The following short story will be posted the coming week in three parts. Part 1 today. Part 2 on Monday and Part 3 on Wednesday. It is about an idea for a novel that has been kicking around in this old head for a bit.
Now here's where YOU come in. Would you read the novel? What would you do to improve the opening? Please let me know what you think? What do you think the title means?
The Honey Trap
Bella Maggs weighed 40 pounds when she was four years old. Her mother passed away from cervical cancer when Bella was eight and as big as a teenager. By the time she was twelve, she was full grown. Four days, two and a half hours after she was handed her high school diploma, her father was killed in a car accident. She was one day away from her eighteenth birthday. To suggest her childhood had not been propitious is akin to suggesting the Marianas Trench is under a lot of water.
The doctor’s diagnosed her immense girth as an eating disorder, prescribing exercise and a healthier diet. Her single parent father spoiled her and couldn’t say no. School kids bullied her in elementary school but that stopped by the time she reached junior high. By then she’d stopped feeling sorry for herself and toughened up. Bella Maggs is not stupid. In fact, her Intelligence Quotient at 161 is considered exceptionally gifted or in everyday talk, she is a genius.
In high school she was not without friends; she had a beautiful round face of the fairest skin, ruddy checks like a fresh apple and a pleasing smile. She tried hard to be liked. Her friends were smaller than her. Standing at 5’10’, she weighed 225 pounds when she entered grade ten. Boys were scared of her and she was rarely asked out. The only boy that wanted to take her to the prom was Kelvin Van Grut, the only other genius in her school. At 6’4”, a 119 pounds, loose limbed and bony jointed he reminded people of a marionette. Everybody called him Pinocchio.
June 25th, 1991, at 2:10 pm the senior graduating class of Victor Loerch Memorial High School received their diplomas. Bella and Kelvin arrived at the prom 20 minutes late at 7:20pm. The heckling began at 7:21. The snickers and whispers at the odd pair were not disguised. Mean spirited teenagers openly taunted them. At 7:42 pm, Bella Maggs ran tearfully from the gymnasium. No one that knew her then ever saw her again. Her father’s funeral had been handled by his only sibling, a younger sister. Bella managed the disposition of all her father’s assets in absentia. What couldn’t be sold was given to his sister to dispose of. Bella refused to surface. Nine months later she said goodbye to her aunt.
In 2010, Rosa Vartanian moves to Treasure Island near the picturesque seaside community of Cocagne. She buys a rundown cottage on the perimeter facing east. During the first twelve months of occupancy, she convinces her four closest neighbors to sell her their properties. Everybody has their price. She now owns one quarter of the football field sized landmass. All the buildings have been given away or razed, the properties graded, large majestic pines groomed, scrap trees cut down and others replanted. A modest story and a half occupies the center of her property. A separate three car garage holds her vehicles with the upstairs housing her training rooms. Picket fences, clever shrubs ensure her privacy without seeming a snob. Multi-hued sunrises shimmer across the bay. The waters are capricious.
Vartanian can speak more than a dozen languages. She has been warmly welcomed by the curious Acadian population of the hamlet. When it was discovered she could speak French, she was invited into their homes. The fact that she only has one arm doesn’t faze them a bit. The myth of her being wealthy seems unreal given her humbleness. When they politely inquire where she is from or any reference to her background she cleverly changes the subject. Or they get the only-child- parents-deceased- outline. As far as the missing arm, she states that it is due to a car accident. No one needs to know that she lost it in the state of Lower Saxony in Germany.
30 months ago she’d been tracking down a group of neo-fascists that fantasized of a renewed state, proclaiming for a separate slice of Northern Germany. From universities groups chanting left wing slogans against immigrants, they grew to autonomous groups fashioned after Islamic jihadism with no one commander, no head to sever. The racists caused havoc and death mainly amongst black communities, Muslim neighborhoods and gay habitat. In their attempt to garner worldwide attention, they kidnapped the son of Canada’s Prime Minister who was attending the University of Cologne, demanding an exorbitant amount of money for his release. Underneath all the law enforcement activity of both countries, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) had agents in action throughout Europe. None of them were more covert and better connected than Rosa Vartanian. She had been in Germany anyway.
Within twenty four hours, Vartanian uncovered a connection between the men in the security videos from the University that the Saxony State Police shared with Canada’s RCMP, and Rudolf Hoch, the slime she’d been sent here to shadow a month ago. Hoch was a skin head, a rich skin head. He was charged with the murder of his parents, owners of Hoch Shipping. Nine months later Rudolph walked out of the courtroom a free man. The prosecution could not prove he was guilty. His mother was Canadian, well connected to the business elite and present political hierarchy. It had been suggested to CSIS that Rudolph Hoch bore watching. They sent Rosa Vartanian.
Read Part 2 here on Monday, April 20.
Part 3 on Wednesday, April 22.
Looking forward to your comments.
For a true adventure, try the Dark Side of a Promise.
The clues lead to crimes more diabolical than you can imagine. Available here