JANNET WAKES UP IN HER APARTMENT IN THE PACIFIC BUILDING, IN Portland seven days after her initial departure for Spain. It was a very short stay in Madrid. There is a nine-hour time difference between Portland, Oregon and Madrid, Spain. Jannet checks the time, it is presently 8.30 am for her, therefore it is 5.30 pm in Madrid. She mentally debates, back and forth, about calling Mari Belen. She finally decides to call and when Jannet does phone Mari Belen, she anticipates that she will leave a voice-mail.
“Good morning, Jannet. Are you rested? It is morning there, correct?” Mari Belen’s voice resounds through the cellphone.
“I thought I would get your voice-mail.” Jannet stutters with a little embarrassment.
“Well, you have got the real live me.” Mari Belen laughs. “And I hope your return flight went well.”
“Yes, it did and thanks again for watching out for me.”
“No problem. It was great to spend time together. Also I apologize for rushing you out of Spain but I think that there may be some form of potential legal issue concerning our continued professional connection with you. In other words, we will likely ask you to help us again with some of our investigations but we will need to have an official and formal plan to present to you. We have to consider our responsibility to you and to respect your rights as a private citizen. Our legal person is presently examining these issues.” Jannet notes that Mari Belen seems be in her police investigator’s mode; she is probably at work.
“Are you planning on returning?” Mari Belen continues and she sounds mildly inquisitive.
“Yes, I want to.” Jannet says and then she takes a deep breath. “Can we spend time together when I return?”
“By spend time together, do you mean like dinner, a movie, and sex?” Mari Belen asks forthrightly. She feels that it is probably best to be direct.
“Yes I do, except to clarify, I mean to have a relationship.” Jannet returns nervously.
“And when are you returning to Madrid?”
“I will return in early May, for a few weeks, and I will get a room at my usual apartment hotel.” Jannet informs her, again nervously.
Mari Belen allows for a few moments of dead air although she has already made up her mind. Her interest, in the American woman, is a definite interest. “Back in early May. Well I look forward to seeing you then girlfriend.” There is small grouping of beeps on the phone line. “I need to run. Sorry about the abruptness. Talk to you soon.” Mari Belen ends the conversation swiftly. The phone goes dead.
Later that same evening, Madrid time, Mari Belen muses about the telephone conversation with Jannet. She realizes that Jannet is completely different than anyone else that Mari Belen has been connected with in her past. She has had relationships with both men and women. She was in a long term relationship spanning several years, in her 20s, which included a few of those years in marriage to a man that she met in college. In her 30s and 40s her relationships were primarily with women which created a distance between her and a few members of her immediate family. All of those relationships were with individuals who were Type A and assertive, and eventually that relationship pattern became a much too much volatile combination. She hopes that a possible relationship with Jannet, who is a Type B and receptive, might be a more constructive and satisfying change.
Later that same morning, Portland time, Jannet muses about the telephone conversation with Mari Belen and she assumes that Mari Belen does have a legitimate interest in exploring the possibility of a relationship with her. Jannet knows that the striking European woman is a little older, by 17 years, but most importantly she feels that Mari Belen is generally quite wonderful to be around, once the woman lets down her police work façade. Jannet senses a complementary balance between their two different personality styles. But most encouraging, for Jannet, is that Mari Belen, and also her two police colleagues, did immediately accept her, without judgement or criticism or doubt, despite their initial unusual experiences, with her, in regards to her unique abilities.
Jannet resumes her daily routines over the course of her first few days back in Portland. The almost daily rains in Portland remind her of Madrid, it had rained a little at least every day during her recent brief visit to Madrid. Of course, central Spain does not experience the same amount of moisture as the Pacific Northwest’s 6 or 7 months of mostly consistent rain. Jannet notices that she does experience an acute case of culture shock, reversed culture shock; she had grown surprising accustomed to Madrid. The reversed culture shock effect does disappear after a few days.
By the weekend, Jannet has promised her chancellor friend Ray, full-name Raimondo Sanchez, within the community college system, to step in for a teacher who has become extremely ill, therefore Jannet will start next week as a replacement. The assignment will be for the reminder of the short semester and it is four sections of Mathematics including a Pre-Calculus section. It has been a while since she has taught any calculus, so she decides to spend extra time prepping.
On the weekend, Jocelyn, Terri, and Madelyn meet Jannet for lunch at a trendy restaurant in the Pearl district, in the west side of downtown. They all order the gourmet macaroni and cheese, which is a specialty of the establishment. The main purpose, other than a social one, is to confirm plans for a proposed trip this summer to the Tanglewood Music festival near Boston. Jocelyn uses her iPad, as everyone confer about flights, room reservations, and itinerary details, and multiple concert reservations. The hotel reservations are for one suite with two queen beds at The Barrington in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, which is 15 to 20 minutes from the Tanglewood festival site in Lenox. Three of them individually write a very large check to Jocelyn for their share of the costs for the forthcoming summer adventure.
The four women have known each for at least 12 years, more or less, and they usually engage in a bi-annual excursion together, every two years. In the earlier years, the trips were modest. There was a one-week trip to Vancouver, Canada 8 years ago; and a one-week trip to San Francisco, 6 years ago; and a week and a half to Santa Fe, 4 years ago; and two years ago there was a 10-day trip to Aspen, Colorado. The trips coincided with music performances and other cultural events. The four are particularly obsessed with a variety of different types of classical music. Of course, it is an opportunity to spend time together as friends which has become more and more difficult with their present everyday lives.
Two of the four are married, that is, Madelynn and Jocelyn. Terri has a long-term boyfriend and Jannet is presently unattached. Of the four, Jocelyn has always been quite wealthy, her family has considerable old wealth. She is the only one of the little group with children; she has three children although her oldest child is adopted. She does not work but she often volunteers for various arts organizations and she is a semi-professional singer, a soprano in a local choir. Madelynn and Terri are professors, at Lewis and Clark College and the University of Portland respectively; they are both presently quite focused on writing/publishing efforts, in addition to their teaching responsibilities, as part of their tenure expectation. The four women are presently, capable intelligent women who also happen to be financially secure.
Jannet spends the Spring Equinox week, in March 2014, with various friends and associates connected to the PAG. There are numerous new age events occurring during this week at a variety of locations; sometimes it can be small gatherings at an individual private home or on occasion there can be events in a larger rented public space. Jannet attends as many events as possible and she volunteers as well. The most impressionable gathering, for her, was a quite small event, at a private home, that featured an inner circle of a sitting group of individuals who all channel, they channel non-physical individuals from another reality; and there was a second outer intimate circle of onlookers/participants of which Jannet was a member.
The week, whether a week of equinox or solstice events, always ends with a large outdoor gathering that features bonfires, public proclamations, silent reflections, and labyrinth walks.
Of course, Jannet encounters the Decker siblings often during this week of PAG Spring Equinox events. The three decide to recommit to a few more weekly mentoring sessions. Jannet is initially reluctant but the Decker siblings are smoothly persuasive. The brother and sister team have established a growing interactive readership with their New Age blog. They have had newly initiated weekly in-person talking circles at a public room, which they reserved for free, at the Main branch public library downtown on SW 10th. The Deckers are also involved in the prep work and research work for a long-term manuscript project, which they hope to get published someday; it is tentatively untitled and the sibling simply refer to the mammoth writing project as The Manual.
Four or five times a week, Jannet does Skype with Mari Belen. Initially she will try for contact at 12.00 noon, that would be 9.00 pm in Madrid and if unsuccessful, then she would try again at 1.00pm which would be 10.00 pm in Madrid. Usually Mari Belen would be available at one of those times.
Jannet learns about Mari Belen. Mari Belen is 5’9”, a bit skinny but muscular. She works out strenuously 3 or 4 times a week at the Police Gymnasium. She and her police partners, Carlos Jon and Umberto, have taken extensive mixed-martial arts training. She is 51, married once for about four and a half years in her 20s, and that marriage was a continuation of previous 3 or 4-year girlfriend/boyfriend relationship with the same man. Since that divorce she has discreetly dated men and women. She attended university in Madrid, including one international semester abroad in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Her undergrad college work was at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid with a major in Modern Languages and a minor in Translating/Interpreting. Her grad work was at Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona for a Master’s in Criminology. She attended the National Police Corps training academy in Avila, just 90 minutes northwest of Madrid, and she joined the Madrid Police several months after her graduation from Avila. She was a police woman at 26 years of age, a police official at 38 years and she is now a sub-inspector which occurred at age 47.
She grew up in Toledo but has lived in Madrid since college. She is trilingual and fluent, in addition to her native Spanish, she speaks French and English. She has strong conversational skills in Portuguese and Italian as well. She took a seven-month leave of absent, seven years ago, to serve as an interpreter at the United Nations complex in Paris. She has family mostly in Toledo, which is an hour south of Madrid, and some family in Madrid. Her private passions are cooking, DIY house projects, and traveling, all of which she has little time for.
Mari Belen learns about Jannet. Jannet is 5’6” with a slight hourglass shape. She is biracial and the offspring of an African American mother and a Hispanic father. Her parents lived in a semi-state of exile from their respective relations because of their contested interracial marriage in the late 1970s; Jannet was born in 1980. Her parents passed away during her college years and she is rather distance in her connections with her other relatives. She grew up in a working class neighborhood in north Portland but her life changed and broaden when she interzoned to Lincoln High School, west of downtown Portland. She committed undergrad work at PSU and postgrad work at the University of Colorado in Boulder; in both institutions she majored in Mathematics. She became an avid new age devotee while in Boulder, she was deeply influenced by the academic and social activities connected to Naropa University and she became a member of tiny private investment club, as well. 10 years ago, when she left Colorado her abilities as an empath and synesthete started to more strongly manifest and these abilities have grown and diversified each year since that time. She is 34.
Jannet is a teacher and she has taught Mathematics full-time, in a community college setting until 5 years ago. It was five years ago that she had a major cash-in with some of her currency investments, as a result of her connection with the small private investment club, in Boulder.
The two women, Jannet and Mari Belen, do gradually become emotionally involved, with each other, over Skype.
One morning, it is about 4.00 am, Jannet’s cellphone chimes several times and then goes silent. Approximately two minutes later, the chimes return but this time Jannet wakes and answers the phone. It is Mari Belen on the line, except it is the voice of Mari Belen the police investigator and not the voice of her soon-to-be girlfriend.
“Good morning, Jannet. Sorry to wake you so early, your time.” She says. “Can you do me a favor?”
“Yes, of course.” Jannet responds, still half asleep.
“Ok, hang up the phone and prepare yourself for a Skype in about 20 minutes. Carlos Jon and Umberto will be present with me. Ok?” Mari Belen asks expectantly.
“Will do. Bye for now.” Jannet finishes and elevates herself, with considerable effort, from her bed.
Jannet dashes to the bathroom to ready herself; this includes taking a quick shower. She dresses rapidly, completing herself with a white pair of carpenter’s pants and a white t-shirt. Armed with a tall glass of water, she sits at her office desk in front of her computer, her computer is now turned on, to wait.
A session is available. Soon Mari Belen is flanked by Carlos Jon and Umberto on the computer monitor. Jannet senses that there are other individuals in same room, which seems to be located somewhere within the Policía General buildings.
“Ms. Russman thank you for this Skype session. Apologies for the early hour, your time.” Mari Belen has on her police voice.
“No problem. Please call me Jannet.”
“Yes, why of course Jannet. Ok. Jannet we wanted to receive some feedback from you concerning a letter that you sent to us. First, we want to inform you that this conversation will be archived. Secondly, today is Tuesday, April 3rd in 2014. It is 1.30pm in Madrid and 4.30am in Oregon USA. Thirdly, there is an e-mail for you from our department labeled legal, please open it and please read it at this time. We will wait and please nod when you are finished.”
About five minutes later, Jannet acknowledges that she has read the e-mail.
“You read the e-mail then? And you understand the contents? It is basically acknowledging our department liability should you incur any physical and/or psychological harm or injury while assisting us with any of our investigations. Additionally, we recommend that you seek counsel with an attorney and after their legal review, please sign and notarized the document and return by DHL. Please note that the last paragraph of the document does allow for amendment suggestions on your part. Any questions or any comments?” Mari Belen inquires quite officially.
“No questions for now and I will consult with an attorney before returning it to you. Is there anything else?” Jannet responds.
“That’s all for now. Please again, our apologies for the early hour your time. Have a good morning.” Mari Belen concludes efficiently.
“Wait. You want me to do something, correct? And you want me to do it now, correct?” Jannet counters.
“We need the signed agreement.” She responds professionally. Just then Umberto is on his phone. After a few minutes, he nods to Mari Belen. “Of course, Jannet, if you are volunteering?”
“Yes, that’s it. I am volunteering.”
In the computer screen, from Jannet’s perspective, there is Mari Belen, Carlos Jon, and Umberto but Jannet senses several more individuals in the peripheral. She believes that everyone is in the situation room, which is a location that she has some knowledge of. Jannet takes a deep breath and takes a long drink of water.
“Jannet, I will give you the case numbers, of departmental cold cases, and nothing more. The first case number relates to letter # five that you sent to us, it had the apartment hotel’s return address stamped on it. That is a cold case from a few years ago. The second case number relates to a recent and an active case. The case numbers, by the way, contain two parts, the year and the actual case number.”
“The first case number is 2014-HS 967715. And the second one is 2011-HE 733357.”
Jannet goes still for a minute or a minute and half. However, in the room that is occupied by the police officials and personnel in Madrid, several thousand miles away from Jannet, there is a gradual appearance of two rectangular projections materializing in midair. The Madrid Police assemblage peruses the visualizations, which are two-sided. Carlos Jon makes a request of Jannet in a clear voice.
“Can you make these larger, Jannet? And can you label the two images by case number?” Carlos Jon asks.
The projections double in size and at the bottom of each one, there is a label with a case numbers. The two projections are two different slideshows of still photography. There are several photographs in each slideshow and the slideshows seem to be on a continuous but slowly cycling loop. The occupants of the police room are closely scrutinizing the projections, taking notes, making secondary visual records, and so forth. After four minutes, the projections start to fade and then to disassemble.
“Jannet, are you ok?” Mari Belen questions with official concern.
“Yes. Yes, I am fine but I am a little tired.” She starts to display a dreamy countenance but she does response with coherence.
“I do believe that is all that we require, for now. We deeply appreciate your feedback. Please get some rest, and have a good morning. Thank you.” Mari Belen finishes very quickly and very officially and the session ends.