Sunday, June 23, 2013

Beginnings - Redemption

Back in 2006, I began a huge project.  The book was to be told in three parts - the first part being set in the current time, the middle to be set several decades later, and the third picking up where the second left off.  Of course, as you'll see from the beginning, it's a huge project about a huge project.  I never did finish this, but I still feel the old excitement when I read through it again.  I could still finish this, but I'm afraid - as I was when I dropped this - that it's totally unsellable.  Maybe someday it'll be finished and self-published.  :shrug:  Who knows what the future will bring?

Which was actually the point of this work...


Book 1

Chapter 1

“But surely you realize a venture of this magnitude will certainly break you…”
“That is of little consequence,” Peter Stiles replied tersely.  He looked again at the schematics laid out before him.  This was to be his greatest triumph.  After spending his life growing rich off the inventions he created, he was finally going to give something back.  None of his hundreds of patents would ever come close to this.
And now his lawyer was trying to talk him out of it.
“But Peter,” the man continued, “You’ve worked too hard to get where you are, just to throw it all away on some hare-brained scheme…”
Peter glowered across the desk.  “Not another word, George,” he said with more venom than he had intended.  One glance at George’s face and he immediately regretted his outburst.  More than just his lawyer, George Bannister had been his friend for nearly thirty years.  They’d been through thick and thin together since college—when George was spending all his time studying for the bar and Peter all his time working toward his double E.  They’d been best man at each other’s weddings.  George had taken him in after his first wife had thrown him out on his ear, and he was too drunk to find another place to stay.  He had taken George in when his only wife had died suddenly and George had been unable to survive a return to a house full of memories.  After all they’d been through, Peter knew that he should be big enough to make allowances for George’s incredulity, even if it was incomprehensible that George would doubt him now.
“I’m sorry,” Peter whispered.  “But you don’t understand how important this project is.”
His friend nodded.  “Apology accepted,” he said graciously.  For several minutes the two sat in silence, each of them looking at the pile of blueprints and engineering drawings that would be Peter’s opus.  Finally it was George who broke the uncomfortable barrier.  “It looks like it will be a beaut.”
That was all it took for Peter to relax back into his genial self.  A wide smile broke across his face.  “She sure will.”
“Peter?” George began tentatively.  “You’re right that I don’t understand why you’re driven to do this, but you’re wrong if you think that I don’t understand the thinking that started it.  You’re growing older… We both are… And you’re feeling like you need something to show for your life.  But christ, Peter, all you have to do is look back over your life to see how much of an impact you’re already made.”
“This isn’t a midlife crisis, George.  If you want to point to anything as a mid-life crisis, look at my marriage to Tiphani.” 
George smiled as thought about that utter disaster, but Peter wasn’t smiling.  “Then leave an endowment to our alma mater.  They’ll name another building after you.”
“This isn’t about having my name plastered on some building.”  Peter sighed.  “George, it’s about finally waking up to what a mess this world is and then coming to the realization that with all my money, I can’t fix it…”
“You can certainly make a dent, Peter, if that’s really what you want.”
“It isn’t enough.”
“Sure it is.  You could spend the next thirty years giving away a million at a time to whatever organization needed it, whenever they asked, and still be able to die a wealthy man.  There no need for you do to this and die destitute.”
Peter laughed.  “You’re making a couple of wrong assumptions there, my friend, not the least of which is thinking that if I spent it all now, I wouldn’t be able to make it again.”
“Of course you could, but that’s not the point.”
“And then there’s the other assumption,” Peter continued, ignoring his friend’s interruption.
“Which is?”
“That I will live long enough to see my own destitution.”
“Bull,” George declared.  “You’ve got plenty of time left.  Hell, you’re the baby of the two of us, and I’m planning on you to give the eulogy at my funeral.”  His eyes were twinkling at what he thought was a ridiculous suggestion on the part of his friend.  “You’ll live long enough to see us all in the ground.”
Peter shook his head and suddenly George turned a strange shade of gray.  He inclined his head as a sort of silent question and Peter nodded sadly.
“Damn,” was George’s only comment.

I meant to post the entirety of this chapter, but apparently there's something hinky with the formatting that isn't letting me paste it into Blogger without Blogger having a hissy fit.  Which is really too bad, because the rest of this chapter really sets up the whole first third of the book.

And I apologize for the crappy formatting on the above.  Between Word being a prima donna and my internet being a PITA, it was either leave it like this or not post anything at all.   


  1. Even without the rest, that's a hellava hook to end with! And I'm intrigued. Time machine? Space ship? New source of energy? Ahhhh, the possibilities!

  2. Thanks, Silver! Actually, if I'd been able to post the rest, his plan is to build a super-sized submarine and man it with a select group of people who'll live undersea until the Earth is safe to live on again.