Friday, October 16, 2015

Family Tree

Mary slipped the stack of documents out of the envelope and spread them out on the kitchen table. The top-most were legal in nature, pertaining to the adoption service and the U.S. Department of Naturalization. Mary scanned the documents and stopped at the line that was labeled ‘country of birth.’


“Look at this,” Mary said to Emily, handing her the form, “I should have guessed.”

“More than one of the spells in my book was from Haiti,” said Emily, “From the voodoo priest John de Conqueroo. Now there was a man!”

“Is that a real name?”

“It’s an old name, the name of a legend—John de Conqueroo was more than just one  person,” answered Emily, “But it suited the man I knew. He was quite a presence in the East Village, just before the crash. I’d go to parties with the artistés and bohemians, John de Conqueroo would be there and he would dance. Lordy. He would dance and chant poetry:  ‘spells of power’ he called them.”

“Those are the ones at the end of the book, the incomplete ones?” asked Mary.

“I wrote down what I could understand,” said Emily.

“A notebook, handwritten…” Mary said as she took it out of the pile. “… um…”

Nestled within the pages of the notebook was a folded sheet of onionskin paper. Mary unfolded the thin sheet with care. The text on it was written in the Haitian patois.  Its structure was unmistakable: a genealogy. At the bottom was a name, Mareka, next to the word bébé. The date was Mary’s birthday. Going on up the tree there was a list of mothers—all with the word mort after the name.  There were also places for fathers.  Many of those slots had the word inconnu, but a name on one of the branches leading to Mareka caught Emily’s eye.

J. de Conqueroo, mort 1933. My old friend,” said Emily, “You are les petite tuit-tuit, Mary.”

“Wha…?” said Mary.

“John always would sing of a little girl, a descendant, who would someday be born to save the world.”

“How can that be true?” said Mary.

“Every girl is born to save the world,” said Emily, in a soft voice.

“Would that be so,” answered Mary.

They heard the latch of the apartment door opening.

“We’re in the kitchen,” said Mary, “How did your secret meeting with the lawyers go?”

“Good. You’re both here. And both sitting down,” said Sean. He looked troubled. “I guess you could say I’ve got a new career ahead of me.”

“Meaning… ?” said Mary.

“Along with my Aunt Tina, I’ve inherited the estate of John Regelind III.”

“Everything for you and Tina?” said Mary, “Emily didn’t rate a cut?”

“The mistress never gets a slice of the pie,” Emily said, “I am surprised that John III didn’t try to cut you out of the deal.”

“He had evidently experienced a change of heart. The will was changed a few days before the explosion at the Chamber House. Absolutely on the up and up. The lawyers thought the estate could run into the high nine figures. Now what will I do? I’ve become a rich man; I am the camel trying to get through the eye of a needle.”

“You could always give it away,” said Emily, “Or take up an expensive hobby, like crashing airplanes. I’m not eligible—now that the brotherhood is gone, nobody knows of my existence.”

“Except for us,” said Sean.

“Marcel du Page, lord of the dance, knows Emily,” said Mary, “In the biblical sense.”

“He knows me as ‘C-a-r-o-l’,” said Emily, “Which isn’t a lie. And we were ‘consenting adults’, in any sense of either word.”

“And my stepmother, Harriet stopped in today.  I told her that Emily is our neighbor,” said Mary, “Also not a lie.”

“Your stepmother was here? Didn’t she want to stay and meet me?” asked Sean.

“Things are difficult between me and that woman,” said Mary, “When she saw that I was pregnant she was disturbed, not so much that I was expecting a baby rather that the thought of me being involved with a man, much less married to one, bothered her more. She always disapproved of my seeing boys. But she did bring me my adoption papers… finally.”

“The contents of the locked drawer, opened at last?” said Sean, motioning to the papers on the table, “These are all of them? Why did she bring them to you now?”

“As far as I know. Harriet is moving to a retirement community in Florida. Maybe she needed the drawer space,” said Mary, “Some of these papers are extremely interesting. There is a branch of Voodoo in my family tree—and one of Emily’s old flames is Mary’s great-grandfather.

“He wasn’t an old flame, he was a kindred spirit,” said Emily.

“I was adopted from Haiti,” said Mary, “My birth name is Mareka.”

“Really?” asked Sean. “Mareka?”


While Sean and Mary continued talking, Emily was examining a notebook that was among the papers Harriet had left.

“Here it is—” Emily said, “—the final key to the spells of power. Now you are truly Mareka, the all powerful.”

“Now what?” Mary said grimly, “You have all the money and I have all the power. We’ve become our own worst enemies.”

“This too shall pass,” said Emily.

Later that night, after Emily had left, Sean and Mary were getting ready for bed. Mary impulsively grabbed Sean by the short hairs.

“Let’s see if this camel can pass through the eye of Mareka’s needle to enter the Kingdom of God” she purred.


By Professor Batty