“Okay, you’re next,” Margot said to Madonna and Lance, as Kitty and Stephen disappeared, on their way to Ottawa.

Madonna was a bit tentative. “Why was Kitty so much brighter than Stephen?” she asked.

Shrugging, Margot answered, “I don’t know. She is a remarkable girl Celestial. Star child. But it could be that Stephen spends so much time creating dark stories. Could be that he is so much older than her. His inner light, his life force, is diminishing. But, really, I don’t know.”

Looking at Lance, Madonna said, “You go first. Not far. Then come rigt back, and then I’ll go, so we can see if you’re as much brighter than me, as Kitty was to Stephen.”

Lance looked at Margot, who looked at Madonna, and asked, “You sure?”

“Yes,” was the answer. “I’m curious. Aren’t you?”

“I am,” Margot admitted, looking at Lance.

“So am I,” he said, walking in. The light coming from Lance was not blinding, but plenty bright. He walked in ten yards. Then ten more. Thirty yards in, he was less than half as bright as when he entered. By the time he’d walked fifty yards, he could no longer be seen from the entrance.

“Stop!” Madonna yelled. “We can’t see you, anymore. Come back”

The tunnel’s darkness swallowed Madonna’s light by the time she got twenty yards in. Obeying Margot’s command to stop and come back, Madge made no attempt to disguise the fact that she was disconcerted, when she got back to the entrance. “What does the physicist make of it?” she asked Marc.

“Off the top of my head, and just a wild guess, that isn’t really tied to physics, I would say life force. Age difference.”

“And the theologian?” Madonna asked, looking at Eric. The elder brother was a little discomforted, and it was obvious. “It’s okay, Eric,” Madonna assured him, “just say it.”

“Like Marc, off the top of my head, and a wild guess, but I would say you’ve probably engaged in more sinister, or slightly sinister business in your life, so far, than Lance has. Again, probably tied to age difference.”

“Well, if that is the case,” Madonna said with a laugh, “I’ll see if I can’t diminish his light a few watts, before we get back from Vancouver! And you, the economist?” she asked Jordan.

“Obviously, you have a lot more money than Lance does, so my best guess strays into Eric’s field, and the Bible.” Madonna raised an eyebrow at Jordan, who finished his thought. “It is easier for a camel to walk through the eye of a needle, than it is for a rich man, or woman, to enter into Heaven. If money is the root of all evil, or the love of money is the root of all evil, you’re carrying evil on your back, every step you take.”

That,” said Madonna, “is absolutely fascinating. So, if I were to transfer every cent I have into Lance’s bank account, my light would burn brighter than his.”

“Since no one is in a great hurry,” said Margot, “let’s play with this, a bit. Boys, one by one, walk in. Eric, you’re the oldest, and have made the most money, so you go first, then Jordan, who is middle in both age and earnings, then Marc.”

The brothers did so, and all their lights were extinguished roughly thirty five yards in. “This isn’t exactly scientific,” Marc pointed out. “We could do this with instruments to measure light and length, at another time. And we could play around with Madonna’s idea, by moving money around.”

“Let’s do that, then,” said Madonna. “As you say, another day. But first, let’s see how far Margot gets before her light extinguishes, yes?”

Like Lance, Margot got about fifty yards in before they could not longer see any light coming from her. Considerably older than the boy, but only marginally more affluent on a tax chart, that part of the experiment yielded no logical conclusions, based on the hypotheses put forward by the brothers.

Looking at Madonna, and resisting the temptation to call her mom, in front of the others, Lance said, “It is fascinating. And I’m all for you giving me all your money! But let’s come back to it later.”

The Material Girl agreed, and off they went, but not before hugs were issued all ‘round.

“That’s it?” Lance asked, staring into the Royal Suite of the Pan Pacific Hotel.

“You sound disappointed. It’s the best suite in Vancouver,” Madonna informed the boy.

“No, I mean, that’s it? We’re here, already? We didn’t even take a hundred steps, but we’ve covered two thousand miles. We weren’t in the tunnel more than a minute.”

Looking at her watch, Madonna said, “Look at this.” Lance did. It was stopped. “That’s a twenty thousand dollar Rolex. Stopped dead, the second we went into the tunnel.”

“And it will start running again, the second we step out of here, into there.”

“Apparently so. Let’s find out,” said the Queen of Pop, walking into the suite’s living room, looking out onto the harbour. She turned to see lance materializing as he strode into the room, out of thin air, and announced, “The watch is working again.”

“That’s weird,” Lance said, before turning around and disappearing back into the tunnel. In a second, he was back in the suite. “Nothing. I feel nothing. No different. You would think there would be a gust of wind, or a flash of lightning. Or… something. But nothing.

Madonna followed suit, stepping back into, and back out of the tunnel. Then pointing at her watch, she said, “Check it.”

“It’s three hours ago.”

“Yeah. The watch knows we are now on Pacific Time. But it wasn’t even working in the tunnel.”

“Has it ever self adjusted before.”

“No. Never.”

“That’s wild. Go back into the tunnel, and stay there for a minute. Count to sixty in your head, then come back in, and see what time it is.” Madonna did. It was the same time she left.

Pulling her day pack off her shoulder and dropping it to the floor, Madonna moved up close to Lance and asked, “Do I look any younger?”




dj jc cover front