The Hades Connection
by Gabriel S. Timar
part 2 of 2
I concluded that I had no other alternative than to contact the greatest power on earth: the press. During my terrestrial life, I had acquired powerful media connections and thought I would use one of them. I picked up the phone book, checked the number of the Toronto Herald, and dialed it.
“Good morning, Toronto Herald,” came a bored, angelic, feminine voice. I knew her from the good old days; the lady weighed no less than 350 pounds, was a bitch, and resembled an overweight Wicked Witch of the West, but her voice was impeccable.
“I’d like to speak with Mister Michael Horn, if you please,” I replied.
“Just a minute,” said the bored angel at the other side of the line. There was some clicking and static, but finally a familiar throaty voice came through the ether: ‘Mike Horn speaking.”
He was a good friend; we had first met in the early days of my law career. Mike interviewed me while I was suing the Canadian Government on behalf of a small Newfoundland fishing company. I reached a sizeable out of court settlement, which was news in those days, since the government did not settle with anybody. Actually, I had managed bluffing another bluffer with a mediocre hand. The government lawyer believed we had a very strong case. We did not, although I was sure percentages slightly favored my client at a trial.
After the interview, Mike and I got roaring drunk and I allegedly challenged a bronze statue to a wrestling bout. It was such an enjoyable time that we kept in touch and had quite a few similar adventures, each involving different combinations of wine, women and song all taken to excess.
Mike was born to become a newspaperman as I was born to be a lawyer. Nobody in the media business operated quite like him. He was a perfectionist, scrupulously honest, intelligent with great sense of humor in addition to being the most capable writer I have ever read. He did not write a single word on the greatest sensation until he could substantiate all of his claims. His writing style was easy to read and most entertaining; I wish I were half as good as he was.
With such qualifications, Mike was a prime candidate for the unemployment line, but he disappointed everybody by becoming a syndicated columnist and political commentator. His column was widely read and often debated by large segments of the population. Many young journalists tried to emulate him.
Mike’s secret was that he recognized the basic qualities of the politicians early in his career and figured out what made them tick. Having an analytical mind, he could predict most major political events with uncanny accuracy. I decided to contact him, come clean, ask for his advice, and then work out what to do.
I swallowed hard: “Hi, this is George Pike speaking. How are you, Mike?”
There was a momentary silence.
“You must be mad; George is dead,” he said. “In fact, I wrote his obit and attended his funeral. Now, you claim that you are he. Do you think I am some kind of a fool?”
“Mike, I am not mad, nor do I think you are a fool,” I replied calmly, “but that doesn’t change the fact that I am George Pike reincarnated. Test me if you wish.”
He must have thought I was completely crazy, but evidently, he was not very busy and decided to play along.
“This is ridiculous,” he said. “I cannot be talking to a dead man!”
“There is always a first time, Mike,” I replied. “I wish you’d test me. Ask me any question about George Pike and you’ll see I’m genuine.”
“Well,” he said, “I’ll play along. Do you remember the details of the suit of Red Cod Ltd. versus the Government of Canada?”
“It was my favorite case,” I replied.
“What was the outcome?”
“We won. I convinced that nincompoop, Addison Bigglestown-Kirklance the third, B.A., Ll.D., Q.C., etc., to settle out of court.”
“How much was the settlement?” he snapped.
“Mike, old friend, when you asked me that the first time we met, I said it was confidential. Do you remember?”
“I do,” he replied slowly.
“Since I’m dead and no longer the lawyer of Red Cod, I can tell you, although I’m sure you’ve already checked it out. Did you?”
“Of course, I did,” he replied.
“Well, it was four million dollars,” I replied.
There was a long silence on the other end.
“True,” Mike said, “but I just thought of another possibility: George’s secretary may have known the details and passed them on to her boyfriend.”
“That’s a laugh,” I replied. “Gail’s only boyfriend ever was a crazy Russian sailor who loved overweight women, preferably heavier than three hundred pounds. Gail with her 280 was a little bit on the skinny side. Anyway, if I were Igor, I’d have a Russian accent.”
“That’s correct,” Mike stated, “but you could be a friend of Igor. May I ask you a few more questions?”
“Do you remember the events when George and I went out for dinner after the first interview?”
“Vaguely, yes,” I replied. “We went to a Hungarian restaurant and ate stuffed peppers in tomato sauce. You drank a red wine called Bull’s Blood, and I had a medium dry Medoc. Later we got drunk in a bar called the Jungle, and the film broke. I do not remember anything else except that I recovered in my hotel room in bed with a strange brunette. Her name was Cecilia something, an air hostess of Lufthansa.”
“Close enough,” he said. “George was prudent enough not to talk about Cecilia to anybody because he was married at the time.”
“Come on,” I remarked, “do you think I’d ever let a petty issue like marriage vows stand in the way of a great adventure like her? Anyway, Jo-Ann was cheating on me at the same time. She was in Chicago in the bed of a gallery owner exhibiting her paintings. The guy was Harry Whistworth and according to Jo-Ann, he loved oral sex. She told me about him after our divorce. Do you have any more questions?”
“Yeah,” he said thoughtfully. “George challenged a bronze statue for a wrestling bout. Who was it?”
“Mike, you are incorrigible. You claimed I challenged Sir Wilfrid Laurier, but I am afraid I cannot confirm it. I was too drunk.”
“Reluctantly, I must agree that you were either the closest confidant of George Pike or you really are some kind of a reincarnation of him. What can I do for you?”
“I would like to have your advice in a very sensitive matter,” I replied. “It would be a long and difficult discussion over the phone.”
“Just give me a hint.”
“You’d faint if I told you,” I stated.
“Remember, Mike, you asked for it,” I replied.
“I do, now come on, give.”
“Well, Earth has been invaded by an extraterrestrial mission,” I stated, “and I am the leader of their advance team.”
I half expected him to slam down the receiver, but the newsman in Mike prevailed. No matter how stupid a call may be, a good reporter must listen for a while. Every wild story has a remote chance of being true.
“You’re right, I asked for it,” he said in a resigned tone. “First I have to deal with the reincarnation of a friend; and now you throw in extraterrestrials too. I need a drink.”
“I’m sure you still keep a bottle of Cardhue in the lower left hand drawer of your desk,” I remarked.
“Hell and damn!” he exploded, losing his cool. “Nobody else knows that! You just may be the reincarnation of George Pike. I want to see you. Where are you?”
“I’m at the Castle Motel on Dundas Street in Mississauga, in unit thirt- three,” I replied.
“Stay put,” he roared, I’m coming.”
“Just one thing Mike, please come alone. I don’t want to have a TV crew to deal with. I know I can trust you, but I am not sure about the others. One of them may decide to go to the tabloids with the news.”
“George old boy, do you think I’ve gone completely bonkers since we last met?” Mike asked. “I wouldn’t trust my mother with this story. When do we meet?”
“As soon as you get here,” I replied.
“Don’t move. I’m on my way,” Mike said and slammed down the receiver.
I hung up and took a deep breath.
“Well,” Esther asked, “how soon will he arrive?”
“In no less than an hour,” I replied.
“Fine,” she said and stood up. “We just have time for a quickie,” and she started peeling off her clothes.
“Why should I object?” I asked myself.
To be continued...
Copyright © 2004 by Gabriel S. Timar