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  • *

    “No. It’s terribly ironic and prophetic, but it was a joke. He’s got grey and blue make-up on. At the time, we all thought it was funny.”

    “It doesn’t seem very funny now, in retrospect, obviously. He’s cute in his senior picture. Very cute; I can see why you all liked him.”

    “He was more than cute, he was really nice. A gentleman and a scholar, as we used to say back then.”

    “Not entirely a gentleman if he got Dorothy pregnant out of wedlock.”

    “Me, too.”

    “He got you pregnant, too?”

    “All four of us.”

    “You’re joking, right? I hope you’re joking.”

    “No, I’m not.”

    “Did all four of you have his babies?”

    “Yes. And Ami had twins. One dead boy had five children.”

    “This is like a soap opera.”

    “’The World Turns.’ And so it does. I’m afraid it doesn’t end there, either.” her lips turned down for a moment, and she stared out into the dark night. Then she turned back to the built-in buffet.

    She shuffled in the drawer again. “Here they are,” she said, “all five of them. They were born days apart. This was when they were 16 and headed out on a school trip to Iceland.”

    “They look identical. I can’t tell them apart. I’ve met Simon, and I can’t tell which one he is.”

    “They all took after Billy. Look!" she said, setting the picture next to the yearbook.

    "Like clones!" Dana exclaimed.

    "This is Peter, Paul, Simon, Matt and Mark. Matthew is mine.”

    “The Apostles. Was that intentional?”

    “We didn’t plan it, if that’s what you mean. But, I think we were each trying to turn back the tides of fate in some small way.”

    “And did it work?”

    *

    *

    Image: red mite on tidal rock. This represents a photograph seen on the Roseate during Dana's visit. (Photo by me.)

    Links to the COWBIRD installments of my serial novel hopeful, Discovery at Little Hog Island. (These are only links to cowbird stories, nothing else.)

    Previous installment: 39

    To start at the beginning, go here: first installment

    Next installment: 41
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