I interviewed author J.L. Lawson earlier this month, and now I’m hosting an excerpt from his literary fiction / coming of age novel “Just a Curtain”. Enjoy!
Melanie defended, “And knowing that, we didn’t see yesterday’s turn of events coming? Not even a sense of foreshadowing heralding the backlash?”
“Touché;” Willa acknowledged without missing a beat. “Dashiel and Eliot will conference call in half an hour. If I know Eliot, he’s going to over-react, but maybe Dashiel will be a moderating force.”
Elias laughed aloud, “The Boss? Moderating force? If anything, he’s going to amplify any counter-responses Eliot proposes. No, if there’s going to be moderation…” and he stared at Emma. “It’s you who are going to have to enable it.”
She sighed. “And I thought I was passed the ‘let’s all play nice together’ phase of my career.”
Melanie mused, “Why isn’t there a psychic-emotional move akin to a jujitsu throw? We could sure use one or two just now.”
A smile began to spread across Emma’s features as Melanie’s off-hand comment gained friction in her own thoughts. “Brilliant! Our girl Melanie is brilliant!” and she rushed through the lobby, dashed up the stairs and disappeared.
“Huh? What did I say?” Melanie wondered aloud to the wagging expressions of confusion on her partners’ faces.
At a table in a little restaurant near the hotel, three women and a gentleman responded to questions and suggestions coming at them from the phone’s speakers.
“…But that’s precisely what I’m saying, Mr. Drummond. We do nothing overtly or covertly to discourage these onslaughts. No beefed up security, no screening at entrances, nothing.” Emma was on a roll and was steadfastly confident of her course. “If our clientele themselves don’t stand up and shout down this menace, then we really are, as the papers in Santiago put it: way too far ahead of our time!”
Eliot Lloyd reiterated, “Let me grasp what you’re proposing clearly for myself. You are insisting that we respond by not responding. That, how did you put it? Just like a practitioner of aikido allows her opponent’s momentum to act against them, we let these hooligans destroy their own cause by our getting out of their way and not allowing them to affect our balance? Did I get it this time?”
“Essentially, yes, Mr. Lloyd. That is exactly what I am suggesting. And I’m not just whistling in the wind here either. Listen to these responses from the Prague papers— ‘Drummond-Lloyd STIRR up a hornet’s nest of revulsion from the lowest in society…’ or this one, my personal favorite, ‘Drummond-Lloyd Global Access Program STIRR’s conscience of Earth’s vision for it’s future. Only flat-earthers are not on board…’ See? It’s already happening and Melanie only just suggested this course of non-action to me not an hour ago.”
Two voices chimed at once over the speakers. “Our Melanie Armitage?! Miss Perpetual-Motion suggested non-action?!” That brought out laughter at both ends of the line.
Emma justified, “Neither of you have seen our Melanie in a while.”
Elias sounded, “I assure you gentlemen, Miss Armitage is as steady as a rock these days.”
For herself she offered only, “I know I have a lot more energy than ever I’ve had before, and not a hint of a cold in over ten months now, even in some of the places we’ve been called to serve!”
Dashiel Drummond’s voice was clear and sure; “Miss Hammer, we’ve never had reason to doubt your judgement on other matters in this venture,” there was a pause before he finished with, “Non-action it is then. But with this caveat: Please publish our response and the reasoning behind it at once through as many channels as you have at your disposal. If we are going to take the moral high ground, it’s not going to be a secret weapon. This policy, like everything else we’re striving toward here, must be transparent.”
“Done!” Emma bubbled.
Willa asked, “Alright fellas, what else? Does this conclude the conference?” They agreed that it did and disconnected. “Okay, Emma, it’s your show now.”
Emma was already typing into her phone as fast as her fingers would fly. She looked up, “I’ve sent the news release to fifty-three major papers world-wide, inserted our announcement in the queue for over a hundred and fifty bloggers—that I know I can count on, and we can only hope our story runs on the evening news over the major global networks before the day is out.”
Willa, Elias and Melanie just stared back at her.
“What? You didn’t think I actually pick up a phone and speak to each contact individually to do my job, did you?” She tsked coyly, but added, “This is the first time I’ve used my entire directory for one purpose at the same time before.” She looked up from sending a final notice. “This is exhilarating!”
Melanie gushed, “No wonder you have no peers!”
“Amen to that!” Willa and Elias intoned reverently. Emma blushed.
Just a Curtain
Author: J.L. Lawson
Genre: Literary Fiction, Adventure, Coming of Age
“If you had virtually unlimited resources and a pristinely practicable imagination, and a knack for turning air into butter, what do you suppose you’d do next?”
—Tera Elphinstone, Drummond Group Director
Just A Curtain is the remarkable, fast-paced gateway to both The Elf series and the grander epic recorded in J. L. Lawson’s other works: The Donkey and The Wall trilogy and The Curious Voyages of the Anna Virginia Saga.
Just A Curtain chronicles the remarkable life and achievements of Dashiel Drummond and the capable group of people he gathers around him to make a change for the better in the world in which he finds himself. A coming of age story, orphaned at sixteen, he rises through the angst of adolescence to the challenge of fulfilling the promise of his potential—from ranch hand and welder to the pre-eminent global entrepreneur and builder of starships.
I am a father, a grandfather and a “Came-to-Writing-Professionally-Late-in-Life” kinda guy. After rewarding careers as a Land Planner, Standards Engineer, Technical Writer/Graphic Designer, and as an Educator (High School and College Literature/Composition) I settled down at the laptop and began storytelling for a living. My wife and I live in the Cross-timbers country of North Texas and spend as much time seeing this amazing country, its National Parks and Forests, as we can manage.
My own journey has taken me both far afield and deep within. It is a journey, no doubt, similar in nature to many seekers’ travels who have come before me. However, an unconditional commitment to the work is the trait of only a handful of those who set their aim very high indeed, and then to find a guide who knows the way through this rarely known land, is without question what all others have equally sought. Some gave up the search, some became distracted by the lure of other interests, many became satisfied with the knowledge they had already gleaned from their initial searches. There is, in the end, only so much gold.
At Voyager Press: http://bit.ly/VPJust-Curtain
At Amazon: http://bit.ly/Just-Curtain