Spain – 1642
The old servant leaned on his silver-inlaid, wood cane
as he tugged open the massive front door. When he saw
the young man waiting at the threshold, the servant
shifted onto the balls of his feet and grasped his cane
just below the handle. He used the silver handle – a wolf’s head –
to scratch his stomach. The servant spoke without smiling.
“Can I help you?” he asked.
The young man appeared barely into his teens. His eyes were wide,
fixed on the servant’s cane. He spoke quickly, his voice pleading.
“Please, sir,” the young man said, “I’d like to speak with Sally Gorgon.”
“Sally Gorgon has no business with the deMontoyas,” the servant said.
“When she does, she takes care of her business in the town square.”
“Please, sir,” the young man said, again, “I’m not here on family business.”
He reached into a heavy, leather bag slung over his shoulder.
He withdrew a thick, paper portfolio and offered it to the servant.
“Please, sir, if you’d just show this to Miss Gorgon, and tell her
I need to speak with her. It’s not family business, sir, but personal.”
The old servant continued to tightly grip his cane. He accepted
the portfolio with his free hand. He didn’t open the folder, but
took a step back from the door. When the young man stepped inside,
the servant carefully scanned the thin stand of trees out front
and then closed and bolted the front door. The bolts were thick, iron rectangles.
The servant led the way to a sprawling living room. He gestured
with his cane. “Wait here. If Miss Gorgon chooses to see you, I’ll return for you.”
The young man waited. He stood by tall windows that looked out
at the wild blue of the Mediterranean. Flowers in a garden outside the windows
sent flashes of orange, red and yellow to reflect against the white plaster walls.
The young man waited. He stood still, watching the flickering colors,
watching the shadows slowly shift as the sun moved across the sky.
The young man was neither tense nor impatient. He stood still, watching, waiting.