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I am Maximillian Excaliber and before the story I would like to tell you the importance of leaving feedback.
As a writer, it is important to know how well or not well received a work is by received the target audience. Unlike movie and TV studios, we can not rely on focus groups to tell us how our work is being accepted.
On this site, the mechanisms some of us writers rely upon, especially the new ones like myself, are feedback and ratings.
A given work may have been read by 8000 people in three days, but if only 10 or 20 people take the time to rate it and only 2 to leave feedback it is impossible for us and you to tell how popular the story actually is and it is difficult for us, as writers, to know what may need improvement.
While feedback is important to improvement, ratings are the best gauge of how popular a story is but they are only reliable if enough people do so.
For those of you who don’t know, a “Hot” story is one that has an average of 4.5 after 10 or more votes. They will have a little red “H” beside their names in the lists displays but some of the best stories have poor ratings because only a few people have taken the time to rate them while literally thousands have actually read them. And so, unless you stumble across them by accident, you may never know about them.
Feedback can always be left anonymously and ratings are always anonymous so please, even if you do not wish to leave feedback, take the time to rate the story.
Unfortunately, I submitted the novel to the editor I started using about three months ago but he is quite busy and does not have the time to edit the novel. I have decided to post it here so I can go on to other projects. Finally, I have made every attempt to make this novel error free that I can, I am sure there are errors in it that, despite my attempts, have slipped past my editing process. Should you find any, please notify me by email and I will correct them. When posting your comments, please try to keep this in mind: I do not represent this as a professional quality work, but it is the best I can do.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and Happy Reading.
When I started writing some months back, it was with the intention of developing my skills sufficiently so that, with confidence, I could begin writing more conventional fiction. Each story I write is a learning experience for me as I attempt to sharpen my technical skills and story telling techniques.
You will find my stories are becoming longer than the previous ones as I attempt to weave more plot and character development into them.
I hope this is an improvement and you enjoy them.
And now for a word about this particular set of stories.
A few years back I received a couple of rotator cuff injuries that, until recently, had remained undiagnosed. Between that and some other medical problems I will not go into right now, I unfortunately found myself spending more time than I wanted to in medical offices. One good thing has come out of it though; all that time waiting gave me a few ideas for a couple of stories.
This series is the first one of those ideas I have put to words.
As you read these, I think you’ll find it amazing what can be running through one’s mind while they are in a waiting room.
When next you go to the doctor or dentist, think back on these stories and try to imagine what the other people in the waiting room are daydreaming about as they wait alone with you. I think you’ll find it an interesting way to pass the time.
When I started writing this storyline, it was with the intent of writing a single short story. However, as I was reaching the end of what would eventually become part one, it occurred to me that the Matchmaker Bandits had never failed to acquire their objectives before.
The idea of infallibility has never set well with me so I decided to make them just a little more human, and once in a while, let someone else get the best of them. I already had begun to get other ideas for expanding the story floating through my mind when I decided to write what would eventually become Part Two. By the time I was finished with it, my imagination was running full out and I decided to see just how far I could take the storyline.
Please keep in mind the following when you get to Part Four:
One of the two main characters, Lyle Cunningham, describes a medical history including attempts to treat a condition that affected him while he was in college.
While you are reading part four, as outrageous as the medical history described may seem, it is based on actual events in my life.
The main differences between the medical history depicted in the story and what actually happened to me are that I saw far more doctors than does did the character in the story before being properly diagnosed and my gallbladder problems went on for over four years. Also, I am now a type-2 diabetic. The end results of the beşiktaş escort gallstone being left in too long are that I now have a damaged spleen, pancreas, and liver.
Yes as unbelievable as it sounds, it really does happen.
I want to stress that this is a work of fiction. While some places actually exist, the small town of Magnolia, in Part Five, is a complete construction of my imagination. All characters and events are fictitious and any similarity between the characters and events in the novel and actual people or events is purely in the imagination of you, the reader.
Also, I’d like to thank “Jaily Ember” for taking the time to edit this massive undertaking of mine.
Finally, whether you like it, hate it or are totally indifferent, please take the time to rate it and leave feedback. Also, when doing so, try and remember that the works on this site are mostly done by amateurs such as myself and are edited by volunteers. While every effort has been made to ensure that it is as error free as possible, some minor errors should be expected. Please send me an email and I will correct them in a future reposting of the story. It is very import for the feedback and rating system to be viable that you rate and leave feedback for each posting only once.
Without further ado, please enjoy this, the first Matchmaker Bandit Novel.
Part Two – The Office Manager
Previously in Part One, Ms. White and Mr. Black originally believed that they had found the Jennings Collection until he arrived on the scene and convinced them that he had replaced all his valuable artifacts with replicas. At first, they didn’t believe him. But when he pointed out labels on the bottom of all the ‘valuable’ artifacts indicating them to be phony, the two robbers left thinking that they had been outsmarted.
Later, Dr. Jennings confided to his nurse Margo and her lover Kent that, while he had indeed outsmarted them, the two bandits had actually been holding real artifacts all the time. It was the labels that were fake and not the artifacts and that he had actually returned that evening to move the real items to a safer location.
Hastily, Dr. Jennings, Margo and Kent moved the Jennings Collection to a storage container the doctor had rented earlier that day.
Undaunted by their first failure to steal the Jennings Collection, the Matchmaker Bandits continue their crime spree in this, Part Two.
Chapter One – “Final Flight”
“We’re losing fuel rapidly; the number one engine just went out too, Bob!” Ron Macarthur said to his co-pilot as the warning buzzer sounded and the warning light for the number one engine began blinking. There was a tone of concern but not panic in his voice as he began to increase power to the Boeing 707 airplane’s two remaining engines.
Ron Macarthur and his friend Bob Early had been hired by the charter service to fly the old airplane back to the airline’s maintenance depot where it was to be decommissioned.
Accompanying them was Candice Foster, a head stewardess for the charter service. Candice and her husband Wyatt were both close friends of Ron and his wife Delores.
When the first warning buzzer came indicating that the number two engine had failed, everyone in the cockpit thought it was an electrical failure because the engine was still running at the time.
Tom Rogers, the ship’s Flight Engineer, couldn’t figure out the problem and had gone below to see if he could fix it when the engine actually failed. Seconds later the number one engine failed.
Just seconds after that the number three engine failed the airplane exploded in mid-air somewhere over the Gulf of Mexico. All aboard were killed instantly.
The F.A.A. would later determine that the fuel tanks were ignited by an electrical short caused by condensation on a wiring harness near the number one fuel tank.
Chapter Two – “Running Out Of Options”
As I walked out onto the back porch of my Southern Plantation Style home that Friday afternoon to watch the sun setting over the lake, I gazed upon the Georgia sunset and tried not to think too hard of the many times that Ron and I had sat there on the swing together enjoying the beautiful afternoon view.
Instead, I filled my mind with recollections of that week’s job interviews and the rejections that I been receiving.
Before I was married, I had worked as the office manager for Dr. Victoria Mercer, who just happened to also be a long time friend of both Ron and myself. And, after Wyatt Foster, Victoria was the first one to call and ask me to see if I needed anything when Ron died.
With Ron gone, I was forced to try and go back to work doing one of the few things I was good at, medical management. I had applied for several positions but there were just no offers coming in.
Almost with out exception I kept hearing the beşyol escort same thing, “I see you have been out of the job market for quite a long time Mrs. Macarthur”, and I was getting tired of hearing it! What did they think, my IQ had dropped and all the experience drained out of my head during the years of being a homemaker?
A year had gone by since Ron’s death and with the insurance money all but gone, the bills were coming in faster than I could pay them.
Ron’s death had left quite a void in my life and it was almost as if I were starting over again only this time with a great big hole in my heart.
For the past nine months I had applied for jobs everywhere I could think of and was quickly running out of options.
The only job I had received an offer for since posting my resume on the Internet was in Augusta, and I really didn’t want to have to move. By that time, I knew that if something didn’t come my way soon I would have to take the job as the bills were coming in faster than I could pay them!
As luck would have it, the morning I had decided to call and see if the job was still available in Augusta, the phone rang.
“Hi Dee, how are you doing?” It was Victoria.
“Getting there, Vickie. Getting there.” I told her somberly. I tried to sound a bit less melancholy when I asked her, “So what’s up?”
“Why didn’t you tell me you needed a job?” She sounded a bit hurt.
I guess I wasn’t thinking when I said, “How did you find out?”
“That is your resume that’s posted out on the Internet isn’t it?” She asked.
Feeling a bit dumb, I answered her, “Yeah, that’s me. But who told you it was out there, one of the doctors I applied with?”
“No, I found it myself. I’m looking for someone to replace Rhonda; her husband Bill, you remember Bill don’t you? Anyway, he’s in the Army and just got orders for Fort Ord, California. She’s leaving in four weeks.” Then she said, “I’m in a bad way. I’m going to need a new office manager and the office is so busy right now that I just don’t have time to spend on job interviews. I need someone fast that I can trust and won’t have to baby-sit while they learn the ropes. You still open to offers or have you already accepted a position?”
Was I open to offers? Hell yes I was open to offers! I said to her, “When do you want me to start?”
We spent the next half hour going over the details. I was to start the following Monday and would be brought up to speed by Rhonda before she left. After that, we spent the next couple of hours just talking about old times.
It couldn’t have come at a better time; and for the first time in months, I finally had something to look forward too.
Chapter Three – “Starting Over”
I showed up early that Monday before the staff arrived for a conference with Vicky and Rhonda. After cordialities, they began briefing me on the names, positions and responsibilities of each staff member along with any individual quarks they thought I should know about.
My first day at work came to be quite a surprise to me. Now you might think it was because I hadn’t worked for several years and needed to get re-accustomed to the hectic routine of a doctor’s office. That goes without saying.
No, it was because for some reason, Vicky had neglected to tell me that Wyatt Forster was working for her. Imagine my surprise when she told me as she was briefing me on the office staff, that he had been working there as a file clerk for about five months. Wyatt had been a pilot for the same charter service that Ron worked for and that had to have been a big pay cut.
Vicky must have seen the expression on my face because she said; “He left the charter service right after the accident. He’ll tell you about it if he wants to. If he does, I think you’ll understand.” Then she added, “It never occurred to me to ask you, but I’m asking you now. Is it going to make you uncomfortable working with him?”
After the funeral, Wyatt and I lost touch with each other. I guess at the time we were both trying to grieve in our own way. Somewhere deep inside, neither of us wanted to talk to the other for fear we would end up reminiscing about our spouses.
It would have been just too awkward to see Wyatt. Not just because of our shared loss, but also because we had dated each other for two years in high school. We both knew that had I not gone to an out-of-state college and he joined the Air Force after graduation, our lives might have been different. I think at that time, neither of us wanted to think about it.
I thought about what she was asking for a second and said, “No, Wyatt is and always will be my friend.”
“Good.” Vicky said, “I hoped you would say that! Now, shall we go meet everyone?”
One by one I was introduced to each member of the staff. Vicky somehow managed to save Wyatt for last. I think from his reaction that Wyatt was as surprised to see me as I was at finding out he beykent escort worked there.
The rest of the day was uneventful until I got ready to go home that afternoon. Like a lot of other medical offices, the practice closes the doors at 4:00 and the staff usually leaves when the last patient is gone.
Rhonda and I had decided to stay late and go over some of the changes in insurance filing procedures when, at about 6:15, we decided to call it a day.
I remember thinking as I was headed to the rear exit that it had been a good first day and was already looking forward to the next. I opened the door and headed to my car when I saw Wyatt leaning, with his back to me, over a car. The hood was up on the it and he appeared to be trying to fix something. I walked up to him and said, “Need any help?”
“The damn thing’s been acting up for months! I knew I should have put it in the shop when I had a chance! Now I won’t be able to get a mechanic out here until tomorrow morning! FUCK!” I could hear the annoyance in his voice as he was saying it.
He looked up suddenly from the car as if it had just occurred to him who he was talking to and said, “I’m sorry Delores, I didn’t even realize that was you. I was just venting.” Then he added, “I’m just mad at myself for not getting this hunk of junk looked at when I should have.”
“Need a lift?” I suggested.
With a big grin on his face, he said, “Thanks, that would be a big help! Let me just lock it up and I’ll be right with you.”
On the way to his house, we talked about old times and what we had each been doing the last several months. Neither of us mentioned our spouses. I don’t think either of us would have been comfortable doing so at that time.
When I told him what a surprised it was to find him working for Vicky, he told me what had happened to bring it about.
“I quit the charter service Delores. Too many corners are being cut everywhere and the F.A.A. is dropping the ball. They seem more concerned about not inconveniencing the airlines than they are about safety. I got fed up with the whole damn mess and decided to do something else. I’d rather make less money than deal with the aggravation.
I needed someone to talk to so I called Vicky and told her what I was contemplating. She tried for hours to talk me out of it. Finally she gave up. That’s when she told me that her file clerk had just left to take a job in Columbus and asked me if I’d like the job. It was just my good luck that she hadn’t filled the position yet.” He was silent for a few seconds, then he added, “I know filing all day is not much after you have flown airplanes for a living, but the pay’s not that bad and I like it.”
When we got to his place, as he was getting out of the car, I asked him how he was planning on getting to work in the morning.
“I thought I’d take a cab.” He replied.
I thought about it for a second and said, “Look it’ll cost you a fortune and you are going to need the money to get your car fixed. I just live a couple of sub-divisions over, why don’t you let me pick you up and we will carpool until you get it fixed?”
“You sure it won’t be an inconvenience?” He asked hesitantly.
I smiled and said, “No, not at all. Pick you up at 7:00?”
As I drove the few remaining blocks home, my mind was a mix of joy and sadness at seeing my friend. I was both happy to see him again, and sad to see how much the tragedy we both shared had affected his life.
The mechanic came during our lunch break the next day. When Wyatt came in, I could tell from his face that the news was not good. It turned out that his car was in worse shape that he thought and he was going to need a new engine and it would take at least two months to get the parts.
At first when I suggested we continue to carpool, he was resistant saying that it was too much of an inconvenience for him to ask of me. When told I wouldn’t take no for an answer, he insisted that I let him give me some money for gas. So, I told him that it really wasn’t out of the way but while I wouldn’t take his money, if it would make him feel better, he could buy me lunch. He gave in and agreed.
From then on, we started going out to lunch every Friday together.
When Wyatt’s car was fixed, we decided to continue to carpool, swapping off driving every other week, and save us both some gas.
It didn’t take long of us seeing each other every day before any reservations I might have had about renewing our friendship were gone.
It finally occurred to me that as much as Wyatt was like a brother to Ron, Candice was like a sister to me. I know that Ron would have trusted no one more than Wyatt to take care of me; and, I’d like to think, where Wyatt was concerned, Candice felt the same way about me. One thing I was sure of, both of then would have wanted us to be happy.
I don’t think either of us planned it that way but after about six months, we started becoming quite close again, like the way we had been in high school.
I had been waiting for him to ask me out for the last two months. Finally, when he didn’t, I decided to take the initiative. I sort of ambushed him with it. On the way to work one day I started talking about all the new movies that were coming out and eventually worked my way around to a particularly popular movie at the time.
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