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 4

“Was that necessary?”

“An observation, only.” She dug deeper into her salad. “I notice you use the past tense when you speak of your happiness.”

“Psycho-lady, q’est-ce que c’est?” She just looked at me. I shrugged. “It’s been rough, lately. No surprise. The crap we’ve been going through – it’d tear at anybody.”


“What’s this really about, Mira?”

She deliberately did not look at me. “He let his therapist share his notes. Has he told you everything he’s done?”

“I got most of it.”

“Is it wise to remain with him?”

“What do you mean?”

Her eyes locked on mine. “Your work is in Copenhagen. You are now a citizen of Denmark. It much more logical for you to be there than eight thousand kilometers away.”

“You don’t abandon somebody who’s got cancer or AIDS or heart disease, not if you love ‘em. Tone’s still healin’, both physically and legally. I’m stickin’ it out. You haven’t told me why you’re askin’. Is it Uncle Ari? You been talkin’ to him?”

“One does not talk to Ari; one only listens. He likes your work. His clients like your work. He wants you to become a partner in his business. It is an excellent idea, but you will have to return to Copenhagen to live. Antony cannot leave until next year, at the earliest. He could easily join you, then.”

Talk about a load of crap. Uncle Ari and my dad may be brothers, but Ari was open and gregarious and never met anyone he couldn’t like...and couldn’t keep a secret to save his life. He hadn’t even hinted about anything more than meeting this client and sending more art assignments my way. So there was something else going on and she didn’t have the nerve to be up front with me. Which brought her down a notch in my eyes; if she can’t tell by now that I can be trusted, she never will.

Which pissed me off. “What’re you really gettin’ at, Mira? And don’t hand me this crap about Uncle Ari.”

She stopped in mid-chew and nodded and swallowed and took a sip of her wine. Burgundy with a salad, there’s somethin’ wrong about that. Then she looked straight at me.

“Your mother has contacted your father.”

Slam-bam, blindside me, ma’am. I took a deep breath. “So?”

“I do not know why. He will not tell me. I only learned of this by accident. And when your father becomes this secretive, it worries me. I think, if you stay in America much longer, something will happen. And you are better protected in Denmark.”

“Tone wasn’t.”

“He is an easier target.”

No argument there. “Why do you think this concerns me?”

“Why would you not think so? As your father tells the story, he and your mother hate each other. Is there any other reason she would call him, except about you?”

Phone call, huh? Yeah, that meant way too much. I’d learned how to pinch pennies from my mom, so for her to spring for an overseas call to a man she despised almost as much as I did, instead of popping off an e-mail...well, that was a big deal.

“Neither one’s even tried to get hold of me, and they both know how. Maybe mom’s askin’ dad for money.”

Mira rolled her eyes at that. I shrugged in agreement. So why would she have called him?

Mira had no answers and I had to head back to the airport for my plane. I did some checking via my phone to see if I could find out anything, but it wasn’t till I got home, in Copenhagen, that I got an idea of what it was all about. Since I was over there so much, Mrs. Lund always put our mail on the table, and mixed in was an envelope from my Uncle Owen in Palm Springs. He’s mom’s half-brother, from Gramma’s first marriage. It was postmarked just over a month earlier, and in it was what looked like a house key and a printout of a note that read – “Dear Jake, You’ll need this when you come. O. #4855*”

Dear Jake? He never addressed me like that. WTF?

I tried to call him, but his phone went to voice mail then disconnected because it was too full to accept more messages. And an e-mail I sent bounced back to me. I contacted the service and found out his in-box was too full of unread messages for it to accept any more.

Then I got a text from Mira. She’d found out my uncle’d disappeared, three months ago. My father told her mom called to see if he could use his influence to push for an investigation into it.

What Mira didn’t know was, Uncle Owen’s gay, too, and had been cut off from most of the family for twenty years. The only reason I knew him was through Gramma; she figured out early on that it’d be good to have him available for questions once I started asking them. Which I did just after I turned fifteen. Then he and Gramma’d been the only ones who backed me up once I got outed, and once I went to jail, and once I got released. He knew me too damn well to call me Dear Jake.

Which meant he was in trouble.

Which meant soon as I was done at Uncle Ari’s, I was headed for a talk with my mother. Something I hadn’t done in years.

Shit, I’d sooner be back in jail.

I think I have it tight enough, now....but we'll see as the rest of it goes. I'm now at 84,000 plus words.


MAC said...

Thanks for the sample... I can't wait for the rest!

JamTheCat said...

Thanks, Mac. I guess I'm hoping that the opening chapter isn't too confusing, the way Jake doubles back on his memories and explanations.