Thursday, December 26, 2019

China... you can read my books!

No Google in  China, unless you use the 'back door!'  No FaceBook? I know you read my blogs, or someone doing something 'else' is. If you can read my blogs, you can probably read my three books: Talk To Me, Roskill and Sons of Orpheus. Can you use KINDLE? Let me know. You can download all three, or use a free App from the APP Store or Play Store. I'm sure you know what to do.
If you haven't figured out how to access my webpage, then here it is
If you like stories about New Zealand, go and read my books.
Please let me know if you succeed. Hell ... my stories are hardly controversial. Maybe Roskill is a bit 'dark' though.

New Year at the beach. Take a book ... on Kindle and other 'devices.'

A  Southern Hemisphere Summer is something very special. In New Zealand, picture a beautiful Pohutukawa tree, festooned in gaudy red flowers, that drop to form a carpet of crimson. Australia's beaches are different, spectacular; their colourful sands, kissed by warmer waters. Both lend themselves to deckchairs in the shade, where one can escape the real world, with a book or a Kindle.

In the Northern Hemisphere, Christmas is a time for snuggling up in front of the fire, in a comfortable recliner, once again, with your book. Check out my three books on Kindle or other devices.
SONS OF ORPHEUS (Book One - The Arrival)

You haven't got a Kindle. No worries. Check out how to download a free APP .

  1. Download and install Amazon Kindle to your mobile devices (phones or tablets). It's free to download.

Android : Play Store
Apple : App Store

  1. Once the app is installed, you will be required to register an Amazon account (if you aren't already) by filling in your full name, email address, setting up a password and credit card details.

Note : you can use this account to sign in to if you would like to purchase other items.

  1. On search bar (located on the top of the "Home" tab), type Sons of Orpheus, it should bring up all the search results from Kindle.

Thank you for your support.

Neil Coleman

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

What are you going to read this Christmas?

Do you want a bit of variety? How about downloading all three of my books: 
 But you don't have a Kindle. Sure, it's easy if you do. Go to Bookstore and search and download.
You could also Google 'Roskill, by Neil Coleman om Kindle.' Do the same for the other books and you will go to the link.
Still not quite there? Follow these steps:

  1. Download and install Amazon Kindle to your mobile devices (phones or tablets). It's free to download.

Android : Play Store
Apple : App Store

  1. Once the app is installed, you will be required to register an Amazon account (if you aren't already) by filling in your full name, email address, setting up a password and credit card details.

Note : you can use this account to sign in to if you would like to purchase other items.

  1. On search bar (located on the top of the "Home" tab), type Sons of Orpheus, it should bring up all the search results from Kindle.

Thank you for your support.

Neil Coleman

Saturday, December 21, 2019

One upon a ten years ago ... I had a dream!

It is not uncommon to 'live' a special moment. I have had quite a few in my near 'average length' life.
However, the one I am about to describe could be a pivotal one for me. No ... I am not talking about the 'Coastal Dream,' that came to me many times; the one about the Thames Coast, with its pebble and rock-strewn beaches; the one that ultimately called to me, to come and live in this beautiful part of New Zealand. Yes, I arrived at the Thames Coast about three and a half years ago. I enjoy a lifestyle that was meant to be retirement. Of course ... it is a very busy one.

The 'other dream-like moment I alluded to earlier, propelled me to a very different journey. I had gone for a drive to the top of the Awhitu Peninsula, a windswept area, facing the prevailing westerlies that sweep across the Manukau Heads,  very close to Auckland City. In the early European history of Auckland, the Heads were the entry to a busy port in Onehunga. Maori had a much longer connection to this special place, seeing the Harbour beyond the heads in a far more spiritual manner.

I stood on the area near the present-day lighthouse, a reconstruction of the original, and looked out to sea, watching the huge breakers as they relentlessly roiled and broke over the treacherous bar at the entrance to the huge Manukau Harbour. I thought of the Orpheus, one of the most modern Corvettes in Great Britain's huge navy. The Orpheus was a hybrid ship ... steam and sail. I knew a little of the history of her being sent to the new Colony of New Zealand. She was sailing/steaming into a cauldron of discontent. On one hand, the new settlers, who wanted land, and on the other ... the Tangata Whenua, who had already experienced the dishonouring of Treaty of Waitangi that should have enshrined the Maori occupation of their land.

The Orpheus was sent to New Zealand to protect the settler in Auckland. My thoughts turned to the crew and other aboard this most modern of ships: Who were they? How had chance played a part in how they came to be aboard the ship. What would happen to them, once they arrived? My mind played with 'fictional characters,' and I turned to my friend and said, "I'm going to write a book about the Orpheus."
I don't remember his reply,  but on the way home, I had flashes of an idea. That night, I stayed awake, finding sleep near impossible. The next day, I arrived at work, very early and I set about writing ... for about thirty minutes. A colleague came into my office and I read the first two pages. And so it began.

Three months later, I had the first draft of a massive seven hundred page Saga. I called it THE SONS OF ORPHEUS. I found an editor, in Wellington and sent it to her, I communicated and had a meeting with. Michelle. There was much wrong with my book. I needed to rewrite, cut and fix and follow her suggestions. It seemed way too much. I sadly lost interest ... but not completely. From time to time, I revisited the text,  but once again shrugged off the thought of attempting the huge task. I 'shelved it,' putting the experience down to 'learning about writing.' In the meantime, I wrote three other books: Coastal Yarns, Roskill and Talk to Me. I self-published, a very expensive exercise.

The years flew by and I followed the dream that I started this blog with. I joined various organizations in my new town, mainly voluntary, and continued to work, part-time as a counsellor, travelling back to Auckland once a week. I joined a local writers group. (The Thames Writers Group) You can find it on FaceBook. The members encourage one another to write. We read our stories and give feedback. It was the support of the members, particularly my new editor, Carolyn MacKenzie, that led me to enter Part One of Sons of Orpheus to a writing competition. I rewrote, shortened and generally refocussed the story. I managed to get into the final ten for the competition, but have yet to hear the final result.

I decided to publish the first book in the trilogy as an ebook, with the possibility of producing hard copy at a later date. Sons of Orpheus, Book 1 - The Arrival, goes live on December 23, 2019. It is available as a preorder, NOW! You can download it to your Kindle or other devices on the above date, but if you preorder, it auto loads when it goes live.
Scroll down in the blog and click on the link provided and the book will preorder and load on the release date. Please share and don't forget to review the book. A link pops up at the end of the book. Reviews draw attention. The more I sell (US$ 2.99) the sooner Part 2 comes out,

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Here's the link to my new book, folks.
Sons of Orpheus  (Book 1- The Arrival)
In 1863, The Orpehues was sent to New Zealand to patrol the Waikato Heads, to stop Maori Waka (war canoes) from attacking Auckland. The Settpelrs were demanding land and that land was NOT theirs. What follows is fundamental to the New Zealand of today.
189 people drowned in New Zealand's worst maraito]imer disaster. This a fictional story, based on factual events.
Sons of Orpheus is a trilogy. Download the first part, from the link below. $US 2.99 (NZ$ 3.44)
Hard copy will be available at a later date.
The Ebook is available now as a preordered and will auto-load on December 23 to your device. (Times may vary according to Time Zones) Get your Christmas read now. Take it to the beach if you are in NZ, or snuggle up in your favourite chair if you are in the Northern Hemisphere ad immerse yourself in this crucial time in NZ's history. There is a STRONG Aussie connection in this series.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Sons of Orpheus

Book  1  The Arrival

By Neil Coleman

Sons of Orpheus is available NOW!   What are you waiting for?

Two young men, from two different cultures, thousands of miles apart, leave their homelands. Jack seeks a new life, after the terrible Potatoe famine in Ireland leaves a destitute land.
Adi in Sumatra has his life altered forever when an earthquake destroys his village ... and his memory.
Meanwhile, in the young Colony of New Zealand, settlers demand land; land that is already inhabited. Warships are needed, whales abound in the Southern Ocean. How will Jack and Adi become involved in the changing situation in New Zealand? 
The clash of cultures, adventure, love ... all play their part in this fast-moving, Young Adult novel, a book that all ages will enjoy.
Don't have a Kindle. No matter. Go to Play Store (Android) or App Store (Apple ) and download the free APP, then register to download onto your phone, Laptop, Ipad or Tablet. Search for Sons of Orpheus, (Book 1 - The Arrival on Bookstore (Amazon e-books). While you are there, download my other two books, ROSKILL and Talk to Me.
Happy reading.


Sunday, December 8, 2019

Sons of Orpheus. Book One, The Arrival.

    At long last. Sons of Orpheus has been ten years in the making. Stop, start, rewrite .,, stop again ... until my friends in The Thames Writers Group encouraged me to resurrect my script, and get it out there.
    I am about to upload the book onto Amazon. If you like historical novels, maybe this is for you. Although Sons of Orpheus (SOO) is a Young Adult novel, it has appeal for older readers, who love New Zealand history. SOO is 'creative nonfiction,'  in that the storyline is based around historical facts, but the characters are predominantly fictional.
    New Zealand history has almost exclusively been written by the victims of the Colonial Wars. It has only been recently that a more balanced version has been acknowledged. SOO is a story of the clash of cultures; the pain, loss, love and adventures of three main characters, expanding across the Pacific, but always hinging on the Settlement of Onehunga and the growing city of Auckland.
    SOO is a three-part saga. Book One: The Arrival sets the scene. The script reached the finals of a writer Festival,'  about eighteen months ago. The final results are pending. SOO needs to launch. Thus the imminent release as an E-book. You will have the option of preordering. If you have a device you can do it. You will be able to download a free APP from my website ( and following the links from Neils Book. You will also be able to search Amazon Books and enter the title. Please share this.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

A Steampunk story

STEAMPUNK STRIPPER!                             By Neil Coleman   12/11/19

   “No … you stay home, girl. I took you for a long walk this morning. I got up early, just for you.”
   Perdy’s eyes said otherwise. She gave me a look that went beyond my attire. Indeed, she couldn’t have cared less about my crazy ‘look.’ My black costume festooned with a plethora of decor from times past … or was its times neutral, historic reality mixed with fantasy gone mad? Perdy had been there, while I slaved late into many nights, cutting, inventing new techniques, attaching, mending, repairing mistakes, pricking fingers, swearing copiously, calling for help, strutting around, then changing my mind.
    On one occasion, well past midnight, I almost threw in the towel, until I realized that an old towel was all I needed to modify a kind of ‘vagabondous’ look. I stitched it to a flowing cloak. My costume weighed as much as a small car, along with so many additions, I could be heard from quite a distance; clinging, clacking, ringing and reflecting light in a manner that defeated the stars in the Milky Way.
   The morning of the parade was upon me. Breakfast was done and dusted, I visited the toilet for the last time because any visits from here on were going to be a mission. Perdy made another attempt to ‘guilt-me-out.’ I folded. Hell … her company would be great, and she loves a good walk. The noise of the parade would keep her close to me, and I’d stay well away from the beating drums of the ‘Latin Marchers.’  “Come on then … here … stick this on your collar. It’s just a bit of bling-punk-bling!”
    I attached Perdy to me in the usual fashion; a tried and true method to contain her exuberance; the long leash clicked around my much-expanded waist, in a non-calorific manner. Still … I looked like a huge monument to fashion gone wrong. I figured I’d be lost in the crowd of similar displays of Thame’s version of The Big Gay Out.
   I pushed the car seat to its maximum and folded myself in. “I may regret this, Perdy … It’s gonna be a hot one.” She jumped up onto the parcel tray and barked the whole way in to town, where after driving around the block several times, I found a car park behind the bookshop. We walked down a side-street, avoiding the main street.  A crowd had gathered at the southern end of the street, waiting for a signal to begin the procession. Perdy wasn’t the only dog. She dragged me towards a beautiful Labrador, whose Mum had matched her attire to that of her fur-babe. Her glance at Perdy informed me that she thought I was a lazy bastard. “She won’t let me add much more than a collar,” I said defensively.
   Ten minutes later, the parade kicked off. An explosion of music covering many genres punctuated warm air. I was already sweating, beneath the top-hat, cloak. and yes … the dagger! At first, it was manageable, trudging along to the cries of the admiring crowd. It seemed everyone was taking pictures, or sending out live feeds on Facebook
    It wasn’t long before Perdy decided that walking along the main street simply bored her … barking at the crowd, the dogs, imagined vermin and people she knew from our numerous walks. She took interest in a voluminous dress, that dragged along behind a woman, enticingly just out of her reach … almost … oh no! She pounced, grabbing the hemline in her mouth. She tugged … all eight kilos of muscle, and reverse pulled. The woman screamed as half her dress departed from her back. Luckily, she had an underlay of frilly garments, something passing for a Nineteenth Century petticoat, I guess, but looking more like something from a sex shop. She tried to grab the ruined dress from Perdy’s mouth, a hopeless task, because my monster had started ripping it to shreds, like an unlucky rat. To make matters worse, the people around us were laughing. I wasn’t.
   I took off my cloak and thrust it towards the distraught lady. I looked at her more closely. I knew her, beneath her layers of makeup, long eyelashes and iridescent lipstick. “I’m so sorry,” I offered pathetically as she grabbed the cloak and wrapped it around her shoulders. Bits dropped off, bouncing in front of Perdy, who immediate tried to gather them up. In the meantime, the crowd of marchers parted either side of the spectacle. From various comments, it sounded like people thought it was ‘staged.’
   Thankfully, the woman played along, but the darting, angry looks directed at Perdy and me, spoke otherwise. Then she seemed to recognize me. Unbelievably, she started laughing. “YOU … owe me, big time mate!” Perdy had finally let go the remnants of her dress. The cloak added a crazy, pseudo-sexual quality to her look, something halfway between a dominatrix and Wonder Woman.
   “I am so sorry,” I spluttered. I had met her several times on the walks Perdy, and I enjoyed every day. “How can I make up for Perdy’s ‘wreck-fest?”
   We stopped and moved to the side of the road in a gap outside a café. “Let’s go inside,” I said, indicating the café. She followed. We found a seat, close to the window, just outside. “What can I get you?”
   “I don’t think they serve what I need. Just grab me a flat white and a slice.” She pulled a small flask from her Victorian handbag. Tell Rex to leave a gap … for this,” she added. “I so need it. Now … where are you taking me for an EXPENSIVE dinner, tonight?!”
   “Thanks Perdy … you always make my day, eh. Is it gonna be poll dancing next year?”

Friday, October 11, 2019

'P' (Methamphetamine) is the new Opium War.

In the mid-19th Century, the Opium Wars were fought between theGreat Qing and the British and the latter imposing the trade of opium upon China. The result was the compromising of China's sovereignty and economic power. It wasn't until the Revolution under Mao, that China finally threw off the last vestiges of Western Colonialiization.
For the last 30 years, (maybe more) the Chinese have arrived at a point where their economy rivals that of the super-power, the USA, probably surpassing it. The future is one in which the USA and it's 'allies' will not be the 'only show in town.' The cultural dominance of the USA showcased in many formats is being increasingly challenged. The shift is increasing in complexity, driven by the economic power of China. Whilst the military supremity of the USA is still a fact, that too is becoming a challengeable proposition, the gap is narrowing. To maintain it's 'top Dog position, the USA is having to divert resources from other sectors of its economy, and that will and is having dire consequences for many vulnerable Americans.
The current 'Trade War,' between the USA and China can only add to the tension between the two nations. The more 'resilient' will be 'the stronger' survivor. The populace of China is possibly in a position where they are more compliant to the direction the leadership 'dictates,' and the leadership of China is m0ore ensconced to holding power.
There is another 'player' in this struggle, and it is a direct repetition of history, only this time, the 'worm has turned.' A new Opium War(s) is being fought, not militarily, but in the dark underworld of'substances. It is not 'provably' State-sponsored,  but it could well have the same dire consequences of the Opium Wars, the breakdown of society and an imposition on nations' finances, as they attempt to stop the flow of the 'new opium.'
China is not the only source of the prerequisites or 'ready to use,' 'P'(Methamphetamine) but it is the major player. New Zealand is not the only recipient. The seizure of MDA, and the fully cooked 'P,' at our (and other nations') borders, is a regular front-page news item. Those benefitting, are not just the gangs, but 'reportedly other groups and individuals, spanning many sectors of our society.
The spread of this scourge has long been documented, reaching into all of our towns and cities. The cost of families, individuals, businesses is massive.
One only needs to go beyond the headlines in our papers and news outlets, and take a look at online discussions, to realize how insidious "P' has become. The suffering is endemic. The loss of hope, the crime related to 'P' is incredibly destructive, (although many would say alcohol is right up there too)ripping families apart and destroying lives. No sector of society is immune to its evil reach. Politicians promise, fail, making false claims or using the 'P' Crisis' to lambast their political foes, whilst the damage spreads. It has been cynically used by others to dishonestly gain; for example in the 'P-testing ' of homes, that did not need such desperate interventions.
We know how 'P' is easily purchased. Indeed, the price has fallen to a point that it is cheaper than 'Pot.'
The market has been flooded by massive amounts of MDA from China. China has a 'take-no-prisoners-that-live,' approach, brutally eliminating those who are caught in possession or trading. That so much 'product' flows beyond its borders is the new Opium War. They fight 'the good war' within their borders,' only publicly and occasionally featuring the punishment of those involved in sending the scourge abroad ... just enough to pay lip-service to stamp out the practice..
In the meantime, we face the costs on a daily basis.
It is for that reason that I wrote my book, ROSKILL, a few years ago. Roskill is the story of a family in crisis, facing the loss of their father, husband and hope. Roskill is also a journey of hope; that we can fight the demons within us. It tells a story that all teens and parents should read.
Some libraries have the book. Ask if they do not. (Roskill, by Neil Coleman).
You can purchase it directly from me (the cheapest option, but even less expensive, is the online version. Just go to my website. ( Just click on Neils Books and follow the links. While you are doing this, check out Talk To Me (Finalist in the  Ngaio Marsh Crime Writers Awards, a few years ago.)
Let's fight this battle together. China suffered in the past, through actions of Western powers. Wars in all formats have no winners!

Thursday, October 10, 2019

'Sons of Orpheus,' Book One' is coming!

I have indicated many times in the past, that  a book I started nine years ago, Sons of Orpheus, is 'coming.' OK, it has undergone two edits, and it was entered into a Writer's competition, getting into the final ten, but nothing eventuated.
I gave up!
However, my staunch friends at the Thames Writer's Group encouraged me to persist. I can now announce that I have divided the huge book (700 plus pages) into a trilogy. I have extensively rewritten the first book of the trilogy, cutting out superfluous content, and took out some  amazingly 'creative errors.' Hell, I had killed off a major character, then resurrected her, later in the book. Some who had read the first effort thought it was a quirky twist. Lol. Nope! Just me!
I was kind of over the book, but it would not leave me alone. I would go somewhere featured in the book, and the story would pop into my mind. It invaded my dreams. I must get it 'out there.'
I cannot afford the huge cost involved in self-publishing, but I can cope with an Ebook on Amazon.
I have a wonderful group of friends, family and supporters, including a skilful editor, and a clever artist, who is designing, painting a cover, behind me.
I have learned much about publicizing my books, and hopefully, with my new levels of energy and commitment, this book will be out there well before Christmas.
It will only available via Amazon, as an E-book, initially, but if this one does better than ROSKILL and TALK TO ME, I may be able to make hard copy available through Amazon, or by printing it here in New Zealand.
Watch this space, as I start posting 'progress reports,' and giving a few clues about the 'story.'

UPDATE 1/12/19 (12/1/19  Editing almost complete, cover design is done!

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

KFC for dinner:

After a busy morning cleaning, turning his clients house into  '$howhouse Special,' Rio pulled into the drive through option at the KFC by the round about. The queue was bearable. Maybe the lunch crowd had  driven to the parks or beaches up the Coast, to consume their greasy, mouth watering portions of chicken chips and Coke.
Rio placed his order, and proceeded to the window, where the girl with the headset was taking another order. She had to wait while the group in the car behind Rio argued about their order, changing their minds several times.
She smiled at Rio, muttering, 'Some people are pains in ... '  She didn't finish.  Passing the mobile EFTPOS through window to Rio, who entered  his code, then following through with the bag of goodies and the Coke, then rechecking the order for the group behind, she turned to her supervisor. 'Can you deal with them?'
Rio stuck the Coke in the drink-holder and placed the bag on the passenger seat. He couldn't resist sampling a few chips as he pulled onto the main road.
A few minutes later he opened the back door of the little yellow cottage, met by a manic Jack Russell, who jumped up, seeking the source of the tantalizing smell, accompanying 'Daddy.'
'Out of the way, girl. It's not for you.'
Perdy persisted. She wasn't one to give up, just because Rio commanded. Even as he turned the warming oven on, she kept up her frantic pleading.
'You know I'm not like Neil, so give up girl. THERE'S your food ... in the fish's
Perdy looked at Rio, with that look that screamed, " selfish bastard ... HE shares his food!"
Perdy gave up and chopped on a few of her doggie biscuits before stomping off to the lounge, while Rio placed the KFC into the warming oven, switched on the kettle, measured out the rice, before cooking it in the microwave.
Fifteen minutes later he piled the chicken and chips.onto the rice and joined PERDY in the lounge. He selected the next episode of GLEE on Netflix, settling himself onto the lounge. He was all set for an escape into the dizzy world of 'teenage hope and dreams of ... making it.'
Neil in the meantime, needed to head to town, for an appointment with a client. He was boxed in by Rio's car, necessitating a shout from the back door. 'Can you move your car, Rio ... please?'
Three minutes later, Neil's phone rang in the car, via Bluetooth. He answered, once again happy with the hands-free facility.
'What's up ... did I leave my walker again?'
'Umm ... no ... but Perdy has been really bad ... really naughty.'
'Has she escaped again ... killed a chook ... what?' Neil asked.
Rio hesitated. ' She ... ate my KFC ... except for the chips.' His voice was a mix of anger, frustration and an edge of concern.
Neil amplified that. 'Shit ... bones and all ...?
Rio interrupted. 'Yes ...'
'Bloody Hell ... that kill her.' Neil sounded upset. 'Is she looking Ok ... Has she been sick ... bugger ... Christ ... she may have to contribute vet, if a bone is stuck. I'm right outside the vet now ... I'm going in ... I'll get back to you. Keep a watch.'
'OK ... Hell she gulped it all down in seconds.'
Neil parked directly opposite the vet, parked and entered the Vet, and approached the counter where he foiled in the details of Perdy's gastronomic adventure. He was informed that, yes, there was a risk, and that Perdy would need to be watched.
A few minutes later, he called Rio  and told him about the receptionist's comments. 'All we can do is watch her, I guess,' Rio said, in that no nonsense practical way he  sometimes viewed the world.
' It's gonna be a waiting few days,' Neil replied, with a resigned look. 'It's not like we haven't been here, before, eh!'
'It's bloody hard being a parent, especially of one of these little sods ... Right ... You go to your meeting. I'll ring you if anything happens.
And so the waiting begins! So far .....

Sunday, April 21, 2019

DIMINISHING ODDS. A short story by Neil Coleman April/22/2019

    ‘Come on Erick … get up. You have got to get that form done. You know it’s important … bloody important. You can’t keep putting it off. Your slot is at three.’
    I rolled over, trying to put Alex’s voice into another place … like the backyard. It’s not as if I didn’t know what today signified. Hell … I’d thought of nothing else for the last few months. Everything was on hold. What the hell … nothing else mattered. Even the trip Alex had planned for our thirtieth anniversary didn’t seem real. Other people had those, not us. His plans for a special dinner tonight, with friends, some had survived several throws of the dice.
    ‘Do I have to replicate your dear old mum’s method then?’ Alex said from the kitchen. My thoughts drifted back to my teens … to that brick house in the ‘burbs,’ and the time when bugger all mattered, other than homework, noisy brothers, competing for … everything. I could smell the coffee and almost see the milk frothing for my usual ‘Flat White.’ “
    ‘Is that bacon I can smell?’ Shit … I must have done something right, or he was feeling sorry for me. After all, he still had about six years to go before he hit the mark.
    ‘Don’t get too excited. You’re only getting one piece and it’s grilled, not fried, along with the other three or more bits you have when I go to work early. You know what the doctor said.’
    I laughed. He obviously didn’t know about the Hash Browns … the ones I had hidden at the back of the freezer.
    ‘Sorry … we’re all out of the Hash browns… you’ll to do with toast.’
 I threw back the blankets, to discover I had company on the bed. Jenna, our Jack Russell, had sneaked into the bed during the night. She wasn’t in a hurry to vacate her warm spot. I wasn’t the only one approaching an elderly state. Yeah, we both loved our comforts. She differed in her approach to her morning shower though. She started the process whilst still in bed, as evidenced by the slurpy sounds and the white hair on the sheets.
    ‘Jesus, Jenna. Can’t you do that on the floor?!’ I threw on a dressing gown, one purloined from a stay at a hotel. It had somehow slipped into my case when I left. I’m not sure what conference it was. It still fitted me, so I wasn’t about to send it to the recycle bins … just yet. I wandered into the kitchen, followed by Jenna, her tail wagging in anticipation of her breakfast and morning walk.
     Alex had lied. The little table was set for two, complete with a crystal vase and one red rose. A solitary petal that had fallen on to the table cloth. Erik hadn’t bothered to pick it up; it kind of belonged there.
    ‘I’ve used your favourite Crown Lynn,’ he said as he embraced me in a ‘Alex hug’ … the kind that leaves you in little doubt as to his ‘mountain man’ strength. ‘I’m breaking all the rules … what the hell … It’s not every day that you face the ‘spin.’
   I returned his hug and a wave of emotion flooded over me. I didn’t need reminding of the ‘one in ten chance’ … the one that would decide if I could see another breakfast like the one spread before me. Erik had lied big time: Bacon, toast, fried tomatoes, black pudding, fried eggs and creamy mushrooms.
    ‘You do know that the chooks are gonna get a large part of this,’ I reminded him.
    ‘Bullshit … you really think I can’t help you out a bit,’ Erik replied, rubbing his ample stomach.
    ‘I guess you’re taking a gamble of an entirely different kind to me then,’ I quipped as I sat down and placed the linen serviette across my legs.
    A strained silence ensued. We both avoided the elephant in the room. The trip to the doctors to get my lab test results, and the interview with the doctor and the Ministry official …
Neil Coleman  April 2019