#AtoZChallenge — X marks the spot

In the wake of watching too much television, and in particular Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, a very quaint but completely ambiguous statement was dismissed as something that would never happen in archeology, x marks the spot.

Of course, as we all know only too well, x really does mark the spot on treasure maps, and I’m sure there’s been quite a few of those over the last few centuries, what with the numbers of pirates on the high seas, well one known such as Blackbeard, and some not so well known.

And those treasure maps always seem to find their way into children’s stories for some reason, maybe because as children we’re likely to believe it possible, where as an adult, the only place we’re likely to find an x is where someone who can’t write signs their name.

That might also include a lot of press ganged sailors, who were vitually kidnapped into British naval service to chase down those pirates, all of whom seemed to have that same ubiquitous signature.

And, by the way, that x marks the spot was in that Indiana Jones movie, a rather large x making up part of the marble flooring.

X doesn’t often find it’s way into mainstream English, even as a prefix, except in the case of x-rays which is electromagnetic radiation.

And in science fiction, the most interesting use of x-ray is for using x-ray vision, starting with superman, and ending with a more sinister connotations.

Other than that the only word that I can remember that starts with an x is xenophobia, which seems to be raising it’s head around the world, the fear of people or objects from another country or culture

“What Sets Us Apart”, a mystery with a twist

David is a man troubled by a past he is trying to forget.

Susan is rebelling against a life of privilege and an exasperated mother who holds a secret that will determine her daughter’s destiny.

They are two people brought together by chance. Or was it?

When Susan discovers her mother’s secret, she goes in search of the truth that has been hidden from her since the day she was born.

When David realizes her absence is more than the usual cooling off after another heated argument, he finds himself being slowly drawn back into his former world of deceit and lies.

Then, back with his former employers, David quickly discovers nothing is what it seems as he embarks on a dangerous mission to find Susan before he loses her forever.



Conversations with my cat – 33


This is Chester.  Our discussion about me going away is not finished.

Not by any stretch of the imagination.

I’ve been trying to make the bed, fully away of the icy stares I’m being given.  THew old age issue is still very raw, and I found him back in his bed, frumping.

You do realize, comes the plaintiff cry, that no one ever remembers to come and refresh the water and food.

News to me.  Every time we go away, he had a constant stream of people coming to see him.

Old age, I say, is making you forgetful.

And when you sent me away to your brothers, I could barely tolerate that cat of his.  Common alley cat if there ever was one.

Class distinction, I didn’t see that coming.

We’re not all just cats, you know.

Perhaps not, but over the years we’ve had a variety of different cats, but not a purebred like Chester.  I’m not sure how that came to pass, but I think I preferred the non-fussy, undisdainful, and easily pleased ‘alley cats’.

Would you like me to send you to my brother’s then?

No, I didn’t think so.  Bed made, the discussion is over.

#AtoZChallenge – W is for will

Now that I’ve hit the age of 65, I now have to give some consideration to creating a will.

You know, that document that specifies which child gets what, or if you think any or all of them don’t deserve what’s left of the hard earned millions, which cat or dog will inherit a fortune.

A will is both a reason for siblings or beneficiaries to kill to get a reward, or the fact you have to make one so that the state doesn’t inherit your fortune.

This is only one use of the word.

Another might be that it’s possible to have something like the will to carry on.

Carry on what?

Life, a marriage, a business relationship.

Does it require will power, or is it a matter of where there’s a will there’s a way?

I will come over. I will turn up tomorrow.

In this sense it is promoting futility.

Of course seeing is believing.

And as a bit of self serving advertising, I’m going to promote a new story, actually titled, The Will.

Inheritance can resolve monetary problems, and not only that, set one of the siblings up financially for life. All they have to do is wrest the family home from the dying fingers of a mother who had seen it all.

Into the mix comes the grandson, a man who sometimes is a son but mostly a grandson, someone who doesn’t fit in, who doesn’t want to follow family tradition, and who prefers to go to his grandmothers rather than going home to his family.

He is constantly appalled at his mother’s lack of respect for her mother, and suddenly finds himself in the middle of a battle between his grandmother and her daughter, his mother, over the family estate.

Who will win?

That’s a question that will be answered when you read the book.

Was it just another surveillance job – Episode 2

Always the unexpected

In five minutes, perhaps less, the whole scene had turned into countless vehicles with red and blue flashing lights, screams from the victims, and yelling from the rescuers.

I was still under police guard, but coming from the other side of the scene, a rather battered and bleeding street policeman came running towards us, stopping short of the man standing back, the one I assumed was in charge.

“Tell me you’ve got them”, he gasped, then looking from the man in charge to me then back again, looking very concerned.

“We have.” He looked very calm and pleased with himself.

“What? Him?” He nodded in my direction. “He was blown up in the blast and from what I saw was chasing the real culprits, two men covered in dust, one of whom was carrying a large duffel bag.”

“This guy was caught running from the scene.”

I decided to add my bit to the discussion. “Your car drove straight past them. I can’t see how you missed them.”

He was starting to look worried. “We were given his exact description from an anonymous tip.”

The battered policeman bent over and the collapsed to the ground. Two of my captors went towards him, but he motioned them away. “Of course you did, by the two men escaping. Get after them, before it’s too late. And free this guy. He’s got nothing to do with the blast.”

After removing the cuffs they jumped back in their car and headed back in the direction they came. Too late now, the two men would be long gone.

I went over to the policeman on the ground just as another ambulance pulled up and as the paramedics got out, I motioned to them to come and attend him.

“What happened”, I asked him.

“A bank robbery, the clowns used far too much explosive and almost brought the building down on them. Not so lucky for the neighbours.”

He was looking around, then stopped, looking at the place where I’d just been held down. I followed his gaze and then saw what he saw. The cuffs were still on the ground where the man who removed them had obviously dropped them.

His expression changed, and for a moment I thought he was going to explode.

“What’s wrong?” Obviously something was but I couldn’t see it.

“The cuffs. We haven’t used those for years now. They weren’t real police.”

My mind clicked into gear at the same time as he uttered the words.

They were there to help the others escape whilst holding us both up with a phony arrest. I wonder what they would do if they hadn’t been sent after their fellow robbers.

The battered policeman just sighed and lay down on the pavement and let the paramedics work on him.

Only then did I notice he had a piece of an iron bar sticking out of his side.

© Charles Heath 2018-2019

I always wanted to go on a treasure hunt – Part 10

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.

Once again there’s a new instalment of an old feature, and back on the treasure hunt.

I’d kept out of Nadia’s way since then, and the few occasions our paths had crossed, she had studiously ignored me. After graduating she disappeared, and seeing here with Alex, just now, was the first time in years.

She had grown into the sort of woman you’d see in the social pages of the newspapers and magazines, sometimes for all the wrong reasons, and I wondered if that was how Alex had leveraged her co-operation.

But, there were bigger problems to overcome before I had a chance or find out her back-story.

Alex was going after Rico for the map, a map he didn’t have, a map that Rico was going to need and Boggs was going to suffer the consequences.

Or not, if I could do something about it.

I had a stroke of luck when I got back to the warehouse office where McDonald was waiting, not necessarily for me, but most likely Alex.

“Ah, Sam,” he said when he saw me walk through the door, “Come into the office. We need to have a chat.”

That sounded ominous. I wondered if it had anything to do with my absence for what seemed a long time when I’d been watching Alex and Nadia.

“We have a new opening on the afternoon shift, and I thought you might consider it because it pays a little more, with a shift allowance. The hours are 4pm to Midnight. What do you think?”

On the way back to the warehouse I’d been thinking about how I was going to help Boggs and keep the job because the hours I was working made it impossible to do anything during the day, other than spy on Alex.

Taking this afternoon job, I could work, and, in the mornings, help Boggs in his quest.

“When would this start?”

“Tomorrow. You would not have to come in till 4pm.

“Sounds good then, I’ll take it.”

He seemed more relieved that I had accepted. It made me think for a moment whether this was Alex’s idea, and he had an ulterior notice. If he did I guess I would soon find out.

An hour later I was on my way home.

I had a lot of items to talk about when I saw Boggs and a possible mission.

© Charles Heath 2019

#AtoZChallenge – V is for vision

I had one myself once, whether it was a peek into my future, or whether it was just playing out a scene for one of my stories, it was rather intense.

That variation of the word vision is one that uses ones imagination. I do it quite a lot, and I call it the cinema of my dreams.


Vision, in the simplest sense of the word, is sight, what you see.

People can try to make it better, like movie studios, who have called it rather interesting titles such as VistaVision or Panavision, either of which sounds quite remarkable, and it may have been back in the day, but it’s probably quite ordinary these days.

A vision, in another sense, might be something like a dream as mentioned before, which might happen when we are asleep, but if awake, it might be because we are very bored with our job and we’re imagining what it would be like at Santorini or the Bahamas, or anywhere but where you are now.

It might also describe our particular slant on what else we would like to happen, whether at work or somewhere else, but it’s usually confined to our closest circle of friends. Bosses never invite nor want to hear plebs ideas of improving their lot.

Hence, I have a vision…

But no one will listen. Perhaps if I was Martin Luther King, things might be different.

Then, at the end of it all…

There are visions and then there are visions, like seeing something that no one else can see, whether driven by hullucenagenic drugs or magic mushrooms, or you just happened to be there to see what no one else could.

Dragons, lizard people, or the virgin Mary.

And no, I have not seen any of the above.


#AtoZChallenge — U is for Under


Under by itself is a rather boring word, you know, under the moon, under the sea, under the influence, which is not hard to be if you’ve been hypnotised or after a few drinks.

Under is anything beneath something else.

But add it to some other words like,

Underrated, which means it is better than what others give it credit.

Underwear, what you would wear underneath your clothes.

Understudy, the person who takes over a lead role when the lead is incapacitated.  And how many understudy’s are guilty of harming the lead, in order to get a big break?

And not get away with it?

Understood, an agreement that might or might not be in writing that something will happen, that is, it is understood that I will be the next president.

Or not.  Who on earth would really want to be president of anything?

So in the spirit of trying to confuse everyone all of the time, I have a conundrum in the form of a question, what is the difference between under and underneath.

To me there is none, you can be under the sea or underneath the sea, or under the table or underneath the table, but then there’s another, you can be under the influence but not underneath the influence, though technically you could,  if you wanted to use confusing English.

And, just to add to the confusion further, I can say that the submarine sailed under the sea, underneath the sea, but, in actual fact, it doesn’t.

What is under the sea is the sand, or sea bed, and a submarine does not plough its way through the sand, does it.

What we really are saying is that a submarine moves through the water.

Just saying…

“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.



Conversations with my cat – 32


This is Chester.  I’ve just told him we will be going away for a few days.

What, again?  You do nothing but go away these days!  That look of disdain is meant to move me, but, sorry, it doesn’t.

It is retirement, you know, I say.  I’ve waited for 65 years so that I can do what I want.

Poor you!  Any idea how old you think I am?

15, mate, and lucky to have lived that long, despite the fact you’ve tried to escape.

That’s a matter of opinion, but not cat years, fool, human years.

I’d never quite worked that out.  We had a dog once, and I know that for every dog year it’s seven human years, so it was, in human terms, rather old.

But cats?

I’ll look it up on the internet.

Interesting.  The first two years are worth 24 human years and 4 years for each successive year.  That makes you, wow, 76.

A smug expression takes over.  Old, he says, you don’t know what it is to be old.

Except at your age, you’re too old to be travelling.

He wanders off, the tail indicating his annoyance.  I don’t think it was what he wanted to hear.