WORK IN PROGRESS

Maybe I’m being lazy but I have decided to post a random chapter from my, as yet unfinished, sequel to Goodbye Junie Moon.
I would REALLY appreciate some input because I rewrite everything a hundred times before completing any manuscript.

CHAPTER 8

During the year it had taken our book to hit the bookshelves I had trod water. Still a bit rudderless, I came no closer to adopting the child.
After leaving New York I had gone immediately to my family’s dairy farm in Australia. I loved my family dearly, yet, even there, I felt so different. My siblings, now grown, had little in common with me other than parentage. Indeed, my mother, when referring to me, often lamented “I’m sure the hospital gave me the wrong baby.” Another frequent comment “After June visits, I feel as if a cyclone has blown through.”
I sometimes wondered if I was on the wrong track. My family members were all so stable, striving in ‘respectable’ jobs to attain that nice home, that secure retirement. I had always been able to make money but it meant little to me as I lived for each day. Whenever I doubted myself, I clung to the words of Oscar Wilde “…….To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist; that is all!” Yet it did make me an outcast, if only in my own mind.
After visiting the family, I had chuffed alone around Australia’s outback on a motor bike. Passing through some of the small provincial towns on my way North, I had been refused service in a few café’s. I suppose my mode of dress made the proprietors’ nervous. It was a time when ladies uniformly encased their legs in stockings and wore knee length dresses or skirts and blouses. For practicality, I had unearthed my old Vietnam army fatigues and boots. And maybe it wasn’t just the army gear but the rifle slung across my back that they objected too. That was my protection against snakes.
In Alice Springs, I had offended a family when they climbed out of their late model BMW and saw me sitting on the curb, talking to a bunch of aboriginals. I ignored their comments as too petty to take aboard. Still, it gave me food for thought. In New York I had felt like a Martian and here in the Aussie outback, I still didn’t ‘fit-in’. For the hundredth time since leaving Vietnam, I wondered just where I did belong.
Nevertheless, I enjoyed the natural beauty of the desert with its craggy canyons and its monolithic rocks. It was the dry season and I camped under the brilliant stars at night with nothing between me and mother earth except a ground sheet. At Ayers Rock, huge flocks of white, sulphur-crested cockatoo’s routinely woke me at dawn as they left on their daily sojourns, screeching and blotting out the sky as they passed endlessly. The flapping of a million wings and the barrage of piercing calls were more effective than any alarm clock. As their noise receded the pink sky was gradually revealed. I then rose, brushed a feather or two from my hair, and lit the fire. There is nothing better than starting a new day with a cup of hot tea in cold, desert air.
Other hardy campers were sprinkled around the base of Ayers Rock. We shared our food, our drinks, and our stories. They came from all over the world – everywhere but Australia. The Aussies were all away exploring England. I remember a handful of Japanese tourists who were grateful for my inept translations. I recall a young Scotsman who entertained us around the huge bonfire each night with his bagpipes. Such pleasures cost nothing.
They were, of course, the days before civilization arrived. The days before the government, observing ‘political correctness’ changed the name to the aboriginal word, Uluru. The day before the hotel for less hardy tourists was erected. The days before regulations about climbing the rock were implemented.
That wonderful, wild outback was more healing than any high paid psychiatrist. But too soon, my feet grew itchy as they invariably did. I stashed my uniform, gave away my camping gear and headed for Europe.
Stopping off in London, I forked over a chunk of my book advance to a Matchmaker who promised to set me up with a millionaire. After all, if I must marry to adopt that child, it may as well be to a millionaire.
Unfortunately the millionaire and I had busy schedules and the only time we could catch up was in between flights at The Charles De Gaulle airport when we were both heading elsewhere.
I found my way to the meeting place. He was already at the restaurant, wearing an identifying red handkerchief in his breast pocket. As I approached he stood and held out a chair, his eyes appraising me from head to toe. He was tall and only slightly overweight. I was relieved that he seemed quite normal, and pleased that he didn’t smoke. The lunch went well. We talked a lot, drank a little and found several things we had in common. He was average looking and pleasant. I could probably put up with him. Of course I did not immediately pop the question about adopting a street orphan. As we prepared to continue on our separate journeys I pulled out a pen, ready to jot down the place and date of our next rendezvous.
“I’ve enjoyed meeting you” he said, stooping to hug me. “You are one smart, attractive lady. But we won’t meet again. You’re too short.”
Pulling myself up to my full five foot three inches, I retorted “Wouldn’t it be more gentlemanly to concede you are too tall?”

In Europe I adopted a more conventional lifestyle. I was living on The Hotel Schiff (a stationery vessel anchored permanently on the Rhine River in Frankfurt) when Robin contacted me.
“It’s time to return Junie Moon” his voice crackled over the phone in the ship’s overcrowded office. I was leaning uncomfortably across the desk, stretching the coiled black phone cord to bring the phone as close to my ear as possible.
“Nat has set up a full schedule of radio and television interviews for us.”
I digested the timely news. Winter was coming and Frankfurt had been smothering under a heavy fog the last few mornings. Besides, I was sick and tired of eating hard boiled eggs and cold bread rolls for breakfast. There seemed to be nothing else on the ship’s menu and if there was, my Deutch was too limited to order it.

Arriving back in the USA, I discovered The Khaki Mafia was selling in the hundreds of thousands but not in the millions I had hoped for.
During my absence, Robin and Liz had divorced and the ‘Witch’ had disappeared as well. Liz kept the New York condo and Robin had acquired a country estate in nearby Westport Connecticut. Re-making his image, he had added leather patched tweed jackets to his Brooks Brothers wardrobe, purchased a limousine and hired Vincent, a cheerful Jamaican who now doubled as Robin’s live-in, chauffer/houseman.
I accepted Robin’s invitation of temporary accommodation at the Westport Estate. He and I did the promotional tour, accompanied by Lisa, Crown Publishing’s P.R. woman. In New York and L.A. we were guests on most major television talk programs. There was Mike Douglas and David Frost and Merv Griffin and shows like “Whose Line is it” among others since forgotten. We sometimes woke at daybreak and raced to have breakfast with the truck drivers. These were the men who placed the books in the book stores. If they liked you they placed your books at eye level.
Accompanied by Lisa, who took good care of us, we flew to a different city each day, hitting all the major cities on the East Coast and the Mid-West. We gave newspaper, magazine and radio interviews and returned to the hotel in time for dinner each night. Once again I reigned as Queen for a Day.
With Liz out of the picture, Robin was again in hot pursuit. His new lifestyle was alluring. I enjoyed Westport and his acreage property with its picturesque duck ponds. Contemplating a life spent between there and Port Antonio was tempting but I knew how fickle he was.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lynn Schneider
    Sep 25, 2012 @ 10:45:21

    June, I like this. And I read further down and discovered it is a story about Viet Nam which I am very interested in, since it so affected us back then. I did a lot of research about it for my first book since the character was there and was amazed at all I didn’t know about it. I’m going to get your book.

    Reply

  2. darlenecraviotto
    Sep 26, 2012 @ 07:02:06

    I like this too, June. My one comment is that I think you should let us know who Robin is. His character needs to be introduced because not everyone will have read your book. I’ll be excited to read more!

    Reply

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