Red Sea, Dead Sea [A Fanny Zindel Mystery]
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by Serita Stevens, Rayanne Moore
Description: Red Sea, Dead Sea is Romancing the Stone on Social Security. Fanny Zindel isn't happy. On her first trip to the Holy Land, she would rather tour the home of her ancestors with her granddaughter Susan than try to talk the headstrong young girl into going back to her English boarding school for the summer session. But Fanny has promised to try. In addition, Fanny is determined to find out about her brother Albert's suspicious death in Israel some thirty years earlier. Fanny thinks it's long past time to discover if there is any truth to rumors of her brother's great disgrace. Helping a nervous young man to get a standby seat on her flight, soon leads to a harrowing adventure involving forgery, espionage, kidnapping, the Dead Sea Scrolls, murder and enough action to turn Fanny's holiday into a case of look out James Bond, here comes Fanny Zindel.
eBook Publisher: Hard Shell Word Factory, 2000
eBookwise Release Date: December 2003
16 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [291 KB]
Reading time: 198-278 min.
"An amusing first novel ... featuring Fannie Zindel, an elderly widow from Los Angeles who finds murder, mayham, internation intrigue and maybe a little romance on a trip to Israel."--Los Angeles Daily News
"A delightfully suspenseful tale with all the charm of a finely crafted Agatha Christie mystery."--Orange County Today
"A well-crafted and steadily paced story that left me wishing there was more of it ... Stevens and Moore have the potential for a strong, lively, and intriguing series."--Mystery Scene
"SIXTY-FIVE YEARS it took me to get to see the Holy Land, and now I should die on my way to the airport?" I said, as Judith's car lurched into the lane for the Los Angeles International Terminal. Like a rerun of that ride in Hitchcock's Suspicion it was! I wanted to go to Israel, but not through Judith's windshield into blood-spattered death. Reruns I could stay home and watch. I clutched the dashboard of my daughter-in-law's Toyota and hung on.
My heart pounded as she screeched the car to a stop and jerked it into a parking space where I couldn't have fit a goose, a starved goose! I tried to catch my breath which, God-willing it went in the right direction, had gone to Israel ahead of me. Me? I felt lucky to have made it to the airport alive.
A voice boomed out of the loud speaker above the door. "The white zone is for loading and unloading only."
I looked at the gleaming white curb. "Judith, we can't park. Here is for loading only."
My daughter-in-law gave me a look. "Frances, we are unloading!" She lunged from the car and caught a nail against the steering wheel. Back into the car she collapsed, wincing like my late husband, Morris, may he rest in peace, the one time in our courtship I mentioned I would, maybe, stay in acting, keep the stage as my profession.
Judith dug around in her bag for an emery board, then attacked her injured nail. Nail? Talons she had. How girls today could work with nails that long... but with my Larry to provide, who needed to work?
Judith sawed away. Directly on my nerves she was filing. I looked over at the many flags flying in front of the International Terminal like the hands of the relatives waving me to the car. Go. Come back. Stay. Now, months later, I know it was the "stay" I should have listened. But who knew?
An omen? God forbid. "Maybe I should go back home," I said.
Judith shook her head and dropped the file back into her leather clutch. "Look, Frances, you're our last hope. If Susan's grandmother can't get her to go back to school for the summer session...."
I shuddered. My vacation, my first trip abroad, and she wanted me to be the villain with my granddaughter. "Judith, it's June. Let her enjoy Europe. She's with Adrienne's parents. Them you know: responsible. All Europe is an education. School she'll get back to in the fall with the rest."
Judith glared. "Lawrence and I paid for a special summer session so Susan could improve her dressage."
I felt my heart sink into my shoes. "Kids today don't get enough of that on dates?" I gasped. "They need classes in how to rub on another human body?"
Dressage, Mother Zindel, not massage!" Judith corrected. "We thought she should improve her horsemanship."
"Oh," I said. From such a correction I could get frostbite. So my hearing isn't what it used to be. So neither is Judith's disposition. Sweet she was, at first. Like butter wouldn't melt. Now everything is an effort. Ever since my Morris, and his open wallet, passed on.
"Horsemanship?" I said. "Science lessons, she would flee maybe, math, for sure she is running, but no granddaughter of mine would leave from a summer with a horse!" I glared at my daughter-in-law. Had my granddaughter not looked like my own image when I was her age, I would have asked Judith was she sure Susan was a blood relative of mine.
"Anyway, after you've taken care of Susan," -- she pushed on, my daughter-in-law the bulldozer, outlining my itinerary -- "you'll take a tour. Maybe you'll plant a tree for Lawrence's father."
So, it's "Lawrence's father" now! Not: Morris, not: your husband, not: my dear father-in-law who helped us buy our first house, may he rest in peace. Just: "Lawrence's father." So distant. Where was respect these days? How could she expect her daughter to have learned from such an example? I shook my head.
"A tree I can plant by calling up the Jewish National Fund. They do the digging, the JNF; get their hands dirty, lift the tree in place. Me, I lift the phone." A lot like you calling Saks, I thought, climbing from the car.
I winced at the catch and click in my knees. My arthritis. I took a few small steps so they should loosen. Always, on the morning after a tennis match, they would be a little sore. Only lately, it was a little more sore. I had played a goodbye-set with my best friend, Sadie, yesterday afternoon.
Over the roof of the Toyota, my daughter-in-law stared at me like she'd been sucking lemons. "Mother Zindel!"
I shrugged. With an exaggerated sigh -- as if she listened or cared -- I began to help her with the luggage from the back of the car. I checked my everything bag: my passport, my ticket, bifocals; the sandwich and an extra bagel, just in case; my bright blue pancake hat and the spare extra-long hatpin, also just in case; my crocheting, my knitting needles. I was ready.
How Morris had always teased me about my big tote bags. "With all that you'd be ready for Kingdom Come, Fanny." My answer had always been. "Better safe than sorry, Morrie."
Suddenly, a commotion. I looked up to see two men, one in uniform, grab for an oily fellow in a schmaltzy suit. They pulled guns and took the briefcase he was carrying. The one in the uniform yanked out a pair of handcuffs and bent the man's arms up behind him, just like in the movies.
People all around us drew back, stared, and asked each other what was going on. A few, like one man -- a tall drink of water he was -- just hurried away from the scene.
"Judith, look!" I said.
Wrestling the heavy suitcase from the trunk, Judith swung around with it just as the drink of water rushed by so close that he nearly knocked the bag from her hands. His head, barely covered in bright carroty hair, almost nodded an apology at her before he rushed away.
Muttering something under her breath I was sure I wouldn't want to hear, my daughter-in-law shook her fist at him. He was already through the electric doors. "What do you think happened, Judith?"
"It's none of our business, Frances." Judith hefted the suitcase and then stared into my everything bag with that sour look. "Let's go."
Maybe she might have been a better person if she'd taken up handiwork. Who knew? Money, Judith knew was to spend, but from kosher and cooking, she could care less. Better Lawrence could have done with Mrs. Pinchus' only daughter -- Orthodox, everything kosher -- but who listens to a mother? So, Judith's house I don't go for Passover.
I shrugged my everything bag onto my shoulder, smoothed my floral print dress and adjusted my black hat with the feather. Neiman Marcus maybe it wasn't, but having modeled for Crawford's Department Store on Chicago's west side, I knew what looked good. For sixty-five, gray hair or not, I wasn't in bad shape, if I did say so myself, and turned out. Nice.
That's what twenty years of tennis three times a week had done for me. What I had done for it was win the senior's tournament at my club five years in a row. Now it looked like I might never compete again. What with my arthritis flare-up cutting short my time on the courts, I was counting on the trip to lift my spirits. Not that much would make up for my having to let Ms. Amanda-smarty-pants-Klarner win my trophy this year. Such a hot-shot she thought she was. Sadie and the others from our lunch bunch had been counting on me to wipe up the court with her. I tried not to think of her smug expression.
We began walking through the terminal. Judith looked again at my everything bag with the green aluminum knitting needles and blue Angora wool poking out the top.
"Since when do you knit, Frances?"
I smiled. "I don't. I crochet." I paused and stared at her. "But knitting could come in handy." I grabbed one of the needles from the yarn and jabbed it out in front of me. "Terrorists!" I said. Errol Flynn I wasn't, but I could take care of myself. "It's not the weapon, it's the 'element of surprise,' " I said, quoting Sadie's self-defense teacher from the Senior Citizens Group at the park. "And if that doesn't work...." I drew her attention to the large faux pearl on the end of my extra-long hatpin.
Judith gave me a strange look. "Yes, Mother Zindel. It will give you 'the element of surprise.' " Then she added: "But meeting terrorists is a chance in a million. World Airways has terrific security."
"Talk. For talk you can't even get a good cup of coffee anymore." I shifted my everything bag back into position, handles over my shoulder, bag clamped firmly under my arm. I felt inclined to march a bit as I followed my daughter-in-law to the check-in area.
The line was longer than we'd expected. "Go on home, Judith, dear. I can manage." Actually, I was afraid Judith might get a ticket for parking in the white. And who would pay?
"I told Lawrence I'd see you safely onto the plane and I intend to do just that." She looked over her shoulder toward the entrance. "But maybe I better move the car if it's going to take awhile."
"Good idea." I patted her hand. Too late I remembered she hated that sort of thing. I shoved my suitcase along with the toe of my pump as the line inched forward.
* * *
NEARLY A HALF-HOUR later, I'd almost reached the front. Judith had come back. Behind us, the line snaked on.
Just as we took the last step forward, Judith, holding my ticket out to the agent, was pushed roughly aside by a tall, pale young man. Anemia, I thought, is no excuse to be rude. His glasses, half-frames only, bounced as they dangled from the string around his neck. A professor, maybe, or a scientist? All of a sudden I knew him: the drink of water who'd knocked into Judith during the arrest.
"Excuse me," he said, belatedly, stepping in front of us without waiting for a reply.
"You're excused, young man," I said, elbowing myself back in front of him. "But the end of the line is that way." I gave him my most assertive point. Five-five only, I may have been now, instead of the five-seven of my youth, so life wears you down; it shouldn't mean people take advantage.
"Look, I have to get on this flight." He wrung his hands, a Talmudic scholar worrying over an answer. But Jewish he wasn't. As one of those hands twisted in the other, a gold ring with a cross on it winked between the freckles and skin so white it was almost blue, like that skinny milk. That kind they take everything out of.
My face he couldn't look in. A conscience he had at least. That was something.
"We all want to be on this flight." I glanced up at him. It was a long way to his face. "Slow down, you'll live longer. You were rushing outside earlier, too. You nearly knocked my suitcase away from my daughter-in-law. There's plenty of room on the plane, I'm sure." I looked at the clerk behind the counter for support.
The girl punched at her computer keys. "Well...." She tapped the keys some more and shook her head. "We're booked solid." She made a sympathetic face at Mr. In-A-Hurry.
He was jittering like a fish on a hook. "Can't you at least give him a standby seat?" I asked, hoping that once he was settled, he would stop making me meshuge. Crazy, Judith had already made me.
The girl tapped keys and didn't say anything. "Well?" I pushed hard against the desk and narrowed my eyes at her, a Clint Eastwood look, if ever there was one.
"I suppose I could." She looked at him. "Your name, sir?"
He squirmed like my Lawrence when he knew he deserved a spanking. With a look at the line lengthening behind us, he gave her his name: "Paul Bailey." Then he added: "Doctor Paul Bailey." I gave Judith a nod which she didn't see, much less understand. A doctor, I could tell. Why was this flight so important to him? And why hadn't a smart man like a doctor made a reservation like the rest of us?
I should be ashamed; my own business I should be minding, as even my son would have said.
"I must get on this flight." He twisted his hands together some more. Oy, a real Lady Macbeth, this one.
"You'll be paged as soon as we know for certain." The counter girl smiled again. Doctor Bailey started to turn toward the metal detectors, then froze. He glanced to the left. "I'll be in there," he said, pointing, and went straight from the detectors and my company, through the door to the VIP lounge.
I looked over my shoulder at the metal detectors; nothing there to make him freeze. A handsome, dark-haired man ducked his head behind his newspaper. A movie star, maybe? He looked like Omar Sharif, an Arab, I guessed. He wore gleaming black-and-white spectator shoes, and a black suit with pants you could cut yourself on the crease. Shoes like Fred Astaire, like I hadn't seen in years.
Something bumped my purse. I grabbed for my extra long hat pin, my fingers on the faux pearl. Then I saw, again it was someone pushing in ahead of me while I stood wondering about Mr. Spectator Shoes. Judith sighed and shook her head.
Fanny, I reminded myself, if you do anything extra after you take care of Susan, maybe, while you're enjoying yourself, you'll do a little checking about Albert. Your brother maybe you should find out about, not everyone else's business.
My memory of Albert was like a pain from my arthritis: sharp, like a serpent's tooth; only here, no one was grateful or ungrateful.
In 1936, when I was only ten, my brother left home to join a kibbutz in Palestine. Much later, we heard that he had joined in the Israeli War for Independence. Then things changed for our family. Money came every month and at first my father was pleased. Times were bad and my father welcomed the money Albert sent. Then a letter came saying Albert had died. I was devastated. I had loved him and missed him.
Instead of mourning Albert, my father tore up the letter and no one ever mentioned his name in our house again. I learned there had been rumors that the money he sent, the money that built our family business, was covered with the blood of our own people, a betrayal to the British of our cause. If so, my brother was a traitor!.
I prayed to my dear Morris, he should have lived to help me with this. "When we move to Israel, Fanny," he used to say. "Then we'll see if it's a disgrace Albert brought on your family."
"When we move is too late, already, for finding a shandeh," was always my answer. By then we could have been the disgrace of our new neighborhood. Morris didn't understand. It wasn't his brother. It was a brother-in-law he never knew.
Well, forty-four years was a long time for a brother's picture to lie in the bottom of a trunk wrapped in black. My sister, Esther, didn't agree. When we unpacked Mama's trunk, she hadn't wanted me to unwrap the photograph. Esther, ever the practical one, had sharper memories of the pain Albert had caused our father. Always Daddy's favorite, she still stuck by his wishes. Like the grave she was, silent on the matter. So now, in Israel, maybe I would find out for myself.
I shifted my everything bag to my other shoulder. Behind me in line was a beady-eyed, balding man, not two back. Watching me he was, and a date he didn't want. And if he did want, he wouldn't get.
I felt for the cold metal of my knitting needles and thought of terrorists. Neither Baldy nor Spectators would look me in the eye. Then I realized, it wasn't me they were watching. With my eyes, I followed to where they looked. The door to the VIP lounge? Something it was that had bothered Doctor Bailey... or frightened him.
The anemic Doctor Anxious had just gone to the lounge, and now, Mr. Baldy moved across the boarding area and also went through the VIP door. Mr. Spectators waited only a minute before doing the same.
Ever since I started off for Israel, something hadn't felt right. First, my Susan doesn't want to take her summer school; then comes Judith and her orders and her meshuge driving; we get the airport in time for an arrest, right before my eyes. Now, Spectators and Baldy start following Doctor Anxious around. Omens? Maybe I didn't need to see the homeland.
Fanny, I scolded, Adrienne's parents have promised to send Susan to meet you at Ben Gurion Airport. She's expecting you. You're going!
My Larry was right. I worry too much. Terrorists. Senile old woman. Like Mrs. Krepalski I would be if I didn't watch out. One day, she's talking to her canary and her dead husband, then bingo, the Alzheimer's. Now she doesn't even know she was ever married, bless her soul.
Judith was upset with me, what was new? I looked up at her.
"She needs your passport," Judith said, gesturing to the girl behind the counter.
I gave it.
"She'd like an aisle seat," Judith told the girl. "Non-smoking."
The desk clerk beat a message onto her keys. "One moment." She marked my ticket and handed it back.
Judith tucked my passport and my ticket back into my everything bag like I was Susan, no, younger even. Me, senile? Second childhood? Not yet! I left the ticket where she'd put it, but moved my passport to my handbag, latched it firmly, and tucked it back under my arm, its strap wrapped twice around my wrist. Twice.
"Lawrence has upgraded your ticket to first class. Don't you dare to turn it in. And after you meet Susan, I've signed you both up with Prestige Tours. It's a group from the Senior Travel Club; at least, I think that was the name." She looked like trying to remember gave her a pain.
Senior, I knew, wasn't going to mean they'd been in the business a long time. It was going to mean a bunch of old folks, alta cockers. Them, kvetching their way through my tour of the Holy Land, I didn't need. For kvetching, I had my daughter-in-law with complaints enough for three people! And I had my neighbor, Mr. Kohn, all the time about his arthritis. And, of course, poor Mrs. Krepalski, bless her. Thanks be to God, I liked her canary and it didn't mind too much my Susan's three cats.
I looked at my daughter-in-law, Her Royal Kvetchness! Judith had hated the cats, so when Susan went to boarding school, who inherited? Lucky for me, Mrs. Bernardi could come to watch them while I'm gone. The vet bill for care, on top of the trip expense, I couldn't afford, Lawrence or no Lawrence.
I thought about my granddaughter again. It must have been more than horsemanship. My Susan loved all animals since before she could crawl. What with my daughter, her aunt Deborah, the veterinarian, Susan had a choice? From a horse, she wouldn't run. I gave another try: "So, Judith, what else is Susan taking with the horse classes?"
Ah-ha! I thought I saw her skin turn pink below her tennis tan. "A little history, maybe, a little mathematics?" I gave her my version of a Columbo squint. Peter Falk couldn't do it any better.
"Well, Larry did think if Susan really wants to go into practice with his sister some day, she needs to have a good grade in chemistry." Judith looked defensive.
I nodded. Chemistry! No wonder. "Acid? Explosions? My granddaughter should spend a summer blowing herself up, maybe?"
Judith rolled her eyes as if looking for strength to deal with such a curse as a worried grandmother. "You're behind the times, Frances. Again. They don't allow the children anything explosive. And it was preparatory math-for-chemistry, anyway."
I nodded. Math. I hadn't been far wrong. I wasn't sure I could convince Susan to go back. I was glad Judith wanted her to go on a tour with me, but with Alta Cockers Incorporated? Never. I would change our itinerary when I got to Tel Aviv.
It couldn't hurt to offer. I waved my pass to the fancy-shmancy section at her. "If I turn this in and take back my Economy ticket, it would make up the difference if Susan decided to skip the summer classes."
"It's your job to see she doesn't. And you're to go first class all the way, Frances. Lawrence wants you to have a good time."
I shook my head. "I can't have a good time and save money? Economy's going to the same places, Judy, it's attached to the plane."
Judith glared. Too late I remembered she hated being called Judy. "You'll think we all have to move to Beverly Hills next, maybe?"
"Frances... Encino is just as... look, let's not get into this. You get Susan back to school. Just make sure she gets on the right plane from Tel Aviv. You'll have almost two-and-a-half weeks before her classes start."
"I promise nothing, Judith. Our Susa-le has a mind of her own."
"Like her grandmother," Judith mumbled, just loud enough for me to hear.
"I'll do what I can Judy, dear." She winced. Even if Susan didn't want to tour -- and with the alta cockers, I wouldn't blame her if she didn't -- we still had a lot to keep us busy: I had promised Sadie I'd buy a nice tallis, a shawl for her nephew to pray in; deliver some perfume to her cousin in Jerusalem; and for Mr. Kohn, my neighbor, I'd get water from the Jordan; and for another friend, water from the Dead Sea. Time permitting, we could go plant the tree for Morris, and if time didn't permit, well, we weren't going on the tour Judith picked in any case. Frances: two, Judith: zero.
As we passed through the airport metal detector, there were noises like the celebration of Purim in the synagogue: bells, buzzers, shouts. All eyes were on me. Two guards motioned me to the side. I was so busy setting my everything bag on the machine, I had forgotten to put my purse through. I laid it on the conveyor belt. It vanished under the curtain. Nothing.
Then I stepped through again. Once more with the bells and buzzers. For me? What was I doing wrong?
This time a lady guard took me aside and patted my pockets. A frisking? A sixty-something grandmother of four?
"Empty your pockets, please, ma'am."
I smiled at the guard. She was just doing her duty, and God-willing, she would do the same duty on Mr. Spectator Shoes and Mr. Baldy.
While Judith rolled her eyes and sighed, I dug into the pockets of my trenchcoat and pulled out Kleenex in the little cellophane travel packets, mints, a bundle of nylon clothesline -- God forbid my luggage should break -- and my yarn snips. The ones with the handles like two storks doing something even storks probably shouldn't. A gift they were, from my dear Morris, for our first anniversary; he hid them in my crocheting. He said he felt so wicked, but then, what a time we had after the champagne and the guests! I've carried those scissors ever since.
To my shock, the guard grabbed for the five-or-so inches of pointed steel and glared at me. Like Judith she looked for a moment; I needed another one?
"An anniversary gift from my late husband," I said. "For my crocheting. The yarn." I picked up the everything bag with the knitting and the blue Angora wool. Grasping a strand firmly, I tugged. Nothing. "I can't break it across my fingers like I used to," I explained.
The guards smiled at one another and motioned me through the gate. No alarms. On the far side, the girl handed me my storks, but not before she got a little laugh from what they did when you worked the blades. Could a grandmother blush? From finding out, I didn't need. I reached for my storks. "What if I want from the duty free before I go?" I asked, thinking to take a little something to my friends Theo and Deborah Ciss without paying tax.
"You'll have to clear those again when you come back through the metal detector, ma'am." She pointed at the storks. "Take them out ahead of time."
I nodded and thanked her. Judith gave me a look; she had been at the lemons again. I tucked the naughty storks into my everything bag and hurried past before she could start in about how I had embarrassed her.
The seats near the World Airlines flight gate had filled rapidly. With the tsuris, troubles, at the metal detector, there was only one left when I arrived. I took it while Judith went to get my boarding pass. She had a line to stand in. I had a three-year-old on one side -- cute he was, but spoiled -- and a nursing mother on the other.
There were a number of rabbinical students waiting for the flight. Then I noticed that the young mother next to me had her hair almost completely covered, as prescribed by Orthodox law, her skirt, a drab color, was well below her knees. A shame such a rule, the slipping scarf hinted at lovely hair hiding under that tichel.
My Morris had been almost Orthodox in his religious practice, and, of course, while we were married, I did what my husband wanted. But me, personally? Now that Morris was gone, I leaned more toward Conservative, or maybe even Reform. Although I usually lit the candles on Friday night to welcome the start of Shabbos, and I did keep a Kosher kitchen -- it was easier after so many years of doing -- I had given up most of the more worrisome traditions.
You get older, you have to bend to what your body tells you it needs. I have to admit that if -- as the saying goes -- it's hard to be a Jew, it's harder to be a Jewess. Would my Morris have had so much as a tallis shawl to pray in, or a yarmulke for his head if I hadn't been the one to wash it nice for him? Kosher in the kitchen, I know he wouldn't have been able to keep himself; the man couldn't find a teaspoon without my help. I figure when my Morris was alive, I really kept the faith for both of us. So now, HaShem, God, should care if I make it a little easier on my arthritis, which, by the way, I didn't ask Him for? Probably not.
The baby grabbed at strand of it's mother's hair, pulling it free of the scarf. The young woman hurried to push it back out of sight. Yes, long, and a lovely rust color; probably the wife of one of the young men in black who bobbed in the corner as they davened. Crows pecking at the morning grass. So, my Morris had looked when he'd prayed. My eyes grew moist. It was hard to believe he was gone, even after almost four years.
At the far end of the boarding area, music suddenly blared.
Everyone, except the young rabbinical students, started, then stared at the boy with the five earrings, the Indian haircut and the blasting radio. An attendant spoke to him and the volume dropped. I found my size seven foot, which had served me so well during my early years as a model and actress, tapping softly.
"Ugh! What noise!" Judith said.
I looked up to see her standing in front of me, her nose wrinkled in disgust. Maybe it was as well my granddaughter was at boarding school in England. From Judith I had enough already, and that was just from the house to the airport.
"It seems there's a delay." Judith looked at her watch. "Will you be all right if I leave? There's a meeting of the synagogue sisterhood to discuss the banquet."
To show off your new tennis dress, I thought, watching a passerby ogle my daughter-in-law. A good figure she had, a bit thin, but hadn't my mother always said there was no accounting for taste? "I think I can manage, Judith dear," I said, using my frail voice on her. I followed with a brave smile. Sometimes I wondered if she would recognize sarcasm if she found it nested in her Shrimp Louie. With what that one knew from kosher, shellfish she would eat.
She leaned to give me one of her chilly pecks on the cheek. "You give me a call when Susan's safely on the plane. You can call collect."
"So much extra for collect?" Made of money she thinks my Lawrence is.
"Frances, I think we can eke out a few pennies to learn of our only daughter's safety."
Humph! Hear her, "eke out," so maybe she knew from sarcasm after all. I shrugged.
"And Frances, please don't mother everyone. You never know who you're talking to these days."
I smiled sweetly. "Not to worry, World Airlines has terrific security; I hear terrorists you can hardly find anymore." Frances: three, Judith: zero. Well, maybe a half a point I could give her for that "eke out."
She gave me a wave and a snarl and left, weaving through the crowd, the men parting like the Red Sea before Moses. A looker she was. But my mother, bless her, always said that pretty could get you through the door but only nice was going to keep you in by the fire.
Why had my Larry married her? Well, with the two children, better they shouldn't just divorce like my Marvin and his bride. No children, there, thank God. It was sad, but what was, was.
I headed toward the boarding gate to exchange my ticket for economy. Maybe the desk clerk could fix up a trade with someone who wanted first class. With what I would save -- nearly half the price -- never mind that Prestige Tour Judith had arranged, I could probably buy out half of Israel. A bargain Judith wouldn't know, even if it gave her a wolf-whistle!
While I was at the desk, I'd find out more about this delay. Not for standing around the airport had I booked the earliest flight. The sooner I got to Israel, the sooner I could help Susan and the sooner I might know about my brother, Albert, and his great shandeh.
Copyright © 2000 by Serita Stevens and Rayanne Moore