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Conspiracy at Desert One
A novel

By Bernace Charles
The Iranian

Chapter Twenty-Two

December 1979

The day was cool. Laleh came down to the hotel lobby and walked to the desk. There, she asked, "Do I have mail?" Laleh wore a denim dress, her leather bomber jacket, and comfortable hiking boots. A white scarf covered her dark hair.

A portly, mustached Turk in a tailored uniform attempted to uphold the last vestige of a hotel once known for its elegance. He turned to the mail slots. He turned back, grinned, and said, "Yes, Miss, there is a postcard."

Laleh took the card and crossed the hotel lobby to sit on a broad, aged sofa. As she read the card, she recognized key words memorized before leaving America. Men practiced the rescue operation. Laleh's thoughts drifted back to the day Fred Southgate returned to her, two months after she received official notice that Allen was missing and presumed dead. The V.C. had shot down Allen's plane on a flight out of Thailand. Pushing the memory away, Laleh stood, slipped the card into her jacket pocket, and set off to photograph the Kariye Museum. Reaching the street, she hailed a taxi, soon heading toward the Golden Horn, crossing the Ataturk Bridge, and turning north. Neither the sight of the Golden Horn nor the drive to its west was foremost in Laleh's thoughts.

The cab stopped before the museum. As she entered the building, the past conquered her and they returned to the day Fred Southgate returned to her from Southeast Asia. >>> Go to Chapter Twenty-Three

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