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The Story of Two Old Suitcases delves deep into a world where paranoia, psychosis and religious faith happily co-mingle. With each turn, obstacles mount and with each decision the protagonist take complications compile to finally create a despicable tragedy.
In the inner-city ghettos of Jamaica, a woman is pummeled within inches of her life as the neighbours raid her shanty home looking for something even they cannot bring themselves to believe.
An angelic eight month old baby is found, within minutes of her death, under the concrete stairwell in a shopping mall on a frigid Canadian winter day. There is no note on the baby and the police have no clues to go by. Public pressure rises. People demand the capture of the person responsible for such a heinous act but the police are looking for a needle in a haystack.
These hellish acts haunt Arberto and Melanie Warden. Devoted to their faith and family, they believe in a simple life and strive to live as Jesus did. Although from different backgrounds, their fervent determination to live by the Scriptures unites them. Together, they fight the evil around them. Active in their Toronto church and community, the Wardens spend their time counseling children-at-risk, pregnant teenage mothers and others who have lost their way while growing their own devoted family. Their meticulous clean appearance and their charismatic feisty personality, wins them the hearts of those they hope to save.
However, their model-citizen status begins to crumble when Arberto's radical interpretation of the Scriptures is questioned.
As Arberto's influence soars in the church, a small but vociferous group secretly attempts to undermine him. They think Arberto is full of holes and they are on a witch hunt to close them.
Melanie's strong personality betrays her weak will. She is like a lone frayed thread; never holding on to its roots and too quick to leap. Arberto introduces her to a world where her devotion finds order. As his status rises in the community so do the demands on his family. Arberto becomes fanatical about cleanliness and expects Melanie and his young children to scrub Satan from their lives. He nearly starves his family in the belief that one must feed the soul before the body. Believing that science is contrary to religion, Arberto does not allow his family to consult a doctor or his wife to have a baby in the hospital. All his children are born at home.
Soon, his extremism captures the attention of the police and the Warden's kids are taken into the custody of Children's Services. Melanie does not understand the world in which she lives. All Alberto and she are trying to do is to make the world a better place, or are they?
Based on true events, this story presents two separate court cases where justice was not served. It poses the question, is it right when a person is wrongly set free but accused of another crime they did not commit?
Phyllis Koppel has lived in seven cities around the world and travelled extensively in North America, the Caribbean and the Middle East. During her travels she has collected stories of life and of herself. The Story of Two Old Suitcases is her third endeavor into fiction. She also wrote, Systematic Taco and Eyes of the Dead Sea. She lives north of Toronto, Canada with her boyfriend and her cat Frosty.