Derry, Northern Ireland

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

Saturday, August 8, 2015

New opening for OT

I've redone the opening chapter and cut 18 pages. It gets going much faster...


-- A Question --

“Jake, why do you stick with Tone?”

It was my stepmother, Mira, asking. In English instead of French or Farsi and coming at me at the worst possible time. I was en route to Copenhagen for work and had routed through Paris so she and I could meet her request, I might add. On top of that was the legal trouble Tone and I were going through in Texas, and then the second I'd started up my European cell phone I'd gotten a weird text from my Uncle Owen, in Palm Springs.

Jacob, why haven't you come? I need your help.

It was four weeks old, but I'd heard nothing else from him. That made me nervous. The moment I was done with Customs, I'd tried to call him but his voice mail was too full to accept any more messages and an e-mail I sent bounced back, making me nervous-er. All I could do was send a text and hope he'd get back to me once he woke up. So Mira's question was not what I needed, right then.

She and I were having lunch at an Indian café near Le Blanc-Mesnil. It's in one of those thousand year-old homes where everything creaks, even the whitewashed walls thanks to an early winter storm. Of course, when she'd asked that question, what she'd really said was, “Iacob, what is your loyalty with this Antony?” She always calls me by my Persian name when she's leading up to something. I loaded some Aloo Matar into my mouth to give me a chance to think.

Since I didn’t answer, straight off, she continued, “Do you remain with him because you are stubborn, Iacob? Because others say you should not?"

"Mira...I love him," I said, still half-chewing.

"It is not love to remain with someone when it is to your own detriment; it is self-loathing."

Good ol' Mira, blunt as usual. I swallowed and snarled, “Psycho-lady, q’est-çe que c’est?” Joking...but not.

She deliberately did not look at me. “Did you know Antony requested that his therapist share his notes with me?"

"Yeah. He...uh, he told me at the airport."

That made her look at me. "Just before your journey to here?" I gave her an American shrug. She looked at me like I was a lab rat that'd screwed up the maze leading to the cheese. "Has he told you everything he has done?”

I gave her another shrug. I knew more about Tone than anybody, but even I didn't know it all; I doubt anybody will.

“Then let me rephrase my question," Mira continued. "Even if you do love him, is it wise to remain with him?”

"Why're you askin’ me this?"

"I have been talking with your Uncle Ari.”

That made me chuckle. “Nobody talks to Ari; you listen, 'cause he talks enough for both of you."

She smiled back, but almost sadly. "True. He likes your work. His clients now ask for you. He wants you to partner in his business. It is an excellent idea, and as you are now a citizen of Denmark, you may do this. But you must return there to live. Antony cannot leave America until next year, at the earliest. He could join you, then.”

What a load of crap. Ari and my dad may be brothers, but guess who couldn't keep a secret to save his life? And he hadn’t even hinted about anything more than meeting a new client this trip and sending more graphics assignments my way.

She munched on another load of salad, pretending not to watch me. That made me growl. “Mira...what's really going on, here?”

She stopped in mid-chew and nodded and swallowed and took a sip of her wine. Burgundy with a salad; there’s something wrong about that.

"I apologize," she said. "I am too used to being careful with my patients."

"Now you saying I'm nuts?"

She looked straight at me. “Your mother has contacted your father. Twice.”

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

“I know the first telephone call was about your uncle. Nothing more. But when your father becomes this secretive, it worries me."

My appetite vanished. I knew who she meant, but I still had to ask, "Which uncle? Ari? Bert?"

"No, the one who lives in California."

Owen Taylor. Mom's half-brother by Nana's second marriage. She blamed him for me choosing to be of the devil. She'd actually screamed that at me before she and my father kicked me out of the house. But now she was calling her ex about her hated brother, for some reason? Not what I'd call an unimportant development.

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