I have spent most of my life traveling around the US and the globe. Now it's time to draw on these experiences and create what I hope are interesting fictional stories. Only you, the reader, can tell me if I've achieved my goal.
Orson worked as a contract coder for multiple medical software companies. Freelancing let him make his own hours, live where he wanted, and be his own boss. He avoided petty office politics and usually made more than the 9-5ers. The downside was there were no benefits. Medical and life insurance, along with retirement plans, were his responsibility. It seemed a fair trade for his freedom.
Everyone is Welcome
Have you ever reached a point in your life when all you want to do is get away? It doesn’t have to be a drastic change, just a fun weekend get-a-way where the only decision you’ll need to make is what to have for dinner. I’m sure most have felt that way from time to time. The question is, what are you going to do about it? I can tell you what I did. I went to Key West for a long weekend.
The Event Chapter 1 There weren’t always dragons in the Valley. The village elders told us dragons only appeared after the Event. Seated around the evening fire, we all listened respectfully to their stories about the time before, but a few of us knew their tales weren’t based on fact. Even as a youngling, listening intently as the elders read excerpts from the ancient tomes describing great battles between Spell Slingers and Death Walkers, I knew there was more to the story.
Nobody asked me if I wanted to be dead. The universe didn’t host a game show where I got to pick what was behind door #1: an all-expense-paid vacation; door #2, a comfortable retirement; or door #3, DEAD. I was just walking down the street when, literally, a bolt out of the blue hit me square on the top of my head. In fact, it was a 10mm, case-hardened, steel bolt from a plane traveling at thirty thousand feet that worked itself free. Nice one Karma! Who knew, luck has a sense of humor.
Chapter 1 Day 1 – New York City “It will be a great place if they ever finish it.” - O. Henry Mike Gulf arrived at Best-Ride’s shop in North Bergen, New Jersey, at 6:00 a.m. and said good morning to several of his fellow drivers. He proceeded to replenish supplies required for his tour and performed a routine safety check. Mike grabbed a cooler and filled it with ice to load bottles of water and various flavors of soda he planned on selling to the passengers as the trip progressed. By 6:30 a.m. he was headed for the Lincoln Tunnel and downtown Manhattan.
Prologue Geneva, Switzerland Andrew Buchanan surveyed the lavishly appointed conference room his newly acquired international pharmaceutical corporation, World Wide Cures, had leased for its semi-annual board meeting. The company’s main office on the other side of town was equipped with a conference room, but he wanted his first meeting as chairman to impress his fellow board members. The room, with its floor-to-ceiling windows, high-backed leather chairs, and mahogany conference table, should accomplish that nicely.
Central Park to Central Booking
Walter’s outgoing personality instantly puts everyone he meets in a relaxed, open state of mind. This is important because, as a carriage driver in New York City, his primary function, besides controlling rather docile horses, is to put all his customers in a good mood. The passengers are normally from out of town. No local would pay $35.00 for a half-hour buggy ride. “Fuhgeddaboudit!” The happier the customer, the bigger the tip, and the more they would talk about their plans. Plans Walter would covertly record on his phone.
Stairway to Discovery
I stood at the foot of a staircase that piqued my curiosity. A sign on each riser proclaimed where the contents of the room above had originated: Barns, Estates, Cellars, and Attics. Best of all, everything is “half off.” Half off, what exactly is a mystery? By striding to the top of the stairs, would I be entering a treasure trove of unique antiquities or a room full of other people’s castoffs? Only one way to find out—I climbed.
The Invisibles Horace stood in a corner of the airport terminal watching travelers hustling from gate to gate urgently trying to make their next flight. A young boy around the age of four looked up at him and smiled. The encounter quickly ended when his mother pulled on her son’s arm, attempting to hurry him along. She never acknowledged Horace standing there with his trash cart and cleaning tools. The mother and son had a plane to catch and no time to exchange pleasantries with a man holding a broom. However, she had time to look over the jewelry at the Duty-Free shop.
Dry Scrubbing 1821
My name is Thomas Jennings, a lifelong free New York City resident and proud owner of one of the busiest tailor shops in Manhattan. In the late 1700s, I began a long apprenticeship that taught me the skills needed to excel in this essential craft. I’m well known throughout the elite of this city for my custom-fitted suits, shirts, and casual clothing. My little shop on Church Street is thriving. Fortunately for my clients, I’m also a curious person who enjoys solving problems.
The Gift of Time
We left the opulent dining room and retired to a small, well-appointed library. Small is a relative term, as Jack McCabe doesn’t own anything small - why should he? Jack has the dubious distinction of being the world’s first trillionaire. No matter how much money a person can amass in a lifetime, it still comes down to how much time you have before your personal clock runs down to zero. Jack’s clock is rapidly approaching his last hour. His body is a weak, gnarled shell that has to be transported by a powered chair. He has lost all his hair, and his senses of smell and hearing are fading fast. Jack’s eyes, although requiring glasses to see clearly, still show the fierce determination of a world class predator. Solving the time problem is why McCabe had his men bring me, Michael White, to his estate.