Chapter 8 -- Off to the USA


Two days later I was in Havana, Cuba -- having hitched a ride aboard a Russian military jet transport. Cuba and Mexico still maintained diplomatic relations after Castro seized power, so it was easy to fly into Mexico as a tourist. Thence to Juarez and quickly through the porous US border to El Paso, where appropriate identification and an airline ticket to Washington, D.C. awaited me. Of course, all of this was accomplished with the assistance of "foreign aid."

Soon I was staking out Ms. Sunny Holiday's last known address at seven in the morning. The afternoon before with the car provided for me at Dulles International Airport, I headed out to locate her address before nightfall. This way I could stake out her place this morning and follow her to work. If she no longer lived at this address I would have to locate her.

I had purchased a pair of binoculars and picked up my weapon, silencer, and other materials and money before the four-day time limit expired. Probably the weapon would not be needed but I'd rather be safe than sorry. Once before in my career I had mistakenly decided a silencer would not be needed on an assignment. On that mission I had to rely on the old standby which can be purchased from any grocery store. A potato jammed onto the end of a pistol makes a suitable one time silencer for close work, although it leaves a mess.

Her last known address was a sharp looking townhouse in an area of similar townhomes located in the southwest section of Washington. They had no front yards but apparently had small backyards. Covered carports were where the front yard was supposed to be.

I learned later that Southwest Washington was the city's most modern community. On a 560 acre triangle extending from the Maine Avenue waterfront to South Capital Street, the existing slums had been demolished to allow for a modern development of five thousand apartments and nine hundred townhouses for middle and upper income residents. Seafood houses dotted the waterfront and Case Memorial Bridge led across the channel to East Potomac Park. Capital Park Development had created these particular units and my hope was that Ms. Holiday still lived here.

A young couple exited a townhouse on one side of hers and drove off in separate cars. Then a lady opened the door of the townhouse I was interested in and turned to lock the door with her key. I raised my binoculars just in time to see what must surely be her best asset. She had the cutest little butt! Or perhaps it was her small waist which made it appear to protrude so perfectly. Her back bent in so that I thought she was surely swaybacked. But as she turned sideways to walk up to the car door, I caught a glimpse of a perfectly flat stomach. Let this be her, I begged!

She backed out as I started my car and slowly pulled into the street. I inched behind her and wrote down her license plate number, then backed off to follow. She was driving a yellow Ford Mustang and she drove straight to the building where the Secretary of State's office complex was located. Hello Sunny, I thought. This had to be her so I didn't even check on the car's registration.

Following a leisurely breakfast I drove back past her townhouse and saw no real activity going on in the neighborhood. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, I thought. Parking the car around the block I walked back to her townhouse and rang the doorbell. No answer. Good, perhaps she lives alone. Walking to the side of the house and looking around to make sure I was unobserved I proceeded toward the wrought iron gate separating her townhouse from the neighbors. There was a fence around the small back yard. I never made it. A huge Doberman suddenly appeared and began an uproar. I tried to calm him but to no avail. He had the largest teeth and mouth I had ever seen and was very vicious. Since he was not going to calm down as long as I was there, I left.

I need to become friends with this dog. Finding a grocery store I purchased two pounds of their finest steak and had it cut into small, bite-sized one-inch chunks. I also invested in some squares of sharp cheddar cheese.

He was a tough sell but eventually he took the first piece of meat. "Good boy, good boy," I said in my calmest voice. Over the next few days we slowly became friends. I would feed him expensive meats and cheese, pet him, and rub him under the chin, all the time calling him "Fella." In the future he was always excited to see me arrive.

Now it was Wednesday and I wondered if the church Sunny attended had a Wednesday night service -- many American churches do. Printed on the sign in front of the church was the message "Wednesday Prayer Meeting 7:30 p.m."

That night I dressed in my nicest looking camel hair sport coat and navy blue slacks, a light yellow shirt, and a blue tie. I wanted to look great without being formal. I staked out her house around six-thirty, hoping this was her night to attend church. At 7 p.m. she came out holding her Bible, locked the door, and departed in her car. Knowing her destination I followed at a distance. Also, I wanted to arrive after she did so as to sit two or three rows in front of her. I hoped she didn't sit too near the front.

I drove past as she signaled and pulled into the church parking lot, giving her five minutes to get seated in case she stopped to talk to someone.

Walking into the church at 7:25 she was sitting about halfway down on the right side, but a guy was sitting with her. Not many people attended on Wednesday nights apparently, so there was no problem sitting two rows in front of them and slightly to their left. She had to look toward me to see the pastor. Surely she would recognize me as a visitor and welcome me, good Christians always do that. She was so beautiful! That could be a problem. She must have a fiancée or at least several boyfriends. It would have been better if she was homely looking. She was about 5'4" with shoulder length light brown to blonde hair, and a perfect figure. She could be Miss America I thought. She always had a beautifully disarming smile which seemed to illuminate the area around her. And her hazel eyes sparkled with every smile.

She looked to be twenty-four to twenty-six years old. Why single? Was she ever married? This could definitely be a challenge. She was a sharp dresser. She didn't dress expensively, wore small amounts of jewelry, and was tasteful and beautiful. She looked exceptionally feminine in simple tight skirts and lacy blouses. Perhaps it was because her clothes fit her so well. God she was gorgeous!

My mind was wandering so I almost didn't hear the pastor recognize visitors by having them raise their hands. I halfway raised my hand and nodded. Well, that's her cue I thought.

As the pastor said amen to the benediction I turned to exit the pew and slowly make my way out. They were standing and talking but I sensed her glancing toward me. Finally, when all seemed lost, I saw her lips mouth the words "Excuse me," as she squeezed past the man she had been sitting with and moved down the now empty pew reaching her right hand out to me. As I accepted her small feminine hand in mine she smiled and said, "I'm so glad you could visit with us tonight. Are you looking for a church home?"

"Very possibly," I lied, "I may be moving to DC in the near future if this assignment works out." We both paused. "I'm Clifford Anderson but please call me Cliff."

"Oh, I'm sorry. My name is Sunny. Sunny Holiday. And the answer to your question is -- no I'm not kidding."

"Your parents had a sense of humor," I smiled.

"They were full of wit," she laughed.

Her friend was standing behind her giving me the bad eye. He appeared younger than she, looking like a tall, dark, handsome, muscular, athletic idiot.

Suddenly realizing I was still holding her hand ever so gently, I carefully let it go, saying, "Oh, I'm sorry."

"It's okay. This is Robert Hunter," she said as she turned toward her friend.

"Hi, call me Rob," he said. Then quickly turning to Sunny he continued, "We better be going or we'll be late." He obviously wanted her safely away from me.

"Listen," she said as he pushed past us and headed up the aisle. "We meet for Bible study after the service. Would you care to join us? You could make some new friends."

"How could I refuse. I would love to."

"Follow us," she said as off we went to one of the classroom type areas in what they called the Educational Building.

Only eight other people attended the Bible study group that night. It was led by the pastor and his wife. I sat on one side of Sunny and Rob was on the other. Sunny introduced me to everyone and they gave me a cordial welcome. The Bible study began and became a discussion regarding what happens to a person's immortal soul when he or she dies, a topic of importance in Christian churches. Although I tried to act interested I was deep in thought about Sunny and how to gain her trust and help in meeting her boss.

"What do you believe, Cliff?" A pause, then "Cliff?"

"I'm sorry," I said, returning to the reality of the moment. I had almost forgotten my new name was Cliff!

"What do you believe happens to a person's soul when they die?"

"Well," I began, "I believe what the Bible states on that subject," hoping to let it go at that.

"Which is?" the pastor asked.

Here I was presented with a dilemma. Remember as an atheist I studied the Bible while attending the university in Oklahoma. Since the whole subject was foreign to me I really worked hard to learn something about what so-called religionists believe. And not finding any satisfaction in churches I read and studied on my own to a great extent. I don't know why I do this but most of my life has been a series of filing away things in the brain which might become useful to me later. So now here was my chance to impress Sunny. If I made a fool of myself she would write me off. And since she was so obviously "into" this matter of religion, here was an opportunity to gain some credibility with the one person that could be my ticket to success with Henry Kissinger. I decided to play it for all it was worth. After all, lives were at stake.

"Well, the fate of our immortal souls is a moot question since that concept is supported nowhere in the scriptures. The words 'immortal soul' do not appear in the Bible." That brought a few gasps and now Sunny was looking at me as if I was a heretic. I'd better continue with my self taught Bible learning I thought.

"When the serpent told Eve 'Ye shall not surely die,' the lie of the immortal soul was first ingrained in mankind and has been there ever since.

"Man was made a 'little lower than the angels.' Speaking of people when they get to heaven Jesus says in Luke 20:36 -- Neither shall they die anymore; for they are equal unto the angels.

"That is, when people get to heaven they will have immortal spiritual bodies and cannot die. Implied is that man is mortal now and can die. Throughout the Bible eternal life is presented as a gift from God, something that is not present at birth but is the reward for those who believe in Christ. A verse which comes to mind is Romans 6:23 -- For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life. In addition the Bible tells us exactly when this gift will be bestowed in Isaiah 40:10 -- Behold, the Lord God will come... his reward is with him. Until that time the dead are simply dead, as pointed out in Ecclesiastes 9:5 -- the dead know not anything."

Now the pastor interrupted me and tried to negate all I had said, "But What about the thief on the cross? Jesus told him that today you will be with me in paradise." Yes, everyone agreed.

While turning to the appropriate scriptures, I began, "Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are four similar books of the Bible and each ends with a description of the crucifixion. Regarding the criminals, Matthew 27:39-45 says -- And they that passed by him reviled him,...The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth. In Mark 15:32 we have -- And they that were crucified with him reviled him. The only reference in John to the two thieves is John 19:18 -- They crucified him, and two others with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the middle.

"Then we have the verse where one of the criminals believed in Jesus and Jesus said to him -- Verily I say until thee, today shalt thou be with me in paradise. However, John 2:13 states that Jesus is the only man who has ever gone to heaven -- And no man hath ascended up to heaven but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.

"Logically, all these statements cannot be true. However, they can all be made true by changing one character. The thieves could both have cursed Jesus and then one accepted him later -- that's possible. But everywhere else in the Bible, people who die are dead, and no one has ascended up to heaven except Jesus.

"I'll give you a hint, punctuation was added during the King James Translation when the immortal soul myth was well ingrained into the Christian religion. If the comma was moved from before the word today to after the word today, then all the statements could be true. In other words, if Jesus said, 'Verily I say unto thee today, thou shalt be with me in paradise,' all of the statements can be true as written.

"I'm sorry, I seem to have taken over the meeting. I apologize, but it is a very interesting subject."

The bewildered pastor spoke, "Well, we ran a little overtime tonight, but we've had an interesting evening. Let's close with a prayer."

As he said amen Sunny turned to me and asked, "We play volleyball on Thursday nights in our gym. It's a lot of fun. Would you like to join us? You could make some new friends."

She sure is concerned about me making new friends I thought. "That does sound like fun. What time should I pick you up?"

"Oh, we just all meet here at seven. It's real informal," she added.

God she had a beautiful face and smile. "I'll try to be here and thanks for inviting me." I thought I noticed a new sense of respect shining in her eyes.

Behind her, Rob's look would have killed a lesser man.


Proceed to Chapter Nine.                             Table of Contents.                         Questions or comments?