My First Picture For A Picture Book Story called, Geordie And The Beam Of Light

Illustrators Workshop

 My story Geordie And The Beam Of Light.

                              A Fantasy Children's Picturebook!

When a beam of light becomes a nuisance, Cordelia, Kit, Ruff and Chirp do not know what to do. The thing races through their playing field spoiling ball games. Not only don’t they know what to do about it, they don’t know what it is. Is it a dinosaur? Or a monster? They only know that it is a bright light, fast and rude. For help, they go to their friend Geordie, who invents things. However, it is Geordie’s latest invention that changes everything.

Living In The BackUp Plan, Part 4

Living In The BackUp Plan, Part 4. 
Copyright 2019 by J.D. Holiday. All Rights Reserved.

“Are you sure I should leave you here?” Anton asked, as Joe put the car in park.
“No. I can’t think of anywhere else I can go to hideout. If she says no, I’ll show up at the safe house and go to the back entrance to see if it’s all clear,” Joe told him and opened the door.
“I’ll keep an eye out for you,” Anton remark moving over to the drivers seat. Joe went to the rear entrance to the hotel. The few people around he deemed harmless. Once on the third floor and Joe removed the bagger hat then smooth back his hair. What kind of reception could he expect of a woman he’d met once. That never worked for him before.
Room 312 was near the end of the hall. Joe mulled over what he should say. Nothing seemed the right thing. At the door he knocked hoping for the best.

Sick of reading real estate sites Danie closed the lid on her new laptop. She sat at the table in front of two of the room's windows. It was so overwhelming to look at any more houses, yet she knew she had to find a place for her and Reilly to live in soon. She glanced over the spacious corner room and wished for the thousand time that her dog could stay here with her. The room was lovely and bright with light coming from the three windows overlooking two busy clean London streets, with a view of the Tower Bridge. Nothing like back home, where many streets in the cities near her town were in decline, chaos born from a lack of concerned leadership and individual greed, she mused.
Glancing around the stunning room. Danie loved the mix of the Mediterranean wood furniture and the cream color velvet Chesterfield bed, wing chair and long sofa which at the moment set askew in the middle of the room.  Earlier Danie pushed it there wanting to mix the mess made by her many suitcases scattered around. But before she could work on that, room service arrived with her dinner. She was tired of the cluttered her ten suitcases caused and thought to organized them better. Danie had moved four of her suitcases over to the wall where the couch had been. Once she had the suitcases lined up she'd push the couch back to stand in front of them. She shrugged, that was her plan for now anyway.
  Deciding to get back to it, Danie took the last sip of beer from the bottle, the unused glass still on the tray with the remains of the dinner dishes. She ate most of the Bacon Butty Sandwich Cyril recommended saying the Pondham Hotel made a 'proper' one. It was delicious, although bad for everyone's cholesterol count. It consisted of thick spread of salted butter on two large pieces of white bread, three generous slices of soft and translucent bacon or middle rashers, as named on the menu, and England mustard! 
Danie got up intenting to place the dinner tray in the hall for pick up when a knock sounded on the door. Danie put down the tray and went to the door. Leaving the security chain on, she opened it just that wide.
Even with the straggly beard and his haggard appearance Danie knew it at once it was Joe from the bar. He was in blue jeans, work boots and a polar fleece jacket.
“Oh, hi!” Danie said loudly in astonishment. She was stunned by her feeling of excitement. When she had asked about him, Cyril said he was out on a case that was taking him out of the city.
Danie moved back to let him as she voiced the only thought that came to mind. "Is Reilly okay?"
"Reilly?" Joe questioned.
 "My dog," she replied.
Joe remembered she mentioned her dog at the bar that night. "No, it's nothing like that," he said, "I just need a place to stay where no one will look for me."
Joe came in and close the door behind him, put down his briefcase and leaned against the door and looked at her.
That was when she realized what she had on. A large purple knit sweater, her comfy pink yoga pants. She swallowed feeling mortified. To cover her embarrassment she asked, "You want to stay here?"
He answered, "Yes, but before you say you'll let me stay, I am in trouble and you could be in danger being with me."
"What kind of danger?" Danie asked, concerned. Her mind ran through a few things that might endanger private detectives. Following wives and husband's cheating was the first on her list.
She rushed to say, "Is it an armed lover?" Then she winced. This sounded funny even to her own ears and she blushed.
Joe frowned, not understanding where that came from. ""No, nothing like that."
Frailty overtook him and he pointed at the couch out of place in the room. "Can I sit down? I can move that for you." He moved around her and the luggage scattered around.
Danie quickly began pushing her luggage up against the wall out of the way. As Joe began moving the couch, Danie grab the other end and they pushed it over until it stood in front of the luggage lining the wall. Then Joe removed his jacket. He wore a long-sleeve T-shirt covering his muscles snugly. He pushed the sleeves up to the elbows. Danie couldn't help noticing his jeans fit well as he sank down on the velvet couch and closed his eyes.
Danie grabbed the food tray from the table and moved to the door. She put it on the floor in the hall, closed the door and set the lock and security chain. She had no qualms, if Reilly could stay with Cyril, Joe could stay here.
Now that she made up her mind that he could stay her thoughts turn to what this meant and she stood there frozen.
The only man she spent much time with in a bedroom with Ben, she grimaced. Ben was one thing; this man whom she only met one other time was another thing. Not knowing what else to say and fearing her nervousness was evident, Danie said, "There are towels in the bathroom if you want to take a shower." As she moved to the bed and sat.
He opened his eyes and looked at her a minute. Then he said, "Yeah, that's a good idea, thanks." Joe got up and headed for the bathroom.
She sat there until the shower began to run.
Standing, Danie continued to reason with herself moving around the room. Yes, he was a stranger, but she has good feelings about him, and he did work with Cyril who she felt in the short time they knew each other was a true friend. She also knew she didn't have much experience with knowing good people from bad, and she sighed. I have to start somewhere, she tried telling herself as she laid back on the bed close her eyes to suddenly open them again. She got up, ran to the closet for the extra pillow and blanket and place them on the couch. She then went back to the bed and got under the covers pulling them up over her. Her mind racing Danie rolled over and lay awake wondering if she could sleep with her visitor in the room with her. In a few minutes, the water went off. Not long after the bathroom door opened. Joe came into the room and Danie could imagine him settling in as he wrestled with the bedclothes on the couch. In a short period of time, the room fell silent.

A loud shout startled Danie from a deep sleep. In the shadowy room, she saw Joe tossing and turning. She put on the bedside light, got out of bed intent on waking him from his restless dream. He laid on his side facing the wall and bare to his waist, the blanket draped over his lower half.
 She touched his shoulder causing him to flinch awake and roll to his back grabbing hold of her wrist. Danie cringed and set down on the edge of the couch to lessen the sudden pain his grip caused.
Joe peered up at her. Then she saw recognition in his eyes and he dropped her wrist. "Sorry," he murmured wiping his face with his hand.
Danie rubbed the wrist. "You were having a bad dream or nightmare."
Seeing her touching her wrist, he said, "I didn't mean to hurt you. Sorry," he said again and took her hand in his. "I can't remember what I was dreaming about I was so tired."
The sight of her hand in his with the feel of their skin touching was mesmerizing. When Danie did look up she met his eyes that were intently fixed on her and Joe reached out and tenderly stroke her arm.
"Your skin is so soft," he said.
Danie didn’t want to stop staring into his eyes. An intense emotion Danie could not name was written there.
Joe slipped an arm around her pulling her in toward him. With no thought of resistance, Danie leaned in and kissed him. With ease, Joe swept Danie over him to lay beside him as their kiss deepened.
Copyright 2019 by D Holiday

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Simple Things Award by Reviewer Fran Lewis

Fram Fran middle school bookw bookcover copy

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!"

 Read the whole story to date 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. 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:

Truth As Strange As Fiction: Walking A Mile In Her Shoes, Part 2

© 2019 Copyright by J.D. Holiday. All RIGHTS RESERVED. -->  Walking A Mile In Her Shoes, Part 2
Left -SadieNichol, RuthDay, BabeBaron - James Brennan (with hat on)tennis champion
My mother is second from the left.

My mother’s mother was forced on us each summer for two weeks. My father couldnt stand her and so my parents tried any way they could to get out of it. Many telephone fights with her siblings went on before and after each visit. One year we all had the german measles and that included my father. Measles is a very contagious disease caused by a virus spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. 
It fell on the week the ‘battle-ax’ was due for our summer visit from her. We lounge around in the living room where the TV was with our pillows and blankets, our father sat in the armchair. My mother came in from the kitchen and said in a worried tone, “We should tell them so someone else can take our turn. Old people can die from it.”

“Let her come,” my father said. “Maybe she’ll die and put an end to our misery.”
My mother threw up her hands, made a clicking sound and left the room. I was horrified he would say that until I learn of the abuse my mother had to deal with from her.
MOM (Ruth c Dunn Day) and me (Janice Day Amenta)1951
MOM (Ruth Day) and me.
When I met my future husband, Buddy on a blind date when we were fifteen and sixteen, he came over after school before he would go to his part-time job at the supermarket. One time was while my grandmother was there and she wanted to sit on the porch. She was frail now and walked with a cane. Buddy help her to the porch carrying a chair and walking behind her in case she fell. When he left, my grandmother said to me, “He’s a nice boy. Too bad he’s Italian.” One of her daughters married an Italian and this had been a bone of contention. Later I told my father what she had said and he laughed. He never liked any of the boys I or my sisters brought home but this changed everything for me and Buddy! Buddy became like a son to my father.
I once heard my father and mother talking in a way I never heard them do before. My father used to take trips to Washington D.C. as the accountant on a team of negotiators for Curtis-Wrights Industries working on government contracts. My parents stood at the pantry door. Dad was saying, “Why Ruth? Why?” The pain in his voice. My mother had drank all the beer and to try and hid it, filled the bottles with water. I didn’t know for a long time what that conversation was about until my sister Doris told me all she knew of our mother’s alcoholism.
Dunn sister - Ruth Day and Alice Bamper abt 1950s-see the washing machine behind them_edited-1
Ruth Day (left) and her sister, Alice -
see the washing machine behind them.
My mother was abused, persecuted as a child with a sick mother.
I wonder if she felt the beatings were her own fault. Was it the guilt her mother heaped on her. Maybe mom did feel being mistreated was her own fault; she was bad so that was why she deserved the mistreatment. Did all this lead to feelings that she had no room to talk or criticize others? Did she think she didn’t deserve to feel good about herself and so never talked about the good she’d done?
When she was twenty-three, she had a mental break-down. Her father who liked to drink gave my mother beer to get through it. So that was how she learned to cope with life.
I believe my father tried to take care of her in the best way he knew with the information and lack of support available to them. 
In the nineteen fifties and sixties alcoholics with treated badly to say it mildly. There was little support for those with the disease and their families. It would be a year or so after my mother’s death before alcoholism was declared a disease and the understanding we now give it.
Mom and dad, Ira and Ruth Day 1967
Mom and Dad, Ira
and Ruth Day, 1967
My mother was persecuted by people which included her own family and my father’s mother. She received anonymous phone calls a few times a week as long as I can remember. All we knew about these calls were that they shouted names at her and she would be upset after one. In those days there was no way to find out who the caller was. I suspected it was a hostile friend of my father’s mother who did it at that grandmother’s direction. She was another piece of work.
My father died sixteen months before my mother of heart disease. I was nineteen at the time. We were all lost without him. None more than my mother. She stopped eating and just drink beer. These months were even more horrible than the year and a half leading up to my father’s death. With her being out of it all the time people disappeared from her life quickly. Some showed up for the money she was willing to give away just to have them talk to her.
One sister wouldn’t take her phone calls. This was the same sister that when her husband was cheating on her, my mother would drag us all over to be with and comfort her.  Later, when my mother was dying in the hospital she came. She screamed at me, “Why didn’t you tell us?”
I said, “Where were you when she needed you!”
Another sister wanted her to still watch their mother for the two weeks that year, and without my father to intervene, that sister said to her, “He had to die to get away from you.”
I was standing next to her in the kitchen on Lake Avenue the house my father bought for us before he became ill. My mother began sobbing and I took the phone telling her sister to never call us again.
Places she shopped at for years and took her credit wouldn’t now and some told her not to come there again. She doctor offered no help. No one did. She was not in an acceptable condition and did not have an acceptable disease.
To this day some have nothing kind to say about her. Even many years after her death there were still people making derogatory remarks with disdain like, ‘She came to my house with a six-pack and wanted to drink it!’
My mother was dying. So what was their excuse for abandoning her?
I still miss her. Ruth Catherine Day. 

© 2019 by J.D. Holiday

Part 1 of Truth As Strange As Fiction: Walking A Mile In Her Shoes is at:

Truth As Strange As Fiction: Walking A Mile In Her Shoes, Part 1

Walking A Mile In Her Shoes, Part 1

Left -SadieNichol, RuthDay, BabeBaron - James Brennan (with hat on)tennis champion
My mother is second from the left.
In the mid-1960s, my mother, Ruth, saved a toddler's life when our family was a Lake Rick-A-Bear Lake, in Kinnelon New Jersey. She was heading for the snack bar on the beach and coming along the path of trees that ran beside the lake just past the picnic tables she saw it in the water apparently having fallen off the bank. No one else was around or watching the baby. She waded into the water and grabbed the child. I came along shortly after and one of the beachgoers rushed up to me and said, your mother saved that baby over there from drowning. I didn’t say a thing while looking to the side. I couldn’t see the baby with the crowd of people huddled around, many of them talking loudly.I kept walking back to your picnic table more off the path and in a secluded area of the woods. My dad was grilling burgers and chicken wings the rest of the family sitting either at the table or in Adirondack chairs smiling. For once no one was saying a word. I said to my mother, someone said you saved a baby?
Mom just continued to smile, she blue eyes shining and gave me a shrugged. That was her.I discovered something else about my mother when I was in high school. I took French my first year from Mrs. Chackmanoff. She was a French Jew teaching in a Catholic school. The first day she called my name and asked me to stand. She told the class that she was honored to be teaching me because it was my mother who taught her English. 

Ruth 36' Garet Mountain overlook PatersonSITE
My mother at 21.

When I told my mother this after school she just said, Yeah,” with her smile, “she didn’t speak English. They lived upstairs from us when you were a baby. We babysat for each other. Her husband was a Russian Prince.”

We lived on Madison Avenue in Paterson and we had lived on this block once before eight doors up from where we were living in a block of terraced rowhomes. Mrs. Chackmanoffs family had the apartment above ours.
At the end of freshman year, Mrs. Chackmanoff called me up to her desk and told me she was passing me even though I failed French because she used to change my drapers and for all my mother did for her when her family first came to this country. She told me she had been in a concentration camp in World War II when the Germans held France. When the Russian arrived her future husband was among them and they liberated the camp saving thousands. She later married him and came to America. At first, our two families could only wave and smile at each other. One day my mother went to the small grocery store on Market Street and found Mrs. Chackmanoff standing in the last aisle crying and looking at the change in her hand. My mother saw she was trying to buy bread and jelly. She pointed out the coins for the two items and from then the English lessons began.
Mom didn’t tell me any of that. She was like that. She didn't talk about others as I remember it. I told my mother what Mrs. Chackmanoff said about finding her in the grocery stores and she did her usual shrug with a smile. I felt such admiration for her.

My mother never spoke badly about anyone. And she didn’t talk badly about her own mother.
There were signs I suppose along the way. Though what did we, her children, have to compare it with? We know only our own bubble, our small safe and comfortable albeit lower middle-class sphere created by our two parents. My friends home life seen just like mine with else kids as far as I could tell. We had fun times at our house. Great holiday with wonderful meals. Getting ready for Christmas’ would be weeks of examining Sears and Spiegel’s catalogs to write our lists for Santa and then drives to toy stores to view what we wanted. Our father would come back later and buy the gifts though at times saving money with a cheaper version. There were board or card games on Saturday night after my mom’s weekly great fried chicken dinner. Some Sundays, long car rides, four kids stuffed in the back seat elbow to elbow after the kids went to church and then for dinner, sandwiches and a bakery layer cake, the special treat of the week. This was followed by watching Bonanza and the Ed Sullivan Show. Thursdays were chili dogs, known in Paterson as Hot-Dogs-All-The-Way, and fries from any number of hotdog restaurants around the city. In the summer, day trips to the lake to swim and a week at the Jersey shore.
After school some days I would come home to find my sister, Doris having tea with our mother, the prized tea set all laid out on the dining room table. They would be talking and laughing. I spent some afternoons watching the Million Dollar Movie of the day with our mother. She would go back and forth to the kitchen cooking supper.
Then my mother worked around the house more times than not she would be happily humming her favorite tunes.

I suppose some signs something was wrong was that sometimes lunch would be on the table when we ran in from school and sometimes mom would still be in bed. Then we would make our own lunch from lunch meat and cheese in the refrigerator or peanut butter and jelly. Sometimes we would find her crying in the bedroom.
John & Sadie DunnSite
Her parents.
She did not like conflict. If any of her five children were fighting and telling them to stop didn’t work she would fling one of her penny loafers at them usually missing. One time the shoe hit her china cabinet breaking the glass door and her prized china inside. I remember it. That was me and my brother, Ike. She sat and cried as we ran from the house only to return when we knew the heat would be out. All the glass was cleaned up and nothing was said about it, ever!

I first learned about my mother’s early life from my sister, Doris, who spent time with her godmother, one of my mother’s close sisters, and years after the same accounts from a couple of her sisters in the few conversations I had with them.

The story goes that my mother was her mother’s ‘whipping boy.’ Her mother beat only her even though she had six other children. No one seems to know why. And those we talked to said they knew not to intervene.
Years later my parents would help two other members of my mother’s family elope with ‘unacceptable’ men drawing the ire of the ‘old battle-ax’ that my father called his mother-in-law. I think this was an act of rebellion, long overdue, by my mom inspired my dad’s self-assertive nature.

Other things my aunts told me about my mother was that she was always kind, quiet, pleasant, smart, religious and always nervous. She like roller skating. She went to Saint John’s Grammar school in Paterson and then business school and became a comptometer operator, the comptometer being the first commercially successful key-driven mechanical calculators made in the United States back in 1887. She was so good at it she was in demand at banks. 

Ruth C Dunn Day abt 16 years
My mother at about 16.
During World War II my mother set up offices for Curtis-Wrights Industries who made plane for the military and where my father worked for all his life though the two did not date until meeting at a Holy Name parade one year. My father was a member of The Holy Name Society and my mother a parade goer.
What I know about my parents' wedding was that it was a judge of the piece ceremony. My mother wore a business suit. One of her closest sisters, Aunt (Frances) Babe and Uncle Marty, my father’s best friend, stood in for them. It was during the war and no other family members were present and there were no pictures taken.

© 2019 by J.D. Holiday

Next in Part 2: My grandmother is forced on us each summer for two weeks. We all get the german measles one week the ‘battle-ax’ was do to visit.

Part 2 of Truth As Strange As Fiction: Walking A Mile In Her Shoes is at: 

The Book Report: Silent Voices, Review by J.D. Holiday

Silent Voices speak from the grave in this gothic style collection of short stories by Fran Lewis.

If you ever felt wrong and thought of revenge, one of these characters in Silent Voices could do the job and do it well. And you might find you agree with me that some of the characters deserve what they get.
The atmosphere and characters feel real in these stories and you are drawn in to see what happens next. At times I was there with them in their GRAVES. I read the whole book in two short sittings.
Fran Lewis is one of my go-to authors for great short stories. As a short story writer and reader myself, I was fascinated by the fabulous imagery in this collection.
You will be enthralled by Fran Lewis’ talent. My Grandmother is my favorite. This grandmother outwits her three granddaughters and they don’t see it coming.
You can find more stories like these in Fran’s other books; Faces Behind the Stones, Bad Choices and Hidden Truths & Lies. Enjoy this read!
You can find her book reviews at

Faces Behind the Stones

Bad Choices: Faces Behind the Stones (Volume 2) Paperback

Hidden Truths & Lies (Faces Behind the Stones)

Living In The BackUp Plan: Part 1

--> © 2019 Copyright by J.D. Holiday. All RIGHTS RESERVED.
              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 her 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 hideout. 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.
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