This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
CHAPTER ONE - GOOD MORNING, GOOD MORNING
May 13 - 5:45 a.m. - An alarm clock radio sounds off, signaling the beginning of a new day, which sounds like a nice one coming up based on what the on-air meteorologist has to report. It’s supposed to be mostly sunny, in the 70s, with periods of overcast, but all in all a pleasant day. A tall, dark-haired man sits up and squeezes his face, muttering “aw, fucking hell”. He turns to see the time and tosses the covers aside, reaching for a cigarette. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Bruce Rhys-Davies, green-card holding native of Manchester, England. He is the son of an Irish mother who settled in England for the sake of work. Presently, he's a television executive, a Program Director, to be exact, summoned awake for yet another day's worth of an attempt to create broadcast history.
Seeing how it is that broadcast news has become so personality-driven, with wind-whipping graphics burning out innocent retinas, and with so-called music made by anything that sounds like a trained monkey keeping a steady beat by pressing a few computer buttons, it looks more and more like MTV. The popularity of that channel may be sinking faster than the cock of a man who suddenly has an image of Courtney Love pop up in his mind as he's about to shoot a load across the room, but it still exists. Everything in life seeks to emulate this not-so-phenomenal phenomenon. Since, in its heyday, MTV personalities were once known as Video Jocks, or Vee-Jays - why shouldn't on-air meteorologists be known as Weather-Jocks, or Wee-Jays? There's a lot less to pronounce and spell. Come on, kids, you can be as stupid as you want, and people will still know what you're talking about - if they choose to be seen within 30 feet of you in the first place.
All the above thoughts have crossed the mind of the owner of this alarm clock on more than one occasion.
"Ah...two last names, is it? Rather…uh… unusual - I like it - I like it a lot".
Bruce sneers at the memory of an attempt at a social engagement the other evening. For yet another makeshift audience, Bruce goes into the story of his Irish emigrant mother marrying a Manchester native. He spits the story out by rote as if he’s sick to death of the recitation. He’s asked periodically if he’s an only child. On some occasions, he’ll say he is. On others, he’ll say he has a sister with whom he hasn’t been in contact for several years. Sometimes it’s a few, sometimes it’s many. Sometimes, he never wants to think of it at all.
These exchanges are often greeted with a slight scoff from Bruce's right-hand wife-Friday, Vanessa. Pleasantries abated, Vanessa smiles at the person, glides her hand over the hand of the attendee, then takes a long cold look as the schmoozer slithers away to its next victim.
"Oh, darling - you simply must get your story straight. Settle on one and practice it on me from time to time. After all, you almost never speak of your family to me. I’m beginning to doubt they even existed.”
“What the hell do you mean by that?”
"Well, I've never met any of them.”
"I've very obviously had a mother at one point or another. You don't think they made me in a fucking test-tube, do you?"
"Sometimes I wonder what the hell you're made of."
These constant, rampantly running thoughts suddenly come to a crashing halt as he's jerked back into the reality of his bedroom: Vanessa unconscious, her drag and under garments strewn about on or nearby her side of the bed; the weatherman on the radio spews off one bad joke after another in a vain attempt to prolong his precious, coveted time slot before going on with what was already obvious - it's warm and sunny with periods of overcast, that much has been established, so he shuts the radio off.
"Can't let the mind wander, the show must go on." It was thoughts of these caustic confabs which jerked Bruce back to the land of the living - even though he doesn't want to be. He's contemplated taking his life on numerous occasions. Standing at the window of his 43rd floor office, watching the hustle and bustle of the city streets from on high - thinking how awesome it would be to have a body come crashing down on some poor, unsuspecting soul, in the middle of summer, when the whole world seemed to be out on the streets for the afternoon. He bought a gun once, telling Vanessa it was for her protection. He was about to say "what would happen if someone broke in and took advantage of you", but he thought better of it - after all, if the intruder was young and hot, she might've gone for it. Run away with him, soak me for my millions in a divorce and show him off to the girls at lunch. He also had, on occasion, taken the barrel to his mouth and caressed the outer perimeter of his lips, wondering where went the courage to stick it inside and let loose. It seemed so easy. Like taking a spoonful of medicine - do it fast without thinking. That was his problem. He thought too much. "I won't give her the satisfaction - she'll never get her hands on my life insurance. I should name a charity as beneficiary." He chuckled as he imagined a troop of Salvation Army workers taking out a mob hit on him.
He pondered the day ahead. As a television executive, he would often be bombarded by programming ideas from a mixed bag of folks ranging from secretaries to janitors to the station's personalities themselves. One item on which he has yet to offer a verdict was the appointment of a host to a new program consisting of showing old films based on literary classics. It was to be imaginatively-enough titled, "Literary Classics". It would showcase such cinematic fare as "Captains Courageous", "Kidnapped", "Robin Hood". The presenter would have to be photogenic, amenable, affable, amiable, yet with a hint of sophistication in his or her demeanor, to appear as if they know what they're talking about when they introduce the film of the week. The project was approved, the set was being built, the usual allotment of 22 segments had been scheduled, yet there was no idea who would walk onto the set, pick up the "book" bearing the title, and blather on endlessly about how much the whole family would love this classic.
Bruce walked out of the apartment, took the elevator down to the garage, got in his car and drove three miles to the commuter rail line which would shuttle him right to the front door of the office building. As he drove on this particular day, he put a disc into the car stereo - it contained four pieces of music, out of which one would be selected to be used as the theme for "Literary Classics". First track sounded off with a drum beat - skip - "nah - nobody's gonna rock out to something that's almost 60 years old" - second track sounded off with a Moog synthesizer riff - skip - he chuckled to himself, "God, what shit - sounds like porno music - we're showing Moby Dick, not Moby's Dick". The third track had some promise to it. A delicate rumbling of a kettle drum, slowly fading in, accompanied by what seemed to be a full orchestra, led by a softly sobbing violin. This gave him pause. He listened to the whole track. In fact, he played the track several times while envisioning the opening credits "Literary Classics, with...." That's when it all stopped. "With whom, for God's sake?" Hopefully the matter would be taken care of this afternoon. He parked his car in the commuter parking garage, and walked across the way to the train platform.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Vanessa's eyes opened and she looked at the time on the alarm clock.
"Strange, I slept right through the buzzer".
She looked about the room and peered into their bathroom, seeing no one there. She then got out of bed, slipped on a dressing gown, pinned up her stark white platinum-blonde hair, applied make-up and nail polish, then sashayed about the apartment, calling out for her "darling" Bruce. Realizing he’d left for the day, she retired to the liquor cabinet and poured herself two fingers of brandy.
LouiseJ2: I enjoyed the detail you went into with regards to the case. It made the UNSUB appear believable. The crisis in the middle of the story was my favorite part, very dramatic but not over the top. I feel like sometimes pairings can be overdone but I liked that some of the relationships were a little...
PaulSenkel: If you like Arthur C. Clarke's Odyssey, especially The Final Odyssey, then you will probably also enjoy this book. I definitely did.It does, however, address a more adolescent public than the above-mentioned book.I enjoyed the story and finished it in a few days. The overall situation on earth an...
Sonya YuntHatton: Are you going to be posting the rest? I read this when originally posted on Fanfiction. LOVE IT!!! Was so glad when it came our as an original book!! And now the MOVIE!!! Holy Mary I am so excited.....But I'm going to HATE, HATE, HATE the wait for part 2. Please let me know if and when you're goi...
Ben Gauger: Kudos go to wordworrywill, author of Kings and Things, an otherwise imaginative tale set against the trappings of the royal set, but then again I don't imagine there'd be many authors who invoked the names of Oprah Winfrey, Vladimir Putin, Jeff Bezos, Beyonce and Steven Spielberg, As for the plot...
Ben Gauger: Kudos go to Liz Aguilar, author of To Have And to Hold a fast-paced, gripping, adrenaline rush from start to finish, one of perhaps the finest pieces of writing I've ever read, in particular because of its' telenovela-like feel, May she continually find success as an author. Bravo my dear, bravo!
Alex Rushmer: I just want to say that the writing in this is amazing! I read the first couple chapters and was absolutely drawn in by it, The way you use first person in this story is extremely engaging and does wonders with your character development. I immediately had a picture of the characters and plotline...
Rebeccaseal: This was an almost perfect story that I would recommend to anyone. The only thing I would work on is painting a more realistic picture of Haiathiel. Somehow the environment seemed limited, and the land itself a bit unfinished. This can be solved simply by added descriptions to people and places. ...
LesAnne: I've never come across a plot like this, and I like its originality. At first, the title gave me the impression that the story is about friends making bets, but I've been proven wrong. I like the personality of the female main character, how evident her strengths and weaknesses are. She's become ...
summerstone: Seriously this is one of the best books I've ever read. The plot is intriguing, I love the narrative style. Its very descriptive and unique, with minimal cliches. It makes for a great read and the sequels are amazing. Totally worth reading. ^^ That's me trying to be professional. But in all hones...
FreakyPoet: "you made me laugh, made me cry, both are hard to do. I spent most of the night reading your story, captivated. This is why you get full stars from me. Thanks for the great story!"
Sara Joy Bailey: "Full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done."