Writing about writing a book – Day 31

I’ve been toiling away in the attic putting the pieces together, and continuing to get the story written.

This means I’ve almost got Chapter 2 somewhere near the first draft, or maybe second. I didn’t expect it would take this long, but most authors, I suppose, take a year, or more, to write a book.

It’s been hot in the attic and making it hard to think let alone write, but it is a good background for the steamy jungles of Southeast Asia, and it has given me a few more ideas for the background sequences.

I’ll share one or two of those next.

In the meantime, so far so good.

The following is the first musings of what Chapter 2 might read like:

The first sign of anything amiss was the three police cars outside the building, parked awkwardly on the plaza in front of the building. Their lights were still flashing, and several policemen were standing near them, talking.

As I went through the front revolving door I could see several uniformed and plainclothes police in the lobby. Two were by the door, perhaps to prevent someone from leaving, one on the desk with two of the building security guards, and another near the elevator lobby.

Temporary barriers had been erected, funnelling everyone through a narrow gap, where building security was checking ID cards and building passes, both of which I handed to one of the guards. These men were new, I hadn’t seen them before, and, when I took a closer look, saw they were from a different security company.

I guess with the shooting of Richardson, our management had decided the existing building security was not good enough. These new men looked a lot tougher if the number of visible tattoos on each was anything to go by, the sort of men I’d call mercenaries or ex-soldiers.

One of them gave me a good look, at my face to see if it was the same as that looking back at him on the ID card. It was not a good photo of me, and it was no surprise he was having difficulty. I’d cut my hair, I was wearing glasses, and I have the makings of a three-day beard.

I had not intended to shave while I was on holiday, and, given the urgent nature of the recall, had no time to do so before coming into the office. Benton could have warned me of the new security arrangements, but it did not surprise me he didn’t.

He called over a friend, not by turning and motioning to him, but by talking into his collar communication device. It was rather pointless, the man he spoke to was no more than 20 feet away. He checked me versus the ID photo and let me pass. Perhaps his eyesight was better.

In the elevator heading up to my floor, 18, I had a few moments to consider the implications. New security meant trouble. It had happened once before, and it caused all manner of trouble for me and my staff. We had been locked out of the server room then.

The elevator jerked to a stop, and the doors opened. Everything looked quiet. I could not see any police or security personnel. But waiting for me in the lobby was Benton’s personal assistant, waiting to tell me that Benton had been dragged off to an emergency meeting, one, she said, that involved share prices or stock exchange announcements. I could not make sense of what she was saying, because his hysteria had become hers. The events of the morning so far had traumatized both of them.

I smiled, trying to be my usual charming self, and then wrote a message on a scrap of paper, and gave it to her to give to him when he returned from wherever he had gone. I was quite sure it was not a meeting. She reminded me Aitchison was still waiting to see me, and then walked off.

I turned and pressed the ‘up’ button, and the doors to the elevator car I’d stepped out of opened.  I stepped in, pressed the button for 59, and the doors closed.  Once again I was alone with my thoughts in an elevator.  I had just enough time to realize that the investigation into Richardson must be more serious than I first thought if the police were still here in numbers.

I thought I might visit the 17th floor after seeing Aitchison, and see what was happening. A decision was still pending when the doors opened, and I stepped out into ‘Fantasyland’.

It was the unofficial nickname we mortals from the lower floors called the Executive levels. They were the top three in the 60-story building. The mortals lived on levels 17 through 22.

This level housed all the Assistant General Managers. We had six. Aitchison was the AGM – Security. Goldstein, who was waiting in the lobby for an elevator, was the AGM – Administration. He was a surly chap near the age of retirement and spent more time on holiday than in the office. Preparing for retirement some said. Others were less charitable.

He nodded in my direction as we passed, I came out of the elevator car, and he went in. The doors closed behind me and I let the silence envelop me.

© Charles Heath 2016-2021

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