Five: Episode Thirty-nine is based off the following book excerpt from my science fiction supernatural thriller, The Contingency Generation.
I slice away strips of fuzzy skin and expose the pale green flesh. Several feet away the game board is open. Fol’s checkers, always onyx, are in his home court. His challenger uses the malachite checkers and has one on the bar and two others remain on the outer board.
“Who’s your opponent?” I ask.
“Lucifer. But he had to rush off before we finished.”
The name seems familiar, but I can’t put a face to it. He’s probably one of Fol’s top-level executives, perhaps a new steal. DCN is so massive that keeping up with the worldwide hierarchy of its top officials is impossible for anyone but Fol.
Fol picks up the diamond set doubling cube and tosses it into the air and catches it in his shirt pocket. It’s a trick I’ve seen him practice many times before.
I finish portioning the kiwi and arrange it in an alternating pattern with the ruby red strawberry slices. I pick up the plates and step left to avoid colliding with Fol, whose focus is on the airborne cube. He manages to land it neatly in his pocket.
“You’re getting good at that.” Paying him a compliment is the best way I know to stay on his agreeable side.
Fol smiles, and I feel his eyes follow me as I slide into the breakfast nook. I place the fruit beside our coffee cups. My motion startles a yellow bird sitting close to the table but behind the aviary glass on a Bird of Paradise plant. It flies behind a stand of red leaf banana trees. The two story bird loft is an astonishing feature of the dwelling. My mind almost forgets we’re several hundred feet underground
“Why didn’t you let Bosma prepare breakfast?” Fol’s chiding breaks the spell.
“Really Fol? You know I prefer to work solo in my own home. Having others wait on me is awkward.”
“It doesn’t have to be. Letting others serve us contributes to their skills.” He prods his kiwi with the gold tip of his fork and then spears several slices together and gulps them down. Then he pushes the plate aside to begin on his omelet.
We continue eating in silence, but I know he’s not done with the matter. His kingly edicts are a routine anomaly of our partnership that I’ve come to expect.
Reason reminds me that Fol is an audience man. His need for spectators is why I’m here in SHEOL in the first place. My presence on display in the company of staff allows them to testify how good he is to me, which then makes his reputation an obstacle to grapple with if I go against his wishes.
Loki passes through the kitchen for the umpteenth time and carries a set of meta tools.
“How much longer do you think?” Fol asks.
“Patience, my friend. Surface connections are a delicate matter. In your haste to initiate the formatting, you reconfigured the overrule parameters. I must detach and then re-attach the couplings to allow for a reset. This is not something one learns at design school but in later experiences when one deals with impatient clients.”
Loki’s freeness of speech with Fol amuses me. I manage to keep a straight face by focusing on the tart sweetness of the fruit in my mouth.
I can sense Fol’s growing impatience. The staff have been working for the last hour to reset the media wall. My transmission to Nesbitt must be verifiable but not allow anyone to discover my location.
Fol finishes and pulls the jewel encrusted game piece from his pocket and places it into the python lined backgammon case. He snaps it shut and issues his decree. “Get comfortable with having staff. It’s good for business and gives everyone a sense of ownership in DCN.”
Or pressure. Freewill ownership is different than being tied to a monopoly because you have no alternative. My contrary thoughts remain hidden. Today is not the day to pick a fight. I need all my partner’s resources to line up with my plans.
I’ve discovered a new game. Join forces with Fol’s plans in the moment in order to secure what I want for the future.
This blog post is an excerpt from my supernatural thriller, Five, presented in rough draft version. The posts will appear weekly as my story development progresses. The story snippets will likely be full of typos, garbage, and confusion. I’m sure to regret allowing readers a sneak peak of the chaos involved in this process of making a finished book.
Someday, if I still have an audience, my book(s) and screenplays will be polished and for sale. Until then, my story snippets are free, but payment by “subscribing” with your email would be a nice gesture. For doing this you might get a discount on my purchasable work should that day ever arrive. All you get now is a notice via email of a new story episode that I have ready to read on my “blog.” I don’t sell my email list or do anything else with it.
Why am I doing this stupid and terrible thing—letting readers see my “off the cuff” story writing?
Book industry experts say that in today’s world of book marketing, an unknown author must build their own sales platform. I’m supposed to advance my platform by collecting readers, and for now, by blogging. Since I can’t imagine blogging about what I had for breakfast or the things my cat does, then instead, I’m blogging fiction excerpts of my work(s) in progress.
Thanks for slogging along. Maybe we’ll meet on a bookshelf someday.