CHAPTER FIVE HUNDRED and SEVENTY-ONE
Sunday afternoon — 5:47 p.m.
“We weren’t sure how you would be after the travel,” US Navy Captain Vince Hutchins said. “We got here mid-day. The non-famous of us went on a tour of Auschwitz.”
“Non-famous?” Bernie asked.
They were standing in the living room of the farm that Seth had rented. The farm house was large and warm. The team members shared rooms by partner group. Seth and Bernie were given a room on the ground floor.
“I can’t go,” Alex said.
“If someone sees her or her partner, Raz, they will think that there’s some action going on here,” US Army Captain Matthew Mac Clenaghan said. “Me, Troy — they might start looking for her.”
“The rest of us are nobodies,” US Army Captain Andrew “Trece” Ramirez said.
“Speak for yourself,” US Marine Sergeant First Class Margaret Peaches said. “I’m not nobody.”
Everyone laughed. Seth found himself grinning with them. He glanced at his father who had a similar look on his face.
“I’ve been to Auschwitz,” Bernie said. “I don’t need another visit.”
The team became instantly silent. Alex had warned them that Seth’s father’s history was cloudy. Most of his files were classified or simply unavailable.
“Were you here during the war?” an older man’s voice came from the stairs.
General Patrick Hargreaves turned the corner and came down the last flight of stairs.
“Patrick,” Seth said with a smile.
Seth turned to his father to introduce the men only to find Bernie giving Patrick a guarded look.
“Why are you here?” Bernie asked.
“My daughter,” Patrick said. He pointed to Alex.
Bernie shook his head.
“Try again,” Bernie said. “That’s Benjamin’s daughter. She and her twin look just like his mother.”
“We share her,” Benjamin said as he came into the room.
Bernie squinted at Benjamin.
“I stopped lying to you in the ’60, Bernie,” Benjamin said with a shrug. “Why would I lie?”
Bernie looked at Seth.
“How are you connected with these people?” Bernie asked.
“Your piano student, Paddie, is Alex’s nephew,” Seth said. “I know the General from …”
“Life,” Seth said finally. “Denver. I played at all of his celebrations in winning the Senate. And …”
“Sandy does our hair,” Petty Officer Leena Carmichael said as she came into the room.
Bernie brightened at her presence.
“I didn’t know you would be here,” Bernie said.
“I work for Alex,” Leena said. “Nice to see you, sir.”
“Her daughter takes piano lessons,” Bernie said with a smile. He seemed to let out a breath. “I apologize. I’ve been a little triggered since getting off the plane.”
Seth put his arm on his father’s shoulder.
“I hate the south of Poland,” Bernie said.
“Would you give us a tour of Auschwitz?” Patrick asked.
Bernie scowled at him for a long moment before giving him a vague nod. Patrick pointed at Bernie.
“I want to be clear,” Patrick said. “We are not friends.”
“We are,” Benjamin said with a wry grin as he pressed past Patrick to take a seat on the couch. “Always have been.”
Ignoring Ben, Patrick continued, “That man knows more about what actually happened in the last hundred years that anyone alive.”
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…
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