Derry, Northern Ireland

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

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


The new direction for the opening just isn't working for me. I now feel like I'm jumping too far into the story, and I really like opening with the question, so I came up with this, instead...

"Jake, why do you stick with Tone?"

It was asked by my stepmother, Mira, when I stopped by to see her in Paris. And it irritated the hell out of me. She knew the crap we were going through in Texas, so why was she was challenging me on this now? Fortunately, my mind was more focused on a weird text I'd received from my Uncle Owen, so I didn't pay enough attention to start a fight.

It was a simple text -- Jake, why haven't you come? But it had been sent it to my European phone nearly five weeks ago. I didn't get it until now because I only use that one when I make my monthly trip to Copenhagen, for work. What worried me about it is, he knew my contact info in Texas, so if he needed to get hold of me fast, why not do it there? I'd heard nothing from him in months, and now I couldn't even get hold of him. His phone went to voicemail and was too full to accept any more messages, and an e-mail I sent bounced back. All I'd been able to do was send him a text asking him to call me. So with that ramming at me, along with a sudden storm that might delay my flight, messing with my schedule, the last thing I needed was Mira's question.

She and I were having lunch at an Indian café in one of those thousand year-old homes where everything creaks, even the whitewashed stone walls. Of course, when she'd asked me that, 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, and I'm the only one allowed to call him Tone. I loaded some Aloo Matar into my mouth to give me a chance to think.

Didn't fool her; she just continued on with, “Do you remain beside him because others say you should not?"

"Mira, what the hell?" I'd snarled, still half-chewing, "I love him."

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

Typical psychologist; Here's your box, little man, and aren't you ashamed for being in it?

I'd swallowed and sneered, “Psycho-lady, q’est-çe que c’est?” Trying to joke...but not succeeding.

Her expression turned into one like, Here's a prized lab rat that screwed up the maze leading to the cheese. "Has Antony told you everything he has done?”

Oh, shit, here it came. I knew more about him than anybody, but even I didn't know everything; I doubt anybody will. That didn't stop people from thinking, If he's not an open book, he's not to be trusted. Well the hell with that.

“Mira...what's really goin' on, here?”

She nodded and took a sip of her wine. Burgundy and a salad; something's wrong about that.

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

"So you sayin' I'm nuts?" Spoken in my twangiest twang.

She looked straight at me. “Your mother has contacted your father. Twice, that I know of.”

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

“I know one of the telephone calls was about your uncle."

Owen Taylor. Mom's half-brother by Nana's second marriage. On top of everything else. My appetite dropped to zero.

She kept on with, "He has vanished and she wants Faraz to use his influence to force an investigation."

Okay, that was bullshit. Mira didn't know my Uncle Owen was gay, and that mom blamed him for me choosing to go that way and be of the devil. She'd actually screamed that at me before she kicked me out of the house. Now she was calling her hated ex-husband about her hated brother? And for a ludicrous reason? Not exactly what I'd call standard operating procedure.

"Mira, you guys are in Paris; Uncle Owen lives in Palm Springs. What kind of influence can Faraz have?"

She gave me that screwed-up-rat look, again. "He owns property there. Some in partnership with your uncle."

"So what's this got to do with me?"

"Faraz was unable to learn anything, so she asked for your contact information. I find it interesting she did not already have it. But apparently she believes you may know where he has gone."

I didn't. I hadn't heard from him since the beginning of August and it was now November. I'd never worried because he'd always been casual when it came to maintaining contact. But now I was remembering that he was busted four months ago, at a grocery store; he sent me a book-long e-mail to vent.

No comments: