Conspiracy at Desert One
By Bernace Charles
It was another trip to endure. Roya was tired of traveling and worrying
if anyone was waiting for Walker and her arrival. At eleven a.m. Roya woke
from the back seat of the station wagon to push up and find the car being
steered down a dirt road. Three sacks of groceries were in the back of
the station wagon. Roya climbed over to the front seat.
Wes asked, "Feel rested?"
"Yes, are we almost there?"
"Yes. We're almost there." Walker pointed down the road and
to a house setting on a distant hill. Wes said, "It'll soon be over.
Mike will be here sometime tomorrow. No one will know we're here. Anyone
seeing the lights on, or one of us, will believe we're friends from New
York. We don't have to worry about being recognized."
Roya said, "Good. I'm getting tired of coming and going. I want
"After getting the manuscript to Mike you're going to be kept busy
making the rounds on the talk shows and explaining the years with your
Roya remained silent and realized the thought was one not to her liking.
She thought of her mother's ashes left in the home in The Old City. She
exclaimed in a sad voice, "My mother's ashes . . . I have forgotten
Wes reassured her, "They'll be fine. Anyone searching the house
would have legal authority and someone will have the ashes in custody.
You can go back after the book is published."
Roya watched the passing land and wondered if her life would one day
settle. Both American and Iranian governments would deny the truth because
they couldn't afford the truth. For the first time, Roya wondered if Wes
Walker and she shouldn't forget all they learned, bury it, forget, and
let live. Roya wondered what would happen to Karim and the half-brother
if the story entered Tehran.
A half-mile later, a white farmhouse appeared to the west of the road.
Walker slowed the car and turned up a dirt lane leading to a clapboard
house. Roya said, "It's the farmhouse from the movie."
Walker thought of how the simplicity of the house carried the look of
the house in the "Wizard of Oz." He said as he exited the car.
"Sorry, but you don't get to go off and visit another strange land.
Wes exited the car and added, "You're stuck here." Reaching the
back door, he reached above the doorframe for the key.
Roya said, "I guess it'll do."
"The cellar has a padlock on it matching the key for the door."
After unlocking the door he pulled the key out and handed it to Roya. He
said, "Unlock the cellar door. If any thing happens, you get a copy
on disk, and get to the cellar. It has a heavy latch on the inside. With
it shut and latched it's near impossible to get the door open."
Roya turned to gaze in the direction of a cellar with squared, concrete
roof that rose a foot out of the ground. A concrete block hung in the center
of a cable that stretched from a standing pipe and to the door. The concrete
block acted as a counter weight to ease opening the cellar door. Roya asked,
"I'm to hide there if anything happens?"
Walker said an emphatic, "Yes, you're to hide there."
Roya said, "Thanks a lot." She left Walker to unlock the cellar
door. Doing so, the heavy door reminded her of the heavy, iron door before
the courtyard of the home in Jerusalem's Old City. After taking up the
lock and flipping the latch up, she returned to Walker who waited for her
before entering the house. Coming into the house she said, "There
better not be any snakes or spiders down there. It there are I'm not going
down there . . . no matter what!"
"Don't forget what I said."
Roya smiled a demure smile to satisfy Walker's worry.
Wes pulled the back door open and Roya stepped into the kitchen. From
its window a person could see for several miles over fields broken by thin
lines of trees.
"Where's the bathroom?"
Walker pointed down a hall and said, "That way."
Walker carried the groceries in from the car. Roya reentered the kitchen.
Wes turned the refrigerator on to put things in it. Roya helped by placing
other items on the kitchen counter. As she did, she asked, "Do you
have any idea how long we'll have to be here?"
"I don't know, Roya. I'll call a neighbor in an hour and have him
call Mike. I'm sure Mike is ready to shoot me for disappearing. I just
hope no one follows him here. It has worked in the past. We'll have to
wait to see if it works this time."
Roya stopped to put her arms around Walker's waist. She said, "I'm
thankful for you."
Wes turned around and held Roya to him. He said, "I'm not going
to allow anything to harm you. It'll be over soon. You'll see. I'm used
to this, or at least, I thought I was. I don't know. I think I'll take
up writing comedies."
Roya knew Walker's words were to ease her worries. She couldn't envision
Wes Walker as a man who would be satisfied to write comedy. She said, "I
know why Lin Thi left you."
Walker held Roya and asked, "Why?"
Roya touched Wes Walker's face with a hand hoping he would now shave.
She didn't like the beard. Roya said, "Because she couldn't live with
the fear you might not return from setting off on some discovery you were
writing. If you were away, and I waited on you to return, it would be too
much for me."
Wes kissed Roya on her right cheek. He said, "Don't worry. I'm
going to pick any future stories with more thought given to them. I don't
like people shooting at me. I also don't like my house being burned down
while I'm fleeing into the night."
Roya asked, "How do you turn on the well's pump. The pipes in the
bathroom didn't have water pressure."
Walker released Roya and walked over to a cupboard to the right of the
back door. He pulled a door open to turn on the breaker box. He said, "I
better turn on the heater and hot-water tank. Everything is electric. Don't
worry. Know one knows about me coming here."
Roya asked, "Isn't that what you told me about the house in Scotland."
"Yes." Wes stepped past Roya to set the heater and hot-water
thermostats. He returned to the kitchen where Roya turned on both hot and
cold water taps to allow rusted water through the lines. When the lines
cleared, she took a frying pan from a drawer to rinse and dry it.
Again, Roya found herself settling into another home. As she went about
doing so, she realized it was better than the time they spent in a cabin
of the ship that delivered them to Galveston. Here, in southwest Kansas,
where life didn't get complicated, they would buy their freedom with her
mother's letter, the photographs, and the novel. But, for the first time
Roya realized she missed The Old City of Jerusalem. She missed its mix
of people, and cultures, and she wondered if she could be happy settling
in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She hadn't yet seen the city, and she feared it would
be like any other city in the Midwest. Roya put her thoughts away. Now
wasn't the time to get depressed. >>>
Go to Chapter Sixty-Six
is important to us.
to "Conspiracy at Desert One" main index