“The Fey team?” the interviewer asked.
“Special Forces. They used to get hostages. That’s what they did. Retrieved hostages. They were killed a couple years ago.”
Mike looked across at Alex. She gave him a ‘good job’ smile.
“What happened when they rescued you?”
“I’ll tell you what I remember. At night, they chained me up in this area with the other guys. I mean, I wasn’t really sane. I’d sleep a couple hours then draw Val’s photos. The guys helped me get more charcoal or chalky rocks for the photos. I guess these pictures, so full of beauty and love, bolstered us. Well, they found them and it was not good.
“They figured that I drew them, so they isolated me from the rest. I was sure they were going to kill me. I just knew it. After one particularly bad… evening, I fell flat on the floor. My arms were out in front of me. I wanted to die. I wanted to just disappear. That’s how I was when the Fey team found me.
“I’m laying there, mostly crazy, and I hear this: ‘Damn, Michael, I didn’t know you even WANTED to be a priest.’”
“What?” the interviewer asked.
“Priests lay like that before the altar when they are ordained. Guess you’re not Catholic.”
“No,” she said.
“Makes it less funny then.” Mike smiled.
“What happened next?”
“I tried to roll over but I was in pretty bad shape. Their medic put me out. That’s all I remember until waking up on the plane home. They knocked me out in the hospital. I had a couple surgeries. The moment I could move, I was out of the hospital and caught a plane to LA.”
“Did you know he was alive, Val?”
“No,” Valerie said. “I had alienated a lot of people with my… insistence on searching for Mike. I think they wanted to have him… in hand and healthy before they told me.”
“I flew to LA and watched Entertainment tonight. I waited outside the Ivy and…” Mike shrugged.
“I fainted when I saw him,” Valerie said. “We spent a month together. I tried…”
“I was insane,” Mike said. “God, poor Val. I was still in bandages from the surgeries, bruised up, AWOL and a complete mess.”
“I wasn’t much better,” Valerie said. “He left about a month later. Checked himself into the VA. By the time he came back, I was publically engaged to Sean.”
“We have an interview with Sean where he says that he’s gay,” the interviewer said. “His mother had terminal cancer.”
“Sean thought his mother would die at peace if she knew he was ‘over’ his gayness. He told her it was a phase and we were getting married. She died a couple days later,” Valerie said. “It’s not the most politically correct thing to do, so Sean and I hid it.”
“That’s what he said,” the interviewer said. “He also said you did the same thing for his partner a few years later.”
The retelling of Celia’s Puppies, Denver Cereal Volume 2, continues tomorrow…
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