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Devils Advocate

A mini-romance-adventure fable Written by Allan Jon Kretzmar, JD



THE “ANGEL” MANSION BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA Hoppy plucked the knife out of the table. We all laughed. It was amazing to see him again. He handed the card back to me. The Queen of Hearts now had a huge gash in it. “Thanks,” I said, “it’s ruined!” “No, it’s not,” he rubbed the card gently. The gash was almost mended. “Hold on, let me try again.” This time the gash was no longer visible. Stunned, I felt the front and back of the card up to the light for examination. There was no perforation! “How did he do that?” I asked Zara Jane. She shrugged her shoulders. “Oh, Jake, let him stay with us!” “Zara Jane, this is not like getting a poodle!” “No, but it’s more fun!” she said, “Think of all the fun we can have together . . .” “Like what?” “Well, he can double as bodyguard, and chauffeur.” “How about cook” 3

Hoppy shook his head. He must have a better command of English that I thought. He mumbled something. “Chef” Zara Jane said, he says he can double as a Chef. “Say yes Jake, please!” “You need my permission?” “No.” “Well, at least you’re being honest!” “I’m going to be outnumbered, so what can I say other than, ‘yes?” She let out a peal of delight, stood up, and hugged Hoppy. She could only stand up high enough to put her arms around his massive waist. Then she hugged me. “This is going to be so much fun Jake, you’ll see!” It was time to go back to my sessions with Doctor Robert. I decided to carry on with a couple more sessions. I wanted to find out how we were going to get off that island. The clues were buried in my brain. 4

SESSION # 5 IMPUDENT GRACE Back to the psychologist's office the sofa, the countdown, and the doors to perception. Back to the island! When it creaked, open, and I could focus, I saw Magdalena on the beach. The way she was dressed made me laugh. I had been collecting wood for the fire, and when I returned, she was strolling along near the waves. She wore black sailor boots, long tight pants, a ruffled white shirt, and a black jacket. Somehow she had managed to find a black ship captain’s cap. She looked like a stowaway. She was striding along, taking big steps swinging her arms out in front of her, marching. “What’re you doing?” I asked when I got close. “Walking” “Striding more like. Why the brisk walk?” “It helps me think.” “About?” 5

“Our paths, that led us here. We are literally at the end of the world, where the sea meets the sky. We are shipwrecked, yet we’ve never been so free!” “You’re not afraid?” “Of what?, there’s nothing to be afraid of.” “That we may never get back” “Get back where? What are you in such a rush for?” “Our life” “Our life is here, right now, why care where it begins.” “What do you mean?” “It could be meant we begin here, you know, on this island. I was just thinking that“That what” “Maybe we were meant to be here, get here be blown off course. So that we could find something else” “What?” “Ourselves”


I decided to march alongside her on the beach. Hoppy was watching us. I waved, he reciprocated the gesture. “You certainly look as if you have taken to this place!” “I have, I tell you, I wouldn’t mind if we stayed here longer.” “How much longer” “As long as it takes” “Where is Hoppy?” “He’s collecting materials to build some kind of ship, as you said you needed.” “We all need this ship to get off this island.” “Well, he and I can travel.” “Oh yes, I forgot, you are doing this for me.” “Yes, my love, we are. See how much we love you?” “Just don’t get into trouble,” I cautioned. “On the contrary,” she smiled, “it is you that trouble seems to have a disastrous propensity to get into you.” “This is what I getting to love the most about you!” “What is that?” 7

“Your impudent grace” “I have been called many things,” she said with a pout of her lips, “but this is the first time that I have been told that!” “I am sure it is well deserved,” I nodded, “there are a lot of things that I am still trying to figure out about you.” “Such as” “Well, for one thing,” I counted on my hand, “You seem to have more tricks up your sleeve that you let on.” She looked down one sleeve, then the other, “No, nothing here. I think you are mistaken about that.” I noticed she was wearing a big bone around her neck, tied with a thin strand of what looked like black rope. “I like the jewelry,” I pointed to her necklace. “Thanks, I got it from Hoppy!” “Gifts, already?” “Yes, it’s a wedding gift!” “How sweet,” I laughed, “you told him?” “Sure,” she nodded, “he likes you, you know.” 8

“This place, it’s magical you know, it’s beauty unimagined, Uncharted” “Yes.” I looked around. “I can scarcely believe that from the storm we came to an island of such enchantment.” “Then you need to slow down, breath in the air, and relax. There is nothing to rush back for, is there?” “No” I acknowledged, “I sold the company, there are some last minute details that I still have to finalize with Eduardo.” “How long has he worked for you?” “Eleven years.” “I am sure that he must have learned something in all that time. Guess what?” “What?” “He will be able to figure them out without you!” “No, I am indispensible.” “In your mind you are, in his mind I am sure that he is happy to be free.” 9

“Of me” “Yes, of you.” I strode out ahead of her. “Don’t pout!” she smirked, “It is unbecoming of you!” “I am not pouting.” “Then count your blessings. Seriously, count them all.” I stopped, and looked at her. She pulled the black cap over one eye, and smiled. “I am waiting.” “I will stop at one.” “Which one” “You” I said, kissing her on the lips. “You are getting my point?” “Yes, like the tip of a knife,” I remarked. “Oh,” she laughed, “Hoppy says thanks for the knife!” “He is using it?” “Yes, he skinned a monkey with it. Nice and plump, our dinner for tonight, grilled over flames, with some spices that survived.” “You are playing games, I am sure?” 10

“No, you will like it, especially the way he cooks it.” “You have tasted it before, Monkey?” “Yes, tastes just like, well, monkey. Unique flavor, but with your spices I am sure we will be in for a feast.” “I don’t know whether you are serious, or joking.” “Good,” she lifted the cap, “let’s keep it that way.” Magdalena was filled with extraordinary happiness, I thought, and this was probably a cue for me to find out what her so calm and joyous. I was still trying to figure out what made me so tense and anxious. I wanted desperately to get back to Venice, but there was nothing that I could do. I was here, stranded on the island. And she was right I needed to be thankful that we both survived at all. She then took off her cap, jacket, and the rest of her clothes, wading, out a little ways, into the crystal clear, blue water. There somewhat of a waif-like innocence about her, an unhurried charm. She seemed tough and formidable in the work setting, but here, on the island, time did seem to be starting to slow down to a crawl. I could smell the wood-smoke of the fire that Hoppy was stoking. I 11

looked back. Flames had caught the twigs, and there was some kind of roasted meat that turning over a makeshift wood pit. When she emerged naked from the water, I could not imagine a more beautiful exemplar of feminine beauty, except for a oil painting or two hanging in the galleries at the piazza. The sun was behind her, the droplets of water caught the sun’s rays over her now sun-bronzed body, sparkled like diamonds. I just had to stare. It was hard to stop. The setting sun even created a halo around her hair, lightening the dark locks to a burn red. Thoughts were racing in my mind like a torrent – I was in paradise! I just did not or could not accept it. I watched transfixed as she took each step towards me, drawing closer. Then she dropped down beside me, and lay back. “You will get sand all over yourself.” I cautioned. “Yes,” she breathed out a slow sigh, and turned towards me, “isn’t that fantastic?” “I am starting to trust and believe.” “Can you hear it?” She asked. “What?” 12

“The murmur of the wind, through the grasses, and the waves on the shore, nature’s symphony.” I got up, and took off my clothes, too. “What is the water like?” “Warm,” she murmured, “definitely still warm.” As I walked slowly into the water, I turned and walked backwards into the sea, surveying the scene on the beach. Hoppy, was cooking dinner. I totally misjudged him as a savage who came down from the hills, now I saw he seemed to have more gentle power and understanding than I ever imagined. He introduced an unexpected solidity into our situation. He was always permanently untroubled, selflessly ready to smooth our troubles away. Even my punching him made no dent in his tranquility, on the contrary, he laughed goodnaturedly, even hugged me, after my attack on him. I realized that I had been sulking furiously from the time of his arrival, through his continued presence, but he was unfailingly loyal to the cause of rescuing us. Like a bronzed muscled Greek mythological man-god, in human form.


The salt hung like a perfume in the air, and I splashed my face and body and felt the warm water envelop me as I submerged below the waves. The setting sun now splashed across the arc of the horizon a reddening red glow, as if it was reflecting the red glow of Hoppy’s fire. Somehow he seemed to have been able to conjure up not only the wood, but the feast. (I still didn’t believe that he was cooking a monkey for our meal). Magdalena, well, she just looked like an Angel. She was still lying on the warm sand, and the sun had over the days in its rays, imparted a delicate gold color to her once milky skin. There was a soft flush to her skin that was slowly turning it brown. I watched as, she dried herself off , then dressed, having created a dress somehow out of the canvas sails rescued from the steamer trunk. She was becoming more beautiful as each day progressed. There was a beauty about her that was both strange and startling, it was more than her unspoiled beauty of face and figure, it was the symmetry of her perfection. She was both the personification of a schoolboy’s youthful dreams, as much as a poster-child for the girl that everyman 14

fantasizes over, knowing full well that she’s one he will never find. She was nothing more than the mirror of the eternal discontent of a man’s unattainable quest, for a fairy princess, that could be awakened with a simple kiss, if she could even be located. I looked back at the sunset again, realizing that there was something, inherently uniquely special about it. It was not like the many thousands of sunsets I had watched perfunctorily out my office window. This sunset was different. For one thing, it’s relative simplicity in the setting in which I was witnessing it, made it just unforgettable. I felt the sand between my toes, this time with the abandoned enthusiasm of a schoolboy. That, wild-eyed pleasure of discovering the world, for the first time, New scenes and new sights. Then, at that moment, I realized that I had absolutely no idea how long it had been since we had been stranded on this island. It could have been two days, maybe two months. Could it have been two years? There was absolutely no way I could tell. I went to join them by the fireside. The fire crackled and sparked, imparting, both warmth and a golden radiance. Behind us, 15

the small creatures of the forest seemed to scurry and lurk out of range of the light imparted by the flames. She handed me a towel of sorts, a piece of cloth that served as a means to get dry. I dried myself, then, pulled on pants and a shirt. I hugged her, then walked over to Hoppy, and hugged him, too. He had at first a look of surprise, then his mouth creased into a white flash of teeth, and he guffawed. Words came out of his mouth like a torrent. “He says he thinks that you are beginning to take this place into your soul. You thought that we were blown off course and we have to get back to be saved. He says he already saved us. He says you are becoming strong, like him, but with a different kind of strength.� I looked at Hoppy as if I was looking at him for the first time. There was something terrifyingly frightening about him, with his size and girth. Yet he was also amazingly real. The embodiment, of a quiet power, that belonged to no one place, but to all places. I had been so fearful that we were lost, yet I was slowly beginning to realize I was gaining a sense of wonder at the power of Nature. Once the fury of 16

the sea abated, it was replaced by a tranquility that was slowly becoming embedded inwardly. Where I once feared the terrible expanse of undeveloped air and sky and sea, I could now find in it a magnificence of natural peace and tranquility. We were not, outlawed, from paradise, we were being engulfed by it. It was becoming a gift from God. A flock of seagulls sailed across the lavender sky. The suns golden radiance was slipping into blackness, the campfire becoming our only illumination. I compared the city life we just left behind us. I had been a foot-soldier for self-serving greed, striving more that ultimately accomplished less. Eleven years I toiled in servitude to commerce and trade, pursuing a dream that made money, but seeped the very life out of my pores with a relentless oozing. Therein was the incongruity, I had been striving for advancement, to be safe and secure with the material possession’s that I had amassed, and yet here in the open beach and majestic, vista I slowly began to realize there was no greater peace. I never had the time to enjoy what the filled coffers supposedly offered. 17

I was finding out that here on the island there was no conquest of Nature that was needed. I had everything I could ever want, in these stolen moments. It gave me both, pause, as well as reassurance. I meditated on the accidental twist of fate that landed us alive on the beach, and the giant of a genie who was essentially our protector and guide. Even though I could not understand what he said, he still communicated perfectly because he was in harmony with the world around him. His body was muscled like a Roman statue, but his heart was pure from an implicit and spontaneous generosity of spirit. “Are you happy?” She asked, stirring me out of my meditative jaunt. “Superbly, I don’t think there is room in my heart to cram in any more contentment.” I looked at her in simple wonder. “What a change in you! Are you still aching to get back?” “Not anymore, really, we’ve everything we need, right here and now. He have food, we have love, we have an island which is bigger than any world our there, we have Hoppy, and we really are as free as the birds that fly overhead.” 18

“Good,” she laughed, “just checking. Let’s eat!” I felt strangely humble. I was handed some slivers of meat that Hoppy sliced with the skull-and-crossbones knife, along with some vegetables he grilled, on a sturdy banana leaf that served as a plate. He slashed open the tops of coconuts with his blade, and served us coconut milk. “He said the meat is Black Grouse.” “Thank you,” I breathed a sign of relief, “I was hoping it was not monkey as you first told me.” The meat was tender juicy, and the coconut milk a delicious compliment to our meal. I don’t think I ever remembered enjoying a meal as much. “The spices come from the steamer trunk. They survived. You like?” “I like!” I looked at her intently. “Can we stay? I think I am tired of the city.” “We can stay here a thousand days and nights for all I care.”


“I never knew how unimportant everything I thought was important really was. What a mess of trivialities I filled my days with until I realized my life is close to extinction. I used to look out at sunsets like these, and bury my head back into my paperwork figuring out my profits. What I didn’t realize was I was actually burying myself, and inch a day, for so many years the sand is figuratively now over my head. I am so sorry now that I wasted so many days.” “Those days are never wasted if you have now woken up, my love.” “I think so many people live lives in a state of numbness, not realizing city life has already devoured their minds, and plundered their souls. They continue on this existence because they never stopped to figure out a way out of their hopelessness. I was shaken out of my complacency.” “’Live simple, live free,’ is my motto in life.”


“I think actually Hoppy is the best personification of a simple, almost pagan wisdom of contentment through a connectedness with Nature. Maybe you were right.” “Maybe, about what” “Well, actually. You suggested our landing on the island may lead to the realization why we landed here. It thought at first it was for us to drag back some spice back to sell for a profit. Now I realize it was a shipwreck brought about by perfunctory fate, but to find a gift upon which no price can be set.” “Which, is what” “Inner contentment, I believe.” We ate the rest of our meal in silence. I was thinking about other times over the years when I found a sliver of peace or contentment, they all paled in comparison now. It was like trying to compare what was an incomparable matchup. Why had I never before realized how sweet the smell of burning firewood could be? The soft spark of red light on white clouds as the sun sets? What delicacy was the fragranced scent of wild flowers in 21

bloom? What about answering the call of romance, all opportunities that slipped through my hands, like water. In these “stolen” moments on the island with Magdalena, I realized that I was no longer in any rush to get back, anywhere. I was no longer looking forward to getting, off the island instead, I wanted to etch every moment here with her into my memory. I didn’t ache to be relentlessly jammed back into city life with its bustle and hustle. I wanted to stay in the dream, which was now my daily reality. We had traveled to the end of the world, where I found something shifted irreparably inside me. In dramatic revelation, we had been spat out of a watery hell like Jonah, into a pagan summer-time love fest with life, in all its intensity. “You have been startled into incredulity by the simplicity of a contented life?” “Yes, so beautifully expressed. It has sprung upon me with a suddenness that my senses were completely unprepared for. I can’t go

back, not now, not ever!”


Then Robert rubbed my shoulder tenderly. “Jake,” he said, “come back my next patient is already here. Our time is up.” I lay there in stupefied bewilderment at the heroic sequel to my regression. I looked up at Robert. “Thank you for helping me, find something of such immense value. I am forever in your debt.” “No, you don’t owe me anything. I told you this was experimental for the both of us. Nothing is owed to me.” “Oh, on the contrary, you have given me a getaway car from my delusions about the meaning and value of life. You provided a crack in my memory banks, through which light was allowed to shine on through.” “Great. We will talk soon, okay?”

THE HAPPY LIFE When I got home after the session, Zara Jane was in the kitchen conversing in some dialect with Hoppy, who was now a permanent fixture at the mansion. 23

“How was the session, honey?” “All my life I have chased luck, always wanting something to happen fast. I would leave nothing undone to chance I could not think, I couldn’t strong arm into being.” “And” “I ended up stranded on the desert island, where I met you both.” Hoppy was just grinning, ablaze in a haze of large white teeth. Zara Jane was smiling, too. I knew that look. “I will settle for the privilege of watching the sun set on a remote island with both of you guys for as long as I live. I know now the richness of life’s reward, – in all it’s immaculate bounty.” “Which is?” “That out of life’s love lottery I could have shuffled a girl like you!” I kissed Zara Jane on the lips. “Sorry, Hoppy, you vagabond astrophysical voyager! No kiss for you!” 24

The Queen of hearts playing card was on the patio table. For whatever reason, Hoppy had decided to stab it again with his skull-and-crossbones knife. Was he saying that loves comes along unexpectedly, and that when it does, you keep it close? I don’t know. Whatever the message was that Hoppy was trying to convey, I still didn’t get it.

Allan Jon Kretzmar ©2011 All rights reserved. All characters in this book are fictitious, and any resemblance to real persons Living, or dead, is coincidental. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a Retrieval, system or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior Written, permission of the author, except by a reviewer who may quote Brief, passages in a review to be printed in a newspaper, magazine or journal First printing Edited by Darinda Ann Otto

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