I don’t like Mondays

I don’t like Mondays – a song lingering on the periphery of my memory, and I’m not sure who sung it.

But it’s official, I don’t like Mondays.

I’ve been procrastinating since last Thursday, telling myself I have to get the next part of one of my stories written, but I keep putting it off.  I’m not sure why but it always seems like this, and I have to force myself to sit in front of the computer screen, and come up with the goods.

I didn’t do anything on Sunday, and, as a writer, I guess that’s not very good.  I’m supposed to be writing a page, or a hundred or thousand words a day, just to keep the juices flowing.

I’m not in the mood.  I sit and stare at the computer screen, and nothing is coming.  Is this the first sign of writer’s block?

I dig out several articles on how to overcome it and start putting their suggestions into action.  No.  No.  Maybe.  No.  I don’t think it’s writer’s block.

Perhaps I need some inspiration so I go to my tablet playlist, spend 10 minutes trying to find the headphones that were carelessly discarded on a seat that had a lot of other stuff on it, by one of my grandchildren the last time they were here.

And, yes, the tablet was left in the middle of playing a Minecraft video which has drained the battery.  Now I can’t find the charger!

Back at the computer, holding a dead tablet, and a pair of headphones, inspiration is as far away as the mythical light at the end of the tunnel.  Today perhaps it will be an oncoming express train.

Perhaps a pen and paper will work.

An idea pops into my head…

Is it possible the passing of a weekend could change the course of your life?

 An interesting question, one to ponder as I sat on the floor of a concrete cell, with only the sound of my breathing, and the incessant screams coming from a room at the end of the corridor.

It was my turn next.  That was what the grinning ape of a guard said in broken English.  He looked like a man who relished his job.

What goes through your mind at a time like this, waiting, waiting for the inevitable?  Will I survive, what will they do to me, will it hurt?

The screaming stops abruptly, and a terrible silence falls over the facility.

Then, looking in the direction of where the screams had come from, I hear the clunk of the door latch being opened, and then the slow nerve tingling screech of rusty metal as the door opens slowly.

Oh God, Oh God, Oh God, no.

No writer’s block.  But I have to stop watching late night television.

Inspiration, maybe

A picture paints … well, as many words as you like.  For instance:

lookingdownfromcoronetpeak

And the story:

 

It was once said that a desperate man has everything to lose.

The man I was chasing was desperate, but I, on the other hand, was more desperate to catch him.

He’d left a trail of dead people from one end of the island to the other.

The team had put in a lot of effort to locate him, and now his capture was imminent.  We were following the car he was in, from a discrete distance, and, at the appropriate time, we would catch up, pull him over, and make the arrest.

There was nowhere for him to go.

The road led to a dead-end, and the only way off the mountain was back down the road were now on.  Which was why I was somewhat surprised when we discovered where he was.

Where was he going?

 

“Damn,” I heard Alan mutter.  He was driving, being careful not to get too close, but not far enough away to lose sight of him.

“What?”

“I think he’s made us.”

“How?”

“Dumb bad luck, I’m guessing.  Or he expected we’d follow him up the mountain.  He’s just sped up.”

“How far away?”

“A half-mile.  We should see him higher up when we turn the next corner.”

It took an eternity to get there, and when we did, Alan was right, only he was further on than we thought.”

“Step on it.  Let’s catch him up before he gets to the top.”

Easy to say, not so easy to do.  The road was treacherous, and in places just gravel, and there were no guard rails to stop a three thousand footfall down the mountainside.

Good thing then I had the foresight to have three agents on the hill for just such a scenario.

 

Ten minutes later, we were in sight of the car, still moving quickly, but we were going slightly faster.  We’d catch up just short of the summit car park.

Or so we thought.

Coming quickly around another corner we almost slammed into the car we’d been chasing.

“What the hell…” Aland muttered.

I was out of the car, and over to see if he was in it, but I knew that it was only a slender possibility.  The car was empty, and no indication where he went.

Certainly not up the road.  It was relatively straightforward for the next mile, at which we would have reached the summit.  Up the mountainside from here, or down.

I looked up.  Nothing.

Alan yelled out, “He’s not going down, not that I can see, but if he did, there’s hardly a foothold and that’s a long fall.”

Then where did he go?

Then a man looking very much like our quarry came out from behind a rock embedded just a short distance up the hill.

“Sorry,” he said quite calmly.  “Had to go if you know what I mean.”

 

I’d lost him.

It was as simple as that.

I had been led a merry chase up the hill, and all the time he was getting away in a different direction.

I’d fallen for the oldest trick in the book, letting my desperation blind me to the disguise that anyone else would see through in an instant.

It was a lonely sight, looking down that road, knowing that I had to go all that way down again, only this time, without having to throw caution to the wind.

“Maybe next time,” Alan said.

“We’ll get him.  It’s just a matter of time.”

 

© Charles Heath 2019

Find this and other stories in “Inspiration, maybe”  available soon.

InspirationMaybe1v1

 

 

Inspiration, maybe

A picture paints … well, as many words as you like.  For instance:

lookingdownfromcoronetpeak

And the story:

 

It was once said that a desperate man has everything to lose.

The man I was chasing was desperate, but I, on the other hand, was more desperate to catch him.

He’d left a trail of dead people from one end of the island to the other.

The team had put in a lot of effort to locate him, and now his capture was imminent.  We were following the car he was in, from a discrete distance, and, at the appropriate time, we would catch up, pull him over, and make the arrest.

There was nowhere for him to go.

The road led to a dead-end, and the only way off the mountain was back down the road were now on.  Which was why I was somewhat surprised when we discovered where he was.

Where was he going?

 

“Damn,” I heard Alan mutter.  He was driving, being careful not to get too close, but not far enough away to lose sight of him.

“What?”

“I think he’s made us.”

“How?”

“Dumb bad luck, I’m guessing.  Or he expected we’d follow him up the mountain.  He’s just sped up.”

“How far away?”

“A half-mile.  We should see him higher up when we turn the next corner.”

It took an eternity to get there, and when we did, Alan was right, only he was further on than we thought.”

“Step on it.  Let’s catch him up before he gets to the top.”

Easy to say, not so easy to do.  The road was treacherous, and in places just gravel, and there were no guard rails to stop a three thousand footfall down the mountainside.

Good thing then I had the foresight to have three agents on the hill for just such a scenario.

 

Ten minutes later, we were in sight of the car, still moving quickly, but we were going slightly faster.  We’d catch up just short of the summit car park.

Or so we thought.

Coming quickly around another corner we almost slammed into the car we’d been chasing.

“What the hell…” Aland muttered.

I was out of the car, and over to see if he was in it, but I knew that it was only a slender possibility.  The car was empty, and no indication where he went.

Certainly not up the road.  It was relatively straightforward for the next mile, at which we would have reached the summit.  Up the mountainside from here, or down.

I looked up.  Nothing.

Alan yelled out, “He’s not going down, not that I can see, but if he did, there’s hardly a foothold and that’s a long fall.”

Then where did he go?

Then a man looking very much like our quarry came out from behind a rock embedded just a short distance up the hill.

“Sorry,” he said quite calmly.  “Had to go if you know what I mean.”

 

I’d lost him.

It was as simple as that.

I had been led a merry chase up the hill, and all the time he was getting away in a different direction.

I’d fallen for the oldest trick in the book, letting my desperation blind me to the disguise that anyone else would see through in an instant.

It was a lonely sight, looking down that road, knowing that I had to go all that way down again, only this time, without having to throw caution to the wind.

“Maybe next time,” Alan said.

“We’ll get him.  It’s just a matter of time.”

 

© Charles Heath 2019

Find this and other stories in “Inspiration, maybe”  available soon.

InspirationMaybe1v1

 

 

‘Tis almost October

Which, of course, means on this side of the world, that Spring has arrived and is in full swing.

Perhaps not quite the news the hay-fever sufferers want to hear, but it does mean everything in the garden will start to grow again, and, worst luck, also the weeds.

But, it is getting close to the end of the month, and it has been a reasonably good one.

Firstly,

My private detective, Harry Walthenson, is working stolidly on his new case, and is up to episode 14, with another ready to be published soon.

The latest episode is here:  https://bit.ly/2GAJtBx

Secondly,

My serialised stories are progressing, and I’m striving to upload a new episode for each at least once a fortnight.

The other thing that I’ve been working on, basically in those five minutes or so from when my head hits the pillow, till the moment I’m asleep, titles for each of the stories.

For the first, currently labelled with ‘I’ve always wanted to go on a treasure hunt’, I’ve been toying with the word ‘map’ and something witty, like ‘A Map to Trouble’, but it’s not exactly attention-getting.  It needs more thought.

The latest episode is here:  https://bit.ly/2FgwFzy

For the second, currently labelled with ‘What happens after an action-packed start’, it starts in the desert, and will end in a dusty, desolate village in Africa, I’d like to have the word ‘Redemption’ in it.  It’s now finished, and a title needs to be found soon.

The last episode is here:  https://bit.ly/2Yxnh1k

The others need more thought, as yet, and I know a title will pop out at me as I get further along with the story.

these stories are here:  https://bit.ly/3bulAXD

and here:  https://bit.ly/2EO8RDc

Thirdly,

There’s two new episodic stories coming, another one set during World War 2, involving a rescue, and one dealing with the investigation of a crime with a suspect that has all three criteria to be the number one suspect, and might be called, ‘Motive, Means, and Opportunity’.

Also the ‘Being Inspired, Maybe’ stories are continuing, the latest story, Number 127 has been published here:  https://bit.ly/2QXejWW

And the next will be available in a day or so.  The stories are the fun part of my week, as they usually get written while I’m waiting to collect my youngest granddaughter from school.

As for the novels, one is at the editor, and one is in mid-re-write.

If only there were more hours in a day!!!

Inspiration, maybe

A picture paints … well, as many words as you like.  For instance:

lookingdownfromcoronetpeak

And the story:

 

It was once said that a desperate man has everything to lose.

The man I was chasing was desperate, but I, on the other hand, was more desperate to catch him.

He’d left a trail of dead people from one end of the island to the other.

The team had put in a lot of effort to locate him, and now his capture was imminent.  We were following the car he was in, from a discrete distance, and, at the appropriate time, we would catch up, pull him over, and make the arrest.

There was nowhere for him to go.

The road led to a dead-end, and the only way off the mountain was back down the road were now on.  Which was why I was somewhat surprised when we discovered where he was.

Where was he going?

 

“Damn,” I heard Alan mutter.  He was driving, being careful not to get too close, but not far enough away to lose sight of him.

“What?”

“I think he’s made us.”

“How?”

“Dumb bad luck, I’m guessing.  Or he expected we’d follow him up the mountain.  He’s just sped up.”

“How far away?”

“A half-mile.  We should see him higher up when we turn the next corner.”

It took an eternity to get there, and when we did, Alan was right, only he was further on than we thought.”

“Step on it.  Let’s catch him up before he gets to the top.”

Easy to say, not so easy to do.  The road was treacherous, and in places just gravel, and there were no guard rails to stop a three thousand footfall down the mountainside.

Good thing then I had the foresight to have three agents on the hill for just such a scenario.

 

Ten minutes later, we were in sight of the car, still moving quickly, but we were going slightly faster.  We’d catch up just short of the summit car park.

Or so we thought.

Coming quickly around another corner we almost slammed into the car we’d been chasing.

“What the hell…” Aland muttered.

I was out of the car, and over to see if he was in it, but I knew that it was only a slender possibility.  The car was empty, and no indication where he went.

Certainly not up the road.  It was relatively straightforward for the next mile, at which we would have reached the summit.  Up the mountainside from here, or down.

I looked up.  Nothing.

Alan yelled out, “He’s not going down, not that I can see, but if he did, there’s hardly a foothold and that’s a long fall.”

Then where did he go?

Then a man looking very much like our quarry came out from behind a rock embedded just a short distance up the hill.

“Sorry,” he said quite calmly.  “Had to go if you know what I mean.”

 

I’d lost him.

It was as simple as that.

I had been led a merry chase up the hill, and all the time he was getting away in a different direction.

I’d fallen for the oldest trick in the book, letting my desperation blind me to the disguise that anyone else would see through in an instant.

It was a lonely sight, looking down that road, knowing that I had to go all that way down again, only this time, without having to throw caution to the wind.

“Maybe next time,” Alan said.

“We’ll get him.  It’s just a matter of time.”

 

© Charles Heath 2019

Find this and other stories in “Inspiration, maybe”  available soon.

InspirationMaybe1v1

 

 

Inspiration, maybe

A picture paints … well, as many words as you like.  For instance:

lookingdownfromcoronetpeak

And the story:

 

It was once said that a desperate man has everything to lose.

The man I was chasing was desperate, but I, on the other hand, was more desperate to catch him.

He’d left a trail of dead people from one end of the island to the other.

The team had put in a lot of effort to locate him, and now his capture was imminent.  We were following the car he was in, from a discrete distance, and, at the appropriate time, we would catch up, pull him over, and make the arrest.

There was nowhere for him to go.

The road led to a dead-end, and the only way off the mountain was back down the road were now on.  Which was why I was somewhat surprised when we discovered where he was.

Where was he going?

 

“Damn,” I heard Alan mutter.  He was driving, being careful not to get too close, but not far enough away to lose sight of him.

“What?”

“I think he’s made us.”

“How?”

“Dumb bad luck, I’m guessing.  Or he expected we’d follow him up the mountain.  He’s just sped up.”

“How far away?”

“A half-mile.  We should see him higher up when we turn the next corner.”

It took an eternity to get there, and when we did, Alan was right, only he was further on than we thought.”

“Step on it.  Let’s catch him up before he gets to the top.”

Easy to say, not so easy to do.  The road was treacherous, and in places just gravel, and there were no guard rails to stop a three thousand footfall down the mountainside.

Good thing then I had the foresight to have three agents on the hill for just such a scenario.

 

Ten minutes later, we were in sight of the car, still moving quickly, but we were going slightly faster.  We’d catch up just short of the summit car park.

Or so we thought.

Coming quickly around another corner we almost slammed into the car we’d been chasing.

“What the hell…” Aland muttered.

I was out of the car, and over to see if he was in it, but I knew that it was only a slender possibility.  The car was empty, and no indication where he went.

Certainly not up the road.  It was relatively straightforward for the next mile, at which we would have reached the summit.  Up the mountainside from here, or down.

I looked up.  Nothing.

Alan yelled out, “He’s not going down, not that I can see, but if he did, there’s hardly a foothold and that’s a long fall.”

Then where did he go?

Then a man looking very much like our quarry came out from behind a rock embedded just a short distance up the hill.

“Sorry,” he said quite calmly.  “Had to go if you know what I mean.”

 

I’d lost him.

It was as simple as that.

I had been led a merry chase up the hill, and all the time he was getting away in a different direction.

I’d fallen for the oldest trick in the book, letting my desperation blind me to the disguise that anyone else would see through in an instant.

It was a lonely sight, looking down that road, knowing that I had to go all that way down again, only this time, without having to throw caution to the wind.

“Maybe next time,” Alan said.

“We’ll get him.  It’s just a matter of time.”

 

© Charles Heath 2019

Find this and other stories in “Inspiration, maybe”  available soon.

InspirationMaybe1v1

 

 

From typewriters to computers to distraction

I first started writing by longhand, still do, in fact, then graduated to my mother’s portable typewriter, right down to the sticking keys and overused ribbon, then moved upwards into the electric world having a pair of IBM electric typewriters I bought from one of the places I worked as second-hand cast-offs.

Just remembering those days gives me the shudders, from the tangled ribbons and messy hands to using carbon paper, how many times before they were useless?

Then the age of the electric typewriter went the same way as the manual ones, simply because I could no longer buy ribbons for my IBM Selectric, so it, too, had to go the way of the dinosaurs.

It was a good thing, then, that computers and word processing software started at about the same time.   Word Perfect, to begin with, and then, in the early days of Windows, Word, and others.  Sometimes it was easier just to use the text editor, and for convenience, it’s often by choice to get ideas down, quick and dirty.

This was before the days of the internet, where you physically had to do something about finding inspiration.  And that, sometimes, was more difficult that it seems.  I do not have a writing room with large windows looking out on a rural or urban panorama.  The window looks onto a fence, and the house next door.

So much for my dream of owning a castle and having a writing room on the second or third level, with astonishing views.

Which leads me to today.  Enough with the reminiscing.  I have all the tools I need to get on with the job, but that isn’t enough to switch on the brain and start typing perfect prose.  I have to go in search of some inspiration.

It’s just that in that short distance, from, say, the couch where you were reading the latest blog posts in the WordPress reader, and the writer’s chair, your preparation for writing ends up getting confused at some of the blogger’s points because it’s hard to find anything relevant that backs up their assertions, or how things work for them.

I guess success form anyone’s standpoint, is what worked for them.  In relaying that to others, two things come to mind.  It worked for them, but in telling a million others, and they all take the same approach, no, sorry, it ain’t going to work no how.  The other, there’s usually a fee attached to gain the knowledge, and, yes, the same proviso applies.  If everyone does it, it ain’t going to work no how.

But, there you are, my attention has been distracted, and unless I’m about to indulge in writing a version of how to achieve success myself, which I haven’t so I’m not, 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.

I was a journalist once and hated the idea of having to toe the editorial line.  Or as luck would have it, never let the truth get in the way of a good story.  It lends to the theory that you can never quite believe anything the media tells you, which is a very sorry place to be when there are no external influences you can trust.

I’m coming around to thinking that it’s probably best left to the dark hours of the night when you would think all the distractions are behind you.  After all, isn’t that what daytime is for?

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

I think.

Was that the lounge room door opening?

I think the asylum is beckoning

I’m sitting at my desk surrounded by any number of scraps of paper with more storylines, written excepts, parts of stories, and a number of chapters of a work in progress.

Does this happen to anyone else?

The business of writing requires a talent to keep focused on the one project, and silence all the other screaming voices in your head, pouring out their side of the story.

But it’s not working.

I try to be determined in my efforts to edit my current completed novel, after letting it ‘rest’ in my head for a few months.

I planned to have so time off, but all of those prisoners in my head started clamoring for my attention.  A story I started some time ago needs revising, another story I wrote last year of NANOWRIMO has come back to haunt me, and characters, well, they’re out in the waiting room, pacing up and down, ready to tell me their life stories.

Is the temporary cure coffee or wine?

Now I think I really do need a holiday

Or a trip to the asylum.  Thank God this is not the early 20th century, or I might never return.  And if it’s named Bellview, it would be just another story to be written.

The Author that went Bonkers!

Does it ever end?

 

 

 

Inspiration, maybe

A picture paints … well, as many words as you like.  For instance:

lookingdownfromcoronetpeak

And the story:

 

It was once said that a desperate man has everything to lose.

The man I was chasing was desperate, but I, on the other hand, was more desperate to catch him.

He’d left a trail of dead people from one end of the island to the other.

The team had put in a lot of effort to locate him, and now his capture was imminent.  We were following the car he was in, from a discrete distance, and, at the appropriate time, we would catch up, pull him over, and make the arrest.

There was nowhere for him to go.

The road led to a dead-end, and the only way off the mountain was back down the road were now on.  Which was why I was somewhat surprised when we discovered where he was.

Where was he going?

 

“Damn,” I heard Alan mutter.  He was driving, being careful not to get too close, but not far enough away to lose sight of him.

“What?”

“I think he’s made us.”

“How?”

“Dumb bad luck, I’m guessing.  Or he expected we’d follow him up the mountain.  He’s just sped up.”

“How far away?”

“A half-mile.  We should see him higher up when we turn the next corner.”

It took an eternity to get there, and when we did, Alan was right, only he was further on than we thought.”

“Step on it.  Let’s catch him up before he gets to the top.”

Easy to say, not so easy to do.  The road was treacherous, and in places just gravel, and there were no guard rails to stop a three thousand footfall down the mountainside.

Good thing then I had the foresight to have three agents on the hill for just such a scenario.

 

Ten minutes later, we were in sight of the car, still moving quickly, but we were going slightly faster.  We’d catch up just short of the summit car park.

Or so we thought.

Coming quickly around another corner we almost slammed into the car we’d been chasing.

“What the hell…” Aland muttered.

I was out of the car, and over to see if he was in it, but I knew that it was only a slender possibility.  The car was empty, and no indication where he went.

Certainly not up the road.  It was relatively straightforward for the next mile, at which we would have reached the summit.  Up the mountainside from here, or down.

I looked up.  Nothing.

Alan yelled out, “He’s not going down, not that I can see, but if he did, there’s hardly a foothold and that’s a long fall.”

Then where did he go?

Then a man looking very much like our quarry came out from behind a rock embedded just a short distance up the hill.

“Sorry,” he said quite calmly.  “Had to go if you know what I mean.”

 

I’d lost him.

It was as simple as that.

I had been led a merry chase up the hill, and all the time he was getting away in a different direction.

I’d fallen for the oldest trick in the book, letting my desperation blind me to the disguise that anyone else would see through in an instant.

It was a lonely sight, looking down that road, knowing that I had to go all that way down again, only this time, without having to throw caution to the wind.

“Maybe next time,” Alan said.

“We’ll get him.  It’s just a matter of time.”

 

© Charles Heath 2019

Find this and other stories in “Inspiration, maybe”  available soon.

InspirationMaybe1v1

 

 

“I was minding my own business when…”, a short story

What do you say, when everything that could be had been said, and then some.

What did marriage counselors know, other than they are right, and you are wrong?

I don’t think either of us, with the same belief, could be wrong.  The marriage was over, and there was no use prolonging the agony.

Except we had to try to at least put some of the pieces back together, if only for the sake of walking away with a sense of closure and peace.

But, peace was the last thing in the atmosphere inside the car, and it had been like that since leaving Vancouver.

There had been a momentary truce in Kamloops where we had to stay, in separate rooms, and polite conversation over breakfast, until I put my foot in my mouth.

Again.

I’m not sure if I knew what to say to her anymore.  To her, everything I said was laced with an agenda or a subliminal plot.  I got it, I’d lied to her once too often, and once she proved one right, and, from there, it didn’t take long for the whole charade to unravel.

I’d been advised against marrying her, that I would not be able to do my job and have some sort of life with Eloise, but I wanted it.

And, fifteen months down the track, my employers had been proved right.
Eloise was driving.  Her parents lived in Banff, and we had made the trip in all of the four seasons, and now winter, she was more used to the icy conditions than I.

It gave me a chance to look at her from my side of the mid-sized SUV.  We were going to take her car, a rather small sedan, but it had broken down, so I hired a Ford Flex.

If you’re going to take on the elements, I wanted a car that could handle the conditions.

In that, I think I’d managed to surprise her, and not in a bad way.

For the first time in a long time.

Then, of course, she had to look sideways, and that ruined it.  The frown followed by the pursed lips.  Something caustic was about to come my way.

Except a very loud bang took us both by surprise, and skewing the car sideways, catching the edge of the ice on the road, and we started spinning.

As good as she was, there would be no containing this calamity.

I looked behind to see what the hell had hit us.

An F350 or RAM 2500, definitely larger than us, definitely deliberate, and definitely with intent to hurt us.

Or me.

My work had finally come home.

There was a scream just on the edge of her terror as the car had spun sideways and the car behind us slammed into it us again, arresting the spin and pushing us towards the edge of the road.

I could see what the pursuer’s intent was.  Down the side, a roll if possible, then pick off the survivors as they scrambled from the wreckage.

Or not have to worry, the roll may do the job for them.
We hit the edge as the other car braked, and we continued on, that stifled scream from Eloise now erupting.

She could see what was going to happen, just as our car tipped.

Six seconds.

Seat belt or not, totally unprepared for what was about to happen, she was not going to walk away from this.

Unless I did something about it.

Seatbelt unhitched I dragged her to me and protected her as best I could.  She didn’t resist, but the look in her eyes, terror laced with something else, no time to think about it now, told me she would do whatever I wanted.

Over on the roof, upside down, I prayed it stayed there, and slide,  The ice, snow, and slush was going to help.

Seconds passed, taking what seemed forever, till we reached the bottom of the hill and hit a rock, arresting the movement with a loud bang and a crunch of bending metal.

Stopped.

Engine still running.

No movement from her.  Yet.

And relief.  No bones were broken, or none that I noticed.

Under me, she stirred.

Just as a bullet smashed the rear passenger window, and the shattered glass splattered the interior.  A moment later, the side window, above my head did the same.
I lifted myself, whispering in her ear, “Slide towards the front window.”  It was buried in the snow and dirt kicked up in the final run to the bottom.  The shooter would not be able to see it, or her.

Above me, I reached up to feel under the seat and found the package.

A gun.  Always be prepared.

Ten seconds since the last shot.  From up top, the shooter would not be able to see us, or any movement.  He was going to have to come down and finish the job.

And hope we were would not be able to fight back.

That was the purpose of running us off the road.

Pity then that he had not been given my file.  If he had he would have driven off and tried again later.

That he was halfway down the hill when I saw him told me this operation had been cobbled together quickly, with no time to find a professional.

And now I knew why Barnes had told me to be careful.

A lone wolf looking to make a name for himself.

And failing.
Ten minutes, the police arrived.

Long enough to bury the body and the weapons under a lot of snow, in a ravine that no one would discover until the thaw.

The car that rammed us had gone.  Soon as he saw his partner go down, he left.  A wise man, he had stayed at the top of the hill, having more sense than his friend.

Live to fight another day,

The policeman asked the questions, and Eloise answered.  Not one mention of being rammed, run off the road, being shot at, or that there was anyone else involved.

As cool as a cucumber.

It took her a minute after I shot our attacker to ask the questions I’d expected a week ago when she finally discovered my other life, prefaced by, “No more lies, just tell me the truth.  What the hell is it you do for a living?”

“Make the world safe for people like you, and in my case right now, for you in particular.  Sorry, I was sworn to secrecy.”

“Even from your wife?”

“Especially from you.  You now know why.”

“Bit late for that now, do you think?”

“Just a little.”

And then I saw the look, the one I had fallen in love with 15 months ago.  The one that made my heart miss a few beats.

“You do realize you are the biggest idiot on the planet, don’t you?”

“Does this mean I can stay?”

She punched me on the arm.,  OK, no broken bones, but there was going to be bruising, major bruising.

“If you promise to tell me only the truth from now on.”

What harm could it do?  She knew enough.

“Good.  We should probably do something with that man out there.  I’m assuming the police do not take too kindly to you working in their jurisdiction.”

Too many thrillers, too much TV, or an educated guess, she was right.  This would be impossible to explain, and Barnes was already angry at me.

I held out my hand and she took it as I helped her out of the wreckage.  Out in the fresh, cold air, she took in a huge breath and let out a slow sigh.

“Is it always this exciting?”

“This is the Sunday in the park stroll.  Wait till you have a hand held rocket boring down on you.”

 

© Charles Heath 2019-2020