Lasting impression

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In the late 90s I started off my IT career like many techs in my city. It was in a consumer call center for a major computer manufacturer. Glamorous job no, but it helped shape my career and I learned so much.

Luckily this was during a time when computer sales were spiking. Windows 95 had just been released and Ottawa had one of its first major call centers so they literally came to colleges looking for anybody that wanted a job and didn’t really worry about experience or skill. As I was told people skills we cannot teach, but computer skills we can provide. So there I was working with 1000 other techs with the constant flow of senior people moving onto better jobs and new techs starting there careers.

I worked hard there and had a reputation when I left. I wasn’t considered the smartest tech, but hardworking, loyal and dependable. That reputation has followed me and helped ever since. My next three jobs in fact which is the point that I am trying to make here. The people we work with and meet along the way in our lives can be the greatest contacts we we ever meet. When that first call center closed after nine years I came home to a phone call from my first manager who was an ops manager at a different call center. It was a job offer. When I asked him why his answer was I know the skills and work ethic you bring. I had not actually seen him for seven years, but he remembered me.

As call centers seem to do when this one closed I was on vacation so I didn’t even know I was unemployed at the time. Before I even knew I did not have a job I had a job offer with someone new. Of course I have done the same for other techs as well. Those that stand out as people I would put my reputation on the line for.

Recently we had a tech at my current job who wasn’t a great tech but he had alot of possibilities of becoming a great tech. When he left his position it made me wonder if he truly understood the damage that he had done. Not only did he ruin his chances of ever returning, but the memory of him is tarnished forever. Most people in my experience only remember your first two weeks and last week on the job. His first two weeks were not wonderful, but not horrible either. The last week though was terrible. He came in at least two hours late everyday, took long lunches, left early whenever he felt like it and did barely any work.

Now his new job lasted only three weeks. His position was phased out because he was hired based on a potential contract and the company didn’t get it. While searching for a new job he lists our company and in one way or another somebody knows somebody and they ask about him. I cannot say for sure that a bad memory affects his job search only that he is still searching.

I know from my experience a good lasting impression can open doors and I am pretty sure a bad one can not only close them, but lock them as well.

Smile
JD

Searching for puddles

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Spring is in the air. Well between the surprise snow and colder then average weather that has been popping up. Today though was a great spring day. Lots of sunshine and a warm breeze so we went searching for mud puddles. Most of my free time is spent with Sarah and an inquisitive two year old, who recently found the joy of splashing in puddles, so today was spent walking around our block and neighbourhood finding and attacking mud puddles.

You would be surprised how quickly you can walk 2000 or more steps when the two year old keeps seeing one more puddle just down the street. It started off as a walk and a tactic to give Sarah time to do school work without having little fingers pounding on the keys while she is working on an essay. Then it was a way of giving our little bundle of energy some outdoor time to use up some of that never ending energy. Now, though, these afternoon strolls have taken on a new meaning. We are building memories. Mine for sure and his I hope. As someone who does not have a lot of happy childhood memories, it’s my hope that he will look back and find a lot of happy memories filled with adventure, joy and happiness.

Its easier, I know, to let the tv educate him. He already knows every Wiggles song off by heart. I laugh, but Sarah and I do too. I sometimes wonder if the group realizes that their fan base in many households ranges from two to forty two. Well in our house it does. Also we have thirteen steps leading from the main floor to the upstairs and he can count them all. He has actually made it as high as seventeen. He surprisingly knows all his ABCs and the colors blue, red and orange. Am I bragging? Maybe a little, but these are the memories we are building in our house. I am not sure how long he will keep them, but for me, they will last a life time.

I realize as he gets older, that despite the fact he is the poster child for the terrible twos, that I am blessed. Not just because he is so much smarter then me and amazes me daily with the knowledge that he picks up, but because I am young enough to do so many things with him (Even countless hours of Wiggles dancing and Go Diego Go), but also old enough to enjoy it. I hear the younger fathers at my work place act like every minute that they spend with there kids as a daunting chore and remember those days from my youth.

I am just glad now that I can build memories and see the world along with a fresh set of eyes.

Smile
JD

Reversing the roles

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I was raised to believe in equality. Not just of the sexes, but in race, creed and color.  Pretty much in my world people are people. I think if you are going to dislike people do it on personality and actions. That gives you so much more to work with lol. Now up until I always thought that I supported feminism the same as I do gay rights, but lately I realize that I am not a great supporter of feminism. I am a great supporter of equality. I do not want to control anyone or be controlled by anyone. That is why I am no longer a great supporter of feminism. There are different levels of feminism and lately I realize that some of those levels want me not to be a man because historically they see is as the down fall of woman. Now through my travels for various reasons I have seen situations where woman are forced to be stronger, work harder and be wary of any man. I am the first to admit that in countries and even places are in north America getting screwed over is a common daily event for some woman. I know there are countless woman who are abused both mentally and physically as well situations where some ass takes what he wants from the bible and says obey me it says so right there. I have even seen gorgeous brilliant woman who are forced to stand by while there husband sleeps with countless woman due to over population and their thinking is having a bad husband is better than no husband at all. I know these things and yes I know that being a woman can be hard. I even know a few guys who are signing up for a Woman’s and gender class at the local university not for the education, but because of a comment I made. Sarah signed up for the class and there are two guys in the class. I said as a joke ones gay and the other wants to get laid. Two guys thought that was a brilliant idea and made a bet and took it as a challenge over who could sleep with the most women. I know that men can be absolute asses. The point I am trying to make is we are not all that way. I have had female bosses that even now I see as great leaders. I am not threatened by it. She was qualified for the job and I treated her with respect. Actually I treated her with more respect than my current boss. Honestly I thought she did a better job and she was kind of scary at times. At home I wash the laundry on Sundays, wash baby bottles, make horrible homemade pizza, amazing spaghetti and change way too many stinky diapers. Even the boy cooks and washes dishes because in our house we believe people is people. This is our life though. We all do the various chores not based on gender, but age and how well we do it. Yes I do not have to sweep floors because I suck at it. Lol incompetence yes gender no

Now I hear how all these young women in Sarah’s class want to rule the world. That is a great thing and we should never stop striving to reach the top. It’s one of the great things about being young. What I do not like is historical examples of men ruling their houses like kings would a castle and hearing how historically when have forced woman to fight for their rights and using that as an excuse for what I hear is role reversal.

I think that being equal should be enough for anyone. It should not matter who makes the most money or the gender you are. Give respect and demand it back. Yes I think we all need to demand respect no matter who we are. Nobody wants to feel the iron fist controlling them so look for and treat people as equals and do not let the way the world used to be determining who you are. We should ever forget the past, but certainly it should not be the reason that we allow ourselves to steal another person’s equality.

Smile

JD

List 5 things you would change and 10 things you adore about her

untitledEarly this week I heard a married guy complaining about his wife like she was more of an enemy than his partner. Of course there was that one guy who has been divorced three times to agree with him and add his insight into how he was so right and his wife was so wrong. This actually pissed me off. I know that many people vent to their friends, but this was not venting. I have never met his wife and by some of his complaints, I can understand his frustration, but how can you love someone and talk about them like that? I do feel though that there is a time and place to vent, but publicly at work is never that place.

Now I know that the idea of a perfect relationship is a fairy-tale. I am not saying that there are no great relationships because I think that I have one, but a perfect one does not exist. Two people with separate points of views and opinions can be respectful and loving, but perfect no. I think that it’s a great goal, but cannot quite ever happen.

I listened to this guy downgrade his wife’s parenting skills and pondered if she knew how he felt. As he went on I realized more and more that every problem he listed seemed to be because he never spoke to his wife. He made the mistake of asking my opinion. I asked two questions. Have you told your wife about how you feel and do you respect your wife? To me these were important questions because life has taught me that if you never talk you will never fix the problems and if you respect your partner you will never talk down about her.

You see at my house I am generally the harder parent on the kids and more or less Sarah is the softy, but we talk. Kids no matter how much you think you are raising angels are not perfect angels. We know that the kids will try and get what they want by playing parents against each other. Its human nature if dad says no you ask mom. It took us a long time to get this in sync, but we talk and learned this. I am not saying that we are perfect either, but we do talk. Not just about how people frown upon duct taping the boy to the wall even though plenty of days I consider it. Of course I do not, but a dad can dream. My point is that we talk and despite the fact we may not be perfect at parenting, if we did not talk we would be a lot worse. As a result, the kids don’t have the upper hand.

The other thing that bothered me the most is the way he spoke about his wife. I have never met his wife so I have no opinion on the kind of person she is, but talking about her the way he did was a terrible thing. Now in my house and my life I believe that nobody can talk about Sarah any worse than I do and I treat her like gold. It’s true. In my world the example of how Sarah should be treated is set by me. So everybody I know hears how amazing Sarah is. Of course those that really know me thinks she must be an angel because she puts up with me and still others think she should get a trophy for staying. Lol yes these are my friends. Anyway the point I am trying to make is any man can stand around making his wife look dumber than a post, but a real man tells the world all the great things about his wife.

Now I personally never complain about Sarah. We actually discuss things so I have no reason to complain. I know some men who will talk about their problems with a friend. I understand that because everybody needs someone to talk about their problems with. Luckily I have Sarah, but I would never consider bad mouthing her to the world. Honestly, I have no reason too. First of all in many cases if a man does not respect the woman in his life those around him won’t or they think you are an ass. There is also the fact that eventually people will meet her. From my experiences they will have an opinion already made about her or you depending on the person.

I once heard a man say that he was ready to divorce his wife and a friend told him every morning when he woke up to list 5 things we wished that he could change about his wife and ten things that he adored about her. Every day he woke and made his list. Within 90 days he realized that those little thing about his wife changed depending on his mood, but those ten things he adored about her never changed. The strangest thing was that he realized a lot of those things he did not like were not that important. He told his wife about the experiment and there was one thing that he learned that day. Most of the things that bothered him so much at the beginning either were not habits, but onetime events or became not so important. Some of the things that he did not like she did not know bothered him until he told her. Of course the same friend gave her the same advice. It may sound really simple, but the end result was they talked about the major events and forgot the small ones. It helped save their marriage.

Not every problem can be resolved by talking, but certainly it’s a great place to start.

Smile

JD

 

 

The world is ending

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I am a very lucky man in so many ways. My life is not perfect, but I like my life. I have a great home life where I rush home from work every day because honestly there is no place in the world I would rather be. In many ways I have something rare that a lot of the people in my little world admire and envy. I am nit the richest guy in the block, certainly not the best looking, but I am happy and everything fits together like a puzzle and I have all the pieces.

Now last year I decided that I wanted to write one great novel. Not a classic like Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (which I still consider an absolute amazing story) or J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings (Which has been one of my favorite series since childhood), but the best book I can write. My first two attempts failed miserably. My book “Innocence Lost” was to emotional and “Little White Lies” was a big leap as far as my writing skills went because I evolved, but I pulled both because they were crap. It took me three tries to get to the point where I went WOW I like this book. It’s my “Stealing Destiny” book. Is it the best book out there I doubt that, but it’s my best book so far and I am proud of it. It’s the realization of my childhood dream. To write the kind of book that I want to read.

Now I was lucky that my first two books received 5 star reviews, 4 star reviews and 3 star reviews, but never anything lower. The 4 and 5 star reviews built up my confidence while the 3 star became a learning experience. I took what those 3 star reviewers said to heart. Not as an insult, but as free education. Why not they said what they did not like and some even emailed me explaining it in more detail. I took this information and reread my books and turned it into knowledge. I honestly thought this was great. I write books and most people like them and those that do not tell me that they love my books are helping me get better.

Then the unthinkable happened. I got a 1 star review. Now I will admit I was shocked to hear that someone thought my book sucked. A couple guys at work read it and explained that is why they could never release there’s to the public. There is always that possibility that someone somewhere will give you the dreaded 1 star review.

I read the review and even though I did not want a 1 star review attached to my masterpiece I knew that this day would come. I could be like other people I know who I think are much better writers then I am. I could give up and the world would not care. After all I am just a name attached to a picture that only a handful of people have ever heard up. I could blame the editors (Others I know blame their editors when some one sees a grammar error), but I know I have a great pair of editors. Actually I am very lucky of have such amazing people edit my books.

A lot of people hate rejection. I am not fond of it, but fear of rejection doe snort rule me my life. I do. I actually read the whole review from start to finish and opted to learn from it. Fear is a terrible thing unless it involves jumping out of perfectly good airplanes, in front of moving vehicles or bullets. I firmly believe that those fears should be taken serious, but rejection is a part of life. No matter what we do in life fear of failure should not stop us from trying. It was help motivate us to do better. Try harder. Push onward. When we do hear no or get that dreaded one star review look it as a way of becoming more then we are now.

If you believe in evolution we all started out as monkeys and evolved into what we are. If you are religious we were put here to have faith. Not just in whatever god you believe in, but yourself. I personally believe that the things that mean the most to us have some personal risk. When you ask a girl out on a date she might say no, but there is always that possibility that she will say yes. When you get married it might end horribly, but there is always that chance it will last a life time.

Failure is a state of mind. It does not and should matter if you get it wrong the first time or the second or even the third. As long as you learn from it and keep trying you never truly fail because failure is giving up on something that deep down you really want to do.

Smile

JD

Chasing Darkness (Immortal Embrace Book 1) – Chapter 03 – Lost in time

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As the door opened I was expecting john to be there, but instead I was shocked to find a little Asian woman. Not what I truly expected. She was too young to settle for a middle aged man like john. This young thing could barely be older the eighteen and was barely covered. “You must be the priest,” she said as she turned and walked towards the kitchen.

I could not help but wonder what kind of woman john had allowed into his life. She wore some kind of shirt that allowed a plain view of her thong and there was barely anything covered. I mean there was too much ass showing and not nearly enough underwear.

Raven stuck her finger under my chin and pushed up stating, “Close your mouth sailor.” She smiled and went into the kitchen stating, “Well he’s the priest. I am his sexy side kick Raven.”

The young woman swirled a spoon inside a yogurt cup for a minute before dropping the spoon and taking Raven’s hand. “Hi I am April.” I waited for some kind of introduction. Anything really. I am john’s assistant, his roommate anything really but all she said was hi I am April. She turned to me pointed towards a smoky glass door and said, “He’s in the office.” I stared at the colored glass looking for some sign of movement. A shadow or something I guess but all I saw was a dim light. April flicked her hair and calmly stated, “He’s been drinking all night.” With a touch of disappointment in her voice continued,” He did not even come to bed last night so if you want to talk to him you will need to go get his hung over ass up.” With that she headed towards a light colored door with an L-shaped door knob stating, “If you will excuse me I need to get changed and ready for school.” As she opened the door she snorted, “While you are in there could you grab the empty whisky bottle and added to the rack?”

As I looked past the black couch with the silver frame I saw a collection of empty Rosebrand whisky bottles neatly stacked against the wall. About twenty bottles wide and six bottles high. “How many years has he been collecting them?” I asked. How much does John drink I wondered.

April smirked and said, “That’s not even a years’ worth priest.” She spread her arms and said, “What can I say. John drinks a bit more than the average guy. He does not even work at the liquor store and last year the manger invited us to their Christmas party.”  With that she went into the bedroom followed by the hollow click of the door closing.

As I looked around the place I was surprised that it looked so clean. Almost like it was new and never lived in. Well there was the exception of the wall of empty bottle, but beyond that john had a nice expensive pent house. I looked at Raven to see if she was ready to go into the office and raise the dead.

She immediately jumped back and firmly stated, “There’s no way I am going in there. Who knows he might be wearing the same hooker underwear that she has on,” as she pointed towards the bedroom. “That would be just nasty.” She headed deeper into the little kitchen and started searching the cupboards until she pulled out a coffee can. I just stood there watching as she started the process of making coffee.

I walked over to the door and gently tapped on the thick rippled creamy coloured glass. There was no response so I knocked a little harder. As there was still no response I opened it a peeked in through the opening. There was John passed out sitting in a rose coloured arm chair with wooden arms that has some kind on carved triangular pattern in it. He had is head down while snoring loudly wearing a sleeveless white under shirt and blue and beige striped jockey shorts. Giant arms covered with scars and age marks sat on his big stomach holding two pistols. For a man of his age he still looked strong plus all those giant scared cuts all over added to the affect.

I saw him crying in his sleep. Streams of tears rolled down his cheeks. I have known John his whole life and today was the first time I had ever seen him cry. Even as a child he broke his wrist falling out of a tree and never shed a tear. I remember us walking into the hospital with the bone poking through the skin. His eyes were red because of the pain, but he never shed a tear. As I stared down at him guilt ran through like a disease. I knew that coming here and asking John for help was going to be hard on him. I did not think that it would affect him this much and even if I did I honestly have to say I would have asked him anyway. Desiree is like the daughter I can never have and even now her life means more than anyone else. If John knew who she really was to him I am sure that things would be much different. The problem is I am not sure if they would be for the better or worse.

As I stepped through the doorway there was a dark wood frame with a glass front filled with medals and accommodations from a lifetime spent running from life rather than actually living it. Damien always told me that John was the first to charge into every battle in both wars against other countries and crime, but the war he needed to face was too scary for him. As I walked closer I saw an old tattered picture of Veronica. Even after all these years he still had it. After all this time he still kept it as a reminder. It kind of makes you wonder is that what true love is. I mean never giving up when common sense and the world tells you to let go. Is a one person really worth the agony of loving them your whole life when they have forgotten or at least ignore the fact that you even exist? That is how it was for them. Veronica broke off their engagement in mid-November and before December already had a replacement. I am not saying that she is a bad person just that she did not know how to love like the Douglas cousins do. I mean one died, came back and is now presumed dead to defend the woman he loved and here his cousin sits a broken drunk because he cannot let go. I picked up the picture and the novel of their love story. I went to put the picture in it when two pieces of brownish yellow paper fell out. Taped at the seams and obviously old. As I picked them up I recognized the one immediately. It was the Dear John letter that she wrote him so many years ago. It might be faded and stained with time, but I realized today that the pain never left him. Whisky might dull it for a time, but nothing could truly kill it.

I heard a faint click followed by a loud bang as my eyes were attacked by a cloud of smoke. My ears started to ring endlessly and through my blurry tear filled eyes I saw a figure snap up. As I fell back I thought the bastard shot me. I did not feel any pain that would indicate a gun shot, but the ringing in my ears told me that a gun went off in front of me and with all johns years in the army and on the force there’s no way he missed me. As I rolled around I screamed, “You drunken bastard you shot me.”

John kicked me backwards screaming back, “you traitorous little bastard you touched my stuff.” My ribs began to ache as he planted a couple more kicks and bellowed, “Nobody touches my stuff. Nobody.”

In complete panic I rolled backwards trying to get away. I am really not sure what I was thinking. I cannot outrun bullets. Raven maybe, but definitely I cannot. As john stomped closer I swung my legs over and pushed on his shins with all my might. I expected him to tumble like a tree in a wind storm, but the only thing that followed was a neck jerking punch to the jaw. As my vision blurred even more all I could hear was repetitive snapping followed my long drawn out explosions of pain. John was grunting with each punch he landed like a cow giving birth but if nothing else he was persistent. He stopped for a minute bent over gasping for air and I knew that this was my only shot. I lifted my foot like I was kicking a soccer ball and drove it right into Hus crotch. I heard him start to cough and threw my blood stained eyes I saw him crouch a bit but he was still standing so I huffed him again. He grunted loudly but to my utter shock and dismay never fell. He landed two more punches before thud sound jumped from beside me that cause a slight vibration on the floor

As I strained to look up through the haze I could barely make out Raven’s silhouette standing over me. I closed my eyes and just laid there waiting for the pain to stop. Raven asked, are you OK?” I could hear genuine concern in her voice.

In between the pulses of pain I said, “Yes I think so.” I laid there trying to hold in the groans but my whole body ached and quivered.

“What the hell did you do?” Raven asked.

I responded, “I touched his stuff.” I could not help but laugh as I thought about what Raven must be thinking. A priest getting his ass handed to him for touching another man’s stuff. What a Cliché that was. People walk in to see a priest wearing leather and a former cop in his under wear. I could not help but laugh with that image firmly planted in my mind. With each giggle I winced from the pain. “Not that stuff,” I snorted. “His damned book that all I touched.”

After a second of thought Raven responded, “well I do not care what you do after work but when you are on the clock forget such games.” I could not see her face, but I am sure that she had that playful smile and twinkle in her eyes as she spoke.

Where is he?” I asked knowing the answer well before I asked the question.

Raven responded in a mournful tone, “I did not know what to do so I panicked.”

I jumped up, “Don’t tell me you killed him?” As my feet hit the floor and I made it all the way up I felt light headed and could feel my body begin to rock back and forth.

Raven grabbed me to steady me and stop me from falling as she said, “No I did not kill him. I just cold clocked him knocking him out.” With I giggle she continued, ” he was drilling you over and over and when you kicked him in the balls twice he did not fall to the floor.” Her voice went higher as she continued, “his grew as big as saucers, and he groaned a little and just stared down at you. You kicked him twice and he just groaned can you believe it? Anyways I had to stop him so punched him”

“Is he OK?” I asked. I heard a light humming sound followed by all the pain fading. It was almost orgasmic as my body began feeling better and better. It’s a strange feeling when a Nephilim touches you. Your skin tingles like its being touched by a million feathers at once. You tremble inside but in a good way. Once Raven had finished healing me I reached over and kissed her cheek.

Big eyed and shocked she said, “what’s that for?”

As I knelt down to check on John I let out a smile and said, “for being my angel.”

Raven let out a giggle, “you mean the laugh breed angel that almost helped kill your best friend and now heals the injuries caused by his yes.”

Looking up I said, “Exactly. Can you heal John?”

She responded, “his jaw yes but not his balls.” She placed her hand on his broken jaw and it snapped back in place followed by a light crunching noise as the skin healed before my eyes. Looking up she said, “to heal I must touch and I am touching his balls.”

I jumped back with my arms spread apart. “I am not touching them.”

With a smile she said, “the John gets to desk with sore balls,” as she grabbed him and pulled him up. It was strange to see a small woman who probably only weighed 130 lbs. at most fling a big best like figure up on to her shoulder and walk away looking like a fire man walking out if a fire. I followed her wondering where this April was. If someone shot a gun in my house I would either be running towards the noise or away from the noise, but as we left the office she was just standing there in the kitchen wearing jeans that were too tight with a see through white shirt. I could see the dainty black bra as plainly as if it was all she was wearing

“Why did you not warn me that John keeps guns with him at night?” I screamed as we came out.

April starting playing with her spoon as her faced filled with a simple look. “I forgot about it. Besides it has blanks in it. It’s not like he could really kill you.”

In frustration I said, “Some things you need to know.” As I slapped my hands on the table I continued, “something like the drunken psycho that lives here keeps two guns might be helpful or even do not worry they have blanks in them.”

If looks could kill April’s glare would have struck me down there and then. April exclaimed,” don’t say that about him. You caused this. John drinks too much, but last night was the first time in quite a while that he pulled out her picture. Last night his heart broke again and I think it’s your fault Mr. Priest.” There was genuine concern written on her troubled face. I cannot explain it, but this young woman really loved john. For whatever reason I do not think money was the reason she was here. Of course the thought and hope that it was not for the great sex did too. Life has a habit of leading people in strange directions. John was afraid to live because Veronica broke his heart and for some strange reason he could not see past the things he loved and adored about her. Damien loved Destiny so much he came back from the dead and defied an Angel and Death. He traded heaven because heaven without her was hell to him. I always found myself in the middle of these things only this time I was not just observing it. For john at least I brought it back.

I looked at April and responded, “You are right. I came to john because I had no other options. I knew that it would hurt him, but two woman’s lives depend on this.” I cannot explain why, but it took everything I had not to confess everything to her. Not to tell her that Desiree was more than just another kid. That she was family to me. That she was John’s family.

April looked at me and responded, “Damien told me you were the one person in the world I could go to if he and John were not around. That he trusted you with his life. That I should trust you with mine if I ever needed help.” Dropping the yogurt cup she turned on the tap and rapidly started washing that single spoon. She said, “I think Damien was wrong about you. He was so wrong about you.”

I tried to figure out her connection to Damien. Damien was not the teenage whore companion type, but I did not think John was either. I keep so many secrets now and find myself chasing so many mysteries. If Damien returned from the dead once more I was going to have to have a serious talk with him. At least I hoped that I would see him again, but something told me when he traded paradise to save the one he loved that he was hell bound. He traded an eternal happy ever after for eternal Damnation. I just hoped he still thought Destiny was worth it.

As I was lost in my thoughts Raven walked to the bedroom door and said, “I am going to put him in his bed,” as she slowly opened the door.

“No not in there,” April screamed. “That’s my room. His is down the hall.” She pointed down the hallway continuing, “It’s the second door.” As Raven trotted away carrying her cargo April’s eyes got big and a sour look covered her face. “You thought that we were sleeping together. You dirty old man.” Frustration covered her face as she continued, “John is like an uncle to me.” Shaking with anger she started screaming, “Like an uncle you perverted old man. I have known him my whole life.” She started gathering her things and snorted, “I am going to school.” She slammed the door behind her as she left before I even had a chance to explain.

As I looked over I saw Raven just looking at me. I am sure that she had something important to say but seemed to be calculating it carefully. “Mike.” As she walked closer to me she started again, “I think that in life Damien may have lost his very soul following his path, but when you lost your faith you not only lost faith in God, but it humanity as well.” I went to speak but she shushed me and continued, “Yes I know how it looked and that old rich men rent young woman’s affections every day, but if Damien sent Veronica and Desiree here because they could call on Johnathon if they needed help then maybe you should trust him too.” As she approached the kitchen table she picked up a coffee cup and sipped it. “Maybe we should get him to tell us what he thinks after reading the police report then leave him out of this.” As she stared at me she murmured, “We cannot forsake the living searching for the dead.”

I knew that she was right. Keeping him involved was not good for his mental health. Just looking at him you could see how unstable he was. How the hell else does someone still hold onto a childhood crush or love whatever you want to call it unless he has some balance issues to start with. He was already a middle aged drunk who chased danger and I truly had no idea what I was chasing. All I knew for sure was that Desiree emailed me every day of their isolation. I could count in it every day for over a year then the emails stopped. She also emailed Raven and when the emails stopped that it concerned her enough that she dropped everything to follow them here. “I know” I responded, but I need him to find her. I cannot explain why. I just know that I need his skills and connections.” I knew that she was right. It was a mistake coming here.

We waited for about an hour and john was still asleep. As I looked through his penthouse it was the shining example of success. He had more awards then I had ever seen before. There were so many pictures of him with the who’s who of Hollywood as well as local politicians including the Prime Minister. I wondered how much money it took to live a life of luxury like this. Everything looked new and shiny. John was the shining example that money cannot buy love or happiness. I wondered would he trade it all for a chance at happiness. I mean all the money and fame if he could just have a normal life filled with love and happiness. What John lacked in life skills he definitely had if literary skill. I had read all his books. They were all good. I mean really well written, but the problem was the first book was the best. Once a man hits the pinnacle of success and the expectation is made everything else fails in comparison.

Raven decided to check out the alley once more so I left john a note telling him where we were and that I would call him later. I hoped that he would pick up the phone when I called because I honestly did not want to involve him anymore then I already had. I was selfish in this all. I took my feelings towards Desiree over his we’ll being. I loved her like a daughter and the cruelest thing I could do was tell him that she was his daughter. Losing her mother’s love ruined him. Finding out that he list almost two decades of being a father might kill him.

 

Chasing Darkness (Immortal Embrace Book 1) – Chapter 02 – Ghosts from the past

ChasingDarkness_2

Chapter 02 – Ghosts from the past

It was curiosity more than any real desire to relive our glory days that made me agree to meet Mike. Mike was part of my past. A reminder that not every dream comes true no matter what you do or how hard you try, but there was that “what the hell factor.” I mean something that could turn a devoted Catholic priest who in my opinion was the shining example of pure faith and selflessness suddenly drops the collar and starts wearing a long leather trench coat. I mean he looked like he could step into one of my novels and become a kick as serial killer. I had to know what on earth had that kind of power. I had to have the answer to that question. What could tear the faith from the truly faithful?

As I waited I ordered another scotch. The waitress was always fast to bring me my drinks. My glass never went empty here. Of course I could easily spend three hours sitting downing my drinks and writing horrible fiction. That is what reviewers call my books now. Horrible predictable fiction. As I sipped my drink I scanned the bar with its panel type oak on the walls and the chip marks along the bar. You can still see the marks that along the bottom where there was once a brass plated poke for people to place their feet on. Lousy idea though. The patrons of this place were mostly over weight construction workers and retired vets so in the first month they had made it look like the remains of a five car pileup. Of course I liked the place. It was an uneventful environment for old drunks like me. Well except for the green and red carpet. Joe the owner slapped down the ugly carpet and renamed “Joe’s Irish pub.” It was no more Irish then I was, but with the exception of the name nothing changed. Absolutely uneventful.

Maude came by dropping another drink on table as she passed. “Are you working on a new novel John?” She was in her late 50’s and always turned away when she passed to give me a look at her finely shaped ass. I have known her for ten years now and abusive boyfriends with time added in had stolen her youthful complexion, but it had not effect on her back end. It still looked so firm that you could bounce a quarter off of it. In her youth we used to try that, but like most things those days are long gone.

“No I am here to meet a friend tonight,” I responded.

With a sour face she raised an eyebrow and snorted, “A lady friend?” I could see the resentment in her gaze. For too long now she had hinted then offered and finally almost begged to be the next Mrs. Johnathon Douglas, but that ship had sailed and sank too many times now. For me love and marriage was the equivalent to booking a cruise on the titanic. Doomed to sink with little hope of survival. As I took another swig I heard a loud horrible roar followed by an earth shaking chugging sound. Damn bikers I thought. It did not happen from time to time. Of course they never stayed around because the bar was so uneventful and there were no young hottie’s here to harass.

I responded “He may seem a little girly, but that is because he is a priest or at least he was one,” as I tapped the hard table top.

Maude responded with a loud toothless laugh, “Oh my Johnathon if your friend is trying to save your soul he will need a lifetime to do it and an Angel on his shoulder.” Now she may not have had the prettiest smile with only two or three nicotine stained teeth left and so many faint wrinkles that her face looked like a plowed field when she smiled, but her laughter was always genuine. She looked back with a wink and snorted, “I cannot imagine that you have ever been in a church let alone know a priest.”

As a slapped the table I continued, “Know him. I grew up with him and for all I know the devil in me is the reason that he went into the church and stayed.”                 A loud voice bellowed, “I had to in order to try and save that tattered soul and cold heart of yours.” As I looked up there was Mike and a young red head trouncing through the door way. It still amazed me to see Mike in faded black jeans with a wrinkled black shirt that had seen many day worth of wear by the looks of it and a long scratched up leather jacket that went down to his knees. His eyes still twinkled, but his whole face looked too worn. I am sure if a strong wind hit him that he would fall down. I had seen that look before when I was in the Persian Gulf War. Officially Canada was there doing peace keeping only, but unofficially a select few of us were deep in the thick of it. It’s there that you see what you are made of. Barely sleeping and when you do it’s not real restful sleep because your wanders. You cannot do the things we did or see the things we saw and not be affected by it. Well there are those that can, but usually they end up on the news after a country wide search and the reasons are never good. If I did not know any better I would swear that Mike had just returned from war.

As Mike sat down he pointed to the woman beside him and said, “I would like you to Raven. She is Damien’s cousin,” and his voice trailed off like he was lying through his teeth and realized it. Mike never had a great poker face. The lying bastard may be a priest, but the look on his face told me that he was up to no good. Besides we had no red heads in the family. Dark haired people we were. It’s the native in us I think, but either way I could see it in his eyes.

I was about to tell him so when the red head Raven snapped out with a thick accent, “I am actually Damien’s wife’s cousin, but we are all one big family now,” as she batted her eyes and produced a well-practiced smile.

“Oh I see you are Damien’s wife’s cousin. What part of Russia are you from?” I asked. I am not really sure what I was expecting to hear. Maybe some kind of lie about the country side or a city then I could catch her in a lie because I knew that her accent as sexy as it sounded was no Russian accent.

Without even a thought she responded, “Yes Destiny is from Russia, but I am Romanian.” She had that look in her eyes like she was trying to read me the same way I was trying read her. She smiled a well-practiced smile that had that I am a little shy look and continued, “I am from the city of Timisoara. Have you heard of it?”

I responded, “Oh yes. What is it that the tour guide called it when I was there? “

I knew very well what they called it to attract tourists, but before I could continue with the charade this Raven character popped out with, “Do you mean Little Vienna? They say it’s because of all the Austrian influences, but I think it’s just so that tourists like you will come there.” With a slight giggle she added, “Well and Mike of course. Men like him come to see the Catedrala Mitropolitană din Timișoara. Even though it’s an Orthodox church the Catholics love to come and see the amazing interior. Have you seen it?”

Ok at this point I began to believe that the woman in front of me was Rumanian. By the way she looked I was beginning to think that she was going to start describing the place. I had been there before that honestly did not want to spend the whole which would have taken all night. I slipped in with, “Yes I have seen it and know how amazing it looks. The painter did such an amazing job inside.”

As Muriel looked over Mike cleared his throat and staring over said, “Two drafts please. Whatever you have in tap will do just fine.” He immediately looked me in the eyes and said, “John I need something from you,” as he tapped the table with his finger. He stopped for just long enough for two drafts and a scotch to be dropped off then continued,” I need your skills and knowledge.”

As I leaned back in my chair I could not help, but wonder what happened to clean cut dependable Mike. He not sported tangled shoulder length hair and a scruffy beard that looks like he has not been groomed for weeks. I liked the look of this new wild child priest I was not sure if I could trust him. The man I knew no longer existed and something told me that I was not going to really like the outcome of this favor. “What knowledge and skills are you exactly talking about?”

Leaning back Mike slowly played with his beard for a bit before he asked, “I need you to help me find someone. I mean you were in the army then were a cop and I assume have contacts for all those crime books that you write.”

I responded, “Yes, but most of what I write and so no is simply crash based on the stuff you see in the news. I have not done real investigative police work in almost a decade and even then Damien was the one that seemed to do all the work.” As I watched his pleading eyes the thought crossed my mind that Damien should be his first choice. “Why not call Damien and see if he can help. He is still a cop with a badge and a gun the last time I heard.”

Mike’s head dropped as he simply tapped the table top. Each time his finger nail connected with the wood there was a little tip noise. As he swirled his finger he said, “I guess you really never check your email?”

As Raven slurped her beer I responded, “Not as much as I should. Stop beating around the bush and just come out and tell me what is going in.”

Mike gulped before stating, “Damien’s dead Mike. I emailed you almost a year ago telling you that we were holding a funeral even though we had not located a body.”

I snapped up shaking the table and screamed, “So he is missing you mean right?” I really do not know why I was so angry at Mike, but I was blazing mad and continued, “You never say a person is dead until you find the body. No body means missing and you search for it. God damn it you keep searching for it until you find it.”

Mike just dropped his head in shame and mumbled, “He did. I mean we are still searching.”

My fist snapped the table leaving a hollow echo and a shooting pain as I said, “Nobody searches for a body after the funeral unless…” As I looked in Mike’s eyes I saw genuine pain. “Unless the person does not want to be found or there’s a reason to not want the authorities to search for them.” As I gripped my chin the thought occurred to me that Damien had been undercover and presumed dead many times. Not just here either. In the USA when he was chasing the child porn ring, in the UK and Thailand when he was chasing the sex slave industry. After I wrote about going under cover and making the biggest drug bust in a combined Canadian and American sting he never trusted me again. Actually he never spoke to me again, but he was a tough bastard and seen too much to just go missing. As I stared down at Mike I realized that he truly believed Damien was dead. He truly believed it and it hurt him so much that it rocked his faith. You are a real son of a bitch Damien for doing this to Mike. “You do realize that he might just be undercover?”

Shaking her head this Raven woman said, “No he is not undercover. He would never leave Destiny or Innocence for any reason, but Death. I am not saying that he is dead just that he is not home at the present.

I asked, “How exactly is Destiny and Innocence?”

Mike responded, “That’s Damien’s wife and daughter.”

I just sat there floored by the news. I was disappointed to hear that Damien was not there for his wife and daughter. My stomach turned because I knew that despite anything the world could say about my little cousin he was dead. That is the only reason he would leave his daughter alone. He was one if those guys that latched on and never let go to everything he did in life. So if he was not there for his wife it meant that he was dead. I had to struggle to hold back the tears because he may have hated me with a passion, but I honestly adored him like a baby brother.

Mike looked at me and in a serious tone said, “Listen John, I am going to be asking you for a lot I know, but there is no other way. I have been through all the channels and the authorities so now I need your special skills.”

“Mike what do you need from me?” It seemed like a simple enough question. In my experience people screw around because they do not want to hear no. I like the direct method. I knew that I was going to like this, but I was here so let’s see what I will be doing that I do not want to.

Mike gulped down his beer stared at the red head Raven and just blurted out, “I need you to help me find two women.”

I leaned back in my chair played with my moustache a bit to add suspense and drama before asking, “Who are these two woman?” Mike looked like a deer caught in the head lights before I continued, “More importantly who are they too me that scares the hell out of you to ask this of me?” just by the look in his eyes I knew that this was not going to be good for me in anyway. Mind you it HD been quite some time since I had any adventure. Thailand with Damien if memory serves me correctly and that time I got myself stabbed in the back along with 27 stitches. There is not a whole lot else in this world that scare you when you have faced stealing a hooker from the Asian mob.

Mike dropped his head again and whispered, “Veronica and her daughter are missing and the girl’s boyfriend was murdered three weeks ago her in Toronto.”

Ok so maybe I was not prepare for everything. I had spent too many years already chasing Veronica’s shadow. Too many nights holding onto a smile, an idea and a dream that revolved around her. It took five years before I could closed my eyes and not find the image of that smile followed by her laugh filling my mind. I closed my eyes and covered them with my hands. Good that image did not comes to mind. I was still ok. “Mike you are asking too much. That woman is dead to me Mike and she needs to stay that way.” In the back of my eyes I know that tears were forming because I was feeling all choked up just thinking about her. I downed my drink and ordered two more doubles before Continuing, “Mike I cannot go back there. If I go down this road again I might find my way home. A part of my will always love her I know that, but I have spent too much chasing her already.”

Mike just responded, “I know that I am asking for a lot, but …”

I cut in, “You are asking me to trade whatever life I have now even off it is a horrible drunken existence to start chasing the same ghost that I have been running from my whole life. If I allow myself to continue chasing her again it will just like it was only this time I will have nowhere else to run to.”

Mike opened one of those leather man purses and pulled out a tablet of some kind. “Everything you need to know is in a folder on the desktop called Desiree. Look it over tonight and tell me if you help us”. I could see the tears forming in his eyes as he set the device down. Even if you will not help us anything that you could tell us about what you see and feel would be a great help. As Mike and miss fancy pants walked away I decided that I would do it for Damien. Solve one last case in honor of his memory then I might even head back to that one horse town and pay my respects.

As I sat at my desk and saw the name on the police report my heart sank. Veronica Andersen in be bold letters. For so long I pretended that somehow over time she had lost her charm and place in my heart but I knew that was a lie. As I went through the details of the case it was like being kicked in the stomach over and over again. I did not need to see her birth date or read about the amazing baby blue eyes that was just a slight shade away from being the color of the clearest ocean sea because those details never left me. I did need to know what evidence they found at the crime scene. Slowly I scanned through the details. Two woman missing. A mother and a daughter. Desiree Ann Andersen age 19. I was choked up a little because Ann was my mother’s name. Why would a woman who despised me so much that she would not even spit on me if I was on fire name her daughter after my mother. Well maybe it was just a coincidence or I guess the ass that she married had a mother named Ann. Stranger things has happened. Cute kid though.

All the blood found at the scene belonged to this Billy kid. The corner states that his through was torn away and arms ripped out of there sockets. Brutal way to die. Possible animal attack he says. As I went through the pictures that boy had been abused. Defensive wounds on his hands so he fought back. Bruising on the wrists look like somebody had clamped on them with great force. I have seen more than enough woman with similar bruising to know what they were. Still I can think of no man that could yank a man’s arms right out of his sockets. Maybe a gorilla, but not any man I have seen. Snap the bones or dislocate yes. But never tear them right out. That takes great strength. Super human strength. As I poured a drink I thought we were searching for a super villain so all I needed to do was search for a giant wearing tights. Easy peezy.

After a second glass has went down I went back to the pictures. One by one. The coroner stated that the marks on the throat looked like they were canine. I can see where he was heading but the actual bites and torn away looked too small to be a dog or wolf besides if an animal did that certainly I would have read about someone seeing it. There was a picture of a twelve inch bruise in the middle of his back. As I looked closer there was an imprint and the word NII in it. What kind of dog wears size twelve shoes and can rip off arms.

As I read the next page of the report there was a heading miscellaneous details. Pictures show more blood scattered along the pavement and blood splatter half way up the wall, but shortly after dawn the only thing they found were burn marks. Wild dogs do not burn evidence. The guilty do that. Scatter pieces of brick were all over the place. Damage reported on the lower part of the wall and above the second story window. Definitely something Damien would have loved to chase. Weird mystery with no reasonable reason.

As I opened the folder marked pictures phone I truly was not sure that I wanted to look. This Desiree kid was more than a missing teen. She was my dream child. She was something I dreamed I would one day have with Veronica, but never got to have. Even now I can feel my hands tremble just thinking about it. This young woman was the answer to the prayers I once prayed for. Hell she is even part of the reason I could never return home. The town folk there think I became rich and decided that I was too big for that little one horse town, but the truth is the town was not big enough not to remind me of her. When you really love someone. I do not mean want their body, miss there touch and what have you. Strangers find that over drinks at the bar and what I am talking about has so much more meaning then that. What I mean is you visual and plan a life together. The house you will live in, the exact street and even those little romantic secret things you share. Once all that is in your heart and it falls apart everything changes. I did not just talk away our home together I built the damn thing. Every detail that she described and we talked about went into it. I spent $300000 building it which was a lot back then. I have never been in it but it’s still there on the corner of Main Street and Douglas Avenue. I just cannot live there or sell the damn thing. Originally it was like saying I give up and over time it changed into a symbol. That symbol is that love is a lie. In only exists in the heat of the moment. Once it’s lost you are just screwed to live with the memories. That what looking at these pictures of Veronica’s daughter means. She is like that house. A dream that once you latch onto it you can never let go and I think my heart is haunted by enough ghosts. As I closed the tablet I poured a double. Damn you mike. You knew from the start that if I opened that police report I would not be able to let go.

I let all the details linger in my mind a bit. I needed to remove the fantasy of the woman I was knew go and look at the stranger now. I really see no rhyme or reason in this. They were tourists obviously. Nobody that lives in this city goes to Toronto’s Dundas-Sherbourne corridor. Hell even some of the cops don’t want to go there. I cannot see it being drug related or even robbery because the dead kid still has his wallet with $200.00 in it. I pondered this for a while because there is always cause and effect for everything I just cannot see it.

I went the closet and slowly dug my way towards the back. I went past the hand guns that had saved my life so many times, past the bottle of 25 years whisky that I have been saving for just the right occasion and there it was. I yanked out a small tattered box. As I went back to my chair I was surprised just how new the box looked even after all the years. As I popped the box open the first thing I saw was the rose colored cover of my book. This was a unique version. It was flawed like me. Pages 175 and 276 were blank and the printers had misspelled my name. In gold letters Johnathon was spelled Johnathon. They call it a proof copy.

As I pulled the book out a tattered picture fell out and landed on the floor by my feet. I had not allowed myself to look at this picture for many years, but for some reason I just could not throw it away. Just another reminder. Another token of a broken heart. My eyes watered as I stared down at the picture. Veronica was wearing that nasty blue sweater. I never understood why she liked it so much. It had holes everywhere, but it looked good on her. She had her hand bunched up in her sleeve covering her mouth, but the way her eyes twinkled you always knew that behind that hand was a shy smile.  I had used that image in my novels before. Every novel I wrote had a piece of Veronica in it somewhere. A passerby in the crowd, that waitress whose image stuck with you and the list goes. That is the problem with true love. Even after the spark fails and you lose the one you love your heart can never truly let go.

I sat there rocking fighting back the tears and said Veronica what did you get yourself into? What am I going to do now? Saving you is going to destroy me again.