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 …

Meeting with The Ayatollah

She started well before sunrise without warning the others and was taken by a sentry less than an hour later. As expected the officer in charge of the Republican Guard contingent was an intelligent man who had been briefed as to the importance of her safety. He passed her message to his commander before hosting a modest breakfast and excellent …

Clinton Hill

I suspected a chemical exchange of some sort was taking place when Leonora and her husband first came to inspect the second floor apartment of my Jefferson Avenue brownstone. He was at least ten years her senior, of worn, bloodhound, appearance complete with sagging jowls and bored, almost sceptical, eyes warning all that they trusted no one, and believed little …

Northern India – Fiona, Ayatollah, & President of India

Fiona McMahon knew the man sitting across the table. She had known him since birth. She knew both his mother and father and his many teachers. She had been The Matriarch for two hundred and fifteen years; mother had reigned for four hundred and twenty seven years before that. Her mother knew all the religious and political leaders for twelve …

Meira Wrestles with Communication

She had been wrestling with the problem of communicating much of what was in her head to those who could best use it. Ben and Peter were bright, and they learned fast, but they were only two men. The Internet, with its ever growing stable of media devices, allowed them to make many, useful, disclosures but there was always the …