NaNoWriMo – 2022 – Day 27

Not according to plan

In the spy business, it pays not to make solid plans, just have an idea of what you might do, and execute it.

When it goes wrong, as it inevitably does, then you can always say, “I knew it was going to fail” and feel good about it.

Expecting a plan to work without it going south is like winning the lottery.  What are the odds?

What you can rely on every time is human nature.  Yes, sometimes the bad guy is thoroughly bad and goes off the reservation, but that’s the exception.  Counterspy measures always include an element of ‘what’s in it for me’ when an opportunity comes up.

So, David and Susan get captured.  It’s the easiest way in.

Then Susan escapes in the middle of a freak storm with torrential rain that has a visibility range of ten feet at best.  Enough time for her to disappear.

It’s all part of the plan.

Others search for her, while David is taken to the main compound, assessing the odds and situation as he goes.  He ends up in a cell, left to ponder his fate, and then dragged out for interrogation.

Not exactly part of the plan, but he does learn something new, and quite disconcerting.  Someone close to him is a traitor.

Words written today, 3,541, for a total of 66,956

Memories of the conversations with my cat – 99

As some may be aware, but many not, Chester, my faithful writing assistant, mice catcher, and general pain in the neck, passed away some months ago.

Recently I was running a series based on his adventures, under the title of Past Conversations with my cat.

For those who have not had the chance to read about all of his exploits I will run the series again from Episode 1

These are the memories of our time together…

20151219_163915

This is Chester.

Not everything is fine in la-la-land, as he now calls it.

Not happy that I didn’t tell him about the second week of child invasion.

He should consider himself lucky that the school week started on Tuesday, and only one was staying home to do schoolwork.

The other has been able to return to the classroom.

One less tormentor, I heard him mutter as he slinked past the room where the homeschooler was working.

But a more sinister problem had arisen.

He’s stopped eating his food.  I first thought this was part of a two-week standoff, where he cuts his nose off to spite his face.

This is not the first time we’ve been through this.

So, just to see if it is a fit of pique, I get him his absolute favorite food.  Fresh Atlantic Salmon cut into small pieces just the way he likes it.

Yes, the aroma reaches him in his hiding spot, along with the call-out that I’d bought him salmon, but when he goes to the bowl, he takes a sniff, or two, then wanders away.

He doesn’t even look at me.

Very, very unusual.

I will be keeping an eye on this.

 

NaNoWriMo – 2022 – Day 28

You’re a sight for sore eyes

Here’s the thing about stubborn people.

Whether right or wrong they eventually get what they want.

It’s clear to David by the time he reaches the compound, that firstly the girl who was supposedly a prisoner is not there, probably wasn’t there in the first place, but that’s no surprise, secondly had they caught Alisha, then she would be on display when they arrived, and thirdly, there was always the weasel type interrogator bristling with overconfidence waiting in the wings.

And if there was a fourthly, it would be that he would receive ‘the softening up’ process before the first interrogation.

He was not disappointed.  The second in so many weeks, or what felt like it, the bruises on the bruises were like a badge of honour.

But that’s the problem with weaselly interrogators who think they hold all the cards, when the tables are turned, they become cowered cowards.

He underestimated David’s resolve.  He underestimated Alisha’s determination to remain uncaptured, and he didn’t know about David’s secret weapon.

That is until they came knocking on the door.

His overconfident interrogator, thinking that he held all the cards and that David would be leaving in a body bag, spills the beans.

Words written today, 2,776, for a total of 69,732

Sayings: Flogging a dead horse

This wouldn’t be so apt if it didn’t bring back a raft of bad memories, those days I used to go to the races, and back all of the wrong horses.

I had a knack, you see, of picking horses that fell over, or came dead last.

Perhaps that’s another of those sayings, dead last, with a very obvious meaning.  Dead!  Last!

But…

In the modern vernacular, flogging a dead horse is like spending further time on something in which the outcome is already classed as a complete waste of time.

However…

Back in the old days, the dead horse referred to the first month’s wages when working aboard a ship, usually paid for before you stepped on board the ship.  At the end of the first month, the theoretical dead horse was tossed overboard symbolically, and thereafter you were paid.

It still didn’t make sense to me that someone would tell me I was flogging a dead horse, until I realized, one day, the lesson to be learned was never to get paid in advance.

 

NaNoWriMo – 2022 – Day 26

I ought to be on holiday

Now that David has finally worked out what it is that Prendergast wants, and what is required to get back to living in the London residence, though he’s not sure he really wants to go back, arrangements are made by Alisha’s trusty assistants.

Of course, Alicia has to go too, despite the short recovery time, but it seems everyone wants to get back to work, and David realizes that being at the coal face is really what he’s been missing.

Nigeria is probably not the best place to be going, and the head of station there is a rather odd fellow who doesn’t quite understand the subtleties of secrecy.  He’s also Prendergast’s man and that means he can’t be trusted.

David pulls in some old friends he used to work with, and the team assembles in Lagos, and will be travelling to the vicinity of the guerrilla’s camp in the Nigerian Delta by float plane landing near a village whose people have been having trouble, and who will take them by boat to the ‘back door’ of the camp.

It seems the villagers have been petitioning the Queen to help them as members of the Commonwealth.  It provides David and his team a perfect excuse to go there if anyone is asking.

All of this works like clockwork.  And the means to gain entry is simply enough, they are going to present themselves at the gate, and allow themselves to be ‘detained’.  As for being shot on sight, David understands the local warlord ‘type’; he would use David and his team as a bargaining chip with the British Government.

Not that it was going to happen, the warlord was about to discover what war was really like.

Words written today, 3,123, for a total of 63,415

Memories of the conversations with my cat – 98

As some may be aware, but many not, Chester, my faithful writing assistant, mice catcher, and general pain in the neck, passed away some months ago.

Recently I was running a series based on his adventures, under the title of Past Conversations with my cat.

For those who have not had the chance to read about all of his exploits I will run the series again from Episode 1

These are the memories of our time together…

20160903_163902

This is Chester.  He’s now over having the grandchildren staying with us.

As part of the COVIS 19 restrictions in place, the grandchildren cannot go to school.

However, because their parents are both working (which is very fortunate as so many others are not) they have asked us to look after them.

So, they arrive Sunday night, stay the whole week, and go back home on Friday.  It means they are homeschooling, so the internet is taking a beating, I have to feed them, morning tea, lunch. After school snack at three and then dinner.

Chicken nuggets, pies, and shoestring chips can only go so far, and, no, he does not like scraps from their plates.

And having to cater for four rather than two means a gentle shift in logistics.  More shopping for food, having to do the washing every day, tormenting the cat.

OK, that last part is where Chester comes in, or, rather, he stays hidden away.

Remember that phobia he has when the grandchildren are around?

Now they’re here semi-permanently, he’s in hiding, and coming out only for food and water.

And to let me know just how displeased he is.

He wants his domain back.

Pity I haven’t told him yet they’re going to be back next week.

 

NaNoWriMo – 2022 – Day 27

Not according to plan

In the spy business, it pays not to make solid plans, just have an idea of what you might do, and execute it.

When it goes wrong, as it inevitably does, then you can always say, “I knew it was going to fail” and feel good about it.

Expecting a plan to work without it going south is like winning the lottery.  What are the odds?

What you can rely on every time is human nature.  Yes, sometimes the bad guy is thoroughly bad and goes off the reservation, but that’s the exception.  Counterspy measures always include an element of ‘what’s in it for me’ when an opportunity comes up.

So, David and Susan get captured.  It’s the easiest way in.

Then Susan escapes in the middle of a freak storm with torrential rain that has a visibility range of ten feet at best.  Enough time for her to disappear.

It’s all part of the plan.

Others search for her, while David is taken to the main compound, assessing the odds and situation as he goes.  He ends up in a cell, left to ponder his fate, and then dragged out for interrogation.

Not exactly part of the plan, but he does learn something new, and quite disconcerting.  Someone close to him is a traitor.

Words written today, 3,541, for a total of 66,956

Searching for locations: Harbour Grand Hotel, Kowloon, Hong Kong

The Harbour Grand Hotel, Kowloon, Hong Kong, is a modern, but luxurious hotel, one that our travel agent found for us.

I was initially worried that it might be too far away from central Hong Kong, but a free shuttle bus that runs at convenient times took us to and from the hotel to the Star Ferry terminal.

The luxuriousness of the hotel starts the moment you walk in the front entrance with a magnificent staircase that I assumed led up to the convention center (or perhaps where weddings are catered for) and a staircase where one could make a grand entrance or exit.  Oh, and there’s a chandelier too.

We booked into a Harbourview suite, and it was not only spacious but had that air of luxury about it that made it an experience every time you walked into it.

But the view of Hong Kong Harbour, that was the ‘piece de resistance’

I spent a lot of time staring out that window, and it was more interesting than watching the television, which we didn’t do much of.   Most of the time, when we travel, TV is limited to International English speaking news channels.

This time we had several movies included with the room, but I still preferred to watch the endless water traffic on the harbor.

The lounge area had several comfortable chairs, an area for the bar fridge and tea or coffee making facilities and on the opposite side the usual table and chairs for those who came to conduct business

The bedroom was separate to the entrance and lounge.  Notable was the fact the room had two bathrooms, one in the bedroom, and one out in the lounge, perhaps for the guests who were having friends in.

We dined in one of the restaurants, Hoi Yat Heen, where we experienced Guandong cuisine.  I tried the roasted goose for the first time, and it was interesting to say the least.

There’s no doubt where we will be staying the next time we go to Hong Kong.

NaNoWriMo – 2022 – Day 25

The plot thickens

David and Susan are planning and executing rendezvous, a rather odd thing to do since they are married, not illicit lovers, but Susan likes the idea of escaping her security team, something that is at odds with what Prendergast expects.

Of course, his security chief seems to think that Prendergast simply wants him to do a simple job in quid pro quo for a job Prendergast is supposed to do for him:  free his daughter from a despotic African terrorist that the man once worked for, and failed.

This is the story being peddled to David by the man who accompanied Susan’s agent to France and is backed up in part by Alisha’s investigative team.

David torments another of his team and then sets himself at odds with the man himself when Susan tries to have a discrete lunch with Prendergast.

That sets off alarm bells for David.

Prendergast is far too involved with Susan for David’s liking.

But, it seems if he is to get rid of the security at Susan’s he is going to have to find the daughter, and she is in Nigeria.

It seems that was one of Prendergast’s objectives, to get David to rescue her, but what happened to the notion that he just ask?

In the meantime, the security team’s England base is found, one of Susan’s newly acquired properties, and David has surveillance installed.

He also has new eyes on the castle, and the renovations, because he suspects something else is going on there.

And then there is Alisha at her most seductive best, injured or not.

Chess pieces being moved by various people across the globe, David sets off for Nigeria, to see a rather doubtful contact, of Prendergast’s recommendations.

/Just like the old days, wheels within wheels.  All he knows for sure is that he needs three people watching his back.

Words written today, 4.776, for a total of 60,292

NaNoWriMo – 2022 – Day 26

I ought to be on holiday

Now that David has finally worked out what it is that Prendergast wants, and what is required to get back to living in the London residence, though he’s not sure he really wants to go back, arrangements are made by Alisha’s trusty assistants.

Of course, Alicia has to go too, despite the short recovery time, but it seems everyone wants to get back to work, and David realizes that being at the coal face is really what he’s been missing.

Nigeria is probably not the best place to be going, and the head of station there is a rather odd fellow who doesn’t quite understand the subtleties of secrecy.  He’s also Prendergast’s man and that means he can’t be trusted.

David pulls in some old friends he used to work with, and the team assembles in Lagos, and will be travelling to the vicinity of the guerrilla’s camp in the Nigerian Delta by float plane landing near a village whose people have been having trouble, and who will take them by boat to the ‘back door’ of the camp.

It seems the villagers have been petitioning the Queen to help them as members of the Commonwealth.  It provides David and his team a perfect excuse to go there if anyone is asking.

All of this works like clockwork.  And the means to gain entry is simply enough, they are going to present themselves at the gate, and allow themselves to be ‘detained’.  As for being shot on sight, David understands the local warlord ‘type’; he would use David and his team as a bargaining chip with the British Government.

Not that it was going to happen, the warlord was about to discover what war was really like.

Words written today, 3,123, for a total of 63,415