The morning had started out in a rush, don't most mornings of a wedding? A group of us had taken two suites at the Waldorf. We had a room for the girls: Peggy, Pecos, Red and myself, and a room for the boys: Rawhide, Reno, Ron (Peggy's brother), and Buckaroo.
We wanted to spend the night before in the city to make it easier to get to the church and have our last night festivities.
Rawhide was in charge of Buckaroo. He had plans to take him to a few bars he knew in the city.
Us girls decided to spend the night in. Get nice and comfy and order a buffet of no-no's to eat and relax.
After a short breakfast he went to have our nails and hair done at a posh boutique. We returned to the hotel and dressed in our bridesmaid dress and took a limo to the Church of St. John, the Devine.
We had been lucky the rain predicted had stayed off. Peggy turned to us and stated, "It knows better than to rain on my day." We laughed at her; only Peggy would dare the heavens to rain on her parade.
In a side room we all helped Peggy into her wedding dress. She had shopped for six months for it. It showed her at her best assets. The wedding dress was a simple design that was sheer at the top, with long sleeves, and a fluid skirt. The rest of us wore matching pink dresses. Red couldn't believe pink, her contrasting hair made her uncomfortable, and we all heard about it.
The music started and we lined up at the end of the great hall. The order of our procession was Pecos, then myself, and then Red. Peggy followed by herself down the aisle.
Before us at the altar were Rawhide, Reno, and Ron, supporting Buckaroo. They wore black tuxes with pink cummerbunds. Pecos and I had to look at each other and give a laugh. Only Peggy could talk them into it.
I had never seen so much emotion in Buckaroo's face. This was truly a joyous day for him. I was glad that he was allowing himself the joy to marry Peggy and look towards a future.
Watching Peggy come down the aisle told me that she too, had a special feeling. They both deserved to be happy and together they would do it, I knew.
The ceremony was simple but lovely. At the end Buckaroo gave a whooping kiss to Peggy. It would have continued if they didn't need to come up for air.
Upon returning down the aisle, Peggy wanted to change into her travel dress before returning to the hotel where the reception was being held. She told us she would only be a few minutes. Buckaroo went to thank the minister and we told her we would wait for her since our dresses were not as burdensome.
Five minutes became ten.
Buckaroo knocked on the door to see if she was okay. There was no answer. He opened the door to find her on the floor. He went to her side and found no breath, no pulse.
Quickly we organized to search the room along and call the city police of the murder. We discovered the cylinder in the flower vase of yellow roses.
No one really had seen anyone out of the ordinary at the wedding.
Once the questioning was done, it was my job to go to the hotel and explain what had happened while Rawhide took Buckaroo back to the Institute.
I went to the hotel and to where some support members to the Cavaliers was playing music. I asked for everyone's attention and made the morbid announcement. With that done, I went up to our room. I changed clothes and packed all the bags in the girls' room and did the same for the boys. I returned to the Institute that evening.
When I went up to the bunkhouse floor, Reno met me at the door to the bunkhouse. "He hasn't said anything," he told me.
"Would you if your last love was taken from you?" I asked him. I was tired and hadn't had time to absorb what had happened. I couldn't let myself fall apart. Not yet. I headed into the bunkhouse. Red was sitting in the conversation pit with Ron. I went to the kitchen side and pulled a bottle of coke out of the fridge. I needed it even though my ulcer was telling me otherwise.
I went back into the hall and headed down to the sentry on the bunkhouse floor. "Where's Buckaroo and Rawhide?"
"Buckaroo's room," he informed me.
I turned back and stopped in front of Buckaroo's door. I opened it and let myself in. Buckaroo was sitting at his desk. Rawhide was watching him from a distance, pretending to be reading his newest hardcover.
Both men looked up at me when they heard the door closed.
"Anything?" I asked.
"Not much more than what we knew when we left the church," Rawhide answered.
I walked over to Buckaroo. He was trying diverting attention to the papers in front of him, but I could feel his mind working over time. I placed my bottle on the desk and moved around to stand behind him. I put my arms around his neck and hugged him. I don't know for how long I held him but he finally moved a bit to show me he had enough.
"Why don't you two go get some sleep? I don't think I will be turning in for a while." Buckaroo told us.
Rawhide started to say something in protest but was cut off by Buckaroo, "Please, I won't do anything foolish. I just need some time by myself."
We went to the door and looked back at him. It was going to be a long cold winter.
In the hallway Rawhide escorted me to my room. Rawhide stopped at my door and asked, "How are you doing?"
I looked at him. "It hasn't hit yet." I told him. We all know my history with people I trust and love. And I loved Peggy. She was the sister I never had. When she came for Christmas between semesters at Cambridge, I thought the guys found me a kindred spirit. But that was Peggy. I loved how she could make Rawhide flounder at words or have one of the guys taken aback by her gusto in a given situation.
But one of my mottos in life is: "Everyone I love, leaves me, usually dead."
Rawhide opened my door and walked me into my room. I found my overnight bag on my floor. I walked across the room and looked back to Rawhide. "It seems surreal right now. Like I'm in a vacuum. I was there but it seems not real." I sat down on the edge of the bed and took a drink of my coke. "How can he be so cruel?" I asked Rawhide. I was implying Hanoi Xan had killed Peggy.
"Only Xan can answer that," he answered slowly, like he was trying to piece the madness together.
"She had so . . much . .potential.." I started to cry. "Her plans were dynamic," I got out.
Rawhide sat down next to me and took me into his arms and let me cry it out.
Somehow I found myself under the covers of my bed. Rawhide was asleep on the couch on the far wall of my room. Reassured, I went back into a dreamless sleep.
Two days later. . .
We, the Hong Kong Cavaliers, flew with Buckaroo to Texas to bury Peggy in the Banzai's family plot, beside his parents.
After a minister said his sermon, we each said something about Peggy then added our rose to the casket below us.
At my turn, all I could do was think of song that was so true at the time. I sang it to her then.
(Jim Babjak/Pat DiNizio)
Sentimental gestures never meant that much to me
But if I had her here today
I'd she`d a tear for all the world to see
Cut flowers sent to a girl with sentimental ways
Cut flowers meant more to her on ordinary days
A gentle girl who needed all the love I had to give
But I was blind to her and would not give
What she needed most to live
Cut flowers pressed between the pages of a book
she gave I go to her
and say, 'I'm sorry,'
Then I put cut flowers on her grave
authors note 1 :This song, written and recorded by the Smithereens, has always made me think about Peggy Simpson Banzai. Call me strange.
Authors note 2: based on events touched on in the book 'Buckaroo Banzai' by Earl Mac Rauch. This is a fictional account and is just a point a view by the author. No infringement is intended.