Free Write Friday #19: Consequence/Taste

This post has been sitting here for awhile, because life is busy and things are crazy and I haven't actually been at work on Friday for a couple of weeks now. So to acknowledge my delay, I'm throwing in two more bonus pieces of writing: Sympathy and the latest installment of my Reddit Serial, 'The Adventures of Preston and Lark.'


Accidental Serial: So, I accidentally made a loose serial out of a bunch of these Theme Thursdays so here's the suggested reading order. Clarity, Survival, Luck, Vulnerability, (Consequence, see below), Contained and Trust.

Ricky Salewitz was drinking champagne. The wooden crate containing the Golden Owl of France was on the seat next to him and he was in first class, alone, flying on the red-eye back to the United States. Another treasure found. he'd keep it for a few months, of course, Put it on display, let people gawk at it whenever he had those dreadful parties Sean always held for the investors- then, he'd get bored with it and donate it back to France, but not the Louvre. He'd find some other museum and give them a centerpiece to show off.

Where to next?

There was The Florentine diamond he could find. or he could take another run at Magellan's Gold again. He hadn't even really looked for the Honjo Masamune.

His phone vibrated slightly on the tray table in front of him and he sighed. Another reminder about the damn merger. He picked up his phone and flipped it over. "Damn it, Sean," he muttered. "Quit bothering me."

He flipped the phone back over and took a sip of champagne, chiding himself a little at his reaction. He and Sean had built the company together, that was true and he should care more about the business side of it but- Sean was better at that sort of thing.

"I suppose I shouldn't just rush off again," Ricky muttered. He'd have to put the suit and tie on and go and play CEO for a few weeks to get the merger done. He owed Sean that much. He sighed, feeling some of his satisfaction leave him as he thought about the weeks ahead being stuck in boring meetings pretending like he was paying attention. He drained the last of his champagne. He pressed the call button and a flight attendant appeareed. He held up the glass.

"More champagne, please. I'm celebrating."

"Right away, sir," she replied. Soon enough his glass was filled again and he reached over to give the wooden crate a gentle pat. He had done it. He wasn't just a poseur billionaire looking to waste some money anymore,he had found the Golden Owl of France.

His phone vibrated again and with a sigh, he set his glass down to pick it up, fully prepared to send a scathing reply back to Sean. He flipped it over and froze.

There was a picture of a body laying on a beach with a knife protruding from it's abdomen. The message below was a terse and simple one:

"They killed her. R.O.C. authorities have the case, but I don't know for how long. What now?"

Ricky didn't hesitate. He typed back: "Initiate Phase One." Then, he turned off the phone, pried off the back of the case and, pulling the SIM card out, snapped it in two. He shoved the two pieces into the seat back pocket in front of him and took another sip of champagne. He couldn't go home now.

Sean was going to be thoroughly pissed off.


Inspiration: The Ghost City of Cyprus

"Pappous, can I not change your mind?" The old man shookd his head as he got out of the car, unsteady on his feet. "Give me the bottle, Niko."


"No," the old man shouted. "My mind is made up. You heard what the doctors said. Your Yaya is dead. I have weeks. Months if I'm lucky. I'm going home."

Niko put the car into park and turned it off. He opened the door and stepped out, grabbing the bottle of brandy and walking around the front of the car. Niko held out the bottle to him. The old man took it, uncorked it and took a long pull rom it. "Ah, that's the stuff," he said, swaying slightly.

"Pappous, is this really the way?"

"Niko, your papa, he cannot stand me. I was a bastard to him. Your Aunts have moved back to Greece and did their level best to forget about me. It's just you and me, Niko and I'm dying. I want to go home."

"They'll shoot you, Pappous, before you even get close."

"Maybe, maybe not," the old man said. "But I want to try. I've earned the right to try. And who knows, maybe the Turks will just see some crazy old man, trying to get home, one last time."

"I still don't understand," Niko said.

"I'm going to die, Niko. I want to go home before I do. I want to sit on the beachfront in the cafe of my parents and drink brandy. I want to smell the salt of the sea. I want to taste the spray of the ocean. I want to feel the sun on my face. I want to see Varosha again."

Niko brushed away a tear. "Pappous, I-"

The old man waved the bottle. "Don't you say it," ge said. "And don't you start crying eithre, otherwise I will too."

"All right," Niko said. "I won't."

"Good," the old man said. He reached up and patted Niko on the cheek. "You're a good boy, Niko. You look like your Mama. Thank you for putting up with a broken down, crazy old man like me."

Niko smiled, his eyes full again. "I love you too, Pappous."

The old man smiled and waved him away. He turned and walked down the other side of the road across the field. But now, Niko watched as he reached the far side of the field and crossed The Green Line before disappearing down a hill toward the beach. If he reached the beach, maybe the old man had a chance,. But even then, it was a long walk back to Varosha and there were plenty of soldiers that patrolled the area.

A few days later, Niko was busy in his cafe when he saw the item on the news and smiled. The old man had made it and the soldiers never had a chance at him. Heart attack, the news said. He'd gotten to taste the ocean spray one last time.


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