The conference had just ended, Edwin, the Mayor, and Pin were walking out along with the President of the United States and others. Suddenly two shots rang out, one hit the policeman, and the other wounded the Mayor. Edwin pulled Lafayette heroically down as the first bullet went off.
It would appear that his quick thinking saved his boss, even though it would all be carried out according to plan. It was Carl Lafayette that stirred Edwin from his daydream. They were in the dining car of the train that would take them to port, where they’d begin the boat trip to Washington.
“Edwin, you looked a million miles away. Thinking of a young lady like Pin is these days?” “No, just the future.” He smiled at both men, knowing he wouldn’t need them much longer.
Also on the train, was a recovering Edward Mallory, Estelle Reynolds, and Artemis Strand. This trip was to be a reunion of sorts. Edward would meet his Uncle, Estelle would see her Father and Sister, and the Strands would meet at the Hotel Adams for a celebration.
St Louis and his bride had already went on the ship, concealed for her safety. Artemis had brought Edwin’s special luggage along. In it were the private documents of Edwin Strand, including the gifts from his Grandfather, which would allow him to secure every wish he had.
Aunt Minerva waited in her suite. This new servant wasn’t as good as Ralph. She allowed herself a smile every time she thought of him. He had alluded her, it took very nearly sleeping with lions to do it, but he had.
Maybe she was getting soft, but she decided to allow him to live. Oh she could have had the circus burned down while he slept, but no. As long as he never left the circus he was no threat to her. Of course, if he did, then he’d be dead.
How was Ralph to know his friend the High Flying Lewzinstra was actually Mike Palchak, escaped racketeer. Palchak was instructed to allow Ralph to live unless he became dissatisfied with his new career. It was good to have friends in strange corners.
One of Aunt Minerva’s other friends had brought her triumph to the edge of reality. Now, she had to use patience, which was least among her weapons. All of the players would arrive soon enough, and there would be time to act. She was worried about one little thing, what if her man in the White House proved unreliable?
“Oh well, it would make things a little more complicated, but manageable. After all, they get replaced all the time. It would only mean one more bullet the day of the conference.”
A few days later, Pin and Estelle made their way to the lowest deck of the ship. “Funny, criminals think they’re the only ones who plan. Cops do too, we just don’t gloat over them. When I knew this trip was happening, I sent a telegram to an old friend, knowing his schedule.”
Francois greeted his friend, and his companion. Once inside, they said hello to some more of their friends. Estelle laughed happily. “You brought the wolves along?” “They’re family, they had to be here.” “What for?”
Pin looked at Francois, and he handed him the box. “Estelle, a policeman doesn’t make much money, fortunately for me, a friend of mine is the nephew of a jeweler. Because of him, I can pay this off over time.”
He dropped to his knee, and asked her to marry him. A kiss, and a few shared tears later, she said yes. Pin leaned over and whispered in her ear something he never thought he’d say, his real name. They would be married aboard ship, here with their friends, in a secret ceremony.
After the moment had passed, Estelle asked Francois what he would do in Washington. “Alas, my menagerie has succumbed to economic reality. We have joined, as much as I disdain to say it, a larger circus out of Florida. They will meet us in Washington for a special performance.”