“Sunday in New York”, it’s a bumpy road to love

“Sunday in New York” is ultimately a story about trust, and what happens when a marriage is stretched to its limits.

When Harry Steele attends a lunch with his manager, Barclay, to discuss a promotion that any junior executive would accept in a heartbeat, it is the fact his wife, Alison, who previously professed her reservations about Barclay, also agreed to attend, that casts a small element of doubt in his mind.

From that moment, his life, in the company, in deciding what to do, his marriage, his very life, spirals out of control.

There is no one big factor that can prove Harry’s worst fears, that his marriage is over, just a number of small, interconnecting events, when piled on top of each other, points to a cataclysmic end to everything he had believed in.

Trust is lost firstly in his best friend and mentor, Andy, who only hints of impending disaster, Sasha, a woman whom he saved, and who appears to have motives of her own, and then in his wife, Alison, as he discovered piece by piece damning evidence she is about to leave him for another man.

Can we trust what we see with our eyes or trust what we hear?

Haven’t we all jumped to conclusions at least once in our lives?

Can Alison, a woman whose self-belief and confidence is about to be put to the ultimate test, find a way of proving their relationship is as strong as it has ever been?

As they say in the classics, read on!

Purchase:

http://tinyurl.com/Amazon-SundayInNewYork

Sunday In New York

Are you keeping any secrets?

It’s a theme I have used in a number of stories because it fascinates me the propensity some people have for explaining the unexplainable, and actually, believe they have convinced the other person.

It works sometimes, but not everybody is prepared to accept their lies.  Especially when their alibi crumbles before their eyes.

Better not to have said anything in the first place.

Or, better still, don’t do anything that you have to cover up later on.

Or perhaps I’m turning a molehill into a mountain.

I’m suffering from indecision, one of those moments in a writer’s life where either you get on with it, take a holiday, start a new story, or finish another one.

I want to get on with it, finish it, sent it to the editor, and then move on, but I can’t.

I’ve written three different endings to this story and I’m not happy with any of them.

Over the last few days, I have taken a break away from it.  Every time I load it up and sit on the page where I want the end to start (a rather curious mix of opposites) it draws a blank.

Will I take it out with a ‘bang’?

Will I let a few of the secrets out of the bag?

Will I try to set it up for a sequel?

Wow!  So many possibilities.

The crux of the matter is relationships where people keep secrets from each other rarely survive, though sometimes it depends on how big the secret is.  In my mind, if I was the one who was thinking about keeping a secret (most likely impossible because I can’t keep a straight face) I would share it.

If it was my partner keeping the secret, I wonder how I would react.

It’s an interesting question and begs the question of how much of ourselves is woven into the fabric of our characters.

We can if we haven’t the experience of keeping secrets only guess at the outcome.  Or if we do, how much easier might it be?

Perhaps I’ll sleep on it one more night.

Back on the treasure hunt

Here’s the thing.

Every time I close my eyes, I see something different.

I’d like to think the cinema of my dreams is playing a double feature but it’s a bit like a comedy cartoon night on Fox.

But these dreams are nothing to laugh about.

 

I never realized Boggs had this thing for treasure.  Seems a long time ago one of his relatives was a diver, found a wreck, and with it gold bullion.  He became rich, and the wealth in the family lasted till Boggs’ grandfather, who frittered away the last of the fortune on dodgy land schemes and supposed match tree forests in Ecuador.

It was up to him, Boggs told me, to restore the family fortune.

I couldn’t see how this was going to happen sitting in a bar that openly advertised treasure maps and an owner who was only too happy to tell the story of the Spaniard to anyone who’d listen.

The problem was, no two versions of the story were the same.

Whilst Boggs was taking in the fourth or fifth rendition of the story, I looked around at the clientele.  They were certainly more interesting than the treasure.

Mostly here for the sun and surf, there were two notable exceptions, and if I was to guess, they looked Spanish.

Or was it my imagination working overtime.

They seemed very interested in Boggs, from time to time looking over at him, and then muttering to each other.  Conveniently, they were along the path to the restroom, so I took a stroll, and lingering a moment near their table, I listened to the conversation.

In Spanish.

My Spanish was a little rusty but what I thought I heard, “Boy, map, find out what he knows, gold, and it’s in the hills somewhere.

The phrase, there’s gold in them thar hills came to mind.

But for the moment I think we had a problem.

When I came out of the restroom, the first thing I noticed was the two Spaniards had left.  When I looked over towards the bar, where I left Boggs, I noticed he too, was missing.

All of a sudden I had a very bad feeling.

I ran outside, just in time to see the two men bundling Boggs into the back of a car, and drive off.

 

That’s where I fell asleep

© Charles Heath 2019

Having something to say is one thing, saying it is something else

As accomplished as we can be at putting words on paper, what is it that makes it so difficult to sit in a chair with a camera on you, and saying words rather than writing them?

Er and um seem to crop up a lot in verbal speech.

OK, it was a simple question; “What motivates you to write?”

Damn.

My brain just turned to mush, and the words come out sounding like a drunken sailor after a night out on the town.

The written answer to the question is simple; “The idea that someone will read what I have written, and quite possible enjoy it; that is motivation enough.”

It highlights the difficulties of the novice author.

Not only are there the constant demands of creating a ‘brand’ and building a ‘following’, there is also the need to market oneself, and the interview is one of the more effective ways of doing this.

If only I can settle the nerves.

I mean, really, it is only my granddaughter who is conducting the interview, and the questions are relatively simple.

The trouble is, I’ve never had to do it before, well, perhaps in an interview for a job, but that is less daunting.  That usually sticks to a predefined format.

Here the narrative can go in any direction.  There are set questions, but the interviewer, in her inimitable manner, can sometimes slide a question in out of left field.

For instance, “Your character Zoe the assassin, is she based on someone you know, or an amalgam of other characters you’ve read about or seen in movies?”

That was an interesting question, and one that has several answers, but the one most relevant was; “It was the secret alter ego of one of the women I used to work with.  I asked her one day if she wasn’t doing what she was, what she would like to do.  It fascinated me that other people had a desire to be something more exotic in an alter ego.”

Of course the next question was about what I wanted to be in an alter ego.

Maybe I’ll tell you next time.

Travel is part of the story – Rome

Sadly, my passion for travel fuels my passion for writing, and we take any chance we can to go away, and hopefully, I can find an interesting location to incorporate into one of my stories.

One location did, eventually, the Trevi Fountain.

But…

We visited Rome in August

It was hot.

It was verrrry hot.

We flew into Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino airport after a rather bumpy flight from London.  Unlike most other airports the plane parked at a satellite terminal and after we disembarked we had to catch a train to the main terminal.

The most notable memory of this airport was my daughter’s discovery of a salami shop.

We had booked a transfer to take us to the hotel the Roma Corso Trieste Mercure in Via Gradisca from the airport.  It was a white air-conditioned van and so far we had avoided the heat.

One of the rooms had a faulty air conditioning an absolute must as the rooms were very hot without it and necessitated a room change which was done quickly and efficiently.

The hotel was in the suburbs and without a car we were dependent on public transport.  According to the reception staff, there was a bus stop nearby, and a longer walk to the tram or light railway.  The bus seemed to be the best option as it would take us to the central terminal near the railway station, where all tour buses also operated from, and particularly the open top buses that went to all the major tourist attractions.

That first day basically was given over to traveling, arriving by plane and settling into the hotel, thus we didn’t get to feel the force of the heat.  That came the next day.

After a walk around the hotel precinct to get our bearings and see what shops and restaurants were available, on returning to the hotel we were faced with the limited choices of room service or to go out for dinner.

My daughter and l go for a long walk up Via Nomentana to find several shops and a restaurant.  We went into the restaurant and sat down.   We waited for 10 minutes and got no service nor did anyone come and ask us if we wanted to order food so instead we left somewhat disappointed and go next door to what seems to be the Italian version of a delicatessen and order sandwiches and beer.   I bought a half dozen cans of Moretti beer two of which I drank on the way home.

It was still very hot even at eight at night and the sandwiches are delicious.  It just might be by that time we were starving and anything would have tasted great.

The next morning we are up and ready to chance the weather and some history.  Breakfast at the hotel is limited but very good.

We were going to use public transport and I’d studied up on the Internet.

Traveling on the bus required pre-purchase of tickets which could be bought in certain shops and locally when exploring the area near the hotel, l found a tobacconist.

Next, we needed to understand how to use the tickets. There was no one on the bus who could help so when l tried to scan the tickets and it failed, l gave up.  We had the same issue each day and in the end, the tickets never got used.

The trip to central Rome by bus took about 15 minutes.  In the morning it was reasonably cool and showed us a little of suburban Rome.  We also saw the trams but we would not be able to use them because our hotel not on a direct route.

That first full day we decided to go and see the Vatican.

Not understanding buses and which one we needed to get to the Vatican, we took a taxi.

Wow.  It was the metaphorical equivalent of driving over the edge of a cliff with a daredevil.  It was quite literally terrifying.

Or maybe we just didn’t know that this was probably the way people drove in Rome.

Shaken but delivered in one piece we found ourselves in the square opposite St Peters Basilica.

The square is impressive, with the statues atop a circular colonnaded walkway.  The church is incredible and took a few hours to take in and to top off the day we did a tour of the Vatican museum which took the rest of the afternoon.

Then it was back to the delicatessen for more sandwiches and beer, and an interesting discussion with several elderly Italian ladies, of which I did not understand one word.

The second full day we decided to use one of the open top bus tours and eventually decided on the hop on hop off tour simply because the bus was at the central transport terminal for trains and buses and it was getting hotter.

Our first stop was the Colosseum.  There were other monuments nearby, such as the Arch of Constantine, but as the heat factor increased we joined the queue to go into the Colosseum and gladly welcomed the shade once we got inside.

The queue was long and the wait equally so, but it was worth the wait.  It would be more interesting if they could restore part of it to its former glory so we could get a sense of the place as it once was.  But alas that may never happen, but even so, it is still magnificent as a ruin.

Outside in the heat, it was off to the ruins which was a longish walk from the Colosseum, taking Via Sacra, not far from the Arch of Constantine.  This day in the walkway there were a number of illegal vendors, selling knockoff goods such as handbags and watches, and who, at the first sight of the police, packed up their wares in a blanket and ran.

Included in these ruins were The Roman Forum, or just a few columns remaining, the Palatine Hill, Imperial Fori, including the Forum of Augustus, the Forum of Caesar, and more specifically the Forum of Trajan.  It was, unfortunately very hot and dusty in the ruins the day we visited.

We walked all the way to the Foro Romano and the Septimus Severo Arch at the other end of the ruins, past the Temple of Caesar.  I found it very difficult to picture what it was like when the buildings were intact, so I bought a guide to the ruins which showed the buildings as ruins and an overlay of how they would have looked.  The buildings, then, would be as amazing as the Colosseum, and it would have been interesting to have lived back then, though perhaps not as a Christian.

I lost count of the number of bottles of water we bought, but the word ‘frizzante’ was ringing in my ears by the end of the day.  Fortunately, water did not cost a lot to buy.

At the end of the day, we caught the hop on hop off bus at the Colosseum and decided not to get off and see any more monuments but observe them from the bus.  The only one I remember seeing was Circo Massimo.  Perhaps if we’d know it was going to be twice as hot on the bus, yes, there was no air-conditioning; we may have chosen another form of transport to get back to the hotel.

The third and last day in Rome we decided to go to the Trevi Fountain, see the pantheon and walk up the Spanish Steps.  We spent most of the morning in the cool of a café watching the tourists at the fountain.  By the time we reached the top of the Spanish Steps, we were finished.

It was time to move on to Paris.

What happens after an action-packed start – Part 9

It’s still a battle of wits, but our hero knows he’s in serious trouble.

The problem is, there are familiar faces and a question of who is a friend and who is foe made all the more difficult because the enemy if it is the enemy, doesn’t look or sound or act like the enemy.

 

My turn to put him under the spotlight, for a minute, then two.

“There are no optional questions here, Mr. James.”

No, but some needed careful consideration, like throwing the dead pilot under the bus.

“Roy, the pilot, was adding some hours to his fly time, probably looking for a promotion.”

“So it was not a proper sanctioned operation.”

Looking for a scapegoat higher up the food chain.

“You need the commander’s authority to go up, so it was sanctioned.”

“Then this commander could have ordered the pilot to fly into the no-fly zone.”

My thought too, but I wasn’t going to fuel his suspicions.

“For what reason, after all, it’s not called a no-fly zone just so people can write the words on a map.”

He didn’t reply.  I had thought he might tell me he was the one asking the questions.

He let me stew for a few more minutes, then, “You don’t seem to know much about anything Mr. James, whereas we know a lot about you.”

The ‘you’ he was referring to wasn’t just me, but our whole operation and what we were doing, which, of course, I wasn’t privy to.   Did we have a spy in our midst?

“One more time, Mr. James, can you tell me what the helicopter was doing in the no-fly zone?”

It was accompanied by another of those smiles, all-knowing perhaps, or trying to make me believe he did.  But the bottom line was if he did, he was not going to tell me.

Instead, the smile turned to a scowl.  “I do not believe you are as uninformed as you say you are so I suggest most strongly that you give up this appearance of innocence.  I shall ask once more Mr. James, and if you are not forthcoming, the matter will be out of my hands.  I assure you, you will not like the alternative.”

I was sure I wouldn’t like the alternative.

“The answer sadly will still be the same, so if you must, I’m sure I won’t be able to talk you out of it.”

 

© Charles Heath 2019

Who wants to go on a treasure hunt?

My mind will not rest.

Down here, it is summer, and the last few days have been rather hot, well, it is summer after all, but tonight it is particularly hot.

So, as I can’t sleep, I’m lying on the couch staring at the ceiling, otherwise known as the cinema of my dreams.

Where am I?

Well, the location is in keeping with the weather, hot, humid, and cold drinks are mandatory.

 

I have no idea where or when I got sucked into this game of searching for treasure.  Boggs had been reading some newspaper article relating to a Spaniard who had survived a shipwreck off the coast and had supposedly come ashore dragging his treasure chest, all that he could save from the sinking ship.

I think my priorities may have been slightly different.

Standing on the beach where Boggs believed the man came ashore, we looked inland at the coastal plain now overbuilt with holiday houses and apartments, behind that, some parkland, under threat from the developers, and behind that, the mountains.

I could guess what Boggs was going to say next.

“It has to be somewhere in the mountains, a cave perhaps.”

My map told me there was a mountain face for about 25 miles in either direction and rising to two to three thousand feet up.  I didn’t calculate the area, I just considered it big.

“If he came ashore here, dragging a heavy chest, and barring all of this building, he would take the most direct route inland.”

He pointed in the direction he thought the Spaniard took.

My eyes followed his arm and stopped at a beacon halfway up the hillside. 

That was a long way, pulling a heavy chest.

“Not up the hill, maybe, but somewhere along the base.”

“And don’t you think every man and his dog would have made the same assumption, and covered the ground already.”  The treasure hunt was beginning to bore me.

His expression changed, the sort that told me he might not have considered that possibility.  Boggs was like that, always thinking he had the original idea.

“Perhaps, then, a drink and more thought on the matter.”

We trudged through the soft sand to the bar just off the sand, a small place called The Spaniard.  A sign on the window said ‘Treasure Maps for sale’.

 

Well, the bar was air-conditioned, and the beer was cold.  I have one myself and see where this cinematic experience goes

© Charles Heath 2019