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  • Patrick Rizio

Chapter 24

Sarah was brushing her teeth, getting ready for bed. Alison was preparing a lunch for her to take to school. Jason, (who had finally stopped working early enough to have dinner with them), was putting the dishes in the dishwasher. All three of them were experiencing the underlying peacefulness that often comes with traditional domestic family life. Then, Alison’s phone rang. Jason was closest, so he grabbed it. 

“Hello.”

“Hello. Could I speak to Alison Russo please?”

“Sure can. Who’s calling?”

“Cathy Wilson.”

“OK. Just a minute.” Jason cupped his hand and covered the phone. As he gestured for Alison to take it, she gave him a questioning glance. “It’s Cathy Wilson,” he answered.

“Who?”

“She said her name was Cathy Wilson.”

“It’s probably a sales call. Would you take it?” 

Jason smiled at his lady love and put the phone back up to his ear.

“What is this in reference to?” Eight seconds of silence followed.

“I really need to speak to Miss Russo.”

Jason felt himself beginning to get a little annoyed. He was after all, running interference for the woman he loved. As of yet, his “intuition” didn’t work over the phone.

“What is this about Miss? Who are you?” Again, there was silence. When the voice came back it was almost pleading.

“I’m…I told you my name is Cathy Wilson. I’m…I’m the mother of the epileptic girl that Miss Russo and her daughter saw at the Planetarium. Please don’t hang up. I really need to speak to her.”

*******

Jason pulled into the Planetarium parking lot, drove all the way to the east end, picked out a space and backed in. Alison would be joining him in a few minutes. He stood next to his car and stared out at the lake, taking deep breaths, exhaling slowly.

Looking over the water, seeing the endless rippling and folding of waves it occurred to him how Sarah, if she were there, would be taking in the scene on a much higher level. How she would look at the almost infinite undulation of the lake’s surface and inherently understand, not only the configuration as a whole, but also the patterns within the patterns.

It also reminded him that the enormous intellect that was Sarah, was contained within an eight year old girl. A girl who, just a short time ago, allowed herself to come out from behind the wall she had instinctively put up, so as to experience life.

That she needed to be nurtured and protected was clear. Jason’s true motivation, however, was other than the obvious. He had come to love Sarah with all his heart. It was why he felt this meeting with the Wilsons was a bad idea. The fact that they had hired a private investigator had angered him at first, but they were probably well intentioned. Loving their daughter, as they obviously did, made it easy to identify with their problem.

Then again, what did they think Sarah was going to do exactly? They were of course hoping for a cure, but Jason didn’t know if Sarah would be able to achieve that. And right now, bringing attention to her abilities in this sort of way, he just didn’t see any good coming of it.

Alison had agreed to meet after talking to Cathy Wilson, overriding his objections. Being a new mother and having a daughter herself, she empathized in a way that Jason knew he was unable to do. He also knew that no one could possibly love Sarah as much as Alison did. He understood, that she was incapable of doing anything on a conscious or unconscious level to hurt her daughter, their daughter.

*******

The meeting with his man had gone well. He had delivered all the information as promised. He always did. The next step was crucial, but his timeframe was no longer so limited. He mentally went over his plan and felt confident. Then he made the call. Fifteen minutes later, satisfied that his ducks were all in order, he put his feet up on the forty-five square foot desk, and treated himself to a glass of scotch.

*******

“Every one of my sources are just coming up empty. He’s got several congressmen in his pocket that I know of, and undoubtedly others under the radar. Right now, he’s using his influence for business as usual, so far nothing directly related to you. As a matter of fact, when I bring up Universal Biotech, all I get are questions about buying your stock, which by the way, Crowne also doesn’t seem to be interested in doing right now. About the only thing he is doing, concerning Universal Biotech, is bringing attention to you by stimulating investment interest.” Thompson sat back in his chair and let his old friend think things over. After a few minutes the big man spoke.

“Jack, let’s keep this thing simple.”

“OK.” Thompson replied. He knew simple was usually best.

“There are only two possibilities here. Either Crowne is coming after us, or he’s not.”

“Agreed,” Thompson said, nodding his head.

“I can’t believe he’s giving up. It’s not in his nature to do so. It simply isn’t who he is.”

“Agreed.”

Schimmel continued quietly.

“Now, if he’s not using the obvious channels…”

The two men starred at each other for a long moment. Not surprisingly, they had come to the same conclusion.

*******

Jason pulled his wallet from his left back pocket, and payed for two hot chocolates. Alison had already found a table near a window. The view of the lake, with the skyline in the background, was really quite striking. He sat down and passed one of the Styrofoam cups across to her.

“You know, we still have time to just get up and walk out of here.”

Alison looked out at the view, pretending not to hear.

“OK. How about we run out of here? Just run like hell.”

“Jason stop,” she said, still not looking in his direction. “We’ve already been over this.” A few moments passed in silence.

“You’re right,” he continued softly. “I’m sorry.” And taking her hand, “I’m just uncomfortable with this.” And then with a shrug of his shoulders, “Can’t help it.”

Alison tightened her grip on his hand. She knew that, even the thought of something being a problem for Sarah, was genuinely unbearable for Jason. It just made her love him even more.

“Darling, I know you’re concerned. But I just couldn’t tell that poor woman no.” 

He didn’t respond. She continued, trying to reassure him. 

“Her daughter spoke to her in a calm and rational voice the other day, for maybe the first time in her life. Can you imagine what that must have felt like?” Jason was quiet. Alison thought for a moment. “Besides, all we’ve agreed to do is talk. We aren’t committing to anything.” Jason looked out at the view, and then back at Alison.

“Other than shattered hope, I don’t see what possibly can come out of this. We have no assurance that Sarah can cure their daughter. As far as we know, her ability to elevate their daughter’s intellect is only momentary.”

“I know that,” Alison responded, casually looking around to make sure no one was listening. “I also know that disappointment has been a steady diet for both of her parents. I guess I just felt they were at least owed an explanation, that’s all.”

Jason thought about what Alison had said. He could see she was right. If the situation were reversed, he would surely want to know. Once they explained how things were, the girl’s parents would just have to accept it. Hopefully that would be the end of it.

“I can understand how these people must feel,” he replied. “I’m not completely cold-hearted you know.”

Alison smiled at him. “I know you’re not. You’re just protecting Sarah, that’s all.”

“I mean, if there were some possible way to make the change in their daughter permanent, I would be the first one to try to help.”

“I know that,” Alison said, nodding her head slightly.

“The simple truth is, whatever physiological changes occurred in that girl were only temporary.”

Alison could see that Jason was starting to get animated. This really was bothering him, even more than she had first realized. She tried to be calming.

“I know that sweetheart. And that’s exactly what we are going to explain to them,” she said.

“It’s really tough on them to be sure, but there just isn’t anything we can do,” he continued.

“Sweetheart, I know that. It’s OK.”

Jason’s expression began to change. He was beginning to look at this as a problem, and problems were puzzles, things to be solved, not ignored. He couldn’t help himself really. It’s like a Black Lab retrieving.

He continued, thinking out loud.

“Look, certain changes in body chemistry can be monitored, sure, but…I mean, to get enough relevant information to even possibly help, you’d have to have Sarah elevate her, and she’d have to be hooked up to EEG’s, and EKG’s at the same time.” He was waving his hands now. He even began to stand, and then caught himself. “And you’d need to simultaneously get continuous blood readings, and…”

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