I am painfully reminded that I need to have Social Media presence.
Marilyn told me that if I was on ‘Facebook’ I would have been able to follow her ‘adventures’. If I was on Twitter I could acquire reading followers, and Instagram, to share photos of book covers and my travels.
I drag out the dusty laptop computer, the one that had an email account that goes back to the early days of the internet, and used a VT52 mainframe interface, or at least that was what I think it was called, and fire it up. The operating system is out of date, error messages on top of error messages. Thankfully the desktop works, but it too, is out of date, running Windows 97.
Even my mobile phone is more powerful and sophisticated than both my boat anchors.
Time to get into the ‘real’ world!
My writing is now on hold. Shopping for a new computer, and updating operating system software, is a priority.
I am pleasantly surprised at just how inexpensive reasonable good laptop computers cost. I looked at tablets from Apple, Samsung, and the Surface. All very nice, but a computer, as big and cumbersome as it is, is still the cheapest option.
My afternoon is taken up with installing windows 10, setting up a Gmail email account, investigating, and signing up for Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. I also take out a cheap subscription to Microsoft Office. I need Word for manuscripts, and Excel to budget, Powerpoint to dazzle.
I take to reading the information about ‘creating an author presence on the internet’ and see that perhaps I need to have a ‘blog’, whatever that is, and a website.
There’s free and there’s not so free.
Damn. A day wasted in computer and social media land. They even had something called the ‘cloud’. I think I have been out of the computer world too long, having transferred into middle management just as the next phase of the computer technology started making an impact.
Tomorrow I tackle blogging.
I can’t sleep, not without writing something for the day. My thoughts have been swirling around Bill and Jennifer, and it’s time to bring them together, and by, guess what, a calamity!
I start scribbling:
Hospitals were places I rarely visited. Like others who shared my fear, it would take a rather compelling reason to get me there. On this occasion, it had been a compelling reason. If I hadn’t got to the hospital when I did, I would now be dead.
When I woke, it was to disorientation and confusion. I didn’t remember much of anything that had happened after having lunch with Jennifer, and running into Aitchison.
When I finally came from the depths of unconsciousness and returned to whatever version of reality that was running at the time, I found myself in a position where any movement, including breathing, was painful.
It was dark, the shapes were blurry, and some moved. As objects slowly came into focus, activity increased, and more people arrived. My major concern at that time was the sensation of immobility, and of how difficult it was to breathe, or, more to the point, how painful. Muffled voices spoke in a strange language. After a short time, consciousness slipped away, as, mercifully, did the pain.
It was another week, though it seemed like a month before I realized where I was. It had taken a while, but it was definitely a hospital. One of the shadowy figures also became recognizable.
She, too, had a number of bandages, and the black and blue look of a person who’d just survived a hit and run.
Then I remembered.
Outside the restaurant.
When my eyes finally came into focus I looked at her and saw her smile. Another realization, though it became clearer sometime later, was that my hand was in hers, and as she squeezed it gently, I felt it give me strength.
“Welcome back.” She was quite close, close enough for her perfume to overpower the clinical disinfectant.
“Where did I go?” My voice was barely above a whisper, my throat dry.
“We’re not sure. You died once. Now you only have eight lives left.”
It was odd that I’d heard it before, somewhere in the distant past, so I believed I had fewer lives to spare. I looked at her. “Aitchison?”
“He didn’t make it.”
“I got caught in the crossfire. So did you. The police said Aitchison was the target. We were in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
I’d heard that before, too. I think that was Richardson’s problem, and he’d suffered the same fate, but his end result was terminal.
The conversation had exhausted me, and the pain returned. It was still difficult to breathe, and I dared not look where most of the tubes were going. Tears ran down my cheeks as the pain became unbearable. I heard her call a nurse, and not long after the pain receded. So did my consciousness.
Enough, it’s time for sleep.
© Charles Heath 2016-2020