After the albino huffed away like a petulant child, Martin turned on the huddling group. “What’s the matter with you? A few minutes for ten thousand dollars…”
“Ten thousand dollars, Martin. Really?”
“He had a wad of frigging hundreds in his back pocket. All one of you silly birds had to do was pretend to like the little pervert. You didn’t need to fuck him, just distract him and I could’ve done the rest.”
“What do you mean?”
“Do you really care, now do you Luv? One less demented human who’d probably already sold his soul to the devil … who’d probably made that money off some child’s pain.” He read a message in the air and spun in the direction of the Catholic’s Daughter. Slowly he approached her and then said. “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 that arse who got you preggers. Oh yeah, he’s an arse. He’ll bring you only pain.” The girl pulled forth her crucifix and held it in front of her face. “Hail Marys aren’t going to get you out of this Sweetheart, but a few thousand dollars might have.” He swung around and facedthe other two girls. “Oh … I see,” slowly and deliberately. “Your friends had no idea what you’ve been doing did they? They trusted you, the silly twerps! And there you were fucking away thinking how superior you were to the two of them because … ”
“You’re disgusting. We were in …”
“Oh please … don’t say it. I’ll have to vomit all over Marcia’s lovely carpet. I get it. You weren’t forn-i-cating. Or screwing. Or fucking. Or even balling. You were making love!”
The Catholic’s daughter put her hands on her belly as though attempting to shield her unborn child as Martin turned his venom toward the other two.
“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 said. “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 a distant church 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.
He saw as though through a mirror, Marcia in a tract home in the suburbs, with Bill the Lawyer by her side. 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 neither smiled nor spoke and she walked over to the stove. 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 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?