JANNET HAS THE SAME ROOMS AS THE ONES SHE OCCUPIED DURING HER PREVIOUS tenure in Madrid. The rooms in the apartment hotel have an arrangement of three boxes within a square. From the front entry door, you are immediately in the living room, an oblong rectangle, which has a very cozy disposition with plump furnishings. There is a desk and an associative office chair in the corner. At the opposite end of this room, it leads perpendicular to, through an open archway, a comfortable bedroom, and the bed is very high off the floor. And there is a small bathroom, with a shower and no tub. One has to reverse back through the bedroom and through the living room and to near the entry door, and there is located, to the left side another open archway. Here is a small dining area and a small kitchen area with a combination washer/dryer unit strangely tucked in a back corner. The apartment has one each quite large window, to the streets, in the living room and in the bedroom. The rooms have a combo air-conditioning and heat unit, depending on the season, which delivers a rather loud volume of noise when it on.
She arrives very late the night of March 3rd and falls immediately to sleep. March 4th she wakes almost at noon, cleans ups and dresses, and departs the apartment hotel to breakfast. It is quite cold outside with frost covering many of the windows of automobiles. She wolfs breakfast at a nearby bar and returns to the rooms; bars or las tabernas are typically excellent beverage and eating establishments in Madrid. There she does unpack her luggage and arrange all to her liking and preference within the small rooms.
About 2.30 pm there is an efficient knock on the door to her rooms. Standing in the hallway, after she has opened the door, and offering a standard salutation in Spanish, are three police investigators, a woman and two men. Jannet responds with a good afternoon greeting in Spanish. The police investigators are dressed all in flat-finished black clothing; all three have well-defined haircuts. Jannet is wearing blue jeans, a blue t-shirt, and only socks, for the moment.
Mari Belen, Carlos Jon, and Umberto identify themselves and show Jannet their respective identification cards and badges. Mari Belen is around 50 years in age, tallish even in her low-heeled boots. Jannet surmises that she is probably 5 feet 9ish in flats, with a thin/athletic body. Carlos Jon and Umberto are in their mid-thirties, stocky, muscular, and both only slightly under 6 feet in height. Carlos Jon, Jannet intuits, is married while Umberto has a girlfriend. Jannet intuits that Mari Belen is single and she sees the words, ‘unattached, also not exclusively a lesbian’, floating in front of the investigator; these words are invisible to everyone but Jannet. However, when Jannet mentally thinks to herself, ‘maybe a bisexual?’, then the floating words in front of the police woman, holographic words, segue to ‘yes, a bisexual’. This information, of course, peaks Jannet’s interest. The four individuals sit in the living room.
Jannet begins, “Podríamos hablar en Inglés.”
“Yes, of course, Ms. Russman.” Carlos Jon speaks.
“Please call me Jannet. Please. And how may I assist?”
Carlos Jon clears this throat. “Five unknown letters were sent to the Madrid police last year. The fifth letter had a return address stamp from this very apartment hotel. We have investigated you. Did you send those letters? For example, the second letter refers to a closed case from 22 years ago, at that time you were 12 years ago in an American school in Oregon USA.” Carlos Jon speaks slowly in mildly accented English. “How did you have access to the information that was contained in those letters?”
“Yes it was me. I only intended to help. Actually the last letter, I thought was lost but apparently one of the hotel staff located it, stamped it with a return address, and mailed it. And in answer to your second question, how I know, what I know, is long story.” Jannet acknowledges while trying to purposefully elicits an air of calm and helpfulness.
“You will come with us to Policía General, no? This will be for a more extensive interview.” Carlos Jon presents the request in a casual manner.
“Of course. Can I grab my coat, my boots, and my bag in the bedroom?” Jannet replies while she heads for the bedroom.
Jannet has her coat ready in advance, she has anticipated the police arriving at some point. The coat is a long black trench coat and underneath it she has put on a linen dark navy hoodie. She puts on a pair of black tennis shoes. Instead of a shoulder bag she has a medium brown suede-like backpack containing a wallet, a tiny umbrella, a cellphone with charger, a computer tablet with charger, and gloves. Just before the arrival of the police investigators today she had received a cellphone text. The text appeared on a whited-out phone display, after she had heard her phone chime a few times. The message was a communication from Tess. The text message instructed her to include O/N Bags, in her backpack. This meant that she was to bring her standard overnight (O/N) paraphernalia in large clear zip bags. The O/N bags consists of one 3”x5” plastic strong clear bag, for basic toiletries and cosmetics; and a second strong clear and much larger plastic clothing bag. The larger baggy, 12” x 15”, contains dark gray leggings, a dark gray t-shirt, one skinny panties, one tube bra, thin cotton footies, and pair of collapsible black ballet flats. These two clear bags do fit easily into her backpack and she has used this approach very often in the past, when she was not sure if she would return from a day trip. Madelynn and she developed the short-hand terminology, O/N bags, back in their undergrad days at PSU. Naturally, she does wonder why she would need or might need her overnight paraphernalia for this particular occasion.
As she turns to return to the living room, she notices Mari Belen has commenced searching her bedroom and bathroom. The investigator flashes a warrant. As Jannet returns to the living room, Umberto is searching the kitchen, the tiny dining area, living room, and closets while Carlos Jon is positioned in front of your personal laptop computer on the desk. He flashes another copy of the same search warrant.
“There is blank flash drive in the upper left-hand desk drawer. You can backup files to it if you like.” Jannet suggests as helpfully as possible.
Carlos Jon finds the flash drive and performs the backup. Jannet sits patiently in the living room as the three continue their search of the apartment hotel rooms. This process takes about 20 minutes. At the conclusion, the four depart the apartment hotel for an unmarked police vehicle. Jannet continues to respond to questions from Carlos Jon and Mari Belen as Umberto drives. Jannet determines that Mari Belen’s English is the best while Carlos Jon is serviceable and she intuits that Umberto speaks little or no English. The four swiftly arrive to the Policía General buildings on Calle Miguel Angel.
Jannet is ushered into a substantial-sized room on the ground floor of one of the police buildings. One side of the room features a wall that has nearly a floor to ceiling window, a wall to wall window; and that window faces an interior courtyard. The room has some seating and few tables but the center of the room is mostly empty. Jannet enters and she is walking behind the three investigators. Carlos Jon places her in the center of the room, by herself. She automatically and silently faces each new occupant, of the situation room, in order to receive an initial surface reading or to ascertain an initial energetic temperature of those present. There are two supervisors present, both very stiff-faced, two uniformed police officers, a consulting attorney, and two administrative staff members. The two administrative staffers are women, otherwise the room is mostly a room of men except for Mari Belen. One of the administrative staffer has a small portable audio recorder, and the other staffer is waiting to take shorthand with a small machine. One uniformed officer has a video camera in the ready. Carlos Jon rapidly identify who is present and then he begins to ask questions.
Carlos Jon states the questions in Spanish, repeats the questions in English. Jannet responds to all questions, easily and smoothly, in English, and Mari Belen translate her answers back into Spanish. The questions focused on each of the five letters, each in turn, that were sent by Jannet. The focus is on what she knows and how she knows it. Jannet is not looking at anyone in particular as the approximately 75 minute’s session of nonstop of questions and answers occur. She has been actually walking about the room while comfortably listening and responding. She studies the furnishings, the equipment, and the people assembled. She gradually studies each person who is assembled one by one and in an up close and inquisitive manner. She spends time sitting cross-legged on the floor, she spends time sitting on a couch, and she spends time leaning against a wall. She is gazing out of the enormous wall of window when a slight pause in the questioning arises.
“What can you tell us about this item of evidence?” The question is presented in Spanish then English.
Umberto places a piece of rough fabric into Jannet’s hand as she is facing the wall of glass and she is staring absently into the outside courtyard. Then she turns slowly, facing the assemblage. Her roughly textured hair is normally evenly cut and it barely reaches the top of her shoulders. She has medium brown hair but it has now turned an indigo blue. The irises of her eyes have now turned indigo blue. Normally she has a honey-colored skin tone which now has turned indigo blue. She is frozen, similar to a statue, near to the wall of glass in the situation room and she is clutching a rough fabric in her gnarled left hand.
Carlos Jon swiftly moves to Jannet’s side, removes the fabric from her hand and passes it to Umberto. He carefully places the palm of left hand on Jannet’s shoulder. “Relájate, Senorita.” And then he repeats in English, in a soothing manner. “Relax Jannet.” He repeats a few more times in an unhurried manner.
The room takes on a frigid silence. Thankfully Jannet’s physical features soon begin to return to a normative status and it is then that she begins a slow graceful arc that is aimed directly for the floor. Carlos Jon easily catches the woman in his arms.
The three investigators, a doctor, and a nurse are observing Jannet sleeping in a hospital bed. The three police persons decided not to wait for an ambulance but instead they personally transported Jannet in a police car and raced for a hospital. Carlos Jon personally carried the woman in his arms to the police car.
“All her vital signs are fine and she was in a light coma state but now she is simply sleeping. Can you return for her tonight?” The doctor reports, to the officers, in rapid Spanish. No one moves; the investigators continue to linger for another five or six minutes but subsequently everyone walks out of the room. While waiting for the elevator, Mari Belen mumbles something about leaving an item in the hospital room and she turns about to return to the room. Her male counterparts promise to hold the elevator as Mari Belen walks quickly back to the hospital room.
Mari Belen does not search the hospital room after she enters it because she has not left any item in the room. Instead she places herself by the hospital bed; she watches at Jannet for moment. It is at that time that she softly runs her fingers through the sleeping woman’s hair, pauses, and then she turns to leave.
It is later that same evening. It is 11.05 pm. Mari Belen enters a hospital room in the University Hospital or El Hospital Universitario Gregorio Marañón on Calle del Doctor Esquerdo. As she walks in the room, there is no sign of Jannet in the bed. Instead she spies Carlos Jon and Umberto sitting in the only two available chairs. Umberto says something about “great minds thinking alike,” and Carlos Jon is reading the sports section in today’s newspaper. Just then Jannet emerges from the tiny bathroom and smiles when she notices Mari Belen has joined the little group.
“I woke up 90 minutes ago and Carlos Jon and Umberto were here. The medical staff checked me out and declared me recovered. I have taken two long walks through the hallways, with police escorts, because they want me to stay awake for a while.” Jannet explains in a flurry of words.
The night-duty nurse enters the room. She asks a question, extremely rapidly, in Spanish. Unfortunately, Jannet only understand part of the address. Carlos Jon translates for her. The nurse wants to take her temperature, her pulse, and to administer two shoots. She also wants to know if she wants her visitors to stay or to go during this process. Jannet responds affirmatively to the nurse, in Spanish, about allowing the police visitors to stay.
Jannet is wearing a type of loose hospital issued pajamas, a top and a bottom, and no other clothing underneath. Jannet sits on the edge of hospital bed while the nurse conducts her business. The nurse soon asks her to stand and to lift the top of her hospital wear to a midriff point. The two shots are administered into her stomach.
The nurse reminds Jannet to stay awake and turns to departs from the hospital room. Jannet jumps onto the center of the bed and sits cross-legged.
“I believe an interrogation would keep me awake.” She suggests in a casual, matter of fact fashion.
Immediately Umberto activates the video function in his phone, Carlos Jon removes a portable recorder from his inside coat pocket, and Mari Belen finds a seat in a deep hospital window seat before she begins the questioning.
“First, we are sorry that we placed that piece of evidence in your hand without informing you. Obviously you picked up something from it. What?” Mari Belen displays a softer façade, then previously, as she looks directly at Jannet.
“No apologies are necessary. I let down my guard, probably because I feel comfortable and safe around you, around the three of you. I generally have some form of protection in place which carefully allows me to look deeply into and to experience deeply into a person, a place, or an object but the actual contact, on my part, is normally avoided in favor of a form of a somewhat more detached or a displaced mode. Otherwise I can become overwhelmed. So because I had direct, unintended, and unguarded contact with an object with an extremely intense history attached to it, I quite literally short-circuited from the experience.” Jannet goes to now explain, briefly, her background as an empath, synesthete, and unconventional psychic.
Jannet returns to the discussion about the upsetting fabric. “Ok. What I experienced was the actual death of a teenager, a young woman of about 16 to 18 years of age. She was not murdered rather the death was accidental. She fell against a metal railing of some type while running away from someone. Although I was taken unawares, I did see the accident, I saw her fall, and I watched her expire over the course of several traumatic minutes.”
She pauses for a protracted minute.
“She was a runaway. She was enticed to join a group of other runaways. The enticement was a place to stay and she had access to food, alcohol, and unfortunately drugs. The inducements were proffered by a small group of criminals who exploits, abuse, control, and coerce these young people into performing any number of petty crimes in many sectors of Madrid. The situation is complicated because the young people are provided with food and shelter. And the young people are provided fuel for their substance addictions. They subsist both in a state of anxiety and a state of dependency.” Jannet appears now to be quite lucid and alert.
“The young woman, who died, was also trying to elude the authorities at the time of accidental death. Her name was or her name is Juleanna but I cannot make out her last name, although I believe that it begins with a letter ‘G’. I am sure you have knowledge of where she passed away but you probably want to know where she was residing.”
Mari Belen has been translating for Umberto but she stops.
“Yes, we want to know where she resides and about the others including the criminal leaders. We will pass this information on to the assigned investigators for this case. But we believe that this recent active case might overlap with one of our own cold cases.” Mari Belen explains and she repeats this statement in Spanish.
“I am unfamiliar with the part of the city where she lived. Can I show you instead?” Jannet casually suggests.
Mari Belen nods her head in assentation but she is confused by Jannet’s statement. A few seconds later, a floating screen appears in the middle of the hospital room. It is a visual projection with dimensions of approximately 4’ x 4’. It depicts an alleyway but the scene is presented in a slow-motion fashion. Young teenagers walk into and out of, over a period of time, of a run downed tenement house. The three investigators unveil a flabbergasted look on their faces. Nonetheless Umberto and Carlos Jon do rise and completely walk around the projection which shows the scene from a different direction. The visual scene continues to project for a few minutes in the floating fashion.
“We know, more or less, where this is located, by looking at the buildings nearby in the background. That is the clue.” Carlos Jon states excitedly, just as the night duty nurse is simultaneously entering the hospital room.
“Que es esto?” She confusedly asks as she stares in wonder at the floating visualization in the middle of the room.
“Es Nada.” Mari Belen smoothly answers, as the projection expediently vanishes.
The nurse has more of Jannet’s meds. Umberto and Carlos Jon race into the adjoining hallway, cellphones in hand.
“When will she be released?” Mari Belen asks in Spanish, while Jannet ingests the pills.
“Tomorrow at 12 noon, I think. Once the doctor has cleared her for release. She will need to stay with someone for the next day or so, just in case. Does she have family or friends in Madrid?” The nurse requests in jet speed Spanish.
Jannet and Mari Belen look each other directly in the eyes momentarily.
“I am her friend. She will stay with me.” Mari Belen states with an off-hand nonchalance which causes Jannet to emit an internal smile.
The next day, at 12 noon, Mari Belen arrives promptly, she is alone. Jannet is waiting, she has showered, readied yourself using one of her O/N bag, and changed into her clothing from another one of her O/N bags; and she has acquired a laundry bag from the hospital for yesterday’s clothes that she had arrived with.
In the car, Mari Belen explains the plan for the day. First, they will stop at the apartment hotel in order to allow Jannet to obtain whatever she may need for the next day or two; afterwards lunch at a wonderful fish market; and after that they will go to Mari Belen’s apartment. She lives northwest of the City Center. She lives in a remodeled apartment building but on the ground floor, far behind a front reception area. Her dwelling also has a private walled outdoor area that is only accessible through her apartment.
After arriving eventually at Mari Belen’s apartment there is a quick tour of her apartment and the ‘mi casa es su casa’ proclamation. Mari Belen departs. It is late afternoon. Jannet occupies herself with many phone voice mail messages, text messages, and e-mail correspondences. She has been out of touch with everyone and everything in Oregon for a few days. She has various different requests for her presence back in Oregon for PAG events during the week of spring equinox. The Decker siblings had left several messages asking about Jannet’s return date to Oregon. Madelynn wants to talk to Jannet, right away, about a proposed trip to the Tanglewood Music Festival, this upcoming summer outside of Boston. This proposal would commit Jannet to a week and half with Madelynn, Terri, and Jocelyn at the music festival. Madelynn wishes that Jannet was back in Portland, so that the four of them could discuss and decide on details as soon as possible.
Although Jannet really wants to leave the apartment to explore in Mari Belen’s neighborhood, in the Opera neighborhood of Madrid, she has promised Mari Belen that she would rest and that she would not leave the apartment. Therefore, Jannet spends time journaling and reflecting on events in Madrid. She has just started to fall asleep, in the early evening on a huge comfortable couch in the living room, when Mari Belen returns to the apartment.
“You look very drowsy. Let’s have a quick meal and then you can turn in for the night.” Mari Belen suggests while she surveys the American woman.
The two women enjoy a generous bowl of fish chowder and a glass of dry white wine while sitting at a tall kitchen counter. Their conversation is light and engaging. Afterwards, Jannet inquires about the bed linen for the couch. Mari Belen disappears and then reappears with linen for the couch.
“I am not going into the office tomorrow and I will work from home. You can probably return to your apartment hotel tomorrow night if you wanted to.” Mari Belen states.
“Is this standard police protection protocol in Spain?” Jannet asks and she is trying to obtain clarity about this present impromptu albeit pleasing co-habitation scenario.
“I feel responsible and I am happy to have you here as my guest.” Mari Belen returns. “In addition, I have a proposal. I know your original plans, for this current visit, is for you to stay for more or less two weeks in Madrid. I want you to leave, instead, in a few days. Change your plans, book a new return flight, cancel your apartment hotel room reservation, and then stay here until you leave, if you like, until you leave in a few days.” Mari Belen searches Jannet’s face, in order to gauge her response to the suggestions. And Jannet seems to be ok with new plans.
“My supervisor wants to subject you to more questioning. They believe you to be an invaluable resource although an unusual one. You are now unofficially a C.I. or a confidential informant.” Mari Belen continues while maintaining her gaze upon Jannet’s facial reactions.
“However, and confidentially, some of us, in our team, do believe that we have been heavy-handed with you. Our approach was in pursuit of verifying your legitimacy and that approach was authorized by the supervisors.”
“And you? What do you believe?” Jannet politely returns.
“I believe that you are a unique and gifted individual who only wants to help. And I believe that you should not be pushed, pressured, and possibly overwhelmed especially since you volunteered your assistance. You are a civilian and you are a person. We should be more considerate and judicious with our requests for your assistance.” Mari Belen replies succinctly.
Jannet wakes up in the late morning the next day on the large comfortable couch. She can hear hushed typing on a computer keyboard, somewhere in the apartment. She finds Mari Belen at the kitchen counter; she is working on a laptop.
“You slept well over 12 hours but you look rested and back to normal. We can go out for lunch and a long walk once you are ready, yes?” Mari Belen waits for some form of an acknowledgement from her house guest which comes in the form of silent affirmative nod from Jannet.
They enjoy a simple meal at a nearby bar. Mari Belen orders a warm Sopa Tostada, a flavorful broth soup with crispy toast floating on the top and a fruity sangria, for the both of them. Afterwards Mari Belen leads a tour of her neighborhood. Mari Belen has gradually softened her demeanor over the course of the day. They visit a famous plaza, a monastery, and a theater. There is a chilly breeze in the air but the sun is out. The tour pauses on a major thoroughfare, Calle Bailén. Jannet stops cold with an amazed look. “What is this?”
“This is a palace. Actually it is the Royal Palace of Madrid.”
And sprawled before them is a massive palatial complex surrounded by acres of grounds and gardens. “Shall we?” Mari Belen invites and Jannet unconsciously takes her host’s arm. Mari Belen does not resist and the two women walk arm in arm across the broad busy street. Jannet releases her host and she walks in silence next to Mari Belen as the two women begin to explore the grounds of the palace.
When Jannet boards a flight, to return to the states, it is three days later. Mari Belen and Jannet have spent three evenings hanging out at the police investigator’s apartment and Jannet did diligently retire to the couch each night. On the day of Jannet’s departure, Mari Belen drops her off at a major nearby hotel complex to catch an airport van. Jannet arrives to the airport with plenty of time for customs and ticketing. As the flight lifts from Adolfo Suárez Madrid airport, Jannet muses. She is sure that there is a developing friendship between Mari Belen and her. The warm memories of the recent days and nights as the guest of Mari Belen, although a non-romantic companionship, have nested into her mind. Jannet is clearly imaging the future possibilities between the two of them.
And on the day of Jannet’s departure, as she is maneuvering through Madrid traffic, on the way to Policía General, Mari Belen realizes that has initiated a significant new friendship with the American woman.