“I need to get back to the desert,” the General said. “Do we have an agreement?”
“Yes, sir,” she said.
The General gave a low whistle and the soldiers closed the circle. Within moments, she held the leashes of her dogs. Before they were out of earshot she shouted:
The General stopped running and turned in her direction.
“Who is Michael Roper?” she yelled.
“He’s married to Valerie Lipson,” he said. Laughing, he added, “Enjoy your Pulitzer.”
The men picked up the pace. Within moments, she was alone on the quiet lane. She ran for another mile then turned for home. Arriving home, her dog trainer took the dogs to feed and water them. She was about to head upstairs when she saw something slip under her front door.
Picking it up, she ripped open the manila envelope to find a single sheet of paper. Near the bottom, scrawled in a man’s handwriting, was a note that said: ‘For background on Roper’. The sheet contained ten names, home phone numbers and private email addresses of top level people in government or retired military. There was even a curator at the Denver Art Museum. One name was someone she had begged to interview. More than once.
Looks like Valerie Lipson’s secret husband was more interesting than she thought.
Monday morning — 8:12 A.M.
“Ouch! Shit, Blane,” Jacob said. “Are you sure you know what you’re doing?”
Blane was inserting acupuncture needles around Jacob’s sutures. When he wasn’t working as Jacob’s assistant, Blane was a student at the Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Three years into a Chinese Medical Doctor degree, he had spent the last week researching the right herbs, salves and points to accelerate Jacob’s healing. Not quite fluent in Chinese, yet, Blane was a star pupil.
“Ya ‘cuz,” Blane said with the mock Hispanic accent he used to drive Jacob crazy. “Dis guy, he said to try dis thing and I figured…”
“This hurts,” Jacob said.
“You could just take your pain medication,” Aden said.
“Fuck you too,” Jacob said to Aden.
Aden laughed at Jacob. They were sitting in a small office at the Castle. They had spent the morning making sure every site manager had what he or she needed to get the job done today. Lipson Construction was humming like a well oiled engine.
Except for its President, Jacob Marlowe.
Although healing, his week old shoulder injury, and multiple surgeries, left him at half his capacity. Blane thought acupuncture might help accelerate his healing. Or at least ease some of the desperate pain.
“Hi,” Jill said. She poked her head in the door. “Am I interrupting?”
“Not if you’ve heard a few swear words before,” Aden said. He opened the door for Jill. “I’m going to check on my kids. I’ll be back in a few.”
“Katy wanted to say ‘good-bye’ before she went to school,” Jill said. She came into the room carrying three year old, Katy, on her hip. Pointing to the hundreds of needles in Jacob’s shoulder and neck, she added, “Oooh, that doesn’t look good.”
The retelling of Celia’s Puppies, Denver Cereal Volume 2, continues tomorrow…
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