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Part 3 of The Exempt Trilogy

Chapter 1                Intrigue

Time never ceases the march to the morrow, wondering what my meeting with Mary Pinochet Meyer will bring. Mary seems to me to be the key to unlock all those doors that remain hidden from view. Her ex-husband, Cord Meyer, is a top CIA Official heading up the Mockingbird Program that allows the CIA to control all media, both visual and print, therefore controlling the people and their perception of reality. Mary was also involved with President Kennedy; the secrets she holds seem to be the forefront of all the intrigue going on in DC and involving me. We left our betrothal party, which had to have been the event of the year in Boston. Maggy told her mother she would drive me back to the hotel, and we left; father and mom said they would be along soon.

“Richard, you seem deep in thought, what is it?” Maggy asked.

“Oh, nothing dearest, a meeting Monday morning about business,” I said.

“Business, on Monday here in Boston with who is it Terdayne?” she asked.

“No, dearest, something else,” I said.

“At MIT, I can go with you?” she asked.

“No dear, you cannot attend. Tomorrow is the only time I can see this person in Boston,” I said.

“What person, don’t keep secrets from me, is this person a girl?” she asked.

“My darling, a matter involving the Kennedys, they ask to keep it confidential, please do not tell anyone of this,” I said.

“You have too many secrets, in Newport, the police officer, and a phone call you had to make, what is this all about?” she asked.

“Dearest, all I can say is I am asked to do this for the President, it must be confidential, please trust me on this,” I said. “Come up to our room, be with me; you were with hundreds of people today. I barely saw you in that forest of folks.”

“Yes, that’s true. Do you know what all they asked?” Maggy asked.

“Sure, where did you get that beautiful dress?” I asked.

“No, silly, they asked about you, how we met, who you are, I answered the same questions hundreds of times, I should have written a hand out for them, it was fun though. I thought I would die when those horses came trotting in with the carriage laden with food, what a vision. It will take mana from heaven for mother to outdo today at our wedding,” Maggy said, laughing.

Once we are in our room, nothing else matters except we are alone, in love, and deliriously happy. The knock on the door startled me; it was 6:30 am; Maggy had left at 1:00; I recalled I told room service to bring coffee and toast at this time yesterday; he is here now. Excellent, thank you, please place it on the table. Works out good; there is time to walk around the harbor before church services at 11:00 am; the Drexal’s are meeting us at Old West Church, my father was asked to speak; I am confident the message they hear will be very different from their church. Dad gave me a copy of his text to read and retain;


We must first understand what is meant by the word. Duty. (from “due,” that which is owing, O. Fr. deu, did, past participle of devoir; Lat. debere, debitum; cf. “debt”) is a term that conveys a sense of moral commitment to someone or something. Moral obligation is the sort that results in action, and it is not a matter of passive feeling or mere recognition. When someone recognizes a duty, that person commits himself/herself to the cause without considering the self-interested courses of actions that may have been relevant previously. This is not to suggest that living a life of duty precludes one from the best life, but responsibility does involve some sacrifice of immediate self-interest. Our first duty (moral commitment) is to God and Our Lord, Jesus Christ.

How do we do this? The Word of God guides us. Jesus said to her, “I am the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in Me, although he may die, yet he shall live”. John 11:25. The word BELIEVE is mentioned 131 times in the Bible. This repetition underscores the importance of this word. What is meant by this phrase, Believe? Many Christians think that if they believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, they are saved Christians. Even the Devil and demons believe in Jesus. So we must dig into what is meant by Believe in. To see what is meant for us to do. To fully understand the importance of what “believe in” means, we must first go to its root. The New Testament was written in Greek. The Greek word for believe is Pistevo, which means; To Adhere; to support or maintain loyalty. B. To hold fast or stick by, as if by gluing or fusing. With this understanding, now look at what Our Lord Jesus Christ says in John 11:25, “I am the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever Adheres, Remains Loyal, Holds Fast to Me, although he may die, yet shall he live”. Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” What did Jesus Christ command of His followers? To have no other Gods but God The Father, and to Love each other as you Love yourself. To Love one another is probably the most misunderstood phrase in the Bible. What does Love mean? A simple but very concise meaning of Love is, “Don’t hate.” In the Greek, love has several precise definitions; we can infer from what Jesus said that His meaning was “Philia” or friendship. It is natural affection, like that felt by parents for an offspring, and describes relationships within the family.

In our daily lives as Christian men, we must understand His command to Love each other as yourself. Love also is a correction. We must correct our faults before we may correct others. How can the dutiful father fix his child if he does the very thing he demands his child not? That would be taken as hypocrisy and create resentment, not love. Resentment is the foundation for all rebellion and discord within the family. When Jesus said, we must Do unto others as we do unto ourselves.

When we understand that Correction is a vital part of that command, we as Christian men must correct ourselves, our Family, our Neighbors, which includes our Community and Our Nation. Herein lies our Duty to God. We must Hold Fast, Stick With Him, and Correct (love) ourselves as we Correct (love) those around us. If we as Christian men would truly Adhere to Jesus and obey His Commands, the wolves would be driven from power over the Lambs of God. Do you accept this responsibility? The second duty (moral commitment) we Christian men have is to our family.

Before we can accept our Christian duty to the family, we must know Who Our Family is. Christ has told us the answer, “For whosoever shall do the will of God. The same is my brother and my mother.” Mark 3:35. Our duty is to all the members of the Family of Christ. When Christian men understand this command and work in unity with their Christian brothers, those that are of the family of the Devil will not be over any of us.

The Christian family must be headed by men with virtue, Noble in character and deed. When a Noble Man leads the family, the family will follow him out of sincere respect. To be Noble is defined as possessing, characterized by, or arising from the superiority of mind or character, or ideals, or morals. If we are to be sincere men of Christ, we must be Noble. Sarah, Abraham’s wife, addressed him as “My Lord” because Abraham was a nobleman of God. How many of our wives would address us so?

We are living an extraordinary time of Spiritual Warfare. Christ has told us essentially those not with Him are of the family of the Devil.

John 8:42-47 (New King James Version) 42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. 43 Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. 44 “You are of your father the Devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer initially and did not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? 47 He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore, you do not hear, because you are not of God.”

We today live when most of those who hold power over us are not of God. They do not hear His words, nor do they desire to do so. They want what their Father wants and do what their Father does. You know them by their deeds. Now! Christian men must do what our Father in Heaven wants of us and be not deceived. AMEM!

Father’s text profoundly affects the congregation; there is a silence in the vestry when he finishes. Later, we are in front of over two hundred members lined up to shake hands with this truth teacher.

Our families enjoyed a fabulous brunch at The Ritz; the day was splendid, the sun shining through crystal clear skies, the harbor bustling with activity, many taking their private boats out to enjoy the sea, breathing the fresh breezes of Springtime. Life seems without concern until my thoughts go to the morrow. This memorable day came and went as if in a flash. Now it is time to leave; we said our goodbyes for now. Mom is crying tears of joy; Father is quiet and thoughtful, William, the same, almost as if they wondered what tomorrow would bring for their children. Perhaps the words my father spoke opened some doors best left closed. I retired, thinking only of Mary.

Monday morning at again 6:30 am, the server brought my coffee and toast. I showered, dressed, then read the morning paper with butterflies churning in my stomach; what does she want with me? The river of time must have come upon a dam slowing the flow to a crawl; every minute seems an hour. Why call only at 10 am? Father called at 8:00, saying they are on the way home now and will see me tonight. Hours later, it seemed, the clock struck 10, I called the number.

Mary, answered immediately,” Richard, can we meet now?” she asked.

“Yes, where do I meet you?” I asked.

“Richard, unlock your door. I will be there in a minute,” she replied.

“How are you in the hotel?” I asked.

“Just unlock the door,” she hung up.

I had no time to call the Colonel, the door opened, and Mary Pinochet Meyer came in.

“Mary, does anyone know you are here, were you followed to the hotel, to my room?” I asked.

“Richard, come sit by me and listen. I spent many years with these CIA people; I know their methods, habits, contacts, and how to avoid them. Don’t worry; nobody is aware I am here. All my belongings were checked for bugs; most found were disabled, the ones I left operational were given to others unknowingly; those dogs will follow the wrong fox. Richard, you were at Hyannis Port; after your visit, my access to Jack was cut off. It had to be something you said to the family. What do you know?” she asked.

“Mary, I was advised not to speak to you; how is what I know has anything to do with you being here? I asked.

“Richard, you either know too much or not enough; both are serious problems. You have access to both Jack and Robert; this can be helpful for them. I now have no way to contact Jack, and there is important information he MUST have. Can you get this to him!” she asked.

“Mary, since I first met you in DC, my life has been under scrutiny, my house, my office broken into, my phones tapped. Now, you want me to get more involved in your schemes, why would I?” I asked.

“To protect the President, she replied. You care for the Kennedy’s; you care for the conditions the people of color live under, this I understand talking to Jack. He can help with those people’s plight if allowed. He has many enemies and is making more every day. He has those on his staff, not his friends. When he intervened in Alabama, it caused a stir in Washington among some powerful people. “What vital interest does the CIA have in Laos, Vietnam, and the rest?” I asked.

“Richard, don’t be naive, money is the interest in all things, money is derived from resources, oil, gold, food, drugs, it is all the same. Empires are built upon the resources from Southeast Asia. Why do you think the French fought so long to keep it under their control?” she asked.

“What about the Military? They certainly don’t want unnecessary war,” I said.

“Richard, I do not have time to give you a history lesson or an economics course, heed the words General Eisenhower gave upon leaving office, ‘beware the growing Military/Industrial combine.’ The military wants the power to control the world’s resources; the industrialists want to make and sell them the weapons to accomplish this objective, a very neat and tidy web of interests with the CIA their principal instrument. Presidents come and go, these people and their minions will be there forever,” she said.     .

“Mary, that is true, it is in line with research I am doing now on who controls the drug trade around the world, also what General Smedley Butler wrote, “War is a Racket,” how can I help?” I asked.

“You can help me communicate with the President; you are the only safe way I can now. He must be cautious; Jack suffers from a war injury. His back causes him excruciating pain; at times, so bad he has a difficult time standing; they have him on medications. That is what concerns me. My friend, Dr.Timothy Leary, at Harvard, working with Dr. David McClelland, a Yale grad with a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology, is heading up the Department of Psychology and Social Relations, a fancy term a “mind control” program. They developed a new mind-control drug called LSD, an extract of psilocybin mushrooms, Leary, experimented with in Mexico. The Department at Harvard is a CIA operation. Leary told me they plan on giving this drug to President Kennedy; it will be prescribed to help his pain. The real purpose is to control him. Jack does not know of this program. I am the one who introduced Leary to Jack; now, I cannot contact either person; they are ‘off-limits.’ They will use these drugs to have him sign off on anything they desire; he will be in another place in his mind. Do you understand the implications of this?” she asked.

“Mary, I do, is your ex, Cord Meyer, behind this?” I asked.

“Richard, I don’t know what Cord is up to now; he is in the middle of every nasty business. Cord is devoid of emotion or concern for those he believes beneath him, which includes most. They will stop at nothing to prevent me from passing this information to Jack; if they knew I told you this, you would be at risk. You must never tell this to anyone except Jack or Robert Kennedy; you will put them at serious risk. When I say risk, I mean life or death; these people don’t play games. Richard, I must go now. I will find a safe way to contact you again; do not attempt to contact me”. With that, Mary left.

I need to call the Colonel with this, but now I don’t trust making a call from my room, so I went to the lobby looking for their payphones.

“Colonel, Richard here, I need to talk, not on this phone, where?” I asked.

“Officer Shepherd, in Newport, drives back there and locates him. He will arrange a place to meet this evening. I will let him know what is up.” Colonel said.

I decided to check out now and drive, figuring it will take me about 2 hours. I arrived in Newport just past 1:30 pm, phoned from a cafe I had stopped to eat, the Newport Police Department asking Officer Shepherd; I told them I am a friend he is expecting. The desk officer took my number; all I could do was wait for his call, only taking six minutes.

“Hi Richard, Colonel asked me to have you meet him out at State Airport, go to the general aviation terminal, he will be there by 4:20 pm, it’s in Middletown, you can’t miss it,” he said,

Another two hours to kill might as well have some of that apple pie I see in the case on the counter. The general aviation terminal has a loudspeaker broadcasting ground control radio communications; it is interesting to hear conversations between ground control and pilots landing. They are directed at which taxiway to use and where to park. A little after 4:00 pm, I heard a voice calling ground control, who I recognized as Colonel. I went outside watching his plane taxi to a parking spot a truck led him to.

The first person out of the plane is Vanessa; she looks beautiful, not just beautiful but glamorous, I thought, out came Colonel, even the way he walks shows authority.

“Vanessa saw me and came running, Prince Richard, how glad I am to see you as she threw her arms around me, her breasts pushing into my chest, kissing me ever so lightly on the cheek.”

“Colonel is right there with a scowl on his face; he did not want her to get too friendly.

“Come on, Richard, let’s take a drive,” he said.

“Where to Colonel?” I asked.

“Drive over to the beach, Vanessa wants to take a walk on the sand while we talk,” he said. “Shit, Richard, what did this dame say, why did you not call me before you met with her?”

“Colonel, when I phoned her at 10:00 am as she asked, she was in the hotel, told me to unlock my door, and was inside in a few seconds, I had no time to call,” I said.

“Shit, how do you know she is not followed?” he asked.

“She said she is aware of being monitored, and had someone check all her belongings, found devices and deactivated some, others were planted on other people so they would be followed, she told me the dogs would be following the wrong fox,” I said.

“Smart girl that, what else?” he asked.

“She said what she told me is dangerous, I should not tell anyone, or they could be in danger as well. She said never try to contact her, she will find a way to contact me, then asked me to be her contact with President Kennedy, she is removed from any clearance to see Kennedy,” I said.

I relayed to the Colonel all she had told me about Timothy Leary, a Dr. McClelland of Harvard, and how his Mind Control Department is a CIA operation. Colonel, a drug tested there is LSD, a powerful hallucinogenic substance that someone will prescribe to President Kennedy. The drug will enable them to control his actions and sign off on the war in Southeast Asia. She said they could take control of the President’s mind with this drug. He is already on daily medications for severe back pain and will be willing to take any prescription they tell him will relieve his constant pain.

“Did she say who is behind this?” he asked.

“No, I asked her, she only alluded to the fact that some of his advisers are not his friends,” I said.

“Do you know where Mary lives?” he asked.

“No, Colonel,” I said.

“She is in danger with this knowledge, a walking bomb, best stay well clear,” he said.

“How do I tell the President?” I asked.

“Richard, you still have contact with the Police Sergeant, correct? Do you trust him with your life? That is the question you must decide because even I cannot protect you if this gets out. What about that FBI agent Robert Kennedy assigned to watch you?” he asked.

“She knew I would be in Boston for the event, but I made certain she could not find or follow me, I do not trust the FBI,” I said.

“That is smart; you cannot afford to trust anyone you don’t know intimately. Richard, I had your home phone checked out, there is a tap, do not use it except for social calls, your family is not privy to all this, are they?” he asked.

“No, sir, you are the only one I will talk to about this,” I said.

“Good, keep it that way. Find a secure payphone and call me this Thursday evening, I have some things to look into, let’s get Vanessa before she freezes,” he said.

I drove Vanessa and the Colonel back to the airport and headed home to Wake Forest away from all this intrigue, but first, a stop in Alexandria. I calculated that it would take about 8 hours from Newport airport to Alexandria, now 6:17 pm, I will there around 2:30 am, I have the keys to my office, I will rest there, be at Violet’s house by 6:30 am when Sergeant Porter is leaving for duty at the White House. Alexandria’s streets are deserted at this early hour, only the occasional taxi or police car in view as I pulled into the parking garage near my office. There is a security man posted at the reception desk. I knocked on the glass front entry door to get his attention, and he came to the door, asking who I am and what I wanted. I told him my name and company, he asked for ID, opened my wallet, and exposed my driver’s license. He unlocked the door; kind of early for you, sir?

The Colonel had purchased a leather sofa for the inner office, which I almost dragged myself onto and immediately was fast asleep. Shortly after 5:30 am I rose, washed my face with the cold water in the sink, then sat down to write the letter to the Kennedy’s;

President Kennedy, Robert Kennedy; This morning, I was contacted at my hotel in Boston by Mary Pinochet Meyer. She came to my room to tell me a serious matter that she begged me to relay to you. Dr. Timothy Leary, who Mary introduced to you, is associated at Harvard with Dr. McCelland; he heads up the Department of Psychology and Social Relations. That is a CIA funded Mind Control program; they have developed LSD, a powerful hallucinogenic substance, an extract of the psilocybin mushrooms.

Someone is going to prescribe this drug to President Kennedy supposedly as pain relief. The real purpose is to gain complete control over the President’s thoughts and actions to force him to sign off on troops for their desire in Southeast Asia. She did not say who was involved, only that some of your advisers are not friends. She also indicated this was a grave risk for the President.

Your servant, Richard Martinson

I sealed this in an envelope addressed only to Robert Kennedy then drove over to Violet’s house, making sure I am not followed. The lights in the kitchen are on. I knew that Sergeant Porter was up. He saw my car pull in the driveway as I approached the front door; he opened it saying;

“Richard, it must be important for you to come here at this time,” he said.

“Yes, sir, it is, the matter is urgent. I ask you to deliver this letter to Robert Kennedy this morning, please,” I said.

“Come on in; there is fresh coffee, it looks like you can use some,” he said.

“Thank you, yes I drove all night from Boston, now I need to drive to Wake Forest,” I said.

“Can you stay for a while, say hello to Vi? She will be up in about an hour or so,” he asked.

“Love to, sir, but I need to get home, I am overdue now, they will be worried, thanks for the coffee, give my love to Violet and her mom for me,” I said.

Now to go home at last.


Chapter 2                   THE MOLES

Home is special; seeing these familiar streets, my friends’ houses and the businesses I grew up with, friendly people visiting their neighbors, all bring peace to my soul.

The drive into my driveway made me reflect on how small my house became. When I was young, the house and yard were huge. It now looks tiny; it has not changed must be me. Father was not home when I arrived, but Mom, my anchor, is here to greet me with her loving smile that instantly comforted me. My home; a small but familiar world away from all the intrigues encountered.

“Richard, my dear, give me a hug; why were you so long driving home?” Mother asked.

“I needed to visit people in Alexandria, I have an office there now,” I said.

“You best call Thomas, he has been worrying me to death about when you are coming,” he said.

“After breakfast, mom, I will walk over to see him; I am hungry.” I said.

“Sit down, son, I will fix something, have some tea,” she said.

“Mom, I am going to shower and change, be down in a few,”I said.

Renewed is how I felt after taking a warm shower in my bathroom surrounded by old clothes and fond memories, then putting on a pair of jeans I had not worn in two years, they still fit, along with an old cotton tee shirt and well-worn sneakers, now I am home at last. Mom made my favorite pancakes smothered with fresh blackberries; after two stacks, I am ready to walk to the Nelson’s. Thomas must have called mom as he is sitting on the front porch waiting for me.

Richard, I waited two days for you, help me up. I gave him a hand, and to my amazement, Thomas stood on his legs without crutches, a cane, or a wheelchair, with tears running down his cheeks.

“Richard, see what God has done for me, it is as you and I prayed for,” Thomas said.

“I put my arms around Thomas and held him in silence, soaking in the joy he felt. When were you first able to stand?”

“Just last week, here look at the braces they made for me as he lifted the pants leg.

The doctors think within another month or so of rehab I should walk without the braces, certainly in time for school at Duke in September,” he said.

“Thanks be to God; come on, it is time to get you occupied. Thomas, is Marion or Matt home?” I asked.

“No, Mom is at Jones Hardware working, Dad is on some project, he will be home Saturday,” Thomas said.

“Do you have any iced tea in the kitchen we have work to do? Thomas, you will soon be ready to take on more than the investigating you are now doing. Do you know of Pathway and Tech Investments? This new company made some exciting investments in tech companies in the computer sciences field. Now, I want you on board as Vice President; here is your assignment. Tech Investments is looking for the brightest new faces in the industry, those with new ideas, visions for the future; let your mind explore what tomorrow will be when computers can compile and store data. Then search that data from sources worldwide, enable people to make computations, generate reports, create new hardware, write new programs to run business, banking, government, universities, and the military. We are already using them to compute the trajectory for space flights. The opportunity is limitless, we will be at the forefront of this science, we need to find and recruit the gifted people,” I said. Find us the person who can make Dick Tracy’s two-way wrist-watch a reality, and the sky’s the limit.”

“Richard, I always wanted one of those. Can they make it?” Thomas asked.

“There are men out there who can do anything they can dream; let’s help them fulfill those dreams,” I said.

“I envision you contacting universities with departments of computer science, seek talented students in need of scholarships. Have them write applications outlining their projects, those most promising we will provide scholarships under Pathway Foundation. Those gifted and ready to start-up their own company, we will invest taking a share in their stock; later, when they mature, we can have them taken to the public market; this is when we all hit the jackpot. Your starting salary is $500.00 per month effective July 1st. Questions?” I asked.

“Yes, Richard, why me?” he said.

“You are gifted and trusted to carry out this vital part of our business; you will become a partner in Tech Investments as the company grows. Are you onboard?” I asked.

“Heck, yes, Richard, I love the title Vice President, sure help me with the girls, right?” he asked.

“Hey man, girls will run after you, be more selective with them than you are with the candidates for scholarships. Might help talk to these guys if you know their vocabulary and take some computer science courses at Duke. While you are visiting these universities, snoop around to see if there are anti-war groups on campus. If so, make contact, let them understand you can provide funding, and communicate with other like minds. Unity is what will make changes happen. If we can build groups in 30 or more Universities, those in Congress will react. With your father’s war record and your position on American war for profit, you will fit in. We need this separate not a part of Tech Investments. We will need to set up some non-profit organization Pathways can fund,” I told him.

“You know my feeling on that, I want to be part of anything that keeps this country out of the war, is the war in Asia going to happen?” he asked.

“Thomas, I guarantee it. Kennedy is under extreme pressure from the Joint Chiefs and the CIA to engage American troops, who demand this war now! The bankers who profit from war, and those who make the machines of war demand it. They  spread money. They own Congress and the State Department. They tried to force Kennedy to go to war with Cuba, which failed; they need war for profits. Talk to Matt; I am certain he can help you with Veteran’s groups; let’s coordinate all we can. Now, partner, I will be in bed for a couple of hours; call you when I rest up,” I said.

“Sarge, Captain wants to speak to you, hello Porter here,” I said.

“Sargent, sorry to bother you at the gate, but will you stop by my office before you go home today?” The Captain asked.

“Certainly, Captain, something up?” Porter asked.

“No big deal Sargent, we need to go over some things,” the Captain said.

“I will be there by 4:15, Captain.”

That is the first time in the last four years the Captain has asked to see me; maybe my request to become a Detective has been approved. Most of the other uniformed officers say I have the department’s cushiest assignment, but most jobs become boring and routine. I became a police officer because I thought it would be interesting and useful. The most exciting part of my day is driving home through the traffic. Going into the gate at the station caused me a little apprehension; I noticed the slight look of concern on the officer’s face at the entrance as he waved me in. As I walked down the hallway toward the Captain’s office, I could not help observing those at their desks kept their heads down as I walked by.

The Captain’s office is glass-enclosed, commanding a view of the Detectives desks; as I walked up, the door opened, and I heard; Sargent Porter, come in, please. The Captain is seated at his desk, and two other men are inside, one sitting next to the Captain, the other standing by the door. When I came inside, the man standing went around the room, closing the blinds covering the windows and door.

“Thanks for coming, Porter, this is Agent Clay and Agent Timmons of the Secret Service,” Captain said.

“Agent Clay is sitting with a clipboard on his lap from which he took out a photograph and handed it to me. Sargent Porter, this was taken this past Monday at 8:32 am, it shows you greeting the car of Attorney General Robert Kennedy, he put down the window, and it appears you are handing him an envelope, is that correct?” Agent Clay asked.

“Yes, sir, so what?” Porter asked.

“What was in that envelope?” Agent Clay asked.

“Captain, that is personal, do I have to answer this man?” Porter asked.

“Sargent, I told these men you are one of the most trusted members of this force and beyond reproach, but these men have the sworn duty to check out everything going into the White House or to anyone that works there, please, answer his question,” The Captain said.

“Captain, this is embarrassing, my family asked for an autographed photo of President Kennedy and Attorney General Robert Kennedy. They wish to display this photo in our house because Kennedy supports the civil rights movement. Is that a concern for the Secret Service?” Porter asked.

“No, Sargent, it should not be, Clay, what you got to say?” Captain asked.

“Sargent, there are protocols that must be kept, especially by sworn officers who should know better, we can’t let people stick things through the window of a high official’s car, you want a photo, call at the White House and request it, this happens all the time.”

“Sargent, wait outside for a moment, let me talk to these agents,” Captain said.

“Agent Clay, what the hell is this? You two did not come here to complain about my Gate Officer who has for several years now provided security and protection to those who work in the White House,” Captain asked.

“Captain, we are in a time of crisis, many things of national security are in the works. The Director does not want anyone who is not cleared to see, speak to, or have access to The President or his Cabinet members or communicate with them. This Sargent Porter is no longer allowed on White House grounds effective as of today!” Agent Clay stated.

Sargent Porter, go in the Secret Service Agents, said as they pushed past me, both had a scowl on their face as they stomped down the hallway.

“Take a seat, Sargent, I don’t understand what in the hell is going on over there, but something stinks. I was ordered to take you off gate duty at the White House; you are persona non grata there. Did you piss someone off, did you say something out of line? Porter, I have known and respected you for years; you wanted to get your Detective Badge, well, you got it. I am so pissed by those pricks telling me what I should assign; this is my department. Porter, give me your badge, take this one, how does Sergeant Detective sound? There is a pay raise with this grade, take your family out to celebrate. Report at 8:00 am, we will get your new assignment and work station.”

“Thank you, Captain, I appreciate all you do for the Department and me,” Porter said.

Leaving the station, I could not help thinking about Chinese food and the sweet and sour dishes they serve. The sour is being removed from the honor of the White House gate duty, the sweet, getting the promotion to Detective I desired for years. I will take the family out to a Chinese restaurant tonight. More to this sudden change than seems. Richard, must be close to some nerve, if they are watching me that close, what about him? I cannot have Violet involved in whatever is up; how do I let him know?

Richard, come down for breakfast with your father, he is leaving for Atlanta soon, mom called out. Be right down, mom, almost dressed. Gosh, it’s Thursday already, I need to call the Colonel and Maggy. Good morning dad, mom, a great day to be home.

“Sit with me, son, what are your plans for the summer?” dad asked.

“Not much dad, got a few extra credit summer assignments I want to complete to graduate early next year,” I said.

“I don’t blame you for wanting out, son, school gets to be a bore after so many years, plus your plate is full of other projects,” dad said.

“Yes, dad, that is the way I feel, school can point me in a direction, but then it is up to me. I found what I want to do, time to get on with it,” I said.

“Well, son, don’t be in a rush, enjoy your freedom; in a few years, you will have family responsibilities and commitments that take away from the personal freedom you now enjoy,” dad said.

“Dad, can I ask you a question both as my father and pastor?” I asked.

“Son shoot,” he said.

“Dad, I listened carefully to the sermon you gave in Boston. I also read the text, which I will keep forever as a guide. Now my question has to do with the text of my Duty and Responsibility as a Christian man. I saw and heard the thoughts of men in power. The drums of war are beating in Washington. These men desire to create a war not to make America more secure but for their interests. Thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, will die for no purpose except to fill a few coffers. How am I, as a Christian, who knows what is coming and believes this is wrong for America and the World for that matter, supposed to conduct myself? Should I speak out in the churches, in the schools, lead demonstrations, how do I help stop this madness before so many die? My wife’s family, those who support me in school, many of those who attended our betrothal, are some of those who will make the most profit from this war,” I said.

“Son, the questions you asked are best answered by God. You are in a most difficult position; you must weigh what you can accomplish by being public with your position and what you can accomplish behind the scene. I am sure the same thoughts tear president Kennedy as you. I, as a Church leader, have the same concerns. There are things I wish the Church to do, many in the Church opposed. How does the leader of any democratic society function? You told me Kennedy does not want to put American boy’s lives at risk in an unjust war. Yet many powerful people around him demand it. Many of these powerful people control the media; they can influence the opinion of Americans. They can make them believe war is needed to prevent the spread of communist dictators to our shores. They can make them believe we must sacrifice for the greater good of humanity. These people have the means to make it look like someone is Un-American if they speak out. They will wrap themselves in the Flag and call anyone who stands in their way a communist, a dirty Red, a traitor. Here in North Carolina. With the most Military Bases in the US and home to the largest Military Base, Fort Bragg, with the country’s largest military population, you would be run out of town if you speak out against the military. The economy of our state depends on military spending. That son is the problem; money to most is more important than God or good. The Lord told us you could not serve two masters, so many of those in power chose only one master, money. Your heart, your soul is serving the right Master, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, let his Holy Spirit be your guide,” he said.

“Dad, I understand, but if no one speaks out if money will control all events, we lose. There is no way to control the political scene without the money and support of those in power that operate in the background. No one may become a national figure, and those that do, are subservient, regardless of their populous speech. Money is the key; I must find a way to use the key in a way that benefits all, not only the Exempt. Have a good trip. Dad, I need to go meet Thomas,” I said.

The fresh summer breeze feels good on my face walking down the street to the Nelson’s. In the driveway, Matt is washing his car and playing with the dog spraying it with the hose as it runs around the vehicle.

“Hey Matt, how’s things? Great Richard, nice to see you, staying out of trouble?” Matt asked.

“Not sure about that, Matt, trying. Hey, I need to call the Colonel, he said not to use my phone and not sure of yours,” I said.

“When you are ready, I can beep him, let him call down at the store, he knows the number,” Matt said.

“Thanks, Matt, I am going to see Thomas first,” I said.

“You don’t have to go far, Richard, I am right here,” Thomas said.

I looked around; Thomas was sitting in the front seat of the car. He started laughing, looking like you saw a ghost man. Dad will let me drive around the block; I can’t wait to try it; want to come? Sure man. Matt finished wiping the car and got in the front next to Thomas; let’s go. Good thing the car is automatic. Thomas does not need to push his legs as much.

Drive over to the market, Matt said. He is on his beeper, dialing the Colonel. It is only two blocks to the store, so we parked in front of the phone booth and waited. The phone rang after only 2 minutes; I answered, hi Colonel.

“Richard, you spoke to your friend, Sargent Porter?” Colonel asked.

“Not since Monday, sir, why?” I asked.

“Well, don’t call him and don’t meet the girl. Porter has been re-assigned; he is no longer at the White House gate. This is certainly in response to you having him deliver the note to the Kennedy’s. If they are watching him that close it means that they know of your relationship. Be careful about what you do and say. If someone new tries to make friends in the next few days, they are with them, be careful,” Colonel said.

“What else did you find out about Colonel?” I asked.

“Nothing, Richard, there is a blackout on everything about Mary, keep your distance. I will continue to seek info and advice later, say Hi to Matt,” Colonel said.

“Matt, I need to call Maggy. Can I use your phone?” I asked.

“Sure, Richard, use the phone in Thomas’ room,” Matt said.

“Hi Maggy, love and miss you,” I said.

“Richard! I tried to get you for two days; when are you going to get a service?” Maggy asked.

“Sorry, love, I keep forgetting, I will go tomorrow for sure,” I said.

Michael Whitney Straight invited us to spend the 4th of July at The Carlyle at Kennedy’s apartment. The fireworks show’s view is spectacular, Michael said. It sounds fun, so I said yes, is that OK?” I asked.

“Certainly, dear, the 4th is, on a Wednesday, do you want to meet in the City?” Maggy asked.

“Let’s meet Monday at the Plaza; we can see a show, attend the party and spend some quiet time alone,”I said.

“Sounds like an anniversary date; I will be there by 2:00 pm, love you,” Maggy said.

“Matt, does your beeper let you see who is calling?” I asked.

“Sure, Richard, this thing is a blessing; I will order one for you so you can be in the loop; what number do you want it to use?” Matt asked.

“For now, my New Haven number, Maggy, is bugging me and says I never answer,” I said.

“You are never there. How could you answer?” Matt asked.

“Thomas, we are going to a 4th of July party in the City, why don’t you come with me? We will get you a room at the Plaza. Michael Straight is holding the party at President Kennedy’s apartment at the Carlyle. Michael is a Whitney, many lovely ladies will attend, I am sure some can help exercise your legs,” I said.

“Can I?” Thomas asked.

“Let’s do it; it is time my partner meets my bride,” I said.

Thomas and I got a flight to New York out of Raleigh on Monday morning and took a taxi to the Plaza Hotel. It is fun sitting next to Thomas, watching his eyes and facial expressions. He has never been to the City and is mesmerized by the sights, more so when we pulled up in front of the imposing Plaza Hotel, and a Uniformed Door Captain opened the taxi door, claiming; how lovely to see you. “Welcome to the Plaza, sirs.” I helped Thomas out; he still has not said a word. The Assistant Manager came saying, nice to see you again, Mr. Martinson, this is Mr. Nelson, I presume? Thomas’s eyes are as large as saucers at this time, but he could not speak, just nodded. I was not able to get you adjoining rooms. Mr. Nelson is on the same floor, two doors from yours; we gave you the same suite on your last visit with us. Let me know if I can help in any way while you are here. He motioned for a bellman to show us to our rooms. Thomas is still in shock, his eyes bulging, taking in all the sights silently. We took Thomas first to his place; the bellman asked him if everything is satisfactory.

“Heck, yes,” he said.

“Come with me, Thomas, we will go to my room and then get a snack,” I said.

“After the bellman left with a tidy tip, Thomas let out a yell, Richard! I never expected anything like this, this place; the City is overwhelming, you are a world traveler now, even the manager calls you by name, how do you do it?” Thomas asked.

“Thomas, I don’t do anything by myself. I am like you, a guy from North Carolina who made good choices that led me here. You are on the same path; we work together to help others, and good things happen. Perhaps that is God’s plan for us. Come on, let’s go down for a snack before Maggy arrives, it will give you a chance to look around, see the sights,” I said.

We stopped by the front desk. I asked to tell Maggy Drexal; we will be the Oak waiting. Monday at lunchtime in the City is hectic. The lobby is jammed with tourists arriving for the 4th of July spectacular, others wanting to dine, drink, and enjoy the endless parade on 5th Ave and Central Park. The wealthy crowd is here wanting to see and be seen; it made for a great show. Thomas is relishing the parade with all his senses, as am I. I did not think we could get a table in the Oak; there is a line of people waiting, shoving their way to get a spot. The Maitre de came to me and said, follow me, sir, your table is ready. He led us to a window table overlooking Central Park and gave us a broad smile. I tried to give him a tip, but he smiled and walked away. People demanding why these young boys were given a prize table? Thomas has no clue as to the drama being played out or why he is having fun. We ordered a pot of tea, a fruit plate with rolls, sat back, and watched the play.

“Richard, this scene reminds me of the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy said, “Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” We are sure not in Wake Forest,” he said.

I laughed, “Thomas, your Mom said the same thing in Baltimore,” you should have seen me when I made my first trip here, almost broke my neck looking around, wait until you go to Broadway, Times Square, tonight maybe Maggy will want to take a tour.”

Suddenly the room grew quiet, a sudden drastic change from the endless dim of conversation and clinking glasses laden with ice. I turned to look at what was happening; the people at the tables were peering toward the lobby entrance when I saw what captured the attention of even the jaded New York crowd. Entering the Oak is a young lady who could make a train standstill to observe her. She is wearing a broad-brimmed white hat with a veil covering her eyes. A long silky pale, almost creamy jade coat came to her ankles, covering her white silk dress. Wearing a choker of pearls that must be worth a small fortune, she wore white silk covered high heels; her hand displayed a large diamond that flashed for all, she was stunning, in control of the entire room. Thomas is sitting with his mouth hung open, eyes fixed on this vision who seems to approach our table. She is walking ever so slowly, enjoying every moment of the control she has over the crowd when she comes close saying, Richard, have you been waiting long? I stood and kissed the check of this beauty, this dream, this angel, saying to her, ‘all my life, my love,'” I said.

“Thomas Nelson, may I present Maggy Drexal, soon to be Mrs.Martinson, my love,” I said. People are clapping, smiling, waving to Maggy, as she sits between us, the smile on her face is worth whatever money this trip costs, a memory to be filed away forever. Thomas has not said a word; he is awe-struck until Maggy holds out her hand for him to kiss.

“Thomas, a pleasure to meet you. Richard speaks endlessly of you; he has a great love for you. I know of the accident and what you went through, now to see you sitting here, next to me is wonderful. We will be great friends, have lunch yet?” Maggy asked.

“No, waiting for you, we ordered fruit,” he said.

“Well, let’s order,” Maggy said.

Thomas is so nervous he knocks over his water glass, his face flushed red as the flags hang outside. A busboy scurried to wipe up the spill and bring fresh napkins while our waiter stood by to describe the chef’s specials—Maggy, elected for the poached salmon salad. I asked if the chef will make me a grilled roast beef with cheddar cheese sandwich with French fried potatoes? Thomas said that sounds good. Can I have the same? Indeed, any wines with lunch? No, more tea, bring another cup for the lady, please.

“Maggy, can we be tourists today? This is Thomas’s first day in the City, let’s show him the sights. I will get a car and driver to take us all over, we can take the ferry, to the Statue of Liberty, go to the top of the Empire State Building, tour Broadway, eat pizza and have fun,” I said.

“Richard, I would love that; we can change and go casual, oh Thomas, you will love it, too bad I don’t have a friend in town to keep you company. Richard, come, let’s change. I am excited to do this; I never get to be a tourist, mother always insists I must “stand above,” whatever that is supposed to mean,” Maggy said.

I stopped at the Concierge to secure a car and driver. How many hours Mr. Martinson will you need him? Let’s say 5 hours; we can be ready in 30 minutes. Gregory will be waiting in front, sir. Maggy is tugging at my sleeve, hurrying my love; I want to see our wedding room again as we rush to the elevator with Thomas saying, hey guys wait for me, I can’t run yet, you know. Thomas, change and come to our room in 30 minutes. Thirty minutes, what are you in a hurry for, darling, Maggy asked with a frown? She ran to our bedroom, undressed in a flash, threw back the comforter, and covered up, saying, come here, dear! Who am I to argue with such a lovely lady as I jumped in beside my wife. Hurry up, darling; we don’t have much time as she rolled on top of me and took my lips in hers. It seemed like only a minute when we heard the knock, knock on the door; I grabbed a robe and opened the door for Thomas, who can see I am preoccupied. Do you want me to come back? No, Thomas, we are changing, turn on the TV, watch the news, we will be right out. I am heading for the bathroom when Maggy grabbed me saying, not so fast, dear, we still have things to discuss, get back here!

We are in a festive mood going down to our driver, Gregory, parked in front in a new 62 black Cadillac Town Sedan; when he saw us exit, he opened the rear door for Maggy and me, while Thomas got in front, then as Superman says, UP-UP and Away.

“Gregory, we are tourists today, first stop at the Empire State Building’s top,” I said.

“Whatever you say Mr. Martinson, I am here for you,” Gregory said.

Gregory, please call me Richard; this is my best friend Thomas, and Maggy’s the love of my life. We are here to have fun, your suggestions are appreciated,” I said.

We drove down the most expensive street in the World, Fifth Avenue. Gregory gave us some history as we cruised down 5th; Caroline Astor built a house on the southwest corner of 34th Street, which began 5th avenue’s rule as the most fashionable residential neighborhood. In 1893, they made the Astoria Hotel, which later joined its neighbor as the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. That site is now the home of the Empire State Building, so you see the history here. Edith Wharton’s 1920 Pulitzer Prize novel “The Age of Innocence” has its central theme Fifth Avenue and the lives of New York’s social elite who lived here. They widened Fifth Avenue in 1908 to accommodate the increased traffic. This area was residential, now commercial. The first commercial building on Fifth Avenue was built by Benjamin Altman, who bought the corner lot on the northeast corner of 34th Street in 1896. In 1906 his department store, B. Altman and Company, occupied the whole block front. The fashionable women came and as did other high-end stores. Lord & Taylor flagship store is here near the Empire State Building and the New York Public Library.

Gregory pulled up in front of the Empire State and helped first Maggy then Thomas, a little stiff, so Maggy and I put Thomas between us as we went into the bldg. Gregory said he would be in front in an hour and a half. Thomas looked up as high as he could see and said, Richard, where is the top of this? Way up there, way up there.

“Have you ever been up there, Richard?” Thomas asked.

“Heck, no, I am afraid of heights,” I said.

“So am I, are you trying to get me sick?” Thomas asked.

“Thomas, we must overcome our fears so we may fight the dragons,” I said.

“Richard, I have no intention of fighting dragons,” he said.

Maggy is laughing at both of us, come on, children, I will protect you, as she got our tickets. To the top, up-up and away we go to the 102 nd floor, the top of the World. Boys, it takes about 40 minutes to get to the top, come all hold hands.

“Richard, my heart is pounding too fast I might pass out,” Thomas exclaimed.

“Thomas, don’t pee your pants, and you will be fine,” Maggy replied.

It gets more comfortable with each floor. By the time we get to the top, you will be like Superman, ready to leap tall buildings. You leap off one, he said with a laugh. Thomas and I spent the rest of the ride up with our eyes closed. Maggy is ecstatic; she is now the brave one, with two big strong men, squeezing her hands like little boys. Finally, the top, our scary trip is worth the pain, as the doors opened to a breathtaking view.

“Maggy, thank you, Thomas, told her, this is incredible, I would never believe this, nor will ever forget. Here, I understand why super-rich men desire their offices to be up high. They can look down at us, the minions they think we are and feel like Gods. They might even think they are Gods for all I know, they behave that way, dictating to all, standing here looking over the World it seems probable. Richard remembers the scripture when Satan tempted Christ by taking him to a “high place,” where he could see the World, offering Christ dominion over it all if he would serve him. I think Satan has taken some men here and made them the same offer,” Thomas said.

Maggy went up to Thomas and kissed his cheek, saying now I know why Richard loves you so much, you both are wise beyond your years. Come on; the trip down is easy. Gregory is waiting in front, as promised, we walked up, he is smiling, you all need a restroom after that trip? Where to now, he asked?”

“Let’s take the ferry ride to Liberty Park, I said. Will you go with us so you can take some photos?”

“Sure, you get the tickets while I park, I have a camera. Do you want motion or stills?” Gregory asked.

“Stills are best, easier to show around,” I said.

I can tell Thomas is getting tired; this has been his first day being on his feet for this long. Fortunately, the boat has excellent seats. We are lucky to have Gregory; he brought a superb 35mm Canon Camera, took dozens of memorable photos we will keep forever.

“Richard, I don’t think I am ready to take the trip up the Statue. Let me sit here and enjoy the view,” Thomas told us.

We will not leave you alone; let’s look around, buy some stuff for the family, and then return to our journey. The sun is setting, giving a strange orange and red glow to the skyline of the City. We got some stunning photos of the three of us with the City aglow in the background; those alone are worth the boat ride.

“Gregory, we need some great New York Pizza; where is the best place for it?” I asked.

“Di Fara, none better in the world, it is over in Brooklyn, want to try it?” Gregory asked.

“Sure sounds fun. Can we see the Bridge?” I asked.

Driving over the Brooklyn Bridge, Thomas asked if he could use the camera. Thomas took shots of the Bridge, Maggy and I kissed in the back seat. Gregory, driving over to J street, there is the unimposing facade of Di Fara’s pizza; the looks might not be glamorous, but roll down the window and breathe in the life. Gregory, park, join us for pizza, will get us a table, tell De Marco it is for Gregory, we go back a long way, he will be in the kitchen, but his staff will say to him. This man will not let anyone make a pizza except himself; he lives for those pies.

We entered this lovely pizza house welcomed as family. I told them that Gregory is with us parking the car. The waiter ran to the kitchen, bringing with him De Marco. Where is Gregory, he asked, then Gregory came inside, “paisano” and they hugged.

“Get my friends a table by the kitchen. I wish to talk as I work,” De Marco told the staff.

Without asking, the waiter brought a large carafe of red wine, some antipasto, saying salute, as he poured each of us a large glass of wine, which we did not refuse. Everyone is hungry, the fragrance, this joining of garlic, fresh basil, rosemary, hand-grated Parmigiana cheese, and the fresh smell of baking bread is enough to drive the senses wild. All toasted Gregory for this day, his bringing to this beautiful place, and the friendship he gave to us. We consumed a second carafe of wine while Gregory told us the story of De Marco and Di Fara Pizza House.

Each pizza is handmade by De Marco; he closes the restaurant if he cannot work. He believes he should make the pizza. Three of his seven children work in the kitchen; he makes about 150 pies a day and cuts fresh basil over each. De Marco will only use imported ingredients, flour, extra-virgin olive oil, only San Marzano tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella cheese from Casapulla. Freshly grated Grana Padano cows milk cheese, three types of mozzarella cheese, and hand-grated Parmigiana Reggiano cheese, all from Italy, the fresh basil, and oregano come from Israel. He bakes these hand made pies in the oven at about 800 F, which creates the thin crispy crust. Once you have one, you must have more; they are addicting.

The waiter brought our pie while De Marco came out to watch as we took our first bite. Maggy took one bite, then got up and kissed Di Marco. The blush made his face as red as his sauce, but he was delighted and shared a glass of wine with us before rushing back to his kitchen. We consumed our third carafe of wine and third pie before thanking this wonderful man, saying “Buon Giorno” to our new friend.

“Where to now, Richard?” Gregory asked.

“Let’s head back to The Plaza, drive through Broadway and Times Square, Thomas, needs to get the full treatment,” I said.

“Richard, I am so full and dizzy from the wine. All I need is a bed,” Thomas said.

“I am not sure if the sights he will see are worth seeing, that is the worst neighborhood in Manhattan, even the taxis are careful there. Thomas, where are you from?” Gregory asked.

“Wake Forest, North Carolina,” he said.

“Where else have you lived?” Gregory asked.

“Only in Wake Forest, Gregory all my life,” Thomas said.

“Then this is a must, you will see a part of life in America only seen here, not the life you want to live, but the life of many lost souls. This area is infamous for sex shops, go-go clubs, prostitution, and drugs, not the place for young Christian men from North Carolina, that is for sure. Look around, take a view of hell, that is this area now, used to be the center of the arts, all the greats artists from years ago played here, but the decay has set in,” Gregory said.

“Gregory, I saw enough, let’s go to the Plaza where it is clean,” Thomas said.

I paid Gregory $200.00 for his time and thanked him for being so gracious. Richard, I appreciate you; call me when you are ready to go to the airport. I will pick you up; the ride is on me.

We spent the next day, Tuesday playing around, took a rowboat ride in Central Park, we even took a ride on a horse-drawn carriage, all in all, we had fun. Wednesday, the Fourth of July, is to be a festive occasion. The city streets are ablaze with American Flags on every light pole. Flags and bunting on all the shops, even the taxis carried flags.

Tourists walking around with American flag tee shirts, there is a crowd of students in Central Park with Uncle Sam top hats; it seems as if everyone is in town to celebrate the Birth of Our Nation. After a lovely breakfast in our suite, we went to get ready for the Carlyle party. Michael asked us to be there by 3:00 pm, but Maggy said we would arrive not earlier than 5:00 pm; I will never be the first guest at a party, Maggy insisted. It is a short taxi ride up Madison Avenue to the Carlyle; we arrived at 5:07 pm, as Maggy requested. Kennedy’s apartment occupies two stories from the 34th to the 35th floors. The party is in full swing on our arrival; Michael comes rushing to the door to greet us, saying where you have been. Everyone is asking to see the couple of the year? My God, that was a grand affair, everyone in Christendom is talking about those horses carrying the food, spectacular. Come on, let me introduce you around.

“Who is your friend here? Do I know him?” Michael asked.

“No, Michael, Thomas Nelson, Michael Straight. Thomas is my best friend and business partner,” I said.

“Wonderful to meet you, Thomas, you have good friends,” Michael said. “There are more Brits at this party than Americans; he said, English love fireworks displays and any reason to party.”

Michael led us upstairs to the Solarium and a deck overlooking the City and Central Park. Most of the guests are surrounding a marble-top bar set up in the corner of the deck. Michael motioned to a young man who is talking to a group at the bar to come over.

“Max Stevens, meet my dear friend, Richard Martinson, the Yale Lawyer, Investor, and Philanthropist, I told you about,” Michael said. “Richard, Max here is an interesting guy, a student like you and an activist, you both seem to have similar interests, you guys chat, I must look after my guests.”

“Max, this is my fiance Maggy Drexel, and my dear friend Thomas Nelson,” I said.

“Richard, can you stay and talk for a bit? I know a couple of girls here that I want to introduce to Thomas?” Maggy asked.

I am left standing with Max Stevens, who seems a rather intense fellow, not much in smiles, makes me uncomfortable.

“Richard, care to join me in some lemonade? It has a kick to it, Michael says it is an old family recipe, I think it’s good English Gin with lemon juice,” Max said.

“Max, Michael said you were an activist, just what is that?” I asked.

“Nothing that will make me any money, that is for sure. A group of us led by Alan Haber and Tom Hayden formed a group we call SDS or Students for a Democratic Society. We are holding a meeting in a few days with LID or League for Industrial Democracy, to merge these groups so we can be a more effective voice,” Max said.

“So, what is the purpose of these groups?” I asked.

“To counter this Anti Soviet propaganda and keep us out of the war, he said. The United States is determined to go to war with Russia, and we do not want to die for their games. Michael told me that you are opposed to war and helped fight for people of color’s civil rights. Some of the colored civil rights organizations are joining with us,” Max said. “What is your position on the war now brewing?”

“Max, I am a lawyer, not a general. I believe there are wars of necessity and wars of opportunity. I am for wars of necessity and opposed to wars of opportunity,” I said.

“What do you mean by necessity?” he asked.

“Max, the way I like to define things is to take them to the smallest possible root, here I use a family as an illustration. A man with three children, a wife, a farm, lives in peace and is self-sufficient. Someone desires the man’s property and conceives a plan to take it by force. They take up arms and surround the farm demanding the family leave and give the attackers the property. The family, including the three children, take up arms and defend their home. To me, this is a war of necessity for the farmer and his family. It is a war of opportunity for those that attempt to take it by force. That, Max, is my thoughts on wars,” I said.

“Interesting viewpoint Richard, I would like to discuss this with you in more detail. Can we meet for lunch sometime?” Max asked.

“Max, here is my card, give me a call; today is for fun, not politics, I need to find my girl before someone steals her away,” I said.

Thankfully, Maggy came upstairs with Thomas and a rather attractive young, around 20-year-old girl on his arm; they seem to have hit it off. Richard, come and meet my friend Liz, Liz Altman, we know each other from Dartmouth. Liz came to me and wrapped her arms around me and kissed me on the cheek. We are dying to see who caught Maggy; you are better looking than she said.

Life creates some exciting scenes, how or why is the mystery. Six months ago, Thomas was confined to a wheelchair that had held him captive for years. The mysterious hand of God led him from the confines of his family home in North Carolina, with seemingly no opportunity in his future. Today he sits atop the most luxurious and by far the most expensive apartment in the great City of New York. He is surrounded by the wealthy elite, a lovely young lady, and his future unbounded. Seeing his smiling happy face makes my heart warm, it almost brings tears of joy to my face. Then, I turn and see the face of an angel smiling down upon me, Maggy, who only God could have brought. How do I deserve all this good fortune? I know not what, but now I want to be alone with Maggy and hold her tight to my chest before I awaken from a dream.

“Thomas, let’s get cold drinks for the girls; we went to the bar and ordered four lemonades; they float slices of lemon in the drink topped with a cherry. Thomas, what about Liz? Is she nice?” I asked.

“Richard, she is ‘really’ nice, she wants to go back to the Plaza with us for dinner, is that OK?” Thomas asked.

“Perfect, let’s get out of here as soon as the fireworks are over, tell Maggy you are tired, and we can split,” I said.

The firework show is, as Michael claimed, extravagantly beautiful. The grand finale is spectacular; they created the American Flag in the sky with bombs bursting around it so loudly; they shook the building. The entire City cheered the ending; you can hear their screams from our perch high above the City. Thomas is thrilled to be a part of this event, something he never dreamed possible. I found Michael and Maggy by my side, thanked him profusely for including us at this affair. Michael said, Richard, we have many things to discuss; perhaps we can get together before returning to Chicago. Please, call me, I said, giving him my card. The short ride back to The Plaza is a scene no one wanted to sit in the front of the taxi by themselves, so we all squeezed into the back seat, the girls crushed together with Thomas on one side and I the other were laughing all the way. I stopped at the desk and asked for two bottles of champagne with four glasses sent up.

“Right away, Mr. Martinson, anything else?” was asked.

“Send some crab cakes,” I said.

“Certainly, sir, how many?” was asked.

Enough for four will be nice.

Upon entering, Liz said, “How lovely Maggy, no boyfriend of mine ever treated me like this.”

“Richard is special, as I told you, so is Thomas,” Maggy said.

Let’s freshen up, Maggy said, leaving with Liz for the bathroom. Room service was there almost as soon as we were. They brought two bottles of Moet. Is this satisfactory? The waiter asked? Looks good to me, thanks.

“Liz came out fresh and fresher, sitting next to Thomas on the settee, “How do I look,” she asked.

Thomas blushed, looking at her slightly unbuttoned blouse, saying great, “really great.”

“Pour me champagne and let’s toast,” Liz smiled.

Thomas stood and poured each of us a glass; you could tell he is nervous as the bubbles spill over the glass; I am sure he is sweating. He raised his glass, saying, “today, tomorrow and forever with you.”

We touched glasses and swore our friendship forever.

Thomas is more at ease as Liz pulled him down next to her. She pulled him close then kissed his lips, not with passion, but earnestly. I watched, thinking Thomas might pass out, but he held her close for the moment.

Maggy laughed, “saying, go, girl, get that man.”

We were laughing, enjoying what has been a wonderful day, and promises to be an even sweeter night for all.

“Liz, where are you staying?” Maggy asked.

“Maggy, we have a co-op in Central Park West; Thomas will ride in a taxi with me home soon; we are going downstairs and get some hot chocolate, care to join us?” Liz asked.

“No thanks, I am tired, Richard and I will cuddle up and watch TV for a while. How about let’s  have breakfast before we leave for home in the morning,” Maggy said.

“Great idea, here or in the park. What time does Tavern on The Green open? Do you know?” Liz asked.

Never mind, I will call in the morning, perhaps we can meet there, see you bye. Come, my husband, we are finally alone as she pulled my hand to our bedroom. I was in bed before Maggy; I pulled the comforter for her to get under with me. We lay there for hours it seemed just looking in each other’s eyes, loving the other with our gaze. Finally, Maggy pulled close, and we embraced, locking our bodies together in a dance of love.

I lay half asleep thinking, what makes a marriage work, people join their lives, and become one? Why do so many families fall apart? How can love turn into hate? It does not seem possible you can genuinely love someone one day, and hate them the next, yet this happens often; why? Perhaps, there never was love, just emotion or convenience. What are the qualities that make for a good union? These thoughts might seem strange; I am lying here with the one I love incredibly happy. Maybe these thoughts are triggered by my concern for Thomas. He has never had a girlfriend; he is so vulnerable, it would be so easy for him to become entwined with the wrong person. I saw the way he looked at Liz; he knew nothing of her or her family. I recall the words of scripture in Ephesians. I think it is said, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” There is no command for wives to love their husbands, only to submit themselves. Trying to remember my Greek from a course I took at Duke, submit comes from the Greek word hupo, meaning under. That makes sense; man must love, honor, cherish his wife as Christ loves his family, women must respect their husbands and willingly be under him.

I like everything simple; I say it this way; man needs to give love, and woman needs to get love. If this exists within a family, the family is forever, because the fruit of that union will follow, as the apple tree gives apples. There! I found the key to happiness. When men and women select their mate, they only need to look at the tree to see the future. If a man loves his mother, only then can he truly love a woman and gives her the love she needs; if a woman truly loves and respects her father, only then can she respect and be under a man. Without these simple truths, you have chaos. Life is simple if we follow the rules. I recall the first time I spoke with Michael; he explained his family’s passion for racehorses and how they took such care in the breeding, searching for the best trees of the male and female.

“Richard, wake up, someone is at the door.” I shook my head, trying to open my eyes. Maggy is shaking me, answer the door. I pulled on my robe and opened the door to find Thomas standing there, smiling at me.

It is morning, look outside a beautiful day,” Thomas said.

“Thomas, I know it is morning, but it is early; why are you so full of energy?” I asked.

“Maggy, appeared still half asleep, hi Thomas, did you take Liz home?” she asked.

“Yes, around 2:00 am, we sat and talked for hours; we had lots of fun,” he said.

“Fun, what kind of fun are we talking about here?” Maggy asked.

“We just laughed a lot, she said; I am the first person she met who is not consumed with making money or starting a revolution. She said it is fun to be normal, not so darn serious. She asked about my home, my family, and do they love each other. Her mother and father live in separate worlds. Her father is a retailer with stores all over, and her mother is involved in politics, very socialistic. She said they never see each other. That is why she was at the party; her mother is a big supporter of some group, Students for a Democratic Society, who asked her to attend. Her mother could not attend, so she sent Liz,” Thomas said.

“Do you like her?” Maggy asked.

“Sure, I like her, not like you think, as a friend. Her father would never allow her to be with a “goyim” like me,” Thomas said.

“OH, I forgot Liz is Jewish,” Maggy said.

“Yes, a very nice person; she said I am the whitest thinking and looking person she ever met,” Thomas said.

“Did you guys make out?” Maggy asked

“Maggy, you are not supposed to ask such personal questions,” Thomas replied.

“Why not, all the girls at school will be asking me, we always tell everything, girls have no secrets, Thomas, remember that. We love the details of an affair. Let’s get dressed Richard, is Liz coming to breakfast with us?” Maggy asked.

“No, her mother is in town and wants her to go someplace with her. She said she would talk to you soon,” Thomas said.

“Maggy, let’s eat here. The view is great, it is comfortable, OK?” Richard asked.

“Sure, order me some poached eggs, toast, orange juice, and coffee,” I am going to take a bath.

“Thomas, what do you want for breakfast?” I asked.

“Whatever you order get for me,” he said.

“Come on, man, you are acting very strange, did you guys make out or not?” I asked.

“Kind of,” Thomas said.

“Kind of, what kind of answer is that? Come clean, it is me, Richard, I won’t tell,” I said.

“We put on the robes, the soft ones in the bathroom, then sat on the sofa and kissed a little. Liz put her hands in my lap and felt around; I guess I got excited, it got hard, and she played with it. She smiled at me and then rubbed her hands down my legs; when she touched my braces, Liz sat up, then asked about the braces. I told her the story. She cried, saying how sorry she was for my pain, while she was rubbing it. All of a sudden, she is kissing it; I experienced nothing like that. When she finished, she kissed me, saying, that will make your legs better. Richard, you know what, it did. I forgot I was wearing braces; all I could think of was how relaxed I am. That is when she asked me to take her home,” Thomas said.

Knocking on the door made us jump; we are both so engrossed in our thoughts, but the coffee is needed!

“What are you boys up to, Maggy asked as she walked into the room, dressed and looking lovely.”

“Nothing, waiting for you, my dear,” I said.

“Sure, why do you both have red faces, don’t keep secrets.”

Honey, Gregory will take us to the airport this morning. Did you fly or take the train?” I asked.

“The train, of course, he can drop me at Grand Central. So what do you have planned for us this summer?” Maggy asked.

“I thought we might go to the moon,” I said.

“You go to the moon; I want something closer to home with shopping,” she said.

“Just kidding, honey, my friend from MIT, William Lenoir, is in the space program. He asked if we would like to come to Florida and see the spaceship that is going to the moon. They recently opened the Launch Operations Center on Merritt Island, Florida. We can go to Florida, see the space center, and go to Palm Beach, how’s that sound?” I asked.

“Now you’re talking my language lover, you make the arrangements and pick me up, I love you madly,” she said.

I called Gregory to pick us up at 11:45 am. We had over an hour to kill before our flight to Raleigh. I want to phone the Colonel; there is something about Max Stevens that does not fit. Why is he so interested in me?

“Colonel, Richard, I am in the City. You asked me to tell you if someone new wanted to be friends, we asked to spend the 4th with Michael Whitney Straight at Kennedy’s apartment at The Carlyle. Michael introduced me to Max Stevens; he is involved with some anti-war groups, Students for a Democratic Society. He was Kind of intense and asked me to lunch to talk more. He said he works with Alan Haber and Tom Hayden, neither of these are familiar, appreciate it if you check them out for me,” I said.

“Richard, now you are thinking smart, find out before something happens. When will you be back in North Carolina?” Colonel asked.

“In a few hour’s Colonel, Thomas Nelson is with me, we are at the airport now waiting for a flight home,” I said.

“Richard, I will get a hold of Matt later; he will let you know. Have a good trip,” Colonel said.

“Richard, thank you for taking me to New York; it is the best experience of my life; I never imagined how some people live. It seems like there are two or three America’s, one for the poor, another for people like us, then a completely different one for those that thrive off of the labor of those beneath them. In nature, water does not flow uphill, but here you can see money, sure does. We don’t see the difference at home, there it’s all the same, but in New York, you see it in every face. I suppose it is like that in every great City, but this is the first one I have seen,” Thomas said.

“Yea, Thomas, your observation is correct; I am reminded of Hemingway’s line, “The only difference between the rich and other people is that the rich have more money.” I do not entirely agree with this line; I like your observation better; when you said there are three different America’s, I will add Worlds. What I see is people like us, those in the middle, have concern for the plight of the poor, those at the top have no regard for those they think beneath them. They see those as mere numbers. That is why it is so easy for them to start wars; they make huge profits and never feel death’s pain. Their sons do not fight in these wars; they most certainly do not; underlings take care of that. The only weapon they brandish is their martini glass while sitting in their clubs talking brave,” I said.

“Richard, don’t you aspire to be one of them, I mean rich and all?” Thomas asked.

“Thomas, we will make money, but we will not be one of them. I intend to be like Hemingway says, the same with just a little more money. Remember, in 1st Timothy, “For the love of money is the root of all evil.” The love, not the need for money, creates evil; we need money to fight those who love money as their God; it was also said, “It takes fire to fight a fire.” Thomas, you know what God meant when he commanded Adam and Eve saying, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die? The tree is not a fruit tree as commonly believed; it is the tree, the roots, the fruit, so to speak, of those who desire to control the World with money as their power source. Remember, in the scriptures, the fruit is a metaphor for man; for example, when it is said in Matthew 7, “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.” It all ties to man’s character; he has a love of money as his center brings forth evil. You will not see wars started by the poor they have Nothing to gain; war is for gain. Thomas, we will be firemen, using money to fight money, how’s that sound, Captain?” I asked.

“I am ready to fight with you, Richard, point the way,” he said.

“Thomas, wake up. We are at home. You dozed off must have been dreaming about last night,” I said.

“Hey man, don’t talk like that, dad is very perceptive,” he said.

“Matt was sitting on the front porch as we drove up. Hey big shots, how was the trip, son?”

“Oh, great! I can’t wait to tell you and mom,” Thomas said.

“Richard, the Colonel called, he wants to speak to you asap, let’s drive to the store. Thomas, get your stuff, mother has dinner ready, I will be right back,” Matt said.

The phone rang in the booth almost as we drove up. Richard, your instincts are right about this guy Stevens. He is a CIA asset; they are concerned about any group that opposes their plans; the war is on their front burner now. Max Stevens is put inside to report on people who oppose the war.

“Colonel, is he an agent?” I asked.

“No, he is an asset, they have over 25,000 paid assets worldwide, why do you think they need the drug trade to pay all of this. None of this is in the US Budget. It is all ‘off the books.’ They require millions upon millions of dollars in cash every month to maintain their network of assets. These paid assets work in every defense contractor, every central Church, the universities, all embassies, and newspapers in the World. The pigs need greasing, and the drug trade pays for it all. Richard, you cannot imagine the vast network and the cost of it. Hell, the FBI has over 4000 assets in the States. The roots grow everywhere, be careful; you can use this guy, and feed him misinformation, which he will forward. Give him the 180 degrees, if you are going south, tell him north. You will learn the value, and use their methods against them. Keep in touch,” Colonel said.


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