Conspiracy at Desert One
By Bernace Charles
The next morning Wes and Roya sat on the cellar top and gazed on the
destruction around them. Trees lay uprooted and the house was gone except
for its foundation. Debris lay scattered in a wide path. David Rice's body
lay impaled in the field.
Fifteen minutes earlier Walker had gone to the body to find Rice's cell
telephone. He was surprised that it continued to work. The power lines
along the road where twisted and broken. Wes managed to call Mike Corbin's
cell number. He said, "Hi, Mike. I know you're not going to be too
happy about it, but the house is gone and a man is dead. Call a sheriff
or the highway patrol. But do it when you are nearly here. Don't bring
anyone with you."
Mike killed the call as he exited the Wichita Airport. Instead of driving
to the farm, he drove to a helicopter charter service. Wes managed a transatlantic
call using David Rice's calling card. Roya learned that Lewis Kolleck was
dead. She sat stunned without further tears in her.
The helicopter came out of the east, heading northwest, and in Wes Walker
and Roya's direction. Wes watched it approach them and said, "Here
he comes. I'm afraid you're going to have to endure a mad man."
Roya and Wes watched in silence. The laptop computer and the papers
were on the bed in the cellar. When a small chopper landed, Mike Corbin
got out, and hurried to Walker. He said in angry words, "Damn it,
Walker, did you have to get the house I grew up in blown away. I swear
you're a damned nuisance. Who is the man out there with a stake drove through
him? I supposed you did that too! Is the man a damn vampire or something?"
Wes didn't offer any reaction to Mike's words. Wes was facing a dilemma
and he didn't like dilemmas. Roya wanted to return to The Old City and
he didn't know if he could live there. Wes said, "I don't know if
it is worth it or not. We didn't discover anything." Not until he
spoke the words did Wes know he no longer cared for the story. It would
be Roya's decision about what she wanted him to do with it. He added, "It
was a false lead all the way through."
Roya turned to Wes. She said, "I love you for all that you have
done for me. I really do, but I want to become a Carmelite. It's what I
can do for Lewis. It's what I can do for my mother. There's been too much
Mike Corbin looked at the young woman, wondering who she was. He turned
his attention back to Walker. Mike raised his voice an octave, "What
the hell do you mean . . . it didn't pan out? You got the house destroyed
for nothing. You didn't finish the story now due?"
Wes said, "I'll pay for the house. As far as the publisher goes
. . . they can wait."
"Who the hell is out there with wood sticking through him?"
Wes answered, "I don't know. He stopped by the house to ask for
directions when the storm hit. He didn't make it to the cellar."
Mike asked Wes, "Can I talk to you alone. A sheriff will soon be
here." Wes turned his attention to the approach of a second helicopter.
Wes stood and said to Roya, "Get our things from the cellar."
Roya understood the intent of the words. She went down into the cellar
as Wes Walker and Mike Corbin walked to the destroyed home. Sitting on
the side of the bed, Roya picked up the laptop computer. Knowing it still
held power in its battery, Roya knew the few commands needed to delete
the story saved on the hard disk of the machine. After deleting it, Roya
slipped the two backup disks inside her jeans. When back above ground,
Roya held the manila envelope with the papers and photographs along with
the laptop. She also had Walker's cigarette lighter. Walker left Mike's
side and stepped to her. Roya handed the cigarette lighter to him. Roya's
face carried a worried expression.
Wes knew it's intent. He walked back to Mike Corbin. Wes handed the
lighter to Mike and said, "Here, I quit. Smoking isn't good for my
health. Neither is writing. I'm moving to Jerusalem. If I ever write again,
I'll give you a call." Walker then turned back to Roya.
Mike Corbin called after him, "Did anyone ever tell you . . . you're
crazy? You're damn crazy, Walker. You're crazy as a loon! Damn it! What
Roya looked at Mike Corbin who stood taking in the sight of the home's
foundation. Roya turned to Wes and said, "It's OK." Roya left
Walker and walked to Mike Corbin. Standing before him, Roya pulled a backup
disk from inside her waistline. She handed it, the laptop, and envelope
to him. She said in hard words, "Don't expect me to make some talk
show circuit. It won't happen. I'm going home. I'm going where I belong.
I'm going back to Jerusalem."
Mike looked into Roya's eyes. He asked, "Then it's true? Men actually
tried to stop the rescue-effort?"
"It's in the papers and the letter. The novel is on the disk. It's
all true, Mr. Corbin. Some of it . . . you don't want to know." Roya
then walked back to Walker, and Wes took her right hand in his left. When
Wes turned to Mike, Mike gave Walker a thumb's up before hurrying to the
helicopter that had delivered him to his farm. He wanted to be airborne
before the sheriff on the incoming chopper arrived.
But Mike turned back before climbing into the small helo. He yelled,
"You're crazy, Walker! But I love you!" As Wes and Roya watched,
Mike climbed into the helicopter, and it lifted off the ground. They wondered
what the future held for the story.
Wes stood with Roya. He held his arm around her waist. As he did, Roya
watched the incoming helicopter. And as the air came alive with the sound
of more helicopter rotors beating the air, Roya wondered what it was like
for her mother one night in the past when she hadn't been with her. But
Mashhad had been with her mother when they heard helicopters coming out
of the night. A man was now beside her. Wes Walker had been willing to
give up the story and that act deepened Roya's appreciation of Walker's
need to write. Nevertheless, Roya also knew she was glad Wes Walker was
like a father to her.>>>
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