hunt. But sometimes I no can a wait. I go to the woods in the middle of the night before I go a work and hunt." "How can you hunt in the dark?" "The flash a light, and a full moon, I walk slowly up a to the tree with the turkey she roost up a branch. The bird a sit in fronts the moon. I shoot! Bang! I take a home. My wife a cook'em quick. We eat that same a night no one can a tell." "You shoot deer illegally as well." "No, No! Sam sometime you see a deer close to the town but not so close maybe you a shoot. Maybe you a shoot early before the sun she's a up, but I always a have license. Did you ever hunt Sam?" "No the wars years in Vietnam ended any sense of pleasure for me in shooting at life. Mark Twain once said that animals were his friends and he did not want to shoot his friends." "You have a the gun Sam?" "Yes, I have always carried my military service 45 automatic When I travel I pack it up. At home it's always at the ready." "You shoot many man in the wars?"
"Let's just say that I lost too many chances to make new friends in south East Asia while serving my country. Better to let live and to make life. Killing is too easy." "Professor, you should see my basement with a meat locker full of venison, wild turkey, and lots of good food from the nature. Many people like a the good steak. Do you think the cow she gives away herself by choice? No professori, to die is a easy! I know what you mean. To respect the life is to share the life! The hunter he's a like you Sam, he wants the deer to thrive even though he takes one from the woods." "Yes Franco it's much the reality that some creatures live off others. There are some men who take strength by making the weaker person their victim, such as these evil ones that prey on the woman. Here I agree that the destruction of such criminals might best serve the future of our society. We would all agree, if the stalkers of women could be made extinct for all times." "All my life, here and in Italy I read about the man a steal the woman to the hiding place and do bad things, Madonna! My wife and little girl I pray for them to be safe every day!" "Some men when aroused by the lady do not become amorous. They become murderous! I pray like you my friend that all woman be safe." "Sam, how you is since you wife she passed to heaven... please God." "Franco, since Ruth left me, I live in a bad dream from which I can not wake. Every day, I rise and hope some thing will happen to wake me and I'll return to the life I want to live, the pleasures I knew, and the feelings I lost. But every day the loss goes on. The void in my heart does not fill. There is no better, there is no worst, and there is just the same now."
"It takes a time for the change. It takes a time for the heart to heal a up. You to meet the new woman to fill the joy in your soul...Just a wait Sam." "I'm afraid that God gives us just one woman for the life Franco." "Samma, Samma you so smart a man, so much the fine education but you don't see all God can give you. I have the fine wife she a one woman. I have a fine mother she's a second woman. I have the fine daughter with the baby girl that's four and I no count my sister in Italy, and my niece. Sam, God will give you all the woman you no can count and all you can love deep a deep. Trust me! I no can tell you about the stars but about the woman, I know more than you do my friend. You see it no a take a long it just a take a moon to shine a big." "You lighten my heart Franco. You make me smile like a child. I shall await the rising of a full moon when my next ladylove is to appear. You shall be my best man when it is so. Your hand to the pledge." Bella luna porta amore! The moon she will bring the woman. You no can no a stop. I can no a stop. Only God can a stop but he make a moon...So it's the same for man as long as the moon she's in the sky. It's a never to change. No?" "Thanks for the hair cut. I know you can't work if you don't work hard." "Sam I work hard but not like the animal any more. I enjoy my family. I enjoy my friends when I cut the hair. But no more work day and night." "So you'll buy no more home to rent?" "No one a want to work with me... my son or my daughter. It takes a time for each a house to rent. I like to rent the house but no have time for more a house. My wife she gets
mad if I talk about to buy more house. If I have the education, I could make much more money by myself." "What would you do, Franco? I mean what would you study to make a living?" Franco furls his brow in deep thought. "I can see how to make the money. I look at a building and I know how much money she is to make. If I had the education, probably go to practice the law for business a contracts." "Seems to me that you would be successful there as well. Who would cut my hair?" Franco smiles in appreciation of Sam's gratitude. Franco why don't you and the wife take time and go back to Italy to live. Say you guys spend three months a year back in the old country?" "It's no like here, Sam. In my youth I see Rome many times. It's a no deal for me to be in Rome. I make a deal to live here." "Don't you miss doing things back there?" "Back there it's no easy to do things like here. There's corruption so if you don't have friend to help they just let you wait, and no care if you get what you need or no! Here the laws must be equal for all. Its the best country to live." "What about vacations? Don't you take your children back to see their Italian heritage?" "Oh sure a sure, Sam. I take every year or so for one a month. The whole family she goes to see my home village, and all over Italy we go. But it's the vacation. We are tourista." ~~~~~ “So how goes the hunt for the right man?" Sam smiles, as he knows this is the subject that preoccupies his niece's interest. "Unk I'm thinking of marrying a guy who is a waiter at the Star of India Steak House."
"I don't know that place. Is he a student or something?" "No he just wants to be with the public. He feels that too much is made of special abilities and not enough attention is given to the common part of life. He likes just living." "Oh! A man of the people, a street philosopher! He is the type of man that likes his action strait and not complicated. "Well if you mean his cheap and unmotivated that's him. He thinks 25 hours a week is all one man should work. Otherwise work ruins his day. His butt looks so cute in his waiter's uniform. All the girls could just scream when he comes by their table. And he likes me a lot. I'm thinking of letting him move in with me. I don't know if I can pay all his bills though." "Excuse me, but why would one want to pay his or any man's way?" "Unk it's the way it is today. If a girl doesn't make her man a home he moves out then she's alone. What's the good of having money if you don't have any love in your life?" "Sweetie can't you have a man and let him keep his bills?" "Yeah, if you want to be seen with a dork!" "A dork? I take it is a man that fancies paying his own way?" "There are only so many hunks all the girls want. Dorks are those left behind for girls that can't keep a hunk for their own." "I see. So you are to first capture a hunk, provide for his care, then you are to train him to be you husband." "Exactly!" "After the hunk has been husbanded, do you still pay his bills, etc.?" "No way! He goes to work and I have his children."
"Then after the wedding the hunk gets dorked?" "Unk...once he's a husband and has children no girl is going to pay his child support. He's out of demand. He stays cute but he gives up being a hunk for his family." "Then he is a dork! And that makes me a dork as well... I think?" "Ha! Bunk unk! You're a hunk!" She laughs. Sam turns to a mirror and glances at his profile. "Seriously, do you think I'm still attractive to a woman?" "Yes, my Uncle Sam. Men keep their looks. It is we women who reach a look of a swollen grandmother early. I certainly don't know why but we do!" "You're in your early thirties! Do you ever look at an older man?" "Of course! A good-looking man is made just so he can be eyed over by a female. Every young girl will study a man's appearance." "A girl your age can't possibly have romance in mind with a man my age. It must be just curiosity when a young woman stares in my direction." "Oh! Some one is eyeing you are they?" "Well a new cashier at the market. She is always watching me. I keep searching about myself to see if some accident has befallen my cloths. She makes me look in the mirror at myself to see if I've grown some scar on my face. She makes me feel very uncomfortable." "Is she pretty?" "Quite so I'm afraid. I just feel like a damn curiosity though!" "Listen unk if a girl looks twice, and especially if she knows you know she looking, then be careful for otherwise you'll be on someone's menu for marriage."
"I'm not looking for the romance with the lady. I just would like to know what those damn looks mean." "Ha! She'll let you know." ~~~~~ It's Saturday morning. The sun has been up for a time. The sky is blue and puffy white clouds move gently. The weather is ideal for mankind. All shall take much pleasure from this day. Sam knows his niece will be busy at the moving of her personal objects into his house. Sam has decided to spend the early part of the day to visit Ruth's grave. He is just putting a few things into the back seat of his car when his niece arrives into the drive way with a rental van stuffed full of boxes. She toots a merry melody of announcement with the vehicle's horn. “Yo unk!" She calls out her window as the van comes to rest beside Sam. "Glad I caught you before you got away." Sam smiles at the perky girl who bounces out of the van. She runs to him to share a large enthusiastic hug. "Your van is loaded to the gills!" "I turned my apartment keys back to the land lord. If you don't mind, I'll move in today lock stock and barrel. I loaded most of my stuff in the van last night." Her joy of moving in to her Aunt Ruth's home would not keep her out. "I would have helped you if I knew you were moving in consummation." The young lady looks at him questioningly. "If you told me you were bringing all your belongings at one time I should have come over and loaded your van."
"Oh unk, my boy friend carried all this for me. I'll take the guest room." "Well it's a bit small for a lady but it will do for now. When I’m off to Turkey, you may switch my things into the guestroom and you occupy Ruth's." Heidi hesitates as she ponders the notorious habit of her uncle in organizing to perfection. She knows that her aunt loved Sam but his things she would not disturb. "I'll not move any of your things until you return, unk. You’re so neat and tidy, I'm afraid I'll crash your system and you'll never recover." She waits for her uncle's response. "Where's you boy friend? Is he coming to help you?" "No, he and one of his friends made plans to go fishing some place early this morning. He'll be over later today to help me." Her enthusiasm is bounded on the prospect of any further assistance. "Well, I say let the van rest. Why don't you come along with me as I drive to see Ruth's grave. We will have a few hours of tour to see some the most beautiful country about western Pennsylvania. We shall return to domestics and a quick lunch after we enjoy some of this spectacular day." I would love to see Aunt Ruth's grave and place some flowers there for her to enjoy." The young girl had been away when Ruth passed and she could not return in time for the funeral. "I haven't been to Eldersville for eons it seems." "Well it hasn't changed more than a bit since your aunt was a school girl growing up there." "Grand dad was a coal miner?" "Not exactly, he was the local mine inspector for the state for all the parts around."
"Was his job dangerous?" "Many coal mines are worked for a time then shut down to be reopened later when the demand for coal peaks. Such mines have to be inspected before the miners may return to work. The inspector would often go in by himself to check the conditions in a closed mine." That doesn't sound like hard work, unk." "The work is not as hard as a miner but it is more dangerous. One had to know what one was doing for as not only where the miner's lives at stake but the inspector's own life. Ruth's father once told me that he had to inspect an old mine that ran just under the ground in the village itself. While doing so he lost his way inside the mine and could not retrace his way back out." "Oh my goodness! I didn't realize people got lost down in those things." The girl is frantic. "How did he ever get out? How could he get lost?" "Well, many of those old mines were not fully detailed as to where a new shaft was cut. The twisting, turning, and the assortment of openings confronting a person in the dark left to one's own...it's easy to do. The old boy new the mine wasn't terribly deep and that all the coal shafts would have air ducts up into the village. He poked about till he found a stream of daylight and he dug his way up through an old vent. He came out of the ground in the woods just yards from his own home." The girl smiles with relief and the irony. "Think some inspectors got lost and never returned?" "Any one who ventures under ground risks cave-in, and pockets of poisonous gas, as well as the chance of getting lost. The government has many regulations to eliminate danger.
It takes a hard person to work in a mine. Ruth's dad was as tough as any marine drill instructor. The two race out of the city in the Porsche and drive for an hour along winding country roads that sweep through meadows of hay and corn, and warm fields of grazing cows. Eldersville is a small town established for miners at the crossroads of two rural highways. A few dozen homes still sit about. An old one-room school serves as the town hall and volunteer fire department. It stands next to an older wooden church with a small graveyard. The steeple makes the church the tallest building of the village. There is only one commercial store that serves as a grocery, dinner and part time post office. The mines have long been closed but the present population has not declined in number. Several of the village children who left long ago have returned to make their retirement residence. All the old farms are still worked and a new modern school building sits back at the village's edge. Most of the original family's names are still to be found in the local phone directory. The original church is still used today as well as the small graveyard that is to be found nearby. The character of the village has not changed in a century. "Ruth loved to come here...even after her parents passed. Here she could go back in time to her childhood. Her parent's home stands today just as in her youth. The trees that stand in the orchard behind her home today are same from which her mother and father picked fruit." "Is that why she wished to be buried here? Because it never changes?" "Heidi, Ruth is laid to rest in your family's section of the cemetery. Her parents are buried there, along with some of her grand parents and her younger brother that died in an
accident some time ago now. Neighbors in the old days were not strangers. They were more than friends almost family...indeed many neighbors became in-laws of one to another." Heidi does not hesitate. "Will you be buried here unk?" "I wish my ashes to be sprinkled over Ruth's grave and my name added to her head stone. This place was heaven to Ruth. Her spirit will always be found here. Later so will mine." Sam smiles at his niece in reassurance. Heidi kisses her uncle's cheek sweetly. "That's very lovingly of you. I'm sure aunt Ruth will wait for you a bit longer though." She smiles. The Porsche pulls into the church lot near the cemetery. Only several dozen head stones lay about with some dating to the civil war. The cemetery is rimed with large oaks. The grassy field is roughly cut and the land uneven. The old church still maintains the cemetery. Sam and Heidi walk through the field. They pass a neat row of seven heads stones aligned. This fact catches the attention of Sam's niece. "All these people have the same last name. They all died in the same year! 1906!" Heidi begins to search these head stones frantically. "These are small children and one woman. All have the same name. They died, like a few weeks apart from each other." Heidi pauses. "This is a mother and her six children!" The girl holds her head in her hands and stands mouth opened in disbelief. She looks at her uncle intensely. "How did this family die? Where is the father's name?" Sam studies the anxiety of the young woman. He realizes this burden of life is yet too much for one so young. "Sweetheart, they all died from the flu of 1906."
"The flu? The flu can kill so many so quickly?" The girl does not believe. "Heidi, in 1906 a great flu started in the US Army just as the men went to Europe to fight in World War One. It spread in the trenches and over Europe. When the soldiers returned to the US, then the flu spread everywhere. Millions around the world died. Thousands died in the states every day for months. Ruth's dad said that during this time of flu families separated in hope that one of the parents might survive to take care of their surviving children. Here the father lived to bury his family. He undoubtedly moved away and started a second family with whom he may now be buried." "Didn't they have medicine?" "No dear girl. They did not have the resources of present day, and whatever they did have offered no hope." "This is a very holy place. It's so sad...the lost children..." "The death of any man is a loss. Death is sad in youth lost but it is may be a joyous end to a long life lived well." Sam knows the thoughts of life's end are distant for his niece. "Let's put these flowers on Ruth's grave and say hello to the spirit of that lovely lady." Sam walks a few paces to the marker of Ruth Ann Tarlach. Heidi places a bunch of lovely daffodils about the grave and on the head stone. "She loved you unk! No doubt!" "Ruth made life a joy. She carried a special freedom and spirit with her always. I feel that spirit when I come here. I do miss her!" Sam turns quiet. He looks longingly at the grave of his dear wife. "Heidi, Ruth's spirit is very happy. I feel her joy as I stand here." Sam says a private prayer. "Come let us go. This place is not meant for the living to dwell. Respects are to be paid only."
Sam and Hiedi return to Sam's residence. There parked aside the van stuffed with Heidi's belongings sits a lone figure sipping a beer and smoking a short cigar. A young man in worn dirty jeans and wearing a cap lined with fishing hooks, spinners and artificial lures of various colors waits. "It's Blain! He's come to help. I didn't expect this!" Heidi squeals with delight in seeing the young man rises to his feet as the Porsche enters. Sam notices the dark haired, fair skinned youth as he approaches. He is most athletic in appearance. Slender long limbs and a muscular torso stride slowly toward the door from which Heidi emerges. The girl rushes toward the lad and plunges herself into his arms. Sam is impressed by the boy's manly form. There is nothing awkward or lacking in the young man's manners. Heidi's enthusiasm is genuinely returned as the boy' smile is unending. His lean face is unshaven. His teeth are beautifully formed and white. Sam finds the lad's face stunningly attractive. "This guys could be right out of Hollywood", Sam says to himself. "This guy doesn't have a chance. His hunk days are numbered." Sam continues his monolog. "Unk this is Blain!" The girl's grip on the boy's body is seized. She smiles without break. The man is taller than Sam but he stands before Sam with his head bowed in a youthful way of respect. "He is going to help me unload the van!" She looks questioningly into Blain’s bright eyes. "Dr. Tarlach? I am very happy to meet you. Heidi-girl has told me much about you." The lad's deep voice and hand reach straight to Sam." I would have been here sooner but Heidi didn't give me any notice. Her moving here is sudden."
"Forgive me Blain." Sam extends his hand to the lad. A strong grip by the lad and a hearty handshake is very much to Sam's liking. Sam immediately takes to a strong fondness for the boy. "I'm rushing Heidi a bit. Sorry if my plans have complicated yours." "No problem Dr. T I love helping Heidi. I just am disappointed I had to spend this early morning catching rainbows with my buddy in the best stream in the state." The boy's love of nature is shared by Sam." You haven't missed a thing, even lunch." "I have some trout for great eating...be no problem to cook a mess for us all if you wish." The boy points to a storage cooler resting near the front of the Heidi's van. "That's very sweet of you, but I insist on cooking some for you now Blain. You must be starved walking in the woods all morning." Heidi has taken charge and both men know it's best. "You boys get to know each other while lunch gets ready." Heidi heads toward the cooler. "No way there! I catch'm! I clean'm! Those fish and I have an arrangement. Anyone but the man that caught'm skins'm they won't taste the same." Blain gently takes the girls arm in his hand and prevents her from further interest in raw fish. "I'll bring you some filets right off. I can chat all that's needed with Dr. T while I clean'm." Heidi smiles quietly in agreement and hurries off to the kitchen. "Save some of that beer for lunch!" "Blain, that is a very generous offer for lunch. I love trout and haven't had freshly served in years." Blain picks up a cold beer from inside the cooler and hands it to Sam. "Women just don't understand that premium beer is required before, during and after lunch. Why it's part of the agreement with the trout to be fully honored and enjoyed."
Sam laughs at the youthful sincerity and pageantry of the lad." You make great enjoyment!" Sam comments. "You like hot cakes there, Blain do you?" Sam surmises. "Ya love'm. Hiedi's says she's going to make a mess of them for me next Saturday morning 'fore I go fishing...the old fashioned way...off a hot griddle. Boy, I can't wait!" Sam smiles at the innocence of young love's labors. "And you bring trout cause Heidi loves the stuff?" Blain nods his head in agreement as he pulls a 10-inch trout out of the cooler for cleaning. "Cold trout caught in a cool morning then roasted on a sunny warm noon with the flavor of swirling chilled beer to quench the dry thirst from the wild outdoors. Served hot by the cutest little girl in the whole city. You and I are the richest men in the world at this moment, Dr T." The lad looks at Sam with an understanding that only men share in the wilderness. Sam loves the simple way of this boy. "Here's to you. You make things special in a manly way, Blain." They raise their beers as comrades." May we never ever become dorks!” Blain laughs with Sam at this joke although he does not fully understand Sam's meaning. "Don't worry Blain you'll understand my words fully some day." "Heidi tells me that you were in the military service for a number of years?" "Blain, I got to see the world as it really is to be lived. It was not then and it is not now free without the efforts of dedicated men. You fish and hunt and work as you choose. You visit Heidi and drink beer with her old uncle if you like. There are places in the world with physical barriers to prohibit such common freedom of movement. That is not to mention the risk to one's life for the offense of changing one's mind."
"You sound mighty conservative, Dr. T!" "If one fights for our freedom, or stands against those who would threaten us with arms, then he is indeed conserving our liberty. To my mind this person is a liberal. Since this one might give his life in our protection, I call him a radical liberal." Sam enjoys this repartee. "You say the marines corps is a bunch of liberals?" "The damned most efficient liberals I know!" Sam laughs with Blain. "It makes sense this way Uncle T but seems to me sometimes folks look for trouble where there is none to be found." Blain looks Tarlach straight in the eye with his concern. "No way to find something with out looking! One looks for a way to avoid fire so his barn doesn't burn, rather than a way to save a burning barn." "I guess it's the way you all look at things!" Blain puzzles and scratches his head. “The view past the dead body of a young marine is a hard one! Some of us would like to make sure that such young men die so that many others may not. If life were without risk then we would not have to ask marines to fight for their neighbor’s sake. This commitment to duty does not cease when a marine gets older he just finds new ways to serve." Blain looks deep into the eyes of Sam and wonders if this old marine officer uncle of Heidi is still willing to die for the country. He wonders what needs are out there that would call him to such sacrifice. "No need to get too serious on the subject Blain! Get those fish ready. The beer is great! How about another?" Sam pulls a fresh bottle from the cooler and hands it to young man.
"Oh yeah! Now this is living." The young man pulls a long swallow of beer from its container. "Appreciate the pleasure of this day. Thank you Uncle T!" The boy holds high his drink in salute to Sam. "My pleasure!" Sam smiles at the youth’s exuberance. "Heidi tells me that you are waitering for a living?" Sam asks the lad. "Well I hate like all get out' to be tied up inside. I don't mind working but I'd rather be outdoors." The boy’s expression now is one of raw agony. "Plenty of jobs to be found that will keep a man outdoors all day, Blain." "Yeah, I know but I just can't decide right off which one to do. Maybe a game warden is for me! Thought I'd give it a try. I didn't say any thing to Heidi though. Don't want to upset her or anything!" Sam smiles. "Don't under estimate that girl. She'll move into the Amazon jungle if it suits her." "Hiedi tells me you spent a lot of time in the jungle during the war." "Thing about the jungle is that it changes you. The war undoubtedly changed every man who served there." "How would a jungle change you different from combat?" "Well Blain, everything in the jungle is not what it appears to be. In fact, most things there are hidden in dense thicket, or covered by heavy rains. One develops another sense...like an animal a sense of knowing what is there that you can't see. Once you develop this sense it stays with you." "Dr. T, I don't quite understand what you mean?" "Blain, did you ever go out into the woods with a pack of dogs at night?"
"Yes! When I was visiting my cousins in the wilds of West Virginia, went 'coon hunting several times." "Did you wonder haow those dogs run through the thickets at night with no trouble?" "Yeah, boy! They ran in and around trees in the dark just as if it were daytime...with no trouble at all!" "Those canines have extraordinary night vision, smell, and hearing. Well it turns out that we humans don't use all our senses since we don't live in the wilds. In the back woods of West Virginia the hunters are safe. Take those dogs away from them and let the raccoons have guns and then ask a man to go hunt!" "I see what you mean...to survive you have to become as good as a canine." "Blain, you'll be surprised what out right fear will do to your senses. This other sense I'm talking about is a feeling of being safe or out of sight. You never know you have it until you are hunted." The men quickly prepare several gorgeous trout for the girl. Heidi begins to cook them at once. She will serve them with fresh vegetable platter of greens, cut tomatoes, chopped onions, and spinach salad. Several fruits are prepared for desert. "Red fruit, and green vegetables served fresh are the way to good health." Heidi announces as the men gather to the table. "As long as the eating is followed by copious quantities of good beer." Blain adds to the mood of the hungry dinners. "Good company, good appetite, good meal!" Sam announces. "Hunger is the best sauce!” Heidi recalls that which her Aunt Ruthie used to say.
Blain and Heidi are captivated as Sam begins to organize the table for dinning. Neither are used to so much attention being given to the exact position of spoon and fork to plate and cup. The table is laid out as if by rule of civil engineering. The position of each piece is placed on the table with as high a degree of symmetry as is obtainable. The location of any one piece is precisely measurable by association with others. All spoons are 2.5 centimeters from forks, which are 5 centimeters from the plate, which are ten centimeters from the table’s edge. The three plates are located at the end points of an imaginary isosceles triangle, which trisects the circumference of the round table. As if some great mathematical proof in geometry where being rendered, the dinner table is made ready. "Unk are we supposed to eat here? Ca we move things around?" Heidi is confused. "Sorry, I can't seem to help myself. I just see an arrangement in front of me and I just put things where they seem to belong." Sam has never understood why others never share his sense of proportion. "No need to fuss...Ruth just made her own corrections as she wished...you guys do the same." Hunger over takes anyone's concern.
Across the ocean in a villa outside Rome, Sophia Torrenti is dressed for dining out. She wears a sleeveless black crape A-frame dress that falls just off the floor with two-inch black velvet liner at the bottom. Her dark black hair is pulled up tight at the back of her head. Delicate silver earrings and necklace adorn her. She has long black evening gloves.
Sophia is a breathless beauty viewed from any culture. America would never be the same if this lady were ever seen on the movie screen. "Hurry Sophia! Adalpho will soon be here." Sophia's mother calls to her from the front door. "Bella luna! The moon she is full. Such a moon brings the man to the woman for amore." Mrs. Torrenti sighs at the clear open night sky over looking ancient Rome. "Mama, do my hips look big in this dress?" "You are young! You are beautiful! Your hips are not big. You don't eat enough. You're too thin." "My stomach hangs over my belt mama." "Ma nage! God made the woman's belly for the bambino...Sophia this one will make you a good husband...have the bambino...forget looking at the sky. You won't find a husband with a telescope." "Mama, Adalpho is a boy. He doesn't under stand I need cuddled. I need spoiled. He's speaks mean to me sometimes! I could never marry someone who makes me cry!" "Papa spoiled you! If he were alive today he would tell you, marry this boy and have the bambino. Sophia I'm not getting younger...please find a husband before I'm too old hold the bambino. Why do you go out with Adalpho if you don't want to marry him?" "Please mama, you're going to make me nervous and I'll begin to perspire. Enough with the marriage! Someone must take me out to the theater. Besides Adalpho's new tuxedo will accent this dress nicely." "Who will take you to the theater in America?" "I won't have time. I'll be busy making my observatory the best in the United States."
"I only hope the Italian food is good in this Pittsburgh place. Sophia, if you lose any more weight you'll be sick." Sophia is well aware that Pittsburgh has long been one of the most successful high tech centers in the west. Lot's of cultural places, lot's of good restaurants, and lot's of handsome American professionals await her arrival. It will not be Rome but neither will any other place in the world compare to her home. She intends to fly back to Italy for most of her shopping. Her father would be proud of the way the family name continues to be prominent in science. "Oh Sophia, Adalpho is here. He's in the drive way." "What car is he driving mama?" "He has the red Lamborghini. It goes too fast…make him drive slowly." "Excellent! I shall look very nice getting out of it in the Palatio del Basile." "Sophia, there are many rich computer men in America. Find one who is Italian and have a family." "Mama computer men have no spines that's why they have computers to hold." Even Mrs. Torrenti had to smile. "Sophia you wait for Caesar to conquer your heart. Caesar is dead a longtime my charimio." "I know mama, I know. Perhaps I must wait for his reincarnation?" Sophia thinks of how romantic life is as Roman. She wonders if Pittsburgh has true romance. Her life in astronomy has been rewarding as a professional, but not as a woman. She has found her studies at the university to be easy. She is clever and insightful in matters of science and mathematics. Her work at the Specola Vaticana has been received as fresh and useful by the mostly staid male society of astronomers around the world.
She feels a distant need for a husband and children. Some day with the right man, if he is strong and sensitive she will make a lovely home and a beautiful child for him. Mama will have to wait, as she herself must. Perhaps this Pittsburgh will hold much for her. ~~~~ The Lamborghini races down the hill toward the center of Rome. Adalpho's automobile cruises along the Appian Way. The wheels scream, the engine roars as the car weaves through the brisk night traffic of a summer's eve in Rome. "Adalpho! Must you race? I wish to enjoy this evening! I do not want to be there early. Where are you taking me?" "You are beautiful! Roma is bellissimo to night! The moon, she shine's her light for the amore!" "I do not wish to dine with your friends from the agency where you work. Government types bore me with their endless name-dropping. Besides they are too plebeian. They do not know how to appreciate the beauty of the woman. They are like animals in the barn!" "Sophia, my heart, she is full of your beauty. The moonlight makes your hair as the goddess, Venus. Every man desires your lips who gazes at your face that is from heaven." "I wish to dine at Casa Tolomeo! The light there is perfect for my make up. There are many celebrities to see us. You wear the Armani tuxedo, no?" The car is making turn after turn as it gains way to the center of Rome. Here in a palazzo not far from the ancient senate is a small marble building that has been offering sumptuous dining since the time of Hadrian. Adalpho is tall and athletic, his blond hair streams in the wind as the car comes to a stop in front of the Casa. The black tuxedo accents his tanned skin. Sophia steps from the car
to take his arm. The shinny red sports car provides a warm silhouette as it awaits a valet for the two. They soon stride toward the entrance. Open flame torches flicker in the warm Roman night to light the outside of the Casa. Sophia's dress moves elegantly beside her escort just as she has wished. Her step is proud and dainty. Her face and figure capture the regal beauty of the ancient Roman woman. Sophia is lost in the ambiance of such a perfect night. She feels herself as Roman eternal. She enters into an exclusive world. Only fashions from the best shops are to be viewed. The patrons are adorned with gold and jewelry. The service of the Casa Tolomeo is the same, as those that the ancient court of an emperor would enjoy. The price for such an evening is never to be asked. The walls are rich in tapestry and floral adornment. The marble floors are covered with Persian rugs of enormous dimensions. The room is aglow with soft lights. The dining hall itself is filled with the hum of conversation by the most articulate and informed citizenry of Rome. Many eyes are turned toward Sophia and Adalpho as they pass with their escort to be seated. The room is filled with the music of a soft string quartet playing sweetly. The commotion of a room packed with dining patrons talking excitedly with much animation mixes with divine odors of cooked fish, pasta, and meat. The swirl of smoke from cigars and the fragrances of rich cologne make Sophia come alive in the Roman way. "Adalpho, it's magnificent. I feel so alive and very special." "You are hungry. Yes?" I have not eaten one morsel all this day. I am starved so that the rich food will have no affect on my waist."
"You have the body of a goddess. Men devour your with their eyes. I am the man with the most beautiful woman. See look for your self! None can deny your beauty." Sophia enjoys seeing the elite of Rome crowded into her view. "Look Adalpho! It's that woman, Chichilina. She makes the movies with nothing but the sex. Her dress! How does she breathe? There is no room for breasts in that ugly thing she wears." "Sophia! No one is looking at her dress. Please! Her body is only half covered. She has been viewed as naked on the screen by every man here." "Men find this cow beautiful?" "No! They find her uncontrollable temptation. Her body is made desirable by the gods to tease the man, to make the fire for the man to want a woman. Every time Chichilina makes a new movie, the hospitals make ready their maternity ward ahead for nine months." Sophia does enjoy his sense of humor. "This man she is with must be her grand father." “Some men never lose attractiveness to the woman. Do you know who that man is, Sophia?" "No! He is nothing to me!" "That grandfather is Senior Inzaghi, himself…the minister of the arts, and cinema for all of Italy. If a movie is to be made and seen anywhere in Italy, his permission must be given first." "He is to old to hold a young woman, Adalpho. He needs his cigar only." “The large man with them, the one with his back to us. It's the great Italian tenor Pomoni. He has the specials on television all over the world."
"He is a pig! The way he treats his wife makes the shame for Italian men. My father never looked beyond my mother for his needs as a man. This Pomoni could make a million shows. I would not listen to one minute. I protest for his wife. I protest for the wives of Italia. I protest for the wives of the world." "The young girl he is with is his secretary. It's the way! Sophia you are naive." Sophia contemplates the fate of a woman with a husband who is not loyal. "Ah, Sophia! It's the great Argentine soccer player Jidona. The woman is his French wife. She just had a baby boy last week." "She is lovely. Her figure is perfect! The baby must have been born the size of a mole." Adalpho laughs at the idea. "Her husband just signed a contract with the championship team Juventus for tens of millions." "With that nose of his, he will need many dollars." Sophia laughs at herself. "Sophia, no one looks at his nose but you. The man's face is famous over the entire world. His name is spoken in billions of homes over the planet. No one says his nose is big." Adalpho laughs with her. "I am with great hunger. I wish to have the seafood with delicate pasta. Red wine please?" "The seafood is the best but red wine is not taken with sea food. Let us try the white wine. I shall have the dinner same as you." "Fine but order white wine for you and red for me!" "Why do you insist on red wine with your fish?" "It's the health. My father always insisted on red wine." "You are a beautiful woman when you are stubborn. It makes the hunger in the man."
"Good! You will enjoy the fish." "It's not for the food that you make my hunger. I need to possess you as a man. I want you for my woman, my lover. I need your passion." "Are you asking me to marry you, Adalpho?" Sophia looks at him directly. The man is surprised, and stumbles for his answer. "Well...I think...No! I am too unsure of myself as a husband...my career is just beginning..." "Your are the sweet boy, Adalpho and you please me. I do not wish to be your wife, and I do not wish to be your mistress at least not now. Call the maitre'd for I am ready." "You are special to me, Sophia. Perhaps if you stay in Rome, after a time I will be the husband you deserve." "You are a wonderful man! All the women here would kill to sit at this table with you. I must go to America and have my chance to do some great science on my own. Later I shall think of marriage." "Can't you do this science in Roma, or somewhere in Italia? Why so far?" "There is no chance for me here! There is no chance such as this for the woman anywhere else but in America now! I may not pass this opportunity. Besides my contract there is for but three years. This is plenty of time for you to finish growing into the man." "You will be in this Pittsburgh place soon...the name is so ugly! You will die there without your Roma." "This Pittsburgh is a most beautiful city of America. You must come and spend much money on me there. I shall be at many other places during this time. I go to Turkey first for a few weeks before I arrive in Pittsburgh."
"That's wonderful! My brother Alfredo is with the Italian embassy in Ankara. He was the colonel in the air force but entered the diplomatic core when he married. He will love to see you." “I shall be in Ankara only to take passage to a remote observatory. If time permits on the return, I shall call upon his wife." "You do not trust the Italian men." "I trust the Italian woman first!" The maitre'd quickly makes his arrival. There is no menu for prices here are never quoted. The only dinners are the specials of the day. Regular guests are welcomed to call ahead to arrange a meal from the chief directly. "Good evening Senori Aldalpho! I have taken the liberty of sending your favorite champagne to the table." The maitre'd lifts his arm gently and with a slight twist of his wrist several men in elegant white serving jackets, black slacks arrive with glasses, wine, and assortment of breads, and appetizers. "Does the lady know what she wishes for her dinner?" The maitre’d asks while he pours wine into her glass. "Seafood!" Aldalpho answers. "Of course, we offer 'Sole delo Mari'... fresh Silician Flounder served on a bed of Angel Hair pasta with an Egyptian Crab sauce. Prepared in the same way as served to Julius Caesar himself!" "This shall do, Aldalpho," Sophia says softly avoiding conversation with the maitre'd. The music of Rivaldi plays on through the evening. Dinner is immaculate Italian cuisine. The decor of the casa is truly ancient Roman. The handsome Aldalpho entertains Sophia is the manner of eternal Roman romance. All is sumptuous and satisfying to the human
appetites. Sophia is not content with her life however, and much of her thoughts go to her future outside of Rome. ~~~~~ The next day, on the way to her office from home, Sophia stops at small church in Rome. Soon she leaves to start her new position at Allegheny Observatory in Pittsburgh. She wants to start her new life by making peace with God. She enters a dark quiet ancient church. She sits in prayer as she waits for the priest. Before long Sophia enters the confessional, kneels and says. "Bless me father for I have sinned. It has been many years since my last confession." The priest makes answers. “What offense have you committed before God, my child?" Sophia answers, "Many father, I have always been a good girl but I have made mistakes with men. I want God to know that I am sorry." "What kind of mistakes my child? God will know of your sorrow. Your are here to receive his grace, so that you will not make such mistakes again." "Padre, I'm afraid God must hate me...you must explain to him that I could not control my feelings...I was wrong!" "Dear child, god loves you. He has no hate for you I'm sure. I'll pray to him that you might see his loving forgiveness. But what offense do you fear that keeps you from His presence?" "I have had the lovers father." "More than one my child?" "Yes father. When I become attached to a man I cannot help my need to love him fully."
"This fullness of love my daughter is meant for the husband in your marriage. God himself gives this law himself in the Ten Commandments. Are you married my child?" "No father." Is your lover married?" "Yes...he has a wife...and children." "You must forsake and end this affair before God will forgive you! Are there any other men with whom you share your body?" "Not now father, but there have been others." "Why is it that you cannot keep the law of God when it comes to this sin?" "I am young father, I study and have a career. I need to be complete as a woman but find the search for a good man to be fruitless and I have no time to be patient." "Your youth and your health, as well as your intelligence are gifts from God for you to use to fullness. If God gives you much, then He expects much in return. Patience is a virtue...also a gift from God...if you pray...if you ask God you shall have an answer from Him. Are you prepared to undertake a period of prayer until God provides?" "Yes Father...please ask Him not to hate me...many tears… I shall never let myself fail him like this again." "Is there any more to this sinfulness that must be confessed?" A long silence...followed by Sophia physically trembling...uncontrollable tears flow. She tries to find words but can only stumble at her attempt to speak. "Loss...I've lost...too much pain." "My holy child, did you have a pregnancy by this married man?"
"Oh father...I destroyed my baby for him...he didn't want it...he doesn't want me...How can I ask forgiveness when I gave none to my own child." Sophia slumps in a weakness that wrenches the old priest's heart. "The promise of sin is eternal suffering. You have committed a great sin. Only God can end your suffering. As for your child...may God grant eternal joy to the innocent. You have taken the right step to renew your spiritual life and return to your Lord." "Father I would do anything to return my baby to me. I want God not to hate me. I want Him to let me have a husband and children and let me be a complete woman." "The way of your forgiveness is through His Cross...your tears will end only in His Goodness. Your penitence God has already given you. You must endure the loss of your child. But I speak to you from God...destroy no more of my children. Let the man who needs you as his wife. Share your body only in marriage. Go now my dear girl and know that each day of my life I shall pray for you and your dead child. I ask you to remember the spirit of you lost child every day." "Father, every morning when rise, I ask my child's forgiveness. My heart will always bear pain of my child's loss. I shall never forget my dead baby!" Sophia leaves the church. She walks slowly under a burden of pressing sorrow. ~~~~~ Later that evening, her younger sister visits Sophia at her home. "Sophia! Are you packed? Are you excited to be leaving for America?" Sophia's younger sister Philomena enters the bedroom where Sophia is choosing items from her closet. "Philomena! Does this suit make me look like the spinster librarian?" "It's beautiful! You will look like a modern woman, strong intelligent and capable."
"Where are you babies?" "Mama has them in the kitchen feeding them her pasta. They had lunch an hour ago at our home, but the woman insists they get to enjoy their grandmother's cooking. Sophia you are so lucky to have this chance to go to America and do great things." "It is a very rare chance especially for a woman. I will send you tickets to bring the children over this spring. The city of Pittsburgh has a wonderful zoo, a science center for children, and many things to see." "Papa would be so proud of you Sophia...you have worked so hard. I shall miss you." Philomena and Sophia share a hug. Philomena sheds a tear. "Philomena! I go for a time only. I do not give up my home in Roma. It's just an expedition for me. I shall be back often." "The children will miss you. Pittsburgh shall be very far away." "Do you have a telephone? We shall still be sisters! You can come and spend the summer. Tell that husband of yours the children shall have the chance to practice their English and learn to speak like the American." "He will miss the children and me too much for the whole summer, but perhaps for two or three weeks we can come." "You are too good! Philomena you must take some time for yourself. You work so hard for your family. If you kill yourself taking care of them they shall soon learn to live without you. If your husband won't let the children come then you come buy yourself, and we shall shop in Los Angeles you and I." "I would love to see those shops on Rodeo Drive! I could never leave my children. I wish I were like you, Sophia. You have much courage like papa."
"Yes and you are like mama. You do everything for everybody else and nothing for yourself. Philomena, your children are beautiful and I wish some day to be the good mother like you." "Sophia, you are too particular. Just take the man who is attractive and has a good job, then you be a wife and make some babies. Like is wonderful to be the mother. To have your own home and to have the time to enjoy your husband, it's a blessing from God." "I cannot fill my day with the needs of others. I feel guilty as a woman but so strong is my desire to have a career which I love." “Don't you wish to have your own baby to hold? To be able to dress him so sweetly and bring him to mama to spoil? You will love being the mother!" “Some day, Philomena." Sophia's pain begins to return. "Sophia, one day the man will come to you and you will need less the career, and more of his arms. Your desire will be changed. You just haven't met the right kind of man. Perhaps in America you will meet the cowboy with the much oil and land?" "Did you ever wish to have chosen some other way of life than a mother and wife?" "Sometimes, I dream of traveling on the airplane to romantic places where all the men desire me. Photographers chase to see with what man I am being with on the moment. Then I think of not having my babies close to me and I am sad for being away even in my dreams." "Some times Philomena, when I travel I dream of coming home to a family of my own. I wish a husband were waiting to take care of me. Then I am called way to some place like Turkey and my sweet dreams are lost."
"They say the prices in Turkey are very reasonable, and many bargains are to be had there. I should love to go with you and see for myself." "I would love to have you with me however most of my time there will be on a remote mountaintop near the seacoast. The work will be at night, and the comforts minimal." "Never mind then, Sophia. I can be uncomfortable closer to my own home, and give the greater part of misfortune to my husband." She laughs. "Philomena, take some of my lighter weight cloths home with you. Their fashion may not keep till my return. This Pittsburgh has a cooler climate." "Every thing you have is so expensive. We cannot afford so many nice things and provide well for the children. You are very good to me, and I love you." The sisters hug and kiss again. ~~~~~ Sophia walks slowly through the marble halls of the Pontifical Gregorian University in the center of Rome where she has been a student and researcher. She makes her way through large open oak doors carved with medieval figures into a large office. Here behind a huge wooden desk stands a thin man elegantly dressed. The objects of the room show great order just as the man's attire. His graybeard is neat and trim. His face shows great learning over many years. "Torrenti you have done well here at the observatori." The elder man points with his eyes for Sophia to be seated. "Thank you directori." Sophia sits quietly. She shows no emotion to the man for whom she has worked since her graduation.
"When you came to us as a student I thought you were not serious in the science. You were too personable, too well liked by the boys." Sophia looks at the man's expression as he pauses. He has never spoken personally to her. Their conversations are always as student to master. “Your work in the class showed one very quickly that you had the talent to become a very great name in astronomy. Yet you have always been the attractive woman." Again the director pauses. Sophia is puzzled at his words but she has learned over the years to guard against expressions of feelings in his presence. Her countenance remains placid. "Many great names in Italian astronomy have walked these halls before you. Many great scientists both the man and the woman have made exceptional career here for centuries." Sophia's mind quickly recounts the names of many whose stone figures keep watch in the many corridors of the university. She has never considered herself their peer until this moment. "One day the mane of Torrenti may be spoken of with the same honor as Toracelli, or Brachi." Sophia has never had such compliments from her directori. He has always limited his comments to simple approval. “The Observtori del Pittsburgh has been a great name in astronomy since one century only. It is however by Italian standards a new facility." A hundred years plus had never seemed new to Sophia before now. Sophia must wait for a chance to respond.
"Your work here has been in the great Italian tradition. A tradition that has been from the time of Galileo over many past centuries." The old thin man walks slowly to the window. He stops and points to the sun. "Since man first walked upon the earth he has looked at the sun and asked many questions about the heavens. We here in Italy have been answering long before the Italian Americo Vespuci sailed toward the unknown land that bears his name." Sophia is really lost in the directori's thoughts now. "Do you understand what I mean Torrenti?" "Presicsely directori!" Sophia had learned long ago to agree with him now and question others later. "Excellent! Italy is proud that her daughter is to be directori in Pittsburgh. America will benefit greatly from adopting the Italian tradition. I wish to congratulate you on your appointment." He pauses. "Thank you, directori." She knows it is wise to continue to limit her response. "I wish to inform you that although the Americans have done much good work in astronomy, they are a very impatient nation A large and prosperous nation but non the less very anxious." He looks for agreement on Sophia's face. Sophia nodes in polite acknowledgement but offer no words. "Of course, you will be bring our standards for the first time to Pittsburgh. It will take some adjustment for these Americans to our ways. They will soon enjoy much reward from your direction and will be greatly appreciative." He no longer looks at Sophia but his attention wonders out to the distance through the window.
"Your are the first woman directori in our history." Now he turns to cast his glance deeply into her soul. "We are most proud and delighted for you." He places into her hand a gold fountain pen. "Let the standard of gold in this pen give reminder that as directori you are to be responsible for the standard of the work of your observatori." This is the first acknowledgement of her new position by any one in her own university. She accepts the magnificent pen. As she looks at the words of inscription tears began to flow slowly to streak down her face. With water filled eyes she looks to her directori. "Umberto! You have been a great teacher and example to all." Sophia stands for the first as the man's equal. She walks over to him and kissed him sweetly on the lips. "Thank you directori!" ~~~~~ At home that evening Sophia continues her task of preparing for America. "Aunt Sophia! You go to America?" "Oh my sweet Francesca! How is my pretty niece? You look so sweet in your top with many colored flowers. And your hair is perfect! I love this ribbon. Who did your hair? Your mother?" "No Aunt Sophia. It was nuna!" "Oh! Grandmother wishes you to look as much like your mother as she can?" "My mom was very pretty a long time ago?" "Oh my yes! Long before your were born the men all said ‘Bellisimo’ when your moma walked by them." Sophia picks her young niece up and swings her in a circle and then sits upon her bed with the little girl in her lap. "I pack to go to Turkey!" "Where is Turkey? Is that in America? Nuna says you go to live in America?"
"Yes my little darling I go to America after I go to Turkey. Turkey she is no in America. Turkey, she is at the other side of Greece not as far as America." "Aren't you afraid to go away by yourself?" The little girl looks deeply into her aunt’s eyes. "Well, I do get a little panic attack when I go for the first time to a place I have never been. I am not the navigator of roads and hazards of travel. It takes me a while to get started, but I remember that I am a modern woman. Strong! Determined! Successful!" Sophia gives her a hug for sharing in the excitement to come. "Why don't you have a husband like my daddy?" The little one asks unashamedly. "My husband waits to be found. He is lost in this big world and he looks for me at this very minute." "Do you know who he is? Where he is?" "No Francesca, this is known only by God! But He will show me the way to the man I shall marry." "How long does it take for God to show you?" "One does not always know. The man for me to marry might be waiting in Turkey when I arrive. It's possible, yes?" "When you find this man will you bring him home to Roma?" "Yes and we shall have several baby girls for to be your cousins and we shall live in a great castle with very big tress all around." "And beautiful swans on a lake for us to chase?" "Of course my husband will catch only the most beautiful birds from all over the world for me. Peacocks from India... Parrots from Brazil...Doves from China."
"What else will your husband bring to you home for you?" "We shall have horses walking about the ground but not just any horses. These will be very small horses so a very young girl will not be afraid to ride. And baby animals of all kinds to be there for the petting." "What kinds of baby animals aunt Sophia?" "Tiny baby chickens, ducks, and puppies of many kinds." "May I take one home with me?" The little girl is anxious to have her own. "You may have as many as you wish and your mother will allow. But first I must meet the man I am to marry." "Hurry up Aunt Sophia and go to Turkey early so you can come back with lots of puppies!"
Sam and Sophia arrive upon different flights in the same night in Ankara. Sam has made separate reservations for both at the Hilton. Dr. Uptil Hortuk will meet with them in the morning to finalize the expedition’s plans. Sophia arrives late from the airport and reports straight to her room. Here she finds a bouquet of fresh flowers with a note of welcome from Dr. Samuel Tarlach. The note also announces an early morning meeting with breakfast before a quick departure. Sam awakens just after dawn. He calls the front desk to check on Dr. Torrenti's arrival and he arranges for a wake up call to Dr. Torrenti's room. He subsequently makes his way into the dining area. Here he finds his former student Dr. Uptil Hortuk sitting at a table sipping black Turkish coffee. "Dr. Sam! It is good to see you once again." "Uptil, again it seems you never sleep. You must yet have a sleeping disorder." Sam Tarlach's students at the University of Pittsburgh were known to have to under go many long periods without sleep while undertaking his research. Hortuk was famous for needing little sleep, and changing his sleeping habits with ease. "It seems my body yet requires little rest. My wife sleeps the whole night while I am up playing the piano or reading. How was your trip across the Atlantic?" "Travel sedates me. As soon as the plane is in the air I am asleep! How is Murten?" "My wife is well and busy. She sends her best. She is preparing our children for the leaving to school. She sends her regards and asks that when you return to Ankara that you take time for a visit." "Murten still works at the US embassy?" Sam asks as he begins to rearrange the table in order to accommodate the arrival of Dr. Torrenti.
"Yes it is still difficult to find professional work as a woman in Turkey although much has changed since I was coming to Pittsburgh as a graduate student. The embassy hired her because she is porper citizen of US, and has language skills." Hortuk observes his former mentor perform a transformation of a simple breakfast table into elegantly organized conference center. "Does she use her degree in civil engineering?" Sam questions as he motions for the waiter's presence. "Sometimes! If the American's are building at one of their bases here in Turkey she will be asked to be liaison between military and civilian contractor. She is not paid as engineer but as local translator. It is the lower grade of pay. Even then she makes as much as myself at the University here." Hortuk has much respect for Sam and much wonder at the professor’s drive for preparedness even at this very early hour. The waiter arrives at their table. "We have need for small centerpiece...flowers but nothing large and dominating...small basket of fruit if all else fails...thank you!" Sam bows politely towards the waiter. He returns his attention to Hortuk. "Your sons are well?" "Yes the elder is now ten and the younger is eight. Both are good students. We hope to send them to stay with my in-laws and attend Pitt when it is time for their college." "If I am yet in Pittsburgh I shall be delighted to help. Uptil I am most grateful to you and the Turkish government for use of a telescope." "It is my pleasure to return any favor to you Dr. Sam. I have a number of students who are anxious to take part in your expedition." "You received my list of needs and a check for all expenses?"
"Yes! The van and rental equipment I shall personally acquire this very day. Two metal cargo boxes of electronic gear were received from Pittsburgh yesterday. Is this all you shall need? "That and some clear skies at night." "How does this encoder of work? It sounds like a very important concept!" "Well Uptil, it is a very interesting story. When I was a young student, my high school chemistry teacher was doing a lot of experimenting with various glasses and porcelains. He developed a simple method of making a low temperature glass. We made some of these in his course. It is very easy to do but the optical properties of these types of glass are non-linear." "Ah so they generate much distortion of light!" "Yes! There was not much interest in them scientifically. Such glass is easily colored and makes for excellent decoration." "You have found a scientific use?" "Exactly! I experimented with making lens from these glasses in my spare time and studied their behavior. Anyway, one day I chanced to merge two light sources using a pair of my non-linear lens. The resulting effect was striking! I was able to remove the flicker noise from the sources by a purely optical method." "So Dr. Sam your encoder will eliminate the twinkling from the stars!" "Ideally, it is a question of intensities at this point. However, another feature was observed in my earliest trials. If the glass is prepared properly the non-linear property obtained will permit crosscorrelation analysis."
"Wow! So your encoder will eliminate all random noise from your astronomical observations?" "Uptil, the encoder may well enhance a telescope's sensitivity by at least an order of magnitude. But the correlation analysis is controversial itself." "So no one in the scientific community wishes to risk his reputation with this idea of yours." "One can not blame them. I myself have left the idea linger until my retirement. Much verification will be required by me and others." "You have a guest astronomer with you on this expedition?" Uptil asks. "I invited Dr. Torrenti from Rome. She is to be my replacement as the director of Allegheny Observatory. The invitation was more a courtesy. I was quite surprised and delighted when she accepted." "What kind of personality is she having?" "Actually, Uptil I have never seen or spoken with the lady. We have corresponded in written format only. She is very well thought of in the states by most astronomers." "This Torrenti is to take much risk then on this expedition?" "Dr. Torrenti is a pioneer in astronomical correlation study. She is very much willing to have a private showing." "Hence she comes to Meezgole, No!" Uptil is pleased. "You are fortunate man to have such powerful ally." "Indeed!" "Excuse for thinking but would not this encoder have very much use for composing unbreakable secret messages? Would not your CIA wish very much such a device?"
"My government is very interested in this encoding process, but not for scientific reasons. They may have a copy of my encoder after the astronomical work is complete. Some young man in a gray flannel suit who sits in a warm chair in Washington DC all year is not going to bury my work in secret files." "Don't you worry that someone will steal your encoder?" Uptil is most concerned now. "The lens are the key and I have spares in Pittsburgh. By the time anyone manages to understand how to make such a lens by themselves my work will be complete." Sam knows that theft is a possibility. "The equipment will move to Meezgole soon?" "A van will be driven overland by the students. They shall leave by tomorrow day to arrive after your self. All equipment that is needed will be with them." "Well then we are ready to get to work?" Sam is pleased. "It is good to have Turkey to be host to such famous international astronomers. Perhaps my government will consider my proposal for new large observatory." Sophia enters the dining room. She stands erect and patient as she expects to be received. Sam is quite put off by the glamorous appearance the lady. She has the look more of a fashion model. He is uncertain as to whether to approach her. Sophia's eyes search the room. She notices a distinguished mature man observing her. This man would be the age of Tarlach she reasons. Sophia walks slowly toward the two men seated at the table. They stand to receive her. The younger man is short, stout and he has very much a native look. This must be Hortuk she is certain. The older man is quite fit, and more attractive than she had expected. "Dr. Tarlach, Dr Hortuk I presume. I am Sophia Torrenti."
"Dr. Torrenti welcome to my native Turkey." Hortuk bows deeply at the waist in greeting. "Yes welcome! I am so happy that you chose to join us. Please be seated." Sam holds a chair's back in order to assist her. "Please to permit me to order coffee, tea, and a light breakfast." Hortuk excuses himself from the table for the moment. "Dr. Torrenti..." Please to call me Sophia. I prefer the more casual relations in the work." Sophia interrupts. "Sophia, please to call me Sam. You will do wonderfully in Pittsburgh with this way. I wish you to know that the Allegheny Observatory has a very competent and professional staff. You will find your experience there to be very rewarding." "I believe that it will be so. I am most anxious to share these two weeks with you. Tell me Sam exactly where we are going. I have never heard of this observatory." Well the observatory is quite a small one but it has exceptionally high quality optics for telescope of its age. The place is called Meezgole. I myself have never been there. The Turkish government has restored this observatory and Uptil makes use of it from time to time. He has made arrangement for our use of it along with some graduate students' help." "I trust we shall have decent living conditions, otherwise I shall need a day or two shopping before we depart to this place." Sophia is concerned. "There is a very nice hotel, I understand, with modern amenities just a short drive below, near to the sea from the observatory."
"Who originally built this observatory?" "The original Persian owner had a observation dome built complete with a large telescope for the entertainment of his family and friends at the highest point upon the hills above the village more than a century ago. The Turkish government is moving into the 21st century and it operates it now as part of its university system's plan to study solar weather. It is actually ideal for my purpose plus it's available!" "Yes! There is not a large observatory with an available time for at least the next year. You are most fortunate to have such a friend. I am most anxious to learn some of your methods with the telescope, Sam." "Well Uptil is sending a good man to do the actual pointing. It will be my pleasure to share my experiences with you." "I understand you are not married Sam." This question slips from Sophia's lips as she studies his eyes which sparkle of sky blue. "No, not married...widowed!" Sam is a bit confused by this question. "You are not married?" The great beauty in her face captivates Sam. "No Sam." Sophia offers no explanation. "Who is this Dr. Hortuk?" "Uptil is a former student of mine. He came to Pitt to do his graduate work. He is a native of Turkey as you may have guessed. While at Pitt he married an American of Turkish decent who was also a Pitt student at that time." "Will he be part of our excises at Meezgole?"
"No, Uptil has been generous in his assistance with the logistics of our venture. Indeed he was most insistent that I come presently. It is a piece of luck that both of us could schedule our time together." "Did he say why now was necessary?" "Good student help, good weather, a good telescope that is free now. Venus and Mars are passing together in the night sky. One could not refuse easily." "I shall be returning with you to Pittsburgh to assume my post. if you don't have the objection." "Excellent Sophia, we shall have time to brief you on matters there." "Let's have some breakfast Sam. I need some strong coffee and perhaps some toast." Hortuk returns with several waiters bearing sweet cakes, strong coffee, Turkish tea, choices of fruits and an assortment of breads. "I have an fine Turkish breakfast for you both. To travel in Turkey one must keep one's strength. Dr. Sam you must have the passion fruit it is excellent. Please Dr. Torrenti try the sweet tea. It is like your Italian espresso but only with more strength. The warriors of the Ottermen Empire went to battle for the entire day on such foods." Hortuk smiles broadly under his course black mustache. "Dr. Hortuk, Sam tells me that you were most anxious for our expedition." "Yes! It is very busy sky now. The weather is clear most days. The transportation is easy for you. You have best chance for success. Uptil wishes to be much help to Dr. Sam, you shall see!" “Your students have worked at this observatory before?" Sophia is concerned about the grade of technical help.
"Some have been there for my work last year. There will be very good help with the equipment. Pointing the telescope will be done precisely, I'm sure of that." "Dr. Hortuk was one of my best celestial navigators Sophia. I have great confidence in his decisions." "Well gentlemen, if Venus and Mars can share the sky, I can only say that we can share our efforts at watching them." Sophia is relieved to know that matters are well planned. "Dr Sam, I shall try to join with your expedition after one week's time. There are pressing matters that I must attend to here." "It would be wonderful to work with you again Uptil but we have a very simple program to under take. So do not cancel any emergency for our sake. If need be I can delay my return to Ankara for a time." "Sam I need to be in Pittsburgh before the month's end. I have some extra time before I need to depart but not much." Sophia wishes to oblige Uptil as well." Hortuk looks at his watch. "It is time to leave so you both may board the ferry. It's the best way to travel this time of year. You will be in Meezgole by afternoon. The voyage is lovely, and you will arrive rested and refreshed." "I should take the time to collect my equipment." Sam is concerned to ensure all has been received. Uptil is a bit nervous. "All is well Dr Sam I inspected the crates myself upon their arrival. To delay will cost you one day of opportunity at the observatory. It is best for you to proceed with out unnecessary delay." "What of the weather there?" Sophia asks.
"Winters are mild and rainy...a frost is rare and snow is not found... the summers are hot and dry with cool nights...average daytime temperatures will be 80 degrees for your visit. We Turks are very happy with our weather." Again Hortuk presents Sophia with a huge simile. "Meezgole is several hours drive from the ancient city of Izmir, home of poet Homer. There are mostly dirt roads. In early times large cobble stoned highways were made. Today such travel is too harsh for foreign lady. Travel by sea will be much pleasure for you both." It is yet dark as Hortuk drives Tarlach and Torrenti through the streets of Ankara in a small crowded car to the coast and the ferry landing at the port of Sinop. The streets are mostly quiet to start but soon heavy traffic will swell the narrow ancient roadways with motorized and animal driven vehicles alike. As the car approaches the seacoast, the city of Sinop comes to life with much activity. Warehouses and loading docks are filled with the business of moving goods into and out of the city. Rows of ships from the large ocean going to a small barge are alive. Along the wharf their car moves toward a peer that is heavy with the traffic of several ferries loading and unloading. Passengers board one ferry, as their autos line up in preparation to be driven aboard ship. "Much travel is done by ocean since earliest times. Large quantity of supplies move to the most remote parts of Turkey's coast with very little manpower." Uptil brings the car to rest in front of a small white ferry. "This is the one you must take. Here are you passes. Just ask to be let off at Meezgole. If there is any problem have the captain phone my office." Uptil is most anxious for their departure.
"Thank you Uptil. We shall be fine." Sam is a bit concerned by the worn look of the vessel but trusts his host. The sun's rays are just breaking as Tarlach and Torrenti make their way up the loading ramp. Uptil's car speeds away. "Sam this place is unsafe!" Sophia holds Sam's arm tightly. "It's not the queen Elizabeth but it's the real thing. It has a bit of ancient world flavor." Sam responds as he looks about the ship's deck. "More like third world! I should not make this trip by myself Sam." The rough looking men moving items about the dock and aboard the vessel do not warm Sophia’s enthusiam. "May I to take the pass, please?" A slender hard looking man with a sea faring manner approaches. "To which port do you travel, please?" "We are bound to Meezgole?" Sam answers. Sam notices a deep scar across the left cheek of the man. The scar has the look of a knife wound. "Who wishes to know?" Sam's tone is changed. Sophia marks his words as the sound of an officer standing before his troops. "Fetih Terim, I am first mate, navigator and ticket person." The dark skinned man smiles with the purest set of natural white dentures Sophia has ever seen. "I am also tourist guide on voyage of ship." The sailor recognizes Sam's military bearing. "I was navigator for Turkish Navy. You are in fine hands. We make good times to Meezgole with wind to push from aft."
Sam senses the sailor's strength as Fetih's eyes are fixed straight to his. "Your vessel is soon to depart? The lady and I wish to be seated comfortably and with a view of the ocean." "The upper deck has very nice lounge chairs and canopy for shade. There will be place for some tea and delicious foods. Just to move up these stairs, please." Fetih points across the crowded main deck of the ferry. "Your ticket gives you access to rest area above. It will not be crowded as here. The air will be quite fresh with pleasant Aegean breezes." Sophia holds a scented kerchief to her nose as they make way past small cars parked upon the entrance deck of the ferry also thick with moaning goats, sheep and fowl. "Much of the Aegean is very rich farming. Turkey is much larger than American Texas." Fetih is proud to inform Sophia. "I am from Italy." Answers Sophia somberly. "Then you are use to smell of sheep. Turkey is larger than most country in Western Europe. We have many sheep. In Turkey everyone travels with the sheep. It is not so in Italy as well?" "My sheep do not travel!" Sophia does not care for the sailor's attempt at familiarization. She answers sharply. "Sit here!" Fetih points to starboard side of the deck. "The rising sun will make the ocean fill with colors. Best to be seeing it from here." "Thank you Fetih." Sam views the horizon as red rays are spreading from the edge of the solar disk as it begins to show above the water's edge. "I wish tea!" Sophia moves to the railing and leans over to see the mooring lines being taken away from the ship.
"I myself will bring very fresh tea, very quickly!" Fetih moves off and disappears inside the upper deck's cabin. "Sam! You are too friendly. You do not know these people but you speak to them as a friend. They will be sure to make trouble and take advantage of you. When I travel I speak to the agents only. I make no conversation or give no look of interest in any one." Sophia is surprised and disapproving of Sam's warm way with strangers. "I can not make friends with out speaking in a friendly manner. These people are working but they wish to enjoy their time of day as we. There is no more cost to be polite and considerate. Most people are truly pleasant and helpful. Trouble needs no invitation!" "Soon this sailor will wish to know of your business. This will not be good." Sophia warns. "This sailor knows much of the land and sea where we are strangers. It is good to have such friends." Sam looks at the young woman and he wonders if all ladies fear meeting strangers when traveling. He ponders her point of view in such a warning. "Sophia I shall be sure not to give him too much personal detail. I do hope to ask him some questions however." "Please Sam be careful not to invite him to join the expedition. He might be one of those lunatics who never sleeps and talks to an invisible someone when he is alone. I can see him selling all our belongings in some remote bazaar along with white slave girls." Sam cannot hide his laughter at Sophia's juvenile fantasy. "My family sailed these waters for centuries as pirates." Fetih announces as he arrives with tea. Sophia's expression of surprise and apprehension come-true is priceless.
"Close you mouth dear lady. It is just tea." Fetih does not understand the cause for Sophia's dismay. Before anyone can respond to Fetih's arrival, the ferry shudders violently as the ship's diesel motor engages its drive. All rush to the railing to see the wake from the bow. I must be to my duty station or my captain will take us to Persia by mistake. He is too old but he does not wish to leave the sea. I think he would rather sink with this boat in the ocean than be land locked with his wife in retirement" Fetih comments as he once again departs. Sophia's face turns a shade of white that gives Sam concern. "Are you getting sea sick? We have not left the dock completely yet!" "What did that man mean by pirates?" Sophia's body is rigid. She stares at Sam. "The Aegean is a major seaway of trade since man first left land. Pirates have always haunted such commerce." Sam seems to take such a reality for granted. "I'm sure that modern day pirates are kept out from Turkish waters by their navy. They have the largest standing military in the world with a dedicated force of over one million persons in uniform...They are vicious fighters these Turks." "You don't mean that we might actually be attacked by a pirate ship." Sophia's look is incredulous. "Pirates did more than board ships with swords. They are professional smugglers...In daylight such an event will not happen here in modern Turkey. Their navy is certainly patrolling just over the horizon. Their military planes are minutes away any where from the coast...Hortuk would never put us in danger." Sam reassures the lady.
Sophia relaxes as day emerges fully onto the Aegean. The two sit with glasses of sweet tea in hand as the ferry moves out of the busy port onto the expanse of ocean. Sea birds soon gather and swirl above the ferry as it moves along the coastline. Dark gannets dive among schools of small fish steering clear of the vessel's path. Gray pelican and white gull dive in the ferry's wake. Any item that churns in the water’s foam is fair game for frantic beaks. Children from the main deck tease the birds with pieces of paper tossed over board with an occasional crumb pulled from their luncheon items stored in heavy brown wrapping. Sam and Sophia are quick to share the children's delight. The mood aboard the ship becomes one of holiday and merrymaking. Sophia's concern of dangerous men is vanished. Sam's worry about the age of the ship is dispelled as the vessel glides smoothly through ocean's waves. Sophia's gaze comes to rest upon her shipmate, Dr. Sam Tarlach. He is much different a man as she has ever known. He appears to her as sophisticated, but he communicates readily with the most ordinary of souls. He dress is as fine as a lord but he is comfortable among lesser men. There is a gleam in his eyes that reminds her of innocence from another time. He seems to take much joy from simple things. She is very much at ease with this man. Sophia notes that there is much black yet mixed the gray of his hair. Some men continue to grow better looking as they age. Sam, she thinks, has been a man that women have long considered attractive. She wonders if his pleasant manners will last for the whole of their expedition.
She turns her attention to the hills that rise from the coast. Farms and meadows separate by wood grove, and rock faced hill. These pass slowly across her view with the ferry's progress. The mix of unspoiled land and passive sea creates for Sophia a special joy of life this morning. The pleasure of her companion adds to her growing sense of wellbeing. Sam looks over the sea. He is lost observing countless shimmers of sun light off the ocean's surface. A pattern of reflections forms on the moment to propagate across the water as currents of water or wind drive them. These patterns are soon to be lost as they merge with the ocean swells. Sam notes that some changes in the patterns result in regular splittings. He studies the ordering of patterns hoping to observe a region of emerging chaos among the waves. As Sam's eyes scan the sea's horizon, he is distracted by Sophia's form moving to the railing. This is the first occasion he has had to see the lady's figure in full light. Her clothes are most elegant. Her legs are shapely, and her small figure is classic Italian in beauty. She is much younger than he might have wished. He ponders if this expedition is going to be purely scientific. Such a woman demands much attention. In any event this trip promises to be unlike anything he has yet to experience. As he measures her beauty, he recalls his fathers' words that it is permissible for the man to enjoy a look over the woman's form but one should stop before lust enters his heart. His eyes return to view the open sea. His mind remains full of Sophia's great beauty. He decides to join her at the rail. "Sophia! This expedition has become very pleasurable. I am afraid by the time we reach the observatory I'll have forgotten all the science I have ever been taught."
"It is such a day as this with a beautiful azure sea and clear sky, that the pleasure of just living fills the soul. There is no need for astronomy or any other thing for the heart but one's own breath." Sophia is content and this moment gives her much appreciation for her host. "You are a special person Sam Tarlach." "I trust you are glad to have accepted my invitation. I had forgotten how immense the sea and it's beauty." Sam allows himself one more indulgence to view such womanly beauty that can only be called Roman. "It will be the most beautiful experience in astronomy of my life. This expedition may bear some reward for science but it has the gratitude of my soul already. Gratia!" “Well Sophia my ideas in astronomy have not always been heralded. However, the idea of going to Meezgole is certainly proving as correct." "As a small girl in Italy my father would read the fairy tale of cats sailing the sea in a ship made of a wooden bucket. I would fantasize of warm cuddly kittens lost in a big water. My heart would race in excitement for the adventures they would encounter, and those things unknown that they would discover. In my life I have searched a way to live such excitement. Only when I look to the heavens with a telescope do I have such a thrill." These are closely held secrets she shares with Sam. “When I was a soldier in Vietnam, on night patrol or while on guard in the dark, I would look up to the sky and for a moment I would feel safe from danger. I would think up among the stars I would be truly hidden from the enemies view. Every time a sound came from the dark, down from the stars I would come into mortal danger. The more familiar I became with the objects of the sky the more hopeful I became that I might survive my
time in combat. When we really got into armed action with the enemy I had to fotget all about the constellations." “It seems Sam that we both have much the same interests. This is good! There will be no conflict between us." Sophia is pleased to share his thoughts. She knows these are very private. "For sure we shall share the pleasure of this day without any problems! You are a very fine lady." "I am a kitten lost at sea, and you are the soldier hiding in the stars. Perhaps we should not tell others these secrets." Sam laughs with Sophia at her words. "Yes and Fetih is the pirate hiding in the ferry." More laughter rises from the two scientists. "You like this Aegean? Only Turkey has such waters and such skies." Fetih returns. "The captain wishes me to offer the lady his personal tour of the boat. The captain has always the eye for the beautiful woman." Sophia is not impressed. "Tell the captain that I have seen enough of his boat. If he wishes to give tours then he should have it painted first." "The captain will be most hurt." Fetih knew Sophia's response in advance. "Do not worry dear lady. Every woman rejects his offer." Sam notices an island in the distance. "What bit of land is yonder, Fetih?" "It is an small island. There are over 100 islands along the Aegean coast many are not known. Some are inhabited." Fetih answers. "Shall we see them all as we pass to Meezgole?" Sophia's concern of danger is returning.
"The coast is 1700 miles long. We shall not go nearly this far to Meezgole." Fetih points to the island. "There are ships that take the tourists tosome of these islands. You can dive into the water or visit the island. This ferry does not stop at any island." “You say some islands are uncharted?" Sophia's concern continues. "In some areas the currents are very dangerous with strong tides. In these regions ships do not travel. Even the Turkish Navy stays clear of these islands. No one knows the actual number of islands. Do not worry no ship that travels the Aegean is out of sight of land for long." "This ferry goes the entire 1700 miles of coast?" Sam is amazed. "We travel for one week to other side of Turkey then we return. This ferry is for smaller village only. There are many great sized boats that stop many times each day in the large ports along the Aegean." Fetih points off the starboard to a large ocean liner closing from the distance toward the ferry. "Do you navigate the entire way, Fetih?" Sam asks. "Yes and no! This trip I stop for rest after Meezgole. Another will take my place till ferry returns to Ankara. Often I shall have to steer the entire coast without help." "Turkey is a Muslim country?" Sam asks. "It is a Muslim country but previously the people followed the monotheistic teaching of Zoroasturus from the 6th century BC" Sophia answers surprisingly. "I went to the library before I left Rome." “In the remote regions this religion is yet practiced today. I am pleased that you have honored my country by your study of our ways." Fetih bows his head to Sophia. "What makes you ask this question Mr. Sam?" Fetih inquires.
"Excuse my asking but you wear a bracelet much like a Celtic Torc. I was surprised to see this. The markings are they Muslim?" "The markings are copies of very old inscriptions form ancient temples. Islam is not as old as these figures. They have been taken to mean good luck since the original inscriptions are still to be found." Fetih hands the bracelet to Sam for close inspection. "Such things one shall find in the bazaar. This one belongs many generations to my family." "This is very beautiful." Sophia comments as she receives it from Sam. "It is solid silver, no?" "It has kept the men of my family safe at sea. I wear it always!" Fetih is made proud by the visitor's interest. "These figures are like ancient warriors as outlined in sticks." Sophia recalls such in the books from the library. "I believe these figure would originally be much earlier than 6th century BC." "They actually represent an ancient order of warrior class. We do not know the name and the meaning of these symbols today. I am very proud of this origins." Fetih's smile is replaced by a stern military look. The ferry whistle blows as a small village appears on the port side of the boat. "It is the village of Sukur and our first stop. I must take control of boat or captain will sink village." Fetih turns to hurry off. "Meezgole is several hours away and we have two more stops before then" "His family has sailed this sea since as early in time that they can remember!" Sam ponders such a tradition.
"Yes and this bracelet of his family was clearly not designed by the nautical history of this land." Sophia's comment is most cold in tone. "Why? Whatever do you mean? Sam is puzzled by her comment. ”Such an heirloom was not fashioned for those that sail the sea but rather those who fight battles upon the land." "I understand this." Sam looks with continued confusion toward the lovely Sophia. "It is evident to me that this piece of jewelry was booty taken from some vessel centuries ago." Sophia's eyes burn bright with confidence. "His family stole this from someone traveling at sea. It is pirate booty he wears, and most proudly I say!" Sam looks silently at the woman. His mind is filled with the imagery of ancient ships, pirates and mililtarymen locked in struggle with swords and arrows. "Perhaps the entire coast is strewn with such memorabilia, Sophia. Anyone we meet who is native here may have ancestors that were pirates of the Aegean." "You speak as an American, Sam. In this part of the world ‘use to’ yet means 'still is'. This man is yet the pirate. I know this as I know that this Terim is no noble man as your self. Be most careful with your words on this ship." "Uptil would not send us into danger!" Sam is reassuring. “No but what has you convinced that this Hortuk is not associated with pirates himself?" Sophia's suspicion is growing. "He is a professor of astronomy!" Sam asserts. "He may wish to steal your encoder!"
"He's only helping...please don't let this sea voyage take charge of your imagination." Sam is a bit overcome by the woman's intuition of danger. "He is sending us help. He could have taken the device already but he has not...you shall see." "What I see Sam is that soon you shall show Uptil's ally how to use you encoder. I'll bet this Terim knows all of our purpose here!" ~~~~~ The ferry arrives at the dock of Meezgole by late afternoon. The sun is still high above with many hours of light remaining. The small wooden dock is well worn by the Aegean's sun and rain. Heavy timbers anchor the narrow loading platform. Sound enough is the seaside works to permit an automobile to pass on or off the ferry's main deck. Heavy trucks would arrive in Mezzgole only by overland routes. The area is temporarily cluttered with agricultural goods gathered to be loaded. A few young sheep and the odd goat are tethered and wait the moving into one of the holding pens of the ferry. Open crates filled with chickens and eggs await transport to distant markets. Boxes of goods made or gathered about the village are stored in anticipation of loading as well. At this time of the year, most people of the region are consumed with harvest work in the fields, or sea. Only a few persons await the ferry's landing. A little thin elderly man stands with cane in hand. His baggy trousers sway as a pair of flags in the stiff Aegean breeze. He talks through puffs of exhalled smoke to a young peasant woman holding a newborn baby. She sits upon a worn bench at the dock's side with one large bundle at her feet. The old man smokes a short heavy cigar as a plume of
blue gray smoke passes out from under a heavy white mustache. His unshaven face is tanned and wrinkled. He shows no expression as the young mother talks excitedly. The woman and child wear similar white headscarves and traditional dress that covers the entire body. She fidgets with her young child, as she inspects and reorganizes the items in a large handbag that hangs from one arm and rests upon her lap. Both the man, and the woman turn to face the open sea to mark the sight of any vessel. The lady points to a speck upon the horizon, but the old man shakes his head in disagreement. A small man with a round face and thick neck that sit atop his barrel sized chest and abdomen carries a small sack filled with parcels and mail. His features are course. Tufts of heavy hair cover his upper lip, eyes, and protrude from the sides of his turban styled cap. He moves leisurely along the sea's shore from the village to the ferry landing. The old man smiles at the approaching carrier, and waves an eager salute. "Old man! Are you traveling with your grand daughter this day?" "Ah, Dincer I go to my daughter's house at Izmir. She is the one who is the physician. She likes to hear my heart with her machines." The old man laughs. Dincer Gundez is the local merchant, who runs the local mail service, and the ferry landing as well. "Perhaps you will find a city woman and make a son." Dincer responds. The old man shakes his hand in rejection of such a notion. The old man is now a widow with seven married children all of which are daughters. It is the old man's frustration that his grandchildren are all girls as well. The baby is his great grand daughter. Long has the village known of his wish for a son. "Men in the Christian bible father children when they are one hundred years of age." Dincer teases.
"There are no womans who wish to move to the place like Mezzgole today. There is too much money in the city. Today womans work and make big pay. No such jobs, no such pay for anyone was to be had in my youth. My daughters all have left from here. They all have big homes filled with many things that I could not buy for their mother. I am too poor to tempt the womans, but if I find one I might try once again to have the son." The men laugh with glee. The young mother scowls with disbelief. "Well, old man does the ferry come soon?" Dincer asks as all turn to look at the sea's horizon once more. "Very soon Dincer! All sea birds circle low off the eastern point. They know good dinning comes with the ferry. The lower they fly the closer the ferry." The old man has seen these sights for many generations. His granddaughter studies the sky then her grandfather's face, as she knows little of the way of life near the sea. "There is much in your bag Dincer. Who in Meezgole has so much to write?" "It is I old one. These are mostly forms to be returned to the government to fill their computers about our village. The names, the ages, the work, the taxes on the goods sold from my shop. It seems that mostly such things of the government come and go in the mail." Dincer shakes his head in a show of the great workload placed on him. "There is little new under the sun", say the old man. "Since I was a boy, nothing in the village has changed. Only the goings and comings of the people of villa change." The man points to the great structure that is a large villa, which sits high above the village. "There are many government documents sent from the villa in here as well", Dincer adds.
"For as long as remembered the government wishes to know all. They never come from Ankara to visit, or stay. These words they gather for their computer have no meaning. Only the sea knows all of Meezgole. No man can put the sea into his machine." The old man points his cane to the seaward horizon just as the ferry's bow makes sight off the point. "There is our boat poppy." The young woman stands in excitement. "Soon we shall be in Izmir." Her anticipation to return home is showing. She bounces her baby in her arms. "Old one, soon you shall be off! You will miss much excitement! The government opens the little house with the telescope for foreigners coming to look up through our sky at night." "These foreigners will increase Dincer's wealth. They spend their money as if it is to be thrown away. I worked to hard for many years. I have never had money. The business of the villa does not interest me. I have no need for money now." The old man eyes are empty as he speaks. "If I return, we shall have the drinks of tea and whiskey. My friend Dincer will tell of this excitement. This will give me much pleasure." His eyes are now bright with mischief. The ferry is closing on the circular cove that lies before Meezgole. The full view of the white ship from the village gives excitement. Children run out to stand on a slope of ground above the ferry's landing. They wish to see the figures that sit aboard the ferry's upper deck. The strange sounds, and smells of happenings on the ship are never seen in their village. The women will join them to spy a familiar face among the passengers traveling aboard the ferry.
Most of the men are in the field, or adrift in their fishing boat. The old men of the village sit together and watch the dock's activity from the porch of one of the homes. They wave to Dincer and his friends. Several men arrive to receive company, or goods transported with the ferry. A land rover makes it way down the road from the villa to receive new guests just arriving. Aboard the ferry, a whistle sounds its approaching landing. Sam, and Sophia leave their deck chairs. They move forward to view the sights of the village and land about Meezgole. "The village is most picturesque. It seems as if time has stood still here." Sophia comments. The gathering of small homes and narrow walkways that form the village of Meezgole sits well above the water's edge. The village surrounds a small deep-water port. “There is no reef here about to obstruct the movement of vessels. Any house in the village has sat in the same place for centuries. The foundations must have been laid long before the time of the pyramids. The first inhabitants here arrived as soon as man could sail this sea." Sam points to the distant mountains." Access by the sea is still far more convenient than through a mountain's pass." Two ridgelines descend from these mountains and move out into the sea where they form the eastern, and western edges of the village. Their descent is stepwise forming natural plateaus and meadows. A small valley rich in soil lies between these two ridges, and the valley ends in semicircle border of the sea. The village of Meezgole is found here and is served by an ideal although small bowel shaped seaport. The two ridges spread out in a wide sweeping fashion to form a rough coast of boulder and cliff on either side of the village.
A single road winds down the mountain through the meadows dotted with grazing animals past an occasional small cottage to enter the village from the east. The stone covered road makes its way to the landing then rises in the west up to a promontory flat high above the village. "What building is there by itself? It's a palace like none I've seen in Italy." Sophia points to the road's end. "There on the flat above the western point of land." "This is to be our home for the next two weeks or so. It is called the Villa Azizi." Sam answers. "It's beautiful! It's regal! Who would put such a palace as this far out here where there is no city?" The magnificence of the villa captivates Sophia from the distance. "Some time in the 18th century a rich merchant, named Azizi I believe…Sam pauses waiting for a smile from Sophia…built a summer palace for his family's vacation. He was originally from somewhere in the far Middle East. They say he made much profit in illegal commerce. Turkey is a country located at a point of the old world where 3 continents Asia, Africa, and Europe are the closest to each other. It is a true historical crossroads where many great civilizations have been born. Much opportunity exits for those who can navigate through the disparities in the laws of trade among the many nations that form this part of the world. It is called finding a margin." Sam notes. "How exciting! Maybe we shall meet some of this modern intrigue." Sophia laughs a bit at Sam. "But I warn you we Romans are used to dealing in shifting margins. We call it the black market, and I believe the Roman Empire created the first such enterprise." She enjoys matching Sam's wit.
Sam is delighted by her response. "I think today's Turkish government has ended the heavy traffic in drugs and guns that passed through these out of the way ports. The intrigue to be found here nowadays is in the gambling casino at the villa. Perhaps the patrons here will suffice to revive those ancient days the when travelers from the ends of the world mingled in Rome for profit." Sophia smiles at Sam's words. His soft speech pleases her very much. The ferry slows as it prepares to dock. In the harbor, the moorings of the fishing boats are empty. Several magnificent sailing boats lie at anchor along with a large powered yacht. Today only Sam and Sophia will descend from the ferry. Few goods and little mail are to be delivered today. The luggage Sam has to haul off the ferry. He struggles with several bags. Most belong to Sophia. "What have you in these bags? It seems that you must have packed all of your things from Rome." "A woman needs many items when she travels. Convenience is not without price." She is a bit surprised by Sam's dismay. "Did you not travel with your wife? I'm sure many things in my bags are the same. No?" It is some time since Sam has traveled with any woman. He is a bit embarrassed. "Excuse me! In the military we had to put all our things in one bag...I'm just use to such." "Naturally! But I have no come here to fight the war...just to dress well." She let her response sting just a little. She wants Sam to know that less than acceptable is never to be acceptable. "Let me help you!" Dincer calls out as he makes his way toward the two." The car from the villa is coming just now. They will take your luggage." Dincer is quick to fill his hands with the largest and heaviest pieces. "Just to put them to one side away from the
traffic and far from the water. Many tides have taken someone’s valise out to sea by the clumsy accident." Dincer gathers the entire luggage collection to the shore side of the dock. "Here see the van. It comes now." "Thank you very much! My name is Sam Tarlach, and the lady is called Dr. Torrenti. We are here to stay at the villa." "This I know. I am called Dincer Gundez. I am owner of store for village. I am village official in all matters legal and otherwise. Welcome to Meezgole!" "Very fortunate for us you are here as we landed", Sam adds. "I am here as agent for government transportation, and immigration. All things or people that come or go to Meezgole are to be recorded. This I do for village." "Your village is very clean. It's spotless. It's just most beautiful." Sophia is thrilled to be on land. The quaint life style and lovely old homes of the village she finds most appealing. "Turks are very clean people. We do not tolerate unclean ways. Turks must have order always." Dincer is a very proud to be a Turk. "You speak English like an American!" Sam observes. "I was in America. I was in private in army of USA. When as boy I went to Germany to work. There I found job as soldier in US Army, and I was there in your country to learn basic training." "When? With what outfit? Where were you stationed?" Sam is completely overjoyed to meet a fellow vet out here in the backwaters of the Aegean. Sophia is lost, and confused. She is stunned by Sam's sudden warm familiarization with this little man.
"I was with 101st airborne. We went straight to Nam and I stay for two tours of duty. Then my father called me back to village." "I was young lieutenant in Nam '68 and '69 with the Marine Corps." Sam is quick to identify himself with Dincer's experiences." "I fought there during these times." "What ever made you join the army of the US.? Why not the Turkish army?" Sam's interest has Dincer and Sophia captive. "I wish to see USA. There was no war when I joined. I like American Army. I should stay but my father wished me to take store for village, and have good Turkish wife. So I returned home. America pays big money for soldier. In Turkish Army no one goes on leave to see Hollywood with beautiful American girls. Turkish women makes the best wife. In old days the man may have many wives in Turkey." With this statement, Sophia looses interest. "It's time! The van from the villa is here. Let us go and take our accommodations. Thank you Mr. Gundez. Perhaps another time you may share more stories of the army with Dr. Tarlach." "It is a great honor to meet great world scientists. It is a great honor for Meezgole and Turkey to have both you here. Marine officer are great leaders in combat. Meezgole has never had American military officer. The village people will be most proud to see you General Tarlach." "Colonel...ex-colonel Tarlach." "General, I should like to bathe from our travels. May we please go?" Sophia moves straight to the waiting van before Sam can respond.
"Certainly! See you later Dincer." Sam snaps a military salute in Dincer's direction as he follows Sophia towards the van. At the van awaits a small, thin, dark skinned man. He greets the scientists with joy and enthusiasm. "Good day! Good day! I am Tugay. Please to permit the ride to the villa with myself." Sam places the luggage in the van's rear compartment. "Tugay, you have worked at the villa for a long time?" “Oh saeeb, I work and live at the villa since first Lord Christown becomes owner." The car moves towards the villa. From above the pair of scientists view the village. The port is dotted with remnants of ancient Greece dating back to the time of the Trojan War. Marble columns are used to support walls, and foundations of homes used by the villagers to day. Marble Greek sarcophagi are used to water sheep, or as resting benches for the villagers. The placement of the villa gives full view of the bay of the village and the full ocean at sunrise and sun set. "The ownership of the villa has changed hands many a time since it's construction. A decade or more past, an adventurous Englishman named Edward Christown became owner of the villa." Sam informs Sophia. "At least, this is what Uptil has told me." “Oh yes it is quite so. I have been servant to Lord Christown long before he married his ladyship. The finest dining, and elegant rooms with magnificent views of the ocean are to be had at very good prices." “You were servant to Lord Christown before he came to Turkey?" Sam is puzzled. "Tugay is a Turkish name is it not?"
"I am called Kamur Sandeeptha. Local people here give name as Tugay. I am from Deli. Lord Christown offers me work in England for him as manservant. This was a very great honor for me." "You left your country and family to live in his Lordship's estate?" Sam continues. "Indeed it was so! This days I am helping with villa in many ways." Tugay smiles with enthusiasm. "The Christowns have made much of this place." Sam remarks as he studies the beauty of the villa as they approach. "Much people come to stay at villa. Lord Christown enticed many noble people from sea to visit and to stay. During the traveling season, the villa has tables for gambling." Tugay adds. "The villa and all the advantages to be taken of here are run by the very competent Lady Christown. His Lordship and his yacht were lost rounding the Tip of Africa some time back, her ladyship and their son, James make the villa their home. They travel back to Western Europe for short periods in the winter season when commerce here is light at the villa." Sam continues the story to his companion. "Seems Sam you are very well informed for one who arrives for the first time here in Meezgole" Sophia is surprised by the gossip in his account. "Uptil is very much a talker. He tells all to anyone who may listen." Sam says simply. "Dr. Hortuk is many times guest of his lordship here in Meezgole. Dr. Hartuk enjoys villa very much," Tugay adds. "It seems to me that he must like to gamble, or fish for there is not much else to keep one here for long," Sophia muses out loud.
Sam ponders the meaning of her words. He has never thought of Dr. Hortuk as anything but as scientist. He had no idea of Uptil's private habits. "I understand Lord Christown was a renowned naturalist and he has collected many specimens of rare and unusual sea creatures. Some of which had been acquired from the decks of local fishing ships." "His lordship was very much respected scientist. I was his assistant in many of his works. I prepare many samples for his work with microscope." Tugay comments. "All of his work sits now in the villa yet." "What kind of lady is Mrs Christown?" Sam wonders. "Lady Abatha is much pretty woman. She has great energy for her age. Very proper, very well bred lady. She was trained in classics in England. She has a much gift for business, and the speaking of languages." "The villa is absolutely gorgeous." Sophia says with a sigh as the van pulls into the entranceway lined with gardens and reflection pools. "His lordship recreated villa as the original. When we came to Meezgole gardens are decayed. Building has no paint. Water is coming through roofs in many places. No one lives here. The villagers use grounds for sheep only." "The cost must have been enormous to recapture this splendor?" Sophia asks. "Very much more than his lordship could afford. He must be selling all other properties. It is only by making guest rooms and casino that he does not lose last of his fortune. There were very hard times to make his dream." Tugay's expression turns sad. "As he made this villa once again blossom, his life was lost to us. This was very great man I am assuring you both." The van's stopping brings their conversation to an abruptly to an end.
The villa is a three-story structure...U shaped with each arm meeting at the center with a main entrance hall. "We are having as many as 100 residents in the villa. The upper floors are used to house servants and those who come to Meezgole to work at the villa," Tugay offers. "Are there many workers on the upper most level?" Asks Sam. "Lady Abatha is not affording such labor and relies mainly on help from the village. The 3rd floor spaces are mostly unused except for her and her son quarters on one wing. Several others and myself have much room on the other wing." "Such beauty...so regal...this villa, it is a heaven," offers Sophia. "Dear lady, it is living as the maharaja. All who live here have view of the ocean. The dinning room, gambling and entertainment hall are on the first floor. The second floor is for guests only." Tugay says with delight. “How are the guest quarters? Can they possible be as divine as the villa's exterior?" Sophia asks as she becomes lost in consuming the view. "Luxury suites...several rooms for each guest with private patio. The Persians love great architecture and ornate decorating. You shall live as this only once. I am certain of that.' Tuagy is proud of his place of employment. Grand terraces and balconies ornate with natural flowers in hanging baskets, and planters mix with rich flowered bushes abound. The ocean view is magnificent from the villa. Scented breezes fill the air. Sophia finds herself transported into another world with a living unlike anything Rome has ever offered. The villa is surrounded by gardens, walking paths and reflection pools. The three-story structure supports rooms with high ceilings an all floors. The roofing is made in arches of
bright red tiles. White marble and stucco form the walls. The grounds about the villa are partitioned into several gardens. Each contains several reflecting pools, flowing streams, fountains of water. "The gardens are each named for the objects in the sky. Here in the entrance is the garden of the sun. In the rear is the most beautiful garden of the moon with large pools of water. It is said the Persians would have sumptuous feasting on nights when the full moon filled the pools and garden with her light. The moon goddess is favorite to Persian believers." Tugay adds to the history. The windows of the villa stretch from the floor to the ceilings on each level. Long drapes of fine silken material move with the breezes. "If you have special needs ask for Tugay. I am having much delight in seeing to your pleasures." Tugay bows repeatedly with huge smiles. Sam and Sophia’s luggage move to the receiving desk. "There seems to be no one about? Sam looks behind the desk and around the hall. "It is impossible! To travel this far just to be kept waiting?" Sophia is accustomed to better. She looks impatiently at the each of the various doorways of the hall. "Some one will be there in a bit!" Calls a man's voice from behind a newspaper held in one of the over sized chairs of the nearby smoking lounge. "The power is out in Izmir. We lost all electricity." "Perhaps we may join you?" Sam suggests to Sophia by motion of his hand. The two astronomers walk over to the lounge and takes seats about a large round coffee table. Smoke from a small cigar rises slowly as it sits in an ashtray near the reader.
The man in the paper seems unconcerned by their presence. "Will the electricity be off for any length of time?" Sam directs his question towards the newspaper. "Just gone out now. Happens quite a bit out here. The paper then falls from the face of the man. "Beaudoin here." The man behind the paper smiles through thick black handle bar mustache at Sophia. "I'm sorry. I don't quite understand", replies Sam. "What is a Beaudoin?" "That's me. Deni Beaudoin!" The paper falls completely to the side revealing a man with thick black hair, heavily greased and parted almost in the center of his head. His small figure is neatly dressed in a tight fitting jacket and tie of an earlier fashion. His eyes are fixed on Sophia who remains uncomfortable and overtly indifferent to the little man. Sam senses his companion's annoyance and avoids any introduction." Should we remain here?" Sam asks the houseguest. "The people are starting their emergency generators now." The talk is interrupted by the arrival at the desk of a young man dressed as a houseboy. "Electricity is back", announces the lad who recognizes the new guests, and walks to their presence. "Lady I take you to your room. You may sign in later, please." Sophia walks off with the lad without one word. The men stand politely for her departure. "Beautiful woman!" The little man's eyes devour Sophia as she makes her way up the stairs. Sam restrains his thoughts on the man's poor manners. He accepts possible differences in custom as source of his offence. "Mr. Beaudoin, that was a very brief emergency indeed." Sam is waiting his turn to be shown a room.
"Happens all the time." "Is there some reason for all this disruption in power?" Sam tries to be congenial during his wait. "The local power grid is served by the government facility at Izmir. Any strong storm in the region will knock out power here at the grid's end." Beaudoin resumes reading his paper. His interest in any further conversation is ended. "Are there many strong storms about then?" Sam is glad Sophia is spared any further discomfort. "Enough!" The cigar moves off the table and disappears behind the paper. Large puffs of a sour gray smoke signal the time for Sam's departure. Sam arrives back at the reception desk just as a small attractive and mature lady arrives. "Dr Tarlach, one presumes?" The woman looks directly at Sam." Welcome to my villa. Your rooms are quite ready. I am the owner, Lady Christown." She is very professional. "This young lady is our Suhba. She will show you to your rooms. The houseboy will bring all the baggage up directly. I am sorry for your inconvenience." "Should I sign in for Dr. Torrenti and myself?" Sam always enjoys a woman who is organized and makes things happen. "No need at present! When you come to dinner you both will have ample time." Lady Christown's voice seems to chime in a musical way. "You seem to have no real difficulty with the power outage?" Sam is complimentary. "Thank you, Dr. Tarlach! The government has only recently begun electrical service to the more remote parts of the region. As yet we have power from Izmir during the daylight hours. At other times one must operate from one's own gasoline powered generator."
"Every one here owns their own small electrical generator?" Sam is surprised. "It's very expensive operation. Many in the village can only afford limited service. The cost of the fuel and a generator is the largest expense for those who live along the Aegean coast." "The villa is beautiful Lady Christown." "Thank you! My late husband, Lord Christown and I spent most of our time, and fortune restoring it to the original splendor. He was devoted to the place. I understand you are to do some searching of the heavens during you stay." "Hopefully! The observatory is part of your estate, is it not? "Yes, the observatory is actually part of the villa. The Turkish government keeps up the telescope in exchange for its unlimited use. Dr. Hortuk makes use of it occasionally mind you. It's been no bother for us here in the villa itself." "Dr Tarlach? Did someone say Dr Tarlach?" The small man from the deep chair is walking toward the desk. "Dr Samuel Tarlach?" "Yes that's me." Sam turns to face the small but athletic Mr. Beaudoin approaching. Excuse me Lady Christown while I have a word with Mr. Beaudoin." The young girl walks demurely after Sam. "I have your book Dr. Tarlach on making one's own telescope." Deni Beaudoin is determined to have Sam's attention." I built a 10-inch reflector using your instructions. It still works like new." "That must have been some time ago. Are you a scientist?" Sam is not in the mood for prolonged amateur discourse.
"I would love to see the telescope up in the observatory." Beaudoin ignores his question." Did I hear that you should be doing some work up there? I would love to lend a hand." "Well Mr. Beaudoin, I'm here as a guest of the Turkish government to assist in their work at the observatory. I'm afraid you'll have to apply for work with them." Sam is soon to skip out of more talk. "The Toronto Zoo!" "I'm sorry, what of the zoo?" Sam is having difficulty in this conversation. "I work at the Toronto Zoo, Toronto Canada!" Beaudoin waits for more response from Sam. "Well Mr. Beaudoin this sounds very interesting but I must get to my room." Sam is leaving. "I set my telescope in the zoo on clear nights near the monkey cage. The little ones love when I spend the night with them." Beaudoin calls after Sam. Sam and the young lady named Suhba walk towards the stairs. "This way Dr Tarlach to the second floor and room 223. Dr. Torrenti's room is 222." The young lady seems to bounce with energy. She must be 15 years or so thinks Sam. Her dark hair is filled with curls and it swirls constantly about her shoulders as she moves ahead of Sam up the stairs. "The village is very proud to have scientists from America. My mother has cousins in Los Angeles and some day I shall go there and make movies." The young girl smiles at Sam and awaits his approval. "You move like a dancer. You smile like an angel. You eyes are bright green and your complexion is olive. You are a natural for the silver screen."
The girl beams with agreement inSam's words. "There are many fine schools in the area about Los Angeles. Many beautiful men and women go there for an education in film making and acting as well." "I can sing and dance. Here in the casino I make entertainment as well. Many visitors tell me that I am beautiful and have much talent." Again the girl looks for confirmation. "I shall have to come and see you perform." Sam smiles to assure her. "This night is special. Come to casino and see my work. Here is your room." Sam enters the room. Subha rushes to a large window and opens it. A stiff breeze immediately brings a fresh fragrance of the villa's garden mixed with the sent of the sea into the room. "Isn't this room lovely?" The girl asks as she pirouettes across a spacious Persian rug. "Delightful!" Answers Sam as he inspects the furnishings. "The symmetry of the room is not used." The order here is not to Sam's liking. "It seems that the Persians like little space and much comfort in their homes. There is too much furniture here and that which is needed is in the wrong place." Subha is lost to see what could be found wrong with the expensive decor. She is just to ask for Sam's meaning when Tugay enters with the last of the luggage. "Lady Scientist say to you to call this evening for her to have dinner. She is unpacking as we speak." "Excellent! The three of us have time to reorganize the room." Sam calls the two attendants to his assistance as he moves the couches and chairs about his suite to fit his liking. The bed is moved so as to give more exposure to the sea breeze. "Some of this stuff has to go Tugay. The room is congested."
After some hour or two of labor, the room has taken an entirely new ambiance. Tugay and Subha are delighted with the transformation Sam has instituted. "You are correct Colonel Sam. The room is now perfect. I did not see that some of the items did not fit properly." Subha is amazed at the scientist's sensitivity of space and form "Tugay will you have the extra furniture removed from the hallway? And tell Lady Abatha that she may restore the room to her delight after I depart Meezgole." "Dr Tarlach, I shall have the items to storage immediately, and returned later as you wish. However the Lady Christown will be very much delighted by this change." Tugay is most sincere in his words. Subha glides away. Her legs and arms move gracefully about girlish form that has been captured in antiquity on many statues portraying the woman beautiful. "See later you ballerina!" Sam calls after Subha. This delights the young girl. ~~~~~ Sophia is busy in her room begins unpacking. She holds up her a fine dress from her luggage. She gives it a shake or two, and then lays it out upon the bed. She walks to the stand and lifts the receiver of the telephone. "The front desk. May I help you?" A woman's voice responds. It is clear and American in speech. "This is Room 222. I have need for some clothes to be pressed. They have just been unpacked." Sophia waits for a response. "I shall be there directly. The service is usually over night unless it is an emergency." The voice answers from the front desk.
"This will be fine. The emergency will be tomorrow if I have no choice in my dress." Sophia says politely. The voice in the phone laughs in understanding. "We shall see there that no emergency in dress is to befall Room 222." "Thank you for your promptness." Sophia ends the call and resumes the task of sorting her wardrobe. Working apparel for her night work in the observatory is organized. Suits, and tops for the normal business that will occupy much of her time consume most of the storage in the room. Several fine dresses and accessories for the formal evening affairs are sorted plus many shoes are to be put away. "How can a man expect so much that is demanded of a woman's preparation to fit into one bag? This Tarlach is too much of an American.” “Those poor woman pioneers in those horrible dirty wagons. All the dust and wrinkles and no place to bath! These American men take too much for granted in their women." Sophia's temper forces her thoughts to be spoken out loud. In the midst of the heavy burden of unpacking, a gentle knock comes to the door of Sophia's room. "Who is there?" Sophia calls out her arms loaded with apparel. "Room service. May I come in?" The voice from the phone sounds all the more melodious. "Please!" Sophia returns. The door opens. In walks a tall, thin, dark hair, brown eyed, tan skinned woman in her early thirties. Sophia is speechless by her form, and beauty. The girl walks briskly to Sophia's side. She gathers a large mass of clothes with ease, and the weight of which astounds Sophia.
"You are so strong! Like a man you lift so much at one time. I could never carry this weight." Sophia does not comprehend how so thin a girl could have such strength. "I am very athletic." The girl smiles most broadly at Sophia, shakes her long dark hair once, and with great agility begins to move cloths around the room. The task seems effortless for Sophia's helper. It minutes all has been accomplished. Select items that have been chosen for immediate attention remain on the bed. "I shall take these down to the laundry. They'll be back in the morning so your evening shall not be disturbed Mrs. Torrenti." The dark beauty is preparing a quick departure. "I am Miss Torrenti...Dr Torrenti. I am here to do some work at the observatory." Sophia has too much curiosity about her champion to let her slip away. "Oh! Welcome to the Villa Azizi. I am Mrs. Soriaga...Bing Bing to all." Again the broad smile with rows of the whitest teeth show. "These dresses are beautiful. You're a size six." Bing Bing thinks out loud. "A perfect size six, although I can wear some size five creations with the right material." Sophia is most pleased to have her figure appreciated. "You Mrs. Soriaga are so tall, so thin you must be a size two." Sophia looked at the girl's long slender body. "Dr Torrenti, I am a size three for most things I wear. All my family is tall but thin as the Filipino." Bing Bing says as she issues another award winning smile. This girl could not help but to be warm and engaging assumes Sophia. "You speak English as an American I think." Sophia is confused. "I am American. My father came to America as young boy just after WW II by himself." Each sentence from the girl gives way to one smile. Your clothes are so beautiful. I have
never seen such labels...Silvinho! This fashion is from Italy?" Bing Bing's words continue to please Sophia. "Yes! I buy only in Italy. Silvinho's is a famous in Rome. He is a designer with a small fashion house. Very much the demand for his work but he stays very small in business. Silvinho, he is a Brazilian!" The two girls laugh heartily at the irony of fashion. "He must be expensive. I could never afford a dress let alone a whole wardrobe." Bing Bing sighs as her hand moves over the material of one dress. "His dress is like a painting. Just one to be made as a work of art and no one has successfully imitated his creations." Sophia enjoys sharing her triumph in the fashion world. "Beside she only designs for the figure of the young woman. Silvinho very much likes the body of the young woman." The girls resume laughter. They enjoy the sharing of fashion intrigue. "This Silvinho is an attractive man?" Bing Bing has to know more. "Not at all! He is fat and bald and was cutting dresses when my mother was a young girl." The laughter roars. "But God blessed Silvinho with the gift to dress the young woman as a goddess." "How much does he charge for one of his dresses?" Bing Bing's face for once does not smile. "No one asks!" Sophia answers as matter of fact. "You must be very rich! Oh please excuse my impertinence. I did not mean..." "Not to worry!" Sophia is very much a friend now. "I share with you my secret. The very rich girl buys much from Silvinho. She marries a very rich man and eats like a cow. Her hips they grow wide very quickly! She can no more wear the Silvinho. Her dresses end
up in little shops were fine used clothes are sold. These places are everywhere in Rome since before Caesar. The prices are very reasonable. The fashions are very now! I do these things since I was student. No way I go and look like the bag lady." Bing Bing's eyes were as wide as they could be to match her smile. "Rome it must be divine?" "Only if one likes good food, fine clothes, and gorgeous men!" Sophia's smile matches Bing Bing. "I would love to see Rome, one day perhaps." "You with those long arms and legs, that gorgeous face, and that waist...you have no waist! You would be a queen! There is no model in Rome now more beautiful. Silvinho would beg you to wear his cloths. Trust me in this!" Sophia gestures with both hands to make strong her words. Bing Bing has no words. She shivers with delight at Sophia's praise. Bing Bing has never before been so recognized. "You could be wealthy! I'll pay your fare back to Italy. I'll introduce you to Silvinho himself. Just come with me and see for yourself how they will love you in Rome." "I am happy with the life that I share with my husband Ling Ling. Thank you for the generous offer. One day I shall come to Rome. We shall go together to Silvinho's and shop." Bing Bing does not make promises she did not intend to keep. The two girls had become the best of friends at this instant. "I must get to work. Thank you for sharing so much with me. Most guests do not entertain so." Bing Bing's smile is gone as she is hesitant to leave." "Girl's must talk. Perhaps if I have some questions I may call you."
"Any time. Just ask for Bing Bing at the front desk." Sophia notices a red mark on Bing Bing's hand. "You hand is injured!" "Just a burn from the kitchen. Nothing serious." Bing Bing is pleased with Sophia's concern. "Well if that redness doesn't go away after a few days, it must be looked at directly. Infections can easily develop under the skin with a burn." "You are a medical doctor? Dr. Torrenti." "Call me Sophia. No, I am an astronomer. My father was the physician, and always the teacher. Medicine, art, music...he was a true renaissance man. I was raised learning all things my father knew. It's the way of my people."
Sam thinks. It's been some time since he has given special note to this ancient portend of the heavens. The room fills with a warm glow of the Aegean that comes with the sun's break onto the horizon. More knocking as Sam makes his way to the door. As the door opens, Dincer rushes into the room with face flushed and breathing labored. "My little one, she lays outside. She is killed! Some one has killed my little girl to death! I need some people to help, please Colonel Sam? Help me, please." "Dincer! What do you mean she's killed? Who is dead? Where?' Sam's confusion is absolute. He struggles to become fully awake. "Suhba!" Dincer sobs. His thick hands cover his full round face. There is no strength in his appearance. He opens his hands and holds them begging with out expression. "My cousin Abeeb, the gardener, finds Suhba laying dead less than half-hour ago. He calls to my house for me to see. My baby girl is gone from our lives." "Your daughter Suhba is dead? In the garden? Just now?" The early morn and Dincer's excitement are too much at once for Sam. "How can I help? She is dead! How?" "Yes dead! Shot! Shot in the head like an animal. This night it is being done by someone here in the villa. I need someone to tell me what to do! How to help my little girl?"
It is early morn as the darkness of night gives way. Sam is yet deep asleep when knocking at the door calls him. The knocks are hard and unapologetic. The insistence brings Sam quickly to a state of near conscientiousness. Sam is concerned as he steps out of the bed. The luminous dial of his wristwatch indicates the hour at just after 5:00 AM. The knocking repeats. Sam moves to the window and opens the drapes to see the faint light of earliest dawn. A morning star, the brightest object sets in an azure gray sky above a black ocean. Venus!
Dincer is lost. He wishes to take some action but he knows not what may be done. “Dincer have Abeeb...close the area about Suhba immediately. Let no one near your girl or move about the garden where she rests. I'll get dressed and meet you there. Which garden?"
"The garden of the Moon, this is where she was killed. My cousins are there soon. I'll go to meet them now. Thank you Dr. Sam. My wife Meeka, she says you are the one to know such things. She is thanking you from me." "Dincer let no one into that garden or near the girl! Do you understand? The killer may wish to return. Go quickly!" Sam is quick to dress. He makes his way straight through the corridors of the villa. There is no other noise but his steps on the tiles of the floor. A slight warm breeze from the sea billows the curtains at the sides of the open windows in the main hall. He hurries out a large doorway that opens onto the garden's way. It passes along a line of reflecting pools at the villa's rear. Just beyond the large pathway that circles the villa is the entranceway to the Garden of the Moon; Dincer stands with several men from the village. They are talking one to the other with excited gestures. Their emotions are high. Heavy breezes muffle the sounds of the open air. As Sam closes, they end their conversation and fix their attention upon his approach. Sam notes that the men are angry. They carry no weapons. “Colonel Sam! Here! Here lays my Suhba. Just here!" Dincer points to a form sprawled upon the ground. All the men turn to look once again at the young girl lying dead. The village men resume quiet conversations but keep back as Dincer precedes Sam on his way to view the girl's body. The girl's body lays slump upon the grass. She is fully clothed. Sam notices the pool of blood about the girl's head. "Your daughter's been shot in the head." Sam notices burn marks. "She's been shot more than once." Her purse lies at her feet. "Has anyone touched the girl or anything?"
"No Colonel Sam! Abeeb and myself are the only one's to be here. The killer is nowhere to be seen. Who could do such a thing to my child? Why?" There were no drag marks, nor any sign of disturbance. "Dincer your little girl met a very bad person here last night. She had no idea that she was in danger. This is most sure. What's more she was shot at very close range. Look about for some metal casings!" Sam and Dincer circle about the area close to the girl's body searching the grass. "Here Colonel Sam! I've found something.” Dincer points to a small brass percussion cylinder in the grass. "Here's a second just like the first." Dincer points to one with an extended right arm while indicating the second with a pointed finger from his left hand. "What's to do with these Colonel Sam?" "Don't touch! Collect them with your handkerchief. The police may want to have these tested. We shall save them from harm. When will the police arrive?" "No one has called them. There has been no time. We shall have to call Izmir. I'm not sure even whom to call. These things do not happen in Meezgole. We only have the accident for unexpected death. We just bury and no one is called." "Well I'm sure Lady Christown will know the provincial authority. We shall ask her to phone on to them as soon as she may. The men should watch the body until the police arrive." "Oh, no Colonel Sam. They shall not be here for days. My wife, and the women from the village will wash Suhba soon and then she will be buried quickly. It is our custom." "I see Dincer. I must suggest that the body be removed to a temporary place to await the police before your family tends her. The police may disturb her grave otherwise. If the
clues are washed away the guilty party may escape. The place is undisturbed but the killer may have left the area already." "Colonel Sam no one has left the village this night, or the villa. The killer is here in the villa now." "How do you know this?" "No one from my village would do such a thing. They have guns only for hunting. There is no shell so small like this to be found among them. I know this for only I sell arms in my shop. No one has moved out the road from town for several days as the village dogs let all know of such passing. The man who killed Suhba sleeps now in the villa. We all know this. We wish to bury Suhba then to find this man and cut his throat. The men of the village will have no other way." “Dincer this way is not the best way. Let your daughter's burial wait till the police release her to you and Meeka. This way her rest shall not be violated. Please? A few days are not so much to ask in Suhba's name to help find her killer." "We can wait for her burying but the village will not wait for days for the killer to be found. The men will act crazy if they must wait. They fear more death in the village. I am afraid that the villa may be in danger from my neighbors if they act in anger." "Dincer ask your friends to wait a time. Let no one from the village leave. Keep some men afoot about the village at night to keep watch. Those who work at the villa are to travel at night with escort. I'm sure this mystery will be solved directly once the police arrive." "Such that you asked from the village can only be granted if you, yourself act as the police now."
"Dincer, I am not trained as the police. I don't know much of such things." "Your are the great military leader. The people know you are the very good man. They have fear that the police will arrest one from the village, and not to bother the foreigners from the villa. They will trust you. If you act in their behalf they will keep your wishes. I have no other way to keep them from taking action from haste on their own." "It's a mistake to expect me to solve a murder. I can collect the evidence and ask questions to help the actual authorities when they arrive." "I'm sure that the police will not take any man to put in jail if Colonel Sam is part of the investigation. Will you help us?" "Only with the greatest reluctance, I'll try to help. But when the police arrive my work as detective is over. Agreed?" It's a deal. Thank you Colonel Sam." "Dincer, I'll need one thing right away." "Yes, what is it?" "I want a military style 45 automatic hand gun. This man who killed your daughter will soon know that I may find him out. There may be danger for me." "You will have the weapon before midday. I shall bring it to you myself. Do not worry many will be at the watch for you." "I shall ask Tugay to come and help make temporary arrangements for your daugther." Dincer expression turns to one of hate. "This Tugay is a pig! Here is an infidel." Dincer recovers his diplomacy. "He is not one of Meezgole.He is stranger. He serves only his mistress now. He will offend all if he touches my daughter."
Sam is taken back but the angery Dincer's out burst. "I appologize Dincer.I toke for granted this Tugay is liked by all here." "He is hated by all! We give him name of Tugay, which means for us one with out honor. There is no strength in this man. He is weak. Be carefull with this Hindu, Colonel Sam. He is man with no friends. Sam returns to the villa and goes directly to Room 222 where Sophia is sleeping. It is yet early in the day. He knocks gently upon the door to find if his associate is awake. He does not wish to disturb her unnecessarily. Sophia is awake in her bed reading. She hears the tapping at her door. She is alarmed at the early hour. Some sense warns her that Sam is at the door. Her intuition tells that Sam brings trouble. "Sam, please enter." She whispers as she opens the door. "How did you know it was me?" "I had too much rest last evening. I awoke early." She does not tell him that she felt his presence. "What trouble brings you here at this hour?" "A young girl was shot outside last night. It is the young girl who has worked as an entertainer. Dincer Gundez's daughter Subha." "That child who flirts with all the grown men is dead?" Sophia is shocked. "How awful! The poor child is so young, so tender." "Dincer called me as soon as he was informed." "What are you going to do to help him?" "He wants me too investigate his daughter's murder and find her killer." "What! That's impossible! Isn't it? Sam, you are not a detective. Are you?"
Sam rubs his head in thought. He pauses and looks at Sophia's early morning appearance. She is beautiful even at this hour. "I have agreed to collect evidence and make a report to the authorities when they arrive." "But why? The police should not need extra help." Sophia remembers she is yet dressed for bed. "Let me dress! I shall meet you for coffee in the dining room...What makes you wish to become a detective in murder?" "Dincer's people are quite upset and will hold their anger only if I act now in the interest of justice. I can't say no after seeing the poor girl's body." "My God! You mean you have already begun an investigation?" "Yes actually I've come here to ask your permission to divert our plans for just a day or so until the authorities take charge. I shall be obliged to put off my part of the expedition." Sam is apologetic. "I am touched that you thought of me at once. This is very sweet." Sophia is amazed by his act of sensitivity. "Of course! You must help the family of this child. I will help too!" "If you could Sophia, then we might move the whole matter along to its end quickly. Can you ask Lady Christown if there is a medical person in the villa to have a look at the girl's body? I am hesitant to pound on her door at this hour by myself." "Well Sam I shall look at her myself if you wish?" "You know something about forensics?" Sam is totally surprised. "Actually I do! My father was a coroner in Rome for many years. I accompanied him on many such calls. I can have a look directly. It may be hours before you find anyone in the villa if at all."
"Very well, I shall have Dincer take you to see the girl. Lady Christown must be notified directly before the guests begin to stir. I'll meet you for coffee afterwards." Sam rushes off. ~~~~ Tugay has arisen early as customary. He is in the kicthen long before the help arrives to begin preparing breakfast for the ville. He is making tea, poached eggs and bisquets served with mango preserve for Lady Abahtha. He notices Sam and Dincer dash out of the villa and follows. From a distance he observes the men and their commotion in the garden. Never in Meezgole has he seen such. The men gather with great agitation. Tugay recalls a time from his village when men were so gathered. Many years ago, he had livid there as a young lad in a remote village when a wolf came stalking. In the very dark of night the wolk began to take small children from the mother’s side while all slept. The men gathered in the morning then as they do now. Soon the anger of the men gave them cause to seek out any whom they might fear. Tugay becomes grealty alarmed. He fears the Mulsims will seek him. A Hindu is easy to blame for some crime. Yes! There must be a disturbing death in the villa this past night. Tugay makes directly to Lady Abatha's quaters. Here he finds the Lady at her desk deep in matters of the villa at an early hour. He announces himself at her door. "Meme sab! Meme sab! It is I, Tugay." "Come in Tugay...set my breakfast over on the table...I shall be but a moment." The fresh energetic woman of 50 yeras is dressed and very deep into figures.
"Meme sab there is much trouble outside the villa!" The Hindu's words are not as alarming as the enlarged white of the eyes of the dark native of India. He is awash with fear. "What ever do you mean?" The lady is frozen with the hysterical look of her servant. "What men?" "The village men are in the back garden with the the American scientist, Dr Sam." "Whatever for at this hour? I should think these astronomers business would be purely nocturnal...Why do you suspect trouble?" “They move with haste and the men of the village are disturbed. I am having great fear, meme sab." "Just because the people of India are accustomed to rioting does not mean we need fear here. The village of Meezgole is most gentil. I know of no cause for their disturbance." Lady Abatha rises from her desk. "Where is my breakfast?" She is now quite bothered. "It remains in the kitchen, meme sab". Tugay says with hands folded inprayer above his brow and his torso bows at his waist. "Get to Lt. Lewis...ask him to meet me in the kitchen. Ask him to bring his serivce revolver. Be quick about it, and be quiet for the guests need not be alarmed." ~~~~ "Sam!" Sophia calls as she enters the dining room. Sam is seated at the table with a serving for two of rich dark coffee with a glass of cognac. Sophia notices that Sam has had the table set with special flowers. A surpisingly pleasant idea she thinks to her self. "Sophia how did you do at the murder scene?"Sam asks as Sophia takes a seat.
"It is terrible such a killing! The villagers should bet upset. I had a very difficult time to convince them to move the girl's body into the basement of the villa." "It's never easy to see a dead body. This business of death has never settled well upon me. Even in the military, counting the enemy's dead was a difficult necessity." "Yes! My father got use to see the dying but not I. This was for me the reason I never went to medical school as my father wished." Sophia holds Sam's hand. "You are right to want to help." "Did you examine the girl's remains? "The girl died between 12 midnight to 2 am. No signs of physical abuse. The girl did have consensual sex earlier that evening but not with the person who killed her." "How can you be sure?" asks Sam "She left a small hand bag at the scene. No woman meets with her lover carrying luggage that could easily be lost", responds Sophia. "She was shot at the place where she fell. No drag marks are to be seen! Some blood spattering near the corpse, two spent shell casings from an automatic weapon were found near the body. Small bits of tissue paper were laying about the ground", Sam informs her. "The killer chose the place well. She went alone to meet this one. She undoubtedly knew and trusted the wrong someone", adds Sophia. "Did you check the contents of her hand bag?" Sam asks. "There was $74 inside her bag that probably had been collected as tips from the casino. A package of American cigarettes was found unopened. Some keys...some tissues...lipstick and rouge...typical woman things...a vial of pills." Answers Sophia.
"Pills! Medicine? Birth control? Aspirin? Infection? What are these pills? Did you check her fingers and teeth to see if the girl smokes?" Sam asks Sophia. "I did. There are no external signs of nicotine. One would have to perform an autopsy of the lungs to be sure. The pills could be anything. They must be tested. Where do you get pills in this remore place?" "Not possible Sophia at least for the present", answers Sam. "What brand of cigarettes did she have in her bag?" "Camel regulars! This is a brand not for the gentile. She was most likely carrying them to give to someone. Her lover perhaps?" "If my wife were to bring some favorite of mine, the first thing she should do would be to hold the item up in the air for me to see how much she cares by her remembering and to witness to my delight. No this pack of cigarettes was not for a lover but more likely as some request fullfilled. Perhaps intended for her killer?" "The most likely killer would be from a lover's revenge. The lack of passion in the execution of the crime, the type of weapon, and sophisticated plot makes a killer form the village by rage or jealousy unlikely." Offers Sam. "Did you find the hand gun?" "No! A search of the grounds did not find it, or much else!" "Well Dr. Tarlach seems if you find a gun and you find the killer!" "More likely if we find the killer, then we shall then find the gun. The killer shall not lay about in silence. A gun may rest anywhere." "Can't be many guns in the villa or nearby," comments Sophia.
"There maybe enough guns in the area to arm a platoon of marines. One would not think a small quiet place would need many arms, but in this part of the world illegal gun sales and transport are large dollars. My experience in the military showed that the more remote the area the more armed protection was needed. There are many weapons about here legal or otherwise, I'm sure." Sam pauses for reflection."Sophia, the murderer knows we are about following him. It's a serious risk for both of us. Let no one, or anything isolate you from the public domain here. If the killer is impulsive then he'll soon give himself away. If he is not then he is very cunning and very much of a threat." “Sam perhaps we should drop this whole idea. We are the amateurs! We are in danger! Perhaps we might get some innocent person arrested by mistake." "First, we won't identify anyone who isn't ready to admit freely, or isn't suspicious by over whelming evidence. Most likely if the killer doesn't confess we shall not find him out. Second, we can preserve as much evidence as possible for the proper authorities until they arrive. This is simple scientific procedure. We certainly should be able to reason this out successfully." "This much I can tolerate Sam." "Sophia, with a practiced murderer about no one is safe. The best defense in a hostile situation is to go on the offensive to keep the perpetrator busy hiding his actions. We'll make luck be his best ally, and not ours." "You are the tough marine. Not me! I not prepared to run toward someone pointing a gun."
"I'm sure we are safe in public and at daytime. However do not go running about after dark alone or with any one person but myself." "That's fine unless you're the killer Sam." Sophia makes a joke. "My dear lady, if I were a killer then you'd be the last on my list." "Thank you Samuel. I believe you are a gentleman." "Well just to make things level with the murderer I'll have this with me at all times." Sam retrieves a 45 semiautomatic pistol from under his coat. He pulls the clip out and shows Sophia the fully loaded magazine. "Sophia, this weapon will knock out a engine block in a diesel truck from 100 paces." Sophia is quite upset by the presence of the weapon. She instinctively moves away. "Those things make me tense. I do not wish to view it, please! Thank goodness you got something to protect us from the man who killed that young girl. What a fowl beast he must be! Won't people notice that you're carrying that big thing?" "Let's say the only people who will notice are those who look for concealed weapons. Those are just the ones who need to be informed." "Do you think the murderer will notice it? What if he thinks you do not know how to shoot the damn thing?" "My guess is the black heart will be one of the first to notice. I qualified as an expert marksman in the Marine Corp with one of these beauties. Only a crazed person would risk confrontation with this kind of firepower. That doesn't fit our killer's personality." "Where did you find that big gun? You didn't bring it from the states with you? What if the Turkish authorities find you with this thing?"
"Dincer got it from the local black market. Apparently guns are available. It cost me dearly. I had to use my master charge to pay for the thing!" "Is that a lot of money? It seems strange that illegal transactions should be done on a charge card." "I paid about three times its actual worth! The entire damn situation here is illegal. The security the weapon provides is worth it." "Oh! There is one more thing Dr. Tarlach...I've collected a sample of what appears as dry sperm when I examined the body". "Excellant! DNA testing is fine Sophia but it will wait. Where is the sample now?" "It's hidden in the cellar basement in a cool dry spot so as to preserve the specimen." "Let's see if Dincer can have it driven to Izmir for analysis. After the specimen's analysis is delivered, we will announce it's finding and collect hair samples from everyone who stayed at the villa that night and then send them on for matching. Perhaps these results will give the authorities the answer to this girl's final moments." "I'm going to shower and change clothes. This girl's death seems so incongrous to the paradise here at Meezgole. To see her dead amongst such a beautiful place as these gardens is most unreal." Sohpia holds her head in both hands. ~~~~ A thin man dressed in a worn suit enters the kitchen. Lady Abatha sits at a small table in the corner finishing a tea. "What's this all about now Lady Christown? Calling me out of the bed and asking me bring a gun at that!" The Englishman is confused and excited. "It seems there's some touble with the village men. There's an unfriendly gathering in the back garden." Lady Abatha awaits his response.
"What's the need for a weapon? Are you having a labor dispute of some kind?" The man's look is of pure bother for the lady's calling for him. "There is no dispute with me, I assure you. You are however a member of the queen's armed serivce. A gentleman's protection is warranted seeing as we all are remote here. A gentlmen should not require an explanation, I fancy. Are you armed?" The lady's words are demanding. "No I can't find the blasted thing. It’s too small a weapon against a mob any way. Look here what can a gent do? I'm a retired officer in any case?" "If the American can involve himself why can't you go out and see what's afoot with those angry village men?" "If you mean the scientist who arrived yesterday, he's having eats same as you in the main dining salon just as I passed a minute ago. There can't be too much worry if he's set down. It seems to me he is not carrying a weapon either." "Good I shall have a word with him directly. You best return to your wife where you may be of better use." Lady Abatha is not pleased. "Right you are but I'll have a bite for me bother here first." The thin middle aged Englishman takes a seat at the small table. "Tugay you may serve." The lady makes her way towards Sam's table just as Sophia withdraws. "Dr. Tarlach may I speak with you?" She approaches in a slow calm manner. "Lady Christown...I was soon to seek you out." Sam is surprised at the lady's timely appearance.
"I have been informed of some trouble. It is my understanding that you have been with the men of the village early this morning and you know of their gathering in the villa's rear." "Actullay I was called by Dincer." "Can you please inform me as to the nature of their appearance here this morning? Why are these men upset?" "Lady Abatha I must inform you that the girl Subha was murdered upon your grounds last night and her killer is here in the villa. You must call on to the authorities as soon as possible. The police must come at once." Lady Abatha is speachless. She studies Sam's face to be assured that he is speaking in earnest. She looks about the dining room as if to gather her words. "I shall call as soon as business hours arrive. Who was mudered?" She asks in disblief. "Subha! Last night!" Sam eyes do not quite the ladies face. "How awfull! Poor Meeka! She has been very kind to all of us here over the years. My late husband was sure that she was a princess taken from another land and brought captive to Meezgole. He was very fond of Mrs. Gundez." "What did your husband think of Dincer?" Sam asks. "Mr Gundez is a very hard business man even for a Turk. My husband was forced to deal with the Gundez clan. They do buisness very much in the way of extortion. Dincer is a necessary evil in these parts." "What kind of girl was Subha?" "Very young, very sweet. She had great ambitions of youth. I expected her to marry a wealhty guest one day when she grew older. She is born with the beauty of the Aegean in
her soul as well as her figure...You seem to get along with Dincer for a stranger?" The lady is most surprised by the cordiality between the two. "Dincer is a very power ally or opponent. He does have the interest of the villa after that of the village in mind." "May I ask your part in these proceedings?" Her words are most respectful. "Dincer has asked me to investiagte the death of his daugther..." "What? That's impossible. You have no such authority here. Dincer can not provide you such authority." The lady is upset. "If, I act in the behalf of justice, Dincer will be able to keep the men of the village from acting inprudently." "What do you mean?" "If I conduct a inquiry...or find protection of evidence for the police, the men of the village will not pour through your villa committing mahem on anyone they suspect to be guilty." Sam eyes stare deep into the lady’s eyes for emphasis. "You believe there is danger to us at the villa?" Yes!" "This is most unusual. I supose my husband would agree in such circumstances. I shall reluctantly agree as well. This is most improper mind you." "Yes...murder does lack property." Sam senses that he has been offended some how. "How soon will the police arrive?" "I don't know? I've never had them out. I'm sure it will be some time." Lady Abatha is exhausted with the idea of keeping the villa up after the police swarm about. She ponders the financial charges to be made for their care when they do arrive. "Messy business."
"Oh Lady Abatha, besides yourself with whom did Subha have much to do with in the villa." “The Lewis I suppose. She liked them very much and did lots of errands for them. Otherwise the girl was about the casino with the guests. Everyone enjoyed her cultural charm, and her beauty." "Thank you! One last question...do you know of any one in the villa who is in possesion of a hand gun?" Lady Abatha hesitates. "We have never requested our guests to register a firearm. One may suppose that there is occasionally a handgun carried into the villa. There has never been a problem." ~~~~ Sam goes to his room to shower and dress for the day’s work as an investiagtor. Upon his return he stops at Room 222 and visits Sophia. "Sophia, seems that I must start questions with Mr and Mrs Lewis. I saw a Mrs Lewis when we were at breakfast this morning.” "There's enough electricity in that woman's hair to start an automobile's engine on a cold day in January", observes Sophia. "You know her then?" Sophia comments. "Her cleavage has never been hidden from the light of day. This woman seduces a man with all the subtlety used by the approach of a swine. I can smell her body odor as soon a she enters the room. Disgusting woman! Between her and the dead girl it's no wonder a brothel was never needed here."
“I’'ll have to question her even if you don't wish to be there.", Retorts Sam somewhat aghast at Sophia's repugnance of the woman. "Then while you are questioning her...Tell her how to clean herself! And don't touch anything in her apartment. In fact stay out her flat because that so called husband of hers is just as dirty. God knows what diseases you could get in that place." "Well Sophia, she seems popular enough with the guests. She can't be all that terrible a soul. She seems quite intelligent and interesting." "Listen to me! This woman is trouble! She's has nothing to do with any of the help or any of the female guests for that matter. Her popularity as far I can see has to do with satisfying her beastly urges with whatever man she can find. The woman is a quay trollop, and don't excuse her vile conduct with patronage of an IQ..." "Oops! Sophia please do not be so excited. One simply means that vocal communication should be achievable with Mrs. Lewis. I'll endure her imperfections long enough to get some answers. Coarse she may be, but she might help get us out of our present tribulation." "I don't see how a woman like that can help any one in any way...perhaps a few sailors just off a ship." "My dear girl, this Mrs. Lewis is obviously a persona of the street." "And what my dear Dr. Tarlach does that mean?" "Well if she is busy with the romance in the house no one other will be better informed as to the other romances that are to be about in the villa." “Well there should be a better...cleaner way to do this investigation. I'm Sorry you ever agreed to this. This is a job for the police."
"Sophia, my eyes scan the horizon continuously for the arriving police. Our word is given! If we don't do this right then we'll just do it wrong and some innocent people will suffer. We may help the murderer get away! Then some other woman may meet a similar end...here...in the US or even in Italy. Who knows?" "I don't like this business. It's important though. My nieces could chance to meet such a man on the streets of Roma. Sam we must stop this man here if it is at all possible. I could never forgive myself for not having tried." "Will you go with me then to see Mrs. Lewis?" "No! Sam with this woman you'll get her cooperation only if you place her in a position to seduce you." A short time later, Sam is sitting in the reading salon adjoined to the main hall of the villa. He spies Mrs. Lewis passing. She is carrying a package. He approaches the woman. "Excuse me! My name is Sam Tarlach. I believe I am addressing Mrs. Lewis?" The lady is totally taken back by Sam's introduction. Her surprise quickly gives way to girlish excitement. "Oh Professor! You quite startled me." "Please excuse my impetuousness." Sam begs. "That's quite fine. We really haven't met. I've seen you around. It’s awful! That young girl's murder I mean. My Dickey is just sick over the chance it might be I what could have been done in, you see." "Mrs. Lewis..." "Call me Tessie! Most folks here become neighbors 'fore long. Not many secrets to be kept here! Everyone knew of you arrival before yourself, most likely." "Excuse me..."
"No need for formalities, we are all together in this matter of finding the killer. Sooner he's in jail the better I says...." "Mrs. Lewis...Tessie! I really need to talk with you!" "Right you are...You're the ones who's acting for the constable over this killing. It's our duty to help. Dickey will be ready to help for sure. Do you want to talk to him as well? He's gone off for a bit and won't be back till late tea I suppose. Well then! My rooms are just up the stairs and down the hall. It' about time I get a tea set. We can talk while I work if you please. Just step after me now." "That's fine Tessie. I really just need to ask a few questions. It’s just a brief visit. I won't be taking much of your time." Sam calls as he follows after the woman who is moving away at a brisk pace. The two walk toward the Lewis' residence. Mrs. Lewis squirms in a manner that makes Sam most uncomfortable. For a moment Sam wishes he had declined the invitation. He recalls Sophia's words and decides to force his way through the coming interview. "Just force it out", Sam said to himself. "Sorry Professor I didn't hear what you said." "Just don't want to force you out of your normal affairs Tessie." "For justice sake it's no inconvenience. It is awfully good of you to volunteer to track the beast." "Well my protegee Dr. Torrenti is also working on the investigation." This news did not sit well with the woman. In fact, she was downright puffy over this news, thinks Sam.
"I'm sure a man of your bearing needs no serious help. The lady is most likely in need of protection as myself." Tessie looks longing into Sam's eyes. The same look is given as by the Persian girl when the shah offered her. The situation is getting most uncomfortable. How professional investigators tolerate this work is beyond Sam. The lady opens the door to the apartment. "You're not married are you?" Sam really didn't understand this question. "No Tessie, I'm not." "Shame! A big strong looker left alone. You have bed room eyes you know." Really uncomfortable now, Sam hesitantly enters the room. "Ah...yes...it's been said...but I've never understood what that expression means." "It's quite simple. Those big blues eyes of yours make a woman altogether forget she's married. Makes her want to give her body in pleasure to you...I would like to be good to you Sam." The woman slumps slightly in her stance. She waits. Her hips wiggle side to side as she stares at Sam. Sam waits not knowing if he should respond. The woman's breathe moves slow and deep. Her faced is turning flush."It's quite warm in here Tessie can we try a bit of ocean breeze." The woman's spell breaks as she tends the window. "Have a seat Sam”. She is busy with her package. "Let me show you what's come with the last ferry." The woman holds up lavender see through bra. "Do you fancy something like this?" She holds her new bra against her chest for display. "Lovely...but I'm not a shopper. Mrs. Lewis...Tessie! A few questions as I must get on with seeing the other guests."
"You're one of those men who work and leave off the fun. You really need some fun. Why don't you stay on and have some fun with me?" "Tessie. I'm just not interested. Please no personal rejection intended." "Your much too serious professor." "Tessie did you kill that girl last night?" "What! What ever for? Are you daft? I've never..." "Don't be offended. The police will ask that of everyone when they arrive...even of myself." Some what relived, and fully sobered by nature of the inquiry, the woman answers. "No! Nor Dickey either. We were both fond of the girl. She spent many a rainy day helping about. She was like a daughter to the both of us." Tessie's tears flow and she sits forlorn and truly at a loss for the girl. "The poor dear child. So sad! She loved life so." Sam presses. "Do you know who killed her?" "Yes some fowl beast with a heart so black he has no feelings." "Do you know the killer?" "No! But he's in the villa or about it now I'm sure." Tessie's mood swings back to Sam's attention. "Let me give you something to drink...a whisky perhaps?" Sam senses her mood but continues. "Did you observe the girl acting peculiar? Arguing with anyone perhaps?" "Dickey and I don't hold with gambling. We might go into the casino on the odd occasion for a drink or to enjoy the music. Mostly in the evening we have the radio and some reading. What the girl does each night we have no way of knowing." "You and your husband were in your rooms that night?"
"Yes we went right to bed after the 11:00 o'clock BBC news was given." "Did you hear any strange noises about last night? Or any night recently?" "No Dr. Tarlach...are you sure I don't have something you want?" "Tessie you are incurable! No thank you. I must be off. But please to know that I shall be asking your husband much the same questions. They’re maybe some other questions that may arise. I shall not hesitate to visit you again." "Ooh! Sam! I expect to see you again I'm sure. You must take time for some of the pleasures of life." ~~~~ On his way back from the Lewis' residence Sam moves to the recieving desk to inquire as to the possibilty of locating Mr Lewis. At his approcah, Tugay presents Sam with a sealed note. Sam opens and reads. Herr Doctor, I have information concerning the death of the young village girl. You should know this thing. Meet me in the Garden of the Moon at midnight. "Who left this note Tugay?" "No one is knowing as it was placed at a time when all where absent from the front desk." Tugay says appolgetically. Sam is most excited and hurries to show the note to Sophia. "This note was placed at the front desk this afternoon. What do you think Sophia? Does it seem promising?" "It's the writing of a woman of course. Why the garden and why at night?"
"Perhaps someone has seen or heard something and is afraid! She may simply want to make sure our discussion is not over heard." "There is much privacy in a garden...especially at night...and for more reasons than just quiet conversation, Sam. She could be baiting you out to some kind of ambush." "Well it's suspicious I grant you. But a man who would execute an innocent village girl does not seem the type to need assistance, or the type to leave some witness of his crime. This woman may have motives that are past simple justice but I must have a go at the hope of finding an end to this mystery." "Dincer can have men at the watch about the grounds." "No Sophia the moon's still full. I shall wait for this woman in the shadows of the garden where anyone's approach can be seen. My handgun will be at the ready. Anyone out there setting an ambush will have only a 50-50 chance at me. Those aren't the numbers under which our killer likes to operate." "Perhaps the trap is not for the attempt at your life. Perhaps this woman seeks information from you." "Well my dear lady astronomer, I carry no secrets. The only information she could possibly want from me is a first hand tour of the constellations to be seen this night." "Well in Italy we say, bella luna porta bell'amore." "Yes, I've heard the moon brings the woman to the man." "Then you know Herr Doctor, that the woman brings love to the man. The magic of the moonlight can change a man's life. Beware!" "The only change I want from the moon light is the answer to this murder."
"Sam, you don't understand! This woman is not afraid! She's capable of walking out into the night with a killer loose. This woman can take care of herself. You might be safer if the killer does show himself." "But I am going to have a look around the garden this day to see if there is a place for a night ambush. Such a place will have to be at close range." "Sam, I'm going to have Dincer place some men nearby in the villa. If anything does happen the village men will close about you very quickly indeed." "Oh! Worried about the old professor hey?" "Yes, my career it will not start well if our first project ends because of a mad man. No?" "Well keep those men out of the doors and windows. My hand will be kept in my coat pocket with the finger on the trigger. If there's trouble, then you'll here my cannon's roar." ~~~~~ It’s late in the afternoon of the second day that Sam and Sophia are in the Villa Azizi. Sophia is in her room when the phone rings. "Dr. Torrenti? This is the front desk." "Yes! What is it?" “Dr. Torrenti, there are several students from the university here asking for you or Dr. Tarlach." "Oh, wonderful! I shall be down directly...Is it possible to have Dr. Tarlach paged? He must be somewhere about the grounds." "Yes! We shall send a boy to search him out. What messages do you wish to send?"
"Inform Dr. Tarlach that I shall make arrangements for the students to go up to the observatory where they will await his arrival. Have the students wait in the lobby for me." "Very well!" Sophia changes into dress suitable for the outdoors, and rushes to the front of the Villa. Here outside is parked a land rover stuffed with boxes of electronic gear, and loads of luggage tied up upon the vehicle's roof. Aside stand a collection of five youthful adults dressed in jeans and loose pull over. Four men and a young woman turn to greet Sophia with collected smiles and eagerness. The young woman and a tall slender male step forward. "Dr. Torrenti? I am Hilmet Pasha… student of Dr. Hortuk. This is Prana, she is also student to Hortuk." "Yes, I am Sophia Torrenti. Dr Tarlach will soon learn that you have arrived. How was your trip?" "Very slow! These mountain roads are sometimes difficult to pass through. The equipment must not be damaged!" "Dr Hortuk has many students! He has sent much help. This is good!" "Not all are students of Hortuk. Geyre Gurcay is student helper in office of department." A young short cherub of a boy nods his head in recognition. His smile is captivating. "Geyre is business major only but he has much experience with computer and will help much our work." "Geyre you seem so young. Does everyone tell you that you have the baby face?" Sophia looks admiringly at the boy's small chubby face.
The lad speaks confidently. "Yes, Dr Torrenti but I have been with Hortuk's students here before." "The dark one in the back is a friend, Saeed El Amin. He is not Turk. He is visiting student from Afghanistan." Says Helmet. A thin dark man with turban and bearded face raises one hand in a salute. He appears to Sophia to have an age several years ahead of the others. "I am only here to lift things. Hortuk suggest that I come and see this place of Turkey." "Your help is welcome Saeed. What is your field of study that brings you to Turkey?" This man's appearance and manner is not child like as the others. Sophia is most curious. "I study military science. My country is rebuilding from time of revolution. Here I shall watch and help were I am needed." Sophia senses that Saeed is more than a military student. His bearing is one that seems to show much military experience. A very youthful lad steps forward. "I am always last Dr. Torrenti. My name is Farooq Yousef. I am from Lebanon. My mother is Turk. I am student in engineering. I take some course before I return for final year at my institute in Beirut. I work for Hortuk in lab." "You are expert in electronics?" Sophia surmises. "Farooq is technician. He repairs equipment from the west. He is very good." Prana rubs the young Lebanese boy's hair. "And what is your specialty in this expedition Miss Prana?" Sophia asks politely. "I am always the cook!" Prana responds with a roaring approval from the other students. "And the dish washer!" These words are met with silence.
"I shall make arrangements with the villa to have fresh meals sent up to the observatory. Cooking and cleaning of pans is not my idea of research in astronomy." Sophia is quick to relieve her colleague. The students voice their approval and relief in a cheer. "What work do you do for Dr Hortuk, Prana?" Sophia presses. "I do data analysis. Hilmet is the one who points the telescope. I confirm the observations by matching records." "I understand you students prefer to camp out at the observatory? Have you tents and necessary gear?" "We are equipped as never before thanks to Dr Tarlach's finances. We shall live like the British army!" Hilmet makes the joke. "We shall go up and make camp. The building we shall open and begin to clean. Tomorrow night the telescope will be ready." Hilmet stands erect as if to emphasize his prediction. "May I accompany you to the observatory?" Sophia looks over the land rover for signs of empty space. "Farooq, and Saeed will ride above. There is room for you to sit with Prana." Hilmet has given order and all respond at once. ~~~~~ Sam stands on the portico of a side entrance to the villa. He looks over the sea view before him. Off in the distance towards the highest hill upon which the observatory stands he spies a motorcycle racing down toward the villa. With great speed and daring the cyclist passes between trees and hedges. It flies across the meadows making precise turns with a flowing ease. The distance to the villa is traversed in mere minutes. The cyclist roars to a stop at the front door step to the villa directly in front of Sam.
"Is pebo in dere yah?" The cyclist points inside the villa and looks at Sam. "Sorry! You need directions? I'm not from here myself," Sam responds somewhat confused. "Beer! Beer! I need the beer! Is some to be taken from inside?" "Oh yes! Mostly domestic beer, not a wide choice but it's cold," Sam says as he watches the helmet of the cyclist come off a head of thick blond sweaty hair. "You are worn out and covered with dirt! "Yah yah! This bike is fantastic! It feels like I sit on air but arms must force handle bar. Is very much tired my arms. Could you bring one pebo for each arm?" Sam ponders the dirty form, long bare arms, and heavy leather boots on the thin legs of the man. "Oh! You are taking a pit brake before you continue your ride?" The cyclist is near exhaustion. He may only nod his head in agreement while moving one arm across his chest and down to his side as in some sign of haste. Sam rushes inside the villa. Here Sam encounters Tugay and sends the Hindu straight to the bar where he collects for two open cold bottles of beer. Sam and Tugay return to the cyclist in good time. The cyclist's eyes go wild with anticipation at the sight of the bottles of beer. His eyes never met Sam's but his grasp of the first bottle sends his mouth to seal its opening. As if some mechanical force is truned on, the cyclist lifts the bottle with his head to that sky and the liquid is expelled in a few gulps. The second bottle is wretched from Sam’s hand and it is also quickly dispatched.
“That's vas good! Now I'm ready for more of mountains to race." The cyclist replaces his helmet, smiles at Sam, and nodds once to express his thanks. "Nosdrovia!" The man shouts as he turns his bike back to the hills and races away. "Good luck!" Sam calls after the bike as if there is a race to be won. He stands envious while holding two empty bottles and watchs the motorcycle shifting gears as it climbs back up into the hills. "This one is wild like the wind. The motorized cycle is very dangerous! Very dangerous!" Tugay's head shakes from side to side in disapproval. "In India such speeds are not legal. One pays a heavy fine of 1000 rupees to be driving so fast." "Not just any man can handle a bike like this over rough terrain. In US such a man is paid 1000 rupees per hour to race commercially." Sam hands the empty bottles to Tugay. "Thank you for your help Tugay. We have made a friend of someone just now." "This man is Russian. He arrives just recently. His is owner of the large white powerboat in harbor. Very fast this boat! Large engines for much speed and power. Perhaps the Turkish navy has boat as fast...perhaps not." “One would guess such man would have such a sea craft. Have you seen this man here in Meezgole before now?" Asks Sam. "No! Lady Abatha tells me of his coming. He wishes to have reservations for the casino only. He is traveling the circuit in Europe for motor cross racing. One year he was ranked second but injured his knee in a motorcycle accident and left the circuit before he could catch the leader. "Well I'm sure that we shall see much more of this cassock." Sam smiles with this joke. "Tugay, tell me of Dincer Gundez."
"Dr Sam, Gundez is man haivng much power in the village. Villagers are having much respect for him." Tugay answers. "His family has held power in Meezgole for many years?" "When Lord Christown first arrived to Meezgole all his dealings were done only through the Gundez people. Dincer’s father arranged all materials and help at that time. Dincer is now having his father's authority over all things in Meezgole." "You knew his daughter, Subha?" "Yes Dr Sam. She is very much like her father...she knows much of the ways of the merchant. She was very much alive this one." "She spent much time at the villa?" "Since she was being thirteen, she comes to villa almost every day. She is much liked by all including Lady Abatha." Sam wonders what choice had the villa. The girl’s family is a necessary business ally. "Did you work along side the girl, Tugay?" "Her labors were having much difference from my own self. I do no entertaining at the casino. My company with the guests is required as one of serving their domestic needs. The girl is coming to villa mostly for entertainment of male guests." Sam recognizes the meaning of Tugay's words. "How do you get on with the locals, Tugay?" "They are Muslim here. I am Hindu. I keep to myself. If there were Deli man here to speak my tongue I should spend much time in village. There is not my culture there." "Did you observe the girl as behaving in an unusual way any time yesterday?" "Dr Sam I see very little of girl...she passes in halway. No She is behaving as always."
"Where you anywhere near the Casino last night?" "No! I am retiring to my room after attending Lady Abatha's dinner." "Do you smoke ciggarettes?" "I am not smoking tobbaco ever in my life." Sam is at lost to see any motive for Tugay to be a possible suspect. "Did you hear any unusual noise from outside last night?" "No I play Hindu music in my room and read until late each night. It is my pleasure for the day to hear the songs of my homeland. Sometimes I drink a little glass of Hindu beer. Lord Christown was very kind to have such things coming here to Meezgole." "Thank You Tugay for your help once again... Ah there is another expensive craft in the harbor. The large yatch with royal blue color and gold accents..." "It is belonging to Persian business man. He has rooms in villa and gambles very much. It seems he has been sharing time with Subha girl since his yatch's arrival." "Really! Perhaps I should speak with him." Sam says under his breadth. ~~~~~ Sam knocks outside the door of the suite occupied by a Mr. Shahbazian and his companions of three attractive young ladies. A small dark haired, dark eyed girl opens the door. She is wearing a splendid silk orchid Persian style tunic. Her hair hangs in a long tight knot and tied by a pearl in-laid braid. She wears heavy gold earrings, bracelets, and necklace. She bows her head in Tarlach's presence. Never do her eyes greet his but she holds the door to bar his entrance. Her gaze never lifts.
"This is home of Shahbazian. Please state your name and business so one may present your request." The dark beauty speaks gently without giving offense but in a pure business tone." “Dr Sam Tarlach of the Department of Astronomy of the University of Pittsburgh, I am here on an informal inquiry concerning the death of Miss Gundez. I wish to ask Mr. Shahbazian some questions." "Please wait outside while you request is presented to the shah." Sam is somewhat taken back by the title and protocol obviously meant in total sincerity. He ponders what kind of man he is to meet. His mind races with thoughts of the great shahs of Middle East, and the great revolution that resulted in present day Iran. She returns in a matter of minutes. "Please to enter. Please to leave your shoes outside the door." Sam didn't know that the Persians held a custom of not wearing shoes about their residence. He is immediately uncomfortable, and knows his manners will not fit here. The girl leads him to an adjoining room where a handsome athletic middle-aged man with slightly thinned dark bushy hair sits in the middle of a couch. A slightly overweight young blond sits on a cushion at his feet serving a cup of the richest sweetest smelling coffee Sam has ever sensed. The Persian looks up at Sam as he strides into the room. The shah makes a large smile. He seems to be much pleased by the visit. He gestures enthusiastically. "Come sit here in this chair where we best look one to the other."
Sam moves to the shah's left front. He sits in an upright chair that is placed in the best light for viewing. The Persian smiles with great delight as he beholds the distinguished professor. The shah speaks a few words in a rich language unknown to Sam. He speaks politely but clearly as one who commands. Both girls disappeared into an adjoining other room. "You have come to me. This is very good. Not much do I sit with the distinguished astronomy mans. Persians are great astronomy mans from the earliest times. Did you know this?" Sam is still quite uncomfortable. Quite frankly he cannot recall any individual Persian of astronomical fame. The name of a great Persian king pops into his conscience. He gives it a try." Yes every student in astronomy in the USA knows of the work of the great king Darius centuries before the Europeans." Bingo! Sam hits the jackpot on this guess. Thank God for his sixth grade history teacher Mrs. Jessie Rodgers. The shah bursts into an endless smile and unbridled glee at Sam's deep knowledge of Persian history. "Yes Darius the great was a great ruler of Persians and a great man of science. Much of the astronomy of this days is Persian knowings." "Yes we in the USA are very grateful to have so much help. We are very grateful to the early Persian scientists." As Sam is running out of compliments to the shah's heritage, the tanned girl returns with a tray of fruit, dates, and delicate honey cakes. A very dark skinned full-bodied African woman carrying a place setting for Sam’s knee follows her. "Persian coffee, and foods, the best in the worlds. You must enjoy, then we talk as mans."
Sam knows that his manners must not offend. The best he thinks to himself is to be the good guest. Whatever his own purpose it shall inevitably wait. Sam's cup is filled with coffee. The lady that has greeted him at the door pours. He chances to see her deep green eyes set upon the most beautiful face of any woman or child he has ever beheld. Her olive colored skin momentarily mesmerizes Sam. The shah is watching Sam intensely." You like this womans?" "Excuse me! I did not mean to stare." "This womans is beautiful. She is pure Persian. The best!" "Shahbazian! I must tell you that such beauty in a woman is not to found anywhere in the USA. Trust me in this. In fact, no were else in the world is such beauty to be seen." "Beautiful womans are as fruit in Persia. Do you like the coffee?" It is a bit harsh and sweet for Sam. "It is as your Persian woman rare and desirable." This pleases the shah. The shah sips and observes Sam's enjoyment of his favorite coffee, sweet cakes, and women. After much expression of his satisfaction, Sam presses his conversation. "Shahbazian..." "Please! Address myself as Fred. Many call me this but my first name is Famaraz." "Very well Fred. Please call me Sam as my friends do." This quick acceptance by Sam of familiarity with the shah is another diplomatic coup. "Sam is a very good name for the American. It is a very old name in the Middle East from the times of the Jewish bible. "You now much of America, I see." "Oh yes indeed. The movies from California are very much liked by the Persians."
Sam is finishing his coffee. "Have a cigarette they are American. In my country, the cowboy of the American west is very mucked liked by the Persians. I always have the cigarettes used by the cowboy mans. They are the delicacy." The greened-eyed beauty offered an open box containing a mix of American brands. "I see you smoke Camel brand cigarettes", Sam comments. "I myself do not smoke. But many of my guests of the east do and they believe the camel sign on the cigarette is good fortune." "I had no idea they were popular here about, Fred." "They are not popular they are very expensive and difficult to obtain. Only the mans with great power can offer such a fine present to his guests." "Sam, please to meet my womans. The black lady is Mayelle. She is cook and keeper of dwelling. I bring here from the Congo. She is good loves on the cold evenings. The woman you wants is Madtu. She is my language people. I speak 20 tongues but she speaks many tongues from the west. She is too skinny for good loves. The best for loves is Cathy." The shah points to the buxom blond girl at his feet. "She is my best loves. I find her hiking hitches in Eastern Europe. She is from Kansas USA. I keep her because she looks like the Hollywoods woman. She is just for the loves." Sam gazes at the girl who knows not to speak but she smiles up at Sam. Sam ponders how young is her body but her face is ageless in expression. He appraises her to be in her 30's."You have very lovely companions Fred." "Sam, I send Madtu to your room tonight she gives the loves to you, Yes?" Oh, Oh! Sam says to himself. Here is the trouble.
The shah continues. "I see your Italian womans is thin. You like loves with the thin womans. Seems American mans want thin womans to loves. Persian likes much body on his womans." Sam thinks better of devaluing himself in the shah's eyes. "Yes I want Madtu. She is very desirable." Sam stalls for time. The greened-eyed beauty is all smiles and gives Sam the same look as the grocery lady back home. Could this look be some form of anticipation, he asks himself. "Unfortunately, I will work late this night and must decline your offer." "This I understand. But I go to the ocean for the swim and the loves in the water. Loves in the water is good for your heart. Good for the womans health also. You come to swim for me. Madtu makes the loves in the water for you." "Again, my present work commits me to decline a wonderful offer. Fred you must excuse the need for my presence in your residence. My task consumes all my time." "Sam, what work gives mans no time for normal pleasures?" "I have been asked by the villagers to investigate the murder of the young girl. Now I am not a policeman, or criminal investigator. The Turkish authorities are coming but in several days and then my service will be over. Until then I am gathering information. Hopefully this information will help the Turkish police and we shall be free to continue our own business. Until then the Turkish Navy closes the port. The village militia will block the roads and they are armed I might add." "This is quite serious happenings. My hope is to be going on to the east in several days." "Fred, if you and the girls will answer some questions it will help to speed departures along. I'm sure."
"This is very unfortunate for the girl but the girl is from the village and they must know more than other mans." "I should like to ask what you may have seen or heard. But these questions should be asked in private. If you might agree?" "Sure things." With the way of the shah's one hand the girls made to rapidly departure from the men's presence, and sight. "Thank you Fred." "It is my pleasure. Persians are very much for justice." "Did you know this young girl, Fred?" "Yes of course she is always about. She tries to sell me jewelry items, and seashells. But these things are not my need." "Did you ever have any talks with the girl on private matters, such as her boy friends?" "No it's not my business. But she is always with some mans from the villas." "No private meetings with this girl?" "Oh yes she swims with me one mourning. But she does not give good loves and I drop her." "You had sex in the water with this girl?" "Of course she needs the man and she finds the attraction. I give her what she asks." "When was this swim?" "The mourning of yesterday." "Fred that evening the girl was shot. Yes?" "I know not of these things but I'm told by Madtu, the girl was found killed this morning. It's a shame for such a girl so young to must die."
"Fred did you shot this girl?" With this question the shah's mood turns hard. His gauze toward Sam is no longer friendly. "Of course not she is no interests to me." "Good Fred! Sorry but I must ask everyone in the villa the same questions. I' am sorry to seem to be inhospitable, but the police will also ask these questions to me as well." With this said the shah's jovial mood returns. "Some mans is mad to her over loves and kills her. It happens much in such back places. The police will find it so...trust me." "Do you know who killed this girl?" No Sam. Someone in the village for sures." "Last night the girl was shot behind the villa...sometime after midnight. Did you see the girl that night?" "Yes I play the cards in the casino until just before midnight. She was dancing and makes the songs for us. She is very good." "Fred did you see her leave the casino? Did you notice her with any men?" "Everyone comes and goes from the casino all night. And she spends time with each man in the villa. Nothing special." "She wasn't angry, or arguing with anyone?" "No she makes laughs...some big sound she makes...her voice fills the room. You can't use one minds when she gets loud." “Thanks Fred you are very helpful! Did you see or hear any thing unusual after midnight especially out side?"
"No when I comes to my rooms I make loves a couple of times then it's best to sleeps." "Well that's all to be asked just now. Thank you Fred." "Sam you are the good guest to the Persian. You make me happy with these talks." "Fred, if you don't mind some other questions may arise. I may ask your help on these as well. By the way do you have any guns?" "Yes I have guns." With that Fred calls out, and the girls rush into the room carrying loaded fully automatic rifles. "My world is not without risks from assassins. There is need to carry protection. “Do you have the weapon Sam?" Sam knows this question is not asked for a simple reason. He senses the shah is testing him. Sam decides to try the truth. "I am carrying a loaded Browning 45 automatic pistol under my coat." The shah is quite pleased. "This weapon is excellent for the one mans to be killed, but against many you are dead mans." "Fred there is a killer with a gun about the villa. It is wise for you to protect yourself and your women." ~~~~~ Later Sophia enters Sam's room. "How was your talk with the Lady Lewis?" "Sophia, I've never met such a woman in my life. She invited me to have a drink of whiskey and anything else I might fancy." Sophia smiles at the innocence of her colleague. "Sam did she give any useful information?" "I'm not sure! The girl apparently had a great deal to do with the Lewis couple on a dayto-day basis. Tessie was genuinely upset by the murder."
"Tessie? You are on a first name basis with that whore? What bit of investigation where you up to in her room? What did her husband have to say?" "Well he wasn't there, and as soon as I got into her room she began showing me her under garments..." "You slept with that bitch? I don't believe you! How could you let me worry about a good man left with that trollop?" "No, No! She was just unpacking some clothes from a mail order and for some reason she took a fancy at letting me see the damn thing. I never touched her but not for the lack of her trying. How could any man want to seduce the likes of her?" "For your information Mr. Lewis is her fourth husband. She has no children. And any woman who shows a man her under garments does so only for reasons of seduction. This does not excuse you from becoming friends with her!" "Mrs. Lewis really gave no information. She claims that she and her husband are infrequent guests at the casino and they were long retired the night of the murder...Besides if she is such a trollop how does a woman like that get the chance to seduce all these men?” "Sam, I'll bet you she's a frequent patron in the casino...showing herself...waiting around the men. All she has to do is find a man who has had too much to drink. She'll hang around him until he is ready for the bed. She's a vulture...a thief...if she doesn't steal a man's wallet then she will still his affection. Both are criminal acts." "She scammed me didn't she?"
"Sam you were dealing with a very clever woman who understands a man. You didn't have much a of a chance of getting from her anything which she did not want you to know." "Well her husband might be more forth coming?" "Have you noticed that when Mr. Lewis is about his wife is now where to be seen?" "Well now that you mention it Sophia...I've never seen them together. In fact I've never seen both together in public or other wise." "Sam, you see this Mr. Lewis and get his response to all that's happened. These two Lewis persons are too evasive for my liking." "Mr Lewis smokes the same brand of cigarette as was found on the dead girl." "You think he is the girl's killer?" Sophia says with much excitement. "Well he may...the Persian also uses smoke of this brand. He may be the killer? The one who met the girl choose a remote area...this suggests a man who deliberated to have her dead." "Well Sam, her father certainly didn't kill his own daughter! Not at least over taking his cigarettes." "No Sophia he didn't, and her death was no accident! So Dincer's off the hook. There is no lady who smokes this brand of cigarette. So we probably have our killer in the Persian or the English man" "I agree. So were back to finding the gun." "Sophia this means that I'm safe from the women about the place." "Safe from being shot by a lady with the same gun perhaps but I'll bet your still in great danger from them for other reasons."
"You're right again! Let us not divulge our deductions to any one for fear of there being another party in collusion with the girl's death. Besides the gun, we need some motive like jealousy." "Well with this girl that could be most likely. Excuse me Sam for thinking that jealous lovers act from uncontrollable passion and their crimes don't are not so neat. This girl was dispatched buy execution and not mayhem." "Sophia did you hear anything like guns shots that night?" "No Sam I sleep like a baby until near dawn. How about you?" "Nothing, and I have always been a light sleeper. In the still of the night someone fires two shots into the head of a young girl in the back yard. Someone should have heard something. If this were an army base, such an event would have awoken an entire division!" "Sam these could not have been very powerful shots. The entry wounds are very small. There are no signs of any exit wounds." "Did you see any bits of tissue paper in her hair?" "Yes some near the wounds. Why?" "Well during my special operations training in my active military days, we were taught how to make a 'toot e toot'. One of the ingredients is tissue paper." "Well Sam just what is the 'toot e toot'?" "A home made silencer! Used with a small caliber round. A shot couldn't be heard 15 feet away in the daytime." "Seems that this killer is no amateur."
"It seems also our young girl took up with a very dangerous man for some reason. Sophia, other than a lover's quarreled perhaps our killer feared the girl might inform on him." "To whom Sam! For what offense? No, our best play on this game is to look for the lover's revenge. This is more than we can handle with out uncovering some unknown criminal's past. This may keep everyone satisfied until the real police get here." "You are right my lady. I'm getting flash backs from my war days already!" "Yes you see to be enjoying the companionship of that big gun." Sam is a little embarrassed by his newfound enthusiasm for the role of enforcer for the Turkish law. "I'm being a bit foolish Sophia. I do not have any idea of just what laws we are to be enforcd. I certainly haven't even idea of what we would do if we did in fact discover the killer." "Turn him over to the village leader. It's their county, and their law." "Yes, and it's their child who was lost. Thank goodness I have you to keep me in my place. Thank you very much!" Sam is relieved to have someone to temper his inclinations. "You are welcome of course Samuel." Sophia smiles, as she perceives Sam's dilemma in conducting himself as the officer in charge, as well as the local sheriff. "We'll stay on the case to gather evidence and hope the villain gives himself up some how." "Yes Sam! Remember the students need to be safe and busy. So besides police work we need to do some of our own investigation of the sky."
As Sam muses he notices the presence of the small Frenchman passing out of the villa and walking towards the road to the village." That man really annoys me! He is always interrupting. He chatters at me like I am a child, and he never really answers any question". Sam is quite irritated. Sophia looks in the direction of Sam's attention. "He is extremely attractive man but you can not see his soul through his eyes". Sophia smiles and gazes up at Sam in a childish way. "One can see deeply into your blue eyes and see your soul Dr Tarlach". Sam turns his head from her gaze. He is somewhat embarrassed." My soul is not of much interest or consequence in our present situation. Thank you very much I suppose!" "This Beaudoin is the kind of man who women find very stimulating." Sophia continues. "That French Toad? What could women see in him that is in any way desirable?" Sam is getting angry. "He is like a bothersome neighbor's dog." "Women find a man that will listen refreshing! His style of dress is cute and manly." She delivers a hint. "Men listen! He listens just as I do. I don't see anything special in this guy's ears." "Sam most men hear a woman's words but very few men feel the meaning in her words." "Do you find him romantic?" Sam is learning.
Late afternoon, Sam and Sophia stroll the grounds in front of the villa. They enjoy the view of the glimmering Aegean as the sun begins to find the evening's horizon. Sophia moves from flower to flower. She gives notes to the fragrance of each type of bud and holds a bloom in her hand to sense the softness of the petals. Sam enjoys watching his associate indulge her passion among the flora cultivated about the villa. The seascape and the lovely Italian woman in his company create an earthly pleasure as only the Aegean may provide.
"Decidedly not! He is as we say in Italy, a man whose hands never leave a woman's company. Besides he is short to be of interest too me. His virility does attract most women." "Just what is a virile look? What does such a look do for a woman?" Sam is anxious to compare himself with this character Beaudoin.
"Sam I am surprised at you. You are jealous of this little man! Are you not?" Sophia hides her smile from Sam by placing both her hands over her mouth. Sam blushes. "I just don't like this guy and I can not see anything that one can find appealing in him." "When a woman sees certain ruggedness in a man...she is excited at the prospect of being handled in a manly way. You are quite virile Sam…to many woman I'm sure." Sophia is now a bit embarrassed. Sam does not notice that his companions present discomfort. "Even so, how could a woman find this pompous bastard attractive?" "Romance for the woman may compel such concerns to be taken as trivial...many flaws of the man can be unseen due to the passion that is amore. No?" Sophia speaks plainly. "The romance is the bond to the man for the woman. She will not bond to a man in this way simply for the sake of character. This is the way one should choose a father! Not a lover!" "When you explain such things it seems so simple and uncomplicated." "Sam when you look at a man, you bond to the man as if you were to play a game of cards...You wish no cheating! When a woman bonds with a man she wishes no cheating of his affection. The man trusts another man with his honor. The woman needs love from the man with or without honor." "So this Norman gargoyle is just a much in the game to a woman as I am." "Yes Sam, it's the way of life...and Sam he is most likely ahead of you in this game for his lack of the very honor that you so much possess." "This hurts some how. Sophia, honor should be important!"
Sophia feels his disappointment. "It is very important Sam. It is just the power of amore is ever so much more. The woman's heart may break easily from loss of her lover, but not from the loss of her lover's honor. No?" Sam similes very weakly and with great tenderness he places a soft kiss upon Sophia's cheek. "Thank you! This matter has bothered me all my life. Now at last, I understand." Sophia swells with the esteem her companion has given to her. She is also filled with a sense of joy she has never before felt. A joy for having relieved a man she has come to truly admire. "Come Sam let us look together at our reflection in the water." Sophia moves to stand at the very edge of a reflecting pool and bends over. "Come! It will be as a picture of our trip together." Sam obliges and assumes a similar position next to Sophia. Shoulder to shoulder the pair stand bending over to view their combined image in the surface of a quiet pool. Sam sees no scientist face but a lovely woman next to a mature man. "You are beautiful any where...and in any medium." Sophia is delighted with the water's vision. "This shows more than any photograph. The water's reflection captures the view of the soul in your eyes Sam. This image I shall hold in my heart forever. Such a wonderful moment...so beautiful the sky, the sea, the day. Deo Gratia!" "Your are looking at me in the water." Sam is some how comforted by the nature of the woman's stare. That Mrs. Lewis is always looking at me in a damn curious way...not as you look Sophia." "She looks at all men that way Sam," responds Sophia.
"There is a girl at the supermarket back home that makes me feel uncomfortable in the same sort of way. She is a young girl as well. Sophia, you don't think this woman finds me attractive?" "In what way are you referring Dr. Tarlach?" "Well...this looking at one sex at the other...usually...sometimes...well does this Mrs. Lewis find me sexually interesting? Do you think?" "My dear man! You must place that question before the obviously beguiled Mrs. Lewis." "Well I don't want to put you on the spot but she looks at me just as if I am shopping for groceries." "Perhaps the store clerk and Mrs. Lewis both take you for a compulsive thief." "Oh! Sophia, you're probably quite right. I'm just having fantasies. Most likely, these younger girls just need to have an extra look at something older, or different...I guess." "Perhaps they can't believe how a man of your age can be so innocent and naive." "Yeah maybe! But it's not placing us any closer to getting out of this mystery." "Perhaps the killer will turn out to be a lady. Then she'll be watching you along with all of the other women in the place. So half less one of all the possible candidates will be eager to have your attention." Sophia is thrilled with the freshness of this man's innocence. "Let us return to the villa. I hate to end this moment but duty calls." "What keeps you attention? The girl's death?" Sophia's expression is now somber. "I shall ask the police to search the Persian's rooms when they arrive to find the gun that killed Subha. He is our present candidate. I have no motive however." "You still think the lover's quarrel fits this man."
This Shahbazian is quite a man's man, Sophia...but jealousy may be all there is to the crime." "Yes he is quite virile and athletic. He is a very attractive man." "Do you like this type of man? Virile? Athletic?" "Every woman is attracted to an active, healthy, good looking male!" "Oh! I thought there was more to you preference in men than that!" "Of course there is...but this type of man is attractive." "I see! He's seems shallow to me?" "This type of man knows what a woman needs and wants. Those ladies who travel with him want to be with him." "He has sex with all three of those girls. He has sex in the water every day! The man is an absolute sex machine." "It's not an uncommon practice in the Mediterranean. I dare say one would not expect it near the Atlantic shore in winter. Americans are always shocked that people make love casually." "Most Americans don't have a warm sea shore into which they may swim. Today we don't seem to be suffering from the lack of one as far as casual sex! More seriously, this guy is a real candidate as Subha's killer. He's armed, he smokes Camel cigarettes, and he has a serious dark side when threatened." "We need evidence to accuse him…the handgun that shot Subha...His confession. Cigarettes aren't going to convict any one!" "I know Sohpia, but Fred is not going to confess. Perhaps one of those girls knows something."
"Fred? Is he your friend as well? How can you keep making friends and expect to catch a murderer? By making friends with everyone?" "My mother always said to make friends first and enemies last! She didn't tell her sons how to catch a murderer, however." "In Italy, one makes friends after she knows the other has committed no crime. This way friendships last. You like too many people, Sam!" "I don't know why those three girls stay with a man is such a way. Do you think they are captives of some kind?" "Sam, you really don't understand the nature of the women. These girls are very comfortable, and secure with this man. He provides all they need, so they stay. “It's that simple!" "Yes! No complication is needed."
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
"Villi race himself. I fill the tank with petrol and see how soon dere is no gas left and how much miles to go in dat time. I know when it's good to win race. Yah?" "I see! You are training," Sam's confusion is lifting. "Yah Yah! If you don't command bike every day you lose." Villi waves his hand as to dismiss more talk of the same. "My name is Knatuek. I am soon to return to racing as my injures are mostly healed." "I'm sorry you had an accident?" "Of course, one races one crashes. It can not be otherwise," Villi answers calmly. "Most crashes are quite serious are they not? In deed fatal, I thought," Sam is most concerned. "Street bikes! You ride you crash you go to hospital long time, or die. I no ride bike on street. Too dangerous!" "Then how did you crash?" "When you race motor cross, you ride bike from on top one stone to next. Dis vay you can make turn faster than other bike. On the murderous turn I put the front wheel of bike on only stone that should be in ground. Stone vas not tight, it moves and bike rolls Villi’s leg is caught behind front vheel. I could not finish race since gas tank vas leaked. I push bike back to start but my leg vas swollen. I could not get it over seat to ride." "Was this your only injury? Mr. Knatuek." "Call me Villi. No I vas shot a few times by man with machine gun." "Where was this?" "Vhen Villi was officer, I fight in Afghanistan in the Russian var. Vas da mudjahadin who shoot me but I kill him any way."
Later in the evening, Sam sits at dinner when a tall lean man with long blond hair walks in to the room. He wears a white suit, no tie and powder blue shirt. The man strides across the room as confident as any military commander in the field. He quickly notices Sam and makes straight to him. "Ve drink! You have pebo for Villi today. Villi makes drinks now. Vat you have? Vhiskey? Vodka?" He said as he sits across the table from Sam. "Hello wild man of the Aegean coast. You were kicking dust as I've never seen. Where's the bike?" "She is resting. I need meat! I need drink! You help good Villi as I race myself about hills." "I thought you were in some contest. Who were you racing?" 161
"Well I was shot with a Kalisnikov assault rifle myself. My name is Sam Tarlach." "Villi knew he was with soldier, I can tell always. You must be Vietnam Vet..." Yes! You bring back painful memories. I'll have some whiskey...you wish vodka no?" "Yah...I need bottle...Villi get you bottle Jack Daniel's Vhiskey for GI....then we drink." Sam arranges the table to fit his special guest's needs. Villi returns and pours a glass of whiskey for each. "I vas border guard before we invade Afghanistan in Czech Republic. My father vas the plumber in Prague. You know how old is plumbing in Prague? Thousands of years old! Some still used vas put there by Romans. Is something on vhich to vork! Man one thousands years ago vas doing same job as my father vas doing." "I had no idea. Many homes in the rural USA still do not have indoor plumbing. Both my parents were raised using the famous outhouse." "You have the accent like many golfers on TV. Yah? I too am very good golfer." "Yes, I grew up in the wilderness of Virginia. Some say they can still hear a bit of southern accent in my speech." "Villa knows these things." Again the chest salute is made from the Russian to confirm the topic as done. "Why didn't you become a plumber as did your father?" "Thousands year old pluming go bad very slowly. Not enough vork for me, Yah. I go to motorcycle factory build engines, very good work then army vants Villi. I go to become border guard. I catch the spy getting into republic. The army gives me medal makes to go to officer school. Vhen school is over I go to Kabul to fight the var."
"This sounds much like my story. I went to marines to get my college tuition paid and I went to serve time in Vietnam upon my graduation. How did you catch a spy?" "I valk every day with the dog along a section of fence between east and west. I find the tracks of man who cuts through fence. He is going into Czechoslovakia. How about dat? Usually people are trying to go out, Yah? I follow him and fire the shots over his head, and he gives himself to be prisoner." "How did you know he was a spy?" "I do not. Army says if he vants in he must be spy since no one vants in. I think he is crazy person." "How did you start racing bikes?" "In Prague, I fix bikes for extra money. Some crash the bike. I buy cheap for parts and fix them up good. Some I sell some I race for the thrills, only race across the country no highway races it's too dangerous. You race?" "I have the Porsche automobile. In my youth I was occasionally doing a drag strip with others along backcountry roads. Winding hairpin curves that rise and fall away, is like flying." "Yah dats it! This is good car Porsche. Villi work on these too. Is no engine Villi can not fix." Again the chest salute is made for Sam's attention. "So you golf? Where did you learn? I wasn't aware that it was popular in communist countries." "In Canada! Villi has cousin. I visit for some vacation after the var, yah." "I see! How did you like the west?"
"It vas difficult for me. Then I no speak any vords in English. I can't get the voman. You know how difficult to have the girl friend when you can't speak to her? Impossible! I can't even buy the beer vhen I was dere." "Can't be that hard, Villi to get the drink." "Villi and cousin go to store. Cousin no read or write English. He speak very little vords in English. Do you know how ve buy the food?" "I guess you ask someone?" "Villi look at pictures on front of container. I go to buy pebo six pack. I buy two six packs of brown beer with picture on can. I drink all cans and Villi no can get drunk. You know vhy? It's the root beer! You know how hard to drink 12 cans root beer? Villi does, Yah!" Sam laughs heartily with Villi. "What about all that sugar?" "It's vas terrible. Villi piss like horse!" "Why didn't you stay in Canada and find work." "No voman. Villi need the voman. Dere was none for Villi dere plus too cold. At my own country dere is the good food, dere is the good drink, dere is the voman who makes love like a cow...if you want love you just take love." "Home is home wherever it may be found!" "Yah. In var we fight to stay alive so to go home...not to die in forsaken land. It's the strong motivation, Yah?" "How went the fighting in Afghanistan?" "The mudjahadin live in the mountains. The mountains are everywhere. At night they bring down vith the cannon to kill us in our beds, and they plant the mines. In the day ve
go out and die. Ve step on their land mines, and in the ambush they kill us with their rockets. Ve die at night, and ve die at day. So ve drink and kill many mudjahadin but there are many more coming down from the mountain." "We had the same type of war in Vietnam but in the day time the enemy just moved about us as civilians and farmers while at night they would take the guns and fight us. We could only survive by killing everyone that wasn't a G I" "In Afghanistan ve kill every thing. The animals die, the children die, the houses burn, no life is left but Russian in lands away from the big cities in Afghanistan like Kabul. Dere the Russian have the friend. Not all in Afghanistan want Russia out Afghanistan." "Why was that Villi?" "It's the business. In Afghanistan the main business is not the farming it's what you Americans call smuggling. Dere its just business. The var in Afghanistan vas for control of this business. Believe me it's very big business." "You know of these black markets?" "Yah, Yah! I do business with them myself. In Afghanistan the motorbike is better than the horse because the horse it can die young or old. The bike is faster, yah? The most expensive parts are the engine. It's a small, and easy to take apart and ship with soldiers coming into Afghanistan. I sell engines in Kabul. Make many friends and much money." "How can you fight those people and make friends?" "It's like Vietnam not everyone dere is friend to mudjahadin. In fact, Russia have many Afghan spies in the mudjahadin. Ve kill many with bombs from such information." "How did you get shot Villi?”
"Bringing Vodka back from Kabul to Russian fronts. The mudjahadin have the spy in the black market. They set ambush hit my truck with rocket, and spray machine gun fire everywhere. But I vas not in truck! I follow on motorcycle and catch several mudjahadin from behind but vas wounded. I get medal for bravery and promotion to colonel for this action. I vas born vhen Mars, and Venus both appeared in night sky...It is best for luck." Again Sam laughs with Villi. "Venus and Mars and both in the sky tonight night". Sam informs Villi. The Russian answers with an arm across the chest salute in agreement. "You Tarlach how were you wounded?" "Tet offensive caught us unprepared. Part of our base was over run. We fought overwhelming odds dam near by hand. We fought straight through for several days with no sleep. A single Cong just jumped up in front as we advanced. I was in the lead element we all took hits. Some of us were lucky and went home alive." "Good Tarlach ve drink to our luck. Ve drink to our comrades who die." "So you were a smuggler while in the Russian army?" "Villi is still the smuggler. Vhen I made colonel I became the biggest Russian businessman in Kabul. I save many friends who are Afghan when Russians leave Afghanistan. I get them papers to live in many places and ve run business as before. Ve sell to mudjahadin in Afghanistan but ve charge much more than before. Ve make much money. They love me as papa. Yah?" "You mean you have agents all around the world. How can you do that?" "I have papers to sell motor cycle parts from my county over the whole world. I put small motorcycle shop everywhere even in Andes Mountains. From such a place is my agent who does the smuggling business. It is easy thing to make such money."
"Don't you worry about getting caught?" "Tarlach it's a business. From each country I buy goods and sell to other country. Every country vant to buy and sell. That's a business." "What about UN sanctions and trade barriers?" "Every time dere is UN sanction against the country, I get rich by setting up the business. I own trucks that hall oil from Middle East only vhere dere are sanctions." "What about a wife and family? Are you married?" "My father is still plumber. My mother she died when I vas baby...I don't have memory of her. No vife. If dere is vife, then dere is the house, dere is the same job. Everyday is same. It’s a slow dying with same voman. Some day when my knee doesn't vork so I can not ride, when the back it no vork, when I can no go out of home then it's the time for the vife. Yah?" "There's much a man can do when he is single that he may not when he is married that's for sure Villi." You have the vife Tarlach? Vhat you do?" "My wife passed from illness. My work is science of astronomy. I come to use the telescope on the hill behind us." "Dat's good. It's a interesting vork and very safe job. Yah?" "I've never considered the safety part of it but it's the excitement of leaving the planet earth by using one's mind with a telescope. Some one famous once said that the stars do portend the future. When I work I live in the future, or least the future of our knowledge of the universe." "That's a noble life. Villi salute you, Tarlach."
"Thank you Villi. I salute you for heroism. I salute your exciting life, although not as safe as most people choose." While the men dine, Sophia is sitting in the reading room of the villa. Here she finds newspapers from various parts of the world. Many are weeks old but of casual interest. There is also a small library with a collection of well-known novels mostly in English as Lady Christown provides them. Here she finds a book on the world's population. She browses leisurely. Sophia passes the time while she awaits Sam's return. The page, which covers the African nation of Djibouti, collects her attention A small country on the Horn of Africa with a population of half a million. "This place is really unknown! Perhaps this American will find a free telescope, and drag me there." She thinks to her self with impatience. This mystery business of his is obstructing their research. Her interest in this city-state near the Red Sea grows. "A land of rugged mountains in the north and deserts to the south. There is one city port of the same name. This is the perfect place for him to send me. What clothes can one possibly wear there that would not make me look as a camel?" She says to herself out loud. This place called Djibouti, she knows it will be heard of again. A small teenage boy interrupts, "Torrenti, there is message here for you." A slender lad with rolls of thick wavy hair that shines full with youth hands the lady a written message. "Please come at once! My husband is very sick. I need help." Signed Bing Bing. "Can you take me to her rooms?" Sophia asks the youth. "Please to follow me." The boy turns and hurries to the main staircase. Up three fights and down the main hallway turning left along the western half of the villa. Near the very
end of the corridor through an open door are the suites that are occupied by the Soriagas. Here Sophia and the lad arrive to find Ling Ling lying prone upon the floor. "Sophia! Sophia! My Ling Ling is not well. He collapsed!" Bing Bing is close to hysteria. "He does not answer me!" "Boy go to the bar get me a bottle of brandy and bring some men with you at once!" Sophia immediately notices the figure of the unconscious man. His face is blanched, and he is perspiring profusely. His breathing is difficult. Sophia feels his pulse. It is rapid and irregular. He is suffering from strong convulsions. "Bing Bing does he take any medicines? Is he diabetic?" Sophia's words are urgent. "No! No! Ling Ling has never been sick a day in his life! He was fine. We had some dinner. He was soon to go to the casino for the night. Then he just seized. His face distorted and he fell shaking to the ground." Bing Bing leans over Sophia who is crouched over the collapsed Ling Ling. The woman wrenches her hands together as Sophia reaches down her husband's throat to make sure his air passage is clear. Sophia feels about the man's body for swellings. "I didn't know what to do? I rang the houseboy on the phone and sent him with a message to find you. What is wrong with my Ling Ling? There is panic in her voice. "How long has he been like this?" Sophia removes his shoes and socks hurriedly. She notices a strong purple discoloration in both ankles. "Did he say anything to you at all before he collapsed?" A similar discoloration is noticed also in the man's hands. "He said he felt dizzy and his head hurt. He was thirsty! Yes! He asked for water then he fell. He has said nothing since. It was only moments ago. I called the house boy right away."
"Is there a doctor anywhere about this village?" Sophia is at a loss to help. "No! In emergency we call the Turkish Navy and any ship with a doctor on board will come. A physician does visit the village every other week on the ferry but he does not come this week. Can we help Ling Ling?" Suddenly, the man's seizures come to an abrupt halt. His breath fades. The twisted look upon his face relaxes. His body goes limp. "Madonna! He is dead!" Sophia exclaims in disbelief as the man's life passes from his body while she cradles his head in her lap. Bing Bing freezes. She stares at her husband's form, which she does not recognize in death. She does not believe Sophia's words. She does not believe her dear Ling Ling will not wake soon. Sophia looks up at her friend with hopelessness. There was no time to know. There was no one to ask. There was no medicine to give. The two women look straight into each other's eyes. They share only disbelief, and loss. Bing Bing's eyes close as she slumps to the floor. Sophia kneels with a dead man in her lap of whom she knows absolutely nothing, next to an unconscious woman who is a casual friend but of whom she really knows little. All this in a place that seems lost in another time of which she knows naught. It is too much. Sophia's tears began to flow. Her body begins to shake as her torso wobbles. "Get hold of her!" Sam points to the limp Bing Bing as he and Dincer rush into the room. Sam goes straight to Sophia and takes her in his arms. She collapses in a semiconscious daze. "Boy one sip of brandy here, and one for Mrs. Soriaga straight away." As Sophia sips the sweet strong liquor, she wakes to see the dead man. "It was most horrible", she says as she searches Sam's face for understanding and warmth.
Sam notices Bing Bing stirring as well. The Dincer holds the long form of Bing Bing tenderly in one of his short strong arms. She too revives with the taste of the brandy. Bing Bing turns her head to face to the floor and she refuses to rise. She sobs bitterly. Her sides heave violently with the crushing sorrow that fills her. Sam notices the corpse of Ling Ling Soriaga. This still form in a man Sam had seen many times in Vietnam. The lady's husband is certainly dead. Poor Sophia she witnessed this tragedy. This was just to be a simple astronomical trip. He feels responsible for his companion's condition. "How will I ever make this up to you?", he whispers in her ear. He gives her a soft caress and kisses her ever so lightly upon her cheek. Sophia's rests the palm of her hand upon Sam's face. "Take me away from here", she begs. "Get Bing Bing away as well." She holds onto Sam's arms as he raises her from the floor. Deni Beaudoin and several members of the villa's staff rush into the room. "Tarlach what is all this? This man looks dead! Can I help some body?" "Yes! Get these women to Dr Torrenti's room. Find Mrs. Christown and send her here!" The Frenchman and several women of the staff assist Bing Bing and Sophia to Room 222 of the villa. "Colonel Sam, I will send the house boy for my wife, Meeka. She will stay with the ladies this night." Dincer still holds the bottle of brandy. He looks over to the body of Soriaga, and takes a long drink from the bottle. "There are too much people dying at this villa." Dincer's takes a second drink.
"Good idea Dincer, those girls should not be by themselves at this time." I think Colonel Sam this Mr. Soriaga should not be dead. Perhaps Mrs. Soriaga is having the good fortune not to be laying here as her husband." Dincer takes another drink. "What do you say?" Sam asks. "This man is too young for the heart to be bad. He is too young for any thing to be bad. That leaves an accident, or murder. He dies in front of his wife and Sophia. If they see no accident to kill him, then this dying can only be intended." Dincer has mostly emptied the bottle of brandy. "Dincer, I need some of that brandy myself." Sam completes the consumption of the liquid. "So, you think some one may have tried to kill both Soriaga's?" "We do not have deaths like this in Meezgole ever before. It is bad these things. Not from nature these people die." "Well, I guess it's certainly one answer. Poor Sophia! This girl may never be the same. Dincer, she is just an astronomer. We are way out of our elements in this business." "Dr Torrenti is very strong women. Such women are made to bear the pain of the life. You shall see this. There is no one here made to deal with these crimes. The people will only have hope if you continue to try to help find the evil one." "The next ferry is here in two days time. I shall do whatever I can till it arrives, but I am responsible for Dr Torrenti's welfare. When the ferry departs, I intend to ask her to return to the west." Sam looks desperately about the room for anything that may indicate they cause of this tragedy. "Dincer, the police may want this room undisturbed."
"My friends will watch at the door until you say it is not needed. No one or anything shall pass without the colonel's approval. This includes Lady Christown herself if you wish it." Dincer's words are assuring. "Yes, the best is to keep evidence safe. I am over whelmed. It seems that every step we take to find your daughter's killer leads to another death. But there is nothing but the villa in common in these happenings." "You ask Dincer when you need help! Everything at Meezgole is for you." Dincer salutes. "I go to see Dr Torrenti. Ask Mrs. Christown to wait here till my return if possible." Sam turns and moves out the door. He moves directly to Room 222 where he taps gently on the door. The door opens slowly, and one of the villa's housemaids whispers. "Colonel Sam, the ladies are asleep." "Who is there? Sophia's voice is week but clear. "Is that you Sam?" She calls anxiously. Sam enters to find Sophia rising from a couch. "Sophia how are you ladies doing?" Sophia notices Sam carrying the bottle of brandy, and she notices the bottle is empty. "It was horrible Sam! Never have I had such a horrible experience. The man's heart was stopping. I could do nothing but watch him die in front of his young beautiful wife." "How is Mrs. Soriaga?" Sam looks about the room bit sees no sign of her. "She rests in my bed room now. She is in shock. She is devastated completely." "Sophia, can you tell me what happened to this man. How did he die?"
"His heart stopped. I cannot be sure why. He had no wounds, no hemorrhaging that I could see. The cause of his death was internal of course. He had no abnormal temperature, so it does not seem some bacterial infection was the cause." "Could he have had some accident...taken a drink with the wrong medicine?" "His wife says he does not drink the beverage with alcohol. They have no medicine anywhere...prescription or otherwise. His mouth was filled with a fowl secretion...maybe stomach fluid. The convulsions are not typical of a heart attack but I can not say." "Do you think it could have been a homicide?" Sam's question chills Sophia. She hesitates. Her head slumps into her hands. She wipes her face, and straightens her hair. "Yes...God forgive me...the man could have been murdered. Some poison...the symptoms would be identical. Sam, this work is too hard for us. Please let us end this and give the police their way." "Sophia...when the ferry comes I wish you to leave. Dincer will take you to Ankara and see you to a flight out...back to Italy if you wish." Sam takes her into his arms. "I'm very sorry...please forgive me for all you have been through here?" "We have tried to help these people. It is not for anyone to be sorry. You have acted as the general taking command." Her warm words and soft smile make Sam beam in gratitude. "Well, we appreciate each other for trying." They smile at each other. Both show emotional strain resulting from the mystery that has been thrust upon them. "You pack! I'll follow you out after this business is completed." "You mean you are not to accompany me. You can't be serious to go through any more of this Sam."
"Dincer has much faith in me. He has lost his little girl by a vicious murder. Damn it! All the villagers call me Colonel Sam. I can't quit on them. I'll stay with the police and offer any assistance." "You like this murder investigation business! You would rather be the colonel then the Dr. Astronomer. I don't believe it! Sam, you may not stay." "Sophia, please? I think I can solve this thing." "I knew it all the while! Even when the police come you will not let yourself stop." "I intend to stop...just a few more days...I'll join you where ever you say...just let me finish what I've started." "No, Sam! We are the partners. If you stay so shall I. Then we make the agreement to finish what we start. Besides I want very much this person punished who killed Bing Bing's husband." "Dr Torrenti, you are a very special person indeed. I accept you terms. We both stay to the end." "Yes but this means we get the work done at the observatory as we have planned as well, other wise we show failure when the difficulty arises." Sophia feels for the first time that their two souls have merged. She knows that from this point on that she and Sam will share much together. "Keep Bing Bing here! There is much to do in her rooms. I know not when she may return there. I must get back and see Dincer." Sam starts out of Room 222. "Sam have them send some strong Turkish tea for Bing Bing." "Dincer's wife is coming to spend the night with you both. I'll have tea sent for three."
"No Sam for four. The housemaid has been very sweet, and very helpful. We girls need to talk much this night. Oh! Have some chocolate sent to us as well." "Chocolate? You mean like candy with nuts and cream centers?" Sam is unsure. "Yes! If this place is a great cross road in this world, there must certainly be passing one small box of assorted chocolates, no?" Her voice has a sting. "Any thing you want...I'll get it through Dincer. Oh, Sophia if Bing Bing is well enough…see if she can tell us anything that may help." "Sam, the chocolate will loosen all our thoughts don't worry." Later that evening Sophia and Bing Bing sit quietly together. "Bing Bing you must stay here with me tonight. It is best!" "Thank you...I can't go back into that room just yet." Sophia holds the slender frail girl in her arms. "Can we talk?" "Yes...the shock is not as great. I should like to talk about Ling Ling." "How did you guys meet? Where did you meet Ling Ling?" "When I was a student at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas I was a member of the girl's tennis team. My father was a great athlete in the Philippine's. In World War Two, the Japanese soldier's would play soccer against the village boys. My father would score the goals. He was yet very young." "How did your family survive those times?” "My father said there was no food any where in the Philippines during the war until the Americans came. The men and the older boys where taken prisoner by the Japanese. He never saw his older brother or father again. They were killed in the death march of Bataan."
"Your father is still alive?" "Yes, the Americans came to Philippines, and my father worked in a USA Army Office running errands. The major in charge paid his airfare to come to America. My father worked and went to school. He slept very little but worked hard. He paid the debt to the officer. He lives in Las Vegas and is manager of a bank. He wants to retire soon and go back to see his village in the Philippines. I am going to go back with him." "You have family there?" "Yes many aunts and uncles and cousins...my father keeps pictures of them all...we look at these every holiday and birthday." "Did Ling Ling have family in the Philippines as well?" "No all his family moved to Los Angeles where they now all live. Ling Ling and his sister, Maria came to Las Vegas to go to school. They wanted to learn the business of the casinos. Maria was in one of my classes. We became friends and she introduced me to her brother." "What subjects did you study?" "Music was my major...voice and choral. I wanted to have a career in show business. So did Maria. She is very beautiful...I must call her...No! I must call the embassy first. They will not want any notice given until they examine Ling Ling's body...it's standard practice." Sophia is taken back by these comments. She proceeds slowly. "What kind of student was Ling Ling?" Bing Bing laughs at her thoughts. "He was a genius. He could speak almost any language by just trying. He was good with computers, and numbers used by business. He was very
conceited and I did not like him very much at first. I would not go out with him. He would always show up when I was with Maria. Our first date was a favor for his sister. But soon I found out how sweet, and kind and funny he was. I learned to love him very much. I'll miss my Ling Ling". Tears begin. "How did you two end up working in the Villa Azizi?" "After we graduated, I went to work in the casinos as an administrator in house keeping. Bing Bing went to work for the government for a time, and then he took employment in the same casino as myself. We began dating again. We married. Then Ling Ling found this opportunity to move to Meezgole. We are paid very well, and we are saving our money...we were going to return to Las Vegas and try to own our own small casino. That's all gone now." Sophia's curiosity of Ling Ling grows "What work did he do for the government?" "He went to become some kind of government agent. He was in Virginia for about a year when he returned to Las Vegas. He said that he didn't like it there. He missed me too much and wanted to be with me. Ling Ling was very sweet." "How long have you two been in Meezgole?" "About six months Ling Ling worked as pit boss in the Los Vegas casino. Then a friend of his was working in the embassy in Ankara learned of this job. It was perfect! Ling Ling and I were so excited. Any way we signed a 5-year contract. We are here just over three years. The time went so quickly." "Do you go to Ankara often?"
"Oh yes. We do are banking there, also our shopping. We find wonderful prices on things as presents to send home to our families. My father was here last winter a two-week visit. We were planning a trip home for this coming Christmas time." "Do you visit the embassy in Ankara?" "No not since we first arrived but Ling Ling's friends always call him to have drinks or lunch or something when we are there. Why do you ask?" Sophia's questions are alarming Bing Bing. "I have friends in the Italian embassy. My friend Adalpho has a brother who works at the Italian embassy and he is always at the American embassy. He is very handsome like Adalpho. I wonder if you may know him." "Oh you do have a man in your life!" The chance for gossip revives Bing Bing's enthusiasm. "Adalpho, he wishes me to marry him, and have his children." "Are you going to marry him?" "Certainly not! He would keep me in his house like a Roman slave. These men cry like children when they need you. They become like pigs and leave you alone when they leave the house for their pleasures. My husband must place me first in all things. He will not dare to lose my love by making me the hardships." Sophia laughs at her own girlish whim. "Don't you want to do things to make your husband happy?" Bing Bing is in cultural conflict. "Of course...but I shall decide what will make him happy." Sophia's words are now understood.
"What type of man is this Sam Tarlach?" Bing Bing has noticed Sophia's occasional looks at him. "He is very good looking. A mature hunk! Those blue eyes of his are captivating." "He is a very special man, this Tarlach. I have never been with a man like him. He makes one feel special in a way that touches the soul." Sophia enjoys discussing her feelings of him. "Could you marry such a man?" "Yes, I have deep feelings for this man but we are professional scientists. He has romance in the stars only." "Bing Bing tell me what your exact duties are here?" "I am in charge of the house keeping, the kitchen and the gardening for the villa. Ling Ling was manager of casino; music, bar, tables of chance, and bookkeeping for the villa." "Sounds like you are very busy?" "We have much work. We are paid very well and the villa pays all our expenses. Even one round trip home each year is paid for us. That is how my father could come. The villa paid his ticket. We have learned much of the business and how to save operational costs." "You hire people also?" "Only for the dealers of the table. Ling Ling goes to Izmir to hire them. He trains them himself. There is a big turn around in dealers because many try to cheat the villa. We do not fire any of the villagers for reasons of good relations. The village women are excellent workers. The old men who do not want to farm or fish take care of the maintenance. We never have trouble with the local people. They are Muslim and they are very honest."
"No one is mad at you or Ling Ling? No vendetta against you two?" "No! Why? You suspect something?" Bing Bing is apprehensive. "There has been no trouble here until this girl was murdered." It is very peaceful in Meezgole." "I must see Sam, now. You must stay here tonight. You rooms will not be suitable for some time." Sophia gives the young woman a hug. "Ask Dr Tarlach to call the U S embassy in Ankara? Please. They will tell him what to do with Ling Ling." She begins to sob ever so gently. "Bing Bing your husband, did he tell you of any concerns he had about anyone." "What do you mean Sophia?" "Did Ling Ling have any ideas who might have killed Subha for instance?" "No! Ling Ling had no idea. Ling Ling would never talk about anyone. He kept his worries to himself always. He would not want me to worry." "He was very special indeed Bing Bing. Now rest! I'll return in a moment." Sophia walks to the Soriaga's room where Sam and Dincer keep watch outside in the hall. Sam notices Sophia's approach and moves towards her. "Sophia! Please return to your rooms. There is nothing more to be done here." "Sam I talked with Bing Bing. I am sure her husband was some kind of American agent." "How come you by this conclusion?" "Sam, BingBLing wants no disturbance of her husband's body or their rooms until after men from the US Embassy in Ankara arrive and give their permission." "That's most unusual. Did she say why they must be informed?" "Ling Ling says her husband once worked for the federal government in Washington DC. They were offered this job through persons in the US Embassy in Ankara six months
after he returned from Washington. She also says he regularly meets with embassy staff on their trips to Ankara." "My goodness! If he is a government field agent then he is probably CIA. What would the CIA be doing in Meezgole? Is Ling Ling an agent also?" "No Sam! She is too free in her words. She does not guard her thoughts from me." "There's nothing here but farms and a few fishing boats. What could interest the CIA enough to keep a full time agent in Meezgole?" "Pirates perhaps?" Sophia has not fully shed her fears from the ferry's passage. Sam smiles at the woman's response but he hesitates for a moment. "Smuggling is a problem for Turkey and their navy. Smuggling maybe more of interest to the CIA, especially when it becomes part of international terrorism." "What do you mean Sam?" "Ling Ling was CIA spotter in the Aegean theater." "Excuse me Dr. General but I do not understand the American term spotter. What is this spotter?" Sophia is agitated by not sharing Sam’s understanding. "Sophia! There is only one reason the US Government would keep a man here. He is here to spot persons who visit the villa who are considered as dangerous to the U S and our allies. He identifies from those who enter Meezgole any person the US Government has interest. He probably reports on everyone who visits here and to whom they have contact as well as any gathered details of their business and personal lives." "You mean he is a spy!" "Yes! His work should not be dangerous enough to have someone try to kill him. There are many such agents from many countries about Turkey I'm sure."
"Don't spies kill each other?" Sophia is unsure. "Rarely! Low-level spies like Ling Ling pose no threat. “How can he spy without his wife not knowing?" "The same way a man cheats of his wife! He simply does not tell her everything!" "This is not right Sam. The wife should know all...everything even about spying...Are you a spy?" Sophia is serious in her words. Sam is stunned by her conclusion. He searches for a response. He can only mutter. "No." Sophia looks at him with consternation. "How do I know you are truthful? You always carry that big gun like a spy. You worked for the US Government for several years in their military. You travel over the whole world as scientist. How many languages do you speak?" "Several!" "Ah ha! I'll bet you were worked in Washington DC when you were in the military, and you yet keep contact with the government there." "Certainly! Many officers get stationed for a time at the Pentagon. You will make many calls to the government when you become directress at the Allegheny Observatory." "I no carry gun and nor do I chase killers for pleasure. You could very easily be a top spy for USA. Italy has no need for such men." Sophia looks at Sam with a totally different attitude. "Don't worry Sam I shall tell no one you are a big spy." "Thank you very much. Not that anyone would ever believe you in the slightest. It is comforting to know that if I where a top spy whose identity you quickly discovered that I am safe from being exposed. I guess?"
"You are welcome! I must get back to Bing Bing. You better check that room of theirs for spy evidence. Maybe Ling Ling came to learn who killed Subha Gundez? "I shall look at once." Sam responds confidently. "I can't believe you made me a spy for the USA. Here in some little place in Turkey, I come all the way from Rome to be the spy. Incredule!" Sophia disappears just before lady Christown appears. "Prof. Tarlach, I came as soon as I could. What has happened here?" Lady Abatha asks as she reaches the doorway to Soriaga's residence. "Lady Christown, Mr. Soriaga died about 30 minutes ago." "My goodness! Whatever happened? How will I run the casino? I don't understand." "My dear lady the man is dead. You shall have to inform the authorities which is to include the US Embassy in Ankara as soon as possible. I must inform you that no one is to enter this room without my permission. Absolutely no one!" "I should like to tidy up before the authorities arrive." "Not possible I 'm afraid. Did you see Ling Ling earlier this evening?" "Why yes he always stops by to see me before the casino opens. Then he goes to dinner and later opens the casino for the guests." "Was there anything unusual about his visit or the man himself this day?" "No he was his usual self. A very nice man and a conscientious worker I might add. His poor wife!" "Are you aware of the Soriaga's dinning habit?"
"Yes, why of course! They almost always have dinner brought to their room. Occasionally Bing Bing will prepare something up here by herself. Even when she makes Filipino dishes she does so in the main kitchen and has them deliver to her rooms." "Do you know what the Soriagas had for dinner t this night." The lady hesitates in her answer. "My guess is that they were served fish from our dining room. It was very good today. Did you have some?" "No! Sorry but I did not dine as yet." "Would you like some sent to your room. It would be my pleasure to order for you." "Yes send a serving of the same to this room please and right away if you don't mind...Who served the Soriaga's dinner tonight?" "Tugay usually brings the dinners...sometimes one of the other help from the kitchen." The lady is obvious puzzled. "Is there some problem Dr. Tarlach?" "No Lady Christown! Dincer and I have some work here in preparation for the authorities." "Is that all then?" "One more thing...the ladies will need sweet tea in Room 222. Lots of tea and plenty of cups as well a box of assorted chocolates are needed there?" Sam almost forgot. "Please supervise the food preparation your self. Dincer will come for it himself when it is ready." "Yes I can manage those nicely. What kind of chocolate do you wish? American? Swiss? Colombian?" "You mean you have a choice?
"Of course! Women will not stay where there is no chocolate to be had. There is not a ship upon the Aegean that doesn't carry tons of the stuff." Sam had no idea. "Oh! I suspect Dincer and I shall need another bottle of brandy. We have an ugly task ahead." "What will you do with Mr. Soriaga's body?" "We shall take him to storage in the basement room with Dincer’s daughter. Are there any other keys to that place besides the ones that Dr Torrenti and myself have?" "You have the only two keys. Anyone else will have to break down the door to get in or out of that cold cellar." "Thank you again Lady Christown for your generous assistance." "I hope this madness is over with soon. My villa has never had such goings on." Lady Abatha makes her departure. "Colonel Sam come and see!" Dincer calls from inside the room. "What is it Dincer?" "Look at these plates with dinner. Only the man has eaten. The foods have not been touched by the place where Bing Bing was to eat." "Yes I see! The man's food is only partially consumed. You guess there is to be found poison in the fish here on both plates, my friend." "Yes! The one who wishes the Soriagas to die had access to their dinners. The killer is in this villa now. There is no doubt of this." "Well we are going to put this food into storage with the body for the police." "Do you think that Mr Soriaga found the name of the killer of my Subha, Colonel Sam?"
"If he did, he has not told his wife or Dr Torrenti or myself or anyone! Unfortunately, I have had very little conversation with the man. I do agree with you Dincer, that he was killed for what he knew, and the killer is undoubtedly here in the villa." "Do you wish me to take body to cellar for keeping?" "We shall do this together Dincer. Until your people arrive I wish to look around the apartment." "Colonel I have checked to see if anyone has disturbed their things. No one has looked about in here but the Soriaga's. I am sure that the poison was placed in the food before it arrives here." "All is in order you say! This would indicate the killer to know of Ling Ling's habits. Then there is nothing here the killer needs. The information we want from Ling Ling died with him I'm afraid." "Colonel Sam how can you be sure?" "The man was killed by someone who knew his eating habits. He was killed for information someone did not want Ling Ling to share. The killer knew there was no need to search his quarters for a copy of this information. The killer had to know very much about him. The killer cannot be a stranger!" "Only staff would know this much about Ling Ling and my Subha." "Seems so Dincer. It is confusing. The methods of these two deaths are so different." ~~~~~ Just after dusk the guests begin to arrive at the casino. Lady Abatha has appointed Tugay to act in Mr Soriaga's place.
Tugay walks among the tables dressed in an elegant white dinning jacket and black trousers. He is very attentive to the state of the guest’s libations. Several waiters move about with trays of houer devoures; fresh Salomon and dill on crackers, a meat pâté served with strong cheese on a small biscuit garnished with a green sprout, small delicate sweet cakes made in the fashion of the Greek baklava. The waiters are young boys and older men in poorly fitting dress. They wear black formal jackets with tails, black pants and white serving gloves. Their shoes are shiny. The mood in the casino is elegant. A small ensemble of string and bass plays a dignified selection of light classical music. The tables of cards, roulette, and dice are busy. Ladies dress formally. The gentlemen are in diner finery. The patrons all contribute to an ambiance of sophisticated excitement. Villi has joined Shabazian at the black jack table. The Persian's companions move about the other tables observing and placing the occasional small bet. Delights of the winners stimulate the betting. Lady Abatha moves toward the Russian. "My dear Mr. Knatuek you should enjoy a suite at the villa. Don't you grow tired of that boat and sleeping on the water?" "Is home! Villi like to be home. Villa is place too soft." "He keeps watch over his pirate’s treasure." Fred answers with a laugh. "Dere is no much treasure now...but soon Villi fills his ship...then Villi is sleeping out far on ocean only." The arm salute is given to Lady Abatha. "I trust you'll not be winning such a treasure from the casino?" The lady adds in good humor.
"There is much treasure to be had in Meezgole now...outside of villa." Villi has been drinking all day. His red colored eyes are dimmed as one in need of sleep. The shah does not drink. He smiles with great pleasure at the words of Knatuek. "This Russian is with much drink. He speaks of nonsense." The Persian is quick to change the subject. "If there is much treasure in the Aegean, maybe the Russian will fill his boat from this?" Lady Abatha smiles at the Persian. "You have no need of treasure? Are we not all hoping for a chance at great wealth?" The shah looks over the older but comely form of Lady Abatha. "You must come with me to Aegean in the morning. There is much pleasure to be had. Those who seek treasure...seek pleasure. It is the Persian saying." "My dear shah I shall be delighted to accept such an invitation to join your treasure hunt. I understand that you are most successful in such ventures." The lady adds coyly. "Persians are great mans for sharing the enjoying of treasure." Lady Abatha notices the Frenchman Beaudoin coming into the room. "Shah we shall discuss you searches for treasure at greater detail upon another moment. Presently, I must be excused." Deni Beaudoin is quick to find a server of food and drink. Lady Abatha is at the chase for this man. "Mr Beaudoin...all is well I trust." The small muscular man spins acrobatically to face the charging woman. He smiles at his lovely host. "My dear madam, all must be well where you attend."
"Tugay tells me that you where searching for something on the third floor today. This place is restricted to the staff of the villa. Needs for our guest are to be routinely handled by the service desk on the first floor." She is congenial but clear in her meaning. "What particular need took you to the third floor?" "It is the villa itself. Never have I seen such a building. I was lost in the study of her construction. I was comparing the truss and arch methods used and before I knew it there I was on three. Please to excuse such enthusiasm that makes one forget his manners." "Tugay will be perfectly happy to escort you about the entire place to your hearts content. He will make much available to see that one could not possibly otherwise encounter. Just phone on to him ahead." The lady is satisfied with the curious little man's explanation. "I shall explore your games of chance tonight, if you permit." Beaudoin makes a petite bow of consolation. "My luck is soon to change!" "You are most welcome here. Tugay is to be at your service should your enthusiasm again warrant assistance." Sam ventures in to the casino and makes his way to a small table. Here he waits his appointed hour by observing the others at their sport. "Tarlach! You are missing the Italian." Beaudoin comments as he passes. "You are missing the same?" Sam is quick to point out. "There are plenty of other ladies present." "The night is young and so is my appetite for la femme. Good hunting!" The little man concludes. Beaudoin takes a seat next to the shah's dark companion at the roulette table. ~~~~~
Later Sam walks out into the garden well before the appointed time. He steps quietly along a side path of the reflecting pool that runs straight from the back of the villa. He passes a small tree where he moves back into its shadow from the moonlight. Here he commands full view of the garden, and it's pathways. As he waits for his visitor, he recalls his nighttime patrols in the jungles of Southeast Asia. The need to move quietly without rustling the grass and trying to hear the sounds about the night was always unnerving for him. The darkness seemed to give protection but it only brought terror when exchanging shots with an unseen enemy. His only thoughts were to fire low and straight at any attacker...for god's sake do not empty the magazine...leave one or two rounds. He relives the fear of every soldier in nighttime combat of being killed, wounded, or separated from his company and then being left behind. It might be days if at all before a solder lost in the darkness might be recovered. Sam is lost in sadness for those of his marine company who remains were never recovered. Time passes slowly in an immeasurable way in the darkness. Only when one can see a shift in the position of shining points of light in the sky may one know that an appointed hour advances. Sam sees light coming from the villa's many windows. Occasionally human forms appear from within as the guests move about. A single form appears as it steps from the doorway at the garden's entrance. A tall thin lady moves outward in Sam's direction. Only her bare shoulders, and arms give reflection of the moonlight as she makes her way in Sam's direction. Her silhouette is a lovely female form. As she approaches, blond hair shines with a luster about her figure. Her face keeps in shadow as she moves past the villa's end. She stands
about 20 paces from Sam, and 40 paces near the spot where the slain young village girl was found. Sam notes the figure does not pause or give special concern to any place along the garden's path. She ignores the ground about her as she strides past Sam. She moves toward the garden's end. Her gaze is set before her. She walks slowly and comely onward. Just as she strides a few paces past Sam, he steps out behind her. "Here I am. It's Sam Tarlach." Sam is intense at watching her response. The woman slowly comes to a stop. Unruffled, she is prepared for his appearance. She turns to face him. The full flow of the moon's light falls on the subtle sensuous feature of a beautiful woman's face. Her blond hair is pulled tightly back to reveal her delicate neck and bare soft shoulders. She looks straight to Sam's eyes. "Your blue eyes shine bright even in such darkness", she greets Sam with a smile. Sam recognizes a faint German accent. He steps towards the girl while yet keeping one hand in his coat pocket about his model 45 revolver. "Sam Tarlach here. You wanted to see me. You sent a note..." "Of course herr doctor!" The girl moves closer to Sam. Their eyes meet, and they search each other’s face in a moment of silent greeting. Sam recognizes the girl from the reading room who has always her face in a book. She no longer wears large rim glasses and her hair does not hang about her face. Sam takes a long look at her lovely face. He has not been aware that this lady was attractive in the least. She has under gone a magnificent transformation." You asked me to meet your here, did you not? I mean you left a note for me? Didn't you?"
"You are much better looking up close, Prof. Tarlach. The moonlight makes you look very military in stature. You are very rugged in appearance for the university instructor." "Thank you...I don't know your name!" "Deeda...my close friends call me this." "Very lovely, Deeda." Sam is again lost in the woman's beauty. He is sure that he has really never seen anyone so beautiful so close. "Your message?" "The message will wait a moment. Do have a gun in that pocket?" Sam is quick to feel foolish. He slowly removes his 45 from his right coat pocket, and holds it up with both hands for her inspection. "I thought it was best to take no chance." "Where you thinking that you might meet the murder here tonight? Do you think I am this murderer?" Her look makes him appear quite foolish. He feels like an armed guard in a kinder garden. "Well you are quite safe from me. However, don't you think that this revolver might protect both of us? We are at the scene of the crime!" "Really, I did not know this. Thank you! I feel most safe beside you even with out this gun." "Did you know this young woman?" “I do not care about her. I know only she is found dead, and we cannot travel from this place presently. The man who killed her is not killing just anyone. I have no fear from this man. Do you herr professor?" "Yes. Indeed I do! Please Deeda call me Sam." "It's a very strong name, Sam. I like very much to call you Sam."
Sam notes the woman is even lovelier when she smiles. The longer he is permitted to be with her the lovelier she becomes. "You are a most beautiful lady," Sam blurts out. "Thank you Sam! I find you unlike most men. You are very much the attractive man." "Deeda, if you need to leave Mezzgole, I may be able to persuade the authorities to give their permission. Is there some emergency that requires your departure?" "No Sam! I am not in the rush. It is absurd to keep me prisoner when it clear that no woman did this killing. I shall stay if you wish me." "Well yes...if it's possible...you may know something to help. What did you wish to tell me?" "I have much to say. But is this woman with you? The Italian woman is she your lover?" Oops! Sam was not ready for this. He blushes. Even the dark evening cannot hide his embarrassment. "Oh! Sophia...Dr. Torrenti...she's my partner…I mean my colleague. We work together on the same project here at the observatory upon the hill. She's a first rate scientist." “She will want to be your woman, this Italian. I can see it in the way she stands at your side when you two are walking." Yikes! More difficult topic for Sam. "Deeda, This woman doesn't really know me. She is just a professional." "If she doesn't want you for her lover than she is no woman. I think she is very much the woman. Every woman who is with you will want your attention Sam. It's the woman's nature for such a man as yourself." Sam feels there is be no end to this. He must change the subject. "Why are you her at the villa?"
"Such a question is from only the police. Are you the police now?" “Well...not the real police. The question is just for my own interest, but it's my assumed duty, however brief, to gather information. It may save us time if I ask some simple questions." "It's wonderful to have questions from you. Are you married?" "No! My wife took ill a few years ago and passed away recently." "I am for you quite sad, Sam. My father is also been seriously ill. It is for him that I am here now." "You are traveling with you father, Deeda?" "My father is the invalid since before my mother died. He was formerly a professor at a university in Milano. I am come here alone." "You are here on vacation then?” "No! I am not on vacation but here to transact some business for my father. He has the hobby of ancient civilizations, and I have come to purchase some pieces if they are for sale to add to his collection." "You work in Milan?" "I see to my father's needs. There is no need for me to make the income. We are quite wealthy." "You live with your father in Milan?" "I live with my father, but we are only part time in Milan. We own several homes in Europe. But tell me do you have knowledge of ancient artifacts?" "Actually, I do have some. I was a member of the governing the board for the Pittsburgh Carnegie Museum."
"I am told that some forgeries are sold along these waters. My father's money should not to be wasted. He will pay a fair price but I do not know what to judge these pieces of old ships. Sam, can you help me in my task?" "Certainly, I know a fellow who will give us honest advice, and a fair market value." "I wish to see if they have any ancient jewelry. The most stunning pieces come from the old world I believe." "We can ask. There must certainly be some but it shall be pricey." The lady steps close to Sam, and her eyes looked up into Sam's. "Let us go tomorrow after we have the lunch. Do you wish to be with me Sam?" Sam hesitates at his answer. His eyes are adjusting to the nearness of such beauty. His senses are lost with the most delightful fragrance of her hair. The perfume reminds him of the honey suckle that flowers in warmest summer nights back in the Virginia. "It's my pleasure." He could easy touch her. "If my assistance will relieve your anxiety over your father's affairs, then I may not refuse you." He must refuse himself the urge to caress this woman whose bare shoulders bath in the warm moonlight. "Unfortunately, I must beg your pardon, as I may conduct some official inquiries while in your company." "Of course, I should expect you to be fee to conduct any of your affairs as you should normally. We shall share our most personal needs. We shall have a wonderful beginning." Sam senses this woman wants to be touched and caresed firmly. Her body invites to beacquiesce. He gasps for control from his desire. “Well I guess we should return to the villa. You do have some information for me upon the matter of the young village girl's death?" He stammers weakly.
"Yes, Sam. Tomorrow we shall discuss this matter quite thoroughly. Now please walk me to my room. I wish to bath, and rest with the joy for tomorrow's excitement." "Excellent!" Sam is satisfied that he is making some progress. Sam and the girl walk leisurely back toward the entrance to the villa. "You may purchase a glass of sweet brandy for me...I am most excited and I need to have the relaxation." "It will be my pleasure Deeda. Are you safe traveling alone with you father's money?" "I am quite safe. My uncle will arrive later. He is to conduct the necessary monetary transactions for that to be purchased." Sam acquires two large brandy glasses from the casino. The pair stops at the entrance to Miss Von Schmit's room "Expensive cognac! This will settle your nerves." Sam hands a glass to Deeda. "Until out adventure in the morning." Deeda Toasts. The two complete a sip then gaze one into the others eye. "Tomorrow will be just another day in paradise." Sam smiles. Deeda closes the door slowly. Sam makes his way to his room. He will stop to say good night to Sophia. ~~~~~ "Well how did you exercise in the garden go? I hope the information will solve this case." "Very interesting encounter in the moonlight." "Yes? What did you learn? Who was your garden hostess?" "The German girl whose head is always buried in a book."
"You don't mean the blond with the huge glasses that makes her face so ugly? What did she have to say?" "She wears large rim reading glasses but that face is definitely not ugly. She is here helping her father who is not well for sometime. She is apparently well off financially and devotes her time to his care. A rather simple living girl for one so beautiful." "That girl has hips as big as a horse. Besides blonde’s wrinkle...early! Did she say what information she had about the girl's death?" "I didn't notice any large proportions on Deeda. Besides we shall discuss the girl at length when I take her shopping." "What!! Deeda?? You spent the evening in the moonlight with this woman and you are on familiar names and dating! You forgot the murder that you are supposed to be solving? What else did you two manage to accomplish?" "She's a very personable girl. I shall accompany her to gather some artifacts from Dincer's store while I question his wife. And we managed to become friends." "I don't believe you! What mystery can be solved when the investigator is chasing romance?" "Sophia! This woman is attractive but my intentions are too simply to show here the artifacts to be found in Meezgole and get some questions answered over lunch." "Fine you have the romantic lunch date and I get to see dead little girls. Listen to me! With this Hun you get your questions asked and save yourself away quick from much trouble. Stay with your telescope. You shall be better off."
Sam has just departed for the observatory. Sophia is finishing breakfast. She has enjoyed a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice, a fruit cup (unsweetened) consisting of banana, mango and grapes. Fresh espresso arrives with serving of dry toast and a piece of chocolate on the side.
"Bing Bing say to you, eat! You may need chocolate today, and she laugh." Tugay says as he places the serving in front of Sophia. Sophia smiles as Bing Bing's humor is returning. "Is Bing Bing in the kitchen this morning?" She asks the waiter. “Yes Torrenti! She has been there since before dawn. Do you wish me to bring a message to her?" "Yes, tell Bing Bing I shall carry this chocolate with me for the emergency." Sophia sees Dincer approaching in a hurry. "Torrenti! Torrenti! The colonel needs to see at once." Sophia wonders why these people cannot address her properly. There seems to be confusion with Dr, Miss, or Mrs. So they to not like guessing, and they have dropped any title with her last name. "Dr. Tarlach! He is gone to the observatory he will return before lunch, Gundez." There let him see how it feels to have no title she says to herself. "It is too important to wait! You must go with me to ocean. Hurry!" "What is the matter?" Sophia senses the man's alarm, and fears more trouble. "There is another this day in the water. Found moments ago by the women." Dincer is puffing as he tries to catch his breath. "Found what Dincer? In water? By what women?" "Another body! The women from village go to shore in morning to take crabs from the tidal pools. Just there from the shore is dead man!" Sophia's mouth is fixed open. Her face is expressionless. Her color turns pure white. "Dead man? You don't mean a human body? My God! It can't be so soon. Are you sure?"
"I have not seen for myself. Just they call me and say a dead man floats off the shore. I tell them to stay away, touch nothing, and let no one come to here to see this thing. I must go and wait there. You tell colonel to come please." "I'll leave a message for him. Dincer, you will take me there with you. The colonel would wish it so. Yes? "The van is waiting now. I will be honored." Sophia marches away without comment but she notices the first sign of Dincer's respect. The van drives past the ferry's landing and across the village. As the sole highway turns away from the ocean towards the mountains on its way to Izmir, the van moves off along a dirt path that makes its way near a secluded ocean pool on the far side of the bay's eastern point. Just before the shore's edge, several women of the village stand off from the water. They are talking loudly, and pointing excitedly at the children while occasionally looking back toward the tidal basin. Children are gathered in front of the van. They are motionless. Frozen by their mother's words and hopes of seeing a corpse, they huddle together Men stand back further yet. The men want no chance of encounter with a woman's fury. Diner and Sophia approach the women who are anxious to give them all of their attention. The village women are anxious to be relieved of their deathwatch. The woman who discovered the body leads the pair along the rocky shore. They walk out toward the point along a path that is a meter or so above the water's level. Some distance from the place where the women stand guard are some large rocks that form a break wall to the ocean's waves. Here nestled behind these large stones, floats the body of a naked man. He
lays face down with arms stretched forward. The body rises and sinks with each wave. The dead man's body appears seized in a swimmer's stroke. "Who is this one?" Dincer asks. "It looks like the Persian who owns the expensive yacht. He seems to have gone off with out any clothes this morning." Answers Sophia. "Dincer, this man's body must be removed at once. The shoreline must be searched for clothes and any signs of visitors this day." "I shall have the men here at once. What shall we do with the body?" "I feel like a mortician. My God there is too many dead people here...Excuse me Dincer I have forgotten you sorrow." Sophia is becoming insensitive to the vision of death. "I shall have to look at his body." She says as matter of fact. "This one looks as the accident. We shall keep him in the villa's basement and let the police file their report. No need Torrenti to make work for yourself." "Sam will want to know if there is anything unusual, or suspicious in his death. I shall look at him at once. Have the men take him in the van to the villa afterwards. Send some one to fetch one of his women. One must identify the remains. The police will be very busy when they arrive, No?" Two men of the village wade through the shallows and they tie a rope to the body. The Persian's corps is pulled along the water's surface to the shore where it is removed. Here Sophia feels for a pulse. Open his mouth clear his air passage of water. She begins mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and tries for a quarter of an hour to begin a pulse. "There is no hope!" She says with exhaustion. "He is morto…dead!" She notes that surprising little water was expelled from his lungs and his eyes remained fully dilated.
Dincer and the men load the body in the van and all return to the villa. In the basement Sophia continues her examination of the body. She looks for any signs of trauma, she inspects the eyes more carefully, and she pounds her fist on the Persian's chest and listens over his open mouth to the sounds that emanate for the lungs. She checks his fingernails for foreign matter. Finishing her work in the basement, Sophia is tired and dirty. She wants a bath and scented oil to remove from her person any of the odors that now fill the temporary morgue. She recalls why she decided against a career in medicine. She has made astronomy her choice and it is the correct choice. It's just this place Meezgole is so beautiful but so fowl with death. There seems to her to be a deadly epidemic continuing. She fears the remainder of the day. Sophia is just about to leave when Dincer and a pudgy blond girl enters the basement. "Here lady is Torrenti she will explain all." This is Dincer's introduction. A young woman dressed in tight fitting jeans with a black halter-top exposing the flesh of heavy waistline approaches. The blond girl looks curiously at Sophia. Sophia observes an expressionless face on a girl whose hair is tied loosely in a tangle of bright yellow strains and dark roots. "You are the friend of Mr. Shahbazian?" Sophia looks directly into the girl's eyes. "Yes, I am Fred's business secretary." The girl wants to impress. "Why am I asked to come here?" Sophia realizes that Dincer has not informed the girl of this morning's find from the ocean. "Dincer you may be excused. Please wait by the stairs." Sophia hesitates until Dincer has walked away.
"Do you know to whom you talk?" Sophia speaks very firmly and as a professional. "The man said you are a doctor. Is there something wrong with Fred?" She asks with little emotion in her voice. In fact, she speaks with a tone of slight annoyance. "He is dead." Sophia decides to match her non-emotional tone. The girl's response is a complete blank. She says not a word but waits for Sophia to continue. Sophia will waste no sympathy. "I wish you to identify the body for the police." "What police? There are no authorities here!" The girl seems agitated and more concerned by the notice of the coming police than her employer's demise. "They will be here quite soon. No one will be permitted to leave the area until they have arrived and are granted permission to depart. It is best to cooperate now and expedite the required time the police shall need here." Sophia knows that she must keep this one from making off with out delay. Sophia leads the girl into the cellar room that acts as the morgue. The covering of the dead Persian is removed. "Do you recognize this man?" Sophia asks. "The girl’s eyes look quickly over the remains. Her gaze returns to Sophia. "Yes, that is Fred", is the girl's only response. Sophia senses no sign of remorse or sorrow in the girl's voice. "What is his full name?" "Famaraz Shahbazian!" The girl does not offer more information. Sophia does not like the girl but she senses a soul long damaged and lost. She softens her tone to permit some warmth. "When did you last see him?" "Last night in the villa...late last night. Fred likes to party." "You did not see him this morning?" Sophia presses.
"No he was gone when I rose." The girl does not like these questions and she begins to squirm and look away from Sophia as if she is ready to take her leave. "The time of death needs to be determined...by me or the police." The girl renews here cooperation. "The other girls prepared him a breakfast early this morning then he left for his swim at the sun rise. Today he has not returned." "Does he swim alone?" "No, he likes to swim with one of the girls." "One of the girls swam with him today?" "Not today! Some days he may swim with another girl from the village or someplace." "Do you know if any one on the boat saw him with anyone this morning?" "The girls said that Fred left by himself...early as usual." "The fact he did not return concerns you?" "Not in the least. Fred can leave and not return for days without saying so. We just wait. He always comes back." Sophia has found the right tone with the girl. "Your name is?" "Cathy Jones, I am an American from Kansas." "Well Cathy I'm sure that there is little else the police will need from you." Sophia is reassuring. "Can we leave on the next ferry then?" The girl's voice is anxious. "I can not see why the police will detain any of you. They may need a name and address of his family in order to forward his things. Are any of you related to him?" "No relation! Just employees!" The girl is emphatic in her words.
“They may wish to check the boats registration, make arrangements for its removal from these waters?" Sophia's words about the boat make the girl very nervous. "We know nothing about the boat or the ownership papers, or anything like that." The girl's face shows the emotion of guilt. Sophia chooses to allay Cathy's fear. "I'm sure it's just a routine and this matter will not concern you girls in any way. Everyone on the boat was employed in Mr. Shahbazian's business. What was his business?" Cathy is anxious to confirm this theme. "Yes all employees. Fred was an import export broker." "You were his business secretary, yes?" "Yes, I went to college for business administration. I met Fred on holiday and went to work for him." "You work consisted of what?" Sophia knows this is important information. The girl hesitates, as this question seems irrelevant to his death. "Why do you need to know this?" "The police may ask me when I report my findings. I hope to save them much time, as I should be able. I wish to leave with you on the next ferry as well." Sophia smiles. "I kept his day to day expense records and marked his business accounts to keep them current." "Fred bought and sold things?" "Yes he was a broker and received a commission on sales. People would hire him to locate items, or arrange sales of items."
"These transactions would proceed through banking accounts? You kept these accounts for him?" "Yes, it was mostly bookkeeping...some domestic shopping. He paid us very well. Fred was good to us." "He was here on business, yes?" "Yes, we accompany him only on such trips." "Does he always transact his business in such remote areas as Meezgole." This makes the girl laugh. "Fred dealt in expensive objects only. His work took us to many places in many parts of the world. He would go where ever the deal is to be made." "So he has business in Meezgole? He is not here just for the vacation?" Sophia is getting excited. These are the first facts to be gathered. She knows Sam will be most pleased. "Yes he was to meet someone soon here at Meezgole for a business deal." "Do you know who?" "No! Fred never says. He just tells me how much and where the money is to move, and the date the deal to is be closed." "What sort of sums is passed in these deals?" The girl is not sure of giving such information. She turns to look in the room where her dead employer rests. "Millions, never less! Some times as high as hundreds of millions...Dollars US." "Do you have any idea of the object for this deal here?" "Fred said a small piece of antiquity. We were to buy and transport it ourselves." "Where was Fred heading after Meezgole?" "Back to Lebanon from where we just left?"
"Cathy, you have been truthful. You may have just saved yourself from the prying questions of the police. Tell no one of our talk. Keep your self and the other girls on that ship until the ferry comes. Let no one aboard unless Dr. Tarlach or myself is there as well. Do you understand me?" "You want us to go nowhere unless you or Dr. Tarlach are there." "No, you are not to leave the boat for any reasons until the ferry arrives unless Dr. Tarlach or myself come to you. We will not be sending for you! Do you understand?" Sophia is trying to communicate her concern for the girls' present safety. ~~~~~ Sam is hurrying to the observatory. It is early. He hopes to get the students organized and busy. With all the recent distractions, the young students will not wish to sit ideally. There was never a real road from the villa to the observatory. There is only the path trodden by cows moving up to higher pasture. The occasional vehicle has widened it. The way is clear however for the student's Land Rover. Sam follows the tracts of yesterday. The way to the observatory passes to the sides of a rolling meadow, and straight up through a section of terraced vineyards. Occasional rows of rock and thorn mark further assent. The walk is 20 minutes, upwards...downwards is considerably less time. The top of the small observatory is to be seen from the villa. The main structure is not visible until one marches up to the last turn of the way, which brings one to within a hundred meters of its door. Sam sees little action about the observatory. "They must yet all sleep!" He reasons. As Sam approaches, the figure of one student appears from atop. A man in a turban sits upon
his haunches with his arms folded as a sentinel. This must be El Amin, reasons Sam. Sophia is correct. He seems more a soldier on watch than a student. Sam waves energetically even though he suspects the man has been watching him most of the way. El Amin raises one arm into the air as a welcoming salute. Sam waves both arms in return. There are sleeping bags arrayed about the Land Rover...some yet occupied. There are many tracks about the observatory most are not by four wheels. "Welcome Dr. Sam!" Hilmet Pasha calls out as he steps out through the main door of the observatory. "We have been cleaning since yesterday!" "Hello, how are you Pasha?" Sam senses the young man's authority. Pasha runs forth to take Sam's hand. "It is most exciting to meet you! One day I too wish to be the great astronomer." The boy smiles heartily. "Hortuk is most generous with praise of your work. I'm sure Dr. Torrenti will be anxious to find an appointment for you at the University of Pittsburgh when you are ready and willing." Sam knows such ability is always in demand. "We shall unpack later this day...very much house cleaning to be done." Pasha points inside to where another is pushing a broom. "Farooq Yousef is very good worker." "Why is the one on top keeping watch?" "The Afghan is always at watch...he misses nothing...he never sleeps. He is very hard worker and cleans now the upper floor of the observatory. There shall be no dust from floor of wall or ceiling to spoil the telescope's results! I Pasha make such promise." "Excellent Pasha! Many nights work have been spoiled by a grain of soot on a telescope's lens." Sam appreciates the thoroughness he sees in the preparations.
"We have problem with motorcycle racing near observatory. "Pasha notices Sam's attention to the markings upon the ground. "We have spoken with Villi...he is our friend now and will not make dirt flying into air near observatory." Pasha is proud of his handling of the situation. "That Russian is a wild man Pasha...but I don't think he has meant any harm. You were wise to speak with him straight off.'” Sam again is impressed with this youth. "I see one yet sleeps." Pasha smiles. "This is the boy Gurcay...we had hard journey and late night. We shall let him sleep until he is rested then he shall make the night shift with El Amin." I see only four beds. I thought there were five students?" Sam looks puzzled. "Yes Dr. Sam, there is a fifth but she is not here. Last night Prana goes with Villi for ride into hills. She has not returned as yet...She is very fond of the Russian. She will be here soon. She is very dedicated...her works waits the starting of electric generator which shall be done by midday. There is time for her to have sight seeing." Pasha is apologetic. "Yes Pasha, serious work is not yet ready to be done...I share Hortuk's faith in you. Is there anything needed here at this time?" “Your presence is welcomed. Yousef has volunteered to run errands to villa. When all is ready for work in true astronomy, Yousef will bring such news to villa." Pasha's experience has command. “You are a top notch field officer!" Pasha's chest swells and his back straighten with Sam's praise. "You are great astronomer and you words make great pleasure with Pasha." The student eyes are alive with glee.
"It is important to keep the encoder from excessive moisture. I wish to be here when it uncrated for inspection...at that time I shall instruct you in it's care and use." Sam's voice is now in charge. "Very good we shall guard it with our very lives." Sam knows that the boy’s words are truly given. He wishes to lessen Pasha's concern but does not want to spoil the student's excitement of the expedition. Sam will return after a first look-over of the facility. He is confident that the expedition is proceeding well despite the distraction caused by the murder investigation that is on going at the villa. ~~~~~ Later that morning Sam returns from the observatory. He is anxious to see Sophia and arranges to meet her in her room. Sam enters in the room. "Some good news for a change, Dr. Torrenti. The students have the power generator working. They are cleaning the telescope’s optics. Tonight they'll get the telescope’s mechanical drive under computer control. Tomorrow we mount the encoder on the telescope's eyepiece. If the weather holds the students will be collecting the first data in less than 30 hours from now." "Sam I have news. Not to spoil your success, but there is another body found this morning." She is sad to end his enthusiasm. "The Persian we suspect of killing Subha Dincer was found floating in the sea." "Did he drown?" "Well Sam, his chest cavity did not fill with water as in drowning. His eyes were reticulated as in a death by suffocation. He was found completely naked. His body contains on large abrasion around a single puncture mark on the back of one shoulder."
"What are you saying Sophia?" Sam's look of confusion is no longer new to her. "As best I can tell he entered the water naked. Some one or something punctured him. He suddenly lost the ability to breathe and he died by asphyxiation. The locals have never had such a death by their recollection, so the agent seems not to be indigenous to these waters. Given the many deaths in last days statistically exceed natural mortality rates, I feel the man has most probably been murdered." Sam hangs his head low. He fixes his gaze upon the floor as he paces in Room 222. His thoughts are deep and long. "If your guess is correct, then the anomaly in the large number of deaths in such a small population would suggest that there could be only a single reason for all these happenings. These people are all dying due to the same cause...the same motive!" "It's no longer a guess! You have read my thoughts exactly. Would you like some good news?" Sophia cannot hide her joy at some relief in their investigation. "Sophia, you darling woman, you mean we finally have some clue?" Sam holds her arms and looks lovingly into her eyes. Sophia is lost for a moment as she measures the beauty in his blue eyes as a pure heart that shines through. "Oh...yes...a clue.” She is slow to quite her viewing into this man’s soul. "The Persian came here to buy a piece of ancient artwork, transport it to Lebanon where he would sell it for tens of millions of dollars." She melts in the joy of Sam’s expression of her effort. "Bingo! The killer virus is this artwork thing!" Sam knows that it is this work of Sophia that will end the story at Meezgole.
"What is more, my dear Colonel Sam, those who are dying must be players in this business. We have the great mystery." "Yes and those people who are here are all potential players." Sam is yet pensive. "It's a good bet that the dam thing is here, other wise why would any one need to harm Fred." "This means your girl friend, Miss Von Deeda may be a player." "I'm sure she is very much a player, and in great danger. I shall have to confront her. If she is not part of the vicious side of this business then she'll have no reason to avoid the truth. "So Dincer's daughter could not be a player. She is too young to make such intrigue." "Sophia she must have been used by one of the players.” “Until she became the liability. This prize must be great if one measures it by the misery it brings. Poor Meeka and Dincer! Poor Bing Bing!” Sophia shakes her head is disbelief. “Ling Ling must have gotten too close to the prize." "He must have made someone very nervous. He was taken out of the game...This game must be well under way, and soon to end." "Innocenti! The innocent suffer from our greed." Sophia recalls her lost child. Her great pain touches Sam. Sophia, it's what is not said that tells the tale. We all have caused hurt to the ones that we love. One can not live with out paingiven by those ones who we do love." Sam recalls those times he had hurt his Ruth without trying to do so. "We can only continue to love and be loved. Our pain will then be overcome." "What's next for us Sam? This mystery I mean...the observatory will wait for us."
"I believe we may soon prove Subha's killer, probably before the police get here. The mysteries of this art piece we shall stay leave to the police. Our safety is still much of a concern. You and Bing Bing continue to share room 222. Don't go of by yourself, but stay in the company of Meeka or one of the villagers. For goodness sake don't eat or drink something that could be poisoned. The story here is rapidly coming to its end." "What about you Sam? Who's going to watch you?" "A colonel leads buy doing...I'm safe as long as I'm moving around and I sleep with the 45 automatic nearby." ~~~~~ Sam enters the dining room. Magnificent eastern artworks adorn the walls. Large tables fill the room. These are made from richly colored marble atop heavy wooden legs that have been intricately carved in the manner of an ancient mideastern culture. Each table is adorned with it's own floral arrangement...a specialty of Bing Bing. Tugay is busy carrying containers of hot coffee form one table to another. Waiters bring servings of fruits and breads to tables occupied by other guests. Sam verifies that the lunches being served are simply prepared with no heavy rich creams, butter or heavy sauces. The food is natural and fresh. Deni Beaudoin is just rising from his luncheon table. Sam sees the little man coming toward him from the dinning area, and hopes that no silly conversation will be needed. "The astronomer! Eat lamb Tarlach!" Beaudoin places another stubby cigar in his mouth. "Mr. Beaudoin, I'm going to guess you did not have fish for lunch." Beaudoin laughs with glee. "I had the finest lobster ever. Lamb is good for night work. It's an old Creole custom." More chuckles.
"You really amaze me Mr. Beaudoin. I thought you were from Toronto." "Just work there. Raised in French Quebec." The little man moves out into the main hall while leaving Sam irritated. Dyhan Von Schmidt is sitting at her table watching the ocean's view. She is lost in the vision of the billowing white clouds moving briskly across the sky. Breezes that have moved sailing ships in the Aegean for centuries drive them. Ancient Greek ships that served Alexander's empire must have sailed past this same horizon. Roman vessels about expanding their empire would have been seen in their time as well. "The lady is just plain gorgeous," Sam says to himself as he approaches. Dyhan's blond haired swirls in the sunlight as she turns her head to greet Sam. The beauty in her smile rivals any woman who ever passed through these waters. Sam feels like an emperor as he sits in a chair across the table from her. "Miss Von Schmidt? I presume. "Prof. Tarlach? I presume." The lady laughs with genuine warmth as her eyes search his. face. "You are a most distinguished looking man. You eyes are even more blue than I remember." Her eyes are intense at looking at his. The woman searches his soul. "Deeda, you are every bit as lovely and fresh as the Aegean Sea itself." Sam begins to move the items on the tabletop into a more useful arrangement. “Thank you Sam. You make me feel very much the woman." Deeda observes Sam's work. She approves of his efforts with the table's new arrangement. The table is some how simpler and more elegant in appearance just as the Sam's dress. "Very attractive!" She adds agreeably. "We have the appointment at Mr. Gundez's establishment to discuss antiquities."
"After we have lunch together I trust? I hope we don't have to talk of unpleasantness Sam. Can't we just enjoy one another without you police work?" "Trust me Deeda, there are no police thoughts in my head. I need to have some time without my assumed duties. So let us just have a time of vacation." "How wonderful! Sam, I ordered for us. Just a small salad, some stuffed crab with pasta, and fresh fruit for desert." She pauses and looks longing at Sam for approval. "Sounds wonderful! Thank you. I need some strong tea...English not this elixir of antiquity used by the Turks." She smiles with satisfaction. "Oh, yes! Ice water with a twist of lemon during the meal then tea afterwards. I thought after we visit the village store, we could have the refreshments in my apartment." "Why, but of course. Sounds fine to me." After dinning, the lady Von Schmidt and Sam walk from the villa along the lane that ends in the village of Meezgole. At the edge of the village is the wharf upon which the Aegean ferries shuttle goods and people. This landing is empty now. The next ferry is scheduled to arrive in two days. Sam hopes the provincial police will arrive before long. The present departure of the girl's killer overland or by small ocean craft would be readily detected by the vigilance of the people of the village. The roadway from the village passes along the seashore separating the buildings from the docks along the water's edge. The road continues north over the meadowland to the next Turkish village several difficult hours drive away. At the center of the village are several shops, the largest of which serves as the local hardware, dry goods, and personal items with rooms to rent. This three story wooden
structure belongs to Dincer and his large family. The first floor is the commercial and cultural center of the village. Elderly Turkish men sit about the deck at the front entrance smoking, sipping sweet tea, and telling tales as they observe the Aegean. Strewn about the deck are numerous ancient objects. Marble sarcophagi from the ancient Romans are used as tables, and benches. Large sections of Greek columns brace the roof of the deck. Time seems to have stood still as the local culture is an inseparable mix of remnants of Aegean cultures. Sam feels as if each of his steps leads time back into antiquity. He shares the emotions of a civil servant from ancient Greece or Rome who has arrived as emissary among a governed people to conduct affairs of the state. The present quality of life is enriched by the presence of the villa. The guests who visit the village hire local boats for touring the Aegean, and buy ancient pieces of Greek, Persian, Roman, and Hittite culture salvaged by the fishermen who work the ancient trade roots of the Aegean. Time in Meezgole is a mix of mostly the 'then' with a slight accent on the 'now'. As the pair moves onto the deck of Dincer's store, the old men greet them warmly with salutes and local salutations. A small child runs out from the store's interior. A young girl stands silently staring at Sam and the pretty blond lady. The young girl of five or so wears tiny sandals and simple dress for play. To Sam the child's gauze would be cast the same if little one had stepped forth some 10,000 years earlier. Dincer follows the child out onto the deck. "Your mother wishes you to remain inside until the bad man is taken away. Do you want your mother to cry for you as my Meeka cries for your cousin Subha?" Dincer words are stern yet gentle. The child looks once
again fully at Sam and Dyhan before she turns and scurries back inside the store. Dincer smiles and motions Sam and guest inside. Dincer leads the way through his store out to the back patio that is swollen with stored antiquities. Sam notes that Dincer's store has the look of a military quartermaster's shed. Rows of materials for ship, farm, and home are arranged in a most orderly way. Tools, machines, ropes, and clothing are to be found as needed by the people of the village. In one corner are shelves of canned goods, and boxes of dry foods. The patio is open to the alleyways of the village. No need for security concerns here Sam notes. "Colonel Sam welcome." "Mr. Gundez, may I introduce you to Miss Von Schmidt?" "This lady comes to Meezgole as goddess stepping from the sea. When you come from the ferry, all the peoples of the village say your must be the beautiful Venus herself. Welcome to my home!" "Thank you Herr Gundez. Your home and village are like heaven. So beautiful! I am made to feel as a goddess here, and I have much gratitude." "Dincer, please excuse our visiting you on simple matters at this difficult time. Miss Dyhan has limited time in which to assist her ailing father. Can you spare some time for her?" "Of course it is proper to have life continue. Business is necessary for life here." Rows of ancient pottery line the perimeter of the patio. Corroded objects of iron removed from ships at rest on the ocean floor. These are laid upon the ground so as to be
inspected. Small marble statues are collected in a far corner. Nearby a young woman in traditional Muslim dress is busy cleaning. "My nice Kagaba will show you the pieces to be presently found. The diving goes well. Soon many things from the past shall be here. Let Kagaba know what is much to your liking then we shall talk." Dyhan walks over to the young woman, who occupies her with much viewing and talk of the objects to seen. "Colonel Sam, I need to have the time to talk with you of Subha." "Certainly Dincer, I have been asking questions. Dr. Torrenti has uncovered some very useful information." "My wife tells me that Subha was soon to leave the home. She is saying that the girl was to go as the guest of someone in the villa to theUSA." "Did she say who invited her?" "She would not say. Only she says that there is work for her in California if she is to go. My wife was sure that her words were as a wish of the child. Meeka now wonders if some man try to steal her from our home." "Does Meeka know if a man had made this suggestion?" "Yes! Subha say to her mother that the man at the villa has many friends and there is much chance for good job for girl that is pretty and smart." "When did Mrs. Gundez first hear of Subha's plan?" "She tell her mother the morning she goes to work and never comes home." "She mentioned this to your wife the day she died?" “Yes, the very same."
"Dincer this news is most useful. Have you mentioned this to anyone else?" “No! Meeka, she tells me this when I say Colonel Sam is to come this day. She says she forget but Subha's words bother her now." "Say nothing to anyone of this. Let Meeka and Dincer keep silent of Subha's plan for now." "Does this tell the one who killed my daughter?" "It tells part of the story. We have already learned some facts. As yet, we cannot eliminate anyone as a suspect. Such information allows the good questions to be asked. If Meeka recalls anything else, no matter how not meaningful it may seem, I must know at once." "Right away! I shall run to find you. Please, do not let this terrible man get away." "Dincer did you daughter have any illness or need to carry medicine?" "No she has never been sick a one day of her short life." Do you store pills of any sort in your store?" "Very little medicine just for head ache...mostly I sell these to guests of villa. Turks are strong here in Meezgole. If some one has fever navy doctor come with pills from ship." "Would you know why Subha would be carrying pills in her hand bag?" "Subha is doing many favors for those at villa. Any pills would come from villa to Subha." "Mostly we sell cigarettes, bottles of Coca Cola to visitors. Very few pills are being sold." Lady Von Schmidt returns from viewing the objects of antiquity displayed on Dincer's patio.
"Sam there is some beautiful works here. Gorgeous pieces of pottery crafted 3000 years ago are to be found. They have never lain in anyone's home. They were shipped into the Aegean for sale but the ships sank in storms encountered on their way. It's so wonderful to feel as a woman of Rome or Athena shopping just as they must so long ago." "Did you see anything in which your father may have any interest?" "Oh Yes! Dincer, there is a small marble statue of a boy riding a dolphin. This is from ancient Greece. Is it not?" "It is very expensive Miss Dyhan. Perhaps you might wish another statue? There is a brass statue of Venus from a Roman vessel that is quite extraordinary. The price is very good for you as friend of Colonel Sam." "Yes. It's lovely but so dirty one cannot see details just pieces of ocean filth stuck every where." "These are barnacles, Deeda. A qualified craftsman can reclaim the original beauty most easily. In fact these are intentionally left on the statue to help prove its origin. Dincer? The marble statue, how can one prove it's age?" Sam knows that many pieces of antiquity circulating about the Aegean are manufactured fakes. "Dr. Sam, I have am only the poor man with little education. So too the men who fetch such things from the ocean floor lack the sophistication to be judge of origins and ages. If it is lies on the ocean’s bottom in very old boat then it is not the fake. One must trust his the one who finds such treasure." "I have no need to make my choices at present. Are there any pieces of jewelry? Such as ring, necklace, or sword?" Dyhan ponders long and intensely at Sam's response.
Sam and Dincer are both surprised by her question. Sam looks puzzled. Dincer is more disturbed. "Such treasures must be reported to the government. It is illegal to possess or sell ancient items of great wealth." Dincer pauses so to be careful to choose his words. "Occasionally a very small piece is overlooked, something not worth the government's time to collect. It comes to be sold, but these things are never shown or advertised." Dincer looks at Dyhan to see that his meaning is taken. "Those who collect such items are informed of the details of a piece, and they make the bid." "Are there any pieces for bid at present?" Dyhan's words are expressed with assurance. "I know of nothing at present but if you wish I shall ask among the villages nearby. Such things are very expensive and only cash is accepted as payment." "Please do let me know if there is something to come for the biding." The lady is most satisfied. She smiles at Dincer, and placed her hand under Sam's arm. "We should return now." “Thank you Dincer for your help! You are most patient." As the pair makes their way back out of the store, Sam notices the small village girl once again at the watch. The beautiful Dyhan has captivated her. "Mr. Gundez is right man for finding my father's needs!" Dyhan's body is supple and presses against Sam as they leave. "No one or item moves through this part of the Aegean without Dincer's knowing. He is the middle man in Meezgole." Sam feels Dyhan's soft body move with his. He smells her fragrance and he floats in her attention. At the main entrance to the villa Deeda stops. "Sam, please to bring some spring water to my room. I shall have a quick bath then we shall refresh our thirsts."
"I shall not hurry!" "Some chilled champagne will be very nice as well." She says coyly. "Tugay will bring some at once." "Excellent! Just be seated when you arrive I shall not keep you waiting." With these words Deeda makes her way to the stairs. Sam enters Deeda's room to find the room darkened. The drapes are closed. Large scented candles fill the room with sweet fragrances. Momentarily, Deeda enters the room. She makes her way slowly to Sam. He rises. Deeda is dressed in a white silken lace dressing gown that covers her shoulders and falls to the floor. The movement of her dress accentuates the thin womanly form. She gathers the soft light of the room about her. Her beauty and her presence fill Sam. The warm light falls upon her face and bared shoulders. Her skin is tan and smooth. Her face is pure and divine. Sam places her beauty as eternal. Caesar himself would approve. Deeda pours two glasses of spring water and steps up to Sam's front. "Here is to our thirst. May we share its end?" She seeps from her glass and observes that Sam's eyes do not leave her. The two stand looking deep and longing at each other. A passion fills Sam. He thinks momentarily of his Ruth. He seizes with guilt but he cannot turn away from the woman before him. Deeda senses the warmth that consumes Sam. She moves closer to him. Her breasts fall softly upon his chest. Sam has not felt a woman's body so for a time that seems forever.
She looks up. Her warm breath pulses slowly upon his face. The fragrance of her golden hair fills his senses. He places his hand upon her waist. Her flesh is soft yet firm. Subtle but compelling is her response to his touch. Sam looks down at her face. He recalls how his father had told him as an adolescent boy to obtain his first kiss by stepping into the guarded zone that surrounds a woman and placing his hand upon her waist. The warmth of her body, the desire for him that is in her eyes...he bends slowly to her lips. His kiss is sweet and gentle. "How soft his lips!" Deeda thinks to herself. His lips hold the woman's attention. Passion swells in her. She squirms slowly and presses herself completely against the man whose arms are now about her waist. Sam's is lost in the feel of Deeda's body. Her scent enraptures him. Her thin waist does not fill his hands that glide naturally up her back while pulling Deeda ever closer. His strength overpowers her. Deeda senses the hardness of his body, and the gentleness of his soul in their embrace. She yields. Sam's kiss persists...timeless is the pleasure shared by the two. The resistance of Deeda's body to Sam's hands is gone. It is replaced with a yielding flame. She awaits his command for love. Sam breaks their kiss. He leans back to study Deeda's face. He wishes to know her truest desire. The temperature of Deeda's body climbs further with the possibility that tenderness may cease. She steps back from Sam. Their embrace is broken. Deeda's removes the single
stay of her gown upon one shoulder. Her gentle shrug permits her dress to cascade to the floor about her feet. Sam steps to her. He takes her hands in his and leans to touch only her lips. Deeda stands in full nakedness. His pleasure from her body, and his hesitation to consumer her, makes her desire to satisfy him complete. Sam may only act as a man now. There is to be no return from this moment. It is just as a young warrior stepping out into combat among shot and shell. His pulse is racing. His breath is seized awaiting destruction. The Aegean has marked many such encounters from the beginning of man's time. None has ever been more meaningful or sensual. Sam is fully returned to life. ~~~~~ Sam returns from Deeda's room. He finds Tugay passing along the main hall. "Tugay! May I ask if you have seen Mr. Lewis about today?" Tugay carries an armful of fresh linen intended for the dinning room. "This English man is rarely to be seen during the day. He is keeping much time to himself." "I should like to speak with him. Do you know much about this man?" Sam inquires. "He is called Dicky. He was an intelligence officer with an elite English Army Unit. While he was being stationed in Northern Ireland. A bombing that destroyed his transport vehicle wounded him. This Lady Abatha tells me." "Do you know what his work was in Northern Ireland?" Sam continues. "He was gathering information about terrorist activities. This information was leaking its way to local government death squads. The IRA was efficient at terminating his work." "I see. He was injured and retired no doubt?" Sam is consoling.
"I am thinking he is hiding from terrorists." Tugay offers. "Yes well in that business the IRA and the Loyalists may both want revenge on a person who has mingled in their affairs. What kind of person do you find Mr. Lewis?" "One would be saying this man is duplicitous of nature...his handwriting does not stay true. It is very confused indeed." "Confucius said to beware of the man with unsteady hand writing." Sam responds. "Oh that is very good saying!" Tugay bows his head repeatedly in approval. "I take it that this Lewis has no friends." Sam asks. "I am knowing of no one that is keeping his company by choice." Sam arrives in Sophia's room. "Mr. Lewis is very much an enigma. He is not easy to deal with." Sam comments. "Sam this Lewis couple is not typical English." "They seem like very nice people. A little peculiar perhaps, they’re living here year round. His pension must allow them to live like lords at the villa." "Yes the money is not the issue. These two have little in common and they are never seen together. It's as if the one hides when the other is to be seen." "Couples often have divergent interests but that's not unusual. They do know much about this girl. Sophia, I am sure that Mr. Lewis will be more receptive to a visit by you. He always fails to look me in the eye when we pass each other. I get a most unhealthy feeling...revulsion when I am in his presence." "He never looks at me either. He never looks at me, as the man should look at the woman." "Perhaps he's shy, or very much backward."
"Such a one is not suited for the woman's company." "Are you afraid of him, Sophia?" "Yes! I should not wish to be left alone with him for any reason." "I'm sorry! Please forgive my lack of sensitivity. I did not know you felt this way. These Lewis are important, as they must have observed much about the girl's doings. Well since neither of us wants this guy's company what say we take him on together?" "Very well! However I will not go near the place were he lives. Let us ask him to meet us outside in the fresh air." "Yes! We will invite him to join us before luncheon. Let's be polite but let us not waste pleasantry." "I'll send him a note Sam." ~~~~~ Sophia receives a note back from Mr. Lewis sometime after lunch agreeing to meet her in Garden of the Moon sometime after 4:00 PM. Sophia and Sam stand in the garden looking out toward the ocean view. They await Mr. Lewis' arrival at a place in the garden just off from where the girl's body was found. "I hate this business. I wish nothing to do with this kind of man. I regret I ever left Italy. This girl's death is so common. Tragic of course but common." "I agree. It shall soon end. My mind is disturbed as well. This poor child's death will not let me start the work we've come here to do!" "Promise me Sam when the authorities arrive we will have an end to our involvement in this crime."
"Absolutely! I suspect that even if we were not about asking these questions our work would be put off by the recent tragedies here." "You have the way that makes the gloom of our Turkish expedition turn itself over to the inescapable adventure. Listen to me and for the final time, when the police arrive I am finito." As the two continue their debate, a lone figure of a thin man makes his way from the villa's end at its westward side. His baggy clothes are blowing about with the sea breeze. His long sandy hair is a mess in the wind. As he approaches he tries in vain to tame his scattered locks by gathering it in to one long thin hand. Sam and Sophia watch his approach in long strides and wonder if the gentle winds cause him to proceed in a clear unsteady way. His thick mustache makes his thin face seem to pucker in an uncomfortable adolescent way. "I didn't now you would be here." The thin form says in a loud, agitated way. His eyes averted Sam's. He glances at Sophia with a bit of a sneer. Sophia is in no mood to endure more local nuisance. She bites back. "Dr. Tarlach is here at my request. I am Dr. Torrenti. You are Richard Lewis are you not?" The thin man is obvious delighted to have this attractive lady speak his name. His aversion to Sam's presence is not dispelled, however. "Richard William Lewis...Dickey that's the name me mates give me in me soccer playing days." Clearly, the man loves to tell this tale Sam thinks to himself. "Had a promising career started till me knee gave way. I don't even read the sporting results these days." The man states nervously.
"What team did you play for?" Sam is genuinely interested. Sam at last pleases Mr. Lewis. "I was called up by Leeds to its junior training team. Seventeen I was then. I was one of the youngest to have been placed. It's a long time ago." "That's a fine premier team. I would have loved to see you play," Sam adds. "My time is short for this business!" Sophia is quick to end the sports section of the interview with a cutting glance to silence her partner. "Mr. Lewis I asked you here to answer a few questions. You cooperation is needed." "Questions? Concerning what matter?" "The death of Miss Gundez is being investigated by Dr. Tarlach and myself." Sophia catches his wondering eyes even though he continuously avoids her look. "You two have no authority here, or over me. I am a British subject." His words are spoken as one talking to hirelings. This does not settle with Sophia. "Mr. Lewis the Turkish authorities are soon to arrive. They will not be concerned with your nationality or your privacy either. I can assure you that they will thoroughly exam the private business of all the males who reside in this villa." The thin man's face pales at this possibility. Sophia continues." We act at the request of the Turkish people here. We shall be brief and we shall be discrete. If you choose not to cooperate we shall give your name as persona non grata, and leave you to face the Turkish authorities alone. The punishment for murder is beheading is it not Sam." "Dickey, how many years have you been in Turkey?" "One and a half years, why?"
"The Turkish police can hold you for several years in their prison while your case awaits adjudication. Your government will be helpless to expedite your release. If you give these local folks attitude, and they have been dealing with difficult attitudes for centuries, then you might find yourself held as an obstruction to their justice." Dickey is quickly loosing his sense of authority. His tone changes but he can not be less than obnoxious. "I don't know much really." He barks at Sophia. Sam realizes that this man has no ability to speak to people with his emotions under control. Indeed, Sam is sure that this man can not manage his emotions and that his dealings with other people make his inadequacies public. Sam sees that Sophia has quickly spotted this man as most lacking. "Mr. Lewis did you have sexual relations with this girl?" Sophia is not going to waste her time. The thin man raises his stooped shoulders in shock and takes a sudden step back as if he was to run off. "Here now! Some things must be kept private. I'm a married gentleman...." "Your hesitation confirms that you have!" Sophia is hooking this fish with her first cast observes Sam. "I did not say that I had sex with this girl", protests Dickey. "Did you have a visit by this girl on the night she was murdered?" Sophia pushes straight on. "I saw her about the place as usual. She runs errands about the villa for several of the regular guests. Often she has some odd job for the lady of the house, Mrs. Christown. I
could have spoken with her as she buzzed past but nothing irregular." His words are spoken in a polite warm manner. This switch in personality makes Sophia all the more spirited. "Do you have any serious health problems Mr. Lewis?" Sam is as surprised at this question as Mr. Lewis. Both men stand motionless, and quiet. Sophia is sure that she is near to the strange man's secret. Mr. Lewis's head drops low. He is lost in shame and torture. “Yes I was a communications officer for her majesties guard. It was in Northern Ireland on a patrol. Our armored car ran over a mine. I was wounded along with several others. I was compelled to retire on disability." Sam has been at the seen of many such disasters in Vietnam. He knows that few survive without serious injures. "May we know the nature of you disability?" "Not rightly! It's a matter for the physicians, not astronomers." Mr. Lewis is defiant and livid with rage at the question. "The Turks will give you more than one physical exam if they incarcerate you." Sam is sure that the man's injures should be kept private. The man looks long and wounded at Sophia. His stare goes right through her. He is oblivious to Sophia's expression. "I shall excuse myself. Mr. Lewis, your secret will be safe if the Turks do not investigate." She turns to Sam. "I'll be inside the villa. My questions are answered." Sophia moves off with out further word or expression to either man. "Do you have a spare cigarette, Dickey?" Sam notes the pack of camels Mr. Lewis pulls from a deep pocket. "Camels? Didn't know they were popular in England."
"Yes! Many of us who fancied the western cowboy movies imitated the great heroes. Just a bit of a habit now." Mr. Lewis is quite solemn. "Dickey! You can tell me about your injures. No word will pass my lips but you’re a suspect. Your answers may help to get us onto the right man. It’s as simple as that." "Well better to tell you than the Turks. I was cut all about my bottom with shrapnel. Lots of blood lost, and small bits of me blown off. You might say that blast all but neutered me! Guess it's a bit better than having been blown into me grave as some that day." "You have trouble with keeping your balance?" Sam knows of wounded G I's with similar injures. "Yes Doctor Tarlach! It's not so bad a deal out her away from the bustle. I keep busy reading and walking about to keep me leg muscles strong, what's left of them. The weather is fine and eases the pain and all." Sam is sure the man was telling the truth. However, he suspects that Mr. Lewis' life is full of secrets. ~~~~~ Sam rejoins Sophia in her quarters." My God what a strange man! Mr. Lewis could be our killer." Sam is not comfortable with his experience with the Englishman. “He is a very sick man. I shall not think what he may have done with that little girl in private." Sophia's words are forboding. She is clearly shaken by the experience with Mr. Lewis. "He could not have had sex with Subha. His injuries are too extensive in the area of question."
"So another is seeing her the night before her murder." The Persian, the Englishman, and a third man have interest in the private matters with this child." Sophia is in deep thought. The Persian is in high stakes business...the Englishman is a pervert...the third man is after amore. My guess is that the Frenchman had sex with her that evening before she died." Sophia is certain. "So what do we tell the police when they arrive?" Sam wishes Sophia's advice. "The girl was killed most likely by one of those three men. They will search to find the gun. Then it is solved. We go!" "What of the dead shah?" "This they can pursue, or not. We have made promise to Dincer and his people only. We have found the group of the suspects that contains her killer. No?" "So we are in fact done?" "Yes! We can be just the astronomers now."
Sam notices the annoyed look upon Knatuek's face. "Is there some problem today, Villi? Can I help in some way?" "Dere is problem with your people in observatory!" Knatuek puffs in order to relief his temper. "Dere is mujahadin dere with your people. He follows me into the mountains this morning to watch Villi. But I track backwards from before him and make my way. Villi leave this mujahadin one lost in hills." Sam is totally dumfounded. "Who? What? There is no one who should be concerned with the comings and goings of yourself. It must be some coincidence, Villi." "There is no mistake of this one. He walks like mujahadin in mountains of Afghanistan. He makes his way after Villi. He walks with his back straight with no fear of Russian bullets if they kill him." "One of my students from the observatory? Do you mean one follows you intentionally?" Sam confusion continues. "Dis one is no student. He is mujahadin…the man with turban. The next time this one follows Villi he is not to return!" Villi's arm passes sharply from his chest toward the ground in a defining salute. The expression on Villi's face is stern. The distant stare of the Russian's steel gray eyes alarms Sam. These signs are universal for soldiers in combat. Sam knows Villi's word is true. "You mean Saeed El Amin. He is just a student from Ankara. Let me have a talk with him? There is some misunderstanding. I'll make sure he knows to stay away from you and your business."
Sam and Sophia are making there way out of the villa when Villi Knatuek comes marching straight on toward Sam. "Hello Knatuek! You have been out and about early today?" "Villi has much to do!"
"Dere is no mistake! Villi has been chased by many mujahadin. All are dead now. This one will not get Villi!" Knatuek makes off leaving Sam with his words of warning only.
Sophia is expressionless. She has never seen such clear violence in a man's face. Her father would speak in angry but this man's tone has frozen her spine and weakened her stomach like none other. "This man is very dangerous. He could kill anyone at any time for any reason that made him suspicious." "Yes Sophia one must stay clear of his private affairs. These matters must deal with his survival...just as if he is preparing for combat." Sam watches the Russian march away. "What battle? What war?" Sophia is lost. "It's a man thing Sophia. This Russian is addicted to the thrill of living through combat. He lives now to regain that exhilaration...it is his only love." "Sam war changes men so much. Why do we fight?" Sophia is sad for the hurt that men must endure in armed conflict. Sam does not answer. Her words bring much pain from his past military life. Sam ponders the meaning of Villi's words and the happenings at the observatory. "Best I get up there and secure the interests of the students." "I wish to be there with you...I need to speak with Prana about the data analysis." The two astronomers make straight to the hill of the observatory. It is late afternoon when they arrive. "How goes your experience with research astronomy?" Sam asks Saeed as the young man is separating gear from the land rover to be used in the mounting of the encoder to the telescope. "It is much work like a caravan moving through the desert," The young man does not look as Sam as he continues his chores.
"Soon you shall see much of our purpose here. The nights are very clear and the work will go well." Sam is having difficulty to make friends with this lad. "Have you used a telescope in your native homeland?" The youth stops his labor and looks directly at Sam. "Life in my country is most hard. There is little time for such pleasures. Perhaps one day!" "Just where is your home Saeed? From what country do your people originate?" Sam presses his inquiry. "I live in Ankara. This is now my home. My people are originally from Iran. Troubles there have forced us to move into Afghanistan." There is no expression on Saeed's face. He turns to resume his work. Sam ends his diplomacy. "The Russian tells me you have been following him into the nearby hills." Saeed turns backwards to face Sam but says nothing. He points up to a set of passes in the mountain. "This Russian is very dangerous man. He has comrades in the hills. The Russians always move with reserves out of sight. This is their way." "The Russian has warned me! He does not want you to follow him. He wishes his privacy and fears you mean him harm!" Sam's words now resound with authority. Saeed is use to military command. "This one is known in my country as butcher. He has killed many Afghan's...mans...womans...childs. I have no fear of this Russian." "Do you seek revenge?" Sam is alarmed.
"This Russian has business here. It is can be bad business here only. He will have much help. I must know who are his allies. No one is safe while this Russian is here." Saeed speaks calmly and with resolve. "The students here are in much danger." Sam knows that Saeed will say no more on the matter. He also knows that there is danger abundant at Meezgole. "Have you a weapon?" Saeed pulls a long knife from under his shirt. "The Russian thinks he has lost me in the hills. But many times my knife was not far from his throat. This is all I need to deal with him." The lad sheaths his knife. He gathers a bundle of gear and walks from Sam toward the observatory. Sam knows the youth might easily vanish into hills. There he would be unapproachable. Here at the observatory Sophia and he might keep an eye on the youth. Saeed will be safer among the students and his concerns of the Russian moderated. Sam decides that no more can be said. It is best to let the youth stay. Sophia has entered the observatory and speaks with Prana. "How goes your preparation for the night's work?" Prana is full of energy and anticipation for the experiments to come. She will be responsible for the data acquisition and analysis. Any error could ruin the expedition. "I have the computer and data feed ready and checked and rechecked, Dr. Torrenti." Sophia senses the girl's heightened anxiety. She hugs the girl. "Do call me Sophia. We shall work much together." "Sophia, this is such a big opportunity for me...to work with famous scientist from a great American University...to work on a great new idea in astronomy such as this encoder.
When I was the little girl I would look at the stars from my bed at night. I would see different colors in the star's light and wonder why. This is the reason I am here." "We live in a time of great exploration of the universe. Soon we shall find life in another world far from our own solar system. I share your dreams." Sophia has found a companion to share special feelings. Prana shows Sophia the details of her computer's connection. "This is very good Prana. I have every confidence in your work. All is as it should be for the experiments." Sophia notices the harsh quarters of the observatory. "Are you comfortable here Prana? Do you wish anything sent to help you maintain you womanly ways?" "I don't mind sleeping on the ground, and I don't mind working with all men her at night. But I should very much like to get a bath at the end of the day before the start of a long night's work." The girl asks humbly. "Of course you do! Can you drive the land rover?" Sophia asks. "Not really, it's too large for me and the road is too rough. I can not steer." "I shall have someone come for you from the villa in their van. You can bath in my quarters. The van shall return you afterwards." Sophia has decided. "It is too much trouble. I can walk to you rooms." The girl is anxious not to become a bother. "It is no inconvenience besides I must see that you are safe. This Russian is about always. He scares me." "Oh Villi! He is my friend. He has taken me for rides on his motor bike."
Sophia is shocked at the girl's response. She notes her tone is very friendly towards Knatuek. "It is still not safe with all the happenings in the villa." "I'm not afraid here or at the villa but there is something going on in the mountain which has me worried." The girl points back behind the observatory off into the hills. "What is your concern?" "I have seen a lone figure watching from up there. Once when Farooq and I were walking I saw this man very near to us. I try to tell Farooq but he does not see this one." Sophia is alarmed. "Was it the Russian?" "No he is with dark hair. His face has scar on left cheek. He is thin but muscular man. His clothes are dark but I see a silver bracelet on his right wrist. "Fetim!" Sophia blurts out. "You know this man?" Prana is surprised. "It sounds as one from the ferry." Sophia tries to hide her fear. "I believe he comes from a village not too distant from Meezgole." She is sure that pirates have interest here. Sam is now speaking with Pasha. "Does this Russian come here often?" Sam asks. "He is much in the hills with his motor cycle. He stops for water. He speaks to Prana and Farooq mostly. He does not say to others but waves only. He stays only but a moment. Most like this Russian." Hilmut is now used to the Russian's passing. "Are there any other visitor's here?" Sam considers Saeed's words. "Never! A village man may pass in the meadow after a sheep but there is no one coming here." "What do you know of Saeed? Are you friends?" Sam is troubled.
"Saeed is good worker. He comes to Hortuk for work. He is very quiet and keeps to himself. I know nothing of him otherwise." "Does he go off into the mountains often?" "Only during the day when the Russian is going there. He has much interest to watch the Russian." Saeed goes for a time but his work is done well." Pasha is not troubled by this habit. "Each must have some time to themselves else the work becomes hated and it stops." "You people are ready for the first trials of the encoder tonight?" Sam sees no advantage to continue questions of the Russian. He must get the encoder ready. "Yes, we bring encoder to telescope now. Can you show us how to use this thing?" "It is designed to mount as a camera on the telescope. The computer’s cable directly attaches. The important thing is that the interior lens of the encoder not be touched by hand. The grease that forms on the human skin will ruin their optical properties and the data will be ruined. Also, when not in use the encoder's housing must be sealed against excessive moisture." "It sounds too easy." Pasha is confident. The students are all busy with the encoder's mounting and connection to Prana's computer. Sam and Sophia stand at the observatory's base and watch the students' work. They are ready to answer any questions. The experience of Pasha and Prana provides for an effective organization. The students rapidly complete the installation and connections for the encoder.
"Pasha! You shall test the encoder by placing black cloth over the telescope entrance. Collect the encoder output for no light into the telescope. If all is well the data should have no variation." Sam directs the final acceptance of the encoder's installation. In minutes the test is made and the data examined by Sophia at the computer. "Sam all is well here. The computer scan confirms you device is active and working without fault." The students cheer. Sam notes that Saeed is as excited as the others. There is much anticipation among the astronomical group for the coming night's work. Sam and Sophia return to villa. They will wait for the results to be reviewed in the morning. Pasha has waited till a quiet moment to speak with Prana. "Your friend must stay off from the observatory until our work is complete. There may be blood shed between him and Saeed." "I am worried of this also. I will meet Villi when I go to have my wash up in the villa. But Pasha he comes here not only to see me. He has business with Farooq. It is with him you must speak." Prana is infatuated with the rugged blond cassock. "You will not control Saeed. He is too independent." Pasha passes out from the computer control area and leaves Prana to last details. The system is running and will remain so until the morning when data taking is complete. She prepares for her trip to the villa. Farooq is securing the telescope's mount. He will assist Pasha in pointing the device through out the night as well as helping Prana and Gurcay with computer. "Farooq we are ready. You may wish to sleep for a time until dark."
"It is good that our true work shall begin. We have labored hard." Farooq is new to the life of the astronomer. "This work is very important to Turkey and it's people. This night we may make great scientific discoveries. We shall make the people of Turkey proud. The whole world will want to hear of our work." Pasha speaks with great pride. He realizes that Farooq is not a scientist or a Turk. "I shall do my best for you Pasha. The people of Turkey have been most kind. Do not worry the Russian will not come here this night." "It is important that our work not be disturbed. I must ask that your business with the Russian be kept until we finish." Pasha is quite stern. "It shall be so. My dealing with Knatuek is all but complete." Farooq speaks with assurance. "Most good! For now you may help Saeed tend the generator. Tell him all trips from the observatory are cancelled." "What of Prana? She will go to villa for taking of bath!" Farooq does not understand. Pasha is also confounded by the arrangements. "It is Dr Torrenti's wish...so it is to be. Prana will not miss this chance. Perhaps she will name a planet from the data?" About an hour before dusk Tugay arrives with the van from the villa. Pasha is stepping forth to greet him. "You come for Prana? The lady is to have the fine treatment!" Pasha is a bit envious. Tugay steps from the van. He hands a large bottle of sweet Turkish liquor. "Dr. Sam says that men at the observatory are to have much comfort for this night."
Pasha's eyes swell with surprise at the drink provided. "We shall have smoke and drinks together before the night's work begin. Come Saeed it is custom for celebration that all have first drink together." "There is some fine foods in the van for your eating this night." Tugay announces. Geyre Gurcay runs to Tugay's side. "We are famished. We took no time for foods as we made ready for the sky...Look Pasha it is breads, grape leaves, and warm rice. We dine as wealthy men!" Geyre holds up large fat bread for all to see. "It is still warm from the oven." "Farooq, set a place where to eat. Saeed find four...no six containers for out toast. Come Geyre move the food to our camp." Pasha and the boys are delighted and their efforts are much animated with good humor. Prana eyes the feast she is leaving. She helps to unload the van. She steals a rolled grape leaf stuffed with rice and meat. "Delicious! Just as my mother would make...Pasha you must save some for my meal. I shall return soon." "Give many thanks to Dr. Tarlach from us for this feast. We have never camped so well!" Pasha holds his glass up high. "To our hosts Tarlach and Torrenti...a thousand years of life." "A thousand years of good living", adds Prana. All sip the rich liquor including Tugay. They settle into their feast. They are indifferent to the departure of Prana as the van drives back to the villa. Tugay asks, "Will you be long? I must assit in your return well before the casino becomes busy."
Prana is aware of Villi's dislike for the Hindu. She also senses Tugay's excitement at taking over Ling Ling's charge. "I shall be brief Mr. Tugay. My stay at the villa will be brief...I shall tell Dr. Torrenti of you generosity." She knows this will ingratiate the Hindu. "You will be seeing Mr. Knatuek this evening?" Tugay is not sharing the same respect with Prana as the professor and he does not hesitant to be personal. Prana dislikes the question. She is insulted. "Perhaps, I may see many people while I am here." She does mot smile. Prana turns cold. Tugay smiles as he continues. "Russian is very much a man. He is drinking much...he gambles much...he rides motorycle much. He loves much?" Tugay laughs hardly. Prana is vivid with anger. If she had a knife, it would be plunged deep into the infidel's heart. "He kills much those who interfere with his personal ways." Her words are full with warning and hope. Tugay's glee ends abruptly. He has taken alarm. He knows the girl will soon be in Villi's arms. ~~~~~ Sam and Sophia are finishing dinner. "Let's have a bit of cognac, Dr. Torrenti. It has been a long day. Perhaps some soothing drink will wash away the taste of murder." "So beautiful is the life here at Meezgole. It's no place for such vicious happenings. I would happily drink all the cognac to be found in the house if it would end this villainy." "The police will be here tomorrow. Our work as detectives will be over and done." "Yes, one is happy to say! It seems to me however, that you will miss the adventure of this business."
"Perhaps! Wish we had solved the girl's murder. Hate to leave the place with Dincer and his people disappointed." "I suggest they will understand that the facts are too complicated. Besides, the real authorities may actually be able to do what we cannot! They may solve the crime." The waiter arrives at the table with two large tumblers. "Ah! Here's to our first case." Sam laughs as he holds up his drink to salute Sophia." "I shall drink only to this mystery as our last! Better to drink to our first collaboration in astronomy." "Touché my dear Torrenti." The two astronomers smile and share a moment of pleasure as they look into each other's eyes. They tip their glasses together. Sam takes a deep sip while Sophia takes but a small taste. "The next killing belongs to the police", adds Sophia. "Perhaps this business is over and we've seen the last." Sam answers with his eyebrows raised questioningly. At this instance Lady Abatha is making her way to their table in great haste. She approaches with shortened breath. "Dr. Tarlach you must come at once!" Sam and Sophia are stunned by the nature of her introduction and the fearful expression on her face. "Mrs. Christown, whatever is the matter?" "Some one is dead!" Sophia whispers to Sam. "Some one is dead!" Lady Abatha says faintly as she leans over the table. "Some one is dead?" Sam blurts out in surprise. "Who? Where? When?"
"Mr. Lewis! In his reading room on the third floor! This evening!" "Lewis?" Sam questions. "Izzy Lewis! He's been murdered." Lady Abatha says with an assuring tone. "I have no doubt of this." Sophia adds. "You sure it can't be an accident. Suicide?" Sam is depressed. Lady Christown face turns quite white. Her expression is one of horror. "His throat it's been...hurt...the blood is every where...he's been cut very badly...." She can't continue. "It's enough. I'll have a look." "I'll go with you Sam." Sophia is concerned. "No! You have seen enough of this massacre! It sounds as if battle field experience is sufficient qualification for this one." "Where is Mrs. Lewis now? Is some one with her presently?" Sophia is concerned. "She is in Mrs. Soriaga apartment with Bing Bing," Lady Abatha replies. "Sam I'm going to help this poor lady. Mrs. Christown, please to send service of strong tea? Oh Sam, you do have your gun with you?" Sophia rises to leave. "Yes! Abatha may you show me to this room? Sophia I'll meet you at Bing Bing's." Sam nods his head affirmatively to Sophia as he leaves with Lady Abatha They climb the main stairs to the third floor, and precede down the hall to a little used section of the villa. "Most of these rooms are used for storage. Some things are from the time of Shah Azizi himself." Lady Abatha adds as they pass along the corridor. "What need did Dickey have for digs back here?"
"Mr. Lewis spent much time by himself. I supposed he read, wrote some journals or such. He was a very private man." Lady Abatha continues. "He was away from his wife often here by himself I suppose. Mrs. Lewis was up here on occasion" "From where does the nickname Izzy come?" Sam asks. "His military days, the name was given to him by his fellow officers." The lady responds. They stop just outside the study door. "Has anyone been in here besides yourself?" Sam looks intensely at the lady as she responds. "Mrs. Lewis found him some time after dinner. He was late for their meal." "They eat together always?" "Yes, Dr Tarlach...it's the one time you are sure to find them together." "Have you seen the inside of this room Lady Abatha?" "Very briefly. It's gruesome!" Lady Abatha's hands cover her face momentarily." I must get to the kitchen an order the tea. Do you need me?" "No thank you. I'll look about. I think we shall need some manpower here later. Will you have Dincer informed of this situation? The poor man has become the village undertaker as well." Sam enters the room slowly. "Dickey's place is as big a mess as the man himself." Several small tables stand about covered with debris of every sort. Clothing lie about, empty teacups put to seat awkwardly and abandoned for ages by virtue of the dust collected. Books, papers, and some drawings, are to be found atop the desk, tables and upon the floor. Sitting in a chair behind the desk is Dickey Lewis. His neck is slit and blood has poured over his chest. His hands are tied bound to back of the chair. His mouth is gagged and his
right ear has been severed off entirely. Sam looks about but sees no sign of a blood trail, knife or a missing ear. ~~~~~ Sophia arrives at the Bing Bing's apartment. She still carries her glass of cognac. She finds Bing Bing standing beside a couch upon which Mrs. Lewis is crying hysterically and pounding her fists against the cushions, turning her head form side to side. "My man! Dickey is killed off! Poor me! I'll have to go now. I hate myself! I'm a fat ugly old cow! Who will want me now!" Tessie Lewis cries. Bing Bing walks over to Sophia. "These hysterics have been going on since she arrived." Sophia takes a large swallow of the brandy. "Bing Bing this has to stop." The glass of cognac is handed to Bing Bing as Sophia walks over to Mrs. Lewis. The hysterical woman pays no attention at Sophia's approach. "Mrs. Lewis I must talk to you!" Sophia calls out loudly. "My poor man! No man. Poor me!" Mrs. Lewis' tantrum continues. Sophia reaches over the couch and forcibly strikes the side of Mrs. Lewis' face with an open bare hand. The moans of the woman cease immediately and the sound of the smack calls silence to the room with everyone's attention given to Sophia. Bing Bing takes her first drink of brandy as she watches a composed Mrs. Lewis sit up and straightens her skirt. "Why did you hit me like that love? No need for violence!" "Listen to me madam. Your husband was murdered and we want you to help us find his killer." Mrs. Lewis is about to return to grieving when she spies Sophia's clenched fist. "If I can help?"
"I want you to answer my questions now!" Sophia's tone is harsh. "When did you discover you husband's body?" "We dine at eight o'clock sharp. He likes to be called to dinner well before then. If he's not home by 6:30 PM, I'm to call after him." "You went up at about six thirty to his study?" "He's there most times. It's the first place I look and find him more times than not." "What does your husband do in his study that keeps him late?" "He does his work...his reports and such." Sophia is surprised by this answer. "To whom does he send these reports?" "Some agency or other. He's always after the post when the ferry comes." Sophia changes her line of inquiry. "Does he have visitors in his study?" "Sometimes, I suppose. Subha would be found up there occasionally." "What interest did the Gundez girl have in your husband’s office?" "She would help out and run errands for Dickey." "What kind of errands Mrs. Lewis?" She would fetch up his tea, get off to her father's store for smokes and supplies that come up low. She would come after me own self with a message from Dickey when needed." "Any others that have kept company with your husband up there?" "Occasional like, a guest might go up to see something or other kept in the study. Dickey has lots of pictures of England his school and football teams." Sophia again switches topics. "His reports were regularly sent off?"
"Most regular like at the month's end, although he would work late sometimes to rush one off the next day." "Your husband’s reports were sent to the Turkish authorities?" "No never! Most were sent to Ankara to friends who work at the British Embassy. Sometimes Dickey would take them himself when he went on financial matters over his pension." "His pension is paid by the British government?" "That's right he's drawing a disability from the army for a few years now." "Does he keep any pictures of his army units, or friends?" "Oh he's not allowed. He was a member of British M I-5." "Excuse but what Is M I-5?" "Sorry love that's a branch of army intelligence, hush-hush you know?" "Your husband did secretive work for the British military?" "That's right! He was very good at it. My Dickey was always the sly one." "Did Mr. Lewis have any special interest in any of the guests that arrived here this week?" "Oh I suppose...he wanted me to let him know who the Persian was about talking with...the Russian worried him the most, otherwise it was business as usual." "Did your husband ask you to listen in their conversations, follow them around or anything like that?" "Well he asked me to sit about wherever where I could watch the comings and goings and who went off with whom. Just gossipy kinds of things." "Did Mr. Lewis like to watch about the place as well?"
"Oh my yes! But he would never bother any one. Not much for talking with folks was he. Kept to himself proper like." The tea is brought into the room. "Mrs. Lewis we are all very sorry for your loss. Did you want your husband's remains and personal things sent somewhere?" "Oh they will come for him from the embassy and see to everything. They take care of their own that is their way. Just have the lady of the house lock the door and leave all. I'll call over to Ankara in a bit and they'll send some men right away." "Won't the Turkish police want to investigate your husband's death?" "Only if the British government wishes ,but they rarely do." Bing Bing begins to pour tea. She whispers to Sophia. “Sam is outside the door and he wants to see you.” Tessie returns to sobbing quietly. ~~~~~ "Sam what happened in that study?" "Well Sophia, it's clear that a man was in the room with Dickey for a time. This person bound and gagged Mr. Lewis, then cut his throat." "My God what a horror." "Do you think this is the man that killed Subha?" "It's possible Sophia, but there is no clear motive that connects the two. Besides the style is so different this murder is so messy not neat and antiseptic like Subha's. Did Mrs. Lewis tell you anything?"
"Yes her husband was a member of military intelligence. He was busy keeping track of people who visit Meezgole and he made regular reports to the British government at their embassy in Ankara." "My goodness, you got all of that from that lady. How did you do it?" "My dear Sam I just asked her...after I smacked her face." "Well if he watched one he'd watch all. For sure he'd watched you!" Sophia is amused by this observation. "Sounds like jealousy, professor." "I have to go back Dincer is coming we are going to go through his study." "Well best do it tonight as the British are coming to take the body and his possessions away tomorrow perhaps...and likely Mrs. Lewis as well." "Do not let her get away for we may have some questions for her soon enough." ~~~~~ "Dincer I've through all the piles in the office, and have checked the place for Dickey's missing ear. I can't find a thing." "I shall have my men move one item out at a time till the place is empty. If this ear is here it shall be found." "All things must be put back. Let nothing be taken. Use gloves as this stuff is to be checked by the British. If you find any sealed containers or locked drawers, or hidden compartments open and save the contents for me to see." "Colonel do you think the man who did this killed also my Subha?" Dincer hands Sam a collection of envelopes stamped with the official seal of the British Emabssy in Ankara. "No Dincer! The motives are completely different" Sam receives the envelopes. He notes that most are addressed to Mr. Richard Lewis, but an occasional labeled is marked ‘To
Izzy Lewis’. This must be an old intelligence code name. Sam wonders how Lady Abatha has come to know this. "Do you know why Subha was killed?" Dincer asks. "Yes! And I know why Dickey Lewis was killed." "Do you know the persons who did these things?" "I do not as yet know who killed Subha. I do know who killed Dickey. Nothing may be said until more information is gathered." "While you work here I must see Lady Christownn. Be thorough for Subha's sake my friend." ~~~~~ The activity in the casino proceeds as usual under Tugay's watch. The gaming is very brisk with much betting. Villi Knatuek is drunk...very drunk. He is getting annoyed with others around him. He is a soldier lost with out a battle to endure. Tugay finds Lady Christown as she is passing. "Meme Sab, the Russian is having more drink than usual. Soon there will be much trouble! Fighting perhaps." "Tugay much has happened this night. Dickey Lewis is dead." Lady Christown announces. "This is a terrible thing! So many die! Who will be next?" Tugay is astounded by the news. "I have much to do to prepare for the arrival of the Turkish authorities. It is a bloody awful nuisance this Gundez girl's dying”. The villa is a very big responsibility. The lady
is overwhelmed by the present demands. "This Russian is a very important guest. See to it that he makes the acquaintance of one of the women." Tugay is quick to reach the Russian. "Mr. Knatuek are you having a good time? It seems that I may be of assistance to you." "You bastard! Villi know you are taking dead man’s job." Villi stands upright to tower over the smaller soft Hindu man. "You are making the joy over the killing of your superior! If you were in Russian army I would have you shot! Villi intends to spit but he wobbles unsteady and cannot control his attention. "You will be hurting yourself if you are not taking it easy. Lady Christown wishes me to make introductions to you among the ladies." Tugay’s smile does not hide his revulsion of the Russian. "Villi has many women in villa. I go to woman's room now. There is not anything for Villi in casino. Be careful for traitors do not have long life." Villi shoves the body of Tugay out of his way as he marches towards the stairway. ~~~~~ Prana is late leaving the villa. She knows that Tugay is already at his station. She decides to walk the way back to the observatory. Her friends are probably pointing the telescope at this minute. The sky is not yet at it's darkest. She will not be late for her duties. Knatuek sees her departing and follows after. "Prana, I vish you to stay. Vhere do you go?" He is loud and drunk. Prana is embarrassed by his presence. She rushes to him and places her hands over his mouth. "Do not call me as you would a dog from the field!” His condition angers her. "Dere is much time before the sky...Villi needs you now." Villi staggers.
"I am late...I waited for you but you did not come. You enjoyed the casino more than you wanted to be with me." The girl's eyes are swelling with tears. "Now you act like a pig! Go back to your whores and your drink!" The girl turns to run away. Villi takes hold of the girl and he pulls her into an embrace. Prana’s near hysteria sobers him. "Villi gets drunk from boredom. If you vere here Villi no get drunk." He shows sorrow for his state. "Villi you live only to hurry to your death." Prana's voice shows much concern. "Go to bed and sleep. I'll see you tomorrow evening." She gives the man a tender hug. "I must get to the observatory and do my research. Good night." "Villi give you ride to observatory on motorcycle." "Your are too drunk!" "Villi must go to see Farooq." "Oh! I have a message for you from Farooq. He says he shall bring a present to you in the morning when we come for breakfast. He says it is safe till then." "Dats good. You go, you can ride my bike, yah?" "No Villi there is much light yet for walking with Venus and Mars both in the sky. Get to bed. If you are drunk tomorrow I shall not even speak to you." The girl makes off in haste. "Villi vas born in this time for sky. Vhen Mars gets close to Venus, then Villi has the great luck...sometimes bad sometimes good but always big luck." ~~~~~ Sam has made a thorough check of Dickey's study for evidence. Nothing seems to stand out to catch his eye. There is some cigar ash on the floor but the lack of orderliness hides
any sense of the time of deposit. It bothers Sam that the ash is found in only one location of a thoroughly unkempt room. The English detectives may have methods to wrangle more details of this killing. Sam mind turns to thoughts of Deeda. He is appointed to meet her this evening. He must warn her of the danger all must face here at this time in Meezgole. She awaits him in the casino. She moves quietly to a corner table far away from the main activity. Deni Beaudoin walks among the tables. He sips from a large glass of red wine. He carries a plate of sliced cheese and apples. He has noticed the blond lady entering the casino. His eyes followed her as she selects her seat. Deni walks directly to her table. Deeda has noticed the little man moving toward him. He has a very short gait and takes many tiny steps for a man she thinks. "You might enjoy a repast!" Beaoudin places the serving in front of her. "Every thing is freshly prepared." Beaudoin's manners are impeccable with a woman. "I am engaged this evening." Deeda is pleasant but distant. The food has a divine aroma...it is glorious in color and appealing. "I have missed dinner this night." She comments out loud to her self. "It is best with red wine. Beaudoin calls over Tugay. "Another glass of the Beaujolais." Beaudoin sits down with Deeda. The woman tastes the cheese. "Try a piece together with a slice of apple. The taste buds will be delighted...then a sip of great wine. It is the best the human tongue can enjoy...all other food is less to the palate." Beaudoin assures her.
Her hunger rises with the sweet odor of the food placed before her. As she contemplates her decision, Tugay arrives with a glass of the finest Beaujolais. The bouquet of the wine mixes perfectly with the scent of strong cheese and freshly cut fruit. "I shall try one bite. This is very nice kind of you." "We are all neighbors here at the villa." Deni adds. Deeda's mouth puckers in delight with the offering. A sip of wine magnifies the delight of her culinary experience. "You must be a chef! This is wonderful...never has my mouth tasted such complete pleasure. It is so simple yet so complete." She is surprised at her pleasure, and is very grateful to the little man. "I am Deni Beaudoin. Many such pleasures do I offer." He similes slightly but his dark eyes shine with great mischief. "This one pleasure is all I shall need. Thank you!" She finds the man intriguing. "You dress in a style that is not modern European. Are you from America?" "I am from many places as my work requires me to be in many places. I have acquired a style that is universal. I am afraid that I was very much influenced by the islanders of Greece." Beaudoin enjoys her personal questions. "Yes the neckline of you jacket. The narrow pants and bleak colors." It is very much Greek influence." She smiles at the man's sense of fashion...and at his bravery. Deni has made a captivating introduction to the lady. "I would love to share the garden with you this night." There is to be no coyness with Beaudoin. Deeda has no time for this man's needs. "Are you a collector of antiquity," she asks. "No! I search for amour only." He persists after his quarry.
"You come all this way to Meezgole for the woman to have love?" She laughs from his silliness. "You must be very rich!" She thinks his manner of dress suggests oddity but not aristocracy. "I am here on one single account but it is complete and I stay for beauty's sake." His flattery will work...he is sure. "You do not deal in antiques...treasures of ancient art? Or those who may so deal?" She is suspicious. Then you must be here for the gambling.' She has never seen the little man place a single bet. "You have guessed...I work in high stakes type of gambles. This time I have made a great win." He toasts his glass and takes a large draught. "For what does a beautiful woman search in remote Turkey?" "Antique art? Have you information of any for sale?" Deeda is curious. "Antiques are old! They are dead! Young and alive is what I search for. You are young alive and beautiful and here in Meezgole...you are for what I search." Deni tries to hold the woman's hand. She rejects it. Sam enters the casino and immediately walks to Deeda's table. “My company arrives. It is time for you to depart!" Deeda says to Beaudoin coldly. Beaudoin looks to Sam as he approaches. "Tarlach, you are always interrupting. It is your habit." Deni's tone is intended at annoyance to bate the astronomer's patience. "Beaudoin you look like the cat that ate the canary." Sam senses an unusual excitement in the French man. "What no cigar? Perhaps you have smoked one too many?" Sam senses he has found a way to return irritation.
"I thought astronomers were with their telescope at night time?" Beaudoin is yielding the table to Deeda's guest. He turns to Deeda and bows. "I'm sure we shall meet again soon. Bonsoir." The little feet of the Frenchman make quicklyaway to join other guests. "I'm sorry that man annoyed you!" "He is no annoyance. He is very charming and manly in a small way." Deeda answers. "You find him attractive, no doubt." "Yes he is a true lady’s man, but he is of no help in the matter of hunting ancient art." Deeda looks at Sam in a very sensitive way. "He offers nothing to a woman but his attention. He is gambling always on the encounter." "He is a man that I suspect of being dangerous. There is more than one villain to be had in Meezgole at present." Sam takes Deeda's hand and looks sternly into her eyes. There is only concern showing his face. Deeda is alarmed by Sam's attitude. "What is the matter? Why are you so concerned? I am safe from the killer of the village girl!"" "I'm afraid you are in very serious danger." Sam studies the woman's eyes for a moment. "Tell me exactly what object of ancient art do you seek here in Meezgole?" Deeda freezes with his bluntness. She is unsure. She has hope that Sam will be the provider of that which she seeks. "A rare piece of art from the sixth century BC. "Why Meezgole?" "It is said by my father's associates that it is to be brought here for bidding" "It is a very expensive piece. Is it not?" Sam is sure that the woman has information. "Yes almost priceless." Deeda attitude towards Sam grows more business like.
"Can you describe this piece to me?" Deeda is puzzled by this question. "Why do you ask? Is it not in your possession?" Sam realizes that the woman has been soliciting him. She must believe I am the owner of the thing whatever it is. Sam says quietly to himself. "Describe it to me please?" "It is the ceremonial sword of Nebuchadnezzar! It is golden blade of six inches with red brass scabbard with much inscription." Deeda believes she has passed a test to qualify her as a buyer. Sam's heart races with excitement. He and Sophia are correct. Deeda however is not a simple woman. "Who do you represent?" "My father's people are very anxious to obtain the sword. There is no limit to price you may ask." Deeda presses the deal. "I shall accompany you to Switzerland where your cash will be deposited. My people will be here in hours after I have the sword in my possession." Sam is lost for the love that he had hoped was his. He has much feeling for the woman even though she has seduced him in a matter of conspiracy. "You are aware that people have been dying here because of this sword! There are others after this sword. You are in danger!" "I am quite capable. Those who are dead are fools. This business is not for the weak. I wish the sword Sam. There will be no better price to be had. Give me the sword." Deeda's words hold a shadow of a threat. "Did you swim with the shah?" Sam goes for broke. "Nien! He is not having the sword. It is clear he is here to buy only."
"Is there anyone else here for the purchase?' Sam is after the murderer of Bing Bing. "Anyone on this island may be after the sword." Deeda understands she has made a mistake. "You are not the one! You do not have the sword?" "If I have it, then I have it without my knowing. I did not bring the sword to Meezgole. It is here now without a doubt." "You are a dear man but my business is not with you. I will pay for your assistance to find it. Perhaps your friend Gundez?" "I am sure he knows less of this thing than myself. There is someone or some persons killing people over this dam thing. You are not safe! Your life is in danger as we speak." This man touches Deeda’s heart. She has feelings for him. "It is my job. I have faced such danger before. I must go the matter of the sword will not keep." "Is this Beaudoin after the sword?" "He is too stupid to know the worth of anything beyond the bed or the dinner table. Are you going to continue you investigations? You are too sweet a man to risk your life. It is more dangerous for you than anyone." Sam wonders how many others suspect he is the seller of the sword. ~~~~~ Prana has found her way to the observatory. The boys are all a stir with preparations. There are many lights on about the observatory as the last details of readiness are accomplished. "Welcome princess of the Villa Azizi." Pasha calls out from atop the observatory. All The boys whistle and howl with juvenile delight at the return of the girl. Prana waves in return. She heads straight to her computer. Where stands Farooq?
"Your dinner is saved but the strong drink is all gone."" Farooq hands the girl the cold remains of the feast. "I can tell the drink was favored by the sounds from above." She hugs Farooq in gratitude and anticipation of the first night of research. "Was I missed?" "When you are not here the others act as fools! Only Saeed does not change." Farooq says with a look of despair. "This Saeed took much drink?" Prana asks. "No hardly a sip! He is very serious in his life." "Yes Farooq, it seems that much is on his mind. He never rests. He searches always." "It is time!" Announces Pasha. "We begin with just runs of data on Mars. Geyre put all lights off but one for Prana. Saeed if we run low of fuel give us warning." The hum of the generator is continuous. There is little activity but much waiting as data runs over various time periods are collected and analyzed for clarity. Occasional clouds pass over and compels momentarily delay with the data collection. A chill may settle for a short time over the observatory fogging the lens of the telescope. Pasha then becomes busy wiping optics between brief efforts of data gathering. During quiet moments when the telescope is fixed and collecting the students talk softly among themselves. Geyre walks from one to another during these times asking questions in a hope to understand much of the science that is taking place. He also has become very much interested in asking personal questions. "Farooq why does a young boy come to Turkey from Lebanon? Geyre asks as the two lads sit outside. "There is much to do in Turkey...Lebanon still recovers form the years of civil war."
"Are there many Russians in Lebanon?" "There are many of all nationality of the Earth. Lebanon is great melting pot since the beginning. We have many Turks as well." Geyre uses this time of boredom. "Did you now this Villi in Lebanon?" "How did you know Villi lives in Lebanon?" Farooq is most surprised by the question. "You are so friendly...You two seem to have much in common." Geyre answers. "He has had business with my uncle in Beirut on some occasions. He is very good man in business?" Farooq persists. "What kind of business?" "My uncle is a trader. Kantuek does much trading in Middle East where there is much money and little government." "Does he trade now or vacations?" "Knatuek always does both." "What trading does he do in Meezgole?" Farooq is suspicious of these questions and becomes distant. "Something for those who trade at the villa, I suppose. He is not telling all to me." "He rides his motorcycle in the hills much until now. He stops for some reason?" Farooq is soon to move off to end these questions. "He races! Perhaps his cycle is broken." Farooq stands to leave. "I must see Prana and help." Farooq returns inside the observatory. Geyre moves next to Saeed. "Can I help with the generator?" Saeed points to the fuel level indicator. "When level is less than half add petrol to tank. Do not let it run out!"
"Saeed, you have been much to the hills today, but I have not seen the Russian?" "The Russian is gone from here. There is one who watches us. When I try to follow he goes far to hide. I see tracks of the horse but he is too far away." Geyre is puzzled. "Do you suspect this one is friend to Russian?" "The rider has look of Turk! He seems to know the hills as one who lives there. His interest is with us. I see no motorcycle tracks near place where horse goes." "Any signs of others than these two?" "I can not say if others are near...the Russian has ally." Saeed says confidently. Prana comes out to join the men. She takes a seat in the center of the camp. "All goes well! We have good data. Soon Pasha will point telescope to Venus." "How can you tell that numbers are something? Those things of the sky are too far to be sure." Saeed is pessimistic. "The numbers we measure tonight will be used to calculate other numbers we know are right. If we can not get the right answers of those we know to be true then our experiment is no good." Prana explains. "What numbers?" Saeed asks. "The distance of the planets from the Earth for example. These we know since the time of the Greeks. "Can these numbers tell us what brings so many foreign people to Meezgole?" Geyre asks. "Simply the beauty...the remoteness." Prana answers. "Are these the reasons a wild Russian comes?' "Geyre, he has good reasons. Why do you ask of him only?"
"You have made friends with this one. Does he say his business?" "He does not talk of business with me only pleasure. He is not married! He is of age for having a wife." Geyre is disappointed in the lack of information on the Russian. For all the interest his companions have in the man, no one knows much about him. Pasha ends the tireless moments. "We move telescope to Venus! All come!"
There is much activity in the casino tonight. The news of the more recent death and the impending arrival of the police have the occupants dismayed and anxious for relief. There is to be a consummate exodus from the villa after the release to travel order is given by
the Turkish authorities. The casino offers diversion and escape from the present circumstances. Dincer Gundez moves about the villa at night. His wife Meeka stays with Sophia. He is resolved to watch, keep guard and assist the discovery of his daughter’s murderer. He carries only a traditional knife of the region. Others from the village move about the gardens and on the road to the villa from the village. Dincer has just stepped out from a side entrance to the pathway that circumvents the villa. A dark figure steps out from the side. "Cousin Dincer! It is I." Fetih Terim calls softly. "Fetih you should not be here. It is easy for someone to recognize you." Dincer passes off the road and into a section of garden. "No one knows of my presence here. I come over mountain by horse." The two men crouch so as to give no silhouette in the moonlight. "It is too soon! The time is not right!" Dincer says excitedly. "The police will soon be here. There may be no other time for us to act." Fetih is resolute. "I can not help you in this matter...I search for the killer of Subha. Until this end you must go on your own." Dincer is apologetic. "I need no help but to have access to the observatory." "Each day, just at dawn the students come from observatory to have first meal of day. No one watches when they are gone." Dincer informs the man. "This is all that I need! I shall wait nearby and strike at that hour in tomorrow’s early light." Fetih announces with great pleasure. "You cannot escape from Meezgole. The port is watched by the navy."
"I shall make my way back over mountain to coast. You must contact Hortuk. He will arrange transport to be ready for my arrival." Fetih grabs the hand of Dincer for good luck. "Take care cousin...these astronomers have been friends to our family and the village in the troubles here. Let no harm come to either one! If you fail tomorrow remain in mountain. I shall come there with second plan." Dincer pats his cousin on the shoulder. "As you wish! There will be no danger to anyone who belongs to the observatory. There is too much profit in this adventure to fail. The device on the telescope is worth much now. Later Hortuk fears it will have no worth." Dincer has no hesitation. "Do not fear this thing shall soon be ours...go and let no one from the village know you are here. The loss of the encoder will be left to those of the villa." Fetim turns to leave as Dincer gives warning. “Keep your watch on the Russian that rides the motor bike. He, I fear is after the encoder as well.” “I have seen him above in the hills. He is stupid but has much luck. I have no fear of such a one.” Fetih departs. ~~~~~ It is late. Sam and Sophia have discussed the hopes of this night at the observatory. It is the first chance the two astronomers have had to deal as professional scientists. The talk concerns astronomical needs only. They are much stimulated by each other’s knowledge. Logical arguments centered on theoretical correlation analysis consume much of their time. “Sam I never thought we should do true astronomy here at Meezgole.”
“Your knowledge of correlation statistics is much stronger than mine, Sophia. You provide much to the chance of success in this expedition. I am very grateful to you for your assistance with the coming encoder’s data analysis. “This encoder may prove an enormously valuable tool. The data we are to gather here maybe the definitive proof of your encoder’s worth and my theories on correlation of data.” “If not for the mystery I shall hate to see our work together here come to an end.” Sam bows gracefully to his partner. "Sam I will be glad to leave this villa. There are rodents every where." "I have seen any. Where did you see these things?" "I didn't see them I hear them moving about the hall outside my room." "Perhaps this is just noise from the passing guests?" "No Sam when I look out I see nothing but the noise she is there!" "How often do you here these sounds? Daytime or just nighttime?" "Never in the morning it seems that when ever you visit my room then I hear them? Ma Donna!" "Did the sound ever wake you up at night?" "It is quiet always when I sleep." "You hear the sound from the same place or all over the room?" "It seems to come from the one wall that runs along the hall." Sam is suspicious of the wall and predictable noise. He concludes that someone perhaps Lady Abatha is ease dropping, as did Shah Azizi many years ago. ~~~~~
The weather is cool and clear. A myriad of stars is to be seen through the whole of the night. Venus and Mars move across a high arch in the dark sky. Their light is now dimming on the horizon as the morning’s first light brings early dusk. The students have been very active in data gathering and pointing of the telescope. Many trial runs of the encoder are taken. Today the expedition is to have the initial analysis from the encoder of Venus and Mars. Tomorrow night an attempt at Pluto with the encoder will be tried. The student leader Hilmet Pasha has directed the entire night's activity at the observatory. "Prana! The data is good, yes?" Hilmet calls from the observatory's platform down into the room below which houses the small computer attended by Prana. He must shout over the noise from the small portable electric generator. The generator sits outside the observatory upon the ground. Saeed El Amin attends it. He keeps the gasoline fuel tank of the generator filled. Saeed hears Hilmet's call and runs inside the entrance and relays the message to Prana. "All is well with data Prana? Hilmet asks!" "Data is stored and backed up! Are there to be any more runs?" Prana shouts back to an invisible Hilmet. Saeed returns to outside and calls aloud upward. "Is good! Is more data to be had?" Hilmet considers the rising light of dusk. His crew has been running errands without break for hours. The work this night has been of good quality. He is sure the astronomers from the West will be impressed by the student's effort. Hilmet knows that much work on the data analysis must be done before more telescope pointing is possible. His crew is hungry and exhausted. He must drain them again starting after dinner. "Close! We head to villa and food."
Geyre Gurcay has been at Hilmet's side since the sunset last evening calls out to his comrades below. "Food! We eat now!" Saeed's head leans inside observatory's door. "We go! Close! To food now!" Prana is settled over the computer with Farooq Yousef at her side. The pair has been keeping watch on the data acquisition electronics and the interconnecting cables from the encoder mounted on the telescope's bottom to the computer. "We need a few more minutes to file check the last data runs." Farooq has worked very closely with Prana. She is very kind and understanding. He is most anxious to show his appreciation to her. "Go Prana! I shall finish this task and turn generator off. I shall follow in minutes." "I am so very tired. I can hardly walk to the villa. I am afraid that if I don't go with the men I shall not have their help along the way." Prana gives the cherub faced boy kiss upon the cheek. "Turn the computer off before the generator otherwise a disk may crash!" "My teacher! But of course just as you have shown me. Hurry!" Farooq runs outside and calls. "Wait for Prana! She comes slowly!" He returns to Prana who has found energy to be brushing her hair. "They wait for you!" Prana finishes and begins her departure. She turns to Farooq. "This file-check will take10 minutes so do not rush. I shall order breakfast for you. By the time you reach the villa we shall all be ready to eat!" The students walk off in first light towards the villa some 20 minutes away by foot. They are fatigued but exhilarated by the bright morn and the accomplishment of the past night's work. Much chatter and laughter is heard as they walk away. Some minutes later the lone figure of Farooq is seen leaving the observatory following the path to the villa.
In the woods a bit off from the observatory and hidden by a rise from the path to the villa waits Fetih. He has seen the last student's shadow pass from his view. He leads a horse and pack mule towards the back of observatory. Here he brings his pack train to rest. He moves around and enters the observatory just like the sun's shadow. Within the observatory, Fetih searches among the metal storage boxes and scientific gear. He begins to gather the electronics into one or more storage case. Items that seem common are passed over. He scours each room removing only those things that appear to be part of the astronomers' work. He is very quick in his task. Long before the first students are yet half the distance to the villa, Fetih has the encoder off the telescope and inside a container securely tied to the mule's harness. The last item removed from the observatory is Prana's computer. He fears that the value of the encoder will be lessened if the student's work here is completed. To complicate the appearance of the scene Fetih disturbs the student’s personal belongings. Fetih's retreat from the observatory is back into the woods. With great haste he makes into the mountains. There he shall move along the most rugged trails. By evening he will be waiting near a distant shore before the sun is to set. Here he shall meet a small craft and make swiftly to one of the islands. His escape with the encoder shall be made good. ~~~~~ Sam is making his way toward the observatory. He meets the students just as they approach the villa. "Good morning! How went the night's work?” Sam notices the tired walk of the students, and the stale look of their appearance. He knows they have worked hard this past night and the expedition is making progress.
"It was very good!" Hilmet answers first as always. “Many good data have been taken. The encoder is not hard to use at all." Hilmet is anxious for the expedition to succeed first in his Turkey. "Wonderful! You have been the first to use this device outside of my own people. This shall be the first field validation." Sam shakes Hilmet's hand. He shakes hands with each of the others. "Where is Farooq? Does he sleep?" "He follows! He has staid after our departure to finish the closing." Prana wishes to have Dr. Tarlach know of Farooq's accomplishment. "Dr. Torrenti will be at breakfast soon. She will also be thrilled with your news." Sam gives Prana a hug. "We are depending on your computer analysis today." Sam is excited. "The data files are ready. Farooq and I scanned them for bugs before we left." Prana is an accomplished analyst. "Dr. Torrenti will be able to see them as shown as she wishes." "I suggest you clean up, eat and get some rest. Then later we shall have a fine meal together and organize the analysis." Sam is concerned that the students do not drain their health. The long hours at night watching of the sky with little rest during the day may bring an expedition to an early end. Pace at work with adequate rest is an important routine for long-term achievement. Hilmet is daring. "Will you join us for breakfast Sam?" He feels that he has shown this astronomer from the West that he is a capable astronomer as well. Sam enjoys his bravado. "Hilmet, I would love to join my colleagues but I have a chore to complete before the police arrive today." Sam looks Hilmet straight in the eye with genuine admiration." I shall return after a short time. Don't wait upon me this morning."
The students continue into the villa and Sam turns and makes his way to the observatory. He wants to see Farooq alone. There is a light due upon the ground with rising mist as the morning sun warms the land. The air is yet cool from the night. Sam makes good time along the path to the observatory. Sam ponders the movement of the original owner and his family along this path so long ago. They must have walked with torchlight on moon light nights to use the telescope. Certainly the sultan must have employed the help of ancient astronomers to show his family and friends the wonders of the cosmos. What interpretations of the stars did they hear? Did they witness any unknown comet or exploding star? Will his expedition's work here be viewed as primitive when another astronomer walks this same path in a hundred years from now? The same sky is shared now as back then, and as it shall be in the future. This is the bond of all who study the heavens. Proceeding onward, Sam's thoughts are soon broken by the sound of moans in the brushes ahead. Sam is alarmed by the agony in the cries that recalls to his mind an injured soldier in combat. Instinctively he crouches low, removes the 45-caliber handgun from under his coat, and pulls the gun's safety off. He rests quietly and listens to a series of weak mournful whimpers. There is only a slight rustle of leaves in a breeze to accompany the voice of the one who is injured. Just as in his days of battle in Vietnam, time advances slowly with Sam’s motion along the path. He creeps in a jagged pattern toward the point in a cluster of bushes from which the sound originates. With each step he must pause to still his breath in order to listen to sounds of danger.
Sam wonders if this is some trap prepared for him by the killer. More than one G I has been lured into an enemies gun sight by a counterfeit fallen ally. Sam wonders if booby traps are waiting. He advances toward a position with uncertain hazards as if he is in combat. There is just stillness now. There are no birds in view or to be heard. The air is still so only the panting of his breath fills his ears. The absence of all motion but his own leaves Sam as the only target. How did he ever survive all that jungle warfare? Was it just luck as he always suspected, or did his training make him invisible? He is close enough to see the shoes of a man in the tall grass. He sets his gauze upon this place for the sudden movement of attack His senses scan for any warning signal to be identified from another direction. He pauses to search his flanks and rear positions. He notices no change in the view of any objects. His person remains less exposed to his front but he can do no better in other directions. His ability to move with stealth has diminished since his days in the Marine Corps. His is just several yards from the fallen body. His next footfall raises a call of recognition from the victim. Sam sees the form upon the ground as the young Farooq. The lad lies in a pool of blood. Instinctively Sam's free hand searches about the boy for any anti personal device. Sam's clothes are staining in the lad’s blood. Using both his hands Sam turns the injured Farooq over upon his back. Several deep gashes about the chest and neck are revealed. They are too severe to be treated without a doctor's aide.An experienced corpsmen in Vietnam would have difficulty to stop the bleeding. Sam recognizes the wounds as fatal.
The boy’s eyes are rolling back up into their sockets. Sam removes his coat and white shirt. He rips the shirt into a series of bandages and stuffs the wounds with the cotton material in an attempt to stop further bleeding. Sam's body covers in blood. The boy needs water! Sam recalls passing a spring. With full abandon for his safety, Sam races a hundred yards back down the trail. In a thin small pool of water Sam lays his coat to soak. The only hope for the boy is moving him back to the villa where some help might be found. Sam will have to make a sled and drag the dying Farooq. This is the boy's only chance! With his coat dripping wet Sam returns to Farooq and forces moisture into the boy's mouth. Barely able to swallow, Farooq regains consciousness. He looks up at Sam and smiles. The boy sighs. His eyes close. His breath stops. Farooq is dead. Not since Vietnam has Sam held a mortally wounded young man. The bitterness of the sacrifice of young marines killed in combat while in their country’s service swells in his heart. Sam cannot fight back his tears for the loss of a sweet child like Farooq. He is crying now for the first time. He sense's the life loss of each young man who fell in his command in Vietnam. Aggressively he and his men attacked the unseen enemy hiding in the jungle. They had come to accept as inevitable the death of comrades. After some minutes Sam's emotions are drained. His thoughts return to the presence of a killer. Why has Farooq been killed? Sam again searches the boy's body. A student should carry nothing of worth. This was no robbery. The lad must have surprised his killer here upon the path. But what motive would one have to silence the boy? Someone from the villa! The villagers have no reason to venture along this path. It leads to the observatory only. Farooq must have known his killer.
What would initiate a fatal confrontation? There would have to be suspicion of one cast against the other. The killer's presence must have alarmed Farooq. The killer must have a reason for going to the observatory. The boy’s blood is yet warm. His death must be mere minutes form receiving these injuries. The killer must be ahead. The observatory! Something is there. The killer is searching there now. Sam lets lose of his handgun and searches the ground near Farooq's body. ~~~~~ Naked from the waist up and bathed in fresh blood, Sam advances to the observatory with gun in hand. His figure as it approaches the observatory is one of pure horror. His scholarly look has been replaced with that of a blood covered barbarian. Sam is now unrecognizable. He has assumed a grotesque costume that gives him a ferocious disguise. The feel of combat has not left Sam. Time for Sam remains seized in discrete frames that permit his eyes to intensely observe. No motion or sound escapes him. The handgun has grown to be featherweight in his grip. His strength is renewed. A dark figure stands upon the viewing platform behind the telescope. He is confused and shaken by the wild look of the approaching man with a weapon. As the observatory fills Sam's view, the phantom intruder has stepped in to a dark recess. Sam halts his approach. He sees the students’ personal belongings that have been tossed about by someone's search. He notes on the above viewing platform that the encoder has been removed from the telescope. Sam senses the presence of evil. He has no choice but to confront Farooq’s killer.
Sam turns on the generator. It sputters loudly then settles into a mechanical hum. He steps softly inside the observatory entrance. The first room is poorly light from a bare bulb that flickers with each sputter of the generator. There is no place to hide here. The computer and metal storage boxes are missing. Items found of no concern by an intruder lay discarded. The entranceway to adjoining rooms shows the lower floor empty and remains undisturbed. Sam knows the killer is trapped upon the upper deck and waits. The stairs leading to the viewing platform offer the only real darkness now. There is one storage closet at the stair's landing just before the closed door to the upper deck. The killer has the advantage if Sam approaches. Sam closes the entrance to the observatory so the sun’s light may not penetrate. The electric light bulb in the first room is loosened and its glow is extinguished. The inside of the observatory is now black. Sam waits for his eyes to become accustomed to the dimness. The killer has lost his advantage in dark vision. Sam removes his shoes to soften the sound of his steps. He moves onto the stone stairway in a crouched position. Sam is almost prone as he begins his ascent. The tension of the approaching encounter with a vicious unknown killer mounts. Sam breaks into a profuse sweat. For each step, one crawl up is required. Sam pauses to listen and gauge the enemy’s position. There is only one man up there he is sure. He has a knife and possible a gun. The killer must stand where he has tactical advantage and cover from Sam’s fire. Surprise attack will be the killer’s choice. This is the way he put an end to Farooq, and most likely Izzy as well.
The musk and dampness of the old stone works of the observatory has filled Sam’s sense of smell upon every visit. Just now there is a faint hint of a sweet scent. It is cologne, an au de toilet that greets him as he further ascends the stairs. The killer is near the door to that opens on the observatory's viewing platform. Sam wants to call out! He holds his voice and stills his breath gently not wanting any sound from his location. His life is in jeopardy. Sam thinks of Heidi. He has yet to make a will. He thinks of his new partner, Sophia. She will mourn his loss despite their brief association. He thinks of Ruthy. He has to join her sometime. Sam picks up a small piece of stone upon the stair upon which his free hand rests. Without hesitation the stone is thrown downward to the sie of the closed entance door away from where the killer waits. The stone hits the wall and falls upon the lower deck Before the stone comes to rest three flashes of light with popping sounds come quickly from deep in the recess used for storage. Sam's gun flashes in answer. One large boom sends a high caliber round directly into the recess. A thud is heard. A second round from Sam’s gun results in a moan from the darkness. A body falls down the stair well brushing Sam on it's way to a crash upon the lower floor. Silence lures Sam back down the stairs. He opens the entrance door to illuminate the floor. There lying quite still is the body of Deni Beaudoin. A large chest wound has meant Beaudoin's instant demise. Sam searches the killer's pockets but finds no clue to his presence in the observatory. Exhaustion from the conclusion of combat sets upon Sam as it did years ago. Just as then Sam know needs to fills his lungs with smoke to renew his sense of being alive. He needs
to abandon the fear of being a walking dead man. He sits next to Beaudoin's body and borrows a small cigar from its dead owner. The fumes from the small cigar mix with the stale air of the room. The scent of French toiletry is not masked buy the acrid smoke. Sam wonders if Beaudoin had ever before confronted an intended victim prepared to be attacked. ~~~~~ Having returned to his room, Sam makes straight to the shower. The remains of the morning’s carnage are to be wash away. The fresh water pours over his head as time resumes a normal pace. The soap’s lather revives his senses. Emerging thoughts help Sam regain his present life. The first visions that separate him from combat are of Sophia. He has much to say to her. Her presence in the Villa offers hope. She represents new life and a new future that compels him to civility. Her hears his niece voice call him as if from a dream. Heidi has come to depend on him as a close family member. He feels a need to call her. Be fore he leaves this island he will collect a present with which to surprise her upon his return. His mind refreshes. The death struggle that has consumed him in Meezgole is being put into perspective. The shower is prolonged. Sam heals in its water. Soap washes away dirt and blood from his body. The events at Meezgole are now becoming clear in his mind. Sam realizes that a powerful man of short stature had to cut Dickey’s throat. The killer as a trophy for proof had taken the ear of the one assassinated. This means that the killer is to collect a bounty. Most likely one posted by a paramilitary group that Dickey had worked against while active in army intelligence. The bounty is international hence the bounty collector is international.
Subha was having sexual trysts with Beaudoin and he was paying her for information on Izzy. Beaoudoin succeeded in fooling a veteran intelligence officer. Deni Beaudoin came here to collect the bounty on Dickey Lewis. The proof is to be the missing ear to be found in Beaudoin's possession. Lewis must have been using Subha to gather information. Perhaps he learned of the artwork being smuggled into Meezgole. The girl was intimate with a dangerous man who arrived in Meezgole for illegal dealings. This man was taller than Beaudoin as the angle of the wounds to Subha’s head suggests. Famaraz was much taller than Beaudoin. The finding by Dincer of a nearly empty carton of Camel’s cigarettes in Lewis study suggests Famaraz as the killer of Subha. Famaraz learned of the artwork's arriving from Subha and killed her so no others would be informed. Subha had no time to inform even her father of the treasure and its arrival. The girl died from the abrupt intrigue. All have died from the intrigue. But who killed Famarz and Ling Ling? The intrigue continues. As Sam leaves the shower he hears a knock at his door. Surely Sophia is yet with the students in the dinning area. Dincer perhaps? It is not his style of rapping upon a closed door. The sound is urgent and unfamiliar. Could there be another murder so soon? Sam instinctively gathers his 45-caliber handgun as he moves to the door. Sam senses return once again into military reaction. Slowly the door opens as Sam's body stands off to the side. His weapon lowers upon the visitor at the other side. The visitor is Villi Knatuek. The Russian is sweating profusely and his clothes and boots show signs of much motorcycle riding. "Tarlach is Villi. Dere is much trouble vith observatory!"
Sam slides the handgun under a towel for concealment but does not drop his guard. "Villi what is the matter?" Sam asks as he opens full wide the door to admit the Russin. "Mujahadin have attacked observatory and have taken much valuable goods found dere!" "What are you talking about Villi?" Sam baits the Cassock. "I vas in hill. I find student Farooq killed by knife. Is mujahadin way. I find man shot in observatory. He is dead. It vas the little man dat is pest to all voman in villa." "Beaudoin?" "Dat is man! All things from observatory are broken or missing. Dere is raid early dis morning on observatory. I can no find students! I no can find girl student Prana. Maybe all are dead?" "The students have meeting very early with Dr. Torrenti in dinning room. I am sure that they are to be found there else Dr. Torrenti should have notified me." "I shall follow mujahadin into hill on bike. They have Villi's sword. Tell Prana I do not return to Meezgole. Police from Ankara arrive this day. It is not safe for Villi here. Please Tarlach tell Prana this things for me. I shall soon be to her home village. She must wait dere for me." "But of course Villi I shall inform her before lunch. What sword? Why mujahadin?" "Villi have small sword. Vas found during battle. It is vorth much gold. Mujahadin vant sword. They come from hill as always. They have da horse but Villi can follow. Where da horse go da bike is go. I leave know." "Why raid the observatory?" "Farooq is smuggler. He helps Villi. Sword vas staying in observatory with Farooq.” "You had this sword brought here to be sold? Who was going to buy it?"
Villi makes his chest salute. "Is no good now! Sword now gone and police come." Frustration and hate show from Kanteuk's face. "It vas da good time Tralach to have da drinks with you. Soon ve meet again. Now I go kill mujahadin." Villi's smile shows his surge in hope for a coming confrontation.
The midday ferry lands at Meezgole. Two police officers wearing military style tan uniforms with red berets displaying the insignia of a special police force disembark in the company of a gray suited police investigator. The three have been sent from the capital of Ankara itself. The investigator is the chief of homicide for the Ankara district. His presence signals that one has come with the absolute authority to dispense justice in the case of Subha Gundez.
Dincer waits at the dock’s edge with the ship’s manifesto of goods and persons arriving and departing the village of Meezgole. He stands stiff at the approach of the police officers. "You there! You are agent for dock?" The man in the gray suit calls to Dincer. “Yes I act as government agent of commerce for village." Dincer speaks cautiously. "You will take us directly to Villa Azizi!" The man in the gray suit spoke. The three officers look intensely at Dincer for his response. The van from the villa is just here." Dincer points to the vehicle parked in the center of the road just off the dock. "I shall take you there at your wish." The three policemen turned their attention from Dincer. The senior officer speaks quietly to the two uniformed men for a moment. One officer moves away toward the village. "Now!" The leader commands as he and the second officer in uniform move directly to the van. Upon being seated the uniform officer removes a note pad from his pocket. He speaks methodically. "Your name?" "Dincer Gundez." “Occupation?" "Merchant." "Residence?" "Meezgole." "How many years in residence?" "All of my life...53 years." "You are related to the murdered girl?" The man in the suit interrupts.
"Yes, I am father." "How old was the girl?" "Sixteen years next month." "Do you have any other children?" "No" "The girl was not married?" "No." "She lived at home with you?" "Yes...always." The suited officer turns quiet. The uniformed voice resumes. "Married?" "Yes." "Wife's name?" "Meeka." The van pulls in front of the villa and it stops. "Enough for present! You will remain here at van till you are needed." The senior officer points to Dincer as the two passengers make their way out of the van and toward the grand entranceway of the villa. The officers march into the reception area. Mrs. Christown is in waiting. "Good day officers! I am the owner, Lady Christown. May I be of assistance?" "We require three adjoining rooms for staff plus an additional room suitable for the conference." The suited officer gives command.
"Of course! There is a reading salon just near the dining area with many chairs and several desks..." "This will do! Have coffee sent to the salon at once for my staff. I wish to see the list of all guests and staff at the villa for the last 6 months...Sargent have the dock agent...what is his name?" "Gundez" The uniformed officer reads from his notepad. "Have Gundez fetch a list of all persons arriving and departing Meezgole during this same time. You villa is quite beautiful Mrs Christown. There is nothing like it anywhere else in Turkey." "Thank you..." "I am Umi Taksim, Chief Inspector for Ankara Department of Justice’s Special Force. Just to call me Inspector. I shall need to talk with your account as well." "I am afraid that is not possible at present, Inspector." "No? Why not?" "He is dead! Found dying in his room just recently." The inspector motions with his hand, and the uniformed assistant begin to open his note pad. "Account's name?" The sergeant asks while the inspector begins to smoke a small pungent cigar. "Manuel Soriaga" "Age?" "33 years." "Country of residence?"
"United States of America." "Years in residence at villa?" “About three years." "Duties of his position?" "Business manager, casino manager, accountant." "Married?" "Yes...his wife is Elizabeth Soriaga." "Is she employed by the villa as well?" "Yes...she is the head house keeper." "Do you know the cause of his death?" The inspector interrupts. "No, it is suspicious as he was so healthy and..." “Have there been any other deaths here in the villa?" The inspector asks causally. "Yes the girl Subha was shot...the Englishman was stabbed to death, and a Persian was found drowned...A young Lebanese student was also stabbed to death this morning on the grounds...and well a French man was shot to death in a dual." The officers both freeze. They are stunned into loss of animation. The inspector’s mouth hangs open as he stares into Lady Christown's eyes with disbelief. "Is there any guest yet remaining alive here?" "So far no new deaths...at least not that I am aware since your arrival. Thank goodness you've come." The lady is quite dazed by the content of her own words. "You mean to say that there have been five unnatural deaths here in past few days? Where are all these bodies now?" The inspector asks yet in shock.
"They are all piled up...ah locked up and stored in a basement cold room...waiting for you." The lady is somewhat embarrassed by the response of the police. "Sargent get all details from this woman...when you finish with her get keys to morgue and I shall examine the bodies. First, I must call commissar and report much violence found at Meezgole." "Excuse me, Chief Inspector...the bodies have been examined by the American scientists as soon as they were found. Dr Torrenti has some medical training I understand," Lady Abatha offers. "Sargent have this Torrenti sent to me at once...I shall set this reading salon as headquarters and we begin at once!" The inspector makes off with haste. ~~~~~ Sophia steps into the room in which Inspector Taksim makes his headquarters. The room is full of acrid smoke from the cigar that is smoked continuously. The sent of strong Turkish coffee is also present. Taksim enjoys this brew continuously as well. Behind a large desk facing the entrance, Sophia sees a large well-proportioned man. His hair is strawberry blond mixed with white at the borders. His full beard is blond and neat, just as his personal appearance. The inspector stands to greet Dr. Torrenti. He bows slightly at the waist and tilts his head in respect to a woman. “Inspector Taskim of Ankara Police!" He announces himself to Sophia. "Dr Torrenti, University of Pittsburgh, Directress of Astronomical Research." Sophia answers in matching formality as she approaches the man who towers more than a foot over her.
The inspector stands 6 feet 6 inches with large hands and feet. The girth of his chest is like that of an oak tree. His suit is gray well-pressed and very business like. The neatness in his dress and grooming fail to conceal the barbarian that only such size may support. His words are clear and expressed with supreme intellect. His steel gray eyes penetrate Sophia's inner self with fixed stare. "His eyes never blink", Sophia says to herself. She notes wildness in his gaze that reminds her of a large predator. The inspector’s size and manners have Sophia completely bewildered. "You have examined the bodies of all those killed here in the past days?" Taksim speaks clearly and softly. "Yes I have written all my observations and findings down." She hands the inspector a report thorough in all details. "This information is correct?" The inspector asks as he places her file upon his desk. "The information introduced as fact in the report is accurate. Conclusions listed as probable require further investigation." Sophia answers with confidence. The inspector studies her face over several thought filled moments. "Torrenti, please to have a seat!" The inspector points to the nearest chair. “May I offer you some very fine Turkish coffee?” Sophia again is without a title. She remains silent, as is her custom in front of powerful men. She politely declines with a shake of her head. The inspector continues to observe her and his eyes flash as his silent thoughts proceed. "You have been to Turkey before?" "This is my first visit," answers Sophia. “You have a Mediterranean accent.”
“My home is Roma where my heart is to be found. I have just taken position in America.” “I have been to Italia upon many occasions...professionally. I see you prefer the Silvinho’s dress. These I acquire for my nieces. They are delirious for such fashion.” Sophia must smile at his expertise. Sam would never notice such details. “I was guest to American University, John Jay in New York City. Many times I am asked to return but my work here does not allow this. My mother’s heart is in Ankara. It is written that the path to the heart of the world passes through the Aegean.” Taskim’s mind is distracted by pleasant memories. “It is actually to be my first trip to New York. There is a conference in late summer to which I shall attend. I had hoped to speak of results from Meezgole but this is impossible now.” Sophia’s mind turns to the excitement of the coming year in her new position. "Do you like my country?" The cigar moves to the inspector's mouth as he awaits her reply. Sophia becomes resentful at these questions. She feels the inspector’s examination of her as too private. "The land is beautiful, and the people are most uncomplicated." "But?" The inspector adds. He senses her distance. "There is too much death in this place!" Sophia answers sternly. "Most of those killed are not Turks. Do you think Turks kill these people?" The inspector's question is asked slowly as though he is making an effort to place calmness in his conversation.
"They were killed by someone in Turkey. It is for you to determine the killer and from where they come." Sophia says carefully and with relief." She notices that the inspector is pleased with her response. A flash of agreement radiates from the inspector's eyes and it is the only sign given to Sophia from the staid expression of his countenance. "Your work shall be included in my official report." This is substantial recognition buy the inspector who has long been accustomed to an all-male police society. Sophia does not depreciate herself with a response. “You are beautiful woman. It is said that all of this earth must take pleasure for such beauty. Turkey is most happy to have your presence. I regret your work has not been completed satisfactorily.” Taskim has little need for more from this lady. “I hope to depart Meezgole at once. Delays in my arrival to America shall not be tolerated.” Sophia wishes to inform the inspector that she is one of much authority as well. “You shall not be further inconvenienced. Your words are given in truth. The people of Turkey appreciate you help in these matters. You are dismissed.” Taskim keeps the final authority. ~~~~~ Sam has just concluded his long shower and farewell to Kantuek. Copious washing removed the stain of blood from his body. Fresh clothes and cologne remove the sent of death. His appetite is just recovering as a uniformed officer appears to summon him to the inspector’s make shift office.
Sam moves with his escort into the reading salon where he takes a seat before the inspector. "You are wearing a hand gun?" The inspector asks as he places a small cup of coffee onto his desk. "Yes!" Sam does not rise. "Please give it over to the sergeant." The inspector asks politely as he sips the hot black liquid. Sam hands the weapon to the uniformed officer who immediately places it on the desk for the inspector's observation. "You have fired this weapon recently?" Comments Taksim as he removes the barrel from under his nose. "Yes!" "Whom did you shoot?" A small cigar rises to the inspector’s lips. "I killed Deni Beaudoin." Sam’s eyes do not blink. The scientist’s dry countenance and hard stare match the inspector's. Except for the deficiency in his physical size Sam is every bit the equal of the inspector. A long blue gray flume of smoke expels from the inspector’s mouth. "Why did you do this thing?" "He had just killed the boy Farooq and he was attempting to kill me." The inspector's eyes search over Sam. Again, the inspector’s mind is deep in much thought. "Why was the boy killed?" More of the thick Turkish coffee is consumed.
"Farooq surprised Beaoudin upon the approach to the observatory. He did not want the boy to tell of his presence." Again the inspector pauses for reflection. Several puffs of cigar smoke are spent "Did Beaudoin kill any one else here or at the observatory?" The inspector's words are given softly and slowly. "Yes! He killed the Englishman Lewis with a knife." "Why?" The inspector points to the craft of a rich Turkish brew as an offering to his guest. "I'm sure this rogue was here to collect a bounty on the life of Lewis." Sam rejects the inspector’s offer with a wave of his hand to the side. "Who wished this Lewis dead?" Taskim signals for the officer to approach. The inspector writes a note and hands it to the officer who turns and disappears. "Mr. Lewis was a retired British anti terrorist expert by all accounts. He would have undoubtedly made enemies on both sides in the northern Irish conflict during his time there. An international bounty appears to have been place by some party. “IRA or Royalists?” “Either are real candidates as both committed terrorists acts against each other.” An unusually long draw by the inspector upon the last remains of his cigar gives pause. “It is written that there is no more detestable act as the killing of one’s brother. It is further written that such act renders the end of one’s own cause. It brings the genocide of the people one fights to keep.” “Vietnam was genocide forced upon those people by distant interests. Much waste of life was due to foreign allegiance.”
"How did you decide that Beaudoin was the killer of Mr. Lewis?" "I had suspicions from the physical evidence. I wasn't certain till I found this in Beaudoin’s room later this morning." Sam hands the inspector a small round humidor. The inspector opens the same and finds wrapped in paper a severed human ear. "Do you have this Beaudoin's knife in your possession?" The inspector looks with approval toward Sam. "The knife is stored in the cold room in the basement with the bodies of the deceased." The inspector turns to light another cigar. He stops to enjoy the smoke as he inhales. "I have read the report of Torrenti. The examination of the body of local girl named Subha is accurate as I myself have determined." The inspector pauses and places his cigar upon the desk. He moves to the warm urn of black coffee and he points to the empty cup in front of Sam. "Coffee in Turkey is like tea to the English. You should learn to enjoy." Sam again indicates with a polite wave of his hand his lack of need for the inspector’s precious liquid. "Many times I have had to stay awake for very long periods of time. Such coffee makes the need for sleep distant. In fact I sleep very little without it. Many nights I read away the time till dawn." The inspector offers a small glimpse of his personal life. “Persian poetry is my passion. Do you write poetry, Dr Tarlach?" Sam again does not speak but shakes his head in the negative. Sam smiles at this thought. "The melody of words…the harmony of sound from the spoken word. Human thought captured in phrase with human emotion. It is very powerful form of communication." "I confess that I do on occasion read Shakespeare!" Sam answers as a way of agreement.
"I have read this man many times but the American poet Frost has much to offer as in the way of the Persian poet." The inspector opens his briefcase and presents Sam a copy of Frost's work. "To enjoy, to learn from poetry one must hear the words spoken aloud...not just read but expressed in their passion!" Sam looks overt the text and recalls his enjoyment of these works from years ago and wonders why he has never reread them. "As young police officer, I began to listen and read poetry. I wished to hear more from a person than simply the words spoken. I trained myself to feel the soul of the person as he speaks. The poet is a teacher of human experience and human character. The Turks are great poets as are the Persians." More smoke pours forth followed by gentle sipping. "I had no idea that poetry was practical in police work." Sam is amazed. "Dr. Tarlach, if I need the answer to science I ask a scientist. Where does one go to learn to fathom the soul, or search the heart? It is only poetry that has such answers." Sam wonders what secrets he has revealed to this Turkish sleuth by form of his speech. "I have come to trust you greatly. You are a most honorable man, Dr. Tarlach. You and your assistant Torrenti have been a great help to the people of Turkey in the matters here." "We felt a need to assist the police only." Sam assures the inspector. "Tell me Dr. Tarlach what you have made of the girl's death?" The inspector reclines in his chair as to indicate to Sam his desire for a lengthy explanation. The darkening cigar smoke that shrouds him shows the interest of the inspector. "The dead Persian Shahbazian had a relationship with the young girl." "Business or social?"
"As best I can tell inspector, the girl was for hire! It seems she was agreeable to help anyone for a price." "She sold her services to anyone?" "Yes! If for nothing more than as an cigarette vendor, she would oblige." "This Persian had dealings with he girl?" "This Persian is an international business man. He did not conduct small scale business dealings." "So the Persian employed her a source of inside information?" "Exactly!" "Do you know what deal occupied his interest here?" Sam recognizes that his words are to be most scrutinized. He has to reply without delay else the inspector shall surely take alarm. "Treasure...some piece of ancient artwork as best I am able to determine is to be had in Meezgole. Valuable enough that people will kill to obtain it." "The girl's death?" "She was assassinated! Killed to seal her silence." "The girl was used also by others interested in this art work?" "Undoubtedly! I fear she was too young to know of the magnitude of this dealing in money and risk.” "The Persian killed her?" "Most likely! I have not had the chance to search his yacht." "We are doing so very thoroughly and as I speak!” The inspector sent his first officer into the village to have all foreign vessels immediately searched for any contraband.
"The weapon is 9 millimeter but the bullets will have a reduced charge of explosive powered. What of the girls aboard his vessel?" "They shall be questioned to see if they have any information of other crimes in Turkey. Most likely they shall be released." "Will the Turkish authorities investigate the death of the Persian?" Sam asks. "The facts in his demise shall be reported. Since he is to found responsible for the death of a Turkish citizen no further investigation shall be warranted." Inspector Taksim speaks with final authority. A most satisfactory puff on the cigar gives cause for the inspector to add. “All properties of this criminal are to be seized by the state.” Sam understands the need for expediency. The inspector has undoubtedly much work awaiting his return. "May I ask about the American Mr Soriaga? What of his death?" The inspector answers also in finality. "We shall cooperate with the American officials from their embassy. The facts and the remains as well as any physical evidence shall be turned over to them without delay." The inspector puffs nervously as he dislikes accounting to foreign dignitaries. "The investigation is over then?" Sam says with some relief. "The question of these deaths is at the end except for minor details needed for my report...The issue of stolen antiquity is another matter.” Here the inspector’s cigar smoke blows threateningly “Theft of Turkish antiquities is a serious offense. If as you say there is a valuable object here for sale, then I must determine if it rightfully belongs to Turkish people." The inspector's eye gleams with anticipation of the chase. "I take it that all unregistered antiquity found on Turkish soil is Turkish property?" Sam is certain of the inspector's response.
"Assuredly! Would not it be so in America?" The inspector awaits an answer. A sip of coffee is used to signal his triumph in the matters of Meezgole so far. "I have no doubt that it would be just the same...The port is still closed?" "No one or no thing shall leave without my permission." The inspector pulls his coffee to his lips. Sam is hopeful that the killer who is after the sword shall be found out for Bing Bing's sake. “Many have been sacrificed here in the past few days.” “The Persian poet writes that the lamb is to come only at the time of great sacrifice.” Sam is confused. “What does this mean?” “Wherever and whenever this treasure is to be found lives shall be spent. Its wealth is measured in lost lives and not by the materials that compose it.” The head of Taksim nods affirmatively. “I shall see that the lambs are now no longer needed in Turkey.” “Tell me Taksim how did you come to be an inspector? Why did you become a police man?” Sam settles back in his seat. This is to be interesting he surmises. “Ah! This is most interesting tales.” Taksim refreshes his cup with dark coffee. He settles back as well. The cigar smoke moves rhythmically as his thoughts organize. “My father was weaver. We lived in very poor section of Ankara. My parents and my five sisters all sleep in three room house.” “No brothers inspector?” “I was end to father’s curse. Last to be born, I am only son.” Taksim smiles at his fate. “My sisters are good weavers but I am not. My father must place me into life’s work. It is the way in Turkey. He passes police station one day when I am being just boy. The sign
is posted for new recruits. My father takes me to station and I become new policeman. My father lied as to my age. Because of my height no question is asked.” “So you wore the police uniform even before you became a man?” Sam invites himself to the Turkish coffee much to Taksim’s delight. “You began as ordinary patrol man?” “Yes, I walk patrol at night in very dangerous part of Ankara.” There are no guns. We have stick and whistle only while on patrol.” “I thought Turks loved the sharp knife?” Sam finds the bittersweet flavor relaxing. “Knifes are not legal! Every man has access to one. It is very dangerous to face angry man whose has the knife when one has only a stick. The whistle is more effective against the knife.” “How so Taksim?” “Many police come when it is blown. Many sticks are good defense against one knife.” Both men laugh heartily. “So when did you become inspector of homicide?” “Very soon as new patrol man there is serious trouble in my section of Ankara. In morning time the dead woman is being found. First one then two then the third is discovered. Each is brutally murder by vicious attack late in the night.” “Serial killer?” Sam asks. “Serial killer is man from west only!” Taksim disapproves of Sam’s notion. “Killer is mad person crazy only. There is no pleasure in killer for acts.” “How many women were killed?” Sam has difficulty with the inspector’s distinction.
“Six in three months were killed. I myself found the fifth. The city was very much concerned. Police have no clues. Commissar of police is very angry for results to end killings.” “You solved the crime and got promoted to homicide!” Taksim is a bit deflated by Sam concluding the story early. “Yes I was youngest detective of homicide ever in Turkey.” Sam senses the disappointment of his host. “What happened? I must hear all!” Taksim smiles to be permitted to continue.“I wondered why it is so easy for killer to get to woman alone at night. I began to follow the lone woman on my beat at night to see how the woman responds.” “Yes! Good notion! What did you discover?” “Each woman has sense if the man is approaching even if unseen in the dark. Some way the killer is able to get close to victim.” “You took this as the clue you needed?” “Yes, I knew killer must be a woman as no man may near woman so alarmed. I presented my idea to my superiors. They disapproved.” Taksim reflects with several sips of coffee to enhance his pleasure. “I convinced several smaller sized officers to dress as woman for night patrol. Soon one was attacked and the woman arrested.” “The woman never killed again.” “No she was escaped from mental institute.” “You promotion was immediate?” “Yes, commissar was most relived from bad newspaper writings.”
“So you have been an inspector of homicide since before you were actually a man full grown?” “Yes I was very much yet a boy!” At this point, his first officer who has returned from the shah’s boat interrupts the inspector. Many weapons have been seized. One a small 9-millimeter automatic handgun was found. “Seems Tarlach you should be homicide detective.” The inspector congratulates his assistant and orders him to wait in an adjoining room. The second officer arrives with Tugay. The inspector signals with his raised hand for Tugay to enter and Sam to remain. “You are the one who answers to name, Tugay?” “Yes I am the same. I have been called this since first day I am coming to Meezgole.” The Hindu is quite nervous and rolls his head side to side as he responds. Taskim holds his cigar to his lips for a very long slow draw as s he studies the smaller Hindu’s appearance. “How come you to Meezgole?” “I am man servant to Lord Christown for many years. When his lordship acquires villa at Meezgole I am here with him.” “How did you find employment with Christown?” The inspector disdains royalist titles. “I was boy. My home is Deli but I go to my village on seacoast and fish with my uncle. There one day a grand ship comes to stay. Never has my village seen such a magnificent sight. It is having very large sails of white and blue and many shiny metal parts. We say Maharaja is there on boat...” Taksim interrupts. “Why were you originally engaged by Christown?”
Tugay squirms for relief from the inspector’s gauze. “His Lordship is coming to collect things from sea bottom for his collections. He pays very well. I am very good diver and bring excellent specimens very fast to his lordship...” “What specimens?” Taksim does not disturb his coffee cup and his cigar is idle as well. “Puffer fish, sea snake, special corals having many bright colors, the very small eels from the reefs...” “How did Christown die?” “He was having sea voyage in very ruff waters. Ship was lost with all aboard.” Tugay is genuinely sad. “His lordship was very fine gentleman.” “When did this accident occur? Where?” “At southern tip of South America...nearly four years ago.” “There is a son?” “Yes. James is only child to Lordship. He lives in London and is very much like his father...” “Christown kept you on as skilled diver and man servant?” “Yes...” “You do not dive in Meezgole?” Taskim takes a lone puff and resumes his interest. “Do you now what means the name Tugay?” “It is local name from village. This I am called since coming.” The Hindu offers a smile of curious delight. “Presently you are employed by the woman Christown?” “Lady Abatha is having me work in villa.” “Where are the sea specimens stored?”
The Hindu is quite nervous. “In basement of villa.” “You have access here?” “Yes but only do I go there for Lady Abatha.” “You participated in the villa’s restoration? How long ago?” “Very much. All work day and night since tens year’s time. I am doing many things...” “Is there a map of the villa’s construction?” Taksim is asking his questions quickly now. “No!” Tugay’s eyes divert the inspector’s gaze. “What do you know of the American Soriaga’s death? Did you participate in his killing?” A very excited Tugay answers. “Nothing! I am having no knowledge of such things. My hands are free from this man’s dying.” The inspector calls the uniformed sergeant to his desk and hands him a written note. Then the second uniformed officer is called from the other room. “This man is under arrest.“ Taskim points to a stunned Tugay. “He is to be kept.” The trembling Hindu is removed from the room. Taskim refreshes his cold coffee and resumes his cigar smoking with much relish. Sam notes that excitement shows with each act of the inspector’s motion. Taskim takes no note of Sam nor does he speak. Sam is at a wonder of the present proceedings. Soon Lady Abatha is escorted into the room. She is most uncomfortable and nods simply to acknowledge Sam’s presence. “You are present owner of villa?” Taskim does not look at the woman but preoccupies his attention with the resumption of pleasures from his harsh drink and acrid smoke. “Yes! Why do you ask?” The woman speaks with disdain. Taskim ignores the insult. “The English authorities are forth coming?”
“I suppose. You refer to Mr. Lewis’ death?” “What do you know of stolen treasure to be here at Meezgole?” Taskim as yet does not look to the woman. “The ocean is full of such items in the Aegean.” “Your husband’s collection from the sea is intact?” Coffee is enjoyed. “It is just as he left it before he sailed off and was lost.” “Your husband had interest in study of biology from sea. Tugay was his assistant in such work? “Yes his Lordship published many treaties on rare sea life. He instructed Tugay personally.” “Your are trained in practice of medicine?” Taskim asks knowing the answer full well. “Why yes...how did you know? I was a nurse in London. I meet his Lordship at the hospital’s charity ball.” The lady is now confused as to the inspector’s purpose. “Why am I here? I am a British subject!” Defiance enters her words. The inspector stands. He places his coffee cup upon the desk. His present cigar is drained of its fumes. “You shall be held for the British authorities. Your crimes are not against people of Turkey. Please understand that I hold you only by agreement of Treaty with the United Kingdom.” The woman rises. She is irate. What ever do you mean...my crimes?” “The specimens in storage will be tested for poisons similar to that to be found in Soriaga. This Turkish police will do as courtesy to English. The dead Persian’s body will undoubtedly contain a similar poison from your husband’s collection.”
“You have no poof!” Lady Abatha barks. “Tugay is name for traitor. Turks see such things in a man. He will tell all to your English detectives.” Lady Abatha grows quite...even docile. Sam is amazed at the speed of the inspector’s deductions. “The names of all English guests in Villa since time of your husband’s death will also be given to the English.” Taksim calls the uniformed policemen to take Lady Abatha for holding. Sam waits until the inspector resumes his comfort. “How did you suspect the woman and not Tugay as the murderer?” “The poet writes that the shallow bowl offers the least to one’s guest.” A smoothing plume of smoke answers Sam as well. “Why do you give a list of past guests to the English?” “Such crimes as murder for gain come from a mind rich in experience. Tugay and this woman have been listening and watching the guest of the villa for choice in victim.” Sam invisions secret passagesthat run about the villa. “Make special note of any guest who occupied Room 222. I suspect that the lady chose her victims long before their arrival.” “This mystery in murder has solution.” Taksim answers but yet his excitement is not ended. “How did you deduce all this while you never left this room?” Sam’s bafflement continues.
“My officers are very trusted. It is written that the mind when free to travel may search any heart. Indeed it may search any port in of this world.” “So it is done?” Sam rises to quite the room. “Tarlach! My report shall state priceless ancient object was stolen from observatory.” Pause is made for smoke. Sam knows that Taksim has more to offer. “Pirates?” “There are no pirates in Turkish waters. They come from Greece only.” “You shall report the object of treasure is now in Greece?” Sam concludes. “I shall say stolen by Greeks.” Taksim looks hopefully at Sam. “ I shall not say that the item is returned to rightful owner.” Sam understands these words. “It is written in my land that justice and truth shall prevail.” Sam is pleased in his effort to match the inspector. “It shall be done as you shall not say.”
"As soon as possible! There are many small observatories suitable around the world. I have one in mind." Sam answers confidently. Sophia looks at Sam with consternation. "Don't tell me! You want us to go to Dijboutie!" She stands with one hand on her hip defiantly. "Yes! How did you know?" Sam is bewildered by her answer. "You have a student there who will help?" "Abdulah Abhraheem! He graduated just a few years ago. You are remarkably insightful!" Sam continues to be confused by the woman's ability to guess correctly. "You are a big American spy! I won't look at dead bodies in some remote dessert." "Here this is for you. When we get to Ankara you may hand it over at the US embassy." Sam places a small brown package into Sophia's hand. "They will return it to the rightful owner." "What is in this thing?” Unknowingly she handles the ceremonial weapon. Inside the package is a dagger with case and handle made from brass. It’s blade is solid gold and
~~~~~ "Well Dr. Tralach the pirates of the Aegean have your encoder, and all our equipment." Sophia says with disappointment. "Unfortunately! There is no way we shall get any observations of the cosmos done this trip." "You are not considering to return here, to Meezgole and risk another such disaster?" "No not at all! Sophia, the work on the encoder is too important scientifically to abandon." "Where shall you resume such study? When?"
bearing inscriptions in a primitive line form. “Do not ask what this package contains until we reach Ankara.” Sam has given to the woman for transport that which has caused the death of so many. "Is it worth anything Sam?" “To us very little. In actual material value, it is worth just a thousand dollars or so. As a piece of artwork, it may be worth several millions dollars. As a political tool in the Mid East, it is priceless.” "You mean that this small piece was worn by kings and queens from ancient times?" Sophia guesses the package’s contents.
"Wars have been fought for the right to possess it." Sam pauses. "It has never been held by a more worthy and regal person than you!" "I shall go with you to this Dijboutie, but first we go to Rome. I wish my mother to meet you herself." Sophia hands Sam a back up disk of the encoder’s data given her by Prana.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.