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Johan was sitting in a cafe in Berlin. The sun was shining. It was one of those rare early winter days when the sun was shining and sitting outside in a chair watching the traffic pass by was a pleasure. The days after the incident had been crazy. Reporters wanting stories and offering him huge amounts of money for his story. A Cardinal from the Vatican had been in contact and congratulated him. What for, he had wondered; surviving he guessed. He had given the story to no-one. The more he'd thought about it, the more he realised how little he'd actually known. That was why he'd contacted Harrald. It hadn't been easy but in the end, through the police and Caroline, he'd been able to do so. That was why he sat here. He was waiting for him. His coffee had gone cold but he didn't care. He'd been so busy going over what he knew that he'd forgotten about it. A shadow crossed his path and he looked up. There stood Harrald and Caroline. He stood up and shook their hands. Harrald had managed to catch the eye of the waiter. Johan was surprised. It was an almost impossible thing to do and Harrald had just arrived and, hey presto, two more coffee's were ordered. “So how have you been?” Caroline asked as she sat down. Both had been shocked and had found it difficult to find him when they'd arrived. They had expected the black shirt with white collar and instead he sat there in a tee-shirt with a shirt over the top and jeans. “Look's like things have really changed for you” she added. He smiled but made no comment. “I'm fine. I am sorry to have disturbed you two; you must be really busy. I just.......I just wanted to see if I could fill in the gaps” he looked embarrassed, “I've read the news stories, but cant' really make out the truth from it all. I was hoping you could. Thank you, I know you probably can't tell me anything. I too was asked to sign a confidentiality agreement. It's just......was this really something that helped get rid of that horrible man from politics, you know Mr. Holtzer, and how is Asha? And what about Ikram. I did feel sorry for the man, he seemed so confused. He lost a daughter I heard”. “Whooa there”, Harrald interjected “Slow down. I can't answer all that at once” and he grinned.  He saw the serious look on the priest’s face and wanted to help. He leaned forwards, “You are right, it is all protected as secrets, but...”, he whispered, “if I can't trust a man of the cross! You can keep a secret, can’t you?” Johan, with a serious face, nodded leaning forwards as well. Caroline gently punched Harrald on  the shoulder with a grin. “Sorry” Harrald leaned back “I was just joking. It is under the secrets act, and it didn't come from us if you do decide to sell your story, but it will all come out in several years time and what I will tell you I don't see as anything that could be harmful. Actually, we have just come from seeing Ikram,” his face took a sympathetic look again. “Unfortunately this whole thing has unhinged him to the point he is in a straight jacket and padded walls. He kept asking to see Desertstar and his daughter. Both are dead. He seems to have lost contact with what's in the past, the present and on the whole, is utterly confused. He will spend the rest of his life behind bars.”
“You mentioned his daughter. He did in the church as well, he muttered to himself a few times and I couldn't work it out. Liz was that his daughter?” “No, his daughter’s name was Arshiya. Liz was the poor girl he kidnapped. She was found dead in the car outside the church. He is still confused himself as to which one was his daughter. From what we can gather, one of his men shot Liz, and Desertstar, the latter we guess by accident. It seems he was emotionally involved with her. They spent two days in the forest and that was where he got confused. That is all I can say about that, sorry”. Johan, nodded. His head was lowered and he seemed deep in thought. He eventually lifted it, “And Asha, how is he“. Caroline started but had to stop as the waiter arrived and placed three fresh warm coffees in front of them. The wisp of vapour still coming off. “Asha seem's to be doing fine. He is with his family now, they are under protection. The children have started school and are... actually, I can't say too much. They are in a protection program, his wife has a job and he too has a job we think he will be happy with”. She took a sip of her coffee. Harrald had opened the tube of sugar and added it to his coffee, “I got a letter from him a couple of days ago actually, sent via the service. He asked me to pass on his thanks to you. It seems he really appreciated your chats and he sent his warmest greetings and hoped you were well”. Johan sat back, the seriousness left his face and he crossed his legs, a contented grin appeared. “What else? Ohh yes, Mr. Holtzer: well what you have heard is correct. He is in prison now awaiting trial, charges of treason. I have to make a visit to him soon as well, a promise I made. He has remembered something I asked him and he wanted relief, perhaps you could help me with that”. “Anything I can do, please ask”. “Well, it's a matter of conscience really.  I am wondering what I should do. I really didn't like the man and in  a way I want him to suffer”. He stopped, regurgitating the question himself. “Go on, your question: perhaps It will be my last bit of advice from the cloth”, he smiled his reverendly smile. “Well, he is a man troubled by the question as to why and how he got caught. It seems to be causing him immense cerebral pain. I hold the key to this suffering and can alleviate it. I don't know if he deserves it”. Johan, half grinned, “Are you asking me as a member of the Catholic Church or just as a man?........for I must warn you, I have left the Church”. Both Harrald and Carolie sat up, “That would explain the garb, sorry, your clothes”. Caroline was first to say, “Errr, should we say sorry, or....what?” “OK, first let me answer your question as I see it. Ikram had the same puzzle as you. He as a man who tried to effect the outcome he thought was his God’s place. He knew what was right but didn't have the courage to follow his heart.
You are wondering, as a judge or a God if you like, what would be the right thing. But your answer is infinitely more simple than that. Would you prefer to see a man suffer or do something to take that suffering away? In my mind, if you create suffering or don't ease some-one else's suffering, if it is in your power, at some point it will turn on you and you will suffer because of having let suffering continue. It is the ying and yang, the balance of all things. It is what love is about from what I see. Love creates love, suffering will in turn create suffering. Try and find a way to show love to this man. The simple act of relieving his suffering can only cause you to feel more love for yourself”. He let this hang for a moment. He looked at them both, “For me, it was a decision I guess I was wondering about before this whole incident. The conversations with Asha helped me make up my mind. I realised that day in the church, when I thought I was going to die, I gave my life to God, there and then, I literally gave it to him. Somehow, perhaps it is just my way of looking at it, but I feel It was like he gave it back to me. That made up my mind. He wanted me to live my life. I was praying in front of Ikram and said something like 'for the will of God', he said 'the will of Allah' and then followed that with 'but always the will of man'. I don't know what HE meant by that but I guessed we as men”, he bowed and blushed slightly, “and women, are here to make our own lives, We choose how to live them. I always felt I liked the church because it was a way of giving help and advice, using my interpretations of the scripture, but that was the important part, My interpretations, the will of man: it is always through the will of man. Ikram, I guessed had been guided by his beliefs, and the men behind those with their interpretations. Look at the destuction that lead to. It always leads to....We make our decisions, and then we have to live with the results of them. That is what being human is about. I can live with the counsel I give, to those I know, personnally. I do believe there is a God, or something, and I believe in the message of Jesus Christ as a way of treating others, with love. But now it is so confusing, with technology, globalisation, finance and greed, people making rules for those whose ways of life that they have no idea about. It’s all so confusing. I don't believe the church has the answers to those questions. I don't believe anyone does. I just live with hope that we can learn to live in peace and share what we have. I live in hope..........,” He looked at the faces of Harrald and Caroline; they had a serious look about them now. “Sorry, I guess I have a long way to go to be a normal man again. I am full of sermons and don't seem to be able to stop. What do I know though? You seemed full of joy when you arrived and now I've taken that away. Please forgive anything I said”, He saw the blank lost looks coming from them both. “Asha had a way of making things clear. I seem only to cause confusion” he laughed. It was a pleasant gentle laugh. He continued “What about you two? What are your plans? Forgive my  intrusion but you look like you are a pair”. It was now the turn of them both to blush. Caroline was the first to react. With a big grin she looked at Harrald. Johan picked up also a look of affection. “We have both quit our jobs and plan to see a bit more of life, the world. We have had our problems, individually, and together I guess we are hoping to 
face them and hopefully we will find happiness together”. Her hand was wrapped around the coffee cup on the table and Harrald reached out and put his hand on hers. Johan let out another laugh, “Funny” he added, “I am leaving the church, a world of spirituality, for a world I guess to be more materially based, and you, if you don't mind me saying, are going the opposite way. I wish you both lots of luck”.

The end

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