A mild winter had left the roads in the rural areas of the Reykjanes peninsula in better shape than usual. Þora had decided, against her family’s wishes, to hold the Christening in the old church, the church which her great-great-grandfather had helped build. As per the Icelandic custom, the name of the infant was kept as a secret—to be revealed only at the baptism. Þora refused to name the child’s father although everyone believed it to be Billy Clarkson—the U.S. Senator’s son—who had died in a traffic accident the year before. Her sister Silja was there, of course, with her daughter.
The ceremony began. The assembled family and friends sang an old hymn as the organist pumped the wheezy harmonium in the corner. As the minister performed the baptism tiny Vilhjálmur Stefán began to cry.
“Sally, come here, I want you to look at this,” said Roger Ramsen. He was in Maryland, in his home office, seated in front of a computer monitor. Sally O’Donnell walked in and saw, on the screen, a picture of Sean Carroll walking along a street in Seattle, arm in arm with an attractive black woman.
“More reconnaissance, Roger? Who’s the woman?” Sally said, “She’s stunning. I would have remembered her if I had ever seen her before.”
“Her name is Mary Robinson. She’s the owner of Applied Diffusion Research, the outfit we hired to find Billy Clarkson. She’s Sean's boss.” Roger clicked through the slideshow he had put up—all images of Mary and Sean: on the street, in restaurants, at public events.
“They look as if they are in love.”
Roger Ramsen frowned.
“I should have finished the job on Sean when I had the chance.”
Now it was Sally's turn to scowl.
“Drop it, Roger.”
“I, I... ”
“Roger, listen to me. The Senator isn’t going to be president, your daughter won’t be First Lady, your grand-daughters won’t grow up in the White House. You were lucky not to get caught. No matter what you do now, it won’t change that reality."
Ramsen idly flicked through the slide show, breathing loudly through his nose.
“It sickens me to see him like that, with her.”
“Because she’s black? Roger, the miscegenation laws were repealed a long time ago.”
“Is it because they’re young? Because they’re young and happy? Why do you even care?”
“There’s more to it than that. I don’t like to lose. And when I do lose, I always get even.”
“You sicken me.”
Sally made her exit, closing the door quietly behind her.
Roger Ramsen clicked through the slide show again.
Then he picked up the phone.
The sequel to Window Weather, The Matriarchy, is now complete.