“One Last Look”, nothing is what it seems

A single event can have enormous consequences.

A single event driven by fate, after Ben told his wife Charlotte he would be late home one night, he left early, and by chance discovers his wife having dinner in their favorite restaurant with another man.

A single event where it could be said Ben was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Who was this man?  Why was she having dinner with him?

A simple truth to explain the single event was all Ben required.  Instead, Charlotte told him a lie.

A single event that forces Ben to question everything he thought he knew about his wife, and the people who are around her.

After a near death experience and forced retirement into a world he is unfamiliar with, Ben finds himself once again drawn back into that life of lies, violence, and intrigue.

From London to a small village in Tuscany, little by little Ben discovers who the woman he married is, and the real reason why fate had brought them together.

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onelastlookcoverfinal2

The cinema of my dreams – Treasure Hunt – 6

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’m going to get another one now!

 

There is such a thing as being in the right place at the right time, as much as there is being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I think I got a dose of both that morning.

I ignored the call from Boggs reluctantly, but I still had the world-weary look on my mother’s face fresh in my memory.  As much as I didn’t want to, I headed towards the warehouse and the office where old man Benderby would be, in his Italian suit and cigar, the signs of his prosperity.

Everyone hated him.

In the employee car park, opposite the front gate, I could see Rico and one of Benderby’s sons in earnest conversation.  The sons were as bad as the father, and because we went to school with them, and they were bullies then, not much had changed.

I was curious and tried to get closer, without being seen.

Benderby Junior was yelling, “You’re as useless as that brother in law of yours.  He thought he was smarter than us too, and look what happened to him.  You still owe us ten grand Rico, and my father is getting impatient.”

“Look, I have a special project, it’ll take a few weeks, then you’ll get your money.”

“It better not be some treasure hunt I hear you’re on.  There is no treasure.  That was what your brother in law tried to float, said he had a real map but never showed it to anyone.  It doesn’t exist.  He offered to sell it to me.  Do I look like a fool?”

“No.  But, it’s real.  I’ve seen it.”

Benderby just shook his head.  “Tell you what.  Bring it to me, and if I think it’s real, then we’ll talk.”

With that, Benderby Junior walked off.

Rico didn’t look happy.  Not surprising, because if Benderby thought it was real, then Rico just lost the rights to the treasure.  Or, most likely, any part of it.

Telling Benderby was the last thing he should have done.

 

I went it to the office where I was greeted by the girl on reception.  I;d been to school with her, and she had been friends with Alex Benderby.  It was how she got the job.  It was not what you knew, it was who you knew.

I also knew Alex Benderby, but it was not the same.  He didn’t like people who were smarter than he was, we were, he once told me, threats.  To what, I had no idea.

“Sam.  How are you, haven’t seen you for a while.”

We had been friends of a sort at school, but now working for Benderby, she moved in different social circles.

“Fine, Jenny, as well as can be expected.”  Not one for small talk, I cut to the chase.  “I came to see if there was a job.  My mother keeps at me to do something with my life other than hanging out at home waiting for a ship to come in.”

“I thought you were going to university?”

“Needs money we haven’t got.

At that moment Alex walked in and saw me.  His face was all hostility.

“What are you doing here?”

“The same as every other unemployed person is, looking for work.”

“I thought you university types were too good to work in the warehouse?”  No mistaking the sneer in his tone, or the superiority.

“Alex.”  A bark from behind made both Alex and Jenny jump.  “Get the hell back to work.”  Then he saw me.  “You’re Grace’s kid, Sam?”

“Yes, sir.”  I may hate him but I still knew how to be polite.

“Grace told me you were coming down.”  He looked at Jenny.  “Tell Williams I’m sending over his new paperwork guy.  Tell him I said to treat him properly or he’ll answer to me.”  Then back at me.  “Say hello to your mother from e when you see her.  And that she still owed me dinner.”

Then he was gone.

“Congratulations,” Jenny said.  “Right place, right time.”

It seemed so.

 

© Charles Heath 2019

What happens after the action-packed start – Part 15

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 of the enemy, if it was the enemy, simply because it didn’t look or sound or act like the enemy.

But, it seems our hero has ‘escaped’ and had found his way back home.

Except not quite how he expected it would be.

 

Rest was impossible while so many thoughts about my recent experiences were swirling around in the back of my head.  Now, when thinking it through, it made sense that they make sure I was found alive, but in very bad shape.

Two reasons, one, to remind me that they could do whatever they liked to me, and the second, to appease Breeman, who, no doubt realizing a helicopter was missing, would send out search teams, a no-fly zone or not.

But it was a calculated risk assuming I would not tell Breeman, or someone else, about what had happened to me, whether they believed it or not.

That led to the next thought, why was I still alive.  It would be just as easy to kill me and be discovered after dying from injuries received in the crash.  Supposition, they still needed me, or, and this was a hail Mary at best, they needed access to the base, and Breeman.

Did that mean either of the two men I’d seen at the other camp would suddenly turn up?  My money was on Colonel Bamfield.  He was my first Commanding Officer, he had a keen interest in me from the get-go, and he was the one who facilitated my transfer to my current base before I knew he was working for ‘other interests’. 

I still didn’t want to think it was the enemy.

Another question popped into my head, what was his, or their, interest in Breeman because the line of questioning centered on her.

My best guess was that it was no accident I was on that helicopter, that she had directed the pilot to make a flyover, and wasn’t expected that we would be shot down and that she had assumed there would be no repercussions on either myself or the pilot.

It was also clear that if she had to explain how I came to be where they found me, and the fact no one had launched a similar attack of the rescue team, that what happened was simply a breach of orders, and a court-martial offense.

It would solve Bamfield and his new friend’s problem.  Whatever the outcome of the court-martial she would be sent home, relieved of her command.

It seemed the military, as always, had a mind of its own, and not always have the best interests of its personnel at heart.

I’d soon find out.

 

© Charles Heath 2019

 

A funny thing happened on the way to the typewriter

And therein lies the first humorous thing about that statement, I don’t use a typewriter.

I did once upon a time, but not for some time. I could no longer buy ribbons for my IBM Selectric, so it had to go the way of the dinosaurs.

Maybe I should entitle this piece, a funny thing happened on the way to the keyboard.

So…

What did actually happen, and was it funny?

I suspect not.

Its just that in that short distance, from, say, the couch where you were reading the latest blog posts in the WordPress reader, and the writers chair, your preparation for writing ends up boggling at the mindless stupidity of some of the pro-Trump and anti Trump bloggers, because it’s hard to find anything relevant to the man and his politics.

People seem to be radically for or radically opposed and there’s no middle ground. How does Government work in such a political climate?

But, there you are, my attention has been distracted and unless I’m about to indulge in political satire, I’m off track, with an out of balance mindset, and therefore unable to write.

Perhaps I should not read blog posts, but the newspapers.

Or not, because they all have an editorial policy that leans either and one way or another, which means their views are not necessarily unbiased.

On other occasions, my writing will take place during snatched moments in between chores.

I guess it’s best left to the dark hours of the night when you would think all the distractions like family have gone to bed.

Except that’s when the ghosts come out to play.

I think.

Was that the lounge room door opening?

Does every writer suffer from this dilemma?

If I get a headache I can take paracetemol

If I have a sore back I can take ipBrufen.

If I can’t put words on paper … what is there I can take?

It affects us all at some point, but it’s not necessarily that old demon writer’s block.

What is writer’s block anyway?  Is it some existential disease that doesn’t really exist, yet something we can blame where we can’t write?

So, it’s down to looking for reasons, and logically looking at what is the underlying cause of the problem.  We should be asking ourselves questions, like

Are we constantly distracted from writing?

Plan or no plan, subconsciously it doesn’t feel right, that the next scene, plotline or character interaction does follow, is contrived, is just plain wrong?

Usually, for me, it only takes two questions and the answer pops up.

I’ve written myself into the proverbial corner, and there’s no logical way to go forward.

What does that mean?

Well, that is covered by a third possible outcome from answering the questions.

I have to go back and do some major re-writes of earlier work, put is the appropriate hooks and maybe even change the direction, even if just a little.

That, in itself, in the back of your mind, knowing what has to be done, and putting off the inevitable, is another reason why this project isn’t moving forward.

Two aspirin can’t solve this.

Nothing can.

Perhaps we should rename writer’s block to writer’s dilemma.

 

Timelines, deadlines, and disasters

Unfortunately, I’m not one of those people who work well to timelines, so the very thought of using something like Microsoft Project to get my writing into some sort of timeframe, with deadlines, seemed, to me, to be a bit extreme.

Say for instance the major deadlines for a writing project are

  1.  Write an outline, with as much detail as possible, with an overarching plot, characters, key points in the novel, and scouting for locations
  2. Writing.  This could be broken down into chapters, but more practicable would be sectioned, each consisting of a number of chapters.
  3. Editing, planning for one, two or three, or more edits
  4. Proofreading
  5. Send to editor

Clearly if I was going to take this approach, then I would have to allocate hours of the day specifically for writing and doing all those other writer chores in less time, and with fewer distractions.

And, it might work for a more dedicated author.

But…

I did make a new years resolution that I would try and do things differently this year.

Except…

I set a goal to restart editing of my next novel on 1st Feb. I thought, setting it so far into the year it would be easy.

It would give me the time to clear up all the outstanding, get in the way, distractions, and be free to finally finish it.

No such luck.  I never found the time to do the planning.

And there’s always something else to do, other than what we’re supposed to be doing.

For me it was going away, spending long, sleepless hours flying from one side of the world to the other had fuelled my imagination more than I expected and I now have three more stories that need either a continuing plot outline or be written as ideas come to me.

If only I could focus on one story at a time.

So…

I’ve re-jigged the timetable and set a goal to finish playing with these other stories by the end of the month, so come the first of March, I can resume work on the next book to be published.

Or not.

Conversations with my cat – 22

This is Chester. He spends a lot of time looking out this window.

He’s keeping an eye of the birds outside.

Or, more to the point, he’s selecting the one he’s going to present to me on the back doorstep.

He missed the briefing when I told him that it was not the cat’s job to catch birds just keep them from eating my lawn seed.

Seems his natural instincts trump my instructions

No problem.

He can’t go outside.

Sorry. Not sorry!