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••• The International Writers Magazine - Our 20th Year: A New York Story

Norah & Noel - Chapter Two - Part One
• Victor Castleton

Following instructions, Noel moved his car away from the mayhem of sirens and squeals of ambulances. He was directed to a private parking area where vehicles are kept stationed for time on end. He turned the engine off and slowly crossed his arms over the steering wheel, resting his sweaty face.

Porche Light

He felt like a hunted wounded animal in this fleeting hideaway; harassed and terrified as one who’s being pursued and closing fast in this nightmarish crunch.

He showed a fear of death in his eyes, and started praying in silence for this infernal chase to come to an end, when he saw a light beam and heard a gentle tapping on the car’s roof. The stranger, harbinger of the bizarre news to him a short time ago, appeared again in this surreal impasse. Evidently this man helped spared his life, or in the least, sheltered him from serious injury; was back again.

He had no reason to doubt him; he was overcome with an all over sense of heart-felt peace.

He noticed that the man wasn't wearing the garage logo at this time, nor was there a glare that surrounded him as he walked. But Noel recognized the sound of his voice, which gave him the confidence to trust this messenger one more time.

“Take your first left," - he pointed out - "and you will see a straight opening in between parked cars, until you cannot go any longer, then, take a right turn and you’ll be on Ninth Avenue going south. Everything will be clear for you.” The man assured him.

Noel turned to thank this uncalled emissary, but he was already gone, out of sight. Noel finally left the garage, strangely finding not a trace of any accident.

He was not necessarily heading home, but heading that way south through the Bowery to cross over to the east side. He checked his watch, and calmly noticed that it was 08:38am, even checked his navigator screen, aware that he'd left the house at 10:08am - Noel had full awareness of the laws of time reversal.

Suddenly the thought of his beautiful wife Norah filled his head. “She must be done by now and ready to join me!” He said out loud. "After all, any other ‘Norah’ exists only in a dream inside my head and the real one is waiting for me at home". He reasoned, seeking consensus within himself. “The mind of man is an unsearchable labyrinth” he gingerly added.

He was going fast through Bowery St; the next intersection would take him to the East Side. Delancey St was next and crowded; as he turned he spotted NBC outdoors broadcast crew, and pulled over. Immediately he recognized the crew and the props, and the NYC committee members for the Labor Day Caribbean Carnival to be celebrated in the Bowery.

“This is very strange; this looks exactly like the take of this morning clip.” He thought. The way they lined up themselves, the props, cameras, equipment and the interviewers he determined. “Yeah, this is what I watched this morning, but what is different? Jim. Jim is missing…” He mused.

The announcer walked to the spot and one, two, three…"Good morning everyone, from the Bowery in Manhattan, New York City! (Cheering, whistling, and applauds from the people, just like he saw early) it is my pleasure to introduce the members of the New York City committee…” To a ‘T’.

But, again, Jim was supposed to be there, and he wasn’t, however, moments later Jim emerged from the background walking towards the camera, a carbon copy of the morning video, except for the glitch in the sound when he spoke and no one could hear him. Seemingly all was Ok - these things happen in live broadcasts - in coordination with the routing script as follow and he said convincingly:
“Thank you ladies and gentleman at home and all of you present here. But before we continue let me say hello to a special friend in Midtown Manhattan this morning – Noel stay put right there where you are until you are told to leave.” Then he laughed – and continued with the program - as if it were part of an intended private joke, that millions of people did not get to hear earlier. But Noel did now, and got out of the car with the intention of confronting Jim FitzGerald. He was jaywalking in diagonal across two ways traffic looking left and right carefully, seconds later he stepped to The Bowery Ballroom building and he read “Number 6 Delancey Street.” He flipped and turned on his heels whereupon he couldn’t find either the Committee people, or the cameras, nor Jim Fitz, no banner… no nothing!

He started laughing at himself in desperation. “How could this be possible? My oh my!” he protested, giving it all up; then the phone rang in his pocket. It was the ‘real’ Norah calling.
“Noel where are you?
“I am at the intersection of Bowery & Delancey Street, why?”
“You’re not far from a nearby Trader Joe on Spring Street.”
“Yes?” Noel answered.
“Pick me up a bouquet of Peruvian Lilies; Aunt Josephine is crazy about them! Jim and I are waiting for you sitting on the stoop, ready to go. Hurry up please!"

Noel looked at his phone as if it had bitten him. Lilies? What the hell ...

© Victor Castleton May 2019
bravejames07 at

Chapter One here

Chapter Two - Part Two here

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