Thursday, August 4, 2011

Chapter Twenty-Four

British Channel Islands, Bailiwick of Guernsey

Mike sat and looked through the solarium windows to the waves. Whitecaps frothed on the channel.  No ships were visible through the rainsqualls.
His private nurse had left him tucked beneath a nice tartan wool blanket with magazines to peruse and music playing softly on the vintage hi-fi.  She had made a show of bringing him several albums to choose from; Mike had picked the first one he recognized:  The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour.
He heard dishes clattering, Angus muttering to the nurse, and the creaking of a trolley being wheeled his way.  Oh hell, Tea -- with a capital "T."
His nurse set great store in the medicinal benefits of the afternoon ritual of Tea.  I’d really rather have a beer!
Nurse Tilda beamed as she trundled the cart to the table in front of Mike.  Angus followed in his cardigan, fresh newspapers tucked beneath his arm.  I must still look like hell judging by that concerned look on his face.
“Master Michael, I’d think you’d like some Tea to soothe yourself.”  Nurse Tilda fussed over him.  “We need to keep the fluids coming, says Doctor.  Would you be ‘Mother,’ Sir?” she looked to Angus for consent.  Angus, in turn, looked positively awkward.  
“Aye, I’d be happy to preside, Matilda.  Now, if you’d be so kind?”  Angus cleared his throat with an ostentatious harumph to indicate to Nurse Tilda that they’d need some private time.
“Of course, Sir.  I’d best be checking the Master’s prescriptions from the chemist?.  With your leave, Sir.”  She nodded her head at Angus, then batted her eyes at Mike.  Oh No!  Please, Tilda, please don’t give me the cow-eyes again.  Did Angus put you up to that?
Angus placed the newspapers on the cart, set the cup and saucers on the table, and waited until the woman bustled from the room to talk.  “I know you’d not fancy more of this tea, Lad.  Would you like something a little more stirring to the blood?”  He pulled his silver flask from within his cardigan and proffered it.
“That’d be kind, Angus.”
“Say when, Laddie.”  Angus poured several fingers into a cup before Mike could catch him. 
They sat in silence as the rain drummed on the glass panes.  Mike winced each time a swallow of the single malt went down his throat – leftover damage from the near-drowning.  Each man gazed at different places in the vista, each lost in his own thoughts.
Angus spoke first.  “I brought the papers for you, Lad.” 
“Thank you Angus. Anything interesting?”
“The usual rubbish these days. Your government is debasing itself by the hour.  The EU is falling apart even faster.  The ‘haves’ are scrambling to invent new ways to roger the ‘have-nots’ it would seem. Bloody hell.”  Angus' tone was bitter, as if he took every one of the world's failings personally. 
“You seem pretty upset for someone squarely in the ‘have’ corner, Angus.”  Mike instantly regretted his choice of words and tried to retract them.  “Angus. I’m sorry. I didn't mean …”
“Ye have the right of it, Lad.  I am upset.  I did not grow up with all of this.” He waved his hand toward the wild, but gorgeous surroundings. “And even if I had I’d pray I had the good sense, the grace, to be of some benefit to others, unlike those…” Angus struggled for words.  Rare for him to be speechless. “...Unlike those arrogant bastards that seem intent on destroying the world as we know it.”  With that Angus tossed back his entire teacup in one gulp.
He continued, “Derivatives, off-balance sheet financing of governments, runaway fiat currency printings, torture done in the name of 'freedom' … Bloody hell!” he repeated after his tirade.
The silence subsumed them again – each contemplating the dire situation.
“What's to be done, Angus?” Mike shrugged.
“I have no idea, Lad.  But I will. Trust me; I will.”
The hi-fi played the song “Fool on the Hill.”  

It fit.
The fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down,
And the eyes in his head,
See the world spinning 'round 


  1. Just so you know, I should have been doing some chores but instead ended up reading through all the chapters posted in one sitting. Very well written! I am looking forward to the next chapter already. :)

  2. don't tell your spouse Tony, I'm already in enough trouble with mine! :)

    many thanks!


  3. I spend too much time flat on my back waiting for the pain to go away. One thing I can still do while stuck in bed is read, so I read a lot, average around a book a day. I once calculated that I'd read at least 5,000 books in the last 15 years, so I am always glad to find a new author worth reading - and I hope you keep writing, and I hope it does you good, 'cause I enjoy your story and your style.
    Thanks for putting your self out here.

  4. Ratty, I know all too well what living in pain and rack time is like. Signed copy coming your way when it hits print (or signed cover to go with Kindle version - your call)

    I DEEPLY appreciate the compliment from someone as well read.

    keep the faith


  5. I was lead here by Claire Wolfe from BHM and just wanted to say how good your writing is from the stand point of a reader with very little [If Any] writing talent.

    I had missed a couple of the installments and Claire has been keeping her readers apprised of the advance of the story.

    In an effort to not miss any more I have signed up for email distribution and thank you for that option.

    Cover options = Jake in front of Moira And Deb with collapse in the background and Tonka sitting alert in front of the group. [on Moira's side of course]

    Good stuff Jake.
    What with my being ex-Navy [one hitch] and Merchant Marine [28 years] would a Well Done be acceptable?

  6. 'Well Done' warms my heart 'Captgooch'

    gratefully, Semper Fidelis Sir


  7. Enjoying the weave. Tough for the hero to straddle the class lines. Thought keeps intruding, "Gah! He really must reek!!" Helps to be humbled I guess. Moira has a strong faith in her ability to catch a falling star and dry him out. May help her to be Irish. Keep on spinning! I am enjoying the tale and the development of villains who are going to richly deserve what I am sure is coming their way.