Sunday serialisation – A Bump in the Knight, 11.1

In Knight & Deigh, confirmed bachelor and businessman Hannice Knight suffered a back injury that left him without the use of his legs. Sophie Deigh, physiotherapist and recent widow, devoted herself to supporting him.

On his father’s death, Hannice inherited a global business and great wealth. Then, together with Sophie, he embarked on a series of activities designed to give him some of the excitement and the freedoms that he felt he had missed out on, by being tied to his father’s business for two decades.

As Hannice’s body recovered, he became ever closer to Sophie, and found himself drifting into a relationship with her that neither had anticipated or intended, and for which neither was fully prepared.

This book follows Hannice’s new adventures as he tries to juggle business, hedonism, marriage and ultimately parenthood.

But all doesn’t go quite as he had planned…

A bump in the Knight is now being published here as a serial; one part each Sunday.

A Bump in the Knight. Chapter eleven, part one

Over the following months, the working party had a number of meetings. Initially, there was a lot of ground-work to be done, setting out and agreeing on the locations, types and sizes of businesses they would go after, then looking into the possibilities for expanding the investment and services wings, including Kanene’s interior design business.

Eventually, the day came for the party to go out into the world and start putting some flesh onto the bare bones of their deliberations. They had previously agreed that wherever they went, the relevant Regional Manager should go with them. To ease them into their work, the first calls were made in India, accompanied by Danny Cho, and by K K Subramanium. This trip ultimately resulted in the acquisition by Knight Trading (India) of two import/export companies, one in Chennai and one in Mumbai. K K Subramanium was appointed CEO of Knight Trading (India), responsible to Danny Cho. At the same time, Max started looking into setting up franchises in India and Singapore for the newly formed Knight Global Investments. This was a longer-term project, though, that we didn’t see coming to fruition for a few years, at least.

After India, Sophie received, out of the blue, an invitation from Jason and Noelani Reeves on Honolulu to spend a holiday with them. They had obviously been keeping up with us, as the invitation was to Hannice, Sophie and David.

“There’s more,” Sophie said.

“What more could there be. We’ve been invited to spend a holiday on Honolulu. Isn’t that enough?”

“No, listen; it’s signed Jason, Nell and Jess. No more.”

“So is Jess a boy, a girl or a dog?”

“It would be unusual to sign a holiday invitation from a dog, wouldn’t it?”

“I know a lot of people include their pets in greetings card signatures.”

“I’ve seen that, too. But – holiday invitations?”

“I’ll call Jason to accept and start a conversation about dates.”

I dialled Jason’s phone.

“Jason; thanks for inviting us. We’d love to come and see you. Hopefully, purely for pleasure this time.”

“My thoughts, too, Hannice. Neolani was so taken by Sophie. She’s really excited at the thought of seeing you again, and we’d both like to meet your son David.”

“I don’t think he’ll complain at the prospect of an island holiday, either. One question, though.”

“I know what you’re going to ask. Who’s Jess?”

“How did you guess?”

“It’s the question I’d be asking in your shoes. Jess is our daughter; our only child. She’s just turned fifteen, and not terribly happy.”

“Why ever not? I would have thought a fifteen-year-old girl living with you and Noelani in that beautiful house of yours would have everything she needed for a happy life.”

“And so she has, my friend, with one single exception.”

“Which is?”

“Friends. Jess is a serious, studious girl in an environment where those qualities aren’t appreciated. I’ve been following some of the public statements coming out of your outfit, and it seems to me that your David is also serious and studious. I was hoping they might become friends.”

“David is serious and studious. He is also ambitious, career-wise, and had a clear picture of how he wants his life to move forward. He, too, has few real friends of his own age. Kids who befriend him at school do so mostly for what they think they might be able to get out of him; he’s smart, hard-working and, compared with many of his peers, shall we say financially secure.”

“And he goes to a regular day-school?”

“I was determined, as soon as he arrived, that there were three things I would never do to him: send him away to school, induct him into the business unless he asked me to, and send him out to run a region, again, unless he had specifically asked for it. I want him to go through life liking, respecting and trusting me.”

“When can you come?”

We arranged half a dozen possible dates, which I ran by Sophie and David. We finally settled on three weeks in June. I called Jason to confirm it and let Max and Henk know so we could plan the time out as far as the working group was concerned. I let the firm know officially through Emily’s current PA, who also acted as my gatekeeper.

It always amazed me how time could drag between deciding on holiday dates and destination, and the arrival of the chosen date.

GTI 2.5

Waist of Space, part one of the Unlikelihood series, followed Commanders Tarquin Stuart-Lane and Meredith Winstanley; hapless heroes of the Royal Space Regiment; who were sent on a mission to the Moon from which they were not expected to return. There they met with a group of aliens who had forged a living under the surface of the moon, and whose forbearswere testing a new kind of spacecraft.

In part two, FLATUS, our dynamic duo help the aliens (and the RSR) build their own multi-locatable craft. Will the ships be built and if so, will the drives work? What are the possible effects of having three such craft in space at one time? FLATUS — Fantastically Large Assembly for Travel at Unbelievable Speeds. The most unlikely spacecraft never built?

Part three follows the preparation and development of the Gap Travel Initiative (code named GTI) and the developing relationships among and between species, races and genders. Will humankind achieve the nirvana of limitless travel and if so, at what cost. Stick with Tarquin and Meredith as they navigate their route through an uncertain future.

GTI. Chapter two, scene five

Training the human scientists, mathematics and engineers in the fundamentals of inter-gap travel took a day longer than they had planned. Willi had finished with the borborygmi on schedule, a day earlier and it came down to join its sibling to give a final push. Many of the attendees wanted to know how it was that their moon-based colleagues completed their training on time. They were convinced that the timetable was unrealistically ambitious, given the sheer amount of information they needed to absorb, and would have preferred five or even six full days to cover everything fully.

Of course, the Jinthae were loath to suggest that, perhaps, the borborygmi, as a species, were brighter than humans, but that was the truth of it. Channelling Jinnis Keet’s diplomatic skills, Willi Navilli simply pointed out that the borborygmi are genetically predisposed to the more rapid acquisition of knowledge, as they only have one sixth of the lifespan that the human race typically enjoys.

“That would make sense,” Andrea offered, “I did notice that my borborygmi contact, who is only eight years old by our reckoning, has already surpassed me in some fields – and I’m said to be quite quick.”

“And what did you think of the pace of the course,” Willi asked.

“With the ongoing support we’ve been promised, I think it was probably about right—”

“The original or the extended?”

“The original plan would have been okay, except that a number of our people wanted to delve into some of the concepts in greater detail than the plan envisaged. As it is, I wouldn’t have liked to try to do it in less than the full four days.”

“And would you have liked longer?”

“In the absence of the support commitment, yes; although I think there are some who would have liked longer anyway, to give them the freedom to explore concepts away from the syllabus.”

Addressing the entire body, Kitara said to everyone present, “In that case, people, my sibling and I will leave you now. You each have an expanded information pack geared to your particular discipline and needs; Willi and I, in fact, the entire technical team, are at your disposal should the orbiting devices be unable to give the answer to any question you have. For the sake of good order, any requests for help should be passed through Vice Admiral Winstanley’s office, via Commodore Smithson or your team leader – the head of mathematics, the head of science or the head of engineering. The borborygmi have similar instructions.”

“Please accept our thanks for your work here, Kitara and Willi,” Andrea said, “and we wish you a safe journey back to Grintsk.”

“No need, Commodore. Gap Travel is foolproof.”

“You haven’t worked with humans for very long, have you? We live by Murphy’s Law.”

“We don’t know that one. I thought we’d examined all your theories and laws.”

“Murphy’s law is the simplest of all laws, and it is both universally applicable and immutable.”

“What is its main tenet?”

“Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

“I see. One of your jocular laws.”

“Perhaps. Or perhaps it’s related to entropy or, as the twentieth-century songwriter Paul Simon put it: everything put together sooner or later falls apart.”

“Unless it is managed and well-maintained.”

“Okay, Kitara, I’ll grant you that. Farewell until we meet again.”

“Farewell,” it said as the two travellers phased out of view.

The Granny Annex

I don’t want to hear you grouse,
This will be your brand new house.
Its construction will bring you much fame and glory.
There’ll be room for all you need,
From restrictions, you’ll be freed
Even though it only has a single storey.

Do I look like I’m a prat?
I can never fit in that,
Though I know my height is somewhat short on inches.
Even my small bed won’t fit
And there’s no place to have a s**t,
And where can I put my gilded cage of finches?

I care nought about your birds,
Even less about your t***s.
You can stand because the roof has quite a pitch.
There’s enough room for your bed,
Just as sure as my name’s Fred.
For the rest, you must accept that life’s a bitch.

Fred is surely not your name.
You have always been the same.
I’ll move out, because I know that’s what you’d rather.
You really needn’t worry;
I will go, though I won’t hurry.
But I still say that’s no way to treat your father!


I wrote this in response to Kreative Kue 199, issued on this site earlier this week. Feel free to join in; just follow the link.