© Richard L. Thornton, Architect & City Planner
The Shenandoah Valley and Harpers Ferry
October 15, 1991 – December 1, 1991
July 2021 Revision
Love is a complex thing, indeed
Tis better to have known love, than never loved at all. I look back to those years and still wonder why those two very special women would have had simultaneously been in love with me. Even back then, most American women automatically chose a man for a husband, who had the most wealth. I certainly was not poor back then. I co-owned a very valuable piece of agricultural real estate and had a very successful architecture practice . . . but Vivi and Susan were 10’s . . . well maybe 12’s and I certainly wasn’t. Of course, both ladies said the same thing to me, “How could you possibly love me with all my faults?” Well, we all loved each other and Chapter Fourteen is basically a love story during war time . . . and indeed, we were at war.
Perhaps the love between three people sounds depraved today. Actually, it wasn’t. Different than the norm, yes, but we fell into the situation unintentionally, then made it work. Vivi and Susan bonded as sisters, not physical lovers. On our first threesome date to Harpers Ferry, both gals announced that they would like to have children out of wedlock with me in the near future. They would raise the kids together, since both of them would have to go on covert missions, leaving their offspring behind.
The love between all three of us was unconditional and not self-centered. We each put the other’s welfare above ourselves. As you will soon read, I was so concerned about losing their friendship that both gals literally had to knock me down the first time to force me to be in a horizontal position. That was their biggest complaint about me. I was too stoic and cautious!
My traditional Creek fireside saga is not a complete picture of the events that occurred in Virginia and Washington, DC . . . three decades ago. I was a volunteer asset, not a paid employee of any law enforcement or national security agency. I was never told about many things that were going on. That being said, the technical quality of the volunteer work I did in conjunction with Susan Karlson so impressed the professionals that I was treated as a peer by many of them. I was the only witness in the Georgetown Hearings, who was invited to attend all depositions and to question other witnesses. Those hearings will be discussed further on.
Susan’s supervisors couldn’t understand why a goatherd-architect was giving her a comprehensive education in national security espionage techniques, but didn’t complain. Of course, Vivi knew because she was there in the SUV when French security personal uncovered my activities in Europe and Latin America long ago. It was not until November 1991 that I told Susan about what I did on the side in Mexico and then said, “In 10 months, I can tell you the rest of the story.” She instantly got the message. She was in that same business as a fulltime professional.
Well, there was something else. Architects are trained to be very observant, but evidently, I have talents that take me up to a much higher level. In 2011, I was sleeping on the concrete floor of the office of an abandoned chicken house near Track Rock Gap, GA. Out of loneliness and boredom, and on a lark, I took the CIA Employment Aptitude Test online. Within two hours, the night-time desk officer called me from the CIA headquarters in Langley, VA and invited me to go to work for the CIA the next day as an intelligence analyst. They would leave my airplane ticket and travel voucher at the Delta check-in booths at the Atlanta Airport and email me other instructions. Then he learned that I was over 40 so that plan was cancelled and they began trying to get me a position with a private contractor.
He said that I had scored higher than most career CIA officers with 20 years of experience, including a perfect 100 on visual intelligence . . . which is almost unheard of. I also had almost a perfect scores on world geography, discerning foreign languages and cryptology.
About three years ago, also on a lark, I took the 1944 US Department of War aptitude test for all inductees. Had I been a college graduate during World War II, look where they would have placed me!
Vivi enters Susan’s secret world!
Keep in mind that we are talking about two brilliant, highly educated ladies. Both carried deep emotional scars from their parents, plus Vivi carried scars from many contacts with abusive men, but both also were guided by telepathic brains, which could sense my thoughts and emotions.
When Vivi learned in early June 1991 at Bob & Sara’s house that I would be faking an affair with a beautiful Swedish-American virgin FBI agent, she obtained permission from them to use the magic cellular phone to call Susan.
Vivi immediately told Susan how I had saved her life and then we had fallen in love. However, ever since then, she had been having nightmares in which many people, including my estranged wife, were trying to kill me. She was very worried that in the many months of absence, I would be lured by some evil female in a bar to my death. Susan said that Vivi was crying as she begged her to become intimate with me so I would not be tempted to go out with evil women. Vivi even said that if Susan didn’t like me, she would pay Susan to pretend to like me. Susan responded that as a professional FBI employee, she was not permitted to accept such payments.
This new information explained why Vivi repeatedly urged me to have an “adult” relationship with Susan from the start. It also explains Susan’s bizarre behavior during our first meeting at her house. She had never even been kissed, yet assumed that I expected her to be intimate with me immediately.
On Monday October 14, 1991, – the day that Vivi and I were about to sample cheese at the gourmet foods event at Union Station, Susan called Bob on the magic cellular phone and asked to speak to Vivi. Vivi immediately thanked her profusely for taking care of me, but pondered why we had only kissed. “Richard is very kind, but also very loving with me when we are together. You missed out on something special.“
By then, I had finally given in to Susan’s desires, but Susan didn’t tell Vivi that. What she said instead was that it was my fault. (True) “Vivi, Richard told me the first time we met at Wendy’s in Front Royal that he was in love with a woman in France. He likes me and I like him, but I can read his mind. [Actually, Susan had already said that she was in love with me!] Part of him feels guilty about being anywhere near me. (True) Of course, that is the same trait that made him stay in a terrible marriage with a wife, who didn’t love him. (True) “Did you tell him, what you told me . . . that you wanted us to enjoy each other in every way?”
Vivi answered, “Oui, many times.” (True)
Susan, being an arbitrator and attorney, then suggested that the three of us get together, “so Richard will not feel guilty and confused.” Vivi agreed wholeheartedly.
The gals then went on to discuss my situation. (At this point, I was beginning to feel like a commodity, owned by Vivi and Susan.) Both were aware that my wife had shifted her demands from divorce to an open marriage – repeatedly encouraging me to find a younger girlfriend. Susan, my attorney in this matter, pointed out that my wife had never signed the Open Marriage Agreement that I had given her. [Susan was the author of that legal document.] Susan suspected that my wife couldn’t be trusted. (True)
Vivi then pointed out that due to the nature of their secret careers, it would be impossible for either one of them to have a normal marriage with me, because they would be gone for periods of time and couldn’t talk about what they were doing. The requirement for being away long periods was already a problem for Vivi, concerning her daughter. Susan agreed and suggested an arrangement for now in which Vivi had dibs on me when she traveled to the United States, but three of us would also get together for dinners so we could remain friends. Vivi agreed to that.
I finally had a word in the matter. “Vivi and I have an appointment with the realtor at a possible winery site tomorrow morning at 10. Susan, why don’t you join us for lunch at the Battletown Inn Restaurant in Berryville around noon? It features traditional Southern cuisine, but has a Cordon Bleu chef. Vivi is a student at the Cordon Bleu in Paris.” Susan said, “I would love it!”
Cat fight or love feast?
My surrealistic life continued. I was not sure what I was getting into, but knew that I was indeed torn up inside about having feelings for two sweet-natured women, who both said they loved me. It was my same old problem . . . fear of losing someone who I cared about. It had taken me 16 years and being trapped in a snowstorm to kick me into finding another woman, who loved me and enjoyed nurturing me. As a result, I was the happiest I had been in 16 years. Now, I was in two such relationships. Either Vivi or Susan could have been loving, faithful wives, who wanted to have our children. I absolutely did not know what to do.
Bob insisted that I take one of their cars so Vivi would not be seen in the pickup with me by any snooping VBI surveillance car. He was certain that they put a tracking device on my pickup . . . which of course, the FBI wanted . . . since their satellites were following the followers.
Once we were on the proposed site of the vineyard, the realtor was super-impressed by a very chique French woman, being in her presence. After walking the property, Vivi was convinced that it was ideal for a champagne winery. She needed well drained soils with the right amount of cold weather and warm weather.
The realtor was honest about two problems. Vivi’s contractor would have to drill a well, and the realtor was not certain that the county would issue a permit for a large enough septic field on the rocky soil to meet the needs of a winery, open to the public. We would have to find out.
Susan was waiting on the sidewalk when we arrived in Berryville. Vivi hopped out of the car, raced over to Susan, hugged her then in the French tradition kissed her cheeks. When I caught up to Vivi, she said, “Well, Susan, aren’t you going to hug Richard?” Susan gave me a wimpy hug then Vivi ordered her to hug me hard enough “to feel really good inside her.”
The Battletown Inn dates back to 1809 and so has much of the ambiance of a French Inn. Both gals loved the chosen site of our rendezvous. They both began chatting like old friends, usually leaving me out of the conversation. Most of the topics were girly type subjects like . . . “safest semi-automatic pistol to carry in your pocket book?” . . . or . . . “should you carry more than one hidden knife?” or “will a flash grenade explode inside your pocketbook” or “what do you do when a large, powerful man seems about to attack or rape you?”
Vivi laughed, “That’s not a problem with Ree-shard. I had to push him down onto the bed the first time to get him to lay on the bed with me.” (True) Susan laughed, “Me too! I had to push him down to lay with me on my sofa the first time. Then when I was just beginning to feel really good, he told me that I needed to take the intel to my sister.” (True)
Susan asked Vivi how she learned to pass on confidential materials right in front of a police camera. Vivi smiled, “Running drugs between France, Germany, Spain and England about 5 to 7 years ago.” Susan looked shocked and didn’t pursue the matter. Vivi added with a laugh, “Why do you think that the French government finds me so useful in fighting the heroin smugglers? I never used heroin, but I do like marijuana. It should be legal. It is much safer that strong drinks like whiskey and vodka.“
The two ladies were obviously enjoying each other’s company. I then realized that because they were so intelligent, there were not many women out there with which they could become close friends. In addition, Vivi was trying to divorce herself from France’s entertainment community.
On Monday morning, when I got up, I certainly did not expect to be socializing jointly with Vivi and Susan on Tuesday. In wildest dreams, I would never have foreseen Vivi and Susan become close friends, with Vivi soon taking on the role of a surrogate big sister, corrupting Susan in the ways of the world.
I asked Susan if she would like to join us this afternoon as we toured a winery and the restored town of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Vivi looked at Susan pleadingly. Susan said, “I’d love to!” Susan left her car parked on the street in Berryville. I suggested that the two gals sit in the back sit so they could chat easier and I could be their chauffer. They were delighted at the suggestion.
The winery offered a free tasting of various wines at a bar. Vivi became the second person in the world to know that Susan drank wine with enthusiasm. We each then ordered a glass of our favorite wine and went out onto patio. As we went to the patio, Susan said that this was the first time in her life that she had drunk wine in public. Vivi spied an ash tray on our table and asked if we minded if she smoked. We said no, then Susan asked if she could try one. I couldn’t believe my ears. Susan had been a closet pipe smoker since her teens, but no one but me had ever seen her smoke a pipe. . . other than her grandparents. Was she going to hold a cigarette like a pipe?
Once Susan lit her cigarette with Vivi’s lighter, she realized that she didn’t know what to do. She started mimicking everything that Vivi was doing, with not nearly the skill. She did not know that Vivi had graduated from Virginia Slims smoking school in Paris and was on a full page Bensen & Hedges ad in Cosmopolitan Magazine earlier in the year. (See below.) Actually, it was quite funny, but I held back my laughter.
Next, we drove over to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. With a considerable amount of wine in them the conversation of the two gals became quite honest – sometimes earthy. Susan eventually confessed that her parents did not let her date in high school or even wear lipstick. Richard was the only man that she had ever kissed! Susan added that she had to learn about the birds and bees in the county library.
Susan continued, “I first attended Bethlehem College in Minneapolis. It’s a Pentecostal school. The professors were nice enough, but very conservative. Boys and girls could not even hold hands on campus. Alcoholic beverages and smoking were prohibited.”
“Most of the students claimed that they wanted to wait until they got married for sex. They were looking for boring trophy wives, who would look good, sitting on a church bench. That’s when I started creating the fake Susan . . . the Swedish Ice Queen as they call me at the FBI. I was afraid to date any of the guys for fear that they would find out the real me. The real Susan desperately wanted to be kissed and fondled. However, I was afraid that the guys would not like the real Susan, who like wine and smoking pipes. I would walk over to other college campuses to smoke my pipe or experiment with other things.”
“I changed to Wheaton College in Chicago my second year. It was a little bit more progressive, but still all the guys were looking for preacher’s wives. I knew that they wouldn’t like the real Susan. I would walk to other parts of Chicago to smoke or order wine in restaurants.”
“Then in law school at the University of Minnesota, I became the weirdo. None of the girls were virgins, yet I had not even been kissed. I was still in the habit of acting like a nun around other people and then sneaking off to be the real Susan. At first, many, many men asked me for dates, but I was afraid for them to know that I knew nothing about even kissing. After awhile, the guys assumed that I was a lesbian and probably crazy too.”
“I started falling in love with Richard at Wendy’s, when I realized that he was farmer, very smart and a spiritual warrior. Then I acted really crazy when he came over to my house. He chewed me out, but he didn’t call me stupid. He said that I had a big brain and I was not using it. Actually, I now realize that my parents implanted a demon in me that was keeping me from being a loving woman. That demon ran away the second time that Richard visited me.”
She added, “I really enjoy kissing Richard’s big Indian lips, but much of the time, I don’t know what I am supposed to do otherwise.” She asked Vivi if the two of them could get together sometime so she could ask Vivi some personal type questions. Vivi said that she would be delighted to pass along her experiences, plus tell her what types of men to NOT date or marry. Those were the big mistakes she had made in her life.
Vivi joked that she also had big Indian lips, but that she had never kissed a man with big Indian lips before. “Richard and I make lots electricity, Susan.”
In the 1800s, Harpers Ferry was an important industrial town, driven by the water power of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers. It stagnated when coal fired steam engines replaced water power. Further investment was discouraged by periodic massive floods that did much property damage. One by one the industrial buildings, canals and bridges in the town were destroyed, but not rebuilt. In 1936, the worst flood of all wiped out the Lower Town. Much of Harpers Ferry was abandoned at that time. Soon work was begun by the Federal Government, which continues to this day in the restoration of the town as it appeared in the mid-1800s.
After visiting most of the buildings, I led my two dear friends to a grassy knoll, where the Shenandoah River joined the Potomac River to enjoy a magnificent view. It was Thomas Jefferson’s favorite spot in all of the new United States of America. He came here many a time to ponder the future of the nation, he had help create. I wonder what the future of our nation is?
After a bit of time, Susan spoke up, “I have presents for the two of you. I was planning to give them to Richard so he could then give one to you, Vivi. Just now I realized that this was the perfect spot.”
“Vivi, Richard said that you were jealous when you heard that we had smoked pipes together. That won’t be a problem anymore.” From her travel bag she pulled out two fancy, carved tobacco pipes with bows on them. One had “Vivi” engraved on it. The other has “Richard.” “Do you two want to try them out now to celebrate our friendship . . . our peace treaty. We can call them peace pipes.”
Vivi quickly answered, “Oui, that would be fun. I have never smoked a pipe. Richard you get in the middle of your two queens.”
Susan pulled a tobacco pouch out of her bag and packed our pipes. She then lit Vivi’s pipe and handed it to her. Then she lit mine and then her own. Vivi immediately coughed because she tried to inhale the smoke like a cigarette. Susan told her to just hold the smoke in her mouth and then blow it out. Susan was the only one, who was very skilled at smoking a pipe, but the pipes did produce spiritual experience for us. Each of us had to be thinking what a strange scene this was . . . but then again, it was nice.
We all stated that we wondered what would be happening to us in the future. As the smoke from the pipes died out, Vivi suggested that we participate in a Tamulte wedding ceremony as we all held hands in a circle. Vivi had learned the words from her grandmother for her first disastrous marriage ceremony. I don’t remember them and certainly didn’t realize that the Tamulte were really just Creeks living in Tabasco State, Mexico.
At the end, Vivi said in English, “This is a beautiful moment. Let’s pray that we will all be together in heaven someday . . . but not too soon!”
Vivi then reached over in front of me and put both hands on Susan’s hands. “Susan, do you know why I encouraged you to be with Richard? It’s because you are just like him. Once you made a promise, you would stay in a terrible marriage with no love or children for sixteen years. I love Richard so much that I want him to always be with a woman, who will love him and stand by him no matter what.” Vivi’s words are not the typical thing that comes out of an “other woman’s” mouth.
Girls just want to have fun
On the way back to Susan’s car in Berryville, Susan suddenly had a more serious look on her face after Vivi said, “Go ahead and tell him what we discussed. You can be my attorney today.”
“Richard, Vivi wants to have more children and for you to be their father, because she would not be alive today and probably burning in hell, was it not for you. She is a little older than me and so wants to start making babies soon. In Europe now, no one cares if an unmarried rich woman has children. She will set up large trust funds for each child so that the cost of raising them will not be a problem for you, in case she dies.”
“First of all though, as soon as you and your evil wife are not in the same house, she wants to bring Aimee to the United States and the three of you to live together for awhile, to see if Aimee likes you. If she does, she would like you to adopt Aimee as your daughter as soon as you are divorced. She would expect you to learn French better, but she would pay for the lessons. How do you feel about that.”
I really didn’t even need to think about it. “Sure, I would love Aimee just as much as I love her mother.”
Susan continued, “In that case, Vivi will also change her will at the same time to give custody of all her children to you and me, in case she dies.“
“Basically, what I am telling you is that Vivi and I have decided to raise each other’s children as if they were our own. Both of us will have to go on missions away from home. This way, all the children will have a mother and father all the time. “
“Oh, I guess I should add that I want you to be the father of my children and Vivi be in my will as their surrogate mother. I won’t start making babies until Vivi is finished . . . well, until she is mostly finished. That way we can help each other. Guess you could say that Vivi and I just proposed to you . . . even though you are not divorced yet.” We will be creating a series of legal documents and financial instruments that will protect the economic interests of the three adults and all children, but without violating statutes against bigamy. <both gals giggled.>
“Ladies, what can I say. Both of you were women beyond my expectations before December 1990. How could I do any better . . . besides, I would have two trained security guards at my side most of the time!”
Susan added, “Richard you will be the only man I ever kissed.”
Vivi finally spoke, “Well, Ree-chard, you are the only man I ever kissed and still remember it. Do you remember when I put cheese in your mouth and kissed you? I was thinking, wow, he has big lips like me!”
Susan then asked Vivi how long she would be in Alexandria. She said that she was leaving on Wednesday, October 16th. Susan responded, “Oh that’s a shame. Vivi, I have to go to the FBI building in downtown Washington on Thursday to give a preliminary report on my investigations in the Shenandoah Valley. I was hoping that we could get together again.”
Vivi was silent for a while then blurted, “You know, we girls to have stick out for each other. Are you finished with your report?” Susan said that she planned to finish it up tonight.
“Susan, I will delay my flight until Thursday night. Let’s have some fun for two days! You will get a call from one of your bosses tonight, telling you that the French Embassy has requested that you be the guide and provide security for a female agent in the Direction générale de la sécurité extérieure.”
“We are going to make you a new woman tomorrow . . . one that the men will take seriously.”
I learned at our next intel transfer on Wednesday the following week that Vivi told Susan to change her appearance to that of a sophisticated, fashion conscious woman of the world. Vivi had learned that government criminal justice and security agencies tell their female employees to cut their hair and dress like a Nazi, but it is the Vivi’s of the world that end up getting the best paying and most glamorous jobs. Vivi was going to pick up the tab for Susan having a complete make over . . . including the latest fashions for professionals from Paris! She gave Susan a complete wardrobe of casual, business and formal clothing!
Susan showed off her makeup, new outfit and hair style for me when I walked into her living room the next week. I could not believe the transformation. She looked like a woman with power, sophistication and she was downright gorgeous. Actually, I lusted in my heart after her . . . as the Old Testament says.
Susan told me that Vivi had trained her how to get information from men at bars without having to go to bed with them. Vivi told her that her tobacco pipes had to stay at home. She explained that most of the men and all of the women in a bar would assume that she was a lesbian, if she started puffing on a pipe at a bar.
Laughing, I responded, “Susan, you have never been in a bar in your life!”
She grinned and blurted back, “Oh yes I have! Vivi took me to five bars and even to a strip club!”
Susan was so proud of herself and was still grinning. “Richard, I have been practicing for a week in front of a mirror. Look what I can do now.” She picked up a pack of Benson & Hedges Menthol cigarettes (Vivi’s favorite brand) from the kitchen counter and then showed off that she now knew how to smoke a cigarette erotically like Vivi . . . but in truth, she said, she still preferred her beloved pipes. Hm-m, now Vivi was Susan’s role model – brilliant mind, exceptional beauty, irresistible femininity, clever espionage techniques and an addiction that these gals somehow convert in to a carnal lure for men . . . thrown together in the same display window. About a month later, Susan presented her final report to her bosses. Of course, I had no access to it.
In late November 1991, Susan received a letter of commendation. She was still quite naïve in the ways of bureaucracies and did not see the innuendos in the letter’s first paragraph. Someone really didn’t like Christians or women who bragged about being a virgin.
The beginning of the letter stated that her suitability for continuing employment with the agency had been in question because of many complaints about her social and communication skills. The latter part of the letter praised her for her rapid evolution into an outstanding representative of the FBI, after entering a romantic relationship. It added that the staff psychologist had determined that prior criticisms of Susan were probably due to the lack of romance, companionship and physical nurturing in her life. She was urged to continue that positive influence on her career.
Just as Vivi predicted, the last paragraph of the letter announced that she was being promoted to a much higher pay grade and being transferred to the counter-espionage division of the FBI that focuses on espionage, terrorism and international organized crime. She was joining the elite of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. What she would be doing had such a high security level that most employees of the agency would not be able to discern, if she even existed.