Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Owen Taylor - Chapter 1 - part 1

Numb of I cop out to share the opening chapter of "The Vanishing of Owen Taylor"

“Why do you stay with Tone?”

It was my stepmother, Mira, asking me. She’d heard I was making a quick trip to Copenhagen to meet with my Uncle Ari, and all but begged me to swing by Paris instead of routing through Amsterdam. I wasn’t crazy about it because it costs more and I’d have to deal with their god-awful Terminal 2, nor would I have time to pop out to see my brothers and sisters. But something was up, because she’d never been so insistent, before. Who knew this would be the beginning of a trip to hell?

Since her office is just a half-hour from De Gaulle, I set up my connecting flight for four, and called her soon as I was finished with immigration control. It meant using my Danish passport instead of my US one and going through the hassle of security, again, but she’s been a good ally against my bastard father, so I couldn’t say no.

Of course, Mira had hinted at wanting to know my reasons for sticking with Tone, before, but I’d ignored her; I don’t answer non-questions. This time she asked it straight out. In English. To make clear she wanted an answer. Of course, what she really said was, “Iacob, what is your loyalty with this Antony?”

She was being careful with her words. Sure, I’m only one who gets to call Antony Tone, but she never calls me by the Persian version of my name unless she’s edging into a totally different question and wants to set the groundwork, first.

I knew she wasn’t concerned about the trouble Tone and I’d had in Texas, a couple years back. I’d filled her in on how he’d got caught up in finding out what happened to a man he loved, who’d been murdered in a jail cell, and damn near lost his mind fighting the bastards who’d done it. And his life. On top of it, he’d done things that were not in any way, form, or fashion legal. Which is why we lived in Texas instead of Denmark, right now; he was still dealing with that fucked-up state’s system of non-justice. I didn’t get all detailed, just told her enough to counterpoint anything she’d read in the papers or hear from my father.

I also made it clear I only got caught up in the mess because one of those bastards, a deputy sheriff named Nussewald, faked up a drug bust against me and got me send to prison for eighteen months. When he pulled the same damn thing on Tone’s lover, Collier Winston Royce, he didn’t realize he’d picked on the wrong guy. I was lucky; I wound up exonerated and with a nice cash settlement instead of dead, like Collier. Nussewald lucked out, too; he dropped dead from a heart attack before he got to trial...they say. I’m not a conspiracy freak, but considering how nasty the revelations were getting to be, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn he’d been helped along to the great hereafter. Nor would I care.

Tone had filled her in on everything else that went down, though not in the extreme detail he normally uses. At least, I don’t think he did. I really doubt she’d want to meet me, if he had – at least, not till she’d finished picking his brain apart. That was Mira’s job – one of the psychiatrists at a clinic in Villepinte, so she’d have loved to see what was cooking in his crazy-assed head.

As if anybody could know what goes on in there. Even I didn’t, half the time, and I’m closer to him than blood family. He’s got pockets of secrets hiding in shadows that he won’t let you see till he’s damn good and ready. Hell, he didn’t even let me know they’d talked till he was dropping me off at the airport and I mentioned I’d changed my connection to De Gaulle.

I knew, straight off, why he’d called Mira; as he was leaving his therapist, a week back, he got ambushed by this on-line reporter who’s a right-wing-nut sleaze. Stanton and Thomas, two of the other assholes who’d almost got Tone killed, had lost their latest legal round and were finally facing an honest-to-god trial, and the fag-haters and crypto-nazis were screaming loud and long, about it. So the questions from that reporter had been so loaded and his cameraman so hard in Tone’s face, he knew they already had the story written and just wanted to show they’d talked to him.

Sure enough, when the video was posted, a few days ago, he came across like some crazed faggot out to rape innocent boys and turn the state into a non-stop orgy of homosexual lust as he brought down the judicial system in an attempt to make his legal problems go away. That he’d been nearly murdered, thanks to the collusion between Nussewald and those two scumbags, all because he’d ruined their diseased money-making scheme -- that wasn’t even mentioned. Of course, Fernandez called to let us know he knew what was up.

“It’s theater,” he said. “Something to give the governor cover.”

“What’s the point?” I asked. I was watching Tone replay that sick video for the twentieth time.

“Preemptive strike. The other side wants him to pardon Stanton and Thomas. If they can get enough people to believe both men were innocent little lambs brought down by a vengeful son of Sodom, and lay everything on the grave of poor, dead Mr. Nussewald, they have a better chance of getting their way.”

“What’re we doin’ about it?”

“Already happening,” he said. “Check tonight’s news.”

So I hung up, shut down the computer and dragged Tone away. He pulled at me, snarling “motherfuckers” under his breath, but I got him in the car and we drove to a Rudy’s and pigged out on barbecue and beer till he was too stuffed and drunk to worry about anything. We got home just in time to see the ten o’clock newscast, and it was lovely.

The stupid bastards didn’t just piss off GLAAD and the ACLU; the story finally caught the interest of the Department of Justice and was giving the state its latest black eye as regards being a hate-everybody-but-white-good-ol’-boys kind of place. It helped that fact-checkers tore the damn thing apart so fast, it might as well have been shot on toilet paper. Even Fox News and a couple Republicans said that reporter had gone too far. That’s when the A-G’d sent Fernandez his little whimper of, “Can’t we all just get along?” It was priceless.

In response, Fernandez asked for a monetary settlement and laughed when they sputtered. Of course, they’d never agree, but it was a fun place to start negotiations.

No comments: