In this excerpt. We are introduced to the bigger-than-life revolutionary figure Horace. And the wife of our protagonist finds out that he actually used to be a writer.
As the raucous fun and stories continued, a loud call from the street rang out clearly—a familiar voice and a constant barrage of laughing and yelling made its way through the house and onto the river bank.
“Well, well, well. A bunch of rabble-rousers.”
Gomez and Gerald stood to see a large elderly gentlemen, accompanied by three young adults.
“Horace? Is that you? Look everyone, it’s Uncle Horace!” yelled Gomez.
Everyone stood to greet the legendary Reoux figure, who used to live right across the street from Gomez until the regime arrested him during the revolution nearly two decades ago.
“Horace, it’s been so long.”
“I was thinking that myself the other day. A year, I think. I haven’t seen you in a whole year. And Gerald, good to see you.”
“And my wife,” said Gerald, pointing to Rosia.
“Married? Gerald, the old scholarly bachelor married? To such a pretty young wife. What’s wrong with her?”
“I ask myself that every day,” grinned the father-to-be.
Horace grabbed Rosia in a convincing bear-hug.
“Careful. She’s going to have my child.”
“You don’t say!” said Horace. “God in Heaven, please allow the poor child to look like his mother.”
Everyone roared in laughter as Gomez escorted the new arrivals to the blanket area and handed them some cold drinks.
“Oh how I’ve missed this view of paradise. A city on a hill cannot be ignored, right Antoine?” yelled Horace into the black of the evening. “I’m sorry; I haven’t introduced my entourage. See that? You live long enough, you too might have an entourage that follows you wherever you go.”
“Uncle Horace always had a vivid imagination,” said Gomez with a smile.
“I’m not imagining anything. I can’t get rid of these characters. They follow me everywhere.”
“From what we hear, a lot of people follow you,” said Gerald.
“Oh for sure, those damn spies would take up residence in my arse if I let them. Ladies, please pardon my French. I hope the British word somewhat softened the blow. But don’t worry. I gave them the slip when we entered Reoux. This place makes their skin crawl, but it makes me feel alive. Sorry. I still haven’t introduced my friends. This is Hobart, Tana, and Jonah. All students at the National University, if you can believe that.”
The three college students nodded and shook hands with everyone.
“Gomez is my nephew,” continued Horace. “This is his wife, Cecilia, and this, my friends, is Gerald Sanpatri, former author and lecturer at the National University.”
“Oh, so you’re the famous Sanpatri,” said Tana. “My father told me about you.”
Gerald almost shrunk in embarrassment as his wife looked over at him inquisitively.
“Please, no. Where did you hear such nonsense? I’m just a security guard.”
“A guarder of hearts, I say,” said Horace. “Are you writing yet?”
“I haven’t written anything in twenty years. I’m no writer. I just stand on my feet and protect the bank all day.”
“Nothing wrong with saving the greenbacks. Don’t be too hard on Gerald,” Horace said to the three young students. “Survival is the key to happiness. It’s hard to be happy in a pine box.”
Rosia continued to look over at Gerald as if something wasn’t right.
“I’m sure I don’t know what you’re talking about. And my poor wife seems to be the most in the dark,” said Gerald.
“You were a writer?” Rosia asked him.
“Ooops! The cat is out of the bag,” joked Horace, who took a swig of his drink.