After Jamie escaped, Martin turned his fury on the huddling group. “What’s the matter with you? A few minutes for ten thousand dollars…”
“Ten thousand dollars, Martin. Really?”
“I told you, silly woman, he’d just signed a record deal. To the people in the record industry ten thousand is chump change. All one of you silly, stupid birds had to do was pretend to like the little pervert, but oh no. You didn’t need to fuck him. I could have rolled him.”
“A record deal! He’s probably a drug dealer. What were you thinking?” Marcia was so angry she could hardly speak. “I can’t… I can’t believe you brought that guy here with these innocent…”
“Innocents? Ha. Given the right circumstance anyone would do anything for money. Believe me.” He zoomed in on the Catholic’s daughter like a raven about to pluck out her eye, “Hello, Innocent. A few moments with my pigeon, Luv, and you wouldn’t have to return to Nevahda to live out the rest of your miserable life with the jackrabbits and sagebrush and the arse who got you preggers. Oh yeah, he’s an arse. He’ll bring you only pain.”
The girl began pulling a cross from her still beating heart. “Oh I see. You’ve found your soul mate, Darling, in your state no amount of Hail Marys are going to save you, but a few thousand dollars would have.”
There was a gasp from the other two girls.
“Your friends didn’t know did they? They trusted you, the silly twerps. And what were you doing while they planned their escape from fucking Reno Nevahda? You let them think you really wanted to go while all the time you were fornicating your friggin’ brains out with lover boy! You and your Mr. Wonderful forn-i-cating wherever you fucking could, in your mother’s bed, in his car – probably even in the church basement! Innocents! Ha!” he began to howl. The sound was unlike anything Daniel had ever heard.
Then Martin put a finger to his mouth and feigned concern. “Oh I forgot. You’re in love so you weren’t forn-i-cating. Or screwing. Or fucking. Or even balling. You were making love!” He turned the other two girls, his voice dripping with hate. “I’ll bet she made your lives a bloody hell, didn’t she? You know, she never really wanted to go on your silly, little romp across country. But she’d promised. She felt obligated. The most pathetic of emotions. Obligation. Now, see how she despises you. Despises you because she wasn’t bloody strong enough to be honest and tell the truth. Despises you, the hypocritical little minx.”
“Martin!” Marcia pleaded. “That’s enough! Enough!”
“Obligation, love, guilt — bullocks! You might as well all wrap yourselves in chains right now and jump in the river!” He threw his arms up, “You pathetic bunch of losers.” He swirled and with a nightmarish laugh, disappeared through the open door.
Outside the sun began to sparkle through the spires of St Mark’s like confetti on the New Years Eve. Daniel put down the knife and for the first time since Martin’s arrival, took a deep breath.
Suddenly he pictured Marcia in a tract home in the suburbs, with Bill the Lawyer. The poster of Che safely tucked in a trunk in the basement, perhaps looked at in twenty or thirty years with a sigh. A nice suburban tract home with a lawn, fence and dog. Maybe some children – if Marcia could convince Bill to adopt. Daniel doubted that very much. The lawyer looked like a man who would want his own children, not someone else’s.
Marcia floated to the stove to fill the tea kettle. She neither smiled nor spoke. He moved close to her but didn’t try to interrupt her thoughts. He put his hands flat down on the yellowed Formica and tried to summon the words to say but they wouldn’t come. Not one word of scripture. His brain had been scrubbed blank.
On the floor the girls whispered viciously to each other of betrayal and hurt as the Catholic’s Daughter admitted Martin had been right, right about everything which meant … he was a devil. Only a devil could know all those things. It was useless, she said, to explain her feelings to them. They did not know what love was and how love and sex were so intricately entwined that you can’t have one without the other. She was angry with them. She’d sacrificed herself for them and now, instead of being grateful to her, they attacked her as if she’d done something wrong; as if she had ruined their dream. How she hated them. Really hated them. Worse than she’d ever hated anyone.
Marcia finally ended their squabble with camomile tea. Then turning her attention to the Catholic’s Daughter she said. “You have options. You don’t have to have this baby.”
It was then that Daniel knew he had to leave. He’d had a glimpse of the good ship Connemoira floating through the mist. Shore leave was almost over.
Tomorrow – have you guessed the ending?