Derry, Northern Ireland

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

Saturday, October 10, 2015

The new, improved opening to OT...

Just to give everyone an idea of where I'm heading...and I will not be rewriting this...unless you find a typo...
"Jake, why do you stick with Tone?"

It was my stepmother, Mira, asking during a stop in Paris to see her, and it was the second question in less than an hour to come at me weird.

The first was a five-word text sent to my European SIM card number by my Uncle Owen -- Jake, why haven't you come? Like I hadn't shown up to a party of his or dropped by when I said I would. Like I didn't live in the middle of goddam Texas while he was in Palm Springs. Like he didn't have my American contact info, so if he really did need to get hold of me for some reason, he could have called; then I could have been by his side the same day. But to send it to a number I don't use except when I'm in France or Denmark? Four weeks ago? The day after my last trip to Copenhagen? That made no sense.

Of course, I called him the second I was done with French Customs -- about midnight his time. I got dropped straight to voicemail, and it was too full to accept more messages. Which was not untypical for him, so I sent him an e-mail. It bounced back. That was a-typical, but Mira was waiting so all I could do was text him to call me when he woke up. With that on my mind, not to mention a winter storm blowing in that might delay my connection and mess with my schedule, I did not need any crap from my father's second wife.

Of course, what she really asked was, “Iacob, what is your loyalty with this man, Antony?” She always calls me by my Persian name, and I'm the only one allowed to call my guy Tone. Plus, English is her third language after Farsi and French, so she's always going to sound more formal. We were having an early lunch at an Indian café near De Gaulle, in one of those thousand year-old homes where even the whitewashed stone walls creaked, so I loaded some Aloo Matar into my mouth to give me a chance to think.

She continued on with, “Do you remain beside him because others say you should not? Are you to be stubborn, in the way of your father?"

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

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

Oh...typical psychologist; Here's your box, little man, and aren't you ashamed for being in it? I wondered if she analyzed my half-brothers-and-sisters in the same way...and figured, probably.

I swallowed, sipped my beer, took a breath and snarled, “Psycho-lady...q’est-çe que c’est?” Tried to joke; didn't work.

Her expression turned quizzical, like she was thinking, This lab rat was smart, once upon a time, so why is he screwing up on the maze leading to the cheese? "Has Antony told you all that he has done?”

On that? Probably not. I knew more about him than anyone, but even I didn't know it all. I doubt anyone ever will. That didn't stop people from wondering, If he's not an open book, why do you trust him? the last 10 years I'd met too many open books perfectly willing to stab you in the back to let myself get dragged down that road, so I pushed my plate aside, leaned against the table, folded my hands, looked her straight in the eyes and asked, “Mira...what. Is this really. About?”

She hesitated then 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 clinical with my patients. What is the American phrase? We are to be cutting the shit?"

"That's one way o' puttin' it." Spoken in my twangiest twang with my goofiest grin.

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

And goofball left the building. I got real still. “So?”

“The telephone calls referred to you and your uncle, Owen Taylor. As I understand what has happened, he has vanished. She wishes to speak with him and asks Faraz to use his influence to bring forth an investigation."

My appetite dropped to zero, because my dad was handing her a pile of crap. First off, my uncle wasn't the kind who'd just disappear; my mother was. I can't tell you the number of times I'd get dumped at Nana's so she could run off to some hunting trip or seminar or church retreat, while we always knew where Uncle Owen was, even if he wasn't in constant contact. Second, he was mom's half-brother by Nana's second marriage, and mom did not give one single solitary damn about him. Why? Because he was gay. In fact, she blamed him for me choosing to go that way and be of the devil, something she'd actually screamed at me before kicking me out of the house. But now she was calling her hated ex-husband about her hated brother because she can't find him? No way in hell.

"Mira, Uncle Owen's in California; my father's based in France. What kind of influence can he have?"

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

Which I did not know. "Which means he has all of his contact information. So what'd he find out?"

She hesitated. "He was unable to learn anything." father, with all his resources, couldn't locate my uncle? Not good, times ten.

No comments: