Thursday, 26 August 2010

Touchstone: Chapter 1 ~ Edward

Good Morning All,

Here's the intro to Touchstone, Chapter 1 ~ Edward ... the full chapter can be read on my pages:
The Novel ~ Touchstone ...

Edward uses occasional taboo language - I felt this suited his character. Let me know what you think? Would you edit it out?

Here we go ...


Chapter 1 ~ Edward

The morning paper stuck through the door at a peculiar angle. Edward’s face, branded across the top corner, smiled unflinchingly at Verity. Her fingers trembled as she tugged it from the mouth of the letter box, tearing the edges of the flimsy pages into a series of corrugated triangles. She read the bold font which accompanied her husband’s portrait, buried the paper under the door mat and returned to the kitchen, her heart thumping.

Pre-programmed for his morning routine, Edward Spencer was already ahead of schedule. Verity listened tentatively for her cue. She squeezed four small oranges into a tumbler of ice and set it at his place. Two pieces of granary bread stood to attention in the toaster. A platter of freshly sliced pineapple and a white ramekin, half full with translucent honey, awaited their destiny alongside a carton of muesli. Edward’s favourite coffee strutted its bitter aroma as he positioned his leather-bound personal organiser and mobile phone squarely on the side of the breakfast table. He poured out a bowl of muesli.

‘Newspaper?’ he asked without lifting his head.

Verity disappeared into the porch, counted to ten and returned without it.

‘There isn’t one’, she lied.

Using the weight of his Blackberry to hold Monday in place, he ran his finger down the Tuesday appointment column. Two brief but strategic meetings would fill up most of his morning; the first with the city’s chief planning officer, Geoff Hardacre, the second with Dalton’s Senior Councillor, Bill Watson. Edward had done his homework and presumed Watson, a dedicated sportsman, would relish the concept of a brand new leisure development in his home-town, even take credit for it. Convinced of the councillor’s flexibility, he moved his finger assertively over the time slots, verifying the two-thirty start for his `Xtreme` flagship presentation. Satisfied with the day ahead, he made a start on his breakfast.

‘Newspaper?’ he asked again.

Verity repeated her journey to the porch, returning with the same answer.

‘Milk’, he called out to Verity who was teasing the toast back into the toaster and scrambling eggs for the children’s breakfasts.


Edward pushed his bowl across the table, scooped up his occupational paraphernalia and left the room just as the toast, crisped to perfection, sprung from the toaster. In front of the hall mirror, the businessman monitored his appearance, slipped his tie firmly into place, collected his keys from a black Mandarin cabinet, standing like a sentry on guard at the front door and embarked on his journey into the city.

Forty minutes later, Edward’s face was staring back at him from his desk. He hovered in the doorway to Jack’s office, his right hand clenching involuntarily into a fist, his left, pulsing the morning paper on his thigh. Jack’s late arrival and feeble attempt at witty office banter served only to intensify Edward’s mood.

‘Cut the bullshit’ Edward snapped through tight lips. He thwacked the newspaper onto the desk wafting documents into the air like oversized confetti. The headline divulged Edward’s unease; ‘`Xtreme?` Leisure Industry Tycoon Works-Out on Corruption Racquet.’ Pacing the short distance between Jack’s oversized desk and the smoggy glass expanse, Edward squeezed crevices into his temple, burrowing upwards and outwards to relive the pressure. The Managing Director of Xtreme Leisure resembled a stereotypical private eye, unwittingly overacting a badly written episode of Columbo. Throughout Xtreme’s’ suite of offices, which occupied Prestige Towers’ fifth and sixth floors, it was a well known fact that questioning would not diminish until someone had been reprimanded, used as a scape-goat or even fired.

Edward picked up the newspaper and began to read out the offending article out loud. Although his voice could barely be heard beyond the transparent partitioning, his body language spoke volumes to those who dared to witness it:

‘It has been revealed that local business tycoon, Eddie Spencer has been lowering the blood pressure of planning officers by gifting them holidays in the sun. A council employee has spoken out. He also alleges Mr Spencer has been involved encouraging expense rackets, gifting cash …’

‘A council employee? What is the hell is an office minion doing with access to this sort of information?’

Knowing it was going to be a difficult day when the same headline had greeted him at breakfast, Jack stuffed his hands deep into his pockets, shuffled his feet and kicked imaginary stones around the polished wooden floor like an adolescent in front of the headmaster. In the five years that he had worked for Edward and latterly as his personal aide, Jack had learned when not to respond with empty words.

‘This isn’t a one inch column on a back page, Jack. It’s a fucking headline!’

Edward shook the paper at Jack and flung it across the room ...

Full chapter on My Pages



  1. I had turned the Sky box off to concentrate on reading this, and glad I had done so - found myself becoming immersed into Edward's world and character. I'll read the whole chapter tomorrow as I've things to prepare.

  2. Thanks very much. Hope it's worth it !

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  4. I like the detail you keep dropping in for example – “…her gloved hand bonding with the fabric…” and “…sherbet dip from Happy Shopper…” which stirs memories of my own from the school days. We're now getting a feel for Edward’s day-to-day pressures from both work and home, those who may support him and who might cause him grief in the future..?
    It seems Rose has a few 'skeletons' she’d like to share with us; just a case of when.
    What has Verity been doing during the day? and where have the Gould brothers got to?
    This chapter is raising many questions and issues that clearly need to be addressed - cue the next chapter I guess.

  5. Correct, question question ... intially the following chapter went backstory to Verity - but most people seem to want to get straight into 'what's going to happen next' ... so may re-arrange structure this week ...