The GRIS-RT station and university Service Center were situated more or less in the center of Athenia's campus; as we came out of Athenia Central we were facing west. To our right, the main feature of the northwest quadrant was the College for Social Economics (CSE), while to our left was the original university grounds, with many smaller brick buildings, the large, remodelled library and the Atlantic Veterinary College all visible in the near distance. We turned towards the old section, and I gave More a brief history of the place as we walked along through groups of colourfully dressed, animatedly talking students - I loved the old campus myself, having done both an undergraduate degree here myself, followed by a Doctor of Veterinarian Medicine four years later.
"I'll just give you a very brief tour of the area on the way to your rooms, to help you get your bearings," I said to More; "There's a map and several books on the city and campus and history and your computer and things waiting for you in your room to help you get oriented, but it's a nice day to take the long way there.”
(I noticed his eyebrows rise a notch when I said "computer”, but he didn’t say anything, and I thought I would save any explanations for later...)
"What you see ahead of you are the grounds of the old University of Prince Edward Island, which was formed during the late 1960s. At that time it amalgamated two older institutions, St. Dunstan's University and the Prince of Wales College, both of which dated from the mid 1800s...."
If one pictures the entire university of Athenia as a large rectangle, bisected through the length by the GRIS-RT tracks and more or less across its width by the axis of the GRIS-RT station, the old campus occupied most of the southwest quarter. The buildings were concentrated in the inner half of the quarter, as the lower section was originally given over to parking lots and a large green. The main square was perhaps a hundred yards per side; we approached it on the walkway between the Steele Recital Hall and Main on the north side, with Dalton on the east and across from us Cass and Memorial Halls, the old Chemistry and Math buildings. The west side was open, facing onto University Avenue. The grassy square was shaded by a dozen or more ancient trees - large elms, oaks, maples and beeches, a constant reminder of the Acadian forest that originally covered the Island. The newer section of the original University of Prince Edward Island was on again beyond Cass and Memorial - and consisted of the large, square single-story Robertson Library; the Duffy biology and physics center to its west, and the large Atlantic Veterinary College to its east. On past them, down a slight incline, were parking lots and student dorms, with the Green Island Market visible across the road.
I pointed these things out to More as we paused for a moment under the great old birch tree in front of Dalton Hall and we shared a brief memory or two about our undergraduate days at university - we were both struck by how similar some of our memories were, although the periods we spoke of were almost 500 years apart in time. Some things, as they say, never change.
We left the square between Dalton and Memorial, and wandered past the impressive vet college, and on across the GRIS-RT tracks into the southeast quarter. This was one of the newer sections of Athenia, along with the CSE, formerly not a part of the university at all. Off to the right was the old Plant and Animal Health Laboratory, at the southeast corner of the section, well over to our left was the Sisters of St. Martha's convent, and directly in front of us was a two-acre pond, surrounded by paths and small greens and marshy areas and copses of trees. On the other side of the pond, fronting on Mt. Edward Road, which was the eastern boundary of the campus, was a large building, built somewhat in the shape of a large mushroom with a short stem, with an upper structure sticking out of the top that could, if desired, be taken for a hookah-smoking caterpillar - the design had outraged some of the Island’s more conservative members and had been excluded from the original design, but the new Green Island government was disinclined to let ancient taboos, reflective of the control of citizens by a paternalistic elite which we were disengaging ourselves from slowly, influence our new outlook and the caterpillar stayed - it was quite famous all over the world, actually, and a popular visiting place, not only for the design but for the environmental displays and activities that were a central part of its purpose.
"This is one of our pride and joys," I said to More, stopping for a moment to let him take it all in, and pointing out a couple of things for him. "It was just opened last year - the Earth Sciences and Environmental Center - ESEC for short. As you're probably aware, our planet is in pretty serious shape these days - human carelessness and greed and, really, simple stupidity, over the last hundred years or so has caused a great deal of damage to the air, the water, the oceans, the great forests that once covered large areas of land, and so on. Although our little Island here didn't get ravaged as badly as many other places with major industries, we've still suffered our share of damage also, with the loss of original forests, serious depletion of ocean fish stocks, river siltation, loss of topsoil, pollution of the groundwater, and general degradation of the land we live on. This center was established to conduct research into our own problems here in Green Island, and also world problems, since everything operates in a holistic sense on the planet, all things being interconnected. I am not exaggerating when I say our small university is conducting a lot of research on the leading edge of anything done today - such research, I am sure you appreciate, is more a function of attitude than anything else, and we have managed to attract some of the world’s leading people in environmental, holistic research. It is also a teaching center, of course - thus the pond. Our students first learn about holistic ecosystem functioning, and how to conduct research on both macro and micro levels, here - since water is the source of life, and the life of a pond is endlessly fascinating, we feel it is a good place to start. You can’t see it from here, but we also have a facility which fronts on the pond underground for quite a large area, making it accessible year-round, in the frozen months as well..."
As I began to get carried away with my enthusiasm, for I truly loved the ESEC, I could see More looking up at me out of the corner of his eye with his white eyebrows slightly raised. I stopped speaking and gave a little laugh.
"Sorry," I said, grinning ruefully, "but I do tend to get excited whenever I see this place - must have something to do with my wife, Brittany - it's her dreamchild, and I've taken on a lot of her enthusiasm over the last quite a few years as we helped it grow from talks over late night scotches to what you see in front of you, through many changes and problems. Whether or not you are a lover of nature, I'm sure you'll enjoy walking around it in the evening - you'll be staying almost beside it."
"Will I indeed?" replied More, with interest in his voice, "That is a most pleasant prospect!"
"Yes," I said; "Shall we go on, then?"
"Ah, yes," answered More.
We moved off to our left, on the gravel path which was the main thoroughfare around the pond. A small flock of ducks swam and fished near the shore - a few mallards, black ducks, and teals, splashing and diving. The air was regularly spiced with the varied sounds of birdsong, some sweet, some raucous, some soft, some penetrating - finches and martins and robins and sparrows and canaries and crows cawwwing from the treetops. Snippets of conversation reached our ears from small groups of students and teachers examining the intricacies of the apparently simple pond, or just using it as a pleasant place in which to conduct their studies -
"...but why should it matter to the bluejay, Miss Seng Tzu, if the tiny algae gets poisoned by pesticide in the groundwater ...?"
"...so you see, the very business of living requires dying as a final act, to make room for someone else, and something else - that is not to say, however ..."
or again -
"...but the words of a true poet are eternal - they have meaning for each generation that reads them anew ..."
“Bobby! not now!!”
I could see that More was taking it all in with interest, turning towards the impassioned voice of a young man, or reaching out to a chattering squirrel, and laughing in delight as the tiny creature almost let More touch him, then scampered up to a higher branch to turn and chatter down some more at us as we walked on.
As we rounded the corner of the pond, soft guitar chords could be heard, accompanied by words we could not yet make out, and on the path a few yards ahead I could see the person for whom I had been watching sitting on a bench and looking out over the water. He was a curious looking fellow - late middle age, wearing a white shirt and loose dark trousers, with a long dark coat draped over the bench beside him, large pockets bulging, some folded papers sticking out of one of them. His footwear was long black laced boots, which were now casually lying beside the bench - his faded red woolen stockings were quite worn, and had several holes, some darned and some showing patches of pinkish flesh. He had a book in one hand, closed at the moment with a finger inserted to mark his place, and an open notebook with pencil resting on his knee. Shaggy black hair sprinkled with white, hooked nose and bushy long sideburns framing a wide mouth with somewhat sunken cheeks, and deep black eyes gave his face a memorable cast.
Between him and the pond, sitting crosslegged on the grass facing the pond, was a youngish looking man, long blond hair flowing from under a well-used, dusty white baseball cap, strumming a guitar which rested on his knee, and singing. As we approached, he turned to the man on the bench, and they sang out together -
“Wa wa wa wa, waltzing with bears!
Shaggy bears, raggy bears, baggy bears too!
There’s nothing on earth, Uncle Walter won’t doooooo -
So he can go waltzing, wa-wa-wa-waltzing,
So he can go waltzing - waltzing with bears!”
- and they finished, the young man with a guitar flourish and the man on the bench with a burst of laughter. As his laughter died down, he turned and saw us approaching.
More and I had paused as the two figures finished their singing, smiling along with them, and as the last sounds faded in the afternoon air we approached,
"Henry!" I said to the figure on the bench, "Hello! How goes the writing?"
He pushed his long, knobbly fingers through his hair and turned to face us, grinning widely.
"Why, Bigelow!" he said, rising slowly to his considerable height, "I was beginning to think you weren't coming as you'd promised - but no problem, as I have been well entertained otherwise, as you can see!” - and he waved to the figure on the grass, who struggled to his feet - struggled, I say, because as he rose we could see he had a silver knee-brace on one leg, the kind I hadn’t seen for years, when a childhood friend had been stricken with polio. But it didn’t seem to slow him down much, and he stood with the guitar held in one hand by the neck with the end resting on the ground, and swiping his cap from his head with the other hand, transferring it to a couple of the fingers holding the neck of the guitar and sticking out his hand, at which I reached forward to give a quick shake.
“Howdy! at your service - songs and laughs and words for a world gone astray, as they say!” he finished with a flourish and bow, taking back his hand.
Henry interrupted, unable to contain himself, “Why, this young man knows ever so many songs - and songs with wonderful words! Have you heard, oh what was it, ‘The Blowing Wind’?”- he looked at the young man -
“Blowing in the Wind,” he smiled back at Henry.
“...yes, yes, Blowing in the Wind, an amazing song, Bigelow!, so very reminiscent of the struggle in my time with freeing the slaves - and I had thought that by this time that would have been done! - oh, but I’m sure you know them all, of course,” he said.
“Well, yes, I probably know a lot of them,” I said, turning from Henry to the young man who called himself “but I am interested in your singer - I don’t think we’ve met before?”
He smiled back at me. “Just a singer, man! A travellin man. Heard about your new university and stuff here and thought I’d come take a boo, y’know? Pretty great, I think - really cool, the ESEC. And it’s been really cool meeting ol Henry here!”
He glanced up to where the sun was more or less overhead. “Look, it’s almost noon. I promised a friend I’d go visit her - she’s kinda down. It’s been real great meeting y’all - hope to see you again!”
And so saying, to a chorus of surprised “Good-bye”-s from the three of us, he was gone, hanging his guitar somewhat troubadorily by its strap jauntily over one shoulder, swinging his braced leg to the side on each step. As we watched, he then reached into one of the many pockets on his worn blue overalls and pulled out something, smacked it on his leg a couple of times, and brought it up to his face. The haunting sounds of a harmonica floated back to us on the wind.
We stood quietly for a moment, small smiles on our faces - the young man seemed to have a mesmerising effect. Henry was the first to speak, after a few seconds.
“Most interesting young man, I say. Oh, the writing, Bigelow, you asked about the writing? Oh, the writing is as usual - slow and often ponderous, rather painstaking to get just the intended meaning from the brain to the paper sometimes. It is so much easier on the mind to sit and contemplate the pond and the mysteries around us - or to spend a few pleasant minutes just listening to songs! - than to organize the thoughts into coherent fashion and set them to paper. I fear, as always, each hour of writing in the journal will mean a day or two somewhere down the road trying to sort it all out into some sort of sense. But that can hardly be of interest to you and your companion. Mr. More, I presume?" he finished, holding out his hand to my companion; "Henry Thoreau, at your service."
More looked back at him, and met the bony fingers with his older ones.
"A pleasure, Mr. Thoreau, a pleasure," he said by way of greeting; "You are, I take it, a writer, then?"
"Oh, not so much a writer, not so much," replied Thoreau, with a small chuckle, shrugging his thin shoulders as he took back his hand, "I fear my prose is somewhat dry. More of a quester after the mysteries of the human spirit, I suppose, a seeker of the proper way for a man to spend his years on this very pleasant earth we inhabit, whether tis more fit to quest for riches of the material world or riches of the spirit, that sort of thing - I spend much time on the shores of the little pond and reflect on what it all means - what is the proper life for a man to live, if you see?" he finished, dropping his long frame once again onto the brown wooden slats of the bench. With eye and hand he gestured to More to join him on the bench if he wished. "And what of yourself? Bigelow there has been somewhat unavailable the last few days, and has done little more than warn me you were coming. You are, I gather, the More who wrote the book 'Utopia', concerning the establishment of an idealistic society in the early sixteenth century?"
More had by this time joined Thoreau on the bench, watching interestedly as he spoke.
"Yes, that is so," More answered Thoreau, taking off his tricorner hat and placing it on the grass beside the bench; "I once wrote a book of that name. I wonder, looking around me today, if someone hasn't actually accomplished something similar, if this university called Athenia is anything to judge by! What I have seen so far seems quite admirable indeed."
Thoreau nodded as More spoke.
"Oh, it isn't so bad here, alright," he said, in the quiet voice with the half-grin that was a characteristic of his. He looked up towards me, then back to More. "Bigelow and his crowd have a few good ideas, from what I’ve seen, but a lot of others don't agree with them - as is ever the way, it seems. They're having a bit of a problem this week, but I expect he'll be telling you all about that soon enough if he hasn’t already."
I set down More's bag by the bench.
"Well, I'm certainly glad that you two seem to be hitting it off alright," I said; "Mr. More, I hope you won't take it amiss, but I'm going to have to leave you with Henry and get on to my meeting. He's agreed to let you share his lodgings for the next few days - I thought you might be good companions - so he knows where to put you and the like."
More looked up to where I stood. "Oh, not at all, Bigelow, not at all," he said smiling, then reached over and patted Thoreau on the shoulder, "I am quite sure that Mr. Thoreau and I will have no trouble at all in amusing ourselves. And I am ready to freshen up quite soon, and perhaps even have a small nap under one of these trees by the pond - it looks most peaceful and inviting! So don't trouble yourself on my account, oh no, not at all. I leave myself completely in your hands - or Henry's. And thank you for taking the time to arrange for my visit here, and meeting me - I am thinking it will be a most enjoyable time."
"Well, good then," I said, smiling at the two of them, "I'll be off then. If I don't make it back this evening, I'll be along about nine o'clock in the morning for our first trip into the country, alright? And thanks once again, Henry - very much appreciated."
So saying, with a wave I turned my back on the pair and strode quickly off down the path towards the Earth Sciences Center where Brittany was to meet me. Even as I left, I could hear Thoreau's deep voice speaking behind me:
"So, Mr. More, what do you know of ponds? We call this one Walden. Look, let me show you the most amazing and sweet smelling little flower...", and as I started walking down the path I saw Thoreau rise again from the bench, taking More companionably by the arm and pulling him towards one of the new Green Island hybrid pear-apple trees that were being developed by some of our biologists.
A number of thoughts vied for time in my mind as I quickly paced around the perimeter of the pond towards the ESEC. As I walked, my eyes took in the new Center - its beauty and size and functionality were still a source of joy and pride to all of us involved with its planning and construction. From the domed greenhouse and surrounding gardens on the south exposure to the atmospheric balloons tethered to the north, the whole structure was one of the most advanced on the planet, and already drawing ten times the number of applicants - for both students and faculty - than we could possibly accommodate. Most major environmental organisations were looking for office space on the Island and offering research money, as were many of the multi-national corporations who were belatedly realising that they had better start spending some of their huge budgets on preserving the very source of their wealth - we were having some interesting discussions with some of them, trying to convince them to change their actual behaviour rather than spending money on PR while carrying on business as usual behind the scenes.
And if there was one driving force behind it all, it was Brittany.
From the very day - the very memorable day, of joy and disbelief and celebration and euphoria almost five years ago now - that the bedraggled group of determined visionaries calling themselves the Prince Edward Island PEOPLE’S Coalition had taken control of the Island legislature in an election which saw the traditional parties devoid of original ideas and rocked by scandal (neither particularly new, but both at rather unprecedented heights that one time), Brittany had had one goal, one dream, one overriding ambition - the Earth Sciences and Environmental Center. The rest of us could worry about the economy, the justice system, the hidden worms of power and corruption, the constitution, women's rights or whatever we wanted - Brittany had decided that her particular vision was the ESEC, because the home and the Island and the planet she loved so very dearly were threatened, and she was going to help.
I had found over the course of years since our marriage that when Brittany Forrest made her mind up about something, Brittany Forrest usually prevailed.
As I approached the great entranceway to the Center - in the shape of a trail into a green woodland, with branches overhead and a well-lit clearing beckoning ahead - I could see her standing with two other people. Still, after all these years, the sight of her strong body and sandy-reddish hair caused a brief tightening of my stomach muscles, a flutter in my heart, and a quick sense of fulfillment in my mind. An instinctive desire to use my veterinarian tools to emasculate any male who threatened her without benefit of anaesthetic, as I perceived from the body language of the group the men with her were now, flooded my bloodstream and increased my heart rate, although I had learned quite thoroughly that Brittany was more than capable of holding her own with most people.
I increased the pace of my steps, and could hear the cold anger in Brittany's voice as I approached the group.
"Don't even think of it, Joseph, or the only court you’ll be attending this week will be at the Pearly Gates - and I don’t imagine for a second even you are stupid and arrogant enough to suppose that St.Peter will have any mercy for you!" she was saying to the man in front of her, who I recognised as her first husband, Joseph Black.
The sight of Black took me by surprise - I had had no idea he was back on the Island. He was dressed in his usual impeccable, expensive fashion, as befitted his profession, grey business suit with a blue tie, well-fitted over his somewhat paunchy frame. His dark eyes still had that insolent glare with which he viewed the world; that a few of his greying hairs were out of place was ample indication that Brittany was taking her toll on his demeanour. The other person present was another I would have preferred not to see, although I was forced to spend more time than I cared to in her presence as we both met regularly in the chambers of the Island legislature - Daphnid Hewlett. Hewlett had been the chief lawyer for the previous Island government, up to her brown page-boy haircut in back-room dealings and local graft and corruption. A formidable opponent in a court of law, however, and one of the primary movers in the present push of the old parties to regain power on the Island.
Hewlett was just beginning to speak when I joined the little group. She barely acknowledged my presence with a glance.
"Listen, Brittany," she spoke in a low, threatening voice, "I'm not going to stand here any longer listening to this crap. We've made our final offer, and if you have any idea of what's good for you, you'll accept it and keep your mouth shut." She turned to her companion. "Come on, Joseph, we're leaving this fantasy world. We have work to do."
And she turned on her heel and headed off for the small parking lot which fronted on Mt. Edward Road at the other side of the ESEC.
Black looked at her, then back to Brittany.
"Wait a minute, Daphnid, please," he called, waving at her rapidly receding back; there was no slowing in the swishing of her stern blue business dress. He turned to Brittany with anger in his eyes, "You'd better listen to her, Brittany. We won't be taken by surprise again. I will have Greenways back!"
With this final warning, Gray turned and hurried after Hewlett, who was just disappearing through the far side of the center. Brittany watched his retreating back for a few seconds, taking a deep breath.
"Black!" she shouted.
He stopped and looked back at Brittany.
"What do you mean 'back'?" she said, "You never had Greenways to begin with! When we took over the farm, it was just a run-down house with a little barn out back! Everything that Greenways is today was built by me! It's mine, Black, and you'll never get it! Never!"
Black stared at her for a few seconds after she finished speaking, his mouth in a thin line. Then he turned and hurried after his companion.
Brittany raised her hand, and looked at the piece of paper she held in it, then flung it angrily to the dusty cement at her feet.
"Damn!" she said, turning to me at last.
"Hello, Sailor," I said with a grin, not appropriate in the circumstances, but I could rarely not smile when seeing her after even short partings, "long time no see. How about a hug?"
“Oh, Stephen," said Brittany, grinning back I think in spite of herself, “it’s good to see you."
And she reached her arms out to me. I buried my face in her hair, and spent a few seconds rubbing her back, feeling her heart and her breath warm on my neck.
As we slowly detached ourselves, I could tell from the worried frown on her brow that Brittany was still very upset.
"What is it, love?" I asked, taking her hand and leading her away from the main entranceway of the Center to a bench under a tree in the lawn around the pond, "It all sounded pretty serious there, with Hewlett and Black. What's he doing back in town, anyway? I thought he was long gone, and good riddance!"
"Yes, so did I, Stephen," she said in a moment, "So did I. But I guess the son of a bitch just wasn't finished causing me grief yet." She paused for a long minute, then looked at me, with fear and anger mixed in her eyes and voice, as she spoke so quietly I had to strain to catch the words; "They want Greenways, Stephen - and Hewlett says they can get it."
The shock must have been extreme to her, to have her this subdued - Brittany was a fighter from way back, and normally reacted to adversity the way Alexander reacted to the Gordian knot. If Gray and Hewlett really had a serious plan to take Greenways from Brittany, however, the reaction was understandable - Greenways was Brittany's life, as much as her children or myself or the ESEC. She had made it her dream, fought for it and built it almost singlehandedly - it would be as good as taking her life as to take Greenways from her.
"I can't believe it, "I said, taking her hand where she had clenched it into a fist on the bench between us, "Your title to Greenways is solid, is it not? There were no restrictions on it when you won it in the settlement, were there? No conditions or grounds for repeal?"
"That's what I thought,too," Brittany said, looking over the pond, "No, not just what I thought, but the way it was. Judge Campbell was clear - in return for my years of unpaid contribution to the marriage, and his career, and my own lost working years Black forced on me, that the farm at St. Peters was fair compensation. The title deeds are in my name. No doubt at all." She paused once again, thinking, then turned to look at me.
"But Hewlett laid it on the line, Stephen, although you certainly won’t find it in any written papers. Black has a lot of friends in Ottawa, and in the Canadian government, and she says he's gotten powerful enough to call in some favors. She says that the Supreme Court of Canada can overturn a land decision made by a provincial court - and that Black has been assured that if he reopens his case, and appeals to the Supreme Court of Canada, that they will declare the divorce settlement null and void and turn the property over to him."
I listened in disbelief.
"That's absurd, Brittany,!" I finally managed to say, shocked at what she had told me.
"Oh, don't think I don't know that," she replied, a little warmly, "But what would you think? You know Black, and you know Hewlett, and you know first hand the kind of corruption that is possible in the old court system of this place! So as absurd as it may sound, I do believe that they have come up with something they think will work - and knowing Hewlett, I have to take it seriously, and do."
"Yes, you're right, of course," I said, sliding closer to her on the bench, and placing a hand on her knee (one of the strengths of our relationship was that we were both 'touchy-feelies' - we liked being close, in physical contact, a great deal of the time; in times of stress we tended to share our problems in this manner as well). "You're right - they have to be taken seriously. But I still can't believe there's any real threat to Greenways - you've had exclusive title to it for what - seven years? The title was uncontested for that long - what grounds could they possibly raise to take it from you that any court even pretending to legitimacy could use to justify it?"
"Well, let's see," said Brittany, shaking out the pieces of paper she had retrieved from the dusty sidewalk before coming to sit down; "There should be something here."
She quickly read through the top sheet, and turned back the page to read the second. I watched here eyes narrowing slightly, lips pursing and chin beginning to jut out - sure signs that her fine mind was taking in what she read and making computer-like connections with the stored information in her brain. As she finished and handed the sheets to me, looking thoughtfully out over the pond, I scanned them myself.
The gist of it was simple enough, although couched in some puffy legalese even at this preliminary stage.
The essential contention was that Brittany was not a Canadian citizen - was, in fact, an illegal alien, and therefore not entitled to hold property in any Canadian province - should, in fact, in consideration of her previous false presentations concerning her past, be deported back to the country she came from and any property presently held in her name thus be reverted to its former owners.
I knew a bit about Brittany's past. She had not talked about it in detail, but I was aware that her father had been one of the so-called 'draft-dodgers' during the American war on Vietnam, and, along with several thousand like-minded young men had moved north into Canada rather than be conscripted into the American army to be sent to that small country to kill small yellow-skinned people.
There had been some sort of general amnesty, I had thought, from the U.S. government years back - and also, I had thought, some sort of acceptance by the Canadian government of these refugees. Not according to the Statement of Claim given to Brittany by Hewlett, however.
According to this, Brittany had been born in the United States, had never applied for nor been granted permanent Canadian residency, and therefore, quite simply, was an illegal alien. As such, of course, essentially her only legal 'right' was to a fair deportation hearing before they chucked her out of the country - a deportation “hearing” conducted before a tribunal of patronage-appointed officials..
When I finished reading, I looked over to where Brittany sat, still deep in thought.
"I take it, then, that the charge is true?" I asked, "You never have become officially a Canadian citizen?"
"Well, yes, I guess it is," she replied, slowly, "I just never thought to do it. I mean, really, Stephen, I've been living here for over thirty years! Can they really do this to me? Now?" She reached over and took the legal documents from my hand. "Oh, Stephen, I can't believe, after all the years of fighting, that it will end so - so - ridiculously!"
"I don't know what to say, Brit," I slid over and put an arm around her shoulder and squeezed, "I do know that Hewlett is a bright lawyer with the books, and so there must at least be grounds for the case; I also know that there's still a lot of corruption in the legal system here that we haven't got cleaned up yet - when Campbell retired last year, we lost the most honest of the judges, and the rest from before the election are hanging on like grim death waiting for the return of their buddies in the legislature. So the guns may well be loaded in their favor. But that's not to say we can't prepare a strong defense - and there's no way they're going to get it without a fight!"
"Yes - and I'm married to a true blue Canadian citizen now," she smiled at me with those eyes I liked to get lost in, "So that will muddy the waters for them too. I guess we'd just better not get lost in maybes, and go and see MacGregor or someone tomorrow, eh?"
"Yes, MacGregor would probably be good," I answered, "or that Indian fellow, Zhistin, who's been working with Carlyle, if he's not too busy. Whatever, my love, we'll think about it and talk about it tonight, decide what we're going to do, and get in touch with a lawyer tomorrow. But right now, we've got to get back to Greenways and feed the cows, eh?"
I rose from the bench, chuckling as I finished, and reached out a hand to her. Life was at times a bitch, as the old saying had it, but as long as there was Brittany and Greenways, I could live it and enjoy it.