Worlds of Memories
Kathy is my girlfriend. Ever since high school. I played football
then. One warm and fragrant Thursday afternoon in October, I finished
a local game and informed her that I needed a shower. This was before
I headed home. My folks weren't home, and I decided to have a bubble
bath instead. She knew that my folks had gone somewhere, and, being
kind of gutsy, surprised me by popping over to my folks' house and
slipping off her shoes and then climbing into the bathtub with me.
Her thin white socks with ruffles (she was a flirt) got wet. This was
pretty heady stuff for a painfully shy sixteen-year-old
rock-n-roller. I went insane. She was fairly romantic and very
daring, more so than me. I'll never, ever forget the sheer eroticism
of seeing her blue toe polish through her cute white socks.
Our Halloween habit, for decades, is to meet at Air Force Inns and take a bubble bath together. We chose not to marry. Our family remains the Air Force. She has a boyfriend. I have a girlfriend. It works even in your sixties.
My girlfriend made a wet sock lover out of me, and I've finally accepted this side of myself. If you're okay with it, I am too. Thin socks, like the ones she wears when we get together, are my favorite because they cling and drape around all the absolutely beautiful curves in a woman's foot. White socks are sexy because they get a little transparent. Black socks are incredibly sexy, especially black dress socks, because not only do they shimmer and shine (the thin ones, anyway), they're black because they're office and business socks... they're formal, and they're really not supposed to get wet.
All these simple memories keep me alive. And away from the thrill of my work. Flying these cold dry things is my work. And teaching the young guns about the wisdom of flying, more like sailing, with no jet engine, no propulsion, no reaction. It is an art, yes.
"Colonel Karpenter! Sir."
"Jack! Come in." Captain Jack Johnson is the electromechanical engineer.
"Your new sprite is ready for testing. Sir."
The old one was too cluttered for me. A spinning bell is no jet fighter. Too many controls imply as many distractions for the mind of the pilot. The one who flies the thing. I need to focus in silence when sailing the sprite. No gravity, no acceleration, thus no G-force. More like meditation. I like to think of myself as a monk. Well... a monk with a wet socks fetish. Never mind.
I take my head cap off. Tossing it on the sofa. Sandy can play with it tomorrow morning. Connecting the blue cap to her computers. Calibrating its sensors. Comparing with prior records. Analyzing the results. What an elaborate food chain has been built up on taxpayers' money. And upon my hours of meditation. Inside the spinning bell. The sprite!
Here it is. A line of dialog away from my office. Comes in handy when they've given you an office inside the hangar. My private Liberty Bell. The older models were looking closer to an upside down cup of coffee. But the engineers agreed with me: there's no harm in modeling the new ones after the Liberty Bell. Sounds more American! Well, it doesn't sound much since it is supposed to silently spy on our enemies.
"Everything is in place, sir. According to specs."
"I can see that. Good job, Jack. I'll take it for a ride in a moment."
"Very well, sir."
What I like about sprites is that you don't need to follow the take off and landing drill. All you need is a briefing. On a Monday. Or the start of the month. The rest is in your mind. And it stays there. Until you speak it out. At the debriefing. This is the most painful part. What if you're missing something? Something important. A matter of life and death. Training your mind, day in, day out, for forty years, is no guarantee against accidental oversight. Your mind is vaster than you can imagine.
"What is your destination, sir? For the record."
"Ramstein, Germany. Bye, Jack. See you next week."
That's all they can keep in their records: departures and destinations. Everything else is in my mind. Overwhelming. Told my CG, my psychologist and other consultants, that I'll use the sprite for personal escapades too. Because I need to vent my mind for the maps of memories, so they can better consolidate and make more sense to me. And to them. They encouraged me to do it. Honestly, I am aware that most persons that I meet, especially women, have been somehow 'trained' to meet me.
How funny life can be. On one hand I spy on obscure persons that have no ability to see me, to perceive my presence around them. On the other, my colleagues, my friends, my intimates, are (among others) spying on me, during my free time. Because debriefings are not enough to extract every memory (intentional or unintentional) out of my head. I am not enough to figure them all! Makes me feel like a prisoner. Of myself.
Two thoughts and three memories away, here I am, Ramstein Inns! Allowing the Liberty Bell to cross its zero moment, I jump out in everyone's else present. My sprite resonates behind me, further down to one full second past. Where it halts and locks itself to the current coordinates.
"Karl! Oh, Karl. You look great. Let me kiss you. How long has it been?"
"One year, Kathy dear. Kunsan AB, Korea. We've walked through the snow, remember?"
"Brrr... Yes, wearing only socks in snow is not a very good idea."
"But it makes for a brilliant fetish starter. How are you, Kathy?"
"Doing well. Thank you."
"That was the official answer."
"Indeed. The reality is that I'm scared, Karl, terribly scared. I'm this close to a breakdown."
"We all are, dear. We all are. Things are heading South, as far as I can see. And you know it too well."
I take her suitcase in my left and her arm across my right and invite her to the gates.
"Look, Kathy, what would you say if we'll postpone the socks fetish for tomorrow and let me offer you something special tonight. Anything on your mind?"
"How do you know that I've got something else in mind for tonight?"
"Did I? Don't think so."
Kathy was a very good pilot. The first female to fly a jet fighter. I knew that she's gonna write history ever since she had surprised me by popping over to my folks' house and slipping off her shoes and then climbing into the bathtub with me. She is always in command. It is where you should look for her, if you wish to meet her.
"What's up, Kathy? What have you prepared for me tonight?"
"A threesome, darling. Just an innocent, intellectual threesome."
"Kathy! Please. You know that I'm a shy guy." I stop walking. She does the same, one step later, and turns back to face me.
"Trust me, Karl. I know what I'm doing."
"But... but..." I need more air. "I never had sex with another person in my life. Kathy! You know that you are the only woman in my life. I couldn't..." I take another breathing break. And she takes the words out for me.
"Calm down, Karl. You couldn't make love to another woman. I am so glad to accept this mind block of yours. Wow! Makes me feel so good to know that I own you. Solely for me. Wow indeed." Her hand rushes to fix the knot of my tie.
"Something wrong with my necktie?"
"Nothing. It was perfect. I just tried to fix the perfect. Now Karl, look at me. This is a matter of life and death. And of space travel. Maybe..."
Time for me to ruin the perfection of my uniform: after the tie is brutally loosened, my fingers hurry to unbutton the shirt. Air. I need more air!
"Hope that you're not bringing some alien woman in bed with us." I hear myself whispering in fear. But she smiles at me. And her smile accretes into outspoken laughter.
"Alien woman?... In bed with you and me?... Oh yeah, Captain Kirk. Uhura, reporting for duty! Green or blue?"
"Green or blue what?"
"The alien woman! Do you wish her to be green or blue? Tail or no tail? Claws, no claws?"
"You're making fun of me, Kathy. Not nice." Sealing my lips, I grab her suitcase with my left, her arm with my right, and walk us both through reception to our quarters.
I start to unpack. She stops me.
"Karl, there's something important we need to discuss. Please, have a seat."
I sit down. She pushes her ass against the corner of the bed, to my two. I can see her celestial curves under the blue skirt. My eyes slip rapidly below her knees. No nylons. Just socks. White! A palm above her ankles. I'm electrified. Oh God, how I love this woman!
"Karl, are you with me?"
"Not yet, dear. Allow me to see your other leg too." She complies, crossing her legs the other way around.
Taking the second in me, with me, I say. "I'm all yours, Kathy. What is the matter?"
"It's about a Colonel from the French Foreign Legion. Her name is Rebecca Johannson."
"Doesn't sound French to me."
"I said Foreign too. And stop playing the fool. It's a serious matter. I want you to meet her."
"If you say so."
"Good." Kathy presses the tip of a pen in her hand. A few seconds later, and a couple of meters near us, to the inner wall, the beige carpet and the grey ceiling turn fiery blue. A white bolt of electrons cracks the bluish cylinder of light in order to make room for a new silhouette in our room.
Mute, I count two seconds, maybe three. The woman standing in front of us is naked. Yes, totally naked. A petite coquette, about five feet three tall, conquers the room with her blue eyes.
"Hello, Kathy. Colonel."
I stand to attention. "Colonel Karl Karpenter. At your service, madam."
"Let me properly present you, Becky." So my Kathy stands up, between me and the naked lady from ethereal France. Analyzing my buttons, she adjusts my necktie. That has been left in total disarray, must admit. "Dear Karl, please allow me to introduce you to Madame Colonel Rebecca Johannson from the French Foreign Legion. Dear Becky, this is Colonel Karl Karpenter, US Air Force."
"Please allow me, Madame Colonel, to express my candid admiration for your uniform. I had no time to catch up with the French modernism... Ahem... It's a joke. Please excuse me." I feel the heat upping in my cheeks. Think that I'd better shut my mouth up.
"You are so kind, Colonel..."
"Please call me Karl."
"Oh, Karl. Yes! And you may call me Becky. Because it has been awkward enough to be presented to you as Madame Colonel while wearing my birthday suit. Sorry to disappoint, but Madame la Présidente still has to approve nudity in the military. It is rather about function than style. There's a point about that. Trust me."
"The function of teleportation might come in handy to make a point about allowing nudity." Think I out loud.
"See, Kathy? What have I told you. He's learning fast, your boyfriend." Rude French woman. "Karl darling, I've got wind that you're piloting repulsins."
"What is that a repulsin?" With the risk of making a fool of myself, I won't divulge classified information. To the French...
"Karl dear," ...even if Kathy will insist, as she begins to... "Becky has a higher-level clearance than you and me."
Damn. Since Kathy began to work for the Agency, I feel like a loser. These ambitious women pursuing their careers, leaving behind their good men (to tinker with their gadgets) while taking the fight against evil men - those parading the 'masters of the universe' mindset.
In the same room with Kathy and Becky, I feel like a puppy. Perhaps because I am a puppy.
"Karl darling," speaks Becky with the kind of crystal voice that won't take no for an answer, "I wish to show you something. Kathy?"
My girlfriend Kathy handles the aforementioned pen to Becky. Perhaps this is much more than a pen. Let us see. The cute naked petite implants the 'pen' halfway in the fluffy carpet, so that it stands in a vertical position. Then she clicks three times on its tip.
A black and white holographic volume, about four cubic feet wide, deploys out of the tip of this pen, or whatever device it may be.
"Looks like an image from Mars. Years old, I might say..."
"So it is," rushes Becky over my words, "taken by HiRISE thirteen years ago over the..."
"Please, Becky, allow my memories to catch up. They say that older minds run slower than the younger. This is because they have to sort through a much vaster database." I gain courage interrupting her. Already feeling safe on my ground of expertise.
"Sure. Go on, Karl." When Becky says Karl, the 'R' sounds strident, like a double 'RR' and nothing like the English or American 'aw'-s. And it's not sounding French either. Becky sounds foreign to the French too. Who is Becky?
"Quoting from memory." I speak. "Stratigraphic relationships west of Tenuis Cavus."
Image ID PSP_009760_2650_RED
Emission Angle 17.2319°
Incidence Angle 64.1233°
Line Samples 22191
Local Time 14.6701
Mission Phase Primary Science Phase
North Azimuth 274.761°
Phase Angle 50.68
Center Latitude 90°
Center Longitude 0°
Description Stratigraphic relationships west of Tenuis Cavus
Slant Distance 332.736
Solar Longitude 117.905°
Spacecraft Altitude 319.32
Spacecraft Clock Start Count 904178030:62061
Start Time 2008-08-26T00:33:30
Stereo Flag YES
Stop Time 2008-08-26T00:33:39
Subsolar Azimuth 136.1682°
Subsolar Latitude 22.0969°
Subspacecraft Latitude 84.4632°
Subspacecraft Longitude 339.69°
Target Name MARS
Volume Id MROHR_0001
"HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment)"
"HiRISE has photographed hundreds of targeted swaths of Mars' surface in unprecedented detail."
"The HiRISE camera has provided the highest-resolution images yet from martian orbit."
"The camera operates in visible wavelengths, the same as human eyes, but with a telescopic lens that produces images at resolutions never before seen in planetary exploration missions. These high-resolution images enable scientists to distinguish 1-meter-size (about 3-foot-size) objects on Mars and to study the morphology (surface structure) in a much more comprehensive manner than ever before."
Becky and Kathy smile to each other. "This is correct, Karl. The data that you've just extracted from your database of memories are in conformity with the hologram in front of us. Please pay attention to this spot. See?"
Becky points to the middle of the image, few grades ahead of the nightfall on Mars. She enlarges the details of interest.
"What on earth is that?" I shout.
"Not on earth. It is on Mars, dear. We don't know." A grey cube with a circle on a facet, half buried under sediment. Looks like a sort of crevasse, or a dead river valley. All the proof of water on Mars, old news. But this cube, old news too (2008, go figure), has nothing to do with water on Mars. Or has it?
"Telemetry indicates that this structure appears to be a cube with approximately twenty meters long edges." Say I.
"How about the window facing the camera?" Asks Becky.
"A helluva window, yes..." I'm perplex. "And you?... Do you?..."
"Yes, Karl darling. I want you to go there. Have a look and return safely to us. We'll have a little chatter in the while. Coffee, Kathy?"
"Black, no sugar please!" Orders Kathy as the naked French (whatever) Colonel heads for the cupboard.
But Kathy graciously grooms me for the unexpected trip. To Mars!
"I have never been traveling out of our planet, my dear."
"This is a good moment to make your first move. Don't you think?"
"First man on Mars. Colonel Karl Karpenter, US Air Force. Under cover mission. For the French. No one will find out. Never. Too bad."
"Never say never, my dear."
I look in the mirror. The necktie is perfect. So is the entire uniform. I'm ready to go. She kisses my lips. And whispers, "Becky will wear black socks and I'll be wearing just my white socks when you'll come back to us. Take care of yourself. Will you?"
"I will." I'm already off through the door, the corridors, the reception, the gates, the sumptuous entry to the Ramstein Inns. I step out, in the night, on the lawn, and caress my watch. Five meters ahead, to my eleven, the Liberty Bell flickers once. I barely distinguish its position. So I fine tune the compass on my watch. Very well now, there you are. I jump in the right place before the sprite catches up with the present, from the past second where I've parked it an hour ago. I'm in.
Coordinates. Oh yes, adjust coordinates from 2008 to present time. Adjust the relative movement between Earth and Mars. Verify the calculations. This is no rocket science. This is more than that.
Shall I fix my destination inside the cube? What if it's solid? I'll die in there then. How about arriving near it. Outdoors on Mars? That could ruin my perfect uniform. Definitely. No way. But I'll still need to make sure that the cube is empty by the inside. Maybe I can stop by the window, have a peek, then jump inside. Good idea.
The Liberty Bell makes a swoosh. Unnoticeable. That because of the thin atmosphere and because there's no one... But... Wait a sec. Let me do another swoosh. The huge window is not just round but transparent as well. Is that a shadow? I can scarcely distinguish a contour. Let me adjust the spectrum. Yes! Looks like a coffee cop. Upside down.
If that thing could move inside, why shouldn't my Liberty Bell?
Guided by the commands from my cortex, the repulsin (as Becky colloquially called it) that I pilot touches ground on Mars. For the first time. Inside the cube. Analyzing the air, I get similar parameters to the atmosphere on Earth, more precisely it is identical to a summer noon over the temperate steppes. Time for me to step out of my Liberty Bell.
Matt iron under my shoes. Matt iron ahead, on all sides and above my head. I turn around, maybe I can stare outside through the window. But my eyes encounter a wall of iron. There is no window when you've got yourself inside this structure. Uhm, not very nice.
I walk the diagonal to the corner opposite to where I've parked my Liberty Bell which, by the way, remains visible. I don't want to risk sending it back to the past second. This because I find no reason to cloak my presence. Same does, or did, the pilot of the primitive repulsin ahead of me.
As expected, the upside down cup of coffee is an old model, dating back to the fifties, I suppose. No. Not the fifties but rather the forties. God! There's a balk cross painted in straight white lines at its three o'clock, as I can notice it from here, while approaching.
Instinctively, my right hand tries to reach for the pistol. But there's nothing to grab. Why take a pistol with me on vacation? But hey, there is one, together with a little arsenal, back in the Liberty Bell. The wisest thing to do is to make an about turn and head back for the weapons.
"Hey! Bist Du ein Amerikaner?" Hearing some sort of a pitchy voice, I freeze. And turn around. Again. To face the German speaker.
"Colonel Karl Karpenter, United States Air Force."
"Hauptmann Rolf Radetzky, Deutsches Reich Luftwaffe."
The man standing in front of me, after making his hesitant entry from behind the ancient repulsin, is not so tall, ginger blonde hair, red beard, tired and scared blue eyes, empty hands (now I notice that he is holding them up) and wearing nothing like the stylish uniform of the deceased Reich's Luftwaffe. If I remember well, which I always do, the guy from Mars is wearing a Feldgendarmerie uniform.
How sad. I am the second man on Mars. Meeting the first, a German military policeman. Let us see. Let us speak.
"Captain Rolf Radetzky, your uniform indicates that you belong to the Military Police, not the Luftwaffe."
"Uh, Colonel, ziss is a misunderstanding. I was implicated in an undercover operation. Espionage! Sabotage! Ziss uniform has been handled to me by one of your OSS operatives. Zat because she took my real uniform."
"Uh-huh, I see. I love espionage stories. Sabotage too. Tell me more."
"I will. But first I need you to tell me if zeh war is over."
"Zeh war between my country and your country."
"You mean World War Two? Yes. It was over. Long time ago."
"And Hitler is dead, yes?"
"Dead, burned and buried. Yes!"
"Thank Heavens!" The man breathes a long sigh. "Are we now allies against zeh Bolsheviks?"
"Well," I find myself sighing longer than Rolf, "let me ask you another question. When was it that you've left base in this repulsin?"
"Sunday, September 24th, 1944. Viktor packed me in ziss experimental machine to save me from being shot for high treason."
"By Viktor, you refer to Viktor Schauberger, or?"
"Indeed. Is he doing well? Did he manage to escape the camp?"
"He did. We brought him to the States. He worked for us then he returned to Austria, where he passed away. Based on his research and discoveries, we developed the sprites. In one of these sprites," I point Rolf to the opposite corner where he gazed several times as I was speaking, "I just arrived here."
"Looks quite futuristic. When have you left your base in ziss shprite?"
"Sunday, October 31st, 2021." Say I. Plainly.
"Oh Gott, zey must be all dead. My friends, my parents, my loved ones, Rivkah..." He squats to bury his face in his palms. And begins to cry like a woman. Hiccups included.
Giving him a minute, I break the silence. "How much time have you spent in this building?"
Rolf composes himself, stands up and speaks, to the point. "Forty-one hours and twenty minutes inside ziss luminous cube. One hundred and twelve hours in zeh darkness. In total, 153 hours and twenty minutes since I left zeh surroundings of Salzburg."
"One week off-planet for you against seventy-seven years on-planet for us. Interesting." Say I patting Rolf on the shoulder. "Follow me, you've gotta be hungry." Heading for the Liberty Bell, I dig in for the emergency rations.
"Here. Help yourself." Rolf breaks the pack open.
"Water! Do you have some water?"
"Sure. Mineral rich water in the silvery bag. Here." I pick the bag for him, unseal it and handle it to him.
He sips a mouthful. Allows a little while for the water to flood his senses before slurping it. Then he repeats the drill with a new sip. Slowly. Like a true survivor.
"Is Germany an American protectorate now?"
"Germany is a Federal Republic. A sovereign state. But we have military bases in there. I've just departed from Ramstein."
"Has Bavaria regained independence?"
"The topic has surfaced as of late. But Bavaria is still part of Germany. At least so it was when I last checked. Oh my... Oh my..."
"Is zere a problem, sir?" Rolf wolfs a protein bar now.
"Rolf, one week for you underground meant seventy-seven years for us at the surface. Right?"
"If you say so. Ziss should be right. Sir."
Looking at my watch, I count seventeen minutes since entering the cube on Mars.
"I must leave, Rolf. If you've got a message, a bottle in the ocean, now is the moment. Anyway, help will come shortly. Trust me! Hope that you can understand that I cannot take you with me right away."
"I do, sir. No problem. I have one message. To Rivkah Rabinovics, the love of my heart. Oh, wait... Maybe to her children, her grandchildren. If you could..."
"I'll be back!"
These were my last words to Rolf.
I know. I'm running away like a coward. But I have my very real reasons: don't want to return decades off from my departing moment. Next to a sovereign Bavaria... Who knows...
Swoosh... Ramstein Inns, if I can read that, then it's good news. Swoosh... Jump... Lock.
Checking my necktie, I step on the lawn, through the aging night, up the stairs and the sumptuous entry gates to the Ramstein Inns, past the reception, the corridors, I open the door (the code works, another good sign) and I am back in the room.
Lights are off. I turn them on. Kathy and Becky, embraced, sleep together in the middle of the vast bed. A semi-transparent blanket covers their nakedness. Kathy wears her white socks and nothing else. Becky wears her black socks and nothing else.
Targeting the sofa, I make myself comfortable in a corner of it. With a close view over the two sleeping beauties. Admiring them, especially their socks, I wait.
From time to time, a black sock would involuntarily scratch the sole of a white sock. And vice versa.
I wait. Timid dawns commence to bury the night westwards.
I move to turn the lights off. Wish to study their lazy game of touching the black and white socks. In the penumbra. Preceding the orange burn of sunrise.
Took my shoes off, not to make a noise that would wake them up. Don't want that to happen. Too bad that someone has forgotten the holographic pen (or whatever strange device that might be) in its vertical position, planted amidst the fluffy carpet.
"Ouch!" The damn thing won't break, and won't bend, when I step on it, stumbling and suffering in pain, yet not in silence. It wasn't the carpet that kept that thing at attention. Uhm...
"Mhm... hmmm...mmm... Hi Karl." Yawns Kathy, "where have you been all night?"
"Leaving... on a sprite plane... dunno when I'll be back again..."
"Sh! Be quiet. Or you'll wake Becky up."
"Too late for that... Yawn!" Becky is stretching her hands up, arcs her body and opens her wide blue eyes. To see Kathy's breasts at nose distance. Instantly, her arms embrace Kathy (my Kathy, yes!) as she buries her face between Kathy's breasts (yes, mine!). "Oh, love, have you slept well?"
"Like a rabbit, dear. Was bit worried about Karl."
"Ah, Karl... Oh oui, Karl..." Liberating her eyes, Becky sees me standing in front of their bed. "Look! Karl is back. Wonderful. Good morning, Karl."
"Good morning, Becky." I make massive efforts to conceal my confusion. It seems to me... But let me ask them directly.
"Girls! Kathy, Becky, did you make love tonight? To each other?"
"Yes, we did. As usually. When we have the chance to spend quality time together."
"So this wasn't a casual encounter then?"
"No. Not at all. We are lovers, Karl." Speaks Kathy with a tad of guilt in her voice.
"But you've always sustained that you are my girlfriend. And that I am your boyfriend."
"So it is, Karl. True. You've been my first boyfriend and I wish to keep you this way. I love you."
"And you love Becky too?"
"Why didn't you tell me?"
"Putting aside the numerous levels of clearance, our annual love encounters had always to do with your focus on my socks. Wishing to please you, I did well to keep to the point. It is a fetish, after all. Exclusivity was never a topic in our relationship." Kathy speaks to me in all honesty. The way she always did. Bold and direct.
"This is true. Don't know why my feelings get out ahead of my reason. Kathy, please forgive me for being jealous."
"Oh, Karl, my adorable Karl. You don't need to excuse yourself. For nothing. I know that I am your only one. You just make me feel guilty for all my other girlfriends."
"Oh wait. You mean that Becky is not your only girlfriend?"
"Not the only one. There are two more... No, three. Besides Becky."
"How about your other boyfriends then?"
"This is simple. I have only one boyfriend: Colonel Karl Karpenter. You, silly, are the only man in my life."
Perspiration desperately struggles, without much of a success, to hide back behind the skin on my forehead. I am elated. Happy. More than happy! I am in love!
"Oh, Kathy! My dear Kathy. I love you so much. I can't tell how much I love you!"
"Hey, you two, little squirrels!" Embraced, we turn our heads towards the bed. To see Becky on her knees. Legs half spread. Her pubic hair is an odd mixture of red and white. "Karl, you were out all night. Any news for me?"
"Have you managed to reach that structure on Mars?"
"I did. I entered it and... You won't believe it."
"I found Hauptmann Rolf Radetzky of the Luftwaffe inside. Actually, he was wearing the uniform of a Feldgendarme Captain. Not in the tidiest conditions, if I'm allowed."
My words convert Becky in a true living and over-caffeinated squirrel. Jumping out of the bed, she looks over the carpet. Presumably for the pen, or whatever that metal stick would be. "Tell me. Tell me all." Her words cascade. Her pulse triples. She is red in the face.
"I have spent seventeen minutes inside that cube with Rolf when I finally figured out that time is stretched inside that structure. For us, on earth, seventy-seven years have passed in the while of a week for him. Had to run away in order to meet you alive. Therefore, after telling him that help is on its way, I swooshed off. And here I am. Eight hours later, in only seventeen minutes."
"Great! Did he said something to you. A message maybe?"
"He mentioned someone... Rivkah Rabinovics... I guess that she has been the American spy that took his fancy Luftwaffe uniform. Well, think that I'll have to find this lady's children or grandchildren..."
"You did well. You did wonderfully well, Karl! I love you!" Becky jumps on me. Told you that she has transmuted into an agitated squirrel. Wraps my waist with her legs around. And kisses me long. The French way.
Wow! Double wow! Triple wow!
"I'm off, my dears. Will keep in touch." She clicks the pen and the electrical bolt takes her away from the room, from Ramstein, from Germany, from us.
Two black socks, scattered on the fluffy carpet. The only relics of Becky. Besides the ozone in the air.
Silence. Kathy giggles.
"You didn't figure it out. Did you?"
"The time dilation? Guess I did that."
"No, stupid. Becky... Rebecca... Rivkah..."
"Nah. You don't say. You... You don't mean that... You... Come on... Kathy! Are you making a fool of me?"
"Is this how I look?"
"Then enlighten me. Stop playing your games. My patience has limits, you know..."
"Funny. Thought that you posses all the patience at hand in the solar system."
"That has limits too. What do you wish to tell me, Kathy?"
"Rivkah Rabinovics, former OSS operative, former Mossad, former this or that, also known as Rebecca Johannson, is Becky. You've just found her first love. She always thought that he died. She has missed him so much."
"I... I am at lost. This little Becky of yours looks like in her late thirties. Let's say early forties. She is way younger than us, for Christ's sake, dear. What are you saying here?"
"Becky is a hundred years old. Don't ask me how or why because I have no idea."
"Oh my God."
"Well, who knows, but I know that Becky will give us a memorable threesome."
"She will call for sure. Until then let us rely on your patience. Do you like my socks?"