Chapter Two Thousand Three Hundred Fifteen
19th August 1974
Los Angeles, California
The day was relatively cool for this time of year. High seventies or low eighties. The weather report said that it was supposed to heat back up tomorrow and that was bad news considering everything that was going on.
“It’s a euphemism” Big Mike said from the passenger seat.
“I know what it means” Ritchie replied, “So does everyone else, they just don’t want the press running with someone stupidly using a loaded term.”
That was the main concern that the Department Brass had was that someone somewhere was going to say or do something stupid. There was more than just the regular tension that existed every summer in LA as hot weather dragged on for week after week. The city was overdue for what they were calling a “mass disturbance” which was the euphemism that Mike was talking about. They knew that the term they had been ordered not to use was riot. Ritchie had also heard from the Headquarters of the 160th Regiment that the 40th Division was on alert so that they could react swiftly in the event of an emergency, so he should be prepared to come in if needed. That meant that even the Army was expecting something to happen, no one was quite sure what though. Just a bad feeling that was hanging in the air. The obvious question, one that no one had asked as far as Ritchie knew; Was there something that the Brass knew that they were not telling them?
“This time of the year makes me wish I worked out in the Western Division” Mike said, “Cool ocean breeze, cruising along the beach, such a hard life out there.”
“More like the same bullshit we put up with here, except in swimsuits” Ritchie replied.
“Who pissed in your Wheaties today?” Mike asked.
“No one” Ritchie replied as he turned a corner. “Trouble in the air.”
“Like every summer since forever” Mike said.
“I guess” Ritchie said, “Summer, winter, what do those terms even mean here? That is what I miss about the East Coast, you have actual seasons there.”
“Didn’t you tell me that you hated winters in Upstate New York?” Mike asked in reply, “And that the summers are super muggy?”
“Spring and fall are nice though.”
Mike had no reply to that.
Ritchie knew that it was one of those grass is always greener on the other side of the fence sort of situations. The thing that Upstate New York really had going for it was that it wasn’t Los Angeles, and it was about as far away from where he presently was as he could get.
There was a bit of fun for Kat in sitting with Gloria in Margot’s parlor. This was mostly due to Gloria standing in direct opposition to most of what Margot stood for. Not that it presented too many issues. When Margot found out who Kat’s guest was, she suddenly had errands to run on the other side of Montreal.
Gloria was absolutely giddy with delight as she saw what Kat was giving her this time. An accordion file folder that contained the newly declassified details of her wartime exploits. That included many things that Kat had thought would remain secret forever, things that she personally felt no one should see but now couldn’t stop. The thing was that people like Gloria were about to learn some unpleasant things about Kat. She had thought about what she would do when all of this came out and the one hard truth was that she was tired of hiding from the past.
“These are the citations from you getting the highest medals for bravery in your nation” Gloria said, “Why were these secret?”
“Read them and you might understand” Kat replied.
Gloria sorted through them until she found the one that Kat expected her to. She saw the Imperial seal in black wax attached to parchment, say what you will about Louis Ferdinand, but he did go all out when it came to bestowing awards. As Gloria read the citation the look on her face became increasingly puzzled.
“This is absolutely insane” Gloria finally said, “You volunteered to get shot?”
“You can see why I didn’t want it released during my lifetime” Kat replied, “We had to make it look real to draw Beria out.”
“You were actually hurt, I heard that you have serious problems because of that incident” Gloria said. Kat wondered who had told Gloria that, she really wished they had kept their mouth shut.
“If I hadn’t done that, all the pain and suffering, all the death, would have been for nothing” Kat said, “The war would have ended with the same players still on top in Moscow, the figurehead would have been different is all. We would have won the war but lost the peace.”
“That is not what I was expecting?” Gloria replied as she looked through the hundreds of pages.
“It is just the truth” Kat said, “And I am tired of hiding it.”
“You certainly are not hiding anything” Gloria replied, “Your detractors are going to have a field day trying to present this in an unflattering light.”
“Let them” Kat said, “They have been tiresome little boys for ages, saying all sorts of terrible things and everyone knows this. Do you honestly think this will make a difference with them?”