Most of us try to carefully monitor and control the events of our life. It has never seemed easier. Or so we think. We have so many electronic tools to coordinate our schedules, instantly stay in touch, book restaurant reservations, buy movie tickets, buy books, buy furniture, buy clothes, pay bills, do banking and stay on top of the pieces of our daily existence.
It makes us feel like we are in control. It makes us think we know what our children, co-workers, spouses and friends are doing. Then something happens that we do not expect.
There is a serious illness or a death. There is the loss of a job or an economic downturn. People and events behave in ways we did not expect. Suddenly we think there is uncertainty introduced into our well-ordered world.
But what we fail to recognize is that the uncertainty has been there all the time.
So begins the prologue of my third novel “Illusion of Certainty” which I am currently writing. There is a quote from John Allen Paulos “Uncertainty is the only certainty there is.”
The main character Marc Grant feels successful and has a good job, a wife he dearly loves, two great kids and surrounded by some lifelong friends. But there is trouble ahead for him. He is so troubled about sudden problems in his relationship with his wife that he consults a psychic on a business trip to Los Angeles.
The psychic warns him that there are “storm clouds on his horizon.” His best friend, John Robertson, mocks Marc during their weekly golf game for consulting the psychic. “That is one great psychic you have there,” he tells Marc, “there are storm clouds on everyone’s horizon.”
But Marc continues to wonder what is wrong with his wife. On day he, quite by chance, spots his wife, Aimee in traffic in downtown Portland, Oregon. He follows her to a parking garage on a rainy day.
Here is a sample of “Illusion of Certainty.”
“Where could she be going,” he wondered. He felt drawn to follow her and find out. She continued down the four lane boulevard and Marc spotted her ahead of him. He maneuvered in traffic to get closer but not too close. Suddenly he started feeling some guilt for secretly stalking Aimee.
Marc observed Aimee turn right off of Broadway and headed west on Stark Street, which ran parallel to Burnside. Marc made the turn onto Stark. Then two blocks ahead of him he saw Aimee slow down and suddenly disappear.
As he got closer he realized that she had taken a parking ramp down to an underground garage. Marc followed. It was the parking garage under one of Portland’s grand old hotel, which had recently been restored to its original grandeur when it was built in the 1920s.
The hotel had been restored but the underground parking garage still resembled a dungeon. It was poorly lit with narrow parking stalls and narrow traffic lanes. As Marc slowly eased his car down the ramp and into the garage, he spotted the taillights of Aimee’s SUV ahead as she pulled into a parking stall.
Marc quickly scanned the garage for one that was close to Aimee’s vehicle but not too close. He turned right and headed down an adjacent lane. There appeared to be one just ahead. Suddenly he saw Aimee walking quickly towards the parking garage elevator. She was wearing a dress. A bright blue dress was hemmed just above her knee. She had on black heels and a tan raincoat over her dress. Where was she going? And why?
“Illusion of Certainty”, which takes place in Portland, Seattle, London and Paris, will be published this summer. I will keep you posted on my progress.
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