Conspiracy at Desert One
By Bernace Charles
It was one p.m. Walker placed a call to a neighboring farmhouse and
he spoke with Randy Silver. Wes said, "Randy, call Mike and tell him
the pump on the well has gone out. We're going to need a new one."
The words instructed Randy Silver to pass that Walker was at the home in
Kansas. Randy had attended high school with Mike.
After Katy buzzed Mike Corbin's inner office, Mike picked up the telephone
and asked, "Hi, Randy. How are you?"
"Mike, the pump is out again. The cattle are having to walk a mile
"I thought I got the problem solved."
"I'm sorry. It's the pump at the house."
"I'll get a flight out this evening. If I can't, I'll catch one
first thing in the morning."
"Thanks Randy" Mike replaced the receiver and knowing it was
the first time Wes hadn't delivered a novel due. But he was intrigued and
wanting to discovered what Wes had written on the attempted rescue-effort
into Iran. He wondered if Wes stumbled upon a story worth telling. From
deep inside, he knew the call set his mind into a swirl of activity. If
Walker found a story in the Desert One deaths, he discovered a story the
public might be interested in reading. After buzzing Katy, Mike said, "Katy,
I need the earliest possible flight to Wichita. The pump on my parents'
home has gone out. The man renting it wants to replace it. I need to make
certain it's done right."
Katy knew the signal. She said a simple, "Yes, Mr. Corbin. I'll
get right on it." Katy pushed a button for an outside line.
Roya sat in the living room watching television. As she watched the
weather forecast of a station out of Wichita Roya was horrified to hear,
"The national weather service has issued a tornado warning for parts
of Kansas. The most severe alert affects Harper County. Doppler radar is
showing an extreme cell of storm activity northwest of Danville and Harper
and moving to the southeast."
Roya found herself sitting in the middle of a warm front that pushed
its way across Kansas while a cold front pushed out of the northwest. Roya
went to the kitchen where Walker sat at the table studying a chapter of
When she entered the kitchen, Roya said, "Do you realize the news
is reporting we're in the middle of a possible tornado warning?"
Wes gave an unworried grin. He said, "We have a cellar . . . remember.
It's just a warning. It doesn't mean we'll have one. You get use to them
if you live in the Midwest."
Roya expressed a worried look. She had never seen a tornado except for
the damage done by one she saw on CNN. Stepping past the kitchen table,
Roya opened the back door and walked outside. She closed the door behind
her noticing a warm, humid wind out of the south. To the northwest, she
saw great flashes of lighting, and she thought it seemed as if God was
showing his anger to the world. Low thunder rumbled her direction. Roya
walked to stand on the concrete roof of the cellar where she looked on
the night. The great arcs of light reached across the sky or hit the far-distant
ground. Behind the lightening, great rolls of thunder snapped the air.
Roya knew there was more than a simple storm heading her and Walker's direction.
However, Roya knew something besides fear of the weather bothered her.
Being in awe of God's power at work in the sky, Roya knew she wanted to
return to Jerusalem. She was uncertain she truly loved Wes Walker, but
unlike Dorothy from the "Wizard of Oz" Roya knew she wasn't happy
to be home in America. She was a person from the Middle East. She was a
part American, a part Iranian, and an Israeli citizen. Roya knew she belonged
in the Middle East near her half-brother. Roya now wondered what Lewis
would think when told all she did and saw the last months. She thought
of how she and Lewis had complained about boredom and routine in their
lives. With these thoughts, Roya returned to the house.
Back in the kitchen with Walker, Roya said, "I want to go to My
Walker looked up at Roya. He asked, "Do you want to go to Chicago?"
"No. I want to go to Washington. I want to go to Langley, Virginia.
I want to see "My Father's House." Instead of "Conspiracy
at Desert One" I want you to use "My Father's House" as
the title for the story."
Wes knew Roya was transposing the code words waited for by her mother
in Tehran. The CIA building in Langley, Virginia, was her father's house
of betrayal. Roya wanted to see its structure. He said, "We can go
Roya said, "Good . . . it's important to me. After seeing it .
. . I plan to return to Jerusalem."
The words surprised Wes. He asked, "You want to return to The Old
Roya gave a look of sadness. She thought of Jerusalem knowing it was
where she belonged. Jerusalem was the city of God's earthly house and she
belonged there. Her father had perverted the quotation taken from the Bible,
and Roya hoped God forgave him for it. Roya said, "Yes. I want to
"If it's what you want."
Roya seemed lost and longing for something. She said, "I do. I
"Then it's where you should go."
"Will you go with me?"
Walker smiled, "Yes, I'll go with you. I can't promise I'll stay.
There are those in Israel who will see to me being thrown out of the country
. . . but I'll go with you."
Roya stepped to Walker to bend down and kiss him on the cheek. She said
a soft, "Thank you." She walked back to the living room to the
sofa to sit and watch the weather report. From outside and to the northwest
the thunder, lighting, and wind moved in Roya's and Walker's direction
as though seeking them out after their trial of surviving the past months.
David Rice drove across a viaduct taking him above railroad tracks a
quarter of a mile east of Danville, Kansas. Across it, he slowed to turn
into a service station. He was three miles from the farmhouse belonging
to Mike Corbin. Rice was certain Wes Walker and Roya Sanders were at the
house. They were there waiting for Mike Corbin to arrive from New York
and take possession of the manuscript Walker would have completed before
returning to America.
Five minutes later heavy rain and strong winds met David head on when
he drove a country road north. The dirt road was turning to one of mud.
Decreasing his speed to avoid sliding the car off the road, he managed
to do what he feared. He was a half-mile from the house and the car sat
in a ditch with its drive wheels unable to free it. The car sat on a hill
with the backdrop of the storm encapsulating the farmhouse. David abandoned
the car and walked to the house. Around him, the sky was black and threatening,
and the wind seemed to change direction each passing second. Standing on
the road to the east, David saw the living room light and a person passing
through it. Walker and Roya were there.
Thankful for the storm making certain no one heard or saw him, Rice
crossed a grass-covered stretch of land to step onto the porch. After squatting
before a window, David saw Walker standing in the living room. Moving before
the front door, Rice reached for, and slowly turned its handle. His left
hand gripped the handle of a nine-millimeter handgun.
Roya sat out of view to the left of the door. Her sight saw the rotation
of the doorknob and she screamed, "Someone's here!"
Wes knew it was too early for Mike. He yelled, "The cellar . .
. get to the cellar!" With these words, Walker ran forward and threw
his weight against the door. Wes broke the door from the inside and knocked
it open to surprise David. The door knocked David backwards and off the
porch. Walker then ran into the kitchen, grabbed up the laptop, turned
off the lights, and exited to the back. At the cellar door Wes lifted it
and handed Roya the laptop, backup disks from his shirt pocket, and the
papers from Roya's mother. Walker then gave Roya his cigarette lighter
and said, 'Lock the door from the inside." He pushed the door closed,
and disappeared into the dark.
Roya fumbled with the lighter, got it lighted, and secured the door's
lock. She turned to the bottom of the cellar steps shaking in fear.
Wes made certain David Rice knew he wasn't in the cellar by going around
to the front of the house where Rice had now entered it. Walker yelled
above the sound of the storm. "I'm out here, you Jerk!" Wes ran
to the south across an open pasture. David ran out of the home and followed
Walker. He managed to get off quick shots as he saw walker's form within
brief flashes of lightening. The shots missed Walker.
Rice was seventy yards from the house when the air came to a stand still.
Wes stopped running and knew its meaning. He ran toward the east side of
the field where the land made a deep depression before rising to the road.
A section of exposed pipeline ran across the depression. Rice saw Walker
stop running. He did so as there was a flash of lighting and a sound that
reminded him of a freight train. The sound roared in his direction.
As David turned, he saw the house explode in a thunderous wind and the
form of a tornado heading straight for him. In the light of lightening,
Wes saw David Rice taken into the air. Wes quickly dove into the depression
and curled his arms and legs tight around the section of pipeline. His
only hope was for the tornado to skip over him. When it did, he stood in
the numb silence with the rain coming in great sweeping waves. Starting
toward the cellar, Walker saw David Rice's body shoot out of the night.
A splintered board impaled it to the ground. The sight of Rice suddenly
falling out of the night startled Walker. Several flashes of lighting showed
David Rice's body impaled as if he were a broken toy.
Reaching the cellar door, Walker pounded on it. Roya opened it, her
face forcing off frightened tears. With the door secured behind him, Roya
clung to Wes. She shook in fear in the candlelight. Wes held Roya saying,
"It's over. The man is dead. It's over."
Roya was lost in her last reserve of strength. She said, "No .
. . it's not over. It'll never be over. It'll never be over."
"No," Wes whispered. "It's over, Roya. The man is dead.
You're free now. It's all right. We'll stay down here tonight. I don't
think Mike is going to be happy to find his house gone."
Roya cried a laughing cry and said, "Damn you! Does everything
you get involved with get destroyed?"
Wes said, "It's OK. Mike will be here in the morning. The storm
will pass. We just don't have a house."
Roya looked into Walker's eyes as hers filled with tears. She knew she
couldn't be with Wes Walker. She would return to Jerusalem. Roya also knew
she wouldn't do any talk shows to promote the novel. If the public couldn't
absorb the story without her, then so be it. For the first time since she
left with Wes, Roya felt a sense of loss, and she wanted to be with God.
It took a long, tiring route to understand it.
Roya kissed Wes. But another night would pass without any sexual contact.
As though it was part of some charm of the man with her, Roya didn't want
to be alone. A person could lose more in the world than their hand as Karim
Sa'edi did. A person could lose human respect when holding onto their private
hell. Roya knew the man Karim suffered to protect her mother. Men had judged
him too hard. Out of her mother's memory, she would return to the city
where heaven met earth. She would return to join her father's house. She
thought of her half-brother and knew she needed Wes to hold her. She needed
held for whom she was and not some fictional character Wes Walker had woven
through the novel.>>>
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