Wednesday, July 1, 2015

SAMPLE - BLOOD DEATH AND SALT *** A JOHNNIE KING NOVEL 

I finally did it, I finished my 1st novel and released it in mid-June. I thought I would provide a sampling of BLOOD DEATH AND SALT -  A Johnnie King Novel. It is available through Amazon.com in paperback or for your Kindle. It can also be ordered through your favorite bookstore.

It is my intention to write additional novels with Johnetta Lynn King AKA Johnnie King.

If you have the time, please read the sampling. Comments are most appreciated.






        The night brought cold winds early this year and Johnnie King could hear the wind blowing outside her office window and almost feel the gusts as it rattled the windows in the old bank building.
            The architecture of this place amazed her. Built around the turn of the century, six floors to its structure and her office was perched on the top floor. She loved just roaming around the building when she was first hired. She told Gary Percy, her supervisor, about her wanderings in the open places. Continuing a habit she developed when she worked for the FBI, Johnnie wanted to know her surroundings.
            Johnnie liked having a desk in a private office. An office was never going to happen with her previous employment. She was either working in the field or in a cubical. She did enjoy the challenge of fieldwork, but there were times when she would be away from home for several days. This job was different. She worked at a bank before the bureau, and liked the idea of closing the day with a completion of the day’s work in balance.
            She knew she was fortunate to have landed the job at the bank. She never expected to be in management when she applied since her expertise was far from banking, but things had worked out well like having her own office.
            She certainly did not start out in the position of processing manager. She went through a few other positions while working through the ranks before attaining this position. Johnnie did not think she would exceed this level, and she was content with staying in this position.
            She loved the job and her co-workers. Well, for the most part that was true. Some were vain and some just had to have their eyes and nose into everything. That was true no matter where you worked. She sat back in her chair and looked around. It was a nice office with two windows, bookshelves and a huge desk. Most people thought it indulgent but the truth about the matter it was an old wooden desk with a larger top attached. The oversized desk was more about the work, getting involved in tracing outages or doing research made it necessary to have room to spread the work out on a large surface.
            The walls were some sort of unusual grass wallpaper painted white before she was hired. Blue being her favorite color, she loved the azure border along the ceiling that matched the drapes over the windows and the glass panel by the door. She rarely closed her door during working hours. She wanted her co-workers to feel welcomed. She even kept a bowl of candy on the corner of her desk for the employees.
            Johnnie referred to the people who worked in her department as co-workers. She wanted the department in her care to be a team. In the bureau, being a part of the team could be the difference between a good ending and something else.
            Johnnie already put in 10 hours of this eight-hour day. “Banker’s hours” where are these perks, and who gets such a thing? Such glories went to the big boys.
            Before leaving every evening, she checked with the night crew to see that things were moving along well. If they had the slightest problem, she would stay. She felt it was her duty to be as much a part of the work team as anyone.
            Walking into the confirmation department’s room, she asked if there were any problems. Mary Edgington leaned back in her chair. “Things are going well and we should be wrapping up in just a bit. After I film the work, the day will be history.” Mary always saw the best in every situation. Johnnie often wondered how she was able to stay so cheery even on the most difficult days.
            Walking into the computer room, she found Karey Cousins. “How goes it Karey?” Karey was busy sorting checks and arranging them in the proper trays. “Okay, should be out in good time tonight, about seven.” Johnnie loved it when the days went smoothly. “Great, but you have my number if you need anything.” Karey smiled, “You say that every night.”
            Johnnie grinned as she waved good-bye to the night crew, before returning to her office to collect her things.
            Back in her office, she secured some of the files she had been working and locked her desk and credenza. Wow, it was finally Friday, walking to the front of her office; she went to the closet in the corner and gathered her coat and purse. It was her habit to close her office door every night before leaving the bank. She never locked the door, if someone wanted to get into the space, there was always the full-length window next to the door.
            Walking through the parking lot in the crisp fall air, she found it invigorating and chilling. Late September in West Virginia could definitely put a nip in the air. Wishing she had worn a heavier coat and scarf, she could only pull the collar up around her neck as she walked the across the lot.
           
           
           
           
           
           
***
            Getting into her car, she locked the doors, secured her seat belt, and took out her phone. “Hey honey, I am on my way home. Do you want me to pick up anything on my way?”
            Michael Joseph King, Johnnie’s husband of just over eight years, normally did the cooking for the two of them.
            Michael, standing six foot one weighing in at 176 pounds, with black hair and gorgeous green eyes was a man comfortable in his own skin. Some people never do achieve the sense of self that he possessed.
            “No sweetheart, I have everything under control. I think you will like tonight’s dinner. How about your favorite Italian white bean soup served with hot bread and those no bake cookies you like so much?”
            Johnnie was more than ready for dinner and soup on a blustery night was perfect. “I am really ready for the soup. Do you know how cold it is tonight?”
            Michael laughed. “Why do you think I made the soup? Besides it is so easy and quick, I had no choice. I only got home about a half an hour ago.”
            Johnnie had to ask. “If you got home a half an hour ago, just how did you make bread?”
            This banter back and forth between the two was pretty much normal for this couple. “Did I say I made the bread? You know there are these things, called bakeries. I picked up two loaves and they are in the oven waiting for you. Those little ciabatta loaves you like so much. ”
            Johnnie was ready to pull out of her parking spot. “I guess I will just have to hurry home to enjoy dinner. I have to ring up now, getting ready to drive.” She never used her phone when she drove.
            As always, dinner was perfect especially since they ate sitting on the floor in the family room in front of the fireplace. The room had a raised hearth and it was easy to use the inglenook as a table of sorts. Well, until the fire truly started to roar.
            After the meal, Johnnie said she was going upstairs to put on her snuggie, as she called the lounging nightwear, and come back down. She had scrubbed her face, used her night moisturizer, and brushed her teeth. She was ready for bed. She knew the fire would lull her to the stage where she fought to keep her eyes open.
            Although the kitchen was very large, more than enough for the two of them to work together, Michael would rather work in the kitchen on his own.
            Johnnie walked in the room with a huge smile. She recognized the bottle of wine that Michael had opened. Together they sat comfortably on the floor with the large pillows pulled from the couch, and the wine was Johnnie’s favorite Australian red.
            Johnnie loved this old house, the family room a wood burning fireplace, and dark stained hardwood floors. The walls were the palest shade of salmon and well matched to the brick of the fireplace.
            After a glass and a half, Johnnie knew something was up. “Okay what is going on here, dinner, roaring fireplace, and now my favorite wine. What gives?” Johnnie snuggled a bit closer, and Michael put his arm around her.
            Michael took on a very serious tone. “Are we ever going to talk about adopting? I know finding out that we could not have our own children has been a devastating setback, especially since you left the FBI so we could start our family. Moving to Ackers was because we decided it was the perfect place to raise a family. However, we have to face the facts. If we are going to have a family, don’t you think we should talk? I don’t claim to know what you went through or what you are still going through, but I am trying. I really am. Give me some sort of idea what you want.”
            Johnnie dreaded this subject. Finding out that she could not have children really shook her to the core. She remembered as a child she told her mother she wanted six kids, and now she would have none. “I know we need to talk about it, but I was thinking if we waited, we could always adopt an older child. You know; give a good home to someone who really needs love and care. Don’t you like the idea of an older child?” The despair in Johnnie’s eyes said everything. “Do we really need to discuss it right now?”
            Michael took a deep breath. “How long do you think we should put off our plans?”
            Johnnie felt like her emotions were welling inside. She could handle armed gunmen, talk down a volatile hostage situation, she could keep up with any man in the FBI training, but this topic came close to breaking her. “I just want more time, I don’t want to seem selfish; but I really am not ready. Michael, I have thought this over a hundred times in my head. My dream of being a wife and mother always came first, The FBI or the bank just secondary. Now, I just don't know. To be very honest, I don’t know if I will ever be ready. I think I would like to go to bed now.”
            Before she got off the floor, she gave Michael a kiss that said she was not upset with him, only the subject, and the circumstance. “Are you coming up?” She said with hope in her eyes.
            He just smiled and got up, taking the wineglasses to the dishwasher; he then followed her upstairs.
            Friday night was a night to remember. She may not be able to have a baby; but there was nothing wrong with trying.
           
           
           
           
***
Monday morning, how did it roll around so fast? She didn’t even remember enjoying her weekend.
            In the morning, Michael brought Johnnie’s tea up as usual. He told her he was going to Clarksburg to meet with a prospective customer, but his meeting was not until mid-afternoon. He would be home until one o'clock. He asked. “What are you planning today? Do you know what time you will be home?”
            Johnnie really didn’t like the vault days. “Ugh, I have vault day. I don’t even like to think about a day in the basement. Guess I can’t put it off, so better get started. The lower vault is full of dust, dirt, and worst of all spiders. How did those creatures get into a sealed vault? I shouldn’t be too late tonight, once I prep the film for shipment that is about all I can do for the day.”
            “I could see by your outfit you weren’t planning on being in your office today.” Michael always noticed the little things.
            The dress for the day needed to be casual and yet professional. Jeans would have been nice, and much more sensible, but still she needed to be able to meet with a customer should the need arise. Her obligation is to the bank, she needs to appear at all times as a proficient and organized employee. Her outfit for the day was her favorite pair of black leggings with a long black tunic. She did have to dress it up a bit with some jewelry. Although when working in the vault she would tuck her ornamentation inside her tunic, she never did wear rings other than you wedding rings on heavy workdays. She did not want to lose a finger or a ring. Therefore, she would turn the engagement ring to the inside of her hand and even tape it in place. To play it safe, in case she needed to meet with someone, she kept an apron in the lower vault for such workdays.
            Johnnie always tried to think of every possible scenario, even personal safety while working in out of the way places like the lower vault. That must be why Gary Percy, her supervisor and senior vice president of the bank assigned her the contingency plan.
            It was part of her job to review the organization of the lower vault, which she did on a semi-annual basis. However, today’s review would give her a good opportunity to pull the microfilm she would need to continue the project assigned to her by Tom Midland, Executive Vice President of Lending. She didn’t know why he assigned the project, but she always carried out instructions.
            Giving Michael a kiss goodbye, she started her day. The morning air was chilly so Johnnie grabbed her heavier coat. She did not want that night chill to catch her again. The scarf she wore matched the collar of her coat and wide enough to keep her neck warm. The weather reports called for falling temperatures. She knew West Virginia’s eastern panhandle got some cold weather, but this early?
            Pulling into the bank's parking lot, Johnnie took her favorite parking place. The first row of parking after the drive in teller lane was for the employees. Johnnie chose to park in the section under the street light. Leaving the bank at odd hours, she preferred to have her vehicle in a well-lit area. It certainly wasn't to show off her car. She was still driving her old station wagon, which she loved regardless of Michael's opinion. This green monster may be out of style today, with all the SUVs on the road, but she loved this vehicle and its power.
            Don greeted Johnnie at the door. Don Phelps was the maintenance man for the morning. He usually started at seven in the morning and left about three in the afternoon. He was a pleasant chap who just took care of the bank’s maintenance mainly because he loved the old building. He knew every nook and cranny in the place. He was probably the only one besides Johnnie who knew where to look for the unusual items one might request. He lived close so it was easy for him to walk to work. Don was a man of stocky build with a rough complexion, average height, and thick graying hair. He always had a smile from ear to ear, as he greeted the employees. It seemed as though nothing could destroy his mood.
            “Good morning, Don. How goes it today?” Johnnie greeted every employee she encountered.
            “Pretty good day so far, but then it is only 7:25 on a cold Monday. Glad to see you dressed for the chill.”
            After her brief encounter with Don, she crossed paths with Harrison. Harrison Magers was a good-looking man, six feet tall, black hair and blue eyes, very symmetrical features. Too bad, he was the bank clown. He could really go beyond his present position customer service manager if he would just take his job more seriously.
            “Hey Harrison, how’s your day looking?”
            Harrison was standing by the partition separating his office from the lobby. “I don’t have much planned, but I see this must be vault day. You are dressed for rough work.”
            “What makes you think you I am working in the vault today?” Johnnie smiled.
            Harrison laughed at her comment. “Come on, you are known for your high heels and today you are in flats, a sure give away.”
            “Okay you caught me, it is a dirty job; but somebody has to do it.” Johnnie waved as she headed to the steps. She always took the stairs. She wanted the small bit of exercise that the climb to the sixth floor provided.
            Half way up to her office, she encountered Tom Midland. “How is the research project coming along? You have been able to keep it secured and away from any prying eyes, right?”
            Johnnie found Tom’s concern about the assignments he gave her almost brotherly. “All is well, not to worry. Today I will pull the microfilm I need along with several other rolls as a part of my semi-annual lower vault inspection.”
            Tom again slowed her down, and looking in both directions in the stairwell before speaking. “You do realize this research is centered on Victor Andropov. He is dangerous, and if he knew you were gathering this for the state’s attorney general, he just might try to do something none of us want to see happen. He can be a violent man, and he has his, shall we say, body guard near him every second of everyday”
            “Not to worry, I have not told anyone, except Michael, of the project. I am doing all I can to keep the research project secret. I have no desire to turn this into an encounter with the likes of Victor Andropov or his bodyguard.”
            Johnnie arrived on her floor. As she neared her office, she noticed the door. The door standing open, was not a good sign. She knew she closed the door Friday night when she left. It was still early so only the morning computer operator was on the floor at present. If Silva had been snooping, she would have been smart enough to close the door.
            As she drew nearer to the door, she could see files scattered and opened on her desk. She noticed her credenza drawers opened. Her heart sank, not only would this change her entire day; the potential of danger to her co-workers could become real. She needed to get Frank Ridges from security up to her office now. This was important and needed to be on record.
            After calling Frank, she called Tom to keep him up to date. “Tom, someone has been in my office and broke into my desk and credenza. Don’t worry, the materials for the project are not kept in my office; all is well. It remains secure. I do, however, want to know if someone from the attorney general’s staff has been talking about this project.”
            Tom was very concerned his first question was if she called Frank.
            “It's okay; I called Frank as soon as I saw the files lying on my desk.” Johnnie knew Tom was truly concerned for all concerned.
            The security officer, Frank Ridges, came up to her office. Frank asked if she had entered or touched anything in her office. Explaining that she did not, but thought it was necessary to have a record of the invasion. As former law enforcement, she knew not to touch the scene.
            Frank went into the office. His hand on his gun, ready for use should the need arise. A bit melodramatic, this did not seem like an event that would require such action. At least until he used his radio to call for backup.
            Unaware of what was going on in the office, she did her best to keep the employees from getting too excited. She asked all but her assistant Ana to go on with their day. She needed to keep the atmosphere calm. People in the state of chaos make errors, so it was important to proceed as though it was a normal day.
            Johnnie could hear Frank on his radio. “Chuck, I need you and Pete up here on six at Johnnie King's office now. I have put in a call to the police department, but I want this door secure. We will need to have the employees come through the back lunchroom door.”
            Chuck and Pete came up to her office, they kept a perimeter around her office cleared. Johnnie stood near the elevator and stair area to instruct employees to enter by way of the lunchroom side door. Word spread through the bank like wild fire. Having security to any part of the bank apparently caused anxiety. She didn’t know what was going on and it was her office. Calling security was just for a matter of record. What was Frank thinking?
            Soon other officials started showing up on the floor. This was a secured floor, how could anyone have gotten to her office in the first place? The elevator had a code in place. This just did not seem like a simple snooping job, not the way Frank and his crew were acting.
            When Johnnie turned her door station over to one of Frank’s men, she sat at Ana’s desk just outside her own office for the moment. Johnnie was still sitting at Ana’s desk when a woman in a navy blue suit, raven colored hair, cut in a simple easy style, approached her. This woman had uniquely violet colored eyes.
            The woman introduced herself as Terry Nichols a detective with the Akers police. “You can call me Terry; I prefer to keep things casual. You are Johnetta King and I understand it is your office that has been broken into?”
            Johnnie could see the cool confidence of this woman. Her eyes had an intensity to them that made the violet all the more noticeable. Terry Nichols stood approximately five foot eight inches and wore a shoulder holster. Most would not notice the telltale sign of a gun, but Johnnie noticed everything.
            “Yes, I am Johnetta King, you can call me Johnnie. I don’t understand why the police have been called in for a vandalized office.”
            “I would appreciate you accompanying me to the police station.” Johnnie knew whatever happened she had no part in the event, but apparently; her office was a crime scene beyond simple vandalism.
            The woman was pleasant, but she was rather insistent that Johnnie come with her. “I need you to accompany me to the police station, now.”
            She asked the detective, “You want to tell me exactly what is going on, after all it is my office that seems to have caused a fuss.”
            “Mrs. King, Johnnie, I would much rather discuss this at the station. I will tell you everything we know once we are at the precinct.”
            Johnnie observed the woman’s face and body language. “I know you are attempting to create a casual atmosphere in an attempt to get me to talk to you. You don’t need to worry, I would be happy to tell you everything. Although I can’t tell you what you want since I don’t know what is going on in my office.”
            “Please, Johnnie, let me explain everything at the station.”
            Johnnie did not want to cause a problem so she picked up her coat and purse and went along with the detective. As soon as they got into the car, the detective turned to her. “I know this is out of the norm, but I know of your law enforcement days. You have quite a reputation among the law enforcement community. When the papers announced you chose Ackers as you home, I did some checking on you. I am guessing it would be useless to ask you if you touched anything in your office? I know you would have kept the scene pristine.”
            “I am confused, why would you check up on my FBI days?”
            “Well, you are like a celebrity here in Ackers. To have a FBI agent chose to move to our little hamlet is the most exciting thing to happen in a long time. We are after all, a small town and you are accustom to big city living. The newspaper article was rather vague about your reason for coming to Ackers, but here you are in the flesh”
             “I didn't know about a newspaper article. Back to your question, as I got close to my office I saw the mess the office was in, and I knew something was wrong. Locking my desk and credenza is a part of my standard operating procedure. I know better than to touch or disturb anything. So I did not go into the office.”
            “Why lock your desk?” Terry asked.
            “I hate to say that some of the employees have prying eyes. When I first came to work at the bank, I didn’t lock anything. I simply cleared away my desk and that was that; but then it seemed as though someone was interested in employee payrolls. Grudgingly I started locking my desk and filing cabinets. I hated the idea that it was necessary to lock everything. Whoever broke in put things away just not in the right files. This was so different it looked like someone was searching for something. Someone wanted me to know they had been in my office.”
            “So your office has been broken into before.” The detective was very interested in this news.
            “I would not call it a break in at that point since I didn't and still don't lock my office door. I simply close the door.” Johnnie could tell this was going to be an interesting meeting.
            Terry pulled into the parking lot at the police station. As Terry continued with the personable approach, they chatted about nonsense as they walked to the detective’s cubical.
            Bullpens and cubicles caused an instant flash back for Johnnie. The detective took off her coat and hung it on the hook on the corner of the cubical. She put her purse in the drawer, and took her gun off and put it in a drawer and locked it.
            “So, why do you lock your desk drawer?” Johnnie parroted.
            Terry laughed, “Old habit. When I was a beat cop there was an individual brought into the station. He was higher than a kite and he went for one of the officer’s gun. From that point on, I take mine off and lock it so that can’t happen with my gun. The poor guy was only brought in on a minor charge that quickly grew to a felony.”
            Terry walked Johnnie down the hall, and opened the door to a conference room. Johnnie walked into the room.
            “What? No one way mirror?”
            Terry explained. “You are not a suspect. I just wanted you away from the bank and others so we could talk freely.”
            “Is there anyone you would like to call?” Terry asked.
            Johnnie raised her eyebrow. “Is this where I call my attorney?”
            Terry repeated. “As I said, you are not a suspect. Nor are you under arrest. I just thought you might want to tell someone where you are. However, if you think an attorney is necessary.”
            Johnnie reached for her cell phone. “I will just call my husband. Although I don’t know what I can explain to him.”
            “Hi Honey. This day is off to a strange start. Someone has been in my office and disturbed a number of files. I am with Detective Terry Nichols of the Ackers police department. If you could delay your meeting and come to the station, I would appreciate it. My car is back at the bank.”
            “Johnnie, we can wait for Mr. King, or would you rather we get started now. It is up to you.” Terry did seem like the type of person who would be easy to work with on a case.
            “I think I would rather start now. I want to know what happened and why am I here away from the rest of the bank employees?”
            Terry took the seat opposite of Johnnie. “I first would like to know your feelings about Herb Jennings?’
            “Herb, what does he have to do with the reason for my being at the station? Has he accused me of something?”
            Terry raised her left eyebrow. “Why would you ask such a question?”
            “Honestly, I can’t think of a reason why you would have me here and ask me about Herb. So, did he say something, does he know what happened or who was in my office?”
            Terry again referred back to the question. “I need to know your feelings on Mr. Jennings.”
            Why was the detective asking such a question? Johnnie thought she best respond as any employee would when asked. “Mr. Jennings is the Exec VP and a valuable employee of the bank for a number of years.”
            Terry watched Johnnie as she sat straight and secure. “Johnnie, the reason you are here is that I need the truth about your impressions of Mr. Jennings. It would also be helpful to know the general sentiments of all the employees.”
            Johnnie knew that she needed to answer the inquiries as to her true attitudes. “Okay, if you need to know the truth. I am not fond of Herb Jennings. I believe him to be a bully. He enjoys his authority and uses it to intimidate employees.”
            “Thank you. We also need to have some insights as to the opinions of the staff. This is not about you or your opinions of Mr. Jennings. This is about his death.” Terry watched for Johnnie’s reaction, but as seasoned former law enforcement, she remained calm.
            “Herb is dead? How? When? Has anyone notified his children or his ex-wife?”
            “His was a violent death, and for some reason was dumped in your office closet. Can you tell me why he would have been dumped in your office?”
            “I am at a loss to think of a reason why such a thing would happen. I admit that we did not get along, but he stayed on the executive floor and I stayed on my floor for the most part. When I did to go to the administrative floor, it was to Gary Percy’s office. Gary is my boss. He is much easier to work with than Mr. Jennings. Still I don’t know of a reason why anyone would kill Herb and then leave his body in my office.”
            Johnnie and Terry were discussing what few details Terry had at present when Michael, escorted by Sergeant Will Hastings, came into the room where Johnnie and Terry were sitting.
            “Hi Sweetheart, what is going on here? I noticed the floor directory, why the homicide division.” Michael was still standing by Johnnie when Terry approached him with an extended hand.
            “Mr. King, I am Detective Terry Nichols, we prefer a casual approach here, so please call me Terry. Your wife and I have been discussing the discovery made in her office today.”
            Johnnie could see that Michael was concerned and responded in a cautious nature. “What was discovered in your office?”
            Johnnie looked up at her husband with a weak smile. “Herb has been found dead, apparently murdered. He was in my closet, but since I saw files scattered on my desk, I didn’t enter. Actually, because of the disarray on my desk, I called Frank from security. I wanted it on record that someone had been in my office because of the research project I have been doing.”
            Terry interrupted. “What research project would that be? Was Mr. Jennings involved in any way with your project?”
            “No, Herb was not involved in the project. Tom Midland assigned the inquiry. He is Herb’s counterpart at the bank. I am to examine all records and transactions that Mr. Victor Andropov has made over the last four years and report my findings directly to Gary Percy. Tom wanted the task to be done so that no one would be able to determine what I was doing, or who I was assigned to examine.”
            Terry seemed to find it very interesting just now learning of this development. “Shall we discuss this venture of yours? I would like to know more about what exactly you have been doing for Mr. Midland and why this was requested in the first place.”
            “The project came through the office of the state’s attorney general. Tom asked that I do most of the work outside employee hours. That meant the early morning computer employee and the late night crew should not be in the bank or at least not able to see the work. I did a lot of late nights and weekends to progress to the point I am currently. If whoever broke into my desk and credenza was looking for the result of my efforts, they were disappointed. I don’t keep the work in my office. I keep one copy in the main vault and the working copy in a lock box inside the upstairs vault. The lock box is behind trays of signature cards. The cards being stored in the vault will be microfilmed later. In addition, to get into the vault it requires two keys. I keep one, as does Gary these are the master keys and the second key is kept in the computer room. I will admit that I have accessed the upstairs vault. When I have finished a portion of the research, I use my master key and the one from the computer room. I do however, register my access on the roster. I have mixed feelings about accessing the upstairs vault at odd times, so as soon as possible I have Gary initial the roster reflecting my access. It isn’t like there is anything of true value in that vault. It is used for maintaining a rotating stock of computer disk and the signature cards, nothing else. Then once a week, if I have had the opportunity to work on the project that week, I update the copy that is in the main vault.”
            Terry still had questions. “Have you found anything of interest in your assignment?”
            “To be honest, I haven’t found anything that would warrant interest by anybody. Let alone the state’s attorney office. At first, I thought they were looking for money laundering activities; but there is no indication of such doings. I understand this Victor Andropov is a person of interest in several unresolved crimes.” Johnnie was now looking to Terry for answers.
            Michael wanted to ask a few question. “Excuse me, do you know anything about this individual, Terry?”
            Terry was ready to answer the questions she could. “Andropov has been in this area since I can remember. He owns The Flames Steak and Pasta Restaurant. He has his hit man, slash, bodyguard with him almost constantly. His name is Sebastian Osis.”
            The name got a reaction out of Johnnie. “Sebastian Osis, the man suspected of about a dozen murders? Wonder who his hidden angel is, it has to be a person with power? He appears to be untouchable.”
            Terry retorted. “Whoever it is must be higher than we will ever deal with in this life. If he were not a killer, he would be a nice guy. He talks like an educated man, not bad looking. Unfortunately, he is on the wrong side of a badge.”
            Michael commented on the topic. “I don't know this Sebastian person.”
            Terry slipped into police mode again. “Can you tell me what it is that you do Michael?”
            “I have a security company called Security Now. I supply personal security, armament, investigations and premise security. I have had the opportunity to meet a lot of people, but I do not recall a Sebastian Osis.”
            Terry grinned. “I guess you don’t deal with the criminal element.”
            “Oh, I am exposed to the criminal element; I just don’t do any work for such enterprises or persons. On the rare occasion, if something that doesn’t set right with me, I call the authorities that are best suited to handling the circumstances.”
            Terry still had questions. “Have you ever been approached by what could be deemed as a threat? I would think with your company it could happen.”
            Michael preferred to keep this part of his operation quiet. “I was a Navy Seal. Our training included the ability to recognize questionable episodes and I know the right people to contact in such cases. It is something I would rather keep off-the-record.”

            Terry agreed to the need of secrecy. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014



Will you still be my friend when you discover I am a Catholic?

It seems people are ready to distance themselves from Catholics.  We seem no more popular than some politicians.  Why is this case?  Do they know the reason for their distrust?  Alternatively, is it the result of just old history? I have even heard Catholicism is not a Christian faith.

I will admit there have been times in history when some Catholics, be they individuals or a member of the faith’s hierarchy, lost Jesus’ message of love and peace.  However, “do not throw the baby out with the bath water,” as the saying goes.

I would like to take a moment to cover one of the major issues I have heard over the years.  Our Blessed Mother is often misunderstood. Many think that Catholics “worship” Mary.  This is far from the truth, and I would like to tell you of Mary’s story.  There is a reason why we ask for her intercession.

Mary was a child by today’s standards when the events that changed the world came to her. Imagine this happening to your young daughter, or sister.  As most accounts of Mary’s age put her in her mid-teens.

Mary had been living a devout life of obedience and prayer. She must have been her parent’s joy.  Do you wonder about her parents’ reaction to the glorious news?  How would you react to the news that your young child, whom you knew was a virgin, had become pregnant?  I am sure the explanations of receiving a visit by an angel telling her of God’s will must have been earth shattering.

Think of Mary for a few moments.  This woman, whom I would describe as the embodiment of amazing grace, was going to take on the role of the being the mother of our Savior.  The angel also tells her of Elizabeth’s pregnancy.  Elizabeth being beyond childbearing age accepted her condition with great love.  Mary, not concerned for herself, travels from Nazareth to Judea to help Elizabeth, always concerned for others rather than herself.  She returns three months later and her condition is evident.

This was an extremely dangerous time for Mary.  By laws of her time, she could be stoned for being pregnant outside of marriage.  Had Joseph not chosen the path he did, it would have happened.  However, he decided to marry her, as they were betrothed, and then quietly divorce her.  That was not to be the case, Joseph had a dream in which the angel tells him to take Mary as his wife.

If we jump ahead about 30 years, we find Mary and Jesus along with Peter and the apostles attending a wedding.  Mary discovers that the wine has run out.  She does not ask Jesus to perform a miracle.  She simply tells Him about the situation and then tells the servants to do whatever He tells them to do.  Many view this as Christ’s first miracle but I see it defining Mary’s role as intercessor for us to her Son. 

Do you see why Catholics pray to Mary?  As a Catholic, I know why I love the Queen of Heaven and Earth. We beseech her to ask her Son for His aid.  This amazing woman, who would see her son tortured beyond comprehension for our indiscretions, intercedes for us with her Son.  She loves us and does all she can to aid humanity. 

I trust this explanation of Mary’s role in our faith will help others understand her true role as our Heavenly Queen, Mother and our greatest intercessor.

A beautiful invocation in a Catholic prayer sums up these thoughts: “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you.”

Have a Blessed and Safe Christmas Season,

Jan




   

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Poetry




Is Jan a poet?

I have never really talked about my poetry.  Most likely, due to the fact, I have limited experience with this form of art.

For what it is worth, I would like to share one of them with you. I welcome your honest opinions on my attempt to mesmerize you with choreographed words.  Published years ago I still remember writing these words as I sat looking out the window in an insightful mood.

My Window
The morning sun kisses my window.
The day has begun.  Am I ready?
Can I meet the challenge?
With a prayer in my soul and
love in my heart,
I embrace the day with a smile.

The moonlight caresses my window.
The day is done.  I am pleased!
God has granted me the day and the
warmth of love.
I shall thank Him before I sleep.
With his favor, I shall see the sun kiss my window again.

I wonder now if I have the mystique that surrounds so many poets whose words to take flight.  Maybe I should stick to fiction composition and leave the poetry to the wordsmiths. 

All I can say in closing would be in the form of another graceful thought; however, it is not my inspiration.

A man can be just about as happy as he makes up his mind to be.
Abraham Lincoln