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BURNT 4.2

In BURNT on June 22, 2010 at 9:47 pm

1947

Her given name is Dora.  Everyone in her circle knows her as Lady Richard.  Richard Lawrence isn’t the King of Los Angeles, but he’s definitely royalty.  He’s grabbed a handful of every land-grab since Owens Valley.  His Boar Enterprises owns a hefty chunk of Hollywood real estate and built a good quarter of the buildings downtown.

With royalty comes obligation and so Lady does her part as a member in good standing of the Soroptimists, the woman’s branch of the Optimists Club.  Today’s obligation involves attendance at the dedication of some benches circled by cement and rocks in a wooded area of Griffith Park.

The president of the Soroptimists speaks to the gathered crowd.  She’s a mountain of a woman with a habit of emphasizing many words.  “We dedicate this haven of solitude and comfort in memory of Minnie Barton, a woman who offered respite to many when they needed it most.  As the second female policewoman in Los Angeles, Miss Barton founded her Home for Girls in 1917, housing young women on parole or discharged from jail.”

Dora should be listening but instead her mind is filled with the strangest vision.  She imagines Mary sleeping close to Joseph, an empty manger beside them;  Mary’s eyes suddenly open, she knows the baby is coming.

“Ten years later, she founded the Bide-A-Wee Home for destitute woman with small children.  We recognize the delegation here today from the organization she founded before her death, The Big Sister League.  We also thank the representatives from the Four Square Gospel Church, especially the young ladies who were taken in as orphans by Aimee Semple McPherson and raised by her church.”

Lotus stands with a dozen other young and discarded women who live at the Temple.   Sister Aimee gave her the name Lotus after returning from a missionary trip to China where she discovered that lovely and delicate flower.

Lotus is unaware that twenty-three years ago, not far from where she stands, her father held her in his arms while the woman they are honoring shot him in the chest.

She is also unaware that Lady Richard is her mother.

Somehow, having never seen her since birth, Dora becomes aware.  She faints dead away.

The Story So Far

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