And here’s a peek into the third chapter:
Maxime considers sharing the news
The last rule on the first page stated: Listen to your heart.
Over the years Maxime had learned to do that. It had saved him from certain annihilation on several occasions. Now would be one such occasion. He would not go back to the office, or even home, for that matter. He had to regroup. Rethink his life—his options—his future.
That is why, thirty minutes after leaving Dr. Moller’s office, Maxime sat down in a semi-dark coffee shop. He had ordered his first tall skinny vanilla latte for the day. He had ordered only coffee. He wasn’t hungry. He had made certain the barista got the recipe one hundred percent correct—the way he liked it—and extra hot. He had put the plastic lid on as well, keeping the drink scathingly hot. He was confident that the environment would survive his humble contribution of the waxed paper cup and lid. He needed this. It was a matter of life and death as far as he was concerned, this caffeine-laden therapy session.
Maxime draped his gray jacket with the thin stripes over the chair back—nothing should touch the floor—then loosened his yellow tie. He pushed the cup to the very edge of the little table to make more room for the newspaper. He always started with the business news. When would they ever stop yapping about the oil sands? It was just oil sands, oil sands, oil sands. He was sick of it. Imagine fracking. What were they thinking, luring every second person in the country to load their U-haul trailers and pitch their tents in Alberta? And then, kaboom! The oil price plummets through the blooming basement and every second person in the oil business is unemployed.
He was so glad that he had refrained from investing in oil stocks—the few thousand dollars he had set aside over the years. They were fracking, fracking wrecking the environment. The oil people were—not him, with his plastic coffee cup ending up in the landfill. Anybody who knew anything about oil and pipelines and fracking knew it was impossible not to screw up the lakes and groundwater, that all the PR was only talking and making a good impression. The goal of the oil business was simple—make a vault full of dollars.
Settle down, Maxime. Settle down. Your blood pressure, remember? He felt a jab in his groin where the swelling was. Mein Gott. I’m dying. Never mind my blood pressure—it’s this swelling, this thing that’s growing in my body. That young Dr. Moller must have been wrong. This hydrocele was more serious than he wanted to let on. Maxime wiggled on the chair to find a comfortable position. As soon as I get home, I’ll Google it—do my research.
He resumed reading but turned to the sports pages. He sighed. Football and hockey. Bloody football and hockey—on every single page. Oh, and then right on the last page, page eight, just before they ran out of space, the smart-aleck editor had printed the results of the soccer and tennis and baseball and judo, taekwondo and darts and bingo and what not. Squeezed it all in, as if offered an apology.
Soccer. Now that’s a game for men. That’s what Maxime had grown up with—and speed skating in the winter on the frozen lake and river. Gunther had beaten his ass in the speed events, but only while they were teens. Once Maxime turned eighteen, he frequently made his older brother watch his backside down the ski trails.
These football hooligans with their padded clothing, weird helmets like they were Hell’s Angels, and spandex pants like male ballet dancers, showing off their jewels to the whole wide world, constantly hugging their crotches. No, thank you. Oh, they were fit and powerful, but still. And the hockey players—who were they fooling with their skimpy plastic helmets? Useless rubbish. It was like in Roman times: the crowds demanding blood—all the fighting that was allowed, even encouraged, on the ice. A bunch of ruffians, assaulting one another, concussion after blooming concussion. The only punishment for breaking someone’s skull was five minutes in the box. Imagine.
No, give him soccer. It was fast. Those men and women were fit; there was no intermittent resting, no fighting, no bullshit. If you played foul, you got a yellow card. If you did it again, you got a second yellow, or a straight red—and you were gone. Not for five minutes, either—suspension was automatic for the next game. Or, if you messed up badly, you were banned for longer. Pure, clean and swift.
One, two, three, pass—and goal!
Maxime sipped a mouthful and put the paper down.
You’ll have to tell her, Maxime—Donna. And Sandro and Simon. And Mr. J. Johnson. Perhaps even Gunther.
Thank you for reading! (If you enjoyed it, please tell your friends.)
It will be available as an eBook and paperback. It will be available on Amazon, and within a few days also on Nook, Kobo, and iBook.