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The Blog of Writer S.A. McCownThe Blog of Writer S.A. McCown
The Blog of Writer S.A. McCown
El Chorrillo is a district in Panama City, Panama, where the resolution of the story takes place. A love story, as well as a political story, most of all, this is a showdown between a man and his domineering father, to prevent a political tragedy.
In El Chorrillo, Kel Hamilton is an agent working for the president, in league with the woman he abandoned as a lover eight years ago, in a tense secret war against elements of the government that seek to destroy the administration. The president has no knowledge of Kel’s existence, but he considers the woman, Shannon McDowell as his most trusted aide. Shannon operates currently out of the US Embassy in Panama City, seeking to uncover the truth of a threatening terrorist group called the Red Line Front, which Kel has discovered is not a foreign entity at all but part of the clandestine forces threatening the administration.
The danger to the administration, brings Kel and Shannon back into contact and at first they work together in an uneasy peace, but their love is renewed, stronger than ever despite the likelihood neither will survive to make a life together.
Douglas Hamilton sucked in his lips, a sure sign of murderous rage Kel had seen from him too often in the past, and Kel’s hands fiddled in his lap, and the urge to let his father go and take the consequences almost finished him. Kel desperately needed something to gain control, and his only hope was that his father could provide it himself, that Kel could somehow make his father the instrument of his own destruction, by causing him to push Kel over the edge on which he had teetered with him for years. And only in that moment, only then, out of his entire life, did Kel realize: it had never been fear of his father all those years that had dominated him, it was fear of Kel’s own rage if he ever lost control against Douglas Hamilton, if ever his anger at being humiliated, at the corporal punishment, and most of all his father’s attempt to absolutely dominate and dictate Kel’s life to him had ever boiled over.
Kel’s fear had not been of his father, it had been of himself. But in this moment, when of all times Kel needed to lose that fear, he was handcuffed. Seeing his father pitifully tied and worn from the hardships Kel had imposed upon him, he could not summon the anger he needed to save the moment. Any second, the iron control in which Kel had always had to hold himself in his father’s presence would cause him to cave in and surrender.
Grasping at anything, looking for something to spark his rage again, Kel asked in a reasonable tone, “What do you think this is about?” Kel had no idea what he would say, it was almost a throwaway line.
For some moments, his father sat there, breathing a little heavily, and in Douglas, even greater anger began to grow. This was it, this had the sense of being the payoff between father and son, for all time. This was everything, win or lose, it all came down to his father’s next words.
Now, certain his answer was crucial, Kel asked him again, more determined now, leaning forward, staring into his eyes.
“Come on, Dad, tell me, why are we here?”
“Because....” he said.
“Yeah? Because of what?”
“Because of the McDowell woman, because of that ----- ----. God, I wish she were dead...”
It happened faster than he could blink. Kel picked up the table that stood between them and dashed it against the wall. He had his father by the shirt, and with a snap of his fingers, demanded and received a pistol from the police sergeant, as smoothly as if they had rehearsed it. He cocked the weapon and pointed it between his father’s eyes.
“You murdering ------,” Kel intoned. “You would do it, too, I know you would. Well let me tell you something, Mister. That woman is the one thing on earth I would kill over. I knew you were behind this against her, and if she had been killed, do you know where you’d be right now? I would have slit your throat and left you in the jungle for the ants to eat.”
Kel went on against him for five minutes, and none of it was staged. All the years of rage opened up and he truly struggled not to pull the trigger.
His father’s eyes were huge and unblinking, and sweat popped out on his forehead. Kel was breathing hard and his finger twitched on the trigger and in his father’s pants, a stain appeared and spread over his thighs. Kel pushed the barrel of the gun hard against his head and the most amazing thing in the world happened. Douglas Hamilton began crying, a high, keening wail, like a frightened child, and not only did it not move Kel, made him even angrier.
“Shut up, shut up, you son of a ----!” But Douglas Hamilton could not. His anger was spiraling upward, when suddenly the gun disappeared from his hand. From the moment his father had uttered the fateful words, Kel had been oblivious to the police sergeant but at the critical moment, he had moved up and deftly snatched the gun away.
“We do not need an accident, and this man will talk,” he said. “Now it is time.”