writing chapter six, obélisque II by jmforceton

25 Apr

It is July 25, 2008, Alfred has rewritten the first five chapters of Obélisque II. He is at home considering plot twists in chapter six of Obélisque II. A situation has presented itself during a recent short stay at the Crillon in Paris. Events like this are rare; how often do you witness historic scandals. He is deep in thought considering its addition, disguising characters, adding fictitious intrigue, changing facts, and perhaps morphing Mary into the role of one of the queens. He’s often had her play more than one role in a major work.

Initially he was undecided as to whether to use this information because of the magnitude of the scandal and the risk involved. Now he has decided to write the chapter and decide later if will make the final draft. This is almost certainly his last novel, he again reminds himself, and he thinks Mary will probably like the plot twist. She, unlike he, is no stranger to danger, always preferring to live on the edge. His final decision is to give her the more nuanced role of the Senator’s wife rather than one of the other two wives. Now he is eager to create the scenes.

He reviews his notes once more before he begins to write.

Note: July 15, 2008

I returned to room 424 at the Crillon. Noticed an odd thing. New hotel staff, a trim man, maybe 50, short say 5’8”, black hair mustache, very expensive looking shoes, walking with purpose to the end of the hall. Halfway down the hall he looked back quickly. Looked like he was going to knock at the door of 478 or 480. Must have gone in. He looked suspicious. Being observant and cautious, I maintained a watch at the peephole for the next half hour. I don’t think he came back down the hall. Two hours and fifteen minutes later I did happen to see him walk past my door.

Talked to a couple of the staff I’ve known for over ten years; they say no new staff. Reading the paper that night I noticed the President of Iran had been diverted here by an engine problem. His picture in the article made me think. Googled more images. It could have been him.

Talked to the hotel staff again re: who might have a room at the end of the hall. Interesting, Sharon Harris, wife of Senator Glen Harris of Montana, has a room.

Googled and made some phone calls. Bingo, Sharon Harris, who was then Sharon Darling, and Asad Arastoo, now President of Iran, attended Yale together 1976 -1978. She is a medical  doctor, a cardiologist and the Senator is an attorney. How well does the Senator know Asad?

Note: July 22, 2008

Short ride down route 95 to New Haven; talked to three people at Yale who knew Sharon and Asad. They say the two knew each other and they were very friendly.

Alfred has finished reviewing his notes and has several ideas forming. Sharon Harris will become Joan Martin, an attorney and wife of a Florida Congressman, Mary Mayville will play the part.

He remembers that Chile’s Chiatin volcano erupted two months ago on May 2, 2008; he decides to use this concept in the story. He finds references to actual Icelandic eruptions in 1998 and 2000 and this validates his decision to create fictitious volcanic activity in Iceland for his story; this affects European airspace, and causes the unexpected rendezvous of characters representing the Senator’s wife and the President of Iran.

Looking at his chessboard gives him an idea; He writes a couple of short poems to open and close chapter six.

Thinking about President Arastoo, Alfred smiles to himself. The shoes that had made him suspicious in the first place – he probably couldn’t get appropriate sized shoes quickly enough or he was just in a very big rush and forgot. Exquisite. This reminded him of an incident 65 years ago at Milton Academy when he and Bobby Kennedy were seventeen and naive.

There are many moving pieces; he has no idea that in three days on July 25, 2008 an actual eruption will take place in Iceland.

Alfred begins to write chapter six.

*     *     *     *

Obélisque II     Chapter 6

Impulse Control

White Queen can be had

She offers herself


A Pawn will be lost

Pawns exchanged

Bishops compromised

Lost Knights

Black Queen pinned

Black King  mated

Hold back


Shun the White Queen

Escape the trap

Take her on your terms

Or leave her


To her mated King

*     *     *     *

In Iceland eruptions through the week have caused changes in travel plans for the highborn and the low. Securing accommodations on short notice in Paris is difficult under normal conditions but suitable arrangements are made. Once settled in, the President discovers that the unexpected stop will, in fact, be very agreeable. He causes the stay in Paris to be extended for a day. This is explained by the prudent necessity to inspect the royal aircraft carefully after its return from New York, since it has been flying through unusual atmospheric conditions caused by the volcanic ash.

The President’s security people rush together a plan to allow the meeting with Joan Martin, his lover for the past 30 years.

When traveling, he never gives any thought to his wife. The fact that decisions are being made in Tehran, simultaneously, would never cross his mind. She is lonely and in love with the Minister of Defense, and she has known about Joan, now the wife of a Congressman, for many years.

She makes her own high risk plan to offer herself to the Minister.

Waiting Game

positions set

they wait

Queens, pawns


knights, rooks


who will move them


they wait

Alfred thinks, “It’s a good start for the first rough cut, I’ll have lunch and add the rest of the chapter later.”

*     *     *     *

Private Airfield Outside Paris    July 16, 2008

Prior to boarding for takeoff, Asad Arastoo is in a serious, very private, conversation with his head of security. “Yesterday, I was surprised by an old man going into a room midway in the corridor. He saw me walking towards her room. I want you to look into this; you understand the significance.”

Tehran, Iran      July 27, 2008

“Unfortunately your concerns were well founded, this scum of an old man you saw in the hotel is a best selling western novelist. His personal research has uncovered your secret and it appears that characters based on you and the lady will appear in the 6th chapter of his next novel.”

“That must not be allowed to happen.”

“There is more, I am sorry to have to tell you, but he goes further with the lies and slander, and discloses a treasonous affair between your wife and the Minister of Defense.”

“How can that be? Is it true?”

“Mister President, I do not know. It is a book of lies he writes. If you wish we can investigate further.”

“Let me think. We will decide tomorrow.”

“Mr. President, one more piece of information I must tell you. Our investigation was complicated because others are investigating the old man. I will know more in the next day or two.”

“Impossible, does it involve me?”

“We do not know. We must proceed very carefully and be prepared to act if necessary.”

“I want immediate updates on your progress.”

“Of course, Mr. President.”

One Response to “writing chapter six, obélisque II by jmforceton”

  1. ingridfnl April 26, 2010 at 8:53 pm #

    I am really enjoying the story within a story.

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