Authors note: When I first started reading the works of one of my pulp fiction favorites, John D. MacDonald (Travis McGee, et al), I was fascinated with his ability to construct plots that were convoluted, and yet still not beyond the realm of possibility. Although he was known for his mystery/adventure stories, he wrote several other books, including an early fantasy: The Girl, The Gold Watch and Everything. It is with unashamed admiration that I stole the concept for this story. R.I.P. J.D.!
As always, my thanks to ErikThread for his skillful and insightful editing. Any errors or omissions are mine alone.