Archive for category Writing
Seth stood up, and raised his champagne glass. “To Nolan, whose research is on the brink of saving millions of lives every single year.”
“To Nolan.” Amy, Bridget, and Suzanne said in unison, and clinked their champagne flutes with Nolan’s.
“Suzanne, you must be so proud of your husband.” Bridget said. “I can’t help but notice the admiration in your eyes. It lights up your whole face.”
Susanne nodded. “I couldn’t be prouder. And Nolan insists the three of you are equally responsible for the success of his research.”
“Not true,” Amy said. “Nolan is our fearless leader, and we are merely minions doing his bidding.”
“Look!” Seth pointed at Nolan. “His head is getting bigger by the minute. You girls better knock it off with the compliments or his enormous ego won’t fit through the door of the lab in the morning.”
“Seth!” Amy punched him on the shoulder.
The steak and lobster were mouthwatering. But Seth could hardly take his eyes off Amy the entire evening. That little black dress, those long legs even sexier in stilettos, hair flowing like silk over smooth shoulders. Her southern charm and gentle way came out more with each sip of champagne. He found her irresistible tonight.
They celebrated into the evening until Seth noticed Suzanne’s eyelids getting heavy.
Nolan reached over, and took her hand. “Ready to call it a night, love?”
Suzanne tried, unsuccessfully, to stifle a yawn. “I guess all the excitement tired me. I hope the rest of you will stay. Nolan will leave his credit card with the waiter.”
Seth pushed back from the table. “I’m stuffed and getting tired myself.”
Pulling his keys from his pocket, Seth nodded toward his car. “Is everyone okay to drive? I switched to water and coffee awhile ago; I can chauffer all of you.”
“I wouldn’t mind a ride.” Amy seemed grateful for the offer.
“I’m okay, but thanks Seth.” Bridget hugged Suzanne, and smiled at Nolan. “Thank you again for a decadent dinner.” Waving, she headed to her car. “Have a nice evening, everyone. I’ll see you all in the morning bright and early.”
Seth chuckled, and watched as Nolan took Suzanne’s hand, waved at his colleagues, and started across the street.
“Nolan!” Suzanne shouted, and Seth turned just in time to see the see an old Cadillac sedan slam into Nolan’s back with a sickening crack, sending him soaring.
Nolan felt his wife jerk his arm, but the force ripped him away from her. In an instant he was in the air. Higher, higher…
Dizzy and confused, he looked down and saw Suzanne’s eyes wide, her mouth open in a piercing scream.
Can’t breathe! Panic gripped him. Pain seared his spine. The impact knocked the air from his lungs, and everything went into slow motion. He could hear Suzanne crying out for him in the street below. The pain of a thousand tiny razors coursed fiercely through his body.
He gasped for air, arms and legs flailing. His heart raced with panic when he realized the black pavement was rushing toward him. He could see all of them; hear their shouts, and then… Nothing.
“Nolan!” Suzanne screamed.
Seth rushed to keep her from running into the street, quickly looking over his shoulder to see if Amy and Bridget were safe. He whipped around in time to see the sedan speeding away into the night; horrified that he never saw its brake lights come on.
“Oh, my God, stop!” Seth screamed after the car.
Nolan crashed to the street with the horrific sound of shattering bones.
“Call 911!” Bridget shouted. She struggled with her purse to find her cell phone.
Amy sank to her knees on the sidewalk. “Oh, please, please, somebody help us! We need an ambulance!”
Seth was in the street, at Nolan’s side in an instant.
The angle of Nolan’s body was frightening. His left leg and foot were twisted and mangled, left arm bent at his side, and right arm lay lifeless above his head. Blood saturated the pant legs of his suit and trickled onto the street, but most alarming was the growing puddle of blood oozing from the back of his head.
Suzanne crumpled beside Nolan, wailing hysterically.
Seth took off his suit jacket and draped it around her, but she ripped it off, reaching out to place it under Nolan’s head.
“No, Suz, don’t move him until the paramedics get here.” He took the jacket from her and draped it around her shoulders again, crouching over to warm her.
She trembled so violently it shook the two of them.
He shouted toward the restaurant, “Has anyone called an ambulance! We need an ambulance here now!”
Chapter Two – Sneak Peek
Nolan’s cell phone rang just as he settled down at his computer. Before he could answer he heard Seth scramble to get out of his chair without falling. Shaking his head, he picked up the call. “Nolan Jennings. Oh yes, Ms. Davenport how are you? Good, good. Uh huh. Yes, a site visit can be arranged at your convenience. Perfect. I’ll see you in a few days. Thank you for your consideration. I will, I will. Have a nice day.”
“Yes!” Nolan pumped his fist in victory. “We’re at the top of the heap! Mona Davenport is coming to our little ol’ laboratory. She wants to do a site visit, and she’s bringing some members of her advisory board.”
All three of them burst into his office high-fiving, Amy jumped up and down, her long dark ponytail bouncing behind her.
“You’ll make history, Nolan.” Bridget’s eyes glistened with tears that hadn’t yet spilled over. “In the company of Salk and Pasteur.”
“Yes you will.” Seth nodded and smiled.
“Our team will make history,” Nolan emphasized. “It’s always our team. I couldn’t have done this without the three of you.”
Nolan beamed. His research was finally ready for prime time. Ready to test in human clinical trials, and if it worked in humans the way it worked in mice, it could save millions from a horrible disease.
Nolan buried his head in his hands in mock despair. “If we get funding I’ll have another truck load of paperwork to get permission from the FDA to test it.”
Amy patted his shoulder. “Awww, there’s always a down side, but it’s so worth it.”
A timer went off in the lab. “Back to work.” Bridget shoved on her glasses and headed toward the experiment she’d set up.
“And I need to get this morning’s data recorded in the database.” Amy turned gracefully on her heels and followed Bridget out the door.
Seth extended his hand to Nolan for their secret handshake, and nodded.
Nolan called his wife, Suzanne, to tell her the good news, took two big bites from his donut, and chugged half his coffee.
He never minded publishing and research–those were the gratifying aspects of his work. But, grant proposals also went with the territory, and even after eighteen years as an immunologist Nolan much preferred to be in his lab with his test tubes and mice.
“Gone home.” Dani Driscoll laughed, and peeked around her cubicle to see Editor in Chief, Samuel Cooper, coming her way carrying a fistful of papers.
“I can see that.” Coop raised an eyebrow. “I’d like you to take a look at this press release. Can you squeeze it in before the Romano piece?”
“What’s it about? Some new-and-improved sports car that perhaps runs on solar?” Dani teased.
Coop rolled his eyes. “No. I think you’ll find this more interesting. It’s not strictly your beat, but I’d like you to cover it from a human-interest view point.”
Dani snatched the papers out of his hand, and rolled her eyes. “This is all scrunched up, Coop. Have some respect for my work.” She smoothed the papers on her desk, and read the first few lines out loud. “The Rush Institute, Denver, Colorado. Promising research gives hope to millions.”
“You’re right, I don’t do medical. Pete will be mad. Why me?”
“I want a woman’s perspective on this; the story behind the story,” Coop told her.
“Great.” she said. “But you know I have no background in medical research.”
Scanning the next few paragraphs she gasped, and looked up at him with wide eyes.
Covering a paradigm changing medical treatment that could save millions of lives,
Denver Tribune reporter Dani Driscoll uncovers an unthinkable motive to destroy its success.
While the clock is ticking for dying patients, Dani follows a twisted path to expose the truth and discovers an industry fraught with jealousy, greed, and corruption. There’s only one problem; the editor refuses to publish her story.
Dani continues to investigate on her own until one night a chilling message appears on her computer screen. I know who you are.
Now the target of an unknown adversary, Dani’s motivation to expose the politics of selling hope becomes a race to save her own life.
What was your most rewarding accomplishment of 2013? What are your dreams as you embark on a new year? What reality will you create for yourself, and those around you?
Colorado seems to plunge into a deep freeze this time of year, and it’s an ideal time for me to cuddle up by the fireplace with my favorite mechanical pencil and a fresh, recycled notebook. The pristine pages beacon my dreams, goals, and to do lists. With each entry, and each passing day, the folio will transform into a smudged, rumpled, and cherished proof of my endeavors.
This juncture arrives every year. It’s ideal for reminiscing, as well as looking forward. It gives us an opportunity to look behind with gratitude for knowledge acquired and goals achieved. The dawn of a new year represents the chance to embark on a meaningful new path–a hopeful, peaceful path of personal growth.
The blank pages before me fill me with wonder as I weigh the best of 2013 against its challenges and lessons. Remarkably, I’ve emerged with a sense of peace that I realize comes only through letting go. I look forward with a grateful heart.
A pristine new year is waiting for my mark, and it’s waiting for yours. What will we make of 2014?
Have you ever explored Europe by train?
Trains are a fascinating and relaxing form of transportation. Exotic accents tease your brain with possibilities. Any one of the passengers could be a protagonist steeping in a mysterious plot.
The train stops to pick up new passengers who walk the aisles of the train, eyes assessing empty seats and the strangers seated next to them. One man stands out; he’s disheveled with a scruffy beard, smelling like he hasn’t seen a shower in a week. You keep an eye on him, hoping he doesn’t slip into the seat next to you. Instead, he takes an aisle seat beside a man wearing a suit and polished shoes, reading a newspaper.
Wait! Did Scruffy just pass a note to The Suit? Your heart skips a beat. You whip out a pencil and notebook, scribbling furiously before the thoughts pass with the changing scenery.
Exotic scenery. Revealing awe-inspiring architecture, dark alleys and beautiful rolling countryside.
Dark, grey clouds grow overhead, finally bursting, and the rain pelts down on the train while you gaze out at the bridge connecting Buda and Pest, sitting on opposite sides of the Danube.
Possibilities brew in your head. Residents peddling handmade tapestries cover up with plastic garbage bags taped together. Tourists run for cover and you follow one as long as the train allows, craning your neck to see him dart into an enormous dark church.
The story brews, grows, and the sun finally breaks through the clouds, freeing a bit of optimism for the protagonist, who gradually comes into focus.
I’ve ridden that train–perhaps sitting beside you. We’ve traversed western Europe and criss-crossed the U.S.A. many times over, meeting interesting people, marveling at what man can create, shaking our heads at the motives that ultimately bring them down.