TC06A

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After crossing L street, 11th rises from the flats of Headwater and dead-ends at the home of Dory Twofeathers almost a hundred feet higher. From her backyard the hill rises another sixty feet, bald and scraped raw by the wind, but the summit has a stand of three birches. No one owned the top of the nameless hill owing to the difficulty of building a house there, but for generations a ramshackle cluster of tree forts was built between the three birch trees. When Kim and Sofie were taken away Dory and Jerry spent much of their time up there.

From this vantage Dory and Jerry could see all of Headwater spread out to the north and east. To the south the railroad looped around Mt. Motorcycle to form the end of the line. West over an 'S'-shaped bend in the Squaw River was Lake 13 lying at the foot of Green Dome. Looking down, Dory and Jerry saw Special Agent Bill Sullivan toiling up the mossy bald and when he was closer he called from them to come down to have a chat. Dory invited him to come up into her tree fort instead, and after a moment considering this, he decided to try it.

Agent Sullivan managed to reach the high railed platform where Dory and Jerry were sitting. He opened his mouth to introduce himself but Dory spoke first. "You are Special Agent William Sullivan of the FBI and you came up here to ask us about Kim Zinter and Sofie Krause."

"How did you know all that, Dory?"

She said, "You've asking people all over Headwater about my friends and some of those people are on my wavelength."

He seemed puzzled by that answer.

"Where are Kim and Sofie now, Agent Sullivan?" asked Jerry. "No one seems to know."

"I'm not at liberty to say where they are right now, Jerry, but I can say they are very sick, and their doctors still don't know how the girls came down with what they have. That's where the two of you can help. We know the last time they were together was at the funeral."

"If you've been asking about us," Jerry said, "then you already know we didn't actually attend the Last Rite for Erik Zinter. We were downstairs the whole time, the four of us."

"Yes and Paul Bergin said he found the four of you in the storage room where you oughtn't be."

"It was unlocked," shrugged Dory. "We were bored, so we had a look."

"Did you find anything unusual?"

"No sir, unless maybe a piano."

"After Paul chewed our ass and booted us out," Jerry put in, "he locked it back up. Maybe he'll let you look if you flash your badge."

"I did go up to the Temple flashing my badge, Jerry, but Paul Bergin's boss, Peter Twofeathers, is a little too old-fashioned for my taste. He's of a mind that I need to get a judge to sign a warrant before I can go snooping around in the basement of the holy precincts."

"Grandpa can be like that," Dory said.

Jerry nodded his head. The Prophet was his grandfather also. "I'm very sorry we can't tell you anything more."

Agent Sullivan reached into his jacket and pulled out an envelope. "Here's a belated birthday present for you, Jerry."

What Jerry thought was a birthday card turned out to be a notice for the draft.

Agent Sullivan pointed over the railing. "See down there over Dory's house? I know it's not your school, that's Headwater High. In the gym you'll find Dr. Wahkan and two other fellows."

"I don't understand, sir."

"There's not much to it, Jerry. You tell me how Kim and Sofie got sick and I make this draft notice go away. You say nothing, and down the hill you go to see who gets you, the Army or the Navy."

"Honestly, sir, I've told you everything I know."

"Dory will you help the young man out? War is hell. You might not ever see cousin Jerry again after he reports to Boot."

Dory shook her head, refusing to even mention the mouse.

Sullivan said, "Last chance, Jerry. No? OK, suit yourself, son. Go kill yourself some Japs."

After Sullivan left Jerry suggested a game of Cartel, which was the least likely thing Dory thought could come out of his mouth after what just happened. "And by Cartel I mean strip Cartel of course." That raised the stakes a notch from losing little pink pieces of paper.

The dice flew and round and round the board they went. Jerry bought up 42nd Street, Broadway, and Park Avenue. All he needed was Wall Street for a full Cartel. Dory scooped up the Appian Way, the Burma Road, and Easy Street, and all she needed was the Yellow Brick Road. Dory thought it strange how Jerry wanted to play a game when he'd just been handed a draft notice and she didn't have her heart in it. Jerry got another half-Cartel going with Mulholland Drive and Sunset Boulevard but Dory blocked by getting Bourbon Street and Main Street.

Jerry had some lucky rolls and avoided landing on any of Dory's properties, while Dory kept landing on Jerry's stuff and started to have a serious cash flow problem. She auctioned off her belt and nylons for a little breathing space but then the dice really turned on her. Dory started landing on Jerry's Cartels repeatedly. She was methodically stripped of most of her cash and started showing more and more skin to stay in the game. Soon Jerry owned Dory's dark yellow dress with white polka dots, and after that her knit rayon undies and bra. But Dory rallied a little bit near the end. The properties associated with her knee socks and little black Mary Jane shoes, which Jerry didn't want, were enough to complete a second Cartel, creating a kind of death row on one side of the board. Soon Jerry was shirtless.

Another round. Dory demanded his pants. But Jerry simply put on Dory's bra and dress, and when che was sufficiently covered, che dropped trou and handed them over.

"A man shalt not wear that which pertains to a woman," Dory preached, "for it is an abomination to God!"

"That verse doesn't apply to me, cuz," said Jerry. "I'm not a man or a woman."

Jerry landed on the next half of Dory's death row. With insufficient cash to pay Dory she demanded his underwear, which che promptly handed over. The game was over but che was fine with that.


U

Under the cover of Dory's yellow dress Jerry slipped into her panties and together with her bra che had everything che was looking for. Jerry bid his cousin adieu, left the tree fort, and flounced down the hill to the high school gym to face the local draft board music.

"You want to tell me about it, son?" the NCO representing the Army drawled after Jerry showed up.

Che looked down at hemself, then caught the sergeant's eye. "I guess I'm ab&waddyacallitt, homosexual."

But the Navy first class petty officer had heard this dodge before.

"You slackers think that's the easy way out," he growled. "Who's your boy- friend?"

Jerry blurted out the name of the only male homosexual he actually knew: "Aaron Anton."

"We had that Anton fellow in here last month," the Army NCO said. "He's queer as a football bat."

Dr. Wahkan knew what Jerry was trying to do, and he also knew Jerry wasn't actually going to get drafted. He decided to hurry things along. "Jerry! About face! Hike up that skirt! Panties at half mast!"

Jerry complied and both military men drew closer to take a look.

"I was present at Jerry's birth," said the doctor, "and I've seen hem many times since. Che has a very rare birth defect that gives hem both male and female genitalia. Imagine what they would do to poor Jerry on a destroyer after three months at sea hunting Japanese subs."

The Army and Navy representatives looked at Jerry and realized the doctor wasn't pulling their leg, looked at each other, and nodded agreement. Petty Officer Watson typed up a card classifying Jerry IV-F: registrant not qualified for military service for physical reasons.

"Hang on to that card, son," Watson said. "Get it laminated. That's gold. Starting next month you'll have to present proof of your Selective Service status on demand. And Doc, I don't think we'll be back next month. I think we're scraping rock bottom of Headwater now."


When Michael strode the halls of the Green Dome Academy the students who were b'nei elohim instinctively recognized hym and assumed the position, but hy was there only to see Jerry and Dory. Hy found them sitting together alone in the library and they immediately stood up.

"Hello Jerry," Michael said. "Hello Dory. School's out forever, for both of you. Or maybe it's just beginning. But right now I want you to help me bring Kimberly and Sofia home, so fetch your coats and meet me outdoors on the side of the building that faces Green Dome."

The Academy was shaped like a big doughnut with a grove of trees growing in the hole in the center. Dory used the grove to shortcut to her locker through the teacher's lounge. What were they going to do, expel her? Jerry's locker was in the hall outside of the library.

But by the time Dory walked halfway around the Academy wearing her coat Jerry was shaking and still trying to open hez locker. She asked, "Why are you so nervous?"

"You know who that is."

"Yes, and right now hy's waiting outside in the cold for you to do what hy said."

"Tell me the numbers and I'll do it," she said.

"I'm not letting you know my combination!"

"Jerry, you scrub, Michael said we're done with school so spit it out!"

So che did and Dory popped it open first try. Che got hez coat and they ran outside to make up lost time.

They found Michael waiting for them under the eaves on the west side of the school. Hy said, "Kimberly found a way to get herself and Sofie home but she needs both of you and Peter Twofeathers to help or it will not work, which is really to say they will freeze to death."

"So we're to meet grandfather," said Dory. She looked at icy 7th Street switch-backing up snow-covered slopes before meeting the dark slash of Green Dome Road, which wrapped to the summit of the hill like the stripe on a barber pole. "Shall we walk to the Temple, Lord?"

"Yes, Dory," hy said, "let's walk." And something like a crystal ball grew before them until it was taller than Jerry and even Michael, yet it was not solid or substantial in any way. The seraph walked right inside the sphere without resistance. Jerry and Dory followed. They looked back and saw the school, inexplicably, was two miles away and eight hundred fifty feet below, with most of Headwater spread out beyond it. Taking only a few steps they had attained the summit of Green Dome without breaking a sweat or slipping on ice.

"Fragments of reality can be formed into bridges," Michael said. "Albert Einstein and Nathan Rosen explored this on a blackboard a few years ago, but I doubt it will be practical for any human to actually make one. It takes the power of a star just to hold the path open."

The original avatar of Chokhmah had always been at the Temple, in the sense that the Temple was built over the cairn assembled by Wanica after he received the Golden Gift. But Chokhmah, in union with Michael as a living avatar, had never before walked the wooden halls.

Peter had his head over his desk in silent prayer. Jerry and Dory came to him for a hug, one at each side. Michael said, "When you pray, Peter, make your petition aloud. I can't hear your thoughts unless you frame them in the same mode you use to communicate with Dory."

Peter stood up and exclaimed, "My Lord!" but Dory and Jerry were already setting out three chairs in front of his desk. Michael asked everyone to be seated, and when they were, hy took a few moments to study the family photographs hanging on the walls of Peter's office.

Hanging over Peter's right shoulder was a 1914 photograph of Peter himself with his ambi wife Jaroah, his son (and Dory's father) Seth, and Seth's siblings. Over the left shoulder was Jaraoh in 1896 as a little jist with hez own siblings and hez parents Mahlon and Ahlai.

The oldest photograph, hanging above Peter's head, was a blurry moving Mahlon, as an infant in 1866, being held in the arms of hez mother the hashmal Leliel from Lilith's Fallen Angels. Next to har was Mahlon's father Jashen, son of Chief Wanica and the original Shy Bear.

"There he is," said Michael. "Jashen Shy Bear: Made, not Begotten. Until recently he was the only b'nei elohim Made since the Fallen Angels were exiled from Salem so long ago."

"Have mercy, Lord," pleaded Jerry. "I should not have have taken my friends under the altar."



"Be at peace," Michael said. "Do you think Kimberly and Sofia experienced the Change contrary to my will?"

Jerry shook hez head no.

Satisfied with hez response Michael saw that one wall of the office was covered with a large tri-state map and hy stood up to approach it.

"Kim and Sofie have been held in a camp here," hy said, pointing to a place northeast of Cody. "Not tonight, but on the following night, they will escape and hide on a freight train. By the time that train makes its first stop here, in Powell, they will be unconscious."

"If you, Peter, aren't waiting for the girls at 2:04 AM with your warm station wagon filled with warm blankets and warm chicken broth in a Thermos and the bodies of two warm friends, Kim and Sofie will die of exposure somewhere in the mountains south of Billings, Montana."

Michael turned to Jerry and said, "Put the coin on Peter's desk."

Jerry did a trick with his left hand and set a half-dollar on the tabletop. Michael was already shaking hyz head. "Not a copy, Jerry, the original." Chastened, Jerry repeated the move with his right hand.

Then Michael said to Peter, "Present the Golden Gift."

To obey his lord, the Prophet had to overcome a strong instinct not to reveal that it was locked in a safe hiding behind a certain number of books on a shelf. Momentarily a golden bladeless knife hilt was on the desk.

Peter said, "Lord Michael, if the relic is to pass out of my hands at this time I fully understand. It is sacred, yet I gave it to Erik Zinter to hon- eycomb this mountain."

"That was a good deed, Peter. Some people do not understand that a gift comes without conditions."

"Be in good spirits. You remembered that I desire mercy and not a sacrifice. Prophet Lange would have done the same thing had he watched the people of Headwater live through the last twelve years. But the time is quick-ly approaching when only young Jerry can keep it safe."

Jerry took that as a cue to put the Golden Gift in the little hidden space- time pocket that was always in contact with his hands.

Michael said to Jerry, "To Chief Wanica this was the Golden Gift, but to you it is the Macro and now I do have rules. Use it only at need. That makes you solely responsible for carrying out the Last Rite, Jerry, but only for as long as the Temple is in the hands of the Church. And that will be for just two more months. Make no copies of the Macro until the abomination of desolation is standing on the altar. After that, every living soul among the b'nei elohim are to receive a Macro."

Dory was wondering where she fit in. Michael said, "You are a driver now, so you will share the wheel with Peter. And gas money is not an issue." He dropped a thousand in twenties on the desk.

Dory picked up two of the bills and looked at them closely. "They have different serial numbers. These are not copies like Jerry's fifty cent pieces."

"I could drop a hundred million dollars on the town," Michael said, "but then a cup of coffee would run you fifty bucks. Peter, your country is at war along with most of the world, so there's strict gasoline rationing, but you're a member of the clergy. The X sticker on your woodie gives you permission to buy unlimited supplies just like any fireman or cop or congress- man in Washington DC. There are many more details but all of you are Academy trained. I'm certain you will reason them out. Go save your friends."

A carefully-shaped Einstein-Rosen bridge took just Michael and his chair away with a loud pop. Dory and Jerry scooted together in the new space.

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