Tuesday, March 31, 2020

BOOK REVIEW: The Algorithm Man by J. Salvatore Domino




The Algorithm Man: America’s Cyber Sleuth is a modern day crime story by J. Salvatore Domino.  A cyber detective duo is called in to find answers to a security breaks.  Lead on the case is A- Man, a techno-genius who immediately grabbed my attention. This is a well written short story with a plausible modern crime plot that moves fluidly and seamlessly with solid, likable characters. I look forward to more of the Algorithm Man.


Amazon Buy Link:
http://www.amazon.com/Algorithm-Man-Americas-Cyber-Sleuth-ebook/dp/B07ZTXM9XZ

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Monday, March 30, 2020

ART: Adolph von Menzell



I was first drawn to the work of Adolph von Menzell because I like paintings of open windows with visible vistas or hints of a breeze. My imagination goes wild as to what wonderful and amazing things might be viewed from that particular window.





 
              Wikipedia:

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Sunday, March 29, 2020

SCHEDULE: March 30 - April 3, 2020





Mon., March 30 - ART:
Adolph von Menzell
Tues., March 31 - BOOK REVIEW:
The Algorithm Man 
by Salvatore Domino
Wed., April 1 - INTERVIEW:
Middle Grade Novelist
Barbara Cairns
Thurs., April 2 - ENTERTAINMENT:
Film: Jupiter Ascending
Fri., April 3 - BOOK:
Echo of Heartbreak, A Recipe for Life,
A Short Story Recipe Book
by Carol Ann Kauffman



Note:
Vision and Verse does not use cookies. We do not store any personal information like email addresses, home addresses, etc. We do not send our email and newsletters. We do not give any information to third parties. 

Friday, March 27, 2020

FREE BOOK TODAY! Waiting for Richard by Carol Ann Kauffman


Waiting for Richard

As retired insurance office manager Skye McKenna launches a new career as a children's book author, she embarks on a book tour in Australia, where she meets a reclusive elephant-loving veterinarian. Why does he seem so familiar? 
And so attractive? 
And how old is TOO old to find love?


The TIME AFTER TIME series follows a pair of quintessential lovers, Richard and Nicole, through their lives together, at different times, in different places, with different names and faces. This follows the alternate theory that the relationships we forge in this lifetime, both good and bad, are continued in the future and rooted in the past. Those people who have had a profound effect on us in this life will find us in the future.
Amazon Buy Link: http://tinyurl.com/m6njc9b

But wait! Here's an excerpt to read before you buy. :)




Chapter One
Location: Sterling, Ohio

“Run!” said Rita, fear catching in her voice.
“Are you kidding me?” replied Skye. “I’m too damn old to run! Do you want me to have a heart attack? Or fall and break a hip? If some slimy son of a bitch wants a piece of me that bad, then let him come! He’ll be damn sorry.”
“We gotta get out of here. I’m scared,” Rita whispered. 
“Calm down, Rita. We’ll be okay.” Skye pulled out her cell phone and tapped 9-1-1. “Yes, we’re in the underground parking garage of the Sterling City Center and we’re being chased by a madman with a knife, and my friend here is scared and I’m too damn old to run. Yes. Skye McKenna. Sixty-six. Well, I’m glad you agree that’s too old to run.” 
           
“Help is on the way.”
“Skye, you don’t know he has a knife!”
“You’re absolutely right! He could have a gun. Shall I call her back and correct myself?” 
Sirens were blaring in the distance.
“Isn’t this illegal? This is at least a misdemeanor, if not a felony. Skye, we could end up in jail.”
“Would you rather be murdered in the underground parking garage?”
“No.”
“Then, cry and sniffle, look weak and helpless, and let me handle Sterling’s Finest. Damn! If I knew there was a chance we were going to die on the way to the car, I would’ve had dessert. They make this wonderful strawberry mascarpone cream cheese torte in there that is pure heaven on a plate.” 
A police car pulled up the aisle. Skye and Rita were shouting and waving.
“We’re here! We’re here. Did you see him? He ran that way,” Skye pointed. One officer, the shorter, younger one, took off on foot in the direction of Skye’s pointing finger. The taller, older one stayed with them and tried to calm them down. He walked them to their car and let them sit to rest.
“It’s okay, ladies, you’re safe now. Can you give me a description of this madman with the knife? Height, weight, clothing?” Rita cried and sniffled, shaking her head no.
“About six feet tall, brown hair, brown eyes, stubbly face, jeans, light green tee-shirt with some band name on it, navy pea coat, old black tennis shoes. No piercings or jewelry. No visible tattoos. Not a bad looking guy.”
“Weight?”
“I’m no judge of weight. Far be it from me to attach a number to the human frame. I know I certainly don’t like it when they do it to me. Not fat, not too skinny, but a slim build. Just right.”

“Age?”
“Thirties, I’m guessing here.
“The knife?”
“Chef’s knife. Silver handle, scalloped grip. You can’t buy those individually, you have to buy the whole set. They come with a wooden butcher’s block.”
“Did he brandish the knife at you?”
“Of course, he did! Do you think we would’ve called for help if he were just a prep chef taking his knife out for a midnight stroll in the underground parking garage? He threatened us.”
“What did he say?”
“He said, ‘Die, you bitches!’” 
The other officer came back, shaking his head. 
“Couldn’t find him. I heard running and panting, though. There was definitely someone out there who didn’t want to stop and talk to the police. He got away.”
“Were you in the restaurant?” asked Tall Officer. Skye and Rita nodded. “Did he follow you out?” They looked at each other.
“We don’t know. We ate too much. We were just about rolling out of there. We weren’t paying any attention,” said Skye. “Officer, we’re really tired. This has been a harrowing experience. We want to go home. If we remember anything else, we’ll call you, okay?” He took their names and contact numbers and said he’d be in touch. 
“Lock your doors. Go straight home, Ladies.” 
He patted the hood of Skye’s car and let them go. Skye drove away.                                                  

“Good God, Skye, I was scared to death. How can you be so calm?”
“This isn’t calmness. It’s boredom.”
“How can you be bored when we’re being stalked by a menacing slasher in a dark underground parking garage at night with a big knife?”
“Did you ever think he might’ve just been some poor shlub walking to his car? Maybe he had a business dinner, or some other meeting. Or maybe he works at Sterling City Center. And, Rita, we didn’t see a weapon, remember?  Just because he was in the parking garage at the same time as we were doesn’t mean he was after us or dangerous or a public menace.  
“No, no, Skye. I know he was. He looked at me funny. And where did you ever come up with that description? That was nothing like him.”
“That cutie pie? Oh, he’s the man in my head! He’s always in there, smiling at me. That one walking in the garage? I’m not sure that he was after us, or after anybody.” 
“Well, let’s hope the police don’t find the man in your head. They’ll arrest him.”
“Oh, Rita. I’ve looked for him all my life. If they can find him and detain him, I’ll gladly go bail him out. And take him home and make him some soup and give him a back rub and…” love him forever, she finished the sentence to herself. My Richard. 
Rita laughed.
“Skye, you’re crazy!”
“I know,” she sighed. She was resigned to the fact she would never find him, this incredible man in her head with the big, warm, liquid-velvet brown eyes and the sweetest unguarded smile. The cutest dimple. A splash of freckles across the bridge of his nose. He’d been there, in her dreams, smiling at her, for as long as she could remember. If she hadn’t found him by now, she never would. And if she found him now at her age, her hormonal drive was gone, her skin didn’t quite fit her body anymore, and she had succumbed to gravity, what the hell would she do with him besides make him soup and give him a back rub? Still, he was there, in her head. Smiling. Those eyes.
Skye pulled up in front of Rita’s rental house.
“Will you be okay?”
“Sure. See you tomorrow after work. I’ll bring you that letter from my kid brother. It’s causing me sleepless nights. You’ll see what I mean. He always exaggerates I know, but this time he’s in trouble, and it’s worse than the usual. I just know it, but I don’t know what to do about it.”
“Okay, bring it over. We’ll figure out what’s up with him. Good night, Rita. I’ll wait until you get in and check the house for slashers hiding under your bed or in the closet, with my finger on speed dial to the police department.”
“Thanks, Skye. You’re a peach. Good night,” she chuckled. 
“Good night, Ri.” Rita went in, checked her apartment and waved Skye off.  Skye went home and went to bed.

Skye was awakened very early by the sound of the doorbell. She pulled on her robe and slippers and shuffled to peak out the window. Sterling Police Department.
“Ms. McKenna?”
“Yes?”
“Ms. McKenna, it’s Detective Samson. This is Officer Metz. May we come in?”
“Yes, of course. What’s wrong?” she said as she moved aside to let them in.
“Ahh, Ms. McKenna, we need to talk to you about what happened in the parking garage at Sterling City Center last night.”
“Well okay, but we told the officers everything we knew last night.”
“There has been a… recent development, Ms. McKenna. Rita Collier is in the hospital. Someone broke into her home sometime last night and shot her. She’s alive, but in serious condition. Head wound. She’s unresponsive, in a coma.” 
Skye sank into the couch, hardly able to comprehend what he said. Someone shot Rita? Last night?
“Oh, my God!”
“Ms. McKenna, could you come down to the station with us and look at some mug shots? Maybe you could identify the man you saw in the parking garage.”
“Oh, my God!” Identify the man I saw in the parking garage? Rita was right. The poor schlub in the garage was a dangerous criminal. And he went to Rita’s house and shot her. Now, how was she going to describe the real man in the garage, the real assailant? What a mess!
“Okay. I’ll get dressed.”       
“We’ll wait for you and take you down to the station, and then Officer Metz here will bring you back home when we’re done.”

Skye splashed her face with cold water, threw on some clothes, ran a comb through her short strawberry blonde hair and was ready to go.
“If you want, we can stop at the hospital. We can see how your friend is doing. We’d like to know if she regained consciousness.”
“Yes, I’d like that.”
They drove to the hospital. While the police talked to nurses at the desk, Skye was allowed to see Rita.
                                                  
“Rita? Rita, it’s Skye. Honey, can you hear me?” Skye held her hand. No response.
“What can I do, Rita? I am just sick about this. I feel horrible. What can I do to help you?” No response. A nurse came in.
“We haven’t been able to get a response from her. Are you a relative?”
“No, I’m a close friend. We had dinner together last night. I can’t believe this. She has a brother, Ron. I have his number at home. I’ll call him when I get home.” 
The nurse left.

“Skye,” whispered Rita haltingly, eyes still closed, “in the freezer. Cream puffs.” Rita squeezed her hand and released it. Skye gasped
“Rita! Rita! Nurse!” screamed Skye. “Nurse! She said … cream puffs!” 
The nurse came rushing back in with the police. She checked Rita.        



“No change. She’s still unresponsive. Sometimes there is some involuntary movement.” Skye blinked. She knew she heard her. Cream puffs.
“Oh, this is all my fault. Last night, she was so scared. She said he looked at her funny. And I just blew it off.”

“No, you didn’t,” said Officer Metz. “You called 9-1-1. Officers responded. The officers on the scene looked for the assailant and reported hearing someone running away from the scene. A report was filed. And you got her home safely.”
“Yes, and now she’s laying here in a hospital bed, shot in the head, in a coma.”
“Come on. Let’s go down to the station. Maybe we can get an ID on this guy.”
“I’ll be back later, Rita. I’ll call Ron. Hang in there. It’ll be okay. I’ll bring you some of cream puffs, okay honey? Love you.” She turned to the nurse. “I’d like to bring her robe and a few things from home to make her feel more comfortable.” 
“That’s fine,” the nurse nodded.

Down at the station, Skye settled in with books of mug shots, looking for the man in her dreams, whom she knew was no criminal. She was really looking for the man from the parking garage, the short, scruffy, longish-haired, messy, blonde guy with the large nose and the bad complexion. And what was she going to do if she found him? She looked at page after page, book after book of mug shots.

“No, not in here.”
“Would you like to talk with the precinct artist?” asked Detective Samson.
“No, not really. I’m all criminaled out right now. I’d like to go home and call Rita’s brother and then go get her things together to take back to the hospital. We have each other’s spare key.”
“Okay. Maybe later. Officer Metz will take you home.”
“Thank you.”




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Thursday, March 26, 2020

ENTERTAINMENT: Locke & Key











I had my doubts I would like this. I don't care for scary or horror flicks. This was really good. It was a cross between the Lost Room and the Chronicles of Narnia. Well-written and well acted. I do not know at this time if there will be a second season of Locke & Key, but I hope so!
Hugs,
Carol

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Vision and Verse does not use cookies. We do not store any personal information like email addresses, home addresses, etc. We do not give any information to third parties. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

INTERVIEW: Author Joseph Carrabis



Joseph Carrabis
I divide my time between Nashua, NH, 
and the landscapes of my imagination. 
More often the latter.





Good morning, Joseph, and welcome to Vision and Verse, the place for Art and Authors. What have you written?
I published several trade-technicals back in the 1980s, self-published some marketing neuroscience books, Reading Virtual Minds Volumes I-III, in the 2000s and 2010s, a collection of short stories, Tales Told 'Round Celestial Campfires, and a novel, Empty Sky, in the past few years. "Empty Sky" is currently out of print as I've learned a great deal about writing since I released it and am using my new learnings to improve the story-telling and -crafting. I've had my short stories, poetry and children's stories published in print magazines and online. I'm currently shopping another novel, The Augmented Man, around with agents and publishers. My short stories have been nominated for both Nebula and Pushcart.



What is your favorite genre to write?
Interesting question. My business card reads "Autobiography in the guise of fiction, fantasy,scifi, magic realism and other associated Dark Arts".


Favorite food.
Tough one. Probably anything spicy.


Tea or coffee?
Coffee. But only if it's freshly ground from finely roasted beans. I apprenticed to a coffee broker once and it spoiled me.


Pizza or ice cream?
Pizza. I routinely make hand-made pizza (including the crust) for friends. Unless it's the ice-cream Susan makes by hand for dessert after we've had pizza.


Wine or beer?
Depends on what it's with, who I'm with and the type of day we've had, and I more often will have a glass of wine than a bottle of beer.


Where would you like to visit?
Ha. Anything off axis.


Favorite musical artist.
Another tough one. Depends on my mood and the genre. I've been playing Bach two-part inventions since my early teens and I still learn something new each time I sit down to play one. Buddy Holly, ELP, The Beatles, Eric Clapton, any heavy organ music (helped repair and rebuild pipe organs when I was a teenager), Buxtehude, Beethoven, Rimsky-Korsakov, Rachmaninoff (thank goodness I have large hands!), Michael Hedges, Willie&Lobo, Max Lasser, Ottmar Liebert, Prince, David Bowie, Andreas Vollenweider, ... Right now I'm listening to Marshall Crenshaw. I'm pretty eclectic based on two things: I learn from the music or it transports me.
Do you listen to music when you write?  
All the time and that includes the sounds of nature (often work on my backporch which abuts forest).



What makes you laugh?
Myself most often. A good joke (so subjective!).


This is an Art and Author blog, so I obliged to ask: 
Favorite work of art or sculpture.
Another toughy. Hmm...My honest to god first response was "The Andromeda Nebula, The Horsehead Nebula, The Crab Nebula, The Heart Stars, ..." Eventually I got to "the aurora borealis, the ocean, ..." And of course Susan is in there. Human made, though? Do cityscapes count? Buildings? Monuments of hope or charity? And do we count "favorite" as "interesting" or "amazed by" or "beautiful to look at" or ...?


How old were you when you started writing?
I think it was late single digits although I'm sure I was making up stories before that. My sister got me started.


Do you plan out your book with outlines and notecards? Or just write?
Both. It depends on what I'm working on. Often stories come to me fully realized and I'm just recording them. Sometimes I get the last scene, nothing else and write towards that last scene. Sometimes I get an idea and then several scenes come to me over about a week. This happened with Ritchie and Phyl. I wrote the first scene then made notes on the rest (an outline in scenes).


Describe your perfect evening.
Susan and me on the backporch, our dog and cat sleeping on the futon, watching the darkness envelop the woods as they come out to say hello.


Where do you get your inspiration?
Everything and Everywhere.


What do you do when you get a writer's block?
I don't get it often and when I do I can usually trace it back to the cause, alleviate the problem and continue writing. An example is Labor Relations.


Who is your favorite author?
Another tough question. It depends on what I'm reading for. And about. Craig Johnson's fairly consistent as far as storytelling and storycrafting go. I've always enjoyed his Longmire novels and short stories both as stories and writing examples. I've recently discovered Katherine Mansfield and am in awe of her skills (that theme of "learning" is cropping up again, it seems). James Dickey is a master poet. Once I get started on his stuff it's tough to put down. Langston Hughes and James Baldwin woke me up. Painfully and needfully. Ursula LeGuin. And I'd be ashamed if I didn't mention James Tiptree, Jr./Alice Sheldon. She woke me up, as well. Algis Budrys is a steady influence. Again, eclectic. We haven't even gotten into the ancients and near-ancients (everything from myths, fairytales and folklore from around the globe to Verne, Wells, Lucien, Shelley, Homer, ...) all of whom teach so much.



Best book you ever read.
The next one.



Last book you read.
Thirteen Moons/Charles Frazier (+++), Station Eleven/Emily St. John Mandel (---), The Darkening Web/Alexander Klimburg (-), No Is Not Enough/Naomi Klein (0). I rarely read a single book at a time. The last single book I read was Michael Crichton's "The Terminal Man"(+++).





What would you do for a living if you weren’t a writer?
Something boring.


Who is the one person who has influenced your personal life the most and why?
Susan. She said "Yes".


If you could sit down and have a conversation with ONE person, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be and why?
The Universe. To discover that all my questions are meaningless, irrelevant.


What advice would you give someone who aspired to be a writer?
Write, write and write. When you think you've written something that's totally completely freakin' brilliant, put it aside for at least a month, preferably a year. After that time's gone by, pick it up again and decide if it's still totally completely freakin' brilliant. If it is, send it out. If it isn't, congratulate yourself for what you've learned (as in my pulling "Empty Sky" from circulation while I improve it. I should note that everybody who's reached out to me after reading it says it's great, wonderful, spell-binding. I'm the only one so far who thinks it can be improved.)

Links:
Amazon http://nlb.pub/jdcamazon

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/JosephCarrabisAuthor/

Goodreads
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3465227.Joseph_Carrabis


Twitter
https://twitter.com/JosephCarrabis


LinkedIn
https://www.linkedin.com/in/josephcarrabis


My blog
http://www.josephcarrabis.com



Note:
Vision and Verse does not use cookies. We do not store any personal information like email addresses, home addresses, etc. We do not give any information to third parties. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

BOOK REVIEW: The Bed and Breakfast Man by Amanda Ward







Amazon Buy Link:
https://www.amazon.com/Breakfast-Those-Flirty-Forties-Fifties-ebook/dp/B00PI0IV80


Absolutely lovely story about two mature individuals, both familiar with the harshness and pain of broken relationships, find love together in a beautiful small British village at Christmas time. For a short story the characters are so well developed. A must read.


Monday, March 23, 2020

ART: Photography - The Beauty of Race Cars

Dear Gentle Readers,
My Book, The Baslicato, is the story of a British actor who wakes up in an Italian race car driver's body. The race car driver Jason Maxwell is known as the Baslicato, he's preparing for a big race, and someone is trying to kill him. Oh, and also, his beautiful wife hates his guts! 


Part of the story takes place at a famous Italian raceway. 





Doing research for The Baslicato was fun! I discovered racers like to talk about racing. Here are some great race car photos.



Sunday, March 22, 2020

SCHEDULE: March 23 - 27, 2020


Mon., March 23 - ART:
The Beauty of Race Cars
Tues., March 24 - BOOK REVIEW:
The Bed and Breakfast Man 
by Amanda Ward
Wed., March 25 - INTERVIEW:
Author Joseph Carrabis
Thurs., March 26 - ENTERTAINMENT:
Locke and Key
Fri., March 27 - BOOK:
Waiting for Richard 
by Carol Ann Kauffman




Note:
Vision and Verse does not use cookies. We do not store any personal information like email addresses, home addresses, etc. We do not send our email and newsletters. We do not give any information to third parties. 

Friday, March 20, 2020

BOOK: Bentley Square by Carol Ann Kauffman



Strangers meet on the train. She, a beautiful, wealthy businesswoman. He, a down on his luck office manager. They have nothing in common. And yet, they are drawn to each other with an undeniable hypnotic magnetism. This is the story of Rebecca Robbins, daughter of one of the wealthiest men in the country and Mark Ramsay, a man shrouded in dark mystery and hiding in the shadows from death squads amid international intrigue.

Amazon Buy Link:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009Y9DPIC


Table of Contents
Chapters
1.   Probably A Shoe Salesman
2.   The Greater of the Two Evils
3.   Destiny at the Diner
4.   Deadly Ambush
5.   Fusco, Minion of Satan
6.   Saving the Comstock
7.   A Cover Blown, A New Identity
8.   A Reunion Leads to Danger
9.   Kidnapped
10. Rescuing Becca
11. Jonathan Claims His Reward
12. Peril in the Afternoon



Everything changes.  Only love remains the same.

EXCERPT:

Chapter Three – Destiny at the Diner
                                                        
At lunchtime, Becca decided she needed some air and just wanted to get out of the office.  The sun was shining.  The sky was a beautiful shade of blue.  The air was crisp and clean after a morning rain.  She walked down the street, passed the new Italian restaurant.  She was drawn into Sullivan’s diner.  She hadn’t been in the diner in years.  She and her father used to come here for lunch when she first starting working at Bentley Square.  The diner was busy.
“Rebecca, is that you?  How are you?  Good to see you."
 “Hello, Mr. Sullivan.  It’s good to see you, too.  I’m fine.  And you?”
“Good, good.”
“And sweet Mrs. Sullivan?”
“She’s good.  She’s making peach pies today.  I don’t see you down this way any more.”
“The Boss doesn’t let me out too often, but we DO order take-out."
“Yes, I know.  The Boss likes my Reuben sandwich.  Tell him I said hi, honey.”
“I will.”
She sat in a small booth by the window and ordered a turkey sandwich and a black coffee.  Across the street in one of the old, falling apart buildings was an agency she never heard of.  It looked dark and gloomy, a sad place to work. Bad vibrations. 
 “Excuse me,” she tapped the man behind her in the next booth on the shoulder, “How long has that agency been there?  I’ve worked downtown for years now, and I’ve never heard of it.  It seems a little depressing.  What is it, Fusco’s?"
He turned around.  It was HIM, her ‘Richard’!
“Ah, I, well, hello there!”  He felt an odd mix of shock, fate, and sheer delight.  He felt she was close, but certainly not THIS close!  “Fusco’s?  It’s an advertising agency.  Its small, unassuming.  It’s been there a very long time, twenty-five years.  Depressing?  Oh, yes, you could say that.  I work there.  I’ve been there… for five years now.  I’m… I’m the office manager.  Ah… I’m Mark, Mark Ramsey.  I’m, ah, so pleased to finally get to meet you… after all the times I’ve… ah, seen you at the station and… wanted to…”  He extended his hand.  Oh, God, he was acting like a complete idiot, he thought to himself.  Just shut the hell up, he advised himself.
Becca was elated.  He was so warm.  He was very familiar to her, she knew him.  So, her Richard’s name was Mark.  He didn’t strike her as a Mark.  But Mark was a nice name, a good name.  Mark.  She shook his hand.  No, not shook, more like caressed it.  Tingle.  She held on to it.  Oh, great hand, nice, well-proportioned, big, nice strong grip.  She didn’t want to let go.  And a very nice lower lip!  That wonderful voice, it spoke to her without words.  That was the voice she heard, calling to her, talking to her, saying things like “I’m here,” and “Find me,” and “Hello, Sweetheart.”  She thought the sound of it was absolutely mesmerizing.  She wanted to hear more of it.
“Hello, Mark,” she smiled at him. “I’m Becca.  Would you care to join me?”
He couldn’t believe his good luck!  He brought his coffee over and sat across from her.  He thought she was even more beautiful up close.  And she had such a lovely voice, not high-pitched or gooey, but pleasant, calm, silken, and so soothing.
“I looked for you at the station this morning, Mark, but I didn’t see you.”
Wow!  She looked for him, and she admitted it, he thought.  He looked at her left hand.  No wedding ring.  No engagement ring.  For a day that started so badly for him, it just kept getting better and better.  Early this morning Mr. Fusco threatened to fire him for his lackluster performance and poor leadership qualities.  He called him pitiful and worthless.  And everybody heard.  
“I had an early meeting with my boss to discuss my semi-annual job performance evaluation today.  I would have much rather been at the station looking at you looking for me.  You work near here, too?”
“Yes, at Bentley Square,” she giggled.
“That damn mighty bastard of Bentley Square, Carlton Robbins, just bought my apartment building and is going to tear it down.  In less than three weeks.  I just can’t believe he’s giving us less than three weeks notice before he throws us all out on the street to fight for the few remaining city apartments, slum spots actually.”
“You live at the Comstock?”
“Yes”
“Oh, Mark!  I’m so sorry.”
“No, no, I’m the one who’s sorry,” he said softly, apologetically.  “Here I am ranting on and on about the Comstock, when I’m sitting here with such a beautiful woman.  One I’ve been hoping to meet… no, no, longing to meet for a very long time now!  What on earth is the matter with me?” he said, looking down, shaking his head. 
“Not a thing,” she smiled, flirting with him.  He looked up and blushed.  Stay still, don’t reach for her, don’t scare her off, he said to himself, and WHATEVER the hell you do, don’t you leap across this table and kiss her!  Breathe.  Go slow.
“I love the Comstock,” she said.  “It’s a wonderful old building, a historic treasure in fact, and I think it should be saved.”
“You do?  Really?  I do, too.” He leaned in a little closer.  He was amazed and delighted that they shared a common cause.
He had wonderful eyes, dark, very expressive.  One could get lost in them.
“Yes!  I just love the old moldings and the fretwork, the ornate little keyholes and the mailboxes.  And the outside is a perfect example of Gothic architecture, the last in the city.  It should be saved.”  
“Yes.  I agree!  It’s a great old building.  I really like it there,” he said.  
She smiled.  Oh, that warm, sweet smile, he thought.  He was fighting the urge to hug her, wrap her arms around and hold her tight.  Oh, don’t blow this, he said to himself.  Don’t frighten her away.  Don’t send her screaming for the door.                           
“And do you have any ideas on how we could do that?” he said calmly.
“Well, yes, actually, I do.  You can check to see if it can be registered as a historical building.  I know it’s over a hundred years old.  And I remember reading about an Ohio president staying there when it was the Comstock Hotel, but it may have been Warren G. Harding, but I’m not sure.  But if you can get it registered, they can’t tear it down.   I think there’s a very real possibility it could be a historical landmark.  And, if it’s accepted, they’ll send you a little plaque to hang outside.  It’ll be in the National Historical Landmark Registry then.  And it’ll be safe.  They’ll need the date building began and the date it opened.  Other than that, they insist on doing all their own research, so you don’t have to send anything else.  And here’s the phone number,” taking it out of her handbag.  She also wrote down what he needed.  It was on her to-do list for today, but he could do it.
She handed him the paper.  He took it and looked at it.  He recognized that beautiful handwriting, from a note to him signed, ‘Love, Nic,’ but from where?  Nic… Nicole.  He clutched it to him.  He would keep it, even after he made the phone call.  He would fold it up into a tiny square and keep it with him in his wallet.  
“Becca, you are wonderful!  So wonderful!  Thank you.  I have to go now, oh, I hate to leave you, after waiting SO very long to finally get a chance to meet you, but my boss, Mr. Fusco, watches the clock and I’m already late.  And he’s not happy with me at all today.”
“I hate to see you go so soon, too.  But I understand, Mark.”  
“Would you think about… maybe, meeting me here tomorrow?  Eleven thirty?  Then we could have… a whole half-hour together.  I’m sorry but that’s all I get for lunch.”
“Okay.”  She nodded and smiled at him.  She wanted to crawl across the table and lick that lower lip. 
“Great!  See you tomorrow.  Here.  11:30.”  And off he ran across the street.  He turned and shyly waved to her with that faint sweet smile as he went into the office. 
She waved back and watched him until he disappeared into the darkness.  She went back to her coffee and sandwich.  

      Goodbye, Sweetheart.  See you tomorrow.

She looked up, but couldn’t see him.  How does she DO that, he thought.
She finished her lunch and walked back to Bentley Square with a spring in her step, feeling ignited from inside, happy.  The sky was so beautiful today; that perfect shade of periwinkle blue, and not a cloud in the sky. The city skyline was glistening in the sun.  She found him.  She finally found him.  And he was incredible.  It was a great day!
“What happened to you?” asked Gracie.
“What do you mean?” asked Becca.
“SOMETHING happened to you in the last half hour!  You look like you just came back from two weeks in Florida, all calm and relaxed and… something else I can’t quite put my finger on.  Oh, my God, Becca, did you drink your lunch today?  We have this giant meeting with Wagner & Charles at one o’clock and I don’t think I can handle it without you.”
“Calm down, Gracie.  I had a turkey sandwich and a cup of black coffee.  I am not drunk.  I am just very happy.  Is it so unusual for me to be happy?”
“No, no.  You’re always pleasant, and happy, yes.  But THIS?  This is different.”
She turned and smiled at Gracie.
“Fantasy Lover...I met him at Sully’s.  Oh, Grace, he’s wonderful.”
“Well, if the man can do THAT in a half an hour in broad daylight in a public place while you’re eating a turkey sandwich, then he is… wonderful.  Can I run a background check on him?  Just to make sure he is of this earth.  Name, date of birth, oh, a fingerprint or a hair would be great!” 


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