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

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


Noel held the phone in a clench gazing at the city’s garbage on the sidewalk, before he turned it off.
He looked at the Bowery Ballroom building in defiance, raising his eyes slowly to the very top, as a ceremonial challenge. Legs spread, closed fists resting on his hip, he spoked to the towering Goliath. “Bring it on; don’t let it go to your head!” And then he turned towards his car jaywalking against a torrent of morning traffic that seemed to increase by the minute.

He knew the risk in taking this short cut. Most city dweller do it; there's something that compels them to do so, if you live and work in town that is. It seems that only foreigners and visitors follow these rules.

A yellow cab, stopped only inches from Noel. What came next was a faux re-enactment of Dustin Hoffman in ‘Midnight Cowboy’ playing a homeless city character almost being ran over by a taxi cab because of his reckless walking. His mind was not as readied after he left the parking garage in spite of his boldness.

Suddenly his demeanor changed when he saw his car being ticketed. The old ‘bad’ boy Noel came back.
“Hey! Excuse me officer stop that!” He yelled at the meter maid.
“Lookie here. Who do we have here? Mister “British” joker from last night; is this fate or coincidence, may I ask?” She said mixing southern slang with an English accent.
“Look I have credentials from the city to park for this event” Noel said pulling his wallet.
“Do you mean the meeting for the Labor Day Parade”?
“Yeah, that’s it”
“It’s been over more than an hour ago, but I am going to make it easy for you sir, since you work with the city. Enjoy your day. Get a sticker for your plate, will you?”
“Thanks very much, Rita” He said winking at her.
“Don’t overdo it, I might change my mind.” She said smiling back at him.
“Over an hour ago?" He mumbled to himself while pulling away. This parking incident was a breeze in light of all.” He thought.

“Look Aunt Josephine, I love you dearly, but don’t you think this is going too far? Peruvian Lilies…? Not for everyone!
“Can I help you sir?” The attendant asked, seeing Noel searching the plants section.
“I am looking for Peruvian Lilies and it seems that I can’t find them.”
“We get a limited amount at this time of the year and they are all gone by early noon.”
“Excuse me sir, is your name Noel” The man enquired, making him uncomfortable – he experienced this, too recent to forget- but without showing it.
“A woman called, gave her name and paid for it; so I put them away in the fridge. They are the last ones in stock for this week. All I need is to see some ID, and they are all yours sir…”.
“Yes, that is my name. Here’s my ID.”
“Perfect! I’ll bring them to you…"
“All I need is a couple of minutes, if I may,” Noel said.
“Sure, of course,” the employee replied without any concerns.

Noel walked away a few steps and made a call. The young man turned to help other customers.
“Hello Norah?”
“Did you get the flowers; when are you coming?” Norah asked, sounding a tad impatient.
“Move on with those Lilies, Noel! They fly off the shelf quickly,” she insisted “this is the only thing she wants, let’s not take a chance love, hurry; I am fixing something to eat for the three of us…”
“I’ll be there in a few…” He confirmed.

That was enough information for Noel to bring the best of both ‘worlds’. At this point Noel did not want Norah to be part of his melee. ”She didn’t call the flowers in,” he concluded.
“So be it, I’ll take them anyway. Whoever you are,” he declared.
“Thank you very much, enjoy!” said the Trader Joe attendant, handing the Bouquet to Noel.
He quickly put it in the far corner of the small trunk of his Porsche and headed home.

Fifteen minutes later, he parked in front the house being a bit reticent doing so.
“Honey I'm home!” He said in the same tone as if he just picked up three containers of fresh coffee with Scottish scones to boot from the local bakery, when in reality he felt like Jack Nicholson maniacally grinning half way through the door.
“What took you so long?” Norah inquired with a wary face.

He ran up the stairs and high fived Jim first as he passed by, as a tactical indicator sensing the field; Jim, being himself, had hardly taken his eyes from the TV screen to say hello; he only raised his left hand.
Before Norah could feel ignored, and without answering of his whereabouts, Noel said charmingly - “This is going to be a fun time for you and me Norah,” He kissed her on her lips.
“Our last short trip was to Stockbridge; enchanting three days. Oh I miss the charm of the Red Lion Inn Village; we ought to do it more often dear!”
Noel agreed with a smiley face, pressing his lips in contentment.
“Ok let’s have lunch everything is ready,” Norah announced while they sat around the table.
“It’ll take us about three hours plus to get there. Hmm! This is a good chef. Norah I am talking about you,” Jim pointed out.
“Really? It is a leftover hash-brown casserole, and egg and cheese on English Muffins, that’s all,” Norah said, being humble about her cooking abilities.
“Yeah, that’s about right, Jim, this is beautiful country let’s enjoy it!" Interjected Noel.
“Norah went to culinary school, we wanted to own a Bed & Breakfast up state at one time; I tried to convince her that it was too much work. And of course, you don’t know who’s coming to ‘live’ with you,” Noel added, but nobody picked up on that.
“Oh this was delicious Norah,” Noel commented.
“Noel what about the bouquet for Aunt Josephine…?
“It’s in the trunk with a birthday card ready to go. When the attendant handed it to me he said “You are lucky sir this is the last one.” Noel succinctly explained.
“Didn’t I mention that to you? They go fast.” Norah affirmed, and Noel left it at that.
“I'm ready, my backpack is downstairs; Noel I can drive half way, like we did in the last trip,” Jim sugested.
“That will be fine Jim, let’s see how it goes. Ok let’s get cracking…” Noel said breathlessly. "In hindsight we better take turns driving Jim as you brought it up, there’s lots of construction on I 95. It’ll be a longer ride for sure.
“Who's coming…? Jim asked
“Counting you, four in total single guys, and the regular married crowd Bill and Marge, Sue & Jerry, Noel & me, a total of ten, give and take there are fourteen of us. We missed in the count Gene & Joanne. This is going to be great fun,” Norah informed them, and then she added “Did you guys pay any notice to what I said? Please listen again:
Four in total single guys,
And the regular crowd
Bill & Marge, Sue & Jerry,
Noel & me, a total of ten.
Give and take.
There are fourteen
Pay attention one more time
We are missing Gene & Joanne
This is going to be great fun"

“This actually has a rhythm; maybe this trip is about something especial, could it be?” Norah added.
“Well a name like ‘Little Compton’ lends itself to a good story, and we are coming over to write it” Jim said it laughing – Jim has the talent to get himself into situations.
“What say you Noel?” Jim asked.
“I am paying attention to where we are going, but I listen. Trust me. It’s not for me to say, but like all of us. We shall find out. Little Compton here we come!”

© Victor Castleton May 25th 2019
bravejames07 at

Chapter One here

Chapter Two - here

Chapter Four - here 6.10.19

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