JANNET CONSCIOUSLY LOOKS AT THE TIME AND DATE ON HER CELLPHONE, SHE IS surprised that it works, and it is exactly 8.17 am, Monday, October 27th. She reflects on her experiences of the last 24 hours with amazement. Fortunately, in the present moment, she is comforted by her second indulgent order of huevos rotos and a delicious large cup of café con leche. She is crowded into a table with Mari Belen, Umberto, and Carlos Jon at a restaurant in the El Rastro neighborhood. Everyone has a hardy appetite. Carlos Jon is explaining details about the nature of cyber-criminal group’s activities.
“Firstly, the authorities are thankful for your information on your attackers. Anyway, the National Police has discovered that these criminals maintained a secret website on the Deep Web that featured copious amounts of illegally obtained information about Madrid city activities and services. There was information on municipal police, fire, and emergency services and their ongoing activities, and the information was made available to various criminal gangs for a hefty price tag. The source for the information supply was attributed to the coercion of individuals or to the deception perpetrated on individuals working in various sectors of the municipal establishment. Electronic tracking and spying techniques were also used. Presently our authorities have captured some of the hackers that were involved but only two members of the actual core criminal gang. We estimate that the core members of the gang to be numbered at only seven or eight individuals, some of whom probably participated in the planned attack on Jannet at the stadium. The National Police working with agents from the Europol, the Eurozone Interpol agency, have located the website, and permanently disabled it. Our police cyber unit and the Europol agents are reviewing the data on the website, which included an electronic profile on Jannet. She is referred to as a psychic who is a confidential informant, for the Madrid police. The profile also lists some of her vulnerabilities which included her inability to swim.” Carlos Jon stops to scoop up a healthy portion of his breakfast. He then turns to Jannet.
“You were a target because they believed that you might psychically stumble upon their existence and reveal information about their organization. That was part of their motivation when someone tried to break into your apartment hotel room, weeks ago. They wanted to appropriate your laptop.” Carlos Jon returns his attention to his breakfast meal.
“I believe that I now remember something else. It has something to do with a warehouse location that was subsequently discovered. This is where the criminals who attacked me changed vehicles?” Jannet interjects, and she simultaneously orders a second coffee.
“Yes, that is correct but the place is clean.”
“I have a strong sense that a few members of the gang will return there within the next few days, as soon as they determine that the area is clear of police. There is something there, underground or hidden under the foundation of the building, which they desperately want to retrieve.”
“We can recommend a very discreet stakeout, to the official investigative team, and they can try to catch the other members of the gang and hopefully they will be able to confiscate the hidden items.” Mari Belen speaks out loud and this coincides with Umberto calling on his mobile phone to the unit supervisor.
It is a late evening October 29th and it is around 10:45 pm. The couple are at home. Mari Belen is pensive and she has a question, that she has been wanting to ask, of Jannet. “The evening before the football game at Estadio Vicente Calderón, I received a text message which said ‘She doesn’t know how to swim’ but there was no indication of the sender. Do you know anything about that?” The two woman are situated on one of their large couches in their apartment, Mari Belen has been reading the newspaper and Jannet has been responding to e-mail correspondence on a laptop which is positioned in her lap.
Jannet desires to reply, to Mari Belen’s question, by stating, ‘The message was sent by a superlatively non-corporeal being that lives in another dimension of reality and she also has the ability to move within space/time continuums or to move between space/time continuums at will.’ But Jannet actually replies, ‘the text was probably sent by my cousin, Tess. She can be kinda sorta psychic at times.’
Since Mari Belen is basically a woman who expects reasonable answers to reasonable questions, although she knows that that attitude is not always realistic, she nods her head in a semi-convincing manner, provisionally satisfied with Jannet’s answer, before returning to her newspaper.
For the time being, when Jannet is not with Mari Belen, she is with the police person escort whom she first met at the University Hospital; she was the overnight police person who had been assigned to protective duty. Officer Marta Reyes, in plain clothes, basically hangs out with Jannet during most of day when Mari Belen is at work; Mari Belen has normally returned to Jannet by the early evening hours. Marta can speak and understand English but she generally says very little and usually defers to Spanish. She seems to have an extraordinary talent to be alert and watchful while maintaining some rudimentary level of companionship.
Jannet normally spends her mornings at the apartment, and her mid-days outside, and in the late afternoons she returns to provide consultations, via Skype, for PAG independent. Sara Jean has reported to her about the latest success for PAG independent. Sara Jean had received permission from the board to add a community page, or pages, to the website. The pages has two sections, a community events section and a community services section. The community events section promotes new age events/activities. The community services section promotes new age businesses. Sara Jean has shrewdly solicited paid sponsorships for these community pages to generate revenue for the organization.
During the first week, after the hospital stay, Jannet is quite anxious to connect with her teenage rescuers and to present them with a gift reward. Marta has arranged the meeting, at the apartment complex where they reside near the stadium, and Jannet is finally able to personally thank the two teenagers and to present them, each of them, with a prepaid Apple store gift card for €500. The teenagers are predictably wide-eyed and grateful. And the youth take the opportunity to further explain that they were lucky to be there because nearly everyone in the apartment complex had left to attend the game. The teens add that the swimming pool area is normally closed by early October but the unseasonably warm weather had postponed its official closure by a few weeks.
The trip to the neighborhood, near the stadium, provides Jannet with an opportunity to explore the immediate area. She is surprised that the large apartment complex, with the swimming pool behind it, has numerous businesses and shops on the first floor and residential housing on the upper floors. She asks Marta about the possibility of walking along the river Manzanares but Marta suggests entry at another location with better access. They head in a northerly direction, via an unmarked police vehicle, for less than 5 minutes and stop near the Puente de San Isidro. They locate, near the bridge, a pleasant and convenient entry point to the river park.
This section of Madrid has a narrow strip of parkland, Parque Rio Madrid, next to the river. The green serenity is juxtaposed with the presence of a dramatic cityscape on both sides of the river. The American woman and the police officer enjoy a generally peaceful walk, walking in a northerly direction, although there are a few uneasy moments negotiating the path with its sporadic crush of a whirling combination of runners, skaters, walkers, and bikers.
“Can we stop here for a while?” Jannet inquires although she has already slowed to a stop. “And can I go into a trance?”
Marta considers the questions and quietly shrugs her shoulders and the two women maneuver to a cool shady grassy peninsula area from off of the main pathway. Within seconds Jannet is motionless in a quiet stance and she stays that way for several minutes. Peaked by curiosity, Marta approaches the frozen woman and touches her shoulder. The world fades to black and Marta rapidly releases her hand from Jannet’s shoulder. However, a minute or two later, spurred by bravado, Marta places her entire arm around Jannet’s shoulder. Again the world fades to black but Marta patiently waits and soon enough the world returns; only differently.
All five of the officer’s physical senses become optimized and Marta profoundly experiences every single element surrounding her, from the minutest to the most expansive, in a sensual richness that she believes to be beyond description. She relaxes into this expanded condition for an unknown passage of time. She becomes additionally quite fascinated by the few individual people who drifts by, as she is able to see the liquidly electric aura surrounding them. And Marta’s marvelously enhanced condition only starts to subside, gradually, when Jannet smoothly exits her grasp.
“Este es el mundo real?” Marta gasps breathlessly.
“Yes, it is. And so is this one, the one ordinary one that we live in every day.” Jannet waves her hands and points to the everyday cityscape, to people, to automobiles, and the ordinary jet planes in the sky, and the periodicals at a newsstand, and to the very normal overflowing nearby trash receptacles. The two women now slowly return to experiencing the regular uniqueness of the world through the lens of their everyday and conventional physical senses.
The trip to neighborhood, near the stadium, provides Jannet with an idea to explore a few other areas of the city, which are unknown to her, with the assistance and under the watchful eye of Marta. So each mid-day, during the week, the two embark on an expedition to different parts of city that are new to Jannet. In general, Marta continues to speak very little and still primarily in Spanish. However, she does become more and more companionable as time goes by. She does occasionally ask a few earnest questions, of Jannet, about a variety of new age topics.
Marta also offers a concrete suggestion for possible employment in the educational field in Madrid and her ideas dovetail with Mari Belen’s ideas of approaching an employment agency. She suggests that Jannet research area community colleges and that it might be possible to be hired as a temporary tutor, through a school, for Math studies in English but she adds that it is best to present her goals to a good employment agency, in order to allow professionals to spearhead the search. She also suggests that freely volunteering her services, as a tutor, might be a good way to establish herself; ‘un pie en la puerta’. She indicates that there is a great interest, among the educational community, in the study of a variety of academic subjects in languages other than Spanish.
On another day, Marta calls to announce that she is en-route but that she would be a few minutes late. Jannet decides to do a quick check-in with Tess. She logs on to her laptop and opens a Word document and types ‘Tess?’. She expects the usual wait of less than a minute for a reply but it is much closer to several minutes. Jannet becomes a little nervous about the timing of the arrival of Marta. And she is trying to decide whether or not to end the session for now. And then:
I am here. **T
You have not been around much lately. **J
I have been occupied, little cousin, but I am always nearby. **T
I have just one fast question. At the stadium recently, did I make a mistake by running through the holographic stop signs and pursuing the attacker? ** J
There are, in general, no definitive answers to any scenario. There are merely choices or options. **T
And the choice I elected to make was a correct one, or certainly a viable option, despite the dangers? **J
Let’s look beyond polarities, that is, good/bad, up/down, active/passive. All choices have costs and benefits, and of course there is a greater condition which is beyond that. And you made a choice to follow your instincts. There were legitimate dangers involved as a result of that choice-making but your concerns for or your interest in disclosure overrode the probability of oncoming dangers. Also some part of you knew that your friends, your girlfriend and her associates, would catch up to you; you had a safety net, so to speak. You would not have taken the risk if they had not been nearby to cover you. **T
By the way, your police friend is here. Take care, little cousin. **T
Just then the front door bell is sounded.
There is one afternoon, a Friday, in which Marta escorts Jannet to Policía General. There are more general questions about the cyber-criminal group and Jannet is asked to provide any additional mental impressions that she might have available. She has none. She is acutely aware of the gravity of the investigation, especially with the continued presence of the National Police and the extremely mute Europol agents. In this current investigation, there have been more arrests and more collection of vital evidence. She has been informed that there was another major joint investigation, related to a major cyber-crime case, in 2013 in Spain, and so consequently cyber-crimes cases have received a lot of serious attention from the Spanish authorities.
November 2nd, a Sunday, is spent in Toledo with the entire family present. Incorporated within the gathering is Mari Belen’s birthday celebration, even though it is actually on November 9th, and everyone, including Jannet, has contributed towards an €500 gift card to BriCor. Mari Belen is delighted with the gift card, to the home improvement store, because she enjoys to be constantly tinkering with projects in and around the new apartment. There is a family tradition of everyone chipping in for one elaborate present for special occasions, however Jannet has asked permission, from each of the family members, to also present a single and personalized gift to Mari Belen. She had explained that the gift was simply a framed photograph and nothing more. Everyone replied that the solitary gift would be an acceptable addition to their standard tradition.
Of course, all eyes are focused on Mari Belen after the announcement of Jannet’s personal birthday gift for the woman. The photograph of 5×7, which is framed in a tasteful antique brass, is a photo taken in Portland weeks ago. Jannet and Mari Belen are standing and facing each other across a very narrow and a very tall dining table in a diner. Mari Belen is laughing/gesturing and this is just moments before they begin to partake in their gorgeous breakfast sandwiches and large mugs of steaming coffee. She is luminous. As the framed photograph, which is composed of rich crisp black, gray, and white tones, is shared around the assembled family, Mari Belen has become quietly moved.
On Monday morning, Mari Belen surprises Jannet by announcing a road trip for that same day. She wants to visit El Monasterio de Montserrat which is near the city of Barcelona. When their day begins, it is a chilly morning although very clear. They take an early morning train from El Centro Europeo train station for an approximately 2½ hour non-stop train to Barcelona. In Barcelona they maneuver to take a second train, on the R5 line, in Barcelona’s Placa d’Espanya station. It is a one-hour trip by rail and it is also significantly colder when they arrive. This region is known for its dramatic rocky and rugged views, it is in the location of a national park, Parc Natural de la Muntanya de Montserrat. The monastery itself is a massive monolithic rectangular structure which is set against a backdrop of sheer serrated mountainous terrain.
Mari Belen appears to be in a most relaxed state as she personally guides Jannet among the various zones of the extremely popular destination. They attend a late afternoon mass and return to the nearby hotel, Hotel Aba Cisneros, for the night. They have a sumptuous evening meal in the hotel dining room.
“I am glad that we got away for a quick out-of-town trip.” Mari Belen explains as the two women lingers over desserts and aperitifs in the dining room. “Also I am very happy about our little birthday get-together in Toledo, yesterday, it was important to me because I really want to maintain a closeness to the family and because I really want them to accept our relationship.”
“To me, they seem to be mostly accepting of us. Especially Margarita and your two nieces.”
“Yes, that is true but additionally despite their appearance of cordiality, I believe my parents are still lukewarm, about us, and my brother and his family are also still actually reserving judgement. What I mean is that there has been a rocky history regarding my relationships since by marriage ended many years ago. The family really liked that man, and that relationship lasted, in total, for about 8 or 9 years, which included about five of those years, more or less, as a married couple. Since then my relationships have been primarily with women and they have been usually volatile and short-lived. In short, my parents and my brother, do not think that this relationship will last because that has been my past pattern. And except for my sister and my nieces, the rest to the family believe that I am having a fling with you and nothing more, but I assure you that that is not the case!” Mari Belen is quite emphatic with her last statement.
Jannet responds by standing up and walking around to Mari Belen’s side of the dining room table. Mari Belen stands, as well, and the two engage in a deeply emotional, warm, and reassuring embrace.
During Mari Belen’s infrequent visits, to the monastery, she has always maintained a habit of seeking out members of the religious order that she has interacted with from the past. The next morning, at the guest services desk, she makes an inquiry and she is able to locate 2 or 3 community members with whom she has been connected with during past visits at the monastery. She is also able to schedule a brief chat with long ago influential mentor, who is now a prior within the order. With Jannet by her side, she conducts brief yet thoughtful reunions with these individuals.
The two women conclude their visit to the monastery with a visit to the famous statute of the Black Madonna. Of course, the stairway leading to her location, the throne room, is packed, as per usual, with visitors waiting to see the Madonna.
On the reverse train ride back to Madrid, they depart in the late morning hours, Mari Belen promises Jannet that they will return for a proper visit to Barcelona and possibly to Málaga, which is further south. She also indicates the possibility of visits to other areas of Southern Spain. Jannet gratefully anticipates future travels with Mari Belen. She specifically hopes that their future travel together will include Portugal, Morocco, other parts of Europe and the Americas, as well.