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Sunday 4 August 2019

The Kraken wakes

Suddenly the flood-gates opened. After more than a year of immobility and a growing lack of faith on my part, Rictangular Lenses leaped forward: 11,000 words in two months, homing in on halfway house at, say, 50,000 words. Here's the latest passage which - perhaps to reassure myself - I'm exposing to sunlight.

Alas, such exposures are often at odds. Readers want to know what's happening while I'm keen to know mainly how those happenings have been fashioned. Something of an indulgence, then. Especially since I've blown my 300-word limit for posts.


THE SENSE of luxury quickly palled but Lindsay pursed her lips, convinced her plans would eventually converge and everything would make sense. The limousine that had wafted them from Birmingham’s suburbs into deep, dark rural Oxfordshire was equipped with a sliding glass panel which isolated the chauffeur; despite this Greta Dane whispered. “I still don’t see why Gerald and Amber couldn’t come.”

Lindsay sighed. “It has to be private, just the two of us. It could even be embarrassing. If things work out we’ll arrange a celebration for all four. That will be up to you.”

“All so hole-in-the corner.”

Even so her mother had had her hair styled and tinted for the event. Her full evening dress may not have been new but Lindsay had never seen it before. Other changes were more organic. Greta’s neck had retracted most of its cords and her face was fuller, no longer strained. Best of all, despite a tendency to complain, her tone of voice had dropped half an octave. Had become more... What? Motherly?

“I have no secrets from Gerald,” Greta said primly.

Lindsay had sworn to control herself throughout this early awkward part of the evening but perhaps being submissive could be overdone.

“Mother, do you still see me as your daughter?”

And it was as if Greta’s face had retreated months, perhaps years. Back into embitterment. She remained a silent passenger in the vehicle and a degree of ease only returned when an acolyte handed her out and acted as escort into the converted Georgian manor-house.

Softly glowing lighting within the hallway flattered her and Lindsay took her hand. “Let’s enjoy ourselves,” Lindsay said and Greta’s fingers tightened.

A genial sommelier offered Greta the loan of his gold-framed grannie glasses when Greta worried – sotto voce – about the type size on the menu. The glasses struck an appropriate note, friendly and lacking fuss. Greta accepted but held the folded frame as if for lorgnettes; to have hooked them round her ears might have been over-familiar.

“Champagne?” Lindsay suggested.

“Goodness!” said Greta, since luxury was re-asserting itself. A table-cloth, thick as the Queen’s coronation robe, covered a circular table for two, privily pushed into a niche away from the centre of the dining room. For Lindsay had explained to the restaurant that things “would be said”. Lindsay, spying from her niche, looked out into the glittering concourse and listened to the sounds of people with money enjoying themselves. This was a very expensive restaurant. The talk was clear yet at moderate volume. Strangely it was non-assertive. But then people with money – out for an evening’s dining – could afford not to be competitive here. Their credit cards would do that in a hushed, very British way, offstage and handled by minions.

Gently urged by Lindsay Greta – never an over-enthusiastic eater – chose stratospherically priced turbot and the champagne did the rest. Mother and daughter relaxed into each other’s space, smiled and broke off occasionally for private memories. Once Greta touched Lindsay’s wrist.

Coffee was served but ignored. Lindsay had prepared for this moment.

“Mother, my professional life has changed. Profoundly.”

“So I can see."


  1. No doubt who wrote it. I recommend you include some violent event(s).

  2. MikeM: Thanks for that. Violence will ensue but not the physical sort. Society will spring a trap, create a shocking dilemma and force Lindsay into an extreme act of self-dependence. The above rapprochement goes against the grain of the story and is part of a lulling prelude. There are, after all, only a few basic plots in fiction. This one is a variant on "Those whom the gods love die young." but without death. I mean, death is so binary - either on or off.

  3. Can't wait to read more. My new (mid 20's) grandson is on track to become a commercial pilot and is at the stage of learning where he is working as a flight instructor, biding his time until he gets his required number of flight hours and certifications. I am looking forward to sharing Out of Arizona with him. I'm thinking it will be a gift at Christmas.

  4. Colette: Aaahhh! Salt tears run down my time-roughened cheeks. Ten seconds later: Thinks - it could of course be hay fever.