The Closing

Frankie called two days after his dramatic performance in the parlour to say that he would accept my offer of $500,000. He did not state it as simply as that of course. He was at pains to explain that his acceptance of my offer stemmed from his social consciousness – that he saw in me the seeds of a man …

The Year of the Comet

Normal operations out of Dar-es-Salaam in the early morning went first to Mombasa, on the Kenya coast, less than three hundred miles away, then on to Nairobi on the central plateau. The first, short, sector took no more than twenty minutes which kept the co-pilot busy changing radio stations from Dar tower to Departure Control, to Tanzania Air Traffic, to …

Raising the Commander

On her return to Qasr-e-qand she found the contents of the portable buildings of the original camp had been brought to Atlantis and there was a cook, one Amil Abu Shousi, who came with all the supporting equipment for a professional kitchen – This despite her protests to the contrary but at least she had avoided an influx of fans, …

Running South

The waiter coughed and shuffled his feet. She knew he was there but couldn’t drag her mind back to the menu. “The table d’hôte is still available.” She looked up. He was young, smiling, fresh faced with bright clear eyes: so different from Peter with his dark orbs jigging constantly as if trying to keep up with his mind. “Or …

Seahorse

The doorbell rang. It would be Gerard of course. It was Wednesday, a little before lunch, and he would turn up to say, ‘Just passing. Thought you might be hungry,’ and she would say, ‘Always hungry. Where shall we go?’ Knowing full well that it would be either La Tivoli, two streets away in the Rue de Grenelle, or Madellien’s, …

Looking for Father

Fiona McMahon settled into her wicker rocker as the Brisbane stilled between its lazy tides. From the back porch of her old Queenslander she could watch the river ebb and flow: measure the days by its rise and fall, and by the traffic slipping quietly over its muddy brown surface. She lowered her eyes, blurring out the river’s full, sleepy, …

Frankie

Frankie Marcellini, the previous owner, swore by Henrietta’s virtues, and assured me that she would never let me down. Well she did – quite often in the early days. That might have been because I did not understand her then. It might have been because the transition to a new owner was a traumatic experience for her, or it might …

Starting

David said, “Do you think you’re up to line operational standard Phil?” I wasn’t expecting that question. I should have been. I knew this to be my final trip under supervision and that it terminated with a Line Competency Check but I wasn’t expecting to be asked how I felt about my competency. In truth I hadn’t been thinking about …

Beggining to End

In the beginning there was a phone call: a short interrogation to establish the mind-set. Mine went like this: “Hello.” “Hello. Is that Phil Newman?” “It is.” “This is Flight Engineering Training Manager Concorde. Are you still interested in a Concorde course.” “Yes.” “It’s not for everyone.”   “I understand.” “It’s a lot of work – not everyone finishes.” “I …

Finding Firmer Ground

Around a million years ago Sarah decided to take what she called ‘The initiative our marriage needed’ – something, I suspect, she had gleaned from the glossy magazine pages that flashed unendingly before her as she thumbed them on the subway, at her desk, before the television, in bed . . . . ‘Taking the initiative’ in this particular case …