Preview Of My Sequel, Junie Moon Rising

I decided to test the waters on my new book here. I will post several chapters over the next few weeks. Please feel free to comment.

CHAPTER 1

I awoke from the sleep of the dead. For a few seconds, my mind was blank and I stared uncomprehendingly at the unfamiliar hotel room. Then the events of the past seventy-two hours flooded back. I glanced at the built-in digital clock on the bedside table and realized I had slept for fourteen hours. Apparently, jet lag had finally caught up with me. Nervous tension had kept it at bay for a couple of days. Now my testimony before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Investigations was behind me and I felt as if a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I sat up, my mind screening a rerun of recent events like a familiar old movie.
Safe at last! Done! Finished! Over! Only days earlier, I had been in Vietnam, scared to leave because I’d been told the airport was being watched. But with a price on my head, I had escaped. Two days after arriving in the USA, I testified before the Senate Committee and, by yesterday, my photo had been splashed over the front pages of every newspaper in the country. The story went worldwide and I was labeled a whistleblower…a heroine.
Senator Abraham Ribicoff, Acting Chairman of The Senate Committee had publicly praised me, saying “You are not an American but you did a great service for this country when you risked everything to bring this ‘Khaki Cosa Nostra’ to justice.”
I didn’t let any of it go to my head. The title of heroine was balanced by my enemies who called me a whore. I didn’t feel like a heroine and I knew I wasn’t a whore. Let them call me what they would. I knew I was just an ordinary person, intrepid enough to follow my fate.
But that was all behind me now. The future loomed emptily ahead; my business as a booking agent bringing entertainment to the troops in Vietnam was destroyed.
I climbed out of bed wearing only my panties. Shivering in the unfamiliar coldness of air conditioning, I stumbled to the bathroom and climbed gratefully into the white, fluffy chenille robe provided by the hotel. I thought about the ‘bad guys’ I had testified against. They had wanted me dead so I couldn’t talk. But I had talked and the world had listened. Surely there was no reason to kill me now, was there? They would be the first suspects. Still, it might be best if I remained alert.
In two more days, I needed to vacate this hotel room which the committee had paid for, along with my ticket out of Vietnam. I should have felt elated that I had beaten those crooked army club sergeants yet I felt terribly flat. It reminded me of the big letdown that often follows Christmas and I recalled an army chaplain once telling me that there were more suicides in January than in any other month.
I had one tiny glimmer of hope. Two nights earlier, after seeing me on the evening news, a writer named Robin Moore had phoned from New York and suggested a book collaboration. I grabbed onto the idea like a drowning man clutches a rope.
I ordered room service and was waiting for my scrambled eggs and toast to arrive when Robin Moore phoned me for the second time. He suggested I check into Manhattan’s Barbizon Hotel for Young Women at Lexington and 53rd Street East.
“My condo is on 72nd near Lexington,” he said. “It’s convenient to have you nearby.”
“A hostel for young women isn’t exactly my style.” Absently, I twirled a strand of blonde hair around my finger.
“It won’t be for long. Besides, it was good enough for Joan Crawford, Ali MacGraw, and Rita Hayworth.” His voice sounded sexy.
“Well, if a firecracker like Rita Hayworth could handle it I guess I can.” I laughed.
“I could get you a discount at The Sheraton Hotel.” Robin paused. “Father was the founder of The Sheraton chain, you know. His first three acquisitions were right here in New York but, even with a discount, it would cost more than the Barbizon. I’m sure money’s tight after losing your business.”
“You got that right.” I digested his information before asking, “Do you work in the family business then?”
“The Sheraton? Not any more. Father took a partner, added four more hotels then sold out. I handled the P.R. My first book, ‘Pitchman’, was based on those P.R. days. After selling it, I quit the hotels and I’ve been writing ever since.”
Wondering if he looked as attractive as he sounded, I replied, “I read your book, ‘The Green Berets.’ It was terrific.”
“Thanks. Look, Junie Moon, I gotta run. In the morning, you head to the Washington airport and take the shuttle to La Guardia. They leave every hour. Take a cab to the Barbizon and I’ll meet you in the foyer at seven tomorrow night. Gentlemen aren’t allowed above the ground floor so do be ready.”
“Yes, Mr. Moore. I’m looking forward to meeting you.”
“It’s Robin, remember. We’re going to be seeing a lot of each other while working together so forget this Mister stuff.”
“Yes, Robin. Any suggestions on what I should wear tomorrow night?”
“Well certainly not army fatigues. I’ll make a reservation at Twenty One.”
After hanging up, I sat on the edge of the bed and mentally replayed our conversation, trying not to get too excited. Book royalties could alleviate my precarious financial situation and give me a fresh start. I clung tenuously to an unfulfilled promise made years earlier, a promise to take one of those small Asian beggars off the streets. My conscience nagged me with the passing of time but maybe I could do that now. However, one thing was certain: I would need to change my ways and live a more normal life. My past had been anything but normal.
When breakfast arrived, I thanked the waiter and ate without tasting; my mind preoccupied with things other than food. While washing the lukewarm toast down with strong coffee, I absently noticed the vase of dying carnations. They had been a ‘Welcome to the USA’ bouquet from the two senate investigators. I couldn’t bear anything dead around me. Leaping up, I threw them into the wastebasket then turned my attention to clothes. I had left Vietnam with only one small suitcase. Apart from the circumstances of my hasty departure, I hadn’t needed a huge wardrobe over there. For three and a half years, I had worn army fatigues most of the time.
Opening the closet door, I looked at the conservative, brown woolen dress I had hastily bought to wear at the hearings. That would have to do. My first trip to New York or not, even I had heard of Twenty One, that very ‘in’ restaurant. To an ordinary girl, a sheep farmer’s ex-wife, this was pretty heady stuff.

 

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Terri Eberlein
    Mar 15, 2013 @ 09:13:16

    MORE MORE!!! I am hooked again.

    Reply

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