Story 14 - Mission Africa.
I turned to Tony, while speaking to Nicolai. "I need your help with
this, Tony. I need someone with your social skills for making friends at the grassroots level where people live their daily lives. I also need you to teach me this
art, as much as you can. I am only trained for interfacing in high places, at
the diplomatic level, where there is little of that on the agenda."
Tony just grinned. "You can count on me," he said.
+ + +
Nicolai and Heather were the first to leave, by submarine to New York.
"That leaves just you and I holding the fort after Pete is gone," said Ross to Sylvia.
He said this while we had breakfast together, all three of us, on Ross' balcony the next morning.
Sylvia shook her head. "We have research of our
own to do," she said to Ross. "We must search to discover the fundamental principle that gets Heather of the hook in regard to you and Pete. We have to discover what it means to be human before we can change the world. This knowledge has been lost. Except, that's not an easy task to fulfill after centuries of playing games with one another."
"It can't be that bad," I butted in. "You should be able come up with something in five weeks."
"Five weeks should be enough with me becoming
involved in the project," Sylvia agreed, and laughed. "Trust me to accomplish what you gentlemen had failed to accomplish in five years of trying." She
added and grinned.
Well, I accepted defeat on this score, bowing my head to Sylvia. "By the way, Heather suggested that you might want to close our house down for the duration and work out of Ross' place, together with him.
Heather said it would be more practical for you to do that. This would help your research, I suppose. That sounds like a good idea,
"Heather said this?" Sylvia enquired.
"She mentioned it on the boat to the sub, with a smile, even a
kiss. Can you imagine that? In any case, what you do, that's up to you," I replied.
"Do you know what this means?" commented Ross with a happy smile.
"It means what it means," I replied, "nothing more, nothing less."
"Actually, I can tell you what it means," I said the Sylvia. "It means that you would be dancing to the music of Camille Saint-Saens, so to speak."
"What music do you have in mind?" Sylvia asked.
"Oh, everything. The Swan; Dance Macabre; the Military March; Rondo Capriccioso; stuff like that; and of course, the Organ Symphony. Also add the duet from the Pearlfishers."
"That's from Bizet," Sylvia corrected me.
"Sure it is, Sylvia, but it fits."
"You are referring to Heather and our research, aren't you?" she asked.
"The Pearlfishers is an opera about two close and dear friends who are in love with the same woman," Sylvia explained to Ross.
I nodded to Sylvia. "Actually I wasn't thinking about Heather," I said to her, "although that fits. I was thinking about us, the three of us, two men being in love with the same beautiful, loving, intelligent, and extraordinary woman. I am not blind, you know, that I wouldn't notice your affectionate regard for Ross, and Ross' regard for you. You have been in love with one another for the last dozen years."
Sylvia began to grin.
"So, who's the one who hasn't been able to move
for the longest time?" I asked with the same grin. "Chalk one up for me!"
Ross began to grin, too.
"I would have doubted our sanity and our honesty," I said to both Ross and Sylvia, accepting my chalk mark, "if a great deal of love hadn't been unfolding between all of us, even though we have been stuck in this rut of ours. That is why I must amend what Sylvia just said. The fact is, there are two beautiful, loving, intelligent, and extraordinary men here, who are simultaneously in love with two beautiful, loving, intelligent, and extraordinary
women, which includes Heather, too. This means we have made some progress," I added.