Tuesday, September 22, 2015


The next night they all met at a Denny's. Not in the city. This one was in Jersey. Ca-Ca was there with her father. Her mother didn't go. Timothy was there with both his parents. Some detective guy was there. He arrived first. And (get ready for this) Jonathon ben Macabi's consort, the vampirina, Sarah was with him. Regular readers know that our Philadelphia vampires and other night-folk have friends on the force. Jonathon could have come, but they felt a female would be less threatening.

They hostess, herself the daughter of an old Jersey Pine Barrens family, smiled and led them back to a secluded booth, as they came in. At first no one said a word. A waitress brought iced tea and everybody just looked at each other. Then the detective guy began. In a quiet voice, almost a whisper, he began - Look, they committed murder. But they're juveniles and eight years or less in a juvvy hall won't bring Esther back. It won't change a thing. Not for the 'better' anyway. Jail, any kind of jail is a deep, hard personal invasion. Ex Cons say it's like a rape. Can I say that in front of them? (he meant the kids). Timothy's father nodded, so he went on. But there's something else we can do. He gestured toward Sarah and said - The lady with me is a friend. We've worked with her and her people before.... Ca-Ca's father cleared his throat and said - Excuse me, but who the hell are are her people?.... Let me talk first - said the detective guy.... Sarah looked down and sipped her iced tea. As you know, vampires can tolerate clear, or mostly clear, liquids.... And he continued - Some scientists would like to study them. Your kids, I mean. Nothing invasive. Maybe some blood tests, or cheek swabs... The waitress silently put down platters of fried cheese sticks and little hamburgers.... Ca-Ca took two of the burgers. .... Timothy looks scared. His mother said - You mean give him up? Just let you take him?.... Well, what do you think the courts will do? - said the cop.... Nobody said a word.... Ca-Ca's father began to study Sarah. She knew, but made like she didn't. He said - Excuse me, Miss, who are you? Why are you here? If you don't want to talk about 'your people' that's all right, but who are you?... Sarah thought for a few moments before beginning. Then she said - My name is Sarah de Macabea (She and Jonathon were married, after all and whether they used 'de Macabea' or 'ben Macabi' was immaterial) and I represent a group heavily involved in the sciences. We'd like to find out what makes people kill.... And my son and that girl will be guinea pigs?... It won't be like that. And you don't have to give them up. You can come too - Sarah said..... What? Just pick up and go? - asked Ca-Ca's father. ..... Yes - she said. You'd disappear. Lock your door and walk away. Believe me. Your lives would not be hard at all.... The cop added - You think a lot of people know about the case? No, they don't. A few seconds on the radio or TV? People forget real fast. And if anyone does ask, all we have to say is the case is closed. Kids pleaded guilty and are now serving time in a juvenile facility at an undisclosed location. Families moved away to start new lives..... Like witness protection? - asked Tim's father..... A little - said the cop.... Have you ever done this before? - said his mother..... He looked at Sarah, the cop, I mean, and she said - At times. Scientific inquiry solves so much more than jail cells.... Where would you keep us? - said Ca-Ca's father..... Not far - said Sarah. We have a place, an off-shoot of a much larger facility we have in town about an hour from here, in The Jersey Pine Barrens. Most find the experience very interesting. You'd see things few other humans ever see...... Why'd you say 'humans' and not people? - asked Tim's father (to the cop) Is she an alien?..... No, nothing like that - said the cop.... Excuse me, but what about Esther's mother? What will you tell her? - asked Timothy..... The cop considered before responding. Then he said - Well, son, there's somebody with her right now. Esther's mother is very sad. you understand that?..... Tim nodded. The cop went on - She knows what we're telling you all right now. She wants her daughter's death to mean something. She hopes you'll cooperate and let us learn from you. She'll tell people you both pleaded guilty and are now in a juvenile detention center out of state.... Tim's mother wondered - What will her life be like?.... The cop looked at Sarah, who said - She'll be given a large sum of money, seven point five million dollars. I can't speak for her emotional life, but on the material side, things will be all right. Maybe even a job, or avocation that might help fill the void.

So what will it be? - asked the cop. And I hate to put it to you this way, but 'baby jail' and there ain't nothing babyish about it, or what she said?..... Ca-Ca's father was a shrewd guy. He said - I'll take her deal.... Sarah said - And Timothy's family?.... Tim's father nodded too. No one brought up Ca-Ca's mother. They just assumed she'd go along.

Then they ate the food. Sarah didn't. She just drank more ice tea. And the 'hostess' girl from the Pines, who wasn't really a restaurant hostess, made a few discrete phone calls to put things in motion.

Doctor Franklin and his exotic assistant, Luna, watching it all on his lap top, approximately twenty miles to the east, was quite happy.

Good experimental subjects were so hard to come by...

<to be continued>


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