The Master’s House is a clearinghouse for the departed. Senator Michael “Magazine” Gladstone, Diane White-Shough (Diane Nightingale) and Richard LaPaz (Rio Richelieu) arrive together. They don’t know that they are dead. Although the Master isn’t home, the butler, Hawthorne, gladly receives them. As Hawthorne tries to inform them of their current state, one by one they leave the house. Through episodes in their former lives, they relive the events that caused their deaths.
Rio Richelieu is a drive-in movie projectionist. During the course of his career, he eventually owns the drive-in, which, ultimately over the years, stresses him to death. Diane Nightingale is a call girl on Philadelphia’s Mainline. She is a young woman whose career is not in itself the cause of her death, but, she dies at the hands of a dangerously obsessed young man. In World War II, Michael Gladstone is a commander of a transport outfit. At wars’ end he settles down to a comfortable life as a senator, whose major accomplishment is the creation of a new road. It is on that road that he meets his end.
The lives of these three characters are connected. Will they find the courage to either utter or write their last words?
Diane drifted around the golden fountain and to the far wall, by her collection of ancient statuettes. She ignored her persistent suitor, giving her attention instead to the pristine Goddess Delorean sent her. "Look, please leave me alone. I think you are a little . . . troubled." "You're right. I am a little troubled. Beautiful women do that to men. But I can't leave without you. " "Don't make me call the police." "The police! They are the last people you want to call. If you called them, they'd come and close you down. Frankly, I don't know how you stayed in business this long. You'd never be able to come back to the Mainline. You'd be through. Diane, one last time, come home with me. That's where you belong." A heavy weight bearing down on her, she regarded the Goddess and was given these words: Go back to your mother. My mother is dead. She's been gone for more than ten years. Normally, such news would have warranted a word of contrition. Diane reached for her Mother Goddess and unwittingly revealed Delorean's note. No longer patient, Adrian snatched the note off the shelf. "Give that back to me," Diane shouted. "That's my personal property. You have no right to look at it." He easily held it up away from her, twisting his body and reading it. "Diane, because of the source of my contacts and the arrangements under which I have procured this goddess. . . . Diane, what you got here? Stolen property? Something like this is worth the equity of your house." Adrian gave the note back to Diane. "He says he's coming back." "That's right. He's a lot more sophisticated than you. You hear? He's not a fundamentalist Neanderthal like you. As a matter of fact, he's only charged half the going rate. Not like you. You're the only John that's charged full rate. That's all you'll ever be—a John. So why don't you clear out? I'd like to freshen up before he gets here." "I want to see this fairy myself. Tell you what, I'll just hide in this room and surprise him." "You'd never surprise him. He's eluded the law like nobody's business. He'd sniff you out as soon as I open the door. Because nobody smells like a lawmaker." "Is that right? You know what? I got some friends in the State Police. Tell you what, let me make a phone call and we will sniff this guy out where he lives. Can I use your phone?" "Okay, say you do have the resources to apprehend him, where does that leave us?" A look of bright victory brightened Adrian's face. "You finally win me over. You whisk me away to Harrisburg. I immediately start a scandal because that's what I do best. I do all the boys in Harrisburg and then I do your father. You hear me, Bubba? I'd leave you in the honeymoon bed and sneak into your father's room. He wouldn't be sleeping either. I'd do him like he's never been done before. He'd wake up the next morning and be hunched over. You'd never know the difference. I'd go up the next night and resurrect the old bird again, roast him, baste him, and turn him over. I wouldn't stop. Nor would he. Then I would work on his political life. I would special-interest him to death. You think Lady Macbeth has anything on me?" Adrian put his head down as if he was going to cry. Diane opened her arms wide. "So take me. Take me away." Faking her by stepping around her in an apparent gesture of defeat, he easily grabbed the Goddess out of Diane's hands. "Let's see what the curator of the University of Pennsylvania Museum has to say about this." "She belongs here with me." Diane kicked him in the shin and tried to wrestle her away. Managing to grab another statuette from the shelf, she struck him in the back. He didn't let go. Diane hit him again, and both were groveling on the floor. Regaining his position, Adrian smashed the Mother Goddess against the side of Diane's head. Blood began trickling down the gash and onto the floor. He replaced the Mother Goddess on the shelf and inspected the prostrate body. "Diane, Diane." She did not stir. He put his ear to her mouth. She was not breathing. Uselessly reviving her, he heard Louise entering the front door. Adrian ran out of the Babylon room, past Louise and jumped into his truck, heading back to Harrisburg.
Ronald Dunham does not believe in personal continuity after the world of flesh and pleasure. He does believe extremely radical elements can change the world.