The Picture
A warehouse in Japan used as an emergency shelter in the aftermath of the 2011 Tsunami. A distraught, young Japanese woman in dishevelled clothes sits on a box, holding her infant daughter. Ben, a US rescue volunteer, kneels in front of her offering comfort. They hug, the baby between them. The moment turns into an hour as the woman sobs into his shoulder; mourning the loss of her husband, her home, the life she knew. A picture is taken, capturing the moment. It becomes a symbol; of help freely given and of the hope of the survivors. The faces in the picture cannot be recognised, and that is how Ben likes it. No celebrity, thanks not required.
But others believe that being identified as the person in the picture is their path to fame and fortune. Ben stands, unknowingly, in their way, but nothing a contract killing cannot fix.


Context:  Ben Davis, Paul Truscott’s lifelong friend, has been shot and lies in the Emanuel Medical Center in Portland Oregon.   It is a few hours after Ben has been brought in and doctors are still working to save him.  Paul has received no news during this time and is sitting in a visitor’s area. 

He gathered up his empty coffee cups and walked slowly toward the row of bins. Ignoring the recycling signs for conscientious disposal, he threw them in the closest and walked toward the main entrance.
Paul walked out of the hospital and stood looking out at the top level of the floodlit car park, deeply breathing in the damp, cold air. The floodlights made the surrounding darkness darker but with them he could see that, although the wind had died down, the rain had increased and was now coming down in a heavy stream, cones of silver water in the mostly empty car park.
Staring into the night Paul thought again of his friend. Of the scrapes and lucky escapes they had been through as teenagers and young men. Broken-down relationships, broken-down cars, and broken-down bikes, they had helped each other through and shared so many things in their lives. And, as with any good friendship they ribbed each other mercilessly, yet knew that there was no line that couldn’t be crossed and whatever was done or whatever was said they always had complete trust in each other.
Paul laughed sadly, more trust than in his marriages. For the first he had trusted her and shouldn’t have. The second he had betrayed her, but the result was the same, quick divorce and move on. Ben had been honest with him before both marriages. And the advice he’d given, to run away from the first girl and hang onto the second, had been correct and given with perfect honesty, but Paul hadn’t listened, and he knew he’d messed up both times.
He smiled while he considered the friendship he had. They were the same in so many ways, the same likes and dislikes, they shared the same sense of humor, the same sense of adventure, and of wanting to live life the best way they could. It was the subtle differences that was the glue held them together and Paul was honest enough with himself to know what they were. Ben always seemed to consider any alternatives while Paul put everything into Plan A, which was probably the cause of his two failed marriages.
And Ben had an uncanny knack of being able to talk to people though he hated being called a “people person”. He could listen, give the right answer, and make people trust what he said, make people believe he cared, although that wasn’t so hard for him as mostly he did care.
Paul laughed remembering the old lady down in Newport with the old bike he had helped Ben to pick up. She hardly knew him, they’d only met a couple of times, yet she was carried on like he was her long-lost son, she seemed so happy that she’d met him he was taking the bike. But that was Ben, someone to trust.
The rain wasn’t slowing, and the edges of the car park were lost in the dark and the rain. Paul thought it was the perfect night for this, bad news, bad timing, all neatly sewn up by the awful weather.
Paul turned and walked back into the hospital toward the nurses’ station to find out if he could go up and see Ben and for the first time in over ten years wished he had a cigarette.

Author Bio –  I have always loved writing; putting words onto a page and bringing characters to life. I can almost feel myself becoming immersed into their lives, living with their fears and triumphs. Thus, my writing process becomes an endless series of questions. What would she or he do, how would they react, is this in keeping with their character? Strange as it sounds, I don’t like leaving characters in cliffhanging situations without giving them an ending, whichever way it develops.
My life to date is what compels me to seek a just outcome, the good will overcome and the bad will be punished. More though, I tend to see my characters as everyday people in extraordinary circumstances, but in which we may all find our selves if the planets align wrongly or for whatever reason you might consider.

Of course, most novels are autobiographical in some way. You must draw on your own experiences of life and from events you have experienced to get the inspiration. My life has been an endless adventure. Serving in the Navy, fighting in wars, serving as a Police officer and the experiences each one of those have brought have all drawn me to this point, but it was a downside to my police service that was the catalyst for my writing.

Medically retired after being seriously injured while protecting a woman in a domestic violence situation I then experienced the other side of life. Depression and rejection. Giving truth to the oft said saying that when one door closes another opens I pulled myself up and enrolled in college gaining bachelor and master degrees, for my own development rather than any professional need. The process of learning, of getting words down onto the page again relit my passion for writing in a way that I hadn’t felt since high school.

So here we are, two books published and another on track.

Where it will take me I have no idea but I am going to enjoy getting there and if my writing can bring some small pleasure into people’s lives along the way, then I consider that I will have succeeded in life.

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