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SEE WHAT YOU ARE SAYING?

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mat·ter

  (măt′ər)

n.

1. That which occupies space and has mass; physical substance.
 
2. type of such substance: organic matter.
 
3. Discharge or waste, such as pus or feces, from a  living organism.
 
4. Philosophy In Aristotelian and Scholastic use,   that which is in itself undifferentiated and formless   and  which, as the subject of change  and development,   receives form and becomes substance.
 
5. The substance of thought or expression as  opposed to the manner in which it is stated or  conveyed.
 
6. subject of concern, feeling, or action: matters of  foreign policy; a personal matter. See Synonyms at  subject.
 
7. Trouble or difficulty: What’s the matter with your   car?
 
 
 
 
IMAGE ATTRIBUTION:  USATODAY.COM 
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Ephemera

 

Actually, my blog is basically always ephemera if you go for the strict definition.

Anyone using the word ephemera in their blog for the next week will be subjected to my derision.

I told someone I would post this chapter for their consideration but it was some time ago, so it is probably useless at this time.  Feel free to skip it since you are already in the counter*.  It is the first chapter of Lawman, and I had to check if Select allowed it and they do.  Frankly, I like the last chapter better.  And I am tired of people saying my characters are promiscuous when they sleep with maybe two or three different people in their fictional life frames. And always for the best  and most non-casual reasons.

LAWMAN
by Virginia Llorca
 
Kindle Press Edition
9/1/2011
 
Chapter One
 
“Called on the carpet.  Monday morning.  Ruin the whole week for me why don’cha?  Probably getting the axe.  Hope it’s budget and I didn’t goof up.  Stop, Lily.  No point in wild conjecture.  Not wild.  Gotta be the axe.”  She tried to talk herself out of the worst case scenarios as she walked toward the States Attorney’s  office.
 
Shoulda found my own job.  Stop it, Lily.  Not the end of the world.  You already survived that.  Chin up.  Paste on the smile.   Hi, Kelly!”  as she walked in.
 
“Hey, Lily!  How are ya doing?”
 
“Do I look as scared as I feel?”
 
“Wait til you see the crowd waiting on you!  Seriously, don’t worry.  It’s all good, hon.”
 
“Just have to tough my way through it.”

“And we all know that’s your strong point.  You’ll be fine, hon.   Lily’s here, sir,” she said to the intercom.
 
Lily had never seen so many people in Don’s office.  “Fire code violation,” she thought.  “Terminate me, I’ll retaliate!”. . .trying to buoy herself up.
 
“Lily, darlin’!  You brighten my day!”
 
Whoa,” she thought, “aren’t we cooling the family stuff at work anymore?
 
“Let me introduce you around, darling.  Lily, this is Max Davidson.  Midwest Regional Director for the FBI.  Mr. Davidson, Mrs. Scofeldt.”
 
“How do you do, Mr. Davidson.  I’m honored to meet you.”    (“Crap.  What did I do?  Regional Director?  Crap. . .”)  Two more FBI associates.  Someone from the governor’s office, the mayor’s office, and two ADA’s she already knew.
 “I’m sure you’re wondering what this is all about, darling.”
 (“Please stop calling me darling in front of the brass, Don!” she was screaming in her brain.)
 
“I can only imagine I’m being terminated.  And I’m hoping it’s budget related and not because of some horrible error I am blissfully unaware of.  But all the brass. . .   I mean. . . . Well. . . ”

 “No, honey.  We have no intention of terminating your service.  We’re very pleased with your performance.  Especially liaising this difficult case.  Actually, Celeste was saying the boys are both going to be full day at school now, and we were thinking of asking you if you could come in the other two days.  Of course, we’ll still make sure you get home in time for the bus.”

 
“Oh, that would be so great, Don, er. . .  I mean, Mr. Solomon.  I was gonna ask about it.  Yeah.  Thanks.   I would like that.”
 
“Ahem. . .” coughed Mr. Davidson.
 
“Yes.  We’re getting sidetracked.   Down to the business at hand, Lily.  I’m afraid the subject we have to discuss may strike you as a bit more awkward  than being terminated.  You know how difficult it is to keep our personal lives out of the office, especially in this town.  And you know how serious this case is.  We just need to establish a few facts because we’re planning to hand down the indictment Wednesday a.m.”
 
“Yes, sir.  And I’m really glad we’ve finally reached that point.”
 
“We all are.  It’s been difficult.  Hon, there has been a kind of persistent undercurrent of gossip lately, and normally, giving it credence would only exacerbate the issues. But because of what’s at stake. . .” he paused to let Mr. Davidson jump in. 

“This is of a personal nature, and you are, of course, free to choose not to answer. We have to tell you though, that choice may affect our decisions.  We feel we must ask you at this time, Mrs. Scofeldt, if you did have or if you are having a personal relationship with Special Agent Raia.”
 
Lily was rocked back on her heels, but, of course, only figuratively, although it was apparent to everyone that she began to blush furiously and took a slightly deeper breath than usual.  Being taken completely unaware, and naturally tending toward being a bit outspoken, she blurted, unthinking, “Not yet!”  The sound of several chuckles being muffled was all that was heard for a few seconds too long.  “I mean, it seems. . .  I mean, I’ve heard. . .  I take this job very seriously, and I’m sure Special Agent Raia does also.  And, well, no.  I mean, I’ve never even had a personal conversation with him.  Well, wait, once he called me into his office for a conversation about an error, but I understand those instances have to be documented.”
 
 
The director spoke up to Don, chuckling, “That would be the now famous ‘tiny, arrogant, expletive deleted, small-town prom queen with attitude’ document?”
 
“I do believe that is the incident she is referring to,” Don laughed.   “And I believe since he insisted that be in her file, we will have to give her an opportunity to respond.”
 
“Perhaps in writing would be the best venue, although, if she insists, we could have a hearing,” the Director went on, with more than a hint of unprofessional sarcasm in his voice.

“I am confident enough in my standing on the issues he brought up that I don’t think it’s necessary for me to respond in any way.  And, since this isn’t vaudeville, I think we can stop the ‘schtick’ at my expense for now.”  Lily’s self assuredness quickly overcame the feeling that all this brass might be a little intimidating.
 
“Sorry, ADA Scofeldt,” said the Director, with an actual humble note in his tone.  “Sometimes we can act a little unprofessionally as we wind down these difficult cases. We’re probably all just a little too comfortable with one another after so long.”
 
“Okay, hon.  We can see clearly where you stand on this matter,” said Don.  “And we do seriously appreciate your candor.  We’ve already interviewed SA Raia, and we’re satisfied that we can go ahead with our plans.  SA Raia’s plans. . .  Well, probably not appropriate to comment on that in this venue.”  He rose from his desk and stood at Lily’s side as she shook everyone’s hand and walked to the door.  He put his arm around her shoulder so all would see she had his complete support, and he walked her past reception into the hall.  He figured they already knew he was her godfather and uncle, anyway.  And didn’t really care what they thought at this stage of his life. “Baby.  I’m so sorry to have put you through this, but you handled it beautifully.”
 
“Foot in mouth.”

“Nothing they weren’t already too aware of, babe.  And, honey, I don’t want to scare you, but this Tim, this Agent Raia?   I sat in on the interview, and he’s as straight arrow as they come. But we had to ask him some very direct questions, and Lily, as far as you are concerned, this is a bull in a pen, pawing at the ground.”
 
“Don.  Yikes.  I mean, Celeste already gave me the big sister talk and I can’t help but be aware of the tension in the room when he’s around.  But, yikes.  I mean.  I’m not disinterested, but you’re scaring me a little.”
 
“You’re ready for a little fun, babe.  Ben’s been gone two years now.  You know you’re ready to move on.  Just don’t make any hasty decisions.  Gotta get back.  Love you, darlin’.  You’ll be fine.”  And he didn’t care who saw him give her that affectionate smooch.  There were certain advantages in being the big gun in a small town.
 
***

Well, the guy is a fox,” she was thinking.  “Tim?”  All she had ever heard was SA Raia.  “Timmy?  Cute.  Well, I’d give him a second glance for sure.  Guess I already have.  But, heck,  his job is over in this town on Wednesday.  And that starts my two weeks off.  Bobby starting first grade.  Really a way bigger deal than Agent Raia’s potential.  But, yeow.  Everyone can feel what’s going on when he’s in the same room I am.  Might be fun.  Well, we’ll see.  The ball is in his court. Anyway, who knows where he even lives.  I’m not even gonna ask Celeste.  Any information goes out as quick as it comes in with her.  Last thing he needs to hear is me making inquiries.”
 
 
***
 
But Celeste was calling before Lily even got half way home.  “I heard you were interrogated by the big brass.”
 
“Not exactly interrogated, Celeste.  Everything is cool.”
 
“No.  It’s not cool, babe.  This is anything but cool.  How many months did you work together?  Four?  Five?  That’s a lot of foreplay.”
 
“Don’t be gross, Cece.”
 
“The weird thing is he’s actually asked a couple of people if you’ve said anything about him.  I don’t know if that’s adolescent or stalkerish.  Kinda creepy.”
 
“The last thing I read off this vibe is creepy.”
 
“What’s the first?”

“C’mon, Cece.  Give me a break here.  I’m practically a novice at this.”
 
“And he’s been divorced eight years!  Fireworks, Lily!  Even the Director made a remark about it.  Something about fireproof sheets when the two of you get together.  And he talks to Raia all the time.  Wow, love to be the fly on that wall.”
 
“That would border on sexual harassment if I heard it, I think.”
 
“Well, it would have to be Agent Raia to bring charges and who knows who started that conversation.  I just get the trickle down from Don. You know guys are utterly gross about that stuff.  But Don did emphasize the fact that the word was whenyou get together, not if. ”
 
 “Like I’m not going to have anything to say about it?  Too bad they don’t have something a little more professional to discuss. Anyway he’ll probably be on a plane Wednesday night.”
 
 
“No, baby.  Lots of people are laying money on this one.”
 
“Nice.  Small town mentality.  Nothing else to talk about.”
 
“You’re our star, honey.  You’re everyone’s darling.   But I kind of get the feeling your goose is cooked.”
 
“Speaking of cooking, gotta fix dinner, sweetie.  Let it rest.  Love you.”
 
***

The indictment went down without a hitch on Wednesday.  Senior Special Agent Raia and the Director, along with State’s Attorney Solomon, handled the press conference.  Lily was so far down on the totem pole she didn’t even have to hang around for that.  Of course her absence was noted.  “I wanted to give a special thank you to our newest ADA, Lily Scofeldt for the great job she did for us, but apparently she has already left.”
 
Someone spoke out, “We’re sure you’re going to be able to deliver that thank you personally, Tim.”
 
“I hope the mikes are off.  You guys really need to get a life.”
 
“Right now it’s your life we’re talking about, Raia.  And Lily’s. Don’t forget this entire town thinks she’s under its protection,” said Don, trying to sound a bit protective and fatherly, despite the huge smile on his face.
 
And Lily was driving home thinking Agent Raia might have at least made an effort to say good bye to her after all the hype.  But mostly she was thinking about Friday being the first day of school for Bobby.  Only a half day, but so exciting for him to go on the big kid’s bus.  Still, she admitted she felt a little let down.  And it turned out the whole weekend seemed kind of long.  Maybe being away from work for two whole weeks with the kids gone all day wasn’t such a good idea.  And weather unseasonably warm for this late in the summer was promised. Of course there were plenty of projects around the house that needed attention, especially the yard which was showing signs of neglect and needed an end of summer clean up.

End of chapter one.
 
*Speaking of counters–my blog site shows counters with three differing opinions.  They must be opinions since they so widely vary.  Well, maybe not widely.  It just goes to show me I shouldn’t be concerned with them, right?
 

 

 

Excerpt from THE MAZE

.  .  .


Barney wanted to try and talk to Maisie before he left, see how she was.  But Jenny said she was gone.  He never saw that steely look in Jenny’s eyes before.  It chilled him.  He felt his world was narrowing in on him.  He felt alone.  He wanted a drink, called his sponsor, talked it through, stayed strong, flew to Denver, Told Madalyn and Fiona not to pick him up.  He had to lease a car anyway.  Fiona was abrupt on the phone.  He didn’t pursue the subject.  Just made his way woodenly to the airport and to Madalyn’s.  She hugged him when she saw him and pressed her face into his neck, but she felt the change.  The voltage, the need, whatever it was, it was gone.  “You’re gonna need some time.  It’s okay, Barney.  I understand.”

“Do you, Mad?  Cuz I don’t.  I should feel relief.  The order for dissolution is already signed by both of us and notarized and ready to be presented to the court.”

“Oh, that’s wonderful.  I was worried.”

“Worried? That she’d fight it?  That she’d try to save her marriage?  No, Mad.  She didn’t.  She said it’s fine.  Whatever makes me happy.  No worries.  She’s strong.  No worries.  She’ll be fine.”“She will.  We will.  She’s so young.  You weren’t together that long.  .  .”“That long?  We were together.  Now we’re not.  Everything is fine.  I’m free.  I can be with you now.  I told her I had to be with you now.

“But?

“But what?”

“What is going unsaid here?  This should be our moment.  But there’s an elephant in the room.  Isn’t there?”

“I’m gonna stay at Fiona’s tonight.  I need to rest.  I need a space.”

“You need to be with me now.  That’s why you did this.  For us.”

“For us?  I’m going to Fiona’s.”

***

Fiona could only say to him, “I can’t talk about it, dad.  You have to deal with this on your own.  I love you and I try so hard to understand you, to at least see your point of view.  But I love Maisie and you guys were perfect.  Perfectly in tune.  I don’t see this thing with Madalyn at all.  And I knew her long before you met her.  How could it happen?  I can’t talk about it, dad.” She turned her back on him. 

 He was going to explain it was just the usual waking, half-drunk, to the awareness that his dick was in Madalyn’s mouth, but decided it wasn’t the kind of story you tell your daughter.  And Madalyn pushing the drinks on him had never before registered as being part of a plan of attack.  He was a guy.  It was a bj.  He was drunk.  Now what?

In the middle of the night, Fiona woke and saw the light in the family room.  Barney was staring at a silent television screen, an infomercial about a cookware set.  “Dad, you have to rest.”

“Please listen, Fiona.  Please.  I felt revulsion when she touched me.  What did I do?  Why did I do it?  I felt revulsion at my skin touching hers.  What have I done?”

“Dad.  Stay with her for a few days.  Take it slow.  It’s a big change.  You didn’t expect this to be easy did you?”

“It was easy.  Maisie said she wants me to do what’s right for me.  Like she wants me to be with Madalyn?  Why would she want that?”

“That’s not what she said, dad.  She said she wants you to do what’s right for you.”

“But we were talking about me being with Madalyn.  Maybe Maisie knows better, knows I should be with Mad, knows she’s too young for me.  She started to seem so immature compared to Mad.  Like Maddie was on a path and knew what to do and where she was going.  And Maisie just floats along, letting stuff happen.”

“Yeah.  Right.  Stuff just floats by Maisie.  She just sits there.  Writes two more books, raises three kids, keeps a perfect house, cooks from  scratch, looks adorable, loves you to death, puts up with you.  Just floating.  And, I know you make a good living, so I won’t even go there, but, really, dad?  Supporting her?  How does that work?  Emotionally?  And you in the sack with the next bimbo in line?”

“That’s hitting way low, Fiona.  That’s not how it was.  And I know now I need to be with someone who is mature enough to see that you have to take care of the future, have goals.  You can’t just…”  His nose was getting all clogged up with backed up tears.

“Dad.  Rest.  Take time.  Wait ‘til the dust settles.  And I don’t want to give out advice, but you are not in a good place.  You aren’t thinking of jumping into another marriage, are you?”

“The order of dissolution isn’t a divorce.  After it’s filed  the judge still has to issue the decree.”

“I know that, dad.”

“I told them to hold off filing and the JAG is my buddy.  But I’m just making excuses.  I’m so confused.”

“You have to spend time with Madalyn and sort out your feelings.  Maisie and the kids gone is a major upheaval for you.  Don’t rush.”

“I’m gonna talk to that doc friend of yours tomorrow.  Thanks, FiFi.  I think I can sleep now.  You don’t mind if I sack out here a couple of hours do you?”

“Couple of hours.  Couple of days.  Just take some time here.  Please?”

“Okay.  Yeah.  Okay.  Fuck.  It was like revulsion.  It made me think of that gecko.  I thought we had good chemistry.  I hope it was just a reaction.”

Walking back to her room Fiona thought, “Yeah, dad.  A  reaction.  Get a clue.  Pure carbohydrate chemistry, dad.  Booze and you know it.”

He talked to the doctor the next day and had dinner with Madalyn.  She was glowing.  She knew when they made love again he would remember why he was here.  He’d know they were supposed to be together.  But she wondered why he wouldn’t drink the martini, would only ask for more water.  They went back to her place and she moved toward him.  She teased at his shirt buttons, bit at his lips, started to unbutton her blouse.  He woodenly tried to get into it, remembered they’d really been hot for each other.  Knew it would kick in.  She was in great shape for her age.  Really good boob job.  Gorgeous silvery gray lingerie.  Maisie wore underpants, not lingerie.  This was what they called lingerie.  His mind wandered off.  “That grey tank top she always wore to bed with the little frayed bow.  .  .”

Madalyn touched him, looking for his response.  Drew her hand back in shock.  She was having no effect on him.  “It’s okay, Barney.  I know you need time.”  She went into the bedroom and took a couple of Ambien.  In the morning he was asleep on the couch, snoring, still dressed, rumpled, looking kind of awful, actually.

“I have to go talk to that doc again.  I gotta get in the shower.”  She followed him in and tried to make love to him.  He said, “I’m sorry, Mad.  I don’t  know what’s going on.  The doc will help me straighten this out.”  But Madalyn was pretty sure she already knew what was going on with Barney.

 ***

Half way through the second hour with Barney, the doc laid it all out for him.  “You might be impotent because of the guilt or because it’s going too fast.  You expected to work through things with Maisie and process it all as you moved from one relationship to the other.  But you haven’t had the time to do that.  Maisie didn’t cooperate.  She wouldn’t give you time to process it.”

“But I was in the new relationship.  Maisie was right.  Our relationship was gone or I wouldn’t have gotten into this new one, fallen in love with Maddie.’

“Listen to yourself, Barney.  You’re giving yourself permission because Maisie said it’s okay.  You used the word ‘revulsion’.  That’s very telling.”

“Isn’t it normal to grieve for the old relationship? The loss of my family?”

“Sure it is, Barney.  Even the impotence.  Perfectly normal.  Text book.  You could hang around and see if your pecker responds.  I could write you a scrip for Viagra.  You can go through the motions.  Anyone can.  But revulsion? Thinking a couple of drinks would make that go away?”

“Yeah.  I was thinking that, but I know I can’t have that first drink.  Especially when things are so unsettled.  I’m in transition.  I have to process it.  I’m thinking alcohol was a mechanism in this.  I know I can’t blame it on that, but I’ve been very strong up until now.”

“You don’t want to think Madalyn plied you with drinks to bring down your defenses.  You want me to say you have to be accountable for your own actions.  You already know that and I’m not going to say it.  I’ve met you socially and professionally through Fiona—seen you with Maisie, counseled you, partied with you, heard stories from Fee about your whole family.  Once again, there is that conflict of the personal and the professional.  You’re here for my professional opinion today so I’ll try not to let this get personal.  But I feel it’s my obligation to say Madalyn has a reputation in this town and we all watched in shock that she was doing it to you.  If you are sure you love her and want to be with her—well, that’s a possibility we must consider.  But I think your affair with Madalyn was a symptom.  You don’t sound like you’re in love with her.  You sound like you’re trying to sell me on it, Barney.  This isn’t a ‘you and Madalyn’ problem.  It’s a continuation of the ‘you and Maisie’ problem.  You’re still afraid to let little Maisie hold your balls in her hands.  You have to prove to yourself and to her that you and nobody else has control over your manhood.  It’s classic Jung.  It’s cliche’  mid-life crisis.  I’ve never before been pissed off at a patient.  You’re what? Forty eight?  Grow the fuck up, Barney.  Give the intimacy to the person you love and need.  Throw away the fear.  You don’t need to have fear.  You need to trust the one you love with your feelings.

“You’re not talking about Madalyn.  You’re talking about Maisie.”

“Wow, Barney.  You didn’t even need to put that in question form  Get the fuck out of my office.  I have a loaded gun in my desk.”