The chapter below is from the sci-fi, triller book Fear is in the Air by Eva Newermann
Money From Heaven
When we learn more about the terrorists, I have my own little vendetta ceremony.
After collecting pictures of all the terrorists from newspapers and magazines, I bring them and a small barbecue grill down to a remote place on the beach. Then with a steak knife I cut out their ugly brown eyes and burn them on the grill, while saying out loud:
“If you had not been killed in the crash, this is what I would have done to you.”
I repeat this every time I put down a new pair of ugly brown eyes on the grill.
I feel like screaming but instead I’m going to sing. I’ve got the voice that, when I find the right tone, can shatter glass. I’ve brought two tall crystal wine glasses – metaphorical – representing Lillian and Dexter.
I place the glasses in a big plastic container. That way the glass particles will not be blown into the sand. I start singing the first verse of “The Star Spangled Banner.”
A couple of people out walking on the beach gather around me and join in singing. When I get to the last word, ‘brave’ I find my high-pitched note and the glasses explode inside the box.
Suddenly a seagull falls dead from the sky.
Oh, crap! Is this some kind of weird omen?
Later I learn that high-pitched acoustic energy can kill birds that fly by too closely.
People are gasping. I just collapse in the sand, crying. It takes me a long time before I can walk home. In the meantime some of the people have dug a hole in the sand and buried the unlucky seagull.
Back at the apartment building the doorman looks at the grill and asks, “So, did you have a nice barbecue party on the beach?” I try to smile and say. “Sure did. It’s the first time I’ve used this grill and believe me, that was an eye-opening experience!”
Since I’m living in Lillian and Dexter’s apartment, I’m the one who has to go through all their personal belongings. I find an envelope containing four airline tickets in the names of Dexter, Lillian, James and myself. They are round-trip Miami-Southampton, England, dated for departure September 16, 2001, and returning September 23.
A brochure from the prehistoric monument Stonehenge in England falls on the floor and I pick it up.
When James and I were children, Lillian would show us photos of these gigantic stones, telling us about something called the Stonehenge Summer Solstice Festival in England.
Every year, on June 21, the Sun will rise and shine through the Heel Stone and people all over the world will come to see this event.
From the beginning it was probably a burial area for kings. Maybe the stone circles were designed to record the motions of the Sun, stars and the Moon, like an astronomical calendar. It was built more than 5,000 years ago and the Stonehenge construction took more than 30 million hours of labor!
I also find a pamphlet from a beautiful spa in Miami. On the cover Lillian has written in red ink, “Irene,” and a smiley face.
Lillian had made reservation for James’ wife to go to a spa while we were in England.
So this was the surprise Lillian was going to tell us about after we had been to the artist Eva Newermann’s vernissage in Miami, on September 15. We were all going to England and Stonehenge for a week!
Well, of course, after September 11, everything had changed.
Very few of the victims from the September 11 attack had yet been identified. Lillian and Dexter’s bodies had been found intact so we could have a funeral. Their wish had been to be cremated.
One day a lawyer calls and summons James and me to his office. He has the will.
The lawyer’s office is in Pompano Beach. That’s just north of Fort Lauderdale and James is picking me up. The ride usually takes 20 minutes, but today, there is an accident on I-95 that slows down all the traffic. I have to call and say we’ll be late.
When we walk into the office, three lawyers are looking as impressive as the table they are sitting behind. The power desk is made out of exotic wood, carved with beautiful inlays and burls.
James and I are sitting upright in our chairs, feeling anxious, it almost feels as if we are back at school and have forgotten to study for an important test.
Will I be evicted from Lillian and Dexter’s apartment?
One of the lawyers clears his throat and looks at us over the rim of his glasses.
“Are either of you familiar with the will?”
James and I look at each other and back at the lawyers. We both shake our heads. He opens the file and starts reading the will.
Lillian and Dexter has left everything to James and me. I get to keep the apartment, but the restaurants all over the world will be split between us.
We’d had no idea they also owned stocks and bonds.
Suddenly James and I are very, very rich!
I can feel my face flush and I start to cry.
“Excuse me,” I gasp, and run to the bathroom.
I look at my red face in the mirror, turn on the cold water and splash it on my face and neck.
James is knocking on the door.
“Are you OK, Ewa?”
“Yes, just give me a minute. I’ll be right out.”
After a while I’m back in the office.
The lawyer continues.
“As you both understand, all this paperwork will take some time. Also, you will have to decide what to do with all these restaurants and properties. We will of course be at your disposal and help you with all the legal work.”
James looks at me and says, “I think we will just go home, and we will contact you when we are ready.”
On the way home all we can say is, “I can’t believe it! I just can’t believe it!” We keep saying the same words over and over, but it feels like a conversation.
James drops me off at my apartment. Yes, it is really my apartment now! I walk through the beautiful lobby. It has Italian white marble tiles on the floor and walls. There are mirrors on the ceiling and a uniformed doorman who always opens the door for you. He is also a security guard, keeping track of who comes and goes. I take the elevator up to the 15th floor. Inside the elevator the music is blasting my song, “Love Is in the Air.”
All alone in the elevator, I sing along with my arms stretched up towards the ceiling. “Fear is in the air, everywhere you go….”
When I get inside the apartment I go straight to the fireplace. On the mantel are two beautiful urns. They contain the remains of Lillian and Dexter.
I have had the urns specially made by a local artist. She has made them in 24-carat gold and in the shape of a star. The star looks a lot like the one we used to have on top of the Christmas tree. The urns have sprinkles of tiny silver stars on them.
We had the funeral one week ago and the crematory was packed with people.
I was feeling terribly depressed; I didn’t want to stick around or talk to anybody. I left after the ceremony and headed for home. I sat for hours on the balcony and stared at the ocean.
When it got dark, I looked into the universe through the telescope.
Yes, I’m sure you are both up there among the stars. “Dancing with the Stars,” maybe?
I make a grimace.
The next month I had many meetings with James and the lawyers. There were many decisions that had to be made. We decided to sell most of the restaurants and some of the properties.
The restaurants in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas and Los Angeles were doing very well. They had excellent managers and staff, so we decided to keep them.
The Big Bang restaurant outside Las Vegas is one of my favorites. It’s built to resemble an underground missile site. To enter, everybody has to go through a security check, including a full body scan. Then, after giving your first name and Zodiac sign, you’ll get a visitor’s badge (in my case it would say, ‘Ewa-Taurus’).
The elevator will zip you down 50 meters at high speed. From the floor, warm air is blowing up, so you’d better hang on to your skirt, Marilyn Monroe style.
When you tumble out of the elevator a maître d’ dressed as an astronaut will seat you.
The chairs are duplicates of the ones they have in the space shuttle cockpit, and you will not be served before you’re securely strapped in.
Hanging from the ceilings are forks, knives and spoons and even dinner plates. Occasionally they will move up and down, to simulate that they’re floating in space. The walls are covered with electronic gadgets, flashing on and off.
The water mug is shaped like a rocket. It has a lid and when you remove it, you can see two miniature astronauts sitting in the lid.
All glasses and dinnerware have your special Zodiac sign on them. The menu has Zodiac names, too.
I always start with their Scorpio Martini Twist, followed by Virgo Salad Mix, Taurus Chicken Roast and to top it all off, a Gemini Big Bang Ice Cream Bomb!
Lucky for me, I’m never on a diet.
This restaurant is famous for its birthday parties. In fact, it’s so in demand, they had to set a limit of three parties a night. The people who celebrate their birthday will get a special booth, made like a rocket cockpit.
The party starts when white smoke comes up from the floor and all chairs start to tip backwards and vibrate, simulating engine start. The lights are dimmed and from the ceiling a large digital clock is lowered. Over the speakers you can hear a loud rumbling sound.
The clock is now showing -00.00.00.10. It’s time for the rocket launch countdown.
“T minus ten-seconds and counting,” a voice booms over the speakers.
Everybody starts shouting.
“Ten, nine, eight, seven, six. We have main engine start. Five, four, three, two, one! We have liftoff!”
The chairs vibrate more violently to simulate the launch. There are screams from the people in the rocket booth, getting airborne.
Now the clock is showing +00.00.00.05.
T plus mission elapsed time. Five-seconds after liftoff. The sound is overwhelming, the walls have flashing lights, the chairs vibrate, there’s smog all over, everybody is laughing and screaming.
Then after a few seconds they reach the outer atmosphere and the chairs stop vibrating and tip forward. This will leave them hanging in the straps, giving them the feeling of being weightless for a few seconds.
Finally it’s all over, the lights are dimmed and the astronaut waiters appear. They’re carrying a large birthday cake, with fire sparklers, everybody starts to sing “Happy Birthday.”
I’ll tell you, three times an evening with this madness can make anyone go crazy, but it sure is fun!
Even though I was keeping these restaurants, I liked my job at Star Gaze Airline. My days needed structure, and besides, I wanted a reason to keep traveling. They finally agreed to let me fly part time.
Hell, if they had refused, I could probably have bought the whole damn airline!