A Winner and Christmas Scene

Congratulations to Paul Gutierrez of Houston for winning my Distortion, Paint and Paradox contest. Here’s an early-draft Christmas scene from PARADOX. Wishing you all a wonderful holiday.


Pretending that my purse didn’t weigh a ton, I wended through the party between women in elegant silks with hijabs and those in Western cocktail attire. Tapped Mark’s shoulder. “Ready when you are.”

“What a relief,” he said. “I’ll order up the car.”

My purse felt so heavy but I was trying to hold it as if it wasn’t. I went over to Richter. “Thanks for everything. I loved your tour.”

“And the collection?”

“Exquisite. I could not have been more impressed.”

“I don’t often get to share it with an artist.”

Mark took my arm from behind. “Car’s ready. See you, Rick.”

Even as we sat down in the Bugatti, I heard the alarms go off through the villa. The screeching sirens distracted the valet for a moment.

“Floor it,” I told Mark.

He sped away from the house. The smooth rumble of the engine drowned out all the confusion behind us–except the gunshots, growing more distant.

“You didn’t snatch it.” he said.

“Of course I did.”

He laughed. “Adele, I can’t take you anywhere.”

“It wasn’t stealing, just recovering.”

“I don’t think Richter will see it that way.” he said as the car went slightly airborne over a small bump.

“MA-RK, how fast are you going?”

“You just stole a priceless work of art from the second most powerful man in Tangier–and you’re harping on my driving?”

“We’re going to be killed, minutes after achieving the goal.”

“Your goal, not mine,” he said. “For once this car is getting a workout”

He zig-zagged down the ridge. Near the bottom, he slowed fast. Stopped by the side of the road.

“Get out,” he said, “Now.”

I did as he said.

He took my arm and led me by moonlight into the rocky desert. I broke a heel but otherwise had no trouble keeping up. He shoved me into a random clump of rocks–just as the echoes of gunshots filled the desert night.

“Can we call Riggs?”

“Don’t touch your phone or anything else. It’ll tell them where we are.”

Hunched down between those rocks, the desert chill creeped upon us fast. I was shivering, silent, so Mark gave me his jacket. Finally we saw the lights of cars leaving the scene.

“They’re not all gone.” Mark said. We need to move again before they start searching.

As we plodded slowly through the desert, I heard tiny creatures scurrying out of sight. Moonlight glistened on specks of the sand.

“Merry Christmas,” I said as I remembered it must be past midnight.

He kissed my hand. “Merry Christmas–and keep moving. CAN you get the FBI to teach you a little more about getting away?”


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