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I have decided to stick to love...Hate is too great a burden to bear. ~Martin Luther King Jr.
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Reworking a Painting



We wanted to have one of my paintings in a prominent place on our living room wall. Which, is fine since I have a few paintings I could use. But I wanted to add a more personal touch so I reworking an earlier painting to add mine and my husband's nicknames in it. This is how it turned out. The first version is the reworked painting. ~JD

  INITALS tree_Painting w matt-photo 8-5-20 36x24 SIGNED onlineThe original painting:  Dangers In the Wilderness 

Dangers In the Wilderness I painted to go with a story I wrote by the same name. The story appears in my book, Stories And Imaginings for the Reading Spot. 

Is Someone You Live With Depressed?

Watch for signs of depression in those around you, like a withdrawal from people and activities they normally enjoy. (Antonio Guillem/Shutterstock)
(Antonio Guillem/Shutterstock)

This advice is from an article called: How to Help Someone You Live With Who Has Depression during COVID-19 by MONIKA PARKINSON AND MARIA LOADES
This is a wonderful article and I’ve picked out some important things you can do to help someone. ~Jan
Some Signs of Depression: withdrawal from things, people, and activities especially those they enjoy. Don’t assume someone they are okay because they say they are. Better to ask questions and risk annoying them and get them to talk by drawing them out of themselves.If they still don’t want to tell you, watch for anything unusual and these signs: such as sleeping more, skipping meals, zoning out for long periods of time, and avoiding doing things. The experience of depression often fills a person with negative thoughts. Feelings can often be linked to repetitive thoughts, and most often the person can’t stop the thought and negative feelings that accompany it as it plays over and over again like a repeating or broken cd,( or for us older people,) a broken record.It can also be a repetitive behavior.
HOW TO HELP:(THIS IS RIGHT OUT IF THE ARTICLE:) It can be helpful to encourage someone who is thinking this way to try to look at different sides to a situation. Useful questions might be:“What advice would you give a friend in this situation? ”or “What would be a more helpful way of thinking about this?”
(ME AGAIN) It is helpful to tell them that you know how they are feeling. That what they are feeling is clear, plausible, easy to understand letting them know these feelings will pass. Validation like this can help someone depressed stop criticizing themselves for what they might feel were justified thoughts about themself, and give them some relief from their depression, even if just temporary. Encourage them to do the things that they enjoy and that are important to them lead them to pull out of their depression. 
AND, ENCOURAGE them to talk with their DOCTOR. I believe this is a must.(And, I will add)  THEY MUST WORK to come out of their depression. That will sometimes mean FORCING THEMSELVES TO DO THINGS. As it is said; ‘GOD, Helps Those Who Help Themselves.’  ~Jan
How to Help Someone You Live With Who Has Depression by MONIKA PARKINSON AND MARIA LOADES at: 

If You Talk to Yourself You Might Be a Genius

If You Talk to Yourself You Might Be a Genius

1. Thinking Outside the Box
2. Multitasking
3. Positivity
Epoch Times Photo
(Illustration – Max4e Photo/Shutterstock)
Generally speaking, people who self-narrate are better able to maintain a positive outlook on life than those who bottle everything up inside. Negativity can shake our self-belief as we navigate life and its challenges. Positive pep-talking yourself, then, will swing you from negativity to positivity.
There is something life-affirming about self-talking and swinging your mood to a more favorable setting. Without a doubt, negative energy begets negative energy. Those who are of a positive mindset receive positive energy back and enjoy a more productive and happier life.


It is all about self-esteem and being your cheerleader. Self-talking avoids beating yourself up about stuff that you probably couldn’t control anyway. Instead, give yourself a break and provide yourself with some positive feedback. It is a significant feel-good factor and helps put matters into perspective. Life is complicated enough without occasionally putting a positive spin on your life. There is always a silver lining should you choose to look hard enough.


A fantasy Picture Book by JD Holiday

"The sign didn't work?" Geordie asked.

"It knocked it down!" Cordelia cried.

"It didn't even slow down so we could see what it was racing by!" Chirp complained.

"It does too fast to see," Kit offered.

Ruff was so mad that RRrrrrrr was the only sound he could make.

1AA PAGE9 DONE signed for online_bak

The Authors Words: Author & Publisher Lillian Brummet

The Authors Words:   

Author & Publisher Lillian Brummet

Lillian and her husband Dave are the team behind Brummet Media Group high-fiving cheerfully as they pass each other on the way from checking off one item or other from their long to-do list. Their business includes Dave’s music studio and percussion accessory development, graphic design work, numerous award-winning non-fiction books and a popular blog. 

How many books have you written and what are they about?

As writers, we specialize in non-fiction and since embarking on this career around 1999, we have had 6 books published, with 5 of these available today. Towards Understanding and Rhythm & Rhyme are both poetry books. We also have a 2-book series titled Trash Talk, which enables people to save money, time, reduce energy consumption and fossil fuel production and make a difference in their community. The first book lists common waste items in alphabetic format, offering tips, interesting recycling and waste management information, quotes and inspiring stats, and hundreds of ways to repurpose or reuse items. The second book in this series takes things a bit further and explores composting, energy (electric/gas) reduction methods for home and office settings, water conservation and a whole lot more. Purple Snowflake Marketing is a manual that walks writers through the business aspects of running a home office, tax and efficiency tips, shows how to develop business, contingency and succession plans, and a step-by-step guide for marketing every book, or article they write. In fact, any entrepreneur could benefit from this book - just substitute the word “book” for whatever product you are selling.

Where have your ideas for writing come from?

For myself, the choice comes from the desire to make a difference and leave a positive legacy, so I write about things I care about. My articles have ranged from writing and business advice, interviews with inspiring people, gardening and composting, to book and product reviews and highlights of interesting aspects of alternative agriculture or alternative energy. What I desire most is to have a positive impact with my life. That is why I choose what I focus on so carefully.

I’ve had depression off and on in my life. I found that my writing could help change my mood. Does writing help you emotionally?

Oh definitely. Writing became a career for me after a car accident resulted in my business collapsing, chronic depression for a time, and left me battling an anxiety disorder with issues remaining from the injuries. I had a tough upbringing, and experienced trauma numerous times; as such I’m cautious, anxious, and suffer panic attacks. However, I’m very strong in other ways, super determined, tenacious, organised and inspired to leave this world with as few regrets as possible. Writing is one way I am able to make a difference. Poetry, in particular, has helped me deal with emotions that I couldn’t express in any other way. Knowing I’m now susceptible to depression has caused me to avoid negativity. I do not listen to the news, read political or negative posts online, I don’t have a city newspaper subscription, nor any magazine subscriptions and I have been challenging myself to avoid negative speech and thoughts… but fail a lot on that last one. I try to fill my time with productive things I also enjoy: baking bread, gardening, cleaning, reading and studying. I avoid toxic people, shopping, driving and toxic situations like the plague.

Do you use friends and family or people you have known as characters in your stories?

Numerous people we have known appear in our books; experts offer quotes and tips in our writer’s advice book while family and friends appear in our upcoming cookbook… some of those people are no longer with us and so this upcoming book is a way to honour them, too. My frugal parents tips appear in the Trash Talk series occasionally as well. My mother features prominently in our upcoming gardening advice book. However, Dave and I both write non-fiction as well and hope to write more in that genre when our schedule opens up. The fiction I’ve written are currently in draft format and are not inspired by other people… but are often inspired by dreams and ‘what if’ scenarios thought up over a campfire or while weeding the garden.

Do you have a strategy to sell your books?

The marketing plan is always evolving. We tend to update our marketing plan annually, checking to see what we accomplished, what we have yet to do and evaluating results from our efforts. Doing this helps us determine where we will put our efforts and advertising budget towards in the future. I take every marketing option seriously and never let an opportunity slide. Instead - I write the information in a file, and when I have time I will browse that file and choose something from it to tackle. This way I avoid feeling overwhelmed. I’m often appearing on blogs, in magazines occasionally, interviewed on terrestrial or online radio and podcast programs, etc. A couple years ago we went on a promotional tour over a couple months, we distribute bookmarks and flyers a few times a year. We just finished running a 6-month ad in a popular regional newsletter and we’ll probably renew that ad campaign after the epidemic crisis has passed.

I know you help other authors through your company; can you tell us what you offer?

My husband, Dave, designs book covers, helps people with formatting for publication, image manipulations, ad designs and bookmark and business card designs. He is an equal partner in everything we do in the office, and everything we produce – whether it is percussion accessories and repairs or an interview like this. We really encourage all the new authors and anyone interested in writing to pick up a copy of Purple Snowflake Marketing, which offers up pretty much everything we know in one package. Doing so, will help them avoid all kinds of costly mistakes. They’ll learn about building name recognition, public relations, business and sales plans, advertising and marketing plans, best ways to approach retailers, how to work with members of the media, interview advice, website design and promotion, succession plans, tax advice and so much more.

Besides writing, what hobbies do you have and what are some of your other interests?

Gardening is a huge passion for me. It is therapy for my mind and my body. While in the gardens, which take up our entire property, I am able to let the mind wander, I can ponder situations and story ideas, or I can let them go and just meld with the sounds and smells of nature. Just from our yard alone Dave and I are able to produce most of the fruits and about 60% of the vegetables and all the herbs we consume. We have a couple of nut trees that are starting to produce now too. We've become part of an informal network of neighbours and friends, who share excess harvests back and forth. Whenever we have too much, we call up a few elderly folds that are no longer able to garden, but really appreciate a little fresh treat. Occasionally, I’ll sell excess plants, supplies and harvests and this helps mitigate our gardening expenses. I make syrup, jam, jelly, relish, and other conserves and dehydrated products and give them away on birthdays, holidays, etc… and we are now bringing our excess juice to a local u-brew place, making our own wine. With one upright freezer, 2 fridges (with freezers), a pantry cupboard and a cold room… we keep the harvests until the next year’s gardens are producing. I’ve a passion for composting, I could go on and on about composting alone. Every year we get one neighbour’s grass clippings and 2 other neighbour’s bags of leaves, keeping even more organic wastes from the landfill.

What are you working on right now?   

We are currently working on a cookbook… this manuscript has been set aside, then brought back out to work on but then set aside again for over a decade now. At first it was just a hobby, making a collection of our favourite meals in one place, but is has evolved into a larger (300 recipes) product with lots of photos, nutritional and historical facts, tips for reducing energy and water consumption, time saving tips and ways to reduce waste in the kitchen. These delicious, heath-conscious meals are based on what we grow in our own yard and what we purchase from the local farmers markets. The final chapter also offers environmentally friendly products that you can make from home, saving a huge amount of money and reducing the amount of plastic bottles that you then have to recycle. Everything from all-purpose cleaner, facial cleansers, skunk spray remedy and common pest issues are addressed in this chapter. This book is currently in the final edit stage, however we then have to address the images and formatting, proof and graphic design stages prior to publication… so it will be a while yet. Once that project is complete, we have a draft manuscript in place for a gardening advice book, which shares the experience from generations of organic growers, master gardeners and expert composters. And of course, there’s that file of fiction short stories waiting for us.

Do you have a website where readers can purchase your books?  

Our personal website is however people can find us and our books at:

Her blog accepts submissions for articles, poetry, link suggestions for recommended resources and eco-events posts, and also author interview queries. Author Page

Thank you again, Lillian. I enjoyed this interview. Best of luck. ~JD


Dave and Lillian Brummet:

Page 1 for Geordie And The Beam of Light

Page 1 for Geordie And The Beam of Light
by J.D. Holiday

Cordelia threw the ball. It went flying through the air just missing Chirp, the bird, who had to flutter up to a nearby tree for safety.
As Cordelia ran to the goal line, Ruff, the dog, caught it. "You're out," he called.
They heard a loud, POP! POP! POP! followed by a beam of light racing straight for them. They all jumped out of the way and hid as it dashed across their field. The light suddenly turned and rushed back toward the Gully Bridge, then up the hill to the Fir Forest and out of sight.  

Character Quotes: Geordie And The Beam Of Light by JD Holiday

Character Quotes: Geordie and Cordelia

from Geordie And The Beam Of Light

1AA PAGE7b- DONE girl looking in window SIGNED

Cordelia peeked inside the door of the dark studio. She could not see anything. "What are you working on?" she asked Geordie. 

"The greatest invention ever," Geordie said. "It will be a treat for all of us.”

More about this story at:

Living In The BackUp Plan: Part 1

A Romance series by JD HOLIDAY 
© 2019 Copyright by J.D. Holiday. 

                        Why am I on a stool in this bar, Danie thought staring into her G&T in the East End London? Why she was drinking a Gin and Tonic was easy. It was the go-to drink of her favorite detective character by B. C. Beaton. And she supposed this travel to London England was too, in a way. One of the planes leaving out of Philadelphia heading away from her life was to England. Agatha Raisin's England. Britain or Italy were the choices having ancestors from both countries.
                            The pub was in a centuries-old darkish building with a wooden beamed low ceiling and yet the candlelit lamps around the room gave it an attractive atmosphere. The place was crowded with thirtysomethings occupying both ends of the bar with her in the middle fitting right in being four years younger. Some of the tables had the seventies and counting ups crowd at them with a few tables sporting the in-between generations. She didn't want to talk. Luckily the woman dressed for the kill and covered in jewelry on her left gave Danie her back as she was engaged with making a score with a guy in perfect business attired.
                            The large guy on her right wearing a shirt with a multi-color grid necktie tried chatting with her using an unusual line. "Where'd you get those clothes, sweetheart?"
                            Danie glanced down at her 1960's ensemble; vintage white short leather jacket, Lambskin black Mod cap, black and white mini skirt and go-go boots. Bought in a retro boutique near Spitalfields Market while doing her own walking tour  her guide book in hand. She was trying to obliterate her life from her mind by absorbing the  amalgamation of cultures  around. She had to admit, it didn't work.
                            "This is the twenty-first century, sweetheart!" the man was saying, an open mouth grin on his face."And your hair is all wrong. It's too straight for that time frame. Are those dark roots?” he leaned in for a closer look. “Your blonde color isn't really blonde, is it?"
                            Danie got rid of Mr. Notmytype when she said using a posh accent, "Piss off, dear."
                            He turned away and Dannie sighed, maybe I'll travel to the Cotswolds and buy a house like Agatha's. That was followed by the thought she should get back to the hotel and hide out. Be alone.
                            Forgetting Mr. Notmytype she pictured her father as she remembered him. Then pictures of her mother going through her illness floored back followed by her brothers as she said bye to them in the courthouse. She was weary; worn out yet she felt the tears that come behind seeing all their faces once more. Danie's body sagged as she leaned forward and put her head on her hands.
                            Movement next to her made Danie glance around. Mr. Notmytype was getting up and headed for the door. The two men were standing behind her talking. What was said make her glance at them?
                            The deep voice of one said, “Wait outside. When she leaves you go with her.”
                            Danie frowned, what's that about? She eyed both men. One was thick set in a dark jacket, light pants, and a cap. The man who talked moved into the vacated stool on her right. He was in a dark suit, had a full head of dark hair going gray. From his voice Danie knew he was an American.
                            He turned to look at her. Danie quickly opened her purse and searched inside for a tissue. She closed her purse and wiped at her eyes with the tissue. She picked up her drink only to sit it down again.
                            GOD knows what will become of her two younger brothers. Forced to be divided and each moving in with a greedy aunt, their mother’s two sisters, who lied to the court. Her mother’s will giving them custody and power over both her brother’s money. They denied that they had promised their dying sister her last wish to disregard the will and let the boys stay with Danie living in their own home until they were of age and the estate would go to them directly. Danie told her mother she wouldn’t need more money than what she already had been given after the death of their father three years earlier.
                            Danie had run from the courthouse unable to bare the total ending of her family. It was all gone. Yes, hugs and kisses were sparse at home but that wasn’t all there is to love. There was kindness and lots of it.
                            A quick good-bye to the boys at the end of court she drove to Ben’s house. She ran from the hurt like escaping from an abusive lover. A place unknown to her other than what she knew from tv shows she saw and books she read. Some of them were places she'd like to see before making a final decision. All her belongings were packed in Ben's car since he would drive Danie to the airport and sell her own car for her. He was already caring for her black lab, Reilly and would send him on to her once she found a place she could live. She was going to start over in the backup plan she had worked out.
                            Her brothers Skylar, age seventeen and Leland, fourteen, told her they would miss her but reassured her they would be okay since there was nothing any of them could do to change the situation. Skylar added they would think of it as a new adventure after all the sadness. They would still have their friends, a few cousins their own age and be in the same school. They were just trying to comfort her, she knew. The three of them spent the night before the final court hearing talking and making arrangements to keep in touch by texting and skyping.
                            Danie swiped at her eyes again, not caring that her smudged makeup was being totally swiped away.
                            “You’re not doing very well at drowning your sorrows,” the man now sitting in Mr. Notmytype’s seat said.
                            Danie looked his way. He was sitting facing her. She glanced at the half-full glass in front of her. “That’s not wise I’ve been told,” she remarked, liking the sound of her own British accent.
                            He kept glimpsing across the room at a table where a couple was having an engrossing conversation."No, it's not," he said tilting his head to one side and meeting her brown eyes.
                            Danie hurriedly looked away  slightly  flustered  and  took a sipped from her drink.
                            "You live around here?" he was asking.
                            "No, I'm staying at the hotel next door," she said darting a look his way.
                            But he was looking at that couple again.
                            "Your girlfriend? Why are you watching them?" she queried, now supposing that was the case and he was stalking the woman.
                            He turned to Danie and gave her a smile. "No, she’s not. I'm Joe. Joe Graydon. What's your name?"
                            “Danie people call me."
                            "Short for Danielle?" he pressed while once more surveying the couple across the room.
                            She studied his profile. "No," she retorted, not liking his presumption. "That’s what everyone thinks! You didn't answer my question."
                            "About what?" he said transferring his gaze back to her. He scrutinized her not missing a thing.
                            "She's not your girlfriend so why are you watching them?" Danie questioned, now with a strong interest.
                            Joe shrugged and the chuckled. "Let's say I'm doing a job. Nothing more."
                            "If your a spy you need to work on your technique," she remarked.
                            His mouth fell open. "Really!"
                            "Unless you are trying to be obvious. Then you have it down pat. I heard cops sometimes do an open tail."
                            He was looking across the room again. Danie did the same.
                            He said laughing out loud, "You get that phrase from a tv show?"
                            Danie blinked and focused on finishing her drink to cover her red face.
                            "I'm a detective of sorts," Joe added and held out his hand.
                            There was that quick smile of his. Danie didn't hesitate and shook his hand. This time his grin turned into a quick laugh then back to that smile that said he was listening. She stared at their interlocked hands. "I'm Geordana Torerelli."
                            "Like another drink?" Joe asked.
                            "No, I should get back," Danie said, taking out her wallet. She frowned thinking she didn’t really have any reason to go.
                            Joe was disappointed. He was enjoying the light exchange they were having. "I like your outfit. I remember..." he stopped, glancing from her to the couple and then back.
                            Danie looked too. The man was looking their way.
                            "You remember from the 1960s," she said finishing his thought.
                            "Hardly," he quipped with a raise of an eyebrow. "I was going to say I remember seeing pictures with your style of dress from then. I'm probably not much older than you."
                            "Sorry. I saw your hair and..." She motioned for the bartender, to hid her screwup. She should go back to the hotel thinking she needed to be alone.
                            But Joe said, his money in hand, "I've had gray in my hair since I was sixteen. I'll get the bill."
"Thanks, you don't have to," Danie said, her emotions swirling. She did like him; his face, his great smile and the lull of his deep-set voice.
                            As the barman took the money Joe demanded, "Hey, what's happened to your accent. It vanished. You're an American or Canadian. Where are you from?"
                            Danie gave a little laugh. "New Jersey, USA," she told him and looked across the room, "You aren't watching your couple anymore. They're leaving. You didn't detect that!"
                            "You're a funny person, I see. I saw what I needed," he said.
                            Danie nodded and stood. "Thanks for the drink Mr. Gumshoeman."
                            "You're welcome. Will you be here long?" Joe asked.
                            "I don't know. No, I guess. I have to find a place soon. My dog is going to be shipped over so I need to get a place for him and me."
                              Joe nodded and reached into his suit jacket. He pulled out a business card. "Here's my card. While you’re here call me if you like. Hope I see you around, Danie."
                            Danie took it and said goodbye. Walking to the door she read the card.
'Rimble's Detective Service. Joe Graydon.' On the back was a cell number and Kramer Road, Nottinghill. She tucked the card into her jacket pocket and realized she'd stopped crying some time ago.
                            As Danie went out the door Joe stood and watched her go fighting an inner battle to go after her. There was no denying, Danie was something special.

Joe put his phone away. A call from HQ out of the blue never sat well with Joe. He wasn’t sure what was happening but something was up. His jobs came from the head of the Europe station: Stan Wright; another rat in the pack. In the best of times, Morton Caminski was squirrelly. Lately even more so. Joe sensed a difference in the running of the Company in Washington and it started when Caminski took over.
                            Turning onto Kramer from Pembridge Joe went to the Victorian-style townhouse that Rimble used for the Detective business and turned the key in the lock.  He walked through the entrance way to the hall with the crimson wood trim that permeated the entire house.
                            Cyril Jones came from his office. "How’d it go?"
                            "She did what she was supposed to. Simon and Moreley can take it from here, " Joe informed his trusted friend. "I'm off in the morning to France. I’m meeting with Wright and Koler. Something’s up. I’m wondering what Caminski has up his sleeve. He phone a few minutes ago."
                            “Oh,” Cyril mouthed startled, all to mindful of the consequences that could mean coming from CIA headquarters.
                            He took the stairs two at a time heading for his apartment on the third floor. The second-floor being Cyril’s rooms and their ‘safe house’ if one is needed. Halfway up, Joe stopped, "Searle?"
                            Cyril halted on the threshold to his office. "Yes, boss?"
                            "Find out what you can about a Geordana Torderelli from New Jersey, USA. Danie to her friends, mid-twenties, blonde hair, brown eyes," Joe said continuing up the stairs.
                            "Anything in particular you want to know?" Cyril called.
                            "Anything. And everything," Joe exclaimed, reaching the second-floor landing.

                                            © 2019 Copyright by J.D. Holiday. 

Follow Living in The Backup Plan at:

Living In The Backup Plan: Part 2

--> © 2019 Copyright by J.D. Holiday. All RIGHTS RESERVED.
     France was a cockup. Joe did not realize he’d applied a slang he acquired from his British friends and associates. He walked briskly in the late evening rain using back streets. He needed to put distance between him and the hotel and lose anyone who might be following.
              From the start, he should have recognized that dinner with Caminski and Bilko was frivolous. Non-essential. Caminski could have said all that nonsense in London. Returning to his hotel room paid for by the ‘company,’ he found a subtle change though only a slight repositioning of his travel bag on the bed. Joe searched through it. Marked and sequential thirty-thousand US dollars wrapped in foil lay under his shirts. A frame to ensnare him to get him out of the way using treason and taking bribes from anyone of the USA’s enemies. Russia, China, Iran, it wouldn’t matter which.
              Joe dumped his company phone in the bathroom trash and grabbed a towel. On the bed he took the money out of his travel bag, stacked and wrapped it in the towel and stuffed it into his tumbled leather briefcase he’d carried with him to the meeting in the hotel dining room. One last glance around Joe picked up his briefcase and left the hotel by the back staircase.
              First chance Joe got he ducked into a sports store, grabbed a blue rain jacket, a black baseball cap, paid cash and put them on. Down the block was a convenience shop where Joe bought a pre-paid phone. While walking the mile to the auto repair shop and car rental service which a drinking buddy of his, Raulf owned Joe phoned him. Joe plan was to rent a car but Raulf insisted on driving him with no explanation professing that if Joe needed to get out of France that’s enough for him.
         Joe found himself focusing on the rain pelting the car’s windows mulling over what happened and why. It was half-past eight in the evening on a warm Saturday night for October and people on the streets, some under umbrellas, were hurrying to their destination. What happened had everything to do with Caminski and what was done to Rener in Istanbul. Joe guessed Caminski was haunted by Mark Rener’s death four years earlier and Ginnie Mira’s imprisonment for it. And now with her getting a new trial Caminski wanted loose ends tied up. Joe knew he was that loose end. All this time Joe could only surmise that Caminski shot Rener. Joe heard a shot, and raced to the end of the building, maybe three seconds, and there was Rener on the ground and Caminski was standing over him, his back to Joe. Caminski turned and seeing Joe said he, himself had just arrived and asked had Joe seen anything. Joe stated he had not. But clearly, Caminski feared Joe had seen him do the killing.
              Joe left Istanbul that night on a scheduled flight to Japan to work with the PSIA, Public Security Intelligence Agency Japan intelligence agency on a newly forming terrorist group. By the time his part in the operation in Japan was over, Ginnie Mira was tried and convicted for murder as a star-crossed lover. So he had to be deft with in Caminski’s view. What better way than to frame him for treason to discredit him.
              Why haven’t I seen this coming, Joe grimaced glancing at his briefcase at his feet? The thirty thousand dollars inside had to be hidden. He decided on a safe place.
         While they drove toward the outskirts of Paris he phoned Aeton Drakos. Aeton agreed to leave right away from his home in Greece to meet Joe once Raulf got him into Austria. Few people would do what he was asking of Raulf and Aeton. This was going to be a straight run, a long road trip for all of them.
              Joe hated calling in favors but he had no choice here. Aeton would do anything to help him after Joe, Cyril Jones and Meka Hebib, another detective from the Rimble's Detective Service tracked the child traffickers who had taken Aeton's three-year-old daughter from Aeton's mistress' house five years back.
         Next, Joe spent some time going over his plan. When the Central Intelligent Agency recruited him from the Marines, Joe made up several scenarios and an end game for each including something like this happening. All he had to do now was make it foolproof. But his mind turned to the woman he met at the bar the other night. The wish he had to know more about Danie Torderelli shocked him. Then another thought followed. Joe phoned the Rimble's Detective Service emergency phone. Seven rings, hang up and wait.
              Cyril heard the burner phone ring placed on his night table and hopped out of bed, got his trousers from the chair and hopped into them. Donning his shirt, socks, and shoes he raced down the stairs to the office. Once dressed Cyril slipped the emergency phone kept in his locked deck into a pocket and headed for the back door. Out in the pouring rain, Cyril put as many blocks between him and the office as he could so the phone would not show up on the CIA's radar. His umbrella fought the wind and rain along the way passed a second cell tower before Cyril stopped in front of a house where leaves of a large tree overhung an iron fence. He hit call on the phone and leaned against the fence letting the leaves shelter him like a canopy.
              Joe answered on the first ring. "Cyril, the worst has happened."
              "Good heavens, I was hoping this wasn't it," Cyril replied.
              "Get everything out of the house, all traces of me, to a safe place as soon as you can. Especially my desk computer, the outer drive, and files the way we planned it. They've decided on a frame using espionage. It's over what happened with Rener's death and Ginnie Mira. Rener must have had something on Caminski. I called Aeton. He'll get to me in a few hours I should think. Guard this burn phone, Cyril. This is how we'll communicate.”
              "I will. I'll get it all done right away. Were you followed?"
              "No, I'm sure I made it without a tail. I assume they are looking for me, or they will be soon. And they'll have the word out."
              "I'll tell them you’ve moved," Cyril asked. "Can you tell me what went down?"
              "I came back from that imbecilic meeting in the hotel dining room and found marked thirty thousand US dollars planted in my travel bag," Joe said. "Can you call your greek banker friend and ask for a safe deposit box account to store the money in?"
              "Will do," Cyril denoted. "Stay safe. Ah, I looked into that woman. Though, I suppose it can wait now."
              "Go ahead. What'd you find?"
              "Sure, her full name is Geordana Catherine Torderelli. There are two brothers who she was caring for, parents both are recently dead. Her mother's family sued her for custody of the brothers and Danie lost. The three kids were left about three hundred thousand dollars each and split the money from the sale of their family house worth half a mill. Get this, she lives off the dividends and interest from her own money. It's most in index funds, CD and some stocks. She’s a smart cookie"
              "Is she still at the Pondham Hotel?" Joe asked.
              Cyril did not miss his friend’s interest. "I don't know. Is that where you met her?"
              "At the bar next door, will you see if she is still there?"
              "So this is personal!" Cyril added with a smirk.
              "No!" Joe denied with strenuous force half dreading Cyril's teasing. But he scoffed at himself. Why not admit it? He added before ending the call, "Yeah, it is. I'll call next when I can."
              Still smiling, Cyril didn't bother with the umbrella in the pouring rain and trotted home to get to work.
         After working the rest of the night to erase all signs of Joe from the house, the following morning Cyril set a tail on Danie. Meka Hebib would do mornings, he, himself, would take the afternoons while Marcus Crandell-Jones would work nights.         
              This morning a realtor drove Danie out to the view a couple of quaint thatched country-style cottages in the iconic Cotswolds about an hour and a half from London.
              At noon she was shopping on Oxford Street and bought a green stripe dress and four-inch heels and then took another taxi and was now looking at computers nearer to the Rimble’s office in the Nottinghill. If she keeps spending money this way she’d be using her investment’s principle soon, Cyril predicted while walking up to the same display the young woman stood in front. She was eyeing two of the latest models. The weather was warm for late October and Cyril was carrying his coat. He sat the outer drive he this moment decided to purchase on the counter. He said to the neatly attired junior clerk stocking a cabinet, “Can I pay for this here?”
              “Certainly, sir.” The clerk took Cyril’s money and walked away.
              Danie glanced at the middle-aged man with thick black glasses to her left immediately concluding he could be someone’s butler dressed as he was in a neat dark suit, white shirt and black tie. The man carried his coat over one arm and she realized she was warm also.
              She took off her green leather trench coat weighting the price of the desktop that fit her allotted budget for the purchase. Now her problem was how to get it to the hotel if the shop doesn’t deliver. Her belongings, ten suitcases full arrived this morning but she still couldn’t find a place to live so Reilly could join her. She missed him and everyone and everything she’d left behind. Danie angrily wiped at her nose. You’d think I’d be done crying by now, she berated herself. She began to think this was a mistake to come to England and start over.
              The cottages she looked at were nice. However, she couldn’t decide on one let alone afford to pay for them outright. She hoped her share of the money from the sale of their family home would cover a new house. But lord knows when the house will get sold.
              Seeing the woman was upset Cyril took that moment to state, “I have that one you’re looking at. It’s very reliable.”
              Danie smiled. “That’s good to know. Thank you.”
              The clerk bagged Cyril’s purchase and handed it over the counter with his change. “Thank you, Sir.”
              With a grin, Cyril took it then glanced at Danie.
              Danie was asking the clerk while searching in her handbag, “Can I get this computer delivered to my hotel?”
              “Yes, we can deliver it,” the man said, as Danie handed him a bank card and then mopped her nose with a tissue.
              Oh dear! Cyril groaned she’s crying.
              The clerk gave Cyril a forlorn sympathizing look for her as Danie mumbled the hotel’s address and then sobbed.
              Cyril leaned down and whispered, “You seem awful distressed. Can I buy you a coffee? There’s a shop across the way. I’m Cyril Jones.”
              That was it, Danie sobbed again, it was kind people who always make her more vulnerable. Danie grabbed at her dignity with a few deep breaths and nodded.
Cyril took her arm and steered Danie outside mindlessly chatting about the area's history to the distressed younger woman.
              In the Starbucks, they ordered and went out into the courtyard and set in the warm breeze even though it looked like it could rain at any moment.
              After she took a sip, Danie said feeling embarrassed, “I’m Danie Torderelli. Sorry, I’m so emotional and it fell on you.”
              “No problem, really. I was overdue for coffee anyway,” Cyril said. “Do you feel better?”
              “Yes, I do. Thanks to you,” Danie added with a warm smile. “Do you live around here?”
              “Not far. Do I understand you live at the Pondham Hotel?” Cyril said and took out his leather business card holder from his suit jacket. Slipping a card out of it he passed it to her.
Danie nodded and looked at the card. “Oh!” she inserted, “I have one from someone already.”
         “Really,” he exclaimed. Why hadn’t he thought about that? Joe would have given her his card. “Who from, Marcus Crandell-Jones? He’s my nephew. How did you meet?” Cyril elaborated on the fairy tale.
              “No, a young man with gray air at his temples,” she told him while turning over the card to read Cyril Jones on the back. “We met at the bar next to the hotel.”
              “Joe Graydon you must mean. Yes, he’s a punter there,” he put in and sipped his coffee.
              Danie smiled. “Oh, he goes there often? This is a coincidence, meeting both of you in only a few days. I haven’t seen him since.”
         Danie went back to the bar last night hoping to see him again. It was a let down she had to admit when he wasn’t there. Until now she had no interest in men and grimaced. Not since Ben decided they should ‘just be friends.’ Her only serious relationship was with Ben who she knew from grade school. There would be no one else, she had thought, for the rest of her life until that day. That was last year. Devastated and in despair at first, but when her mother began to die, that all dissolved. Caring for her mother was more important, and after some time she believed Ben was right. And it turned out that he would help her when no one else would through the coming ordeal.
              Cyril changed the subject. “Are you visit from America?” That was when Danie began to talk about her troubles. Cyril knew it all but Danie needed to talk and he let her. When she started talking about her dog, Reilly, Cyril found he couldn’t stop himself from adding offhand while pointed at the card in Danie’s hand. “Why not let your dog stay with us at the office. It’s a house, you see. There’s a walled yard in back and you can come and take care of him there until you find a place. We can stop at the office and you can see what you think,” he finished with a sense of satisfaction which he believed might meet with Joe’s approval. And if not, well, Danie would find a place of her own in the future, he told himself.
              Danie was grinning now. “Okay, yes let’s go if you have time now? I do.”
              “Certainly,” Cyril said getting up. “Where do you want to settle in London?’
              “I was thinking of the Cotswolds, actually.”
              “I love that area myself,” he added. “I have friends who have a cottage in South Cotswolds. I can ask them any questions you might have if you like.”
              “That would be great. It probably sounds silly but I read about it in a mystery series,” Danie said as they walked to a car park along the road.
              “You don’t mean the Agatha Raisin series?” Cyril put in.
              “Yes, have you read those books?” she asked.
              “I have. I love M.C. Beaton! Though I wish Agatha would end up with Sir Charles Fraith,” Cyril conceded.
              “Me, too. James is so, oh, I don’t know, hard to deal with,” Danie said, falling into step with her friend.
              “I agree. And bad for Aggie,” Cyril said leading her to his newly refurbed black nineteen-sixty-two, 4-door Austin complete with ‘bunny-eared’ roof-mounted turn signals. It was minus the taxi roof sign and advertisements which helps little with the odd unaware persons trying to hale him for a ride. He then added, “You’ll like the house. It’s a townhouse really.”
Copyright by J.D. Holiday 2019. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Living In The Backup Plan: Part 1 at:

Living In The BackUp Plan: Part 3

Part 3.   © Copyright 2019 by J.D. Holiday. All Rights Reserved.

 Anton gave a short wave to Raulf as he drove off and Joe walked across the road. Raulf and Joe had pushed through without stopping, each taking turns driving to reach Zagreb, Croatia and keeping to back roads to meet Anton. Joe was able to get a few catnaps in. It was a chilly morning. Anton stood, arms crossed, legs apart and leaning on the car as Joe approached. He wore a winter coat as well as a beige scarf draped around his neck. "Get in the back," he said, tilting his head toward the car.
 Joe walks toward him, "Why?"
 "Because I have a disguise for you," Anton stated. Then he added for positive feedback, "You need to look less like you than you do. Though the days' growth of beard is good!"
 Joe remembered Anton had a rudimentary idea about spies. He laughed while getting a look at Anton's car. "What's this supposed to be?" Joe asked. He could tell that the car was once a Mercedes even with many parts of other cars on it frankensteined together. By trade, Anton was a car body expert.
 Touching the roof tenderly Anton said, "I always wanted to rebuild one of these." He pointed at Joe, adding, "Watch your manners, and don't make fun," then he smiled.
 Joe got in the front seat. Anton shrugged and got in. He said, "You know I'm more interested in the motor than I am what it looks like. AND, no one who knows you will suspect you'd be in this car."
 "Yeah, you're right. They wouldn't. Should I point out to you that without the mutations it would be worth money."
 Ignoring the obvious remark Anton reached in the backseat for a plastic bag. "I bought a few things here for you to try on," and toss the bag at Joe. "So why come to Greece?"
 "Cyril has a banking friend he can count on there. And I have something that needs securing," Joe replied, giving his briefcase on the floor a nudge with a foot. "Thirty thousand dollars to prove I'm a traitor."
 Anton gave a low whistled.
 Joe opened the plastic bag and looked inside. He then glared at Anton and reached inside the bag pulling out a shaggy brown wig, a knit over-sized baggy hat. Then seeing something still lodged in the bottom and pulled out a fake mustache in a fuzzy felt material. Joe pulled out the mustache and placed it over his lip. "You can't be serious," he said.
 With a chuckle, his friend said, "My son sent it along to you. He thought you might like to use it. It might stop them from recognizing you with all this surveillance there is around now. Well, from a far anyway, if you are up close you're a dead man," Anton said. "Just look at you. Are you trying to avoid them? You don't even dress the part of a spy. A ball cap, sunglasses, a jacket. You don't even have a rock in your shoe or you'd at least have a limp. You're an idiot thinking what you have on would fool them. The CIA?" Anton shook his head, "You should not be in the spy business. Anyway, you are a good person. Not one of them."
 "We avoided main roads when we could. I know what I'm doing. They wouldn't even think I'd been heading for Athens. And, I did tell you this is dangerous being with me," Joe reminded his friend. "If I thought you would talk to anyone I wouldn't have asked you to do this."
 "Giannis is a seven-year-old. He's not going to tell anybody who would believe him if he said he knows spies?"
 "Marie's son?" Joe asked.
 "No, no. I got rid of her. She has an apartment far away from me now. She was too much work," Anton remarked and started the car and it came to life with a nice purr.
 "Giannis is Savvina's son. Savvina is a great cook, Joe. A cooler is in the backseat. She's laid out a wonderful feast, albeit it's cold. There's Dolmadakia, you know that's the lamb stuffed grape leaves. Courgette Balls, buttery walnut Baklava and Biral soda pop to drink."
 "I need coffee," Joe remarked, putting the fake mustache back in the bag. He put on the knit baggy hat then grabbed the scar from around Anton's neck and draped it around his own. "Tell Giannis the mustache did its job."
 "I will tell him you wore it and thank him for you. We will stop for coffee the first chance we get," Anton told him putting the car in gear and looked over at Joe. "Put on the sunglasses and you have an adequate disguise."
 Without a word, Joe reached for the seatbelt. As tired as he was it took a few seconds before he said, "Anton, there's no seat belt. What if we hit something? I'll go through the windshield."
 "You'd be a goner and have no more worries."
 The car took off after three jolts and they zoomed down the road.

 Ben emailed Danie the time of Reilly's arrival tomorrow at 6 a.m. her time at Heathrow Airport. Danie was happier than she'd been in months and spent a few hours sightseeing. She'd already taken a ride on the Eye, even though highs scared her. Once on it, Danie was mesmerized by the views. She also toured the Tower of London, Trafalgar Square, St. Paul's Cathedral and Westminister Abbey. And she walked the eclectic streets from King's Road, Portobello Road, not far from the Detective Agency, and Borough Markets. Using an oyster card she traveled through London a few hours a day. She had been regretting her decision to come to England. She felt hope now that she would have Reilly with her. She lied to Ben about where she would be living saying she found a house to rent and leaving out anything about the Rimble Detective Agency. After all, Ben saw her whole move as foolish from the start. She felt sure, now that her confidence was back, she would find a place soon.
 Cyril's idea was a godsend. Reilly living at the agency would work out as a temporary solution. The office, or house, really Danie corrected herself was a nice place. It had an eight-foot-high brick wall draped with ivy looking much like her vision of The Secret Garden she read as a child. Climbing roses, the small tea flowers still in blossom, and a few ornamental trees, now without their leaves were along the walls. And two stone benches faced each other across the lawn. The only things missing were an evergreen alcove or two and a couple of standing urns.
 "Who takes care of this?" she asked Cyril.
 "My wife and I do. You'll meet her went she comes to visit. She is Sir Rimble's assistant. They are at his country estate most of the time," he told her with a shrug. Looking around he added, "I need to rake the leaves soon."
 Cyril insisted that she not worry about early mornings. He would feed Reilly and let him out into the garden.

 "We should have stopped at my place. We could have rested," Anton said, as he turned from the ferry railing to face Joe on their way back to England. "And you could have worn some of my clothes."
 "You have nothing that would fit me. Please let me keep some of my dignity," Joe smirked.
 Anton shrugged, miffed. Joe had made him stop at a discount store to buy some clothing. "The bank went well," Anton added.
 "Yeah," Joe murmured shutting his eyes to try and sleep from the chaotic drive through Europe. He sat on a bench facing Greece and on their way to Italy. Once there, they would take a train to Paris and another to London. Joe would be back in England within ten hours. What happens after that, Joe could only guess.
 "I can't wait to sleep in a bed. I'm sick of cat naps," Joe said.
 Anton asked, "You think you're safe now?"
 With a chuckle, Joe said, "No, not at all."
 "Will it take, my friend?" Anton asked.
 Joe opened his eyes and stared at the Greek Coast they were moving away from. Its coastline was getting smaller and smaller. "They have to decide I'm no threat. I don't know if that's even possible."

 "Reilly, you are a resilient dog," Cyril said smiling as he sat at his desk. The dog looked up at him from where he lay on the office rug, his tail swaying in agreement. Danie was driven to the airport by Duncan McSherry another detective in the agency to pick up the dog. When Reilly arrived from the airport the dog was unstable on his feet and visibly shaken from the plane ride across the ocean. But the dog was clearly elated at being united with Danie.
 Cyril stared at the files laying on the desk without seeing them as he thought about the new editions to the agency, Reilly and Danie, albeit possibly a temporary association. Danie left a little while ago to go back to her hotel. Cyril admitted to himself that when the car pulled up and the huge brown dog got out he was a little concerned. His suit jacket was off and his white shirt sleeves rolled up. A watering can in hand he was showering the pretty autumn flowers in the dark green globe-sized planters which flanked the front door of the same color. He had to admit the animal and owner were both a little anxious for a while. Danie had stayed long enough to make sure that everything was fine between Cyril and the dog. Danie was reluctant to leave saying she'd worry Reilly would be too much for him this being the dog's first night in England. Within a half-hour it was clear they were going to get on like a house on fire and Danie left for the evening.
 Cyril's mind turned to the caseload files the office was working on. Chet Burns and Meka Hebib were working on a marital dispute AKA following a cheating spouse. Bo Ramoli was following a teen to make sure she didn't meet with the older man she was infatuated with. Cyril was about to call the mother with a follow up when the phone rang.
 Recognizing the number Cyril reached to answer it. "Hello, Sir Jeremy."
 "This is to give you a heads up. I tried every which way to stop it but MI6 and the Company are coming over. It looks like they have our Joseph in their sights. They're going to charge him with treason in America. I don't need to tell you you should have things in hand by now. You have to let them in and have a look around," Sir Jeremy finished.
 "All right, Sir. Thank you for the heads up there's no problem here," Cyril took a deep breath, "We're ready."
 Cyril had not even opened a file when Reilly stood up and began barking marking the arrival of their unwanted guests.
 Cyril got up and remarked, "Good boy," while heading for the door.
 Opening it, a small army stood out front, behind them, Caminsky himself held up the rear.
 "Mr. Caminski, do come in. Good to see you. Sir Jeremy called," Cyril remarked with a smirk opening the door wide.
 Caminski followed the others in. One man in a black suit was giving orders. Everyone seemed to ignore the cute dog standing with his tail wagging searching among the stern group marching in looking for a pet.
 Seeing the dog's tail slowly lower Cyril bent and petted the dog. "Come on, Reilly," he said walking to the office and the dog obeyed.
 Caminski was behind them. "Where is Mathew Locklin," he demanded, using Joe's Company name.
 "I don't know. He doesn't live here anymore," Cyril told him watching the young woman going through his desk.
 "Since when," Caminski said, now agitated.
 Cyril said, "Since we told him we wanted more money to be is Cia cover. And we all know Joe would never be a traitor."
 "We have him on tape doing just that. Now, where is he?" Caminski shouted.
 Cyril said incredulously, "If you say so. I don't know where he moved to. He packed weeks ago and left."
 "Where is your phone," Caminski scoffed.
 Cyril nodded toward his desk, "Have fun. Come on, Reilly," he said and headed out of the office, murmuring under his breath, "Shitter!"
 In the kitchen, Cyril took Reilly's leash and in a minute they were heading away from the townhouse along the back road.
 After about ten minutes Cyril slowed down. "Reilly, since you're new here I should show you around Notting Hill. Just remember, you're young, I have to work up to a long walk."
 Five minutes later knowing they were a safe distance away Cyril took out the emergency phone from his pants pocket. Since he showed cooperation Cyril felt sure they wouldn't search him. He called Joe and when he answered, he said, "Caminski's got a warrant and is going through the house right now as we speak. He says he's got you on tape proof of treason."
 "No way!" Joe said, "It's doctored whatever they have. Gees! We're heading back to France now."
 "Is Anton with you," Cyril asked.
 "Yes, he's with me."
 Cyril heard Anton shout, "Hello, my friend."
 "Ha, tell Anton I said hi back. Where will you go when you get here," Cyril asked.
 With exasperation, Joe said, "I don't know. I have to think about it. Anton will come to you. Any suggestions?"
 "Nothing I can think of," Cyril put in. "But on a good note young Danie is still at the hotel in room 312. We've been keeping an eye on her. I had a chance..."
 A click and Joe was gone. "Bugger," Cyril swore. To the dog, he said, "Well, I didn't get to tell him I met your master. Well, he'll be surprised when he runs into her, and you, boy!"

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