Winning Without Victory
a political and romantic fiction novel by Rolf A. F. Witzsche
Volume 3 of the 12-volume series, The Lodging for the Rose

Page 208
Chapter 14 - Drilling Holes into Sophistry

      The next stop for us, on the way home, was Washington DC and the White House visit. I had expected a substantial visit, a few words about the future of the country with the man who had changed the course of the world. Instead we had tea and crumpets and some meaningless discussion on horse racing that I knew absolutely nothing about.

      Tony met us again in Washington, late in the afternoon. Everything had been arranged for us by then. Puff the Magic Dragon, dutifully, delivered us back to our rock above the beach. Ross had suggested to Steve and Ushi that they should stay with us for a while, "for as long as they liked." They certainly liked the view from Ross' place. They agreed to stay for a visit, "but not for too long."

      For me, all of these events had come full circle. I stood once more on Ross' balcony, where this whole sequence had started. I pointed out to Steve where the fishing trawler had been that had fired the missile at us that night.

      Tony and I finally retrieved our shovels and the chain saw the next morning that we had left at the bottom of the trail before all the hoopla began.

      Fred called us from Washington a day later. "Guess what the reaction from Moscow was?" he asked.

      "No comment," I replied.

      "That's right! How did you know?"

      "I meant that I had no way of knowing, Fred."

      "I think it is the best reaction we can expect," said Ross on the other phone. "Since the package was presented without strings attached, and it was accepted as such, what official comments could there have been made?"

      Fred accepted that assessment. He said he had told the President that the greatest benefit we could expect to realize from the entire affair would lie in an area where it cannot be measured, unless someone can measure the none-occurrence of further cruise missile incidents.

      Here the words from the man of the fondi came to mind again. "...All of this will happen and there is nothing that you can do about it."

      Fred agreed with Palmerston on this point. He also agreed with Steve that Palmerston might be a dissident who has become scared of the consequences that the empire had in store for humanity if the fondi are not stopped. Fred suggested that Palmerston may have tried to enlist our help in shutting down his empire before it destroys the world, and that he may have wanted to impress on us how difficult this task would be, and were the weak flanks are found that we should consider. "He is right," said Fred, "if we don't use what he gave us and somehow win this battle for the sake of us all, we will look at this day with shame, for then we will surely remember that we had the chance in our hands and hadn't done what is required to save civilization, if not humanity as a whole."

      Ushi's response was, that she needed time off, to get away from this creeping darkness that had issued forth from the fondi. She said that it had overcome us all and was filtering into our very soul, a kind of disease that had infected us so gradually that we had barely noticed it. She said that she had realized this in the desert during those last few days. She said that she was astonished when she recognized how much we had lost of ourselves in the battle against the forces of the underworld in Venice that no one can really see, but which degrade everything that is linked to life. She said that she needed to go back to the desert for a week or two, to recover herself, to cure the soul. "We need this, or else we'll have nothing to fight with," she added.

      "That won't be a problem," I assured her. I feel the same way. "I'll come with you if you like," I said. "You won't need to go alone," I added and began to grin.

      "If that's all you want, that's easily arranged," said Tony. "Puff the magic dragon will be at your service," he said to Ushi and bowed.

      Steve had other plans. "I have traveled enough," he said. "You guys go. I take my rest at the beach. I also have a feeling that there is a lot that Ross and I can teach each other."

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