Followers

Total Pageviews

Saturday, March 24, 2012

("Put me out of my misery. I'd do it for you would you do it for me? Frustrated Incorporated…")…Soul Asylum

For Tuyet, Katrina, KaSandra, and Luc
my inspiration...

Chapter Fifty-three
Donnelly Stateroom, Saturday, September 3rd, 2005…12:55pm

Herr Price sat motionless in a small chair beside the writer's desk near the stateroom's entrance. He made no sound, not even a gentle whistle as he drew breath. He was as silent as the corpse weighted down in the bath under a dissipating film of scented bubbles, the late Alma Donnelley, his current assignment. A silenced Sig Sauer P226 nine millimeter pistol rested in his lap, cocked and ready to fire. Were Jean-Luc Rojier to walk into the room he would just have to meet his fate earlier than planned, a fact that did not bother Herr Price in the least. Frankly he didn't care much for Sanford Peck's propensity for the game of cat and mouse, he was more direct, and more disciplined, more German.

His eyes were transfixed on a brass knob in the center of the raised panel door. He waited for the fixture to turn, prepared to let fate dictate whatever was to happen next. There were muffled voices in the hall beyond the closed door. Someone (and he had a pretty good idea who) had unexpectedly joined his prey in the corridor. This was a significant development, not expected, but then again not totally unexpected either. It should have rattled him, it would have rattled most, but he showed no sign of concern. Herr Price was a machine, not easily distracted; never one to panic. He'd already thought of every contingency, and he was prepared to do whatever needed to be done.

He counted silently, giving the future a chance to merge with the present, eins - zwei - drei…and then the absence of sound. Stone faced he continued counting, vier - fünf - sechs - sieben…still no sound. The corridor was empty. His prey had literally dodged a bullet, for now. Herr Price moved for the first time in several minutes. He gently released the hammer of the hand gun, returning it to an idle state and reset the safety. Fate had been kind to "the Jack of Broken Hearts" this time, but it was only a stay of execution. The amateur pirate would be dealt with later, as originally scheduled, Herr Price would see to that personally. He waited another minute before he rose to leave. Retrieving a cell phone from his coat pocket he pressed the send button and delivered a pre-written order for subordinates to come and clean up after him. He tucked the phone back into his coat and left the room as slowly and silently as a creeping nun.


JFK Airport, New York, Saturday, September 3rd, 2005…7:30am

It hadn't taken long for whoever the nosey old bag at the reservations desk was signaling to make a move. Sandy spotted them right away. Two men dressed as a couple of Joe Average baggage handlers suddenly appeared to collect luggage volunteered for stowing by some cooperative passengers on the over booked flight for Los Angeles. These guys were too efficient going about their business, no chit-chatting or jive talking. They were too clean, it wasn't natural, and Sandy quickly deduced that their business at hand had nothing to do suitcases and totes. He looked toward the old broad at the desk, she was gone. Not a good sign, she was likely taking cover before the lead started flying. Nuts! That left the three of them and the two goons dressed in cobalt blue coveralls pretending to futz with Dick and Jane Passenger's oversized suitcases. He glanced over at Roman and François; they had noticed the same thing so at least the three of them were on the same page mentally. The time to boogie was right now! The random element was how many others were out there watching them. These guys were pros; they wouldn't have come to a gunfight with baseball bats and no back up. They'd have plenty of firepower and Sandy knew that he and his amigos would probably wind up in a wicked cross fire, sorta like the one Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid ran into in Bolivia during the final scene of the movie named for them. No way out man, no way out!

François walked over to Sandy, obstructing his line of sight for a moment. He didn't speak but looked directly at Sandy and then rolled his eyes slightly toward the window where Roman stood nervously scanning the area for more trouble. Sandy frowned, not understanding what François was trying to communicate. And then all of a sudden it hit him square in the face. Their escape route was right in front of them. The Standard Pharmaceutical murder squad may have had the terminal covered inside but not outside. The jet way was their way out, and it was only twenty feet away, and, for the moment they seemed to out number the bad guys.

It was a bold plan born out of desperation but Sandy and Roman were combat veterans even if was a lifetime ago. They knew how to shoot and scoot. Sandy tactically surveyed the area, the way he was taught in Recon back at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. He did the math while François pretended to chat with him. The old man was going to be a liability; that was clear. Two of them would have a chance to get past the two heavily armed and beefy obstacles blocking the entry to the jet way, a slim chance, if one of them could cause a big enough diversion. Someone (Sandy) was going to have to take one for the team, nuff said. He looked Roman's way and they made eye contact. Sandy blinked S - B - R in Morse code at his former brother in arms, student body right. Roman knew that play well; they had used it many times in the Nam dodging Mr. Charlie and his Viet Cong cousins in the black pajamas. It was on now!

Roman bent down and removed a hairbrush from his carry-on. He stealthily separated the handle from the business end of the brush, unsheathing an eight inch serrated blade, and then quickly dashed toward the jet way. Sandy shoved François into Roman's path and they traded packages. Roman grabbed François and headed for the wide open jet way while Sandy took the blade and headed straight for the two goons who were quickly reaching for whatever weapons they were concealing. Sandy was a step too slow and the would-be handlers were a shade faster than he had anticipated. In a New York minute gunfire erupted at the gate, scattering passengers and airline employees in the chaos of the moment. François grunted audibly as a nine millimeter round hit him just above his right hip, tearing through his flesh and rupturing his spleen. Roman felt him lunge against him and he became dead weight a heartbeat later. He dropped to a knee instinctively to lift François onto his shoulders in a fireman's carry, the quick maneuver saving his own head from being blown off of its perch atop his broad shoulders as several more rounds passed through the vacated air space and slammed into the jet way, ripping fist sized holes in the thin metallic structure.

Roman knew that the first rule of survival in a fire fight was to only concern yourself with what's in front of you. Whatever's behind you is either gonna be left behind or climb up your behind! The only smart move was to haul ass down the jet way and get out to the tarmac. Sandy would buy them the ten second head start that Roman figured he needed. One way or the other Sandy would come through, he always did. Roman grunted as he got back onto his feet with his heavy load and started running as fast as he could. He made his way down the narrow corridor in a serpentine pattern heading for the outlet at the end that led to the tarmac below. There was no need to look back, he didn't need to, Sandy would hold up his end and Roman would be damned if he wasn't going to do likewise. That was the only action that could justify Sandy's sacrifice. He and François were getting outta here or die trying, nuff said!

Sandy Lucci dove at the two Standard assassins, slamming into them like an angry  220 pound Italian battering ram. They'd seen him coming at them, but too late, and were unable to avoid his bull rush. The impact sent the three of them sprawling toward the reservations counter and Sandy plunged Roman's knife deep into the chest of the thug nearest him. The man gasped as his lungs emptied and his punctured heart pumped foamy bright red blood out of his mouth, soaking his blue coveralls. Sandy rolled over the top of the dying man toward his buddy, pulling the knife from thug number one's chest in one fluid motion and springing to his feet to take on thug number two. It was a pretty cool maneuver, worthy of any action flick he'd ever seen, but it was too slow and unfortunately too late. The second assassin was already on his feet with a Mac-10 leveled directly at Sandy's middle. In the nanoseconds that followed he flipped the knife blade back into his palm and threw it with all of his might at the blue clad assassin six feet in front of him. The heavy knife rotated once before it slammed into the chest of its intended target. Simultaneously, at least half a dozen rounds from the Mac-10's short burst ripped into Sandy Lucci body, one of them wiping the shit eating grin off of his face forever.

If there's a God and if there's a Heaven, then Santino Alberto Augustus Lucci would be feasting on his Mama's sausage & peppers later on with Jesus Christ Himself and His twelve Jew Apostles, the ones that Father Nick at St. Gregory's back in the old neighborhood had spent so much time teaching him about.


Jean-Luc Rojier's Stateroom, Saturday, September 3rd, 2005…3:45pm

The hot shower had helped chip away some of the ice acquired during my little meeting with Jack in the freaking meat locker below decks. I glanced at the Rolex on my wrist, time was up, I needed to scoot if I was going to be on time to meet with Sanford and keep his attention on me and me alone. I'd thought a lot about what Jack had said about his father. How he enjoyed toying with people, especially if he felt he had the upper hand, which he usually did, wealth affords you that advantage most of the time. Jack gave a few hot buttons to push to keep the old man off guard if I felt like I was losing control of the situation but he warned me to beware the consequences as even he could not predict how Sanford Peck would react. He's a game player Pat; remember that he said to me.

He told me that his father would try and place me in a position of weakness allowing him to assert his power over me. You won't be playing Cribbage, that wouldn't allow him to study you and your reactions to his subtle prying. Expect him to change that, probably chess. If he tries to steer you to the game table take the seat on the white side of the board, you'll have your back to the room but clear sight of the grandfather clock. That'll help you keep you from looking at your watch and tipping him off. Remember, we don't know how much he knows so assume he knows everything, but don't admit to anything or let him get you out of character. "Remember, you ARE Jean-Luc Rojier, NOT Pat Bouchard, get it?"

I had to admit, that made me nervous, but there wasn't anyway out of this now. I had to play this through to the end; I owed that to Gabriel and Monica, to everyone who'd sacrificed so much. I was too proud to be scared so that just left me with mad, and I was plenty of that in both connotations of the word. I grabbed my sport coat from the back of the chair and slipped it on, checking my look in the mirrored wardrobe door. At least I looked the part of a French aristocrat. I suddenly thought of my father and wished I could call him. I wanted to make sure he was alright, that he and the guys had made it home. But that was going to have to wait. I would just have to hope for the best. The old Pat would have prayed on it, but praying hadn't helped old Pat very much so far, so the new Jean-Luc would just leave it to fate, whatever that may be…



Sunday, March 18, 2012

"Because I want to get better..." KaSandra Dang...October, 2009

GOING BACK IN TIME THIS WEEK...



I WROTE THIS POST BELOW ON THE AIRPLANE RETURNING FROM MEMPHIS WITH THE FAMILY IN LATE OCTOBER OF 2009, IT WAS FIVE MONTHS BEFORE KK's PASSING. I WAS BITTER AND ANGRY AND SCARED ABOUT KaSandra's CANCER RETURNING, AND I STRUGGLED WITH HOW TO BE MORE SUPPORTIVE, AND WHERE TO FIND STRENGTH IN MY OWN WEAKNESS.

MY FAITH WAS BEING TESTED AT THE TIME IN WAYS THAT I DID NOT KNOW OF THEN, BUT THAT I KNOW ALL TOO WELL NOW. IT WAS THEIR BEAUTIFUL SPIRIT, MY FAMILY,  THAT WAS GUDING ME, CHANGING ME, AND ALL THE WHILE I NEVER EVEN KNEW IT. OH, HOW I WISH I WERE A SMARTER MAN BACK THEN. I KNOW THAT I AM A BETTER MAN NOW BECAUSE OF THEM.

THE LORD REALLY DOESN'T WORK IN MYSTERIOUS WAYS AS THE SAYING GOES. HE WORKS IN THE OPEN, RIGHT IN FRONT OF OUR VERY EYES. HE DOESN'T PUSH US, RATHER, HE HOLDS OUT BOTH OF HIS HANDS AND LEADS US. HE TEACHES HIS LESSONS WITH LOVE, THROUGH LOVE, WITH THOSE THAT WE LOVE MOST AND WHO LOVE US MOST.


THANK YOU Katrina...THANK YOU KaSandra...THANK YOU Luc...THANK YOU Tuyet...THANK YOU LORD...i love you



I know, I know, Life is beautiful, Life is precious, Life is meaningful, Life is a freaking gift from God! Unfortunately, Life is also a struggle, a challenge, a chore, and a uniquely personal test for each of us. We exist in a world with a perpetual forecast of “sunny with a chance of showers and oh yeah, watch out for the occasional tornado, earthquake, or hurricane!" It’s enough to drive you NUTS! Maybe that’s the idea?

Maybe Life is one long series of tests? Maybe that's how God molds us into who He wants us to be, using events and struggles, even His children to test our faith, to teach us valuable lessons about ourselves. And if it weren't for the whole "free will" thing, perhaps we'd get there as He planned. Mortals rarely walk a straight line, we're curious and naughty by nature. Our best lessons are usually learned the hard way...thanks a lot Eve.

Let's face it, Life is out of our control, it happens no matter how much we prepare for it. That's true from the get go. Think about it, how many of us planned on being born, planned on meeting "the one" and then losing them, planned on being hit by the proverbial bus or being thrown under one by someone who loves you, or planned on getting gravely ill? The only part of Life that we are in control of is how we deal with it. Never mind how closely you pay attention to the signs, or how carefully you travel down the road, it doesn't matter, because sooner or later you’re going to step on a land mine, "Life," is riddled with them. It is inevitable and it is so unpredictable. The minute you think you have it all figured out, BAM, the inevitable crazy “out of left field” occurrence takes place and totally challenges you! Those with strength of character absorb these obstacles and with faith stay the course, God is always on the side of the faithful.

Having accepted that axiom, I am learning to avoid the urge to ask “why.” I believe that to be the most frustrating word in any language. Why you ask? Because it only leads to more “whys” and eventual frustration as those at whom the word is directed inevitably run out of answers. My personal philosophy is to try and not question the will of God as there's no peace in that action. Only acceptance offers you a chance for peace because it puts you in a mindset to deal with whatever it is that Life brings to your doorstep.

My little muse gets it! She accepts the fact that these are the cards that Life has dealt her, for reasons beyond her or our understanding. And, she has resolved herself to play them her way. She is up to the challenge. She likes lemonade, she knows how to zig after a zag, and she refuses to take strike three looking, she's going to swing away! I am inspired by her strength of character and her will to live. If there is a snowballs chance, watch out, this little girl is going to start an avalanche!  You go KK, I want to be like you when I grow up…;)

Okay, enough lamenting and on with chapter five of:


“KK Undercover…The Cookie Caper…”

Rady Children’s Hospital: Chemo Shmeemo!


Sometimes it makes me mad looking at all the cutesy pictures of smiling children hanging in the halls here. I know that they are meant to make kids comfortable and less afraid when they stay here, but still, sometimes I think they should have some fine print under the pictures of smiling faces that says “enter at your own risk!” Sometimes I ask myself “why do you keep coming here, you almost never have a good time!” But then I watch my Mom take charge of my care, questioning everyone and everything, and I know I’ll be alright. And I see my favorite nurses who take care of me, give me stickers, hugs, and smiles, and I know I’m in good hands. And then Dr. S, and Dr. L, and Dr. Z come by and their soft voices and kind eyes make me feel safe. That charges me up in spite of the hushed tones they use when they talk plainly to my Mom.

“So, how are we feeling today KaSandra?” asks Dr. L as she walks into my room.

“What do you mean we?” I answer with half a smile.

Touché! I mean how are you feeling smarty-pants,” Dr. L teases.

“I’m okay, but my stomach hurts a little bit,” I reply.

“How do you mean, like a cramp or nausea?” she asks.

“Nausea,” I answer.

“Hmmmm, let me see,” she says, feeling my tummy under my shirt.

I turn my head and try and look out the window, but the blinds are closed and all I can see are shadows of people walking back and forth in the hall outside my room. There are two other kids in the out-patient chemo room with me today and they are both asleep. I sorta wished I were too.

“Ouch!”

“Tender there is it?” Dr. L asks, wrinkling her nose.

”Duh,” I reply, annoyed at the dumb question.

KaSandra! Don’t be rude!” snaps my Mom from the chair beside my bed.

“OKAY!”

“Sorry Dr. L, she’s been irritable all week,” my Mom explains.

The two of them disappear into the hall like they always do when they don’t want me to hear everything they’re saying. I don’t care; I want to be left alone right now anyways. I need to finish my plan to capture the Lunchito Bandito at school. Daniel will be bringing the bait tomorrow if his sister comes through with the cookies. All I have to do is work out the trap with Winnie and Claire tonight when I get home. I’ll text them when Mom thinks I’m doing homework! The tricky part will be getting warm cookies past Ms. Ryan’s desk without her making us put them on her desk. We need to get them into the cloakroom and into my cubbie so that the lunch swiping fiend will feel safe about making a play for the treats while were all at recess. The trickier part will be getting back into the classroom before the bell rings to catch him in the act. That’s where being a handicapped kid comes in handy! Ha-ha, I made myself laugh! I’ll tell Ms. Ryan that I’m not feeling well and get Winnie and Claire to help me back to my seat early. Then, while she is calling the nurse’s office, BAMMO, we catch the Lunchito Bandito in the act!

“Nice plan, simple, and effective,” I mumble to myself.

“What did you say honey?” asks my Mom.

“Nothing Mommy, I just was wondering when we were going home,” I replied.

“As soon as you're done here, around 5:30 we’ll be able to leave,” she said.

“Oh, but first we have to go and pick up your sister and brother at Aunt Tanya's house,” she added.

“Oh man! Can we get boba on the way home?” I asked whining.

“We’ll see, it’ll depend on the traffic, Mommy still needs to cook dinner,” replied my Mom.

I didn’t bother whining anymore, my Mom is really good at blocking out those noises. It doesn’t work for my brother either and he is the KING of the whiners. But, he’s really cute too so sometimes it works for him…NO FAIR!

Dr. L pats me on the head and tells me that she’ll see me next week. She waves to my Mom as she leaves and I watch my Mom watch her leave. The expression on her face bothers me but that just means she is thinking hard about something, not necessarily me. My Mom is ALWAYS juggling ten balls in the air at one time; it could be any one of the other nine! Its 5:05 according to the clock on the wall and my Hannah Montana watch, we’ll be leaving soon. I close my eyes and try to take a ten minute catnap, running the plan over in my head one more time.

“Tomorrow’s your day Mr. Bandito,” I mumble to myself.

“What did you say honey?” asks my Mom.

“Nothing Mommy…”



Next post: chapter six “KK Undercover…The Cookie Caper”

There was an error in this gadget

Follow by Email