Thanks to our readers for catching misspellings
Alchemist thanks to reader Virgil for catching the misspelling of bass in the last blog. It was written as base, but since it is the bass in music, the spelling is bass. A good pair of eyes is still better than spell check.
Alchemist Gift: He knew she wasn’t ignoring him, it wouldn’t be like her. Liz was in the habit of shutting her phone off when she did her volunteer work. He checked his impatience. She finally sent a text around six that evening. She might be able to meet him at The Edelweiss around eight that evening; that is if she wasn’t needed. But even that was a big maybe.
Roland drove back to the granny flat and parked the car under the cramped carport off the alley. It was a little after six. As he sat in the car he looked in his wallet. He had a twenty, three fives and seven one dollar bills. He didn’t really want to be stuck in his hovel and eat a bowl of noodles alone.
“Screw it.” He grabbed his back pack that held a few reference books and his laptop and headed back to The Edelweiss.
The dinner crowd hadn’t quite arrived and in that lull Roland had a chance to talk to Brian. The two sat outside at the same table Roland sat at that morning with Liz.
“So, what’s new?” Brian was in his early fifties, heavy set with dark hair cropped close on the sides. He had a jowly face and fat fingers and was quick to make a joke or give a tidbit of sage advice.
Roland took the books out of his bag and opened his laptop. “Girl trouble,” Roland frowned.
“With Liz?” Brian was surprised.
“With Liz. She’s got this “hands off” thing going on. All of a sudden she’s wondering about our relationship.”
“All of a sudden? Hum, let me guess, it started when you said ‘no’ to moving in together.”
Roland reflected on what Brian said. “You know, you’re right, it was a few days after that.”
“So why aren’t you guys living together? This is the 21st century you’re not going to be burned at the stake for fornication.”
“I don’t know, we both decided we needed our space.”
“Did both of you decide or was it you?”
“I kind of suggested it and she agreed.”
“Women put up with a lot, I think they’re wired that way, but, you have to treat them right and take them serious.” Brian turned in his chair and took a plastic thermos coffee pitcher off the bus cart and a couple of cups. He set the cups on the table and filled them and slid one over to Roland.
“I do take Liz seriously, god; at times she’s way too serious.” The coffee was hot and burnt the tip of his tongue when he took a sip.
“This isn’t rocket science. If you took her seriously and you’re treating her right, well, my friend, she wouldn’t be unhappy.”
“It’s like she’s withholding sex, until I figure out that she wants.”
“I don’t think Liz would do that, not for that reason.” Brian blew into the steaming coffee and set it back down on the table. “You have to be patient and listen to what she has to say. You know, she’s a special person. For someone who never had a real family she’s left most of that baggage behind. She’s pretty and smart and it’s obvious she loves you. You’re lucky that way.”
Roland was about to defend his action or rather his non-action when they were interrupted.
“Hey, Brian!” called out the leader of a party of eight who arrived for dinner.
“Gotta go, I have a duty to my customers,” Brian patted Roland on the shoulder and followed his guests in.
Roland opened one of the reference books and started to read about alchemy. His need for people usurped his ability to concentrate as a steady stream of diners passed him by on their way to eat and drink. He would read a passage or two and find himself looking up from the text when he heard a bit of conversation or the sound of a girl’s voice. He was there long enough to recognize the people who entered eventually leave.
It was cool and Roland was the only one outside. He didn’t mind at all. He would not be unable to read inside for all the noise and the dim lighting. He had a sweater draped over his shoulders and finally ordered a bowl of tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. He ate slowly and had hopes that Liz would meet him there. The people came and went until the dinner rush was over a little after nine o’clock. By nine-thirty the cars drove off and the street was almost deserted. Roland waited.
* * * * * * *
The icy white glow of the halogen headlights of the large, black Mercedes Benz showed up in the rear view mirror of Lila Thurston’s convertible Ferrari again. She first noticed her pursuer twenty minutes after she hurriedly left her step-dad’s office at Fifth and B Street. Lila headed east on University Avenue away from downtown. She figured no one would look for her in quaint and shabby North Park. In her effort to escape she took several side streets but always headed back to University Avenue. She wanted to get to the 15 on ramp at 40th Street. She would decide if she wanted to go north or south when she got there. Once on the freeway she could easily outrun the Mercedes. Only rookie cops stopped her for speeding, and they only made that mistake once.
At the next light she made her move. She sped into the left hand turn lane and through the next intersection just as the yellow arrow turned red. A quick glance in the rearview mirror and she saw the Mercedes was stuck at the light behind four cars. She frantically looked along the street. She saw a young man sitting at an open air table in front of a restaurant. Lila pulled to the curb; she gunned the engine until she got the young man’s attention.
“Hey you!” she called out.
Roland looked up from his book. He pointed to himself. “Me?”
“Yeah, you. You’ve got to hide me before they come. They’re after me.” Her voice trembled.
Roland was instantly taken by a very pretty young woman as well as the Ferrari. Lila’s blond hair flowed over her shoulders. Her blue eyes were wild and primal. Her features were fine except for her pouty lips. Roland looked from left to right taking in every detail of the street. His gaze stopped on an oversized sandwich board that advertised The Edelweiss. The sandwich board was fitted with wheels and Brian rolled it in front of the dead end alley between the restaurant and a cell phone outlet next door.
“I’m going to move that sign and you pull into the alley.” Roland pointed over his shoulder and Lila eagerly agreed.
“Please hurry.” Lila pleaded.
Roland jogged to the sign and rolled it out of the way. Lila was already backing the Ferrari towards the alley. The timing was superb. As the front of the car disappeared into the narrow dark void of the alley Roland pushed the sign back into place and quickly returned to his seat. His heart was racing and he calmed himself by taking a few deep breaths and exhaling slowly until he felt at ease. His book on alchemy turned into a prop as he sat there holding it up as if he was reading.
In less than two minutes from his encounter with the blond in the Ferrari the big black Mercedes 400 slowly rolled down the near empty street. It pulled up in front of Roland. The tinted window opened and a gruff voice called out. “Hey you, you seen a red Ferrari go by?”
Roland looked up at the car. “Yeah, a few minutes ago, Beautiful car.”
“Where’d it go?”
Roland pointed in the direction the Mercedes was headed. The window silently rolled up and the car headed down the street. Roland watched as the Mercedes slowed at each cross street and alley. When the Mercedes turned the corner he waited another minute or so before he went to the sandwich board and pulled it away just enough for Lila to come out.
Roland took in the rest of Lila. Her Gucci high heels made her a little taller than most, her perfect figure and long shapely legs were draped in Dior. For her jewelry Lila wore a gold necklace with a geometric teardrop design, an emerald ring and matching ear studs. She nervously held her clutch purse with both hands.
“Are you okay?” asked Roland.
“God, you don’t know how much I appreciate what you just did.”
She answered in a rush of airy words. Lila gave a nervous laugh. “God, I’m still shaking on the inside.” She began to shiver.
“You’re shaking on the outside too.” Roland took the sweater from his shoulders and draped it over hers.
Lila pulled the sweater tighter around her. Still shivering she spoke. “Let’s get inside, they might come back.”
“Good idea.” Roland followed Lila into the restaurant. She held her hand up to shield her face and quickly looked at the patrons sitting at the tables and the bar. When she was satisfied that no one knew her she brought her hand down.
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The Alchemist Gift is a book about the lives of people in the Renaissance and the alchemy that brought them together with its repercussions on our modern-day hero, Roland.
I am writing the novel Alchemist Gift online in real time. I will share a few paragraphs of the book with each blog. I am still writing the book. I’d like to know how you like what you are reading. Please use the comments section to share. If you make suggestions in your comments, I may incorporate your ideas into the book. We hope you will enjoy the process as much as I do, follow the saga and share it with your friends and colleagues.
2013 Mark D. Giglio, www.theartofgiglio.com
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