Disclaimer – I don't own them or make any money from them.
What might have happened in the years after Perry Mason tucked his beautiful secretary's fortune into the corner of his wallet...
(The following excerpt - until noted - comes from The Case of The Grinning Gorilla by Erle Stanley Gardner. The first section is from approximately page 125 of my pdf edition and the end section is the last of the book.)
The Chinese waiter brought back a big pot of tea. "Best kind," he said. "Ooh Loong cha." He gave them fresh teacups and a bowl of rice cakes.
Mason extended the bowl to Della Street. She took one, broke it open, read the fortune, smiled, folded the little printed slip of paper and started to put it in her purse.
"Hey, wait a minute," Mason said.
She shook her head.
"Why, Della, "Perry Mason said, "You don't ordinarily keep things from me."
"This one I have to."
"I am sorry, Chief." She colored furiously. "It wouldn't have been so bad if I had passed it over to you right at the time, but now it would be – out of the question."
She opened her purse, took out a coin purse and placed the folded slip of paper with its printed message inside.
Mason broke open a cake while Della Street poured tea.
"What's yours?" Della asked.
Mason abruptly folded the fortune and started to put it into his side pocket. Della Street laughed. "I caught you that time," she said. "You haven't even read it yet."
Mason grinned, unfolded the slip of rice paper, read the printed message, then passed it across to Della Street. The message read: To reach your goal, remember that courage is the only antidote for danger.
"Well," Mason said, "I guess we had better telephone Drake's office and see if they have uncovered anything."
"Chief, somehow I – do you feel that there is anything to these fortunes?"
Mason laughed. "Of course not, Della. They have them printed by the hundred. They are inserted in the cakes and the cakes are baked so that when you break the cake the fortune is inside of it. I don't know how many different fortunes there are. Probably not over a hundred or so."
"Have you ever received a duplicate in any of the cakes you have eaten?"
"Come to think of it," Mason said, "I don't know that I have. I haven't given it a great deal of thought."
"Do you believe in Fate?"
Mason said, "The Chinese do to this extent. They will put a hundred different messages in a hundred different fortune cakes. They feel that the one you pick out was really intended for you. That's the way most of their fortune-telling works. Sometimes you shake fortune sticks in a bowl until one drops out."
She said, "I have a feeling that your fortune has a really personal message to you."
Mason laughed. "What you are really trying to say, Della, is that you hope the fortune you picked out has a personal message to you.
Her face became a fiery red.
Mason went out to the outer office, plugged in the telephone line, and, as he did so, took from his pocket the folded piece of rice paper from the fortune cake which had been delivered to him by the Chinese together with Della Street's coin purse.
On the paper appeared in fine print:
If you marry him you will be very happy and present him with a man child who will be very much like his father.
Mason hesitated for a moment, then, opening his wallet, pushed the folded piece of rice paper far down into a corner.
(Above text is from The Case of the Grinning Gorilla by Erle Stanly Gardner)
A few years later…
Perry Mason, standing on the small balcony of his second story bedroom in the country cabin, gazed across the moonlit lake, the brightness of the moon's reflection in the water turning his eyes black. The cool wind brushed across the bare skin of his wide chest, lightly lifting the light cotton of his pajama bottoms, the tip of his cigarette glowing in the darkness as he inhaled.
Della Street stood in the frame of the French doors, watching the man she loved grip the railing of the terrace, his mind obviously far away. She thought she knew where. The time they'd spent with Perry's cousin and her four delightful children had definitely put her in a pondering frame of mind. When Linda had called out of the blue needing legal advice Perry had invited her to join them at the cabin for a few days. Unsure about entertaining four children between the ages of 2 and 8, Della had been somewhat nervous, but both Perry and Della had thoroughly enjoyed spending long days with the children while Linda worked through her difficulties. Since their departure the previous afternoon the quietness of the cabin and the emptiness she felt had been preying on her. Finally, after an hour long bath, she knew what she wanted. But now she had to find out if she and her lover were on the same page.
Della saw the subtle movement in his shoulders as she stepped onto the terrace, dropping in relaxation as he sensed her presence. She stepped closer as he punched out his cigarette against the rail and turned.
"Oh, sweetheart…" he breathed, staring at the vision that was his lover. Blue silk encased her body like a glove, breast to mid-thigh, with a deep décolletage to draw his eyes to one of his favorite parts of her body. Her skin gleamed alabaster in the moonlight against the dark palate of midnight silk. He smiled invitingly, his eyes smoldering with good old-fashioned lust.
Della took a deep breath as she took a step forward. Perry then took a step, the couple alternating until they stood less than a foot apart. Her face tilted up to stare into his looking down, a sweet smile gracing her perfect lips.
"I've been thinking… I have something I want to give you. I'm not trying… I hope…"
"Baby," he soothed, lifting a palm to cup her cheek, "just tell me."
Della nodded, his touch giving her confidence. Her left hand lifted his free arm up as she drew her right hand from where she had been holding it behind her back. She pressed the small plastic case she was holding into his palm. She continued to stare into her lover's eyes as she did so.
Finally Perry could deny himself no longer and he closed the inches between their mouths to taste her lips. Only after that kiss, and several more, was done did he investigate what Della had pressed in his hand. Long fingers, deft and sure, flipped the lid back and looked at the contents. He contemplated the device for long moments before flipping the lid shut, his eyes closing as he took a deep slow breath.
Waiting for a reaction that didn't seem to be forthcoming, Della's anxiety grew. "I'm not trying to force you into anything you don't want." She quickly assured him. "I just… the way you were with the kids … having them around… it made me realize that… you'd make a fantastic father… You deserve that… Well… I have always been the one to say no to marriage and all its trimmings in the past… so I just wanted you to know that if you ever decide that you would like… then I'm ready too… If you want… well… with me…"
Still Perry said nothing. Eyes remaining closed, he tossed the box away. He dropped slowly to his knees, his hands sliding down to rest at Della's waist. Wrists together in the center just below her navel with those long fingers splayed out wide, he leaned forward and placed the softest of kisses on her silk covered stomach before resting his forehead there. His fingers tightened almost imperceptibly and Della's fear fled as she realized that there were tears on Perry's cheeks, that he was embracing her womb, the future home of the child that she had just offered to him… to them both… The child that he now knew he wanted… with her.
Time seemed to stand still as they stayed locked together like this, Perry clinging to Della's abdomen while one of her hands brushed away the dampness on his cheeks and the other caressed his luxurious hair.
Eventually Perry rose to his feet and tenderly cupped her cheeks in his palms. "Are you absolutely sure, Della?" Even knowing that she wouldn't have made the offer unless she was, he still had to ask. "There would be changes…"
"Mmm…" Della chuckled. "A lot of them. But I believe that we can manage. Together, my love, we can do anything. But you have to promise me that you will be open-minded… that somehow we can still find a way to continue working together."
Perry grinned ruefully. "I guess we could always turn the storage room into a nursery…"
"See? That's a very creative idea."
"I was kidding…" Perry trailed off, sensing that perhaps Della wasn't. "Somehow, sweetheart… we'll work it out."
"We don't have to start trying this minute. We can take some time to consider things if you want. I can still put the diaphragm in."
"No, you can't…" With that Perry bent and scooped up the plastic box, his arm arcing back and with a pitch that a major league baseball player would be envious of, hurled it over the railing and into the darkness. Seconds later it could be heard hitting the water.
"Come on, Miss Street!" Della yelped as Perry bent and scooped, throwing her over his shoulder. "Let's go make a baby!"
He crossed the few steps to the bed in the wink of an eye and bent to lower her gently onto the mattress, then crawled over her. "A beautiful little baby… A man child who will be very much like his father."
Della's eyes widened as her fist came up to pummel his shoulder. "Perry Mason! You told me the fortune wasn't in my purse!"
"It wasn't... by then. I had already taken it out. I put it away for safe keeping… just until we were ready…"
She continued to glare at him but he could see the gleam threatening to peek through her lovely eyes as his hands stroked in supplication. "Besides, Baby, I think I would like a little girl first… with brown curls and green eyes and Cupid's bow lips…"
"Just what I need… another female for me to have to compete with for your affections?" The smothered smile broke through as Della wrapped her arms around Perry's torso.
"You, Miss Street, shall ALWAYS be the recipient of the largest portion of my affections." Perry settled down on top of Della, wrapping her in his long arms to physically demonstrate.
The powerful engine of the late model corvette purred as the car sped around the curve and whipped up in front of the secluded cabin. Paul Drake unfolded his long frame from the tiny space and briefly wondered again why he didn't get a car he could actually fit comfortably in. In fact, the only person he'd seen who really fit well into the miniscule driving space was Della, but with the way that woman drove he was never letting her behind the wheel of his vehicle again. 'Pity they don't let women drive in the Indy 500,' he thought as he stepped on his discarded cigarette butt and lit another. 'She'd be a natural.'
Paul headed toward the steps into the house then turning to stare out over the dark waters as he stood on the porch to enjoy his last smoke of the day. Peering out over the moonlit lake he began to pick up a strange humming sound. The detective in him was curious and his eyes scanned the perimeter for what sort of animal could be making it. Not a bird, he decided. Maybe some sort of cat…
The sound was getting louder now… a sort of mewling punctuated with gasps. Now Paul was really bugged. Was there someone out there? What if someone had found out about Perry Mason, the famous attorney's 'secret hideaway'? He thought about waking his host up to help him search, instinctively glancing behind and up toward the upstairs balcony. The double doors to Perry's bedroom stood open.
'Must have wanted some fresh air. Wonder if he hears that noise?'
Paul started to call out but in the very instant before sound left his lips the noises became distinct and distinctly feminine.
"ohyes,god… please…please…yesyesyes… oh Perry!"
Rolling his eyes, Paul practically ran back to his car, the loud cries of the woman now joined by the deep bellow of the man ringing in his ears.
'I wonder if that red head with the long legs is still at the bar,' he thought as he roared away.