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Lunghezza:
355 pagine
5 ore
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Sep 19, 2015
ISBN:
9781513602806
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

The theatre -- Manahactanienk (island of many hills)
The story begins in 1674 as an approaching storm rapidly builds to hurricane force coursing havoc for the passengers and crew aboard ‘da Urchin’. Before the Dutch Fluyt could make the Strand to dock we’re thrust forward into contemporary New York where Gus Savvas third generation excavator and the story’s protagonist is overseeing the burial of his father Nick. “FUNERALS SUCK” is the consensus taken by two: Gus’ chum and NYU archeology professor Chase Warren and the books narrator Peter Stuyvesant.
Within days Gus and Chase are rummaging through the family’s attic only to find a crude drawing where the letters R C H are rendered into what seems to be a plank of wood. Several days later Chase pays a visit to the City Archives and meets up with Beth the department’s Assistant Manager. Together they stumble upon similar initials identifying a ship, ‘Da Urchin’ as one dating back to the mid-17th century and Peter Stuyvesant’s arrival in New Amsterdam. Later that day the ships manifest is found revealing the presence of gold bullion and minted coins as part of its cargo. The gold and coins were requisitioned by Stuyvesant to replenish the treasury so that improvements could be made to restore the colony and eliminate the horrid, squalid conditions he had inherited. Unbeknownst to either Beth or Chase, only the passengers made it ashore due to a mysterious explosion that sank the Urchin. Once that information surfaces a hunt is planned. (Historical fiction - 286 pages)

Editore:
Pubblicato:
Sep 19, 2015
ISBN:
9781513602806
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

Stan Peters is a native New Yorker. Born at a time when NYC newsstands carried eight Dailies, where people dropped change into a tin can and walked away with the news. Or, if books were your preference, maybe a mystery written in a ‘Runyan-ese’ dialectal. When a kid’s imagination would create a new game just for the heck of it. Come Saturday, slouched in a darkened movie house totally absorbed in the visual as if a fly-on-the-wall. Movies and their stories inspired him to such a degree that once television hit an ambition was starting to appear. With those ingrained caricatures coupled with his own creativeness eventually led Stan into a career in Advertising. It was the nearest resemblance of Hollywood and it turned out to suit his talents well. So at the ripe age of eighteen decided that Advertising was his stepping-stone toward directing feature films. Continuing his education enrolled in evening courses studying graphic design, film directing and editing at SVA. Thus setting him on his way to eventually opening an Ad Design Studio several years later.Presently retired from NY’s hectic pace, he’s been able to transfer his visual abilities into deep-plotted, multi-character novels of his fancy. Most recent (Cottonblood) under the pen name: SP Zelinsky.

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Embedded - Stan Peters

treasures.

Prologue

Funerals offer little comfort for the bereaved. I am surely one who knows, having witnessed a multitude of them before attending my own three-and-one-half centuries ago.

From off in a corner a faint voice interrupts: Attitude, sir. Avow yourself.

Lifting his chin he answers, Ah, yes. Clearing his throat he adjusts his brow to appear sterner. My formal manner often does throw some. Let me see how I may declare this in an unobstructed manner: Funerals suck! Sitting upright, he pulls at his vest. Now with a new deportment he continues. I've failed to introduce myself. I am Peter Stuyvesant. Present in good spirit and eager to perform the task of presenting this tale. Now mind you, being one of the principals, I will occasionally pop in where and when I think it necessary.

Grasping his walking stick, Stuyvesant rights himself and begins a short journey across the room to fix himself a stiff brandy...thump, tap, thump, tap. The library is cold and bare of rugs––as is the entire house. Stumping about with a peg leg would dictate the absence of floor wax. One might say the house reflects a trait of servitude, the ambiance mildly unsettling.

Stepping out quietly from an area by the window, a slightly built fellow appears. Grinning and bending forward at the waist, he politely announces, Welcome. I am Willem Koningh. Personal valet. When folks visit, I usually sit off in the corner. The Governor prefers that I be present, although he seldom seeks my aide. That is, aside from my dressing duties. But certainly never to fetch any spirits. Willem nervously glances over his shoulder toward the sideboard where Stuyvesant is recapping an ornate decanter. There is an ample supply of the finest brandies stored below in the basement: in fact, several kegs. Mementos from France, England, even one from Spain. They, along with other tokens, had accompanied him upon arrival. Turning back Willem asks, What are your impressions of the Governor? Hey...? Yes, schoolbooks, of course. So you are aware of his reputation and curt manner. Ah, even his occasional belligerent outbursts. What do you say we let him have his trot for now? Okay?

The repeating thump, tap, thump, tap grows closer. I’m sure you’ll find his tale to your liking. Stepping backward, Willem retreats to his chair at the window. Tapping his stick firmly, Stuyvesant raises the snifter with a high left-handed gesture and pronounces, To your health, pedestrian. I salute your presence! Taking a seat is a balancing act. First, placing his drink on the side table, and then grabbing hold of one arm of the chair, flops down onto it. Pulling his coattails out from under himself, he finds comfort. A long sigh of satisfaction is expelled before lifting the peg up onto the ottoman and retrieving the snifter. Upon savoring the brandy, he places it next to the Wall Street Journal. Leaning forward, he stacks both hands over the knob of the walking stick and begins. Are you ready for a recondite subterranean sort of journey? Lifting his right hand, he says, Fine, I’d like to narrate a brief history of New Amsterdam, this island and what it represented to us Dutch. Back in 1609, an English fellow, Henry Hudson arrived aboard the Half Moon. Acting in the service of the Dutch Republic as an emissary of Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange. In fact, Captain Hudson’s primary mission was to find a northwest passage for the Dutch East India Company.

Willem, from his seat, places a soft fist over his mouth and coughs. Twice. Politely. Upon hearing this, Stuyvesant grumbles a bit and leans back, lifts his snifter and fires a scowl at Willem.

Very well. Willem has a habit of monitoring many of my conversations. Fine. Continuing... Captain Hudson returned home with news of possibly exploiting the beaver pelt trade. This was of great importance at that time, to all in Holland and throughout Europe. One reason, the fur could be manufactured into waterproof hats and gloves. Another, the by-product—Castoreum, which is the secretion of the animals’ anal glands—was used for perfumes and for its medicinal properties. As a side note, Henry named the river Mauritius in honor of the prince.

Stuyvesant abruptly stops. Glancing toward Willem, who is now rolling his eyes and rotating his index finger. With that, the Governor drains the remaining brandy in a single gulp and orders, Damn you Willem—save me the bother and refill this.

With a partially open mouth Willem rises. His approach is one of haste and anxiousness. Stuyvesant, distracted by a clap of thunder, turns toward the window while extending the snifter. Willem scuffles forward with extended arms... the exchange fails. The empty snifter breaks on impact with the bare, hardwood boards. Willem freezes for a moment, then disappears.

Fool! Pay him no mind. We put up with each other. Now... where was I? Ah, yes, the expeditions of Block and Christiansz from 1611 through 1614. Their surveying and charting of the region proved successful and responsible for a four-year trade monopoly. Now, I’m sure Willem would attest, historical facts can bore most. So I will advance to the morning of May 11, 1647 when I first set foot... Stuyvesant abruptly breaks into bellowing laughter. Still laughing says, My goodness, I inadvertently made a pun! Just as Willem returns, holding a brush and pan, another enormous clap of thunder strikes. Along with a sudden gust of wind causing the flames of the candles near the window to waver. A monstrous storm is approaching.

CHAPTER ONE

Where Sea and Islands Meet

Manahatouh, November 1648––The driving rain is forcing a small herd of deer to seek shelter in the forest. One by one, they cross the flooding stream. Fifty yards to the west, a pair of Beavers scamper about chopping, pounding and packing the construction of their new habitat. As the herd begins disappearing into the thick foliage, something has caught the Buck’s attention. Stopping abruptly, focused––staring over his backside trying to decipher what moved. His stature is magnificent. A 12-point visual presentation of rank. His ability to differentiate the slightest decimal of disorder while the racing winds smack trees and bushes is instinctive. The youngest doe lingers nearby nibbling berries. The Mohican, clutching his bow, peers straight ahead at the doe. Not interested in beaver this day, he’s out for deer. Lying flat, utilizing the tall grass as cover the rain continues pelting––he glances up at the darkening sky. His companion is several yards to the right, making a series of clucking sounds disguised as Game Hens. Except, here and now, they are signals. The buck changes his stance as the doe cranes her neck in his direction. The hunter hearing the clucks does not want to abandon the hunt. Loading an arrow, he slowly rises on one knee. Focusing on his target, he prepares his stance and balance for the shot. At the very moment the arrow is released, a crack of lightning strikes a tree behind the deer. Instantaneously, the buck and doe are gone, absorbed by the forest as the Mohican’s arrow embeds itself into the trunk. The two hunters charge forward, only stopping at the forest’s edge. The wind is now howling... the hunt is over.

THE SKIES HAVE BECOME BLACK as the storm’s force is rapidly building. Nearing 100 knots, its path is running up from the south through the lower straits of the river. A Dutch ship, da Urchin, is in a fight for survival. Battling the storm, the vessel resembles a cork in a giant tub, it’s being knocked ‘fore to aft. Rolling, tipping to the port side...half of its canvas tearing.

The crew, all experienced seamen, struggle to regain some order of control. The first mate screams: PULL MEN! We’re too close to lose her! We must hold and make port! PULL! PULL!

Below, the captain’s cabin is taking on seawater through an unsecured window. Captain Felipe Sachsen is desperately trying to remain upright clutching his charts and maps.

First Officer Raske crashes in shouting, CAPTAIN, WE SHOULD BE VERY CLOSE. HALF OF OUR RIGGING IS DOWN. THE CREW IS WORKING TO KEEP COURSE!

Sachsen bellows, ARE THE PASSENGERS SECURE?

Yes, Sir! he answers. They’re frightened, but holding true!

The ships cook stumbles into the cabin hollering, CAPTAIN, I AM HERE TO HELP!

Sachsen orders, Here, take these charts and go wrap them in oil cloth. Quickly!

Aye, aye, Sir. Will do.

Struggling to secure the scrolls, he turns to leave when Sachsen shouts, HOLD ON. Have either of you seen that character, that Dircksen? The Governor’s Valet?

Chairs are sliding, books and journals are falling from shelves, quills and inkwells are spilling over. The cook is shaking his head no as he exits, clutching his load.

Raske responds, Yes, Dircksen, Sir! I’ve been told he was asking about the condition of the cargo, so I had him escorted back to his cabin. Should I have him shackled Captain?

Thinking on the question, Sachsen says, NO! Just place a second sentry near the cargo bin. I’ll deal with the valet later. Go and find Jacob. I need his help to secure these logs.

As the Captain turns to gather the manifests, an enormous crash hammers the Urchin’s bow. It strikes the ship with such power that everything that was moving now pivots in new directions. Both men are thrown to the floor. The unsecured window has broken off, permitting seawater to swill the cabin.

Loose items from around the cabin are airborne. The chandelier above the dining table separates from its hook on the crossbeam. In falling, it strikes Sachsen on the forehead and left shoulder causing two wounds. Instantly, they begin bleeding. Witnessing this, Raske crawls toward his captain asking, CAPTAIN YOU’RE BLEEDING! ARE YOU ALRIGHT?

Somewhat dazed but mostly alert, Sachsen slowly gets to his knees responding with, I’ll be fine. Just get me Jacob.

Resuming his stance Raske yells, RIGHT AWAY SIR, RIGHT AWAY. Exiting, his alarm can be heard: ATTENTION ALL! ATTENTION! THE CAPTAIN SEEKS JACOB. IMMEDIATELY! Using his left hand, Sachsen begins scooping water from the floor beneath him onto his head wound.

Stuyvesant: I’ve parachuted you into this first chapter at a time one year after my tenure began in New Amsterdam. I believe it is helpful in laying out this rather complicated tale of deceit and discovery. Moving in and out over three- and one-half centuries is necessary. The multitude of participants alone may be deemed burdensome to some, or maybe not. I will only intercede if I feel your need of me.

CHAPTER TWO

It’s Wednesday – Time to bury Nick

FUNERALS DO SUCK...but the weather is absolutely beautiful. There’s a conspicuous emollient cluster of clouds aloft. On a day like this, one should be enthralled by nature’s splendor, not staring at tombstones in a cemetery.

Thirty yards west of today’s grave service stands one of the invited. Chase Warren. He is somewhat hidden by the shadow cast from an enormous statue of the Angel Gabriel. This impressive grave marker is dwarfing the bachelor’s six-foot frame. The distance alone denotes a certain reluctance that cannot be disputed once that slight snare forms. He’s clean-shaven—the four-day beard is gone explicitly for this solemn occasion. He is dressed appropriately, except for his loosely knotted tie, which only adds to his casual I-don’t-care-to-be-here stance. His appearance isn’t too bad for someone who has thus far inhabited the planet for thirty-seven years.

Among the family and group of mourners at the gravesite stands the priest, expelling and reciting. It sounds somewhat foreign, but Chase is too far away to decipher the origin. The vestments look a bit theatrical. He’s trying to make the connection. Ah, of course, Nick was Greek Orthodox.

How dumb not to remember after having been a guest at several family celebrations and how the prayers were recited before meals. In his youth, Chase served as an altar boy at St. Dominic’s Roman Catholic Church in Shaker Heights. In Ohio, as well as most everywhere, the custom of planting human bodies in coffins wasn’t something he subscribes to. Being Wednesday, he still holding fast to that opinion.

Chase Warren’s educational years were divided. His first year was in Columbus, at Ohio State. He majored in Anthropology and Archaeology, and minored in languages. Primarily French and Spanish. His semi-reclusive nature was about to dissolve. Upon completing his first semester, Chase came to realize that Ohio State was a bit ‘too jock’.

Back then student loans were still civil, so the thought was to make a change. He had only heard great things about Bowling Green––his decision to transfer wasn’t difficult.

Best find a more suitable environment than worry about what others thought. With that, he was off to the bus depot for a short excursion north. As soon as the bus pulled in, he knew he had made the right choice. Finding the campus and surrounding areas more to his liking, Chase would settle in quickly and got down to business pursuing his BS. But first, he would need pocket money for incidentals. Within the first week he found himself applying for a campus maintenance position. It took some wrangling, but he got the job––assistant-to-the-assistant groundskeeper.

Chase drew on his primitive Spanish, along with his ability to work as hard as any of his fellow Hispanic laborers to nail it. The job also brought a bonus: availability to all school libraries. Which sat virtually deserted.

Chase quickly grew to love Bowling Green. He had made a few friends. They thought of him as a human blotter. His tag: Sponge Boy. An example: one spring day, during his junior year, he sat watching the sprinters working out. Sitting a few rows down, enjoying a cup of yogurt, was Luli. An exchange student from Binhai, Tianjin. One thing led to another, and the two started dating. Okay. Fine. So what did Sponge Boy do?

Hearing that Luli would be remaining another year, he enrolled in a summer class of Basic Mandarin. Why? So as to make Luli feel more at home in his presence.

The day after finals Luli flew out to San Francisco to meet up with her parents who were vacationing in California. When she returned three weeks later he surprised her by speaking only mandarin––all the way back from the airport.

She couldn’t help but cover her mouth and giggle several times during the ride back. Chase kept blabbering on, thinking her reactions to his rehearsed phrasing was going well. He wouldn’t be told until later that evening.

It was after their love making took a break, that Luli thought it sweet of Chase to make the attempt. To his dismay, through the traffic noise and his mispronunciations, all she could decipher was: ‘that he missed her dearly’.

Presently, this addict of knowledge is employed as an Associate Professor of Archeology at New York University-Greenwich Village campus. Chase doesn’t much care for career climbing. Which confounds his department head as most of his colleagues. Chase isn’t so much a loner then a forager, a searcher. To his acclaim, he has no enemies, no major debts, nor a steady lady. Most of his spare time is spent reading and studying ancient history. Most nights, while eating dinner he tunes into either the Smithsonian, or the History channels. Oh, occasionally, he’ll take in the latest adventure movie.

Chase’s sole companion is a cat. Attila. They get along fine. Neither bothers the other... too much.

At this moment, from a distance, he attends the burial of Mr. Nikolaos ‘Nick’ Savvas. Chase is respectfully present because it pleases Gus, his closest and only friend––the only son of Nick.

The priest has finished and the mourners have begun their parade, passing the grave and tossing their ceremonial flowers into the abyss. A few stems catch onto the casket, while most falls haphazardly down into the hole. Chase is cringing mentally. Trying to halt being witness to this ritual, he closes one eye. Jesus, why not cremation?

Gus Savvas, a muscular forty-five-year-old excavator stands behind his sobbing mother. His massive arms wrap around her in a gentle bear hug to keep her from collapsing. His right cheek rests against her tear-traced face. The afternoon sun reflects off of Gus’s shaved head as his brain considers the possibility of Mom becoming hysterical. No, she won’t be following the flowers as long as Gus holds true. Nick’s two daughters, along with the grandchildren, stand nearby weeping, as is most the remaining family. Behind Gus is his bride of last year Ronnie. His true soul-mate.

Time to approach the grieving family. Chase begins sidestepping the arbitrarily stacked pile of flowers, wreaths and standing sprays, some of them now lying on the ground. Even a few are standing on bent wire supports at weird angles. For Christ sake, there’s one replicating the Greek flag where the headstone will be set. Shit, it must be five feet wide. Another snapshot is targeted as he glances at the three gravediggers, under a tree, smoking their smokes. What a way to earn a living—day in, and day out. Well, someone has to do it. Simple enough. Requires a strong back and a Union button to be attached to your outer clothing qualifying you to dig out a good living. He’s wondering if they work when it’s raining?

As Chase reaches the family huddle, he gives the two sisters a kiss on each cheek while holding their hands. Other greeters began stepping up, forcing him to retreat a step or two. Seeing Gus wander off with another, Chase bends over and gently kisses the widow Savvas. He has this thought in mind: None would dare address her that way, but it would be a social manacle she’ll wear from here on out. As Chase straightens up, he spots Gus now standing alone, staring at him with eyes half closed, reading his movements. He knows that I can’t wait to get back to the city.

Stepping to the left, Chase meets Gus at the foot of the grave. They hug for a long minute without speaking a word. Then as Gus turns to Ronnie, Chase is gone.

CHAPTER THREE

Back to the living

The Professor’s Pooja waits his return. A tiny orphan, parked behind the perfectly aligned funeral transporters. A hearse, two flower cars, four limos, all with their engines idling. Also idling were the chauffeurs dressed in matching attire from caps to shoes, leaning with crossed arms, against their limos.

Soon the cars would be loaded with the mourners for the trip to Astoria and some fine Greek cuisine. Chase would never deny himself this snapshot. If he’s anything, he’s visual. As he approaches his roadster, one of the drivers, off a way’s, shouts, NICE WHEELS! Chase nods to the comment as he opens the door wondering, this vehicle only attracts guys. Women aren’t into older cars. If the day ever comes that a female, any female, digs my wheels... dinner! It'll be on me––champagne included.

Smiling at that thought, Chase gets seated, starts the engine and ponders away. It’s simply amazing that the majority of people that smoke cigarettes are often stagnant. Jesus that’s dumb! Smokers don’t dance while puffing away. They’re pacers, thinkers, and mostly inanimate souls. Glancing at the gravediggers yonder, encased in clouds of exhalents. Pulling away, he’s reassuring himself that he will never date a smoker: Even if she loves my car.

Within minutes, Chase is heading south cruising along the Brooklyn/Queens Expressway. Off the right side, the Manhattan skyline shimmers in its entire splendor. No music playing on this trip back. Sadness has crept in. Shocked at the damage caused by Nick’s stroke has given him enough to ponder. All were shocked with the news that befell the Greek. Instantly, while he was on the job. Sitting atop a fierce earth-moving machine. Striking him as a stray bullet might find an innocent bystander. Nick was stricken, around quitting time, at the company’s newest job site at Floyd Bennett Field.

It happened while Gus was at a meeting with a City Transit Authority supervisor, somewhere within the constraints of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. ‘Savvas Surveying & Excavation’ has always been a family operation. Founded in 1946 by Nick’s immigrant grandfather Stefanos Nikolaos Savvas.

Hey! Come on, snap out of it!

Chase tightens his grip on the wheel with the left hand and the stick with his right and downshifts. RAAROOOM! Adrenaline blast. Aha, immediate satisfaction.

Beneath him is his 1965 Porsche 356C. Whisking him home. It's certainly great to be alive. Holding fast, he shifts Pooja into fourth. I love you Pooja baby, you’re beautiful. Even though your interior’s a mess. The carpet still smells. Exactly the same as when you were adopted last year.

He was doing a favor for a friend-of-a-friend, who needed a writer. Someone who could knock out two, one-hundred page catalogs this friend’s agency would be producing. Reluctantly accepting the assignment with a clear understanding that his fees would be paid half upon completion, and the balance within thirty-days. About to PDF the final copy, he received a call from his friend warning him to get uptown to the agency. Pronto. The agency was about to go belly-up. And, he was about to get screwed. When all the finagling with the friend-of-a-friend and the agency’s bank stops, two months later, he’s out two-thousand dollars; but was the title holder of a broken-down classic roadster.

Every 356C comes affixed with a history. His? In a single word... MONEY! It would take another five to six-thousand more to complete his four-year restoration plan with Werner. It took Werner four long months to rebuild Pooja’s engine, and now has jibed her up to 1750cc and humming. The guy’s the best Porsche mechanic this side of the Atlantic. Works for a dealership all week, and on weekends in his Redhook garage rebuilding other babies for nuts like Chase Warren––just a guy and his roadster crossing the Brooklyn Bridge. Five more short minutes to home base. Chase’s smiling and Pooja is running like the day she was built.

Not bad for an old gal. You sound beautiful!

CHAPTER FOUR

The old homestead

Attila and Chase share a one-bedroom apartment downtown, near the South Street Seaport. Diagonally across from where the old Fulton Fish Market operated––which decades ago moved up in the Bronx to Hunt’s Point. The tenement is a four story, 165-year-old, walk-up that suits Chase’s personality well.

Its foundation is set somewhat oblique to its neighbor on the west side. An eight-foot alley separates the two. This in itself is an oddity. Not the alley, but the angle in which the building faces. Somewhat similar with the professor’s philosophy that most things for him don’t always square up.

The flat has plenty of windows, along with three skylights, two of which are in the living room. Those are set five feet apart. The third is centered in the ceiling of the bedroom. Chase came to believe that the original occupant may have been into astrology. It may explain the building’s symmetry with the axis of the heavens above. When realtor Agnes Miller first showed Chase the apartment—six years ago, to the month—he couldn’t believe the location. After examining the space he had but one question for Agnes regarding the skylight. ‘Does it leak?’ That question, and the way he delivered it almost cost him the lease.

Without hesitation, Agnes came back with: ‘You can take as is, or I call my cousin Paula. She’d absolutely adore this place. Plus, she jogs three miles every day and would love to challenge those steps and landings. So, what’s it going to be?’

Chase was still looking up scanning the bedroom’s ceiling. How am I going to position that king-size bed? Might have to discard the headboard and center the damn thing.

Meanwhile Agnes, with her clipboard tucked against her right hip, was impatiently tapping her left shoe. Chase, back from his planning, respectfully asked, Where do I sign?

Apartment 4A, on the top floor, faces both east and south. The single bedroom—you know, the sky-lit one—faces east. Its twin windows look out onto the East River––and to the left the Brooklyn Bridge. The remaining rooms: bath; kitchen; and living room; all face south. Combined, there are five additional windows; all overlook the cobblestone plaza below.

Anyone visiting 4A in the early morning would notice an explosion of light streaming in through the windows facing south. The beams of sunlight exposing millions of dust particles drifting freely through the air add to the aura.

Next, they would notice the abundance of antiques. Each positioned precisely. Displayed for viewing, not to be handled. An 18th century Harbor Master Telescope on a tripod occupies one of the corners in the bedroom. For sure other maritime items demand attention, but aren’t meant to dominate, or smother the outstanding array of Native American artifacts.

On a shelf in the bathroom, encased in Plexiglas, sits a pair of Mohican deerskin infant moccasins. They are adorned with the most magnificent beadwork. Chase had purchased them last summer from a private collector in Idaho. Actually his primary reason was to check out white water rafting in the Snake River Canyon area in March, but somehow got sidetracked.

Set atop the kitchen cabinets are three Hopi pots. An opposite the living room windows hangs a Navajo rug. Flanking the rug are three sepia photographs by Edward Sheriff Curtis: Crow Indians smoking; another depicting two Cheyenne warriors on horseback; and the third a striking image of a Dakota-Sioux medicine man.

However, the item Chase treasures most is displayed prominently and must be seen up close. Enshrined in a custom-made glass-top coffee table resides an Apache war shirt. It cost him half his savings from the same collector in Idaho––who wouldn’t lower his price a cent. Upon reflection, Chase knows it’s worth every penny.

Most all of the flat surfaces display his treasures––except the seven windowsills. Six of the wide sills are each fitted with either a cushion, pillow, or a lounging towel. When not snoozing, he watches from whichever perch suits him. Attila is presently asleep on the bathroom tiled-sill. The surface is both unfurnished and cool. The bloke carries nearly twenty pounds around from sill-to-sill, all day long.

How Chase acquired Attila? Back about four or five years ago, Chase met up with an acupuncturist. She went by the name Phyl––never caring much for Phyllis. Pissed her folks off to no end. A real-life California dreamer––who also has a running love affair for foreign films. Taking in as many of them as possible both in theatres and TV.

Their meeting took place on a downtown city bus. Chase was reading: The Collapse of the Maya Empire––having just borrowed it from the main library on 42nd Street.

He was totally engrossed by-the-time Phyl slipped in beside him at 34th Street. Taking her seat, she quickly replaced her shades with reading glasses. Followed by a tissue to first refresh the specs, then her iPad––all extracted from an oversized, red-leather, Italian branded satchel.

What Chase had seated next to him was a very attractive redhead. Prof. Warren’s concentration was immediately broken when he picked up Phyl’s scent. Jasmine.

Just as she was about to lose herself in iPad heaven, she noticed the guy she just sat next to was about to sneeze. She quickly attempted to offer him the used tissue. Unfortunately Phyl’s response time fell short of said emergency. As Chase

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