When Matt Murray exited the Valhalla, with a lot to think about, and Jared Staal by his side, the brothers three made their way back to the dining room, where they found the gang of four waiting for a call from Margot.

Curious as to what was so pressing that it commanded the attention of the Staals for more than two hours – on a travel day, no less – Stephen asked, “What’s the big hockey news, guys?”

Eric answered, “Apparently, Pierre McGuire is gonna be announced as the Habs’ Head of Hockey Operations, in a couple hours.”

“Nothing to do with the Bruins, then,” Stephen said.

In unison, the Staals laughed, “Bruins suck, coach!”

Lance, who didn’t know much about hockey, decided to side with the Staals, just for the sake of sticking it to his deadbeat dad, “Yeah, Bruins suck, coach!” Then he doubled down, by adding, “And so do the Pats, Sox, and Celtics, so go pawk the caw in Hawvawd Yawd.”

The ladies decided to get in on the gangbang, “Yeah, Bruins suck, coach,” Kitty cackled.

“Bruins suck dirty donkey dick, for wooden nickels,” Madonna hooted.

“You sound like Habs fans,” the Bruins fan chuckled, eliciting a roar of laughter from the brothers that King thought disproportionate to the crack.

Before another jab was thrown, Kitty’s phone rang. “It’s Margot.” King and Madonna looked at each other, both of them thinking, ‘That’s not rigt.,’ but saying nothing.

“Okay,” Kitty said. “Go, go Margot. We love you! Talk soon.” She terminated the call, and told the others, “They’re just heading into the labyrinth.”

By snubbing Stephen, Margot was making it clear that she was casting her vote for Kitty, as the leader of this conspiracy, and everyone understood it.

An uneasy silence filled the dining room, when Kitty terminated the call form Margot. No one wanted to speak of the elephant – conjured by Margot choosing to call Kitty, not Stephen – that hung in the air, but Lance smirked, as he watched the pachyderm bouncing around.

Stephen stared at the elephant, and like the abyss, the elephant stared back. As the King of Horror pictured Margot, going down the tunnel, to the Wuhan virology lab, a line from Apocalypse Now fired off from his cerebral cortex.

When Martin Sheen’s character, Captain Willis, first encounters Robert Duvall’s character, Lt. Col. Bill Kilgore, Willis’ narrative voiceover says of Kilgore, “He was one of those guys that had that weird light around him. You just knew he wasn’t going to get so much as a scratch here.”

To King, what was true of Kilgore, was true of Margot. She would get in and out of the lab without a scratch.

As King contemplated that, another memory fired off, and he heard Robert Plant singing,

There walks a lady we all know

Who shines white light and wants to show

How everything still turns to gold

That, too, was Margot, to King.

She was a fusion, a hybrid of the man who loves the smell of napalm in the morning, and the lady who’s buying a stairway to heaven.

So, if Margot had looked into the soul of Kitty Kaboodle, and determined that she, not he, was the one to lead them, as they wind on down the road, their shadows taller than their souls, he would follow the girl.




dj jc cover front



  • so far as the author is aware, the bear who owns the paw in the pic was tranquilized, not killed