Category Archives: Book Excerpts

Attic

Tis the time of year to bring out the Christmas treasures and as the commercial says ‘what’s in your … attic’?  See what awaits Craig and Carla…

Sunday Carla needed a distraction from the downpour. “Let’s get the rest of the attic and closet done today.”

Craig agreed, “Sure honey let’s go.”

“Lucille said Judy never threw anything away.” Carla said as she carefully scooted one of the mirrors “Oh wow, the stacks of Vogue, Ladies Home Journal, and Harper’s Bazaar Lucille told me about.”

“Look Carla Saturday Evening Post stacked as tall as the mirrors. There are years of National Geographic and Field and Stream here, cool” Craig said.

“Craig, open it!” Carla asked “Ok” as he put it down, moving the jewel chest on that wall.

“What’s in this little chest? Oh Judith Ann saved baby clothes.” Carla had tears in her eyes “I think it’s your aunts Craig, their real old.”

“I bet those are the flowers from their funeral, pink roses?” Craig asked.

“Now where are all these letters and cards she kept? I still haven’t found the photo albums,” Carla said.

“Here’s another chest of drawers,” Craig announced, turning it to get it open. “Look Carla, here’s the letters and post cards.” Craig knocked along the wall. “Ah here we go another hiding place,” Craig pressed on the panel with his left shoulder to open it, and then he pushed the chest to get it turned around. “This is turning out to be good
exercise.” The chest was moved just enough to open a small walkway,
three dressers lined the wall.

“These drawers are all full of photo albums Carla. Here’s a chest wedged next to it,” Craig gave it a kick with his foot and it came loose but for some reason it wasn’t opened that day.

That afternoon they looked through the magazines and other things in the closet that they had found. “I can’t believe all of these clothes, they’re from all different eras. I am
willing to bet the hat and shoe boxes are full as well.”

Carla exclaimed as Craig answered with a simple “Yep, I’m willing to place a bet on that.”

Silence was present at the House on the Hill that day as they worked upstairs focusing on the things they found. Craig was sure Carla wanted to talk, but last Friday was a tough one. He was unsure if it was what happened to the Smiths or memories for Carla, he thought, she’ll tell me when she is ready to talk.

“Carla, have you heard back from Vanessa yet,” Craig inquired.

“No not yet she’ll probably call tomorrow, why do you want to go with me?”

“Sure, plus we need US time.” He went to the wine cellar and brought up some wine and champagne, and chilled it. He took out some of the strawberries in the fridge rinsed
them off and put them in the freezer. “Hope this can change the mood around here.”

Craig called in an order for her favorite veggie pizza. “Yes Mr. Jones, anything else,” the server asked as he wrote out the order balancing the phone on his shoulder. Craig asked, “Got any fresh brownies, a fresh salad and bread sticks? Oh please make it delivery.”

The server said, “We’re backed up 1 hour Mr. Jones.”

“Ok, that’s perfect.” Craig shut his phone, grabbed a couple bottles of water and
headed back up the stairs setting his watch for 1 hour.

Tears

Sometimes your  feelings turn into giggles masking tears. Suddenly the barrier you’ve put up can’t be stopped, a box of tissues disappears…

Craig heard Carla with a big laugh and giggle, then Mary Kate, laughed too. “Ok things are coming back to normal now.”

Allan smiled, “Yes sir I believe so.”

“Girls how about running over to the Stray Dog for some lunch,” Allan suggested.

“Sounds like a winner to me. Come on Carla.” Mary Kate said grabbing Carla’s hand.

“Let’s roll guys, I’m driving” Carla said.

Around 4 PM they headed back to Blackston Lake, Carla gladly handed her keys to Craig she needed his arms around her as she felt the tears finally welling up in her.

They stopped outside Michigan City, Carla cried, not just little tears. It was a break in the dam type of cry. Craig grabbed the tissue box and held her tight, “I know honey, just let it out. Want me to call Vanessa for you now to see how soon you can see her?”

“Yes,” she whispered nodding her head trying to regain her composure.

“I left a message, are you ok now?” Carla nodded her head again, she was shaking Craig put his jacket around her shoulders holding her tightly. He gently ran his fingers through her hair and down her back. “Better?”

“Yes, I’m such a mess over this whole thing, I’m sorry Craig.”

“I’ll protect you Honey no one is going to hurt you again. Let’s go home now” Craig let go of her looking at her swollen eyes as Carla nodded her head. Craig kept his right arm around her shoulder as he drove, and again Craig thought how glad he was that he had bench seats in this car. He took the long way back home through the country side, the winding path down 421 to St Rd 2 till they came to Blackston Lake, then home all the while, the only sounds was Carla’s sniffles and the rain hitting the roof.

Craig Talks

Every guy has a buddy he talks with, usually a childhood friend that’s always been there for them…  it’s Craig’s turn to vent about Mark.

Craig and Allan sat at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee. Allan said, “I heard about yesterday, how’s Carla, Craig?”

“Quiet Allan, very quiet, she has tossed and turned every night since the break in. Last night was real bad think our stopping in was on purpose. She needs Mary Kate.”

Allan touched Craig’s arm “And what about you my friend?”

Craig thought for a moment before he spoke, “Actually I am ok, it was freaky Allan. Mark had a real problem! Mark had pretty much destroyed our relationship in the past year as it was. He had stalked Carla for years . . . stole from us!”

“If it were not for his obsession and drinking, he would never have been caught or arrested; Blackie was just there to question him!” Craig looked up to the ceiling and back at Allan.

Craig stood up, looked out towards the lake, he saw Carla looking out also the he walked around the table as he explained. “Allan I really am surprised at my lack of emotion towards this. Mark changed, or did I, who knows?”

“All I know is now he is gone and I will never be able to ask him why he did this to Carla or me. I actually wonder what else he did behind my back. Now that really fucking bothers me.” Craig sat back down in the chair shaking his head.

Allan questioned him. “What do you mean Craig, did he give you reason to think that?”

Craig looked into Allan’s eyes. “Yes, he talked to himself and I heard him say ‘Damn I never had a chance at Carla’. I can’t help but wonder.”

“Craig you just remember that? If so that should be told to the police, could be evidence of his stalking” Allan ordered.

“You have a point there, but what good would it do now.” Craig commented. He felt
calmer now. “You know Allan 3 years ago I would have just laughed all this off and
saluted Mark with another Jack on the Rocks. The blonde sitting out on your porch changed all that. The truth may never be known as to who did in whom. I just wish it could have been anyone else but us to find them. Allan all I can say is that scene yesterday worked better than any cold shower ever did!”

Allan’s head tilted, “What Craig?”

“My bride was very playful yesterday, then the pictures showed up and I have to admit it’s doubtful for today.”

They both laughed as Allan touched the door and Mary Kate just waved her hand at him.

So Talk

     We all have that special friend that we can tell our secrets to and confess our true feelings knowing it won’t go anywhere…

They finally stopped at Allan’s in New Buffalo breaking the silence in the car. “How did you know how to get here Carla?” Craig asked.

“Your GPS system has it programmed in.”

Carla smiled at Craig as he replied, “Sure I forgot well let’s see if anyone is home.”

Allan opened the door as Duke, their golden retriever bounded out checking out the visitors. “Hello you two, what a welcome surprise. Come in please.”

Mary Kate took Carla out on the porch giving her a hug then said, “I know about yesterday Carla and I know you! So talk. Probably get rid of some anger, like we use to talk after a bad date night.”

Carla put her hands in her lap making a fist then she spoke. “Yes and I couldn’t say these things to Craig. He already knows about more than I ever wanted him to know because of Mark and his fucking camera! Oh I didn’t mean to say that, sorry Mary Kate.”

Mary Kate smiled, “Oh yes you did Carly, I know you so spill it.” Mary Kate urged her on. “Did Mark ever?”

“No never! Mary Kate, he would touch me a lot.” Carla was rubbing her arms and shaking them. “Yucky I need a shower every time I get this feeling . . . and obviously Mark stalked me, the pictures proved that. It was his obsession with everything about me. Why I have no fucking idea!”

“That is what has me really freaking out now. Craig actually came into my crazy life at the right time, when he was around Mark was set straight.”

Waving her arms around and pacing the room, Carla looked out at the lake and continued. “What does not make sense is how he got into my apartment.”

“What was Paula’s problem? Jealousy I suppose, because she would get snippy every time I got flowers, sometimes she’d almost throw them at me . . . She was so bi-polar I never knew how she was going to act when we were together, sisterly or bitch. I can’t help but think she knew about Mark’s obsession with me.”

Carla took a long deep breath “I never once encouraged him in any fucking way, he made my skin crawl, I just wanted to scream anytime he was touching me. I know now he was a sick man, but I can’t forgive him. Am I so bad for feeling like this Mary Kate?”

Carla sat on the floor next to Duke and cuddle up to him, as he licked her hand “Thanks for the puppy kisses Duke.”

She hugged the dog as Mary Kate said. “No Carla, you have every right to feel this way and I’m sure Vanessa will agree with that. Mark and Paula are gone now, it’s over”

Carla stopped, kneeled and crawled over to Mary Kate and took her hand speaking almost in a whisper. “Remember how protective Jake was, even AC would get mad when Mark was around.”

“Yes I do Carla, why is this coming up?” Mary Kate had a serious look on her face.

Carla whispered, “MK just between us, Jake called the other day, told me they were going to testify and that they will take care of this.”

Mary Kate squeezed Carla’s hand “Oh no Carla! Do not mention this to anyone ever again Carla please promise. I think Jake was just using a figure of speech, they are both above that.” Mary Kate patted her hand and held it tight, her mind racing in a theory she did not want to think about, she shook her head thinking; I left this part of my life behind
forever.

Goodbye Samuel

  So you’ve just heard about someone you trusted has betrayed you, adding to that gut wrenching feeling you, found out you may have a brother.    Personally don’t think I could sleep, could you?  Read on how Craig Jones handles this latest development in his life.

Tossing and turning all night, Craig finally got up at 4:30 AM going down to his library and closing the door. Craig thought, shit I hate this but I have to do it today. He turned on the hand held recorder and dialed the phone, placing the call he had been dreading.
“Mr. Samuel White, This is Craig Augustus Jones the III. I have to inform you that I will no longer be using your services. I do not believe that you have my best interest at heart anymore and my life goals and agenda have changed. Thank you for your services.
Please forward all documents and personal items to my residence at
#1 East Lake Road, Awlsport, IN forthwith.”
He turned off the recorder, thinking to himself. I used to value your
advice and your friendship but you are not who I thought you were
Samuel, you betrayed me!
Craig turned his chair to the window and sat there with his hands folded
and watched as the sunrise developed and said. “Oh Lord, My Maestro,
erase my sadness and paint me some joy, thanks for putting Carla in my
life to show me who my real friends are.”
“Craig,” Carla said knocking softly on his door. “Yes honey, you can
come in perfect timing coffee and my sugar!” He wrapped his arms
around her and nibbled on her neck causing her to moan and squirm.
“Morning” she said softly, “I missed you.” “No problem I’m here now,”
kissing her as he backed her up to the sofa . . .

FAMILY TRAIT

“WHAT,” Craig shouted his eyes darting from Howard to Carla then to Allan. “No excuse me, just who are you talking about?” Craig asked Howard who said, “Craig you have been around all of the people involved all your life, you don’t notice what a stranger can see.”

Howard went over to Craig and touched his shoulder gently. “There’s a possibility that Michael Smith is your brother!” Craig jerked his head around and up at Howard with that terrible frown on his forehead.

“That frown that is on your forehead at this very moment is obviously a family trait! Carla picked up on, it after looking at Michael one afternoon when he was in a confrontation with Mrs. Smith. Craig we are still checking this out, but you need to be aware of this fact.”

“Jesus . . . How could that be Michael is what 25 and Mom passed in 1980, this does not make sense!” Craig’s face was red, his blood pressure was high, Carla handed him a glass of something. “Down this Craig” he did and puckered up and was shaking his head. “Damn Carla what the hell was that?”

Carla stood there with her hand on Craig’s shoulder for  a few minutes. Craig’s red face was fading and Howard nodded at her. Carla said, “Check his pressure Howard.”

“Almost back to normal, didn’t believe you Carla, but it really works. Jonesy you’re a medical miracle!” Howard said with a smile. “Water please, Carla!”

“Ok Howard, so we start talking about all this until we get it all out in the open, even if it takes all night and tomorrow until I can get my arms around all this.” Craig said as he looked at Howard and Allan.

“Craig, tomorrow morning I will be over and we’ll talk about AJ and JC and H & A. Dad is taking Carla golfing and to lunch, so you will both be up to speed. Ok?”

“Yes Howard, put please be gentle; this hard head is turning to mush this week with this information overload.” Craig looked up at the man in front of him, held out his hand and Howard took it, pulled  Craig into a bear hug “That I will promise Craig.”

“Everything’s going to be ok Craig, let’s get some sleep!” “Ok Carla, I sure hope your right. What was that you gave me anyway?” “Apple Cider Vinegar Craig, it’s an old remedy for high blood pressure.” Carla said running her hands over Craig’s back. “Oh another Granny thing” Craig asked, “Yes.”

Family Discussion

Secret Treasurs web pg 4.18.13 book cover  412796_XL

Mark is taken away in the ambulance from his fall and accident. The household is getting back to a calm status. Craig, Carla and Howard sit drinking coffee.

“Jeez what a morning,” Howard said running his hands through his hair and sat down on the stool. “Howard, I think today we should have that family discussion about how you and I are so connected. Carla thinks you’re her personal body guard,” Craig said laughing. “Can we buy you breakfast, partner?” Craig asked as Howard looked up “Yes Craig, you can, I’m famished.”

“I heard that. Craig you hit the shower. Howard, relax with a cup of hot coffee. I’m cooking!” Carla said smiling at Howard, “It would be my pleasure Mrs. Jones,” Howard said. “I’ll be right back,” Craig said as he ran up the stairs. “So what are we cooking Carla?” Howard asked as Carla proceeded to fix breakfast and talk to Howard. “My Granny’s fried breakfast scramble. It’s onions, home fries, crispy bacon, eggs, and cheese; I’m starved.”

Howard watched her work sipping his coffee and made a comment “Adrenalin will make you that way, so will stress. How’s your heart rate now?” he asked. “I’m ok, Howard.” Craig said, “I’m back put me to work.” “Jeez did the water even get hot Craig,” Howard asked. “NO just lukewarm, you’ll like this dish.”

Over breakfast Howard spoke, “Carla, soon you will be able to really understand why, I seem to be your body-guard. Briefly Carla, my family and Craig’s have been meshed together for almost a century. We are partners, both important to each other and this town. It will all make sense later when all of us sit down and go through all this. Craig, even you will finally understand why I’m your big brother. Today none of us need that.”

“Is this clearing up the curiosity of Howard and me now, Carla?” Craig asked. “Yes I am starting to understand, thanks Howard” Carla smiled and touched his hand. “Ok then I need a nap, talk with you two later, thanks for breakfast.” Howard said as he stood up to leave.

Howard turned to Craig “Oh as you have probably figured out already, I have a key to the house,” he laid it on the table. Craig replied as he walked him out. “Howard you’re the only one I trust to have that key, keep it for emergency purposes.”