First published by The Red Forge Publishing House, 2015 and updated in 2016, 2017, 2021, 2022
Adelaide, South Australia
Copyright © Sutcliffe, Keren
Book 4: The Elegant Solution
Brenda was very disappointed with her family’s response to her wanting to leave Jeremy and trying her luck out on her own. She was having a magnificent time not worrying about cooking and cleaning. Her children were grown and perfectly capable of looking after themselves; a job well done. Living the Dockside had been a hoot. A constant stream of new and interesting people. A great view of the Port River. What next? The play had been a success, of sorts. At least it had gone ahead, there had been an audience. Everyone played their part. There was a small financial gain, nothing like the bottom lines that Marla had imagined. Perhaps a film. Perhaps that would be better than a play. The actors wouldn’t get so nervous.
Marla was trying to get ready for a meeting with the team from The Red Forge Publishing House. Tarnie was laying awake at night wondering how to get out of her current situation. Max was a little bewildered by the current state of Australian politics and Covid19 was extremely challenging for an information agent and had virtually become a hermit. Completely shut himself off from the rest of the world. Charlotte had hardly looked at the Theodorus Spiral and basically tried to find somewhere to store her forge until perhaps she felt more positive. Leroy hadn’t shown up. ArkiMay abandoned the project and moved on. The work was left half edited.
Brenda started writing again. The Elegant Solution.
Max was alone, at home. He looked out of the back window. It was snowing which was strange. It was fascinating. He was daydreaming. Was it true that each flake was unique but the chances were not zero that at any one time they were all the same? It could be happening now, he thought. He shook his head. It was a strange day. He was in a strange mood. Through the snow he could see, far down the garden path, that the back gate was open. He put on his old dirty woolen jumper and stepped outside. It was cold but he didn’t seem to mind and headed toward the gate. About halfway along the path he spotted something on the ground, just off the path. On bending down he gashed his head on the side of the shed. Swearing he raised his hand to touch the wound and a drop of blood fell to the snow. He stopped and looked at the stark red blood in the white snow. He continued to the open gate. As he approach he could he something coming. It was a rumble. The trees and snowfall were blocking any view down the laneway but from the right, something was coming. It sounded like horse hooves. Standing at the open gate with a bleeding gash on his head he looked right along the laneway. Yes, horses were coming. And a carriage and driver. A woman driver, it was Charlotte, wearing a bright red dress, with a low neckline and flowing black hair. Two magnificent horses, proudly pulling a carriage. She pulled the horses up alongside Max standing there holding his bleeding head that he has gashed on the shed. He noticed her incredibly long dark eyelashes that sparkled. He was mesmerized. She leaned down as Max leaned forward and blood from his head smeared her hands. They both were momentarily staring at the blood. She recovered first and said. “Hop in were are off to the Dockside Tavern. I can care for that wound and buy you a whiskey.” He asked, “will Marla be there?” The carriage door opened. Someone else was inside. Max turned, looked back at his house, closed the gate, and jumped up into the carriage. Inside was Tarnie playing a guitar. Dressed like she was from the wild west. Once Max was settled it was giddy up and they were off. There sat another man. A quick introduction to Leroy, and passing of a flask with strong liquor and Max, Tarnie and Leroy were on their way.