Together with her husband, Robert, Diana has been fortunate to travel extensively throughout North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. They have two children and three grandchildren. Her links are below.
An excerpt - A Cry From The Deep.
Catherine’s view from the airplane, with its endless sky and ocean, triggered thoughts of God and purpose in life. As a child, she believed He was somewhere in heaven, and her guardian angel floated in His realm. That all changed when she learned about other religions. And then, with 9/11, there were more questions, but she still believed in something bigger than herself, something that guided people on some unknown path, for some unknown purpose. She wondered if what she was doing was part of a greater plan.
Three weeks earlier, Catherine had been a contented lavender grower. Well, not completely contented, but pretty good, considering. She frowned as she thought of how soon she’d be meeting Hennesey, a man she despised. From everything she’d read on the Internet, she knew it would take all her resources just to be civil. If these events were not directed by some divine being, then what was this all about?
Distracted by Alex’s fidgeting, she checked her daughter’s seat belt. They were about to land. Catherine hated take-offs and landings, and having a bouncy child by her side didn’t make flying any easier. It hadn’t bothered her when she was in her twenties, but after reading an article that cited the large number of crashes at airports, her body tightened minutes before take-off or landing.
Alex peered out the window. “Mama, I can see the boats.”
Catherine scanned the earth below as the plane flew over a marina. Somewhere down there was Hennesey’s boat.
“Maybe he’ll give us a ride,” said Alex.
Catherine frowned. Why had she agreed to this? Everything pointed to disaster.
The Golden Eye, the ultimate in diving boats, was tied up at the far end of the dock. Alex was already running ahead.
Catherine caught up with her. “Slow down. The dock might be slippery.”
Alex slowed to a turtle’s pace.
“Very funny. Would you just stop for a minute? I want to take some photos from this angle.”
They were still some distance, but Catherine could see a man hosing down the Golden Eye’s deck. She fastened her long lens onto her Nikon camera and zoomed in on him. She’d have recognized Hennesey anywhere from the press he’d received. He was dressed in a Hawaiian shirt, worn loose over his creased khaki pants. The passing years had not been kind; his modest paunch and thinning hair reminded her of Jack Nicholson in his fifties. She snapped a few pictures—one of him with a water hose in his hand and another of him picking up some diving gear.
As they approached the Golden Eye, a woman with ebony skin and a mass of black, kinky hair pulled back in a pony-tail came up from the galley below. She looked about thirty and was dressed in a lime-green halter top and purple capris too tight for her broad hips. When she spotted Catherine, she said something to Hennesey.
Hennesey came forward from the aft and said gruffly, loud enough for Catherine to hear, “They sent a woman.” If he’d intended to be off-putting from the start, he was certainly successful.
The woman stuck her hand out over the side of the boat and said, “You must be Catherine. I’m Joy. We talked on the phone.”
Catherine smiled and shook her hand. Hennesey had been out the time she called or perhaps, pretending to be out. “He didn’t know I was coming?”
Joy smiled at her and then at Hennesey. “I didn’t tell 'im. He has this thing 'bout women on boats.”
“But you…?” asked Catherine.
“I live with 'im,” said Joy. “Besides, I’m a cook, not a diver. Climb aboard. I’ll show ya around.”
“This is my daughter, Alex.”
“Well, how d’you do, Alex?” Joy turned to Hennesey. “Are you just gonna stand there?” Grumbling, Hennesey reached over the side and swung Alex on board.
The boat’s port side was positioned about six inches from the dock and rocked with each passing boat. As Catherine was about to take Hennesey’s hand to climb over the gunwale, she glimpsed the water between the vessel and the dock. Suddenly dizzy, Catherine closed her eyes to calm her nerves.
When she opened them after a few moments, Hennesey said with a puzzled look, “Are you coming?”
Frowning, she took his hand and climbed over. As she crossed the water, the terror of falling in gripped her like a vise.
She must have blanched, because Hennesey said, “Are you all right?”
“Yes, I’m fine.” She hated lying, but she hated exposing her fear more. “The meal on the flight wasn’t great, and we came straight from the airport.”
“Mama, you said the food was good.”
“I meant good for airplane food.” Catherine rolled her eyes, suggesting that Alex had got it all wrong.
Alex shook her head. “Whatever.”
Joy laughed. “Well, if you two want to get started, I’ll show this minx 'round.” Joy took Alex’s hand as if they’d been friends for life. “I may even have an ice cream for you.”
Alex’s eyes grew round. “You have ice cream on the boat?”
“You betcha. We love our sweets. Can’t ya tell by lookin’ at our bellies?”
Catherine took an immediate liking to Joy. With her on board, the assignment might not be so bad.
Hennesey’s office, a short walk from the marina, was on the second level of a small business mall. Piles of books on shipwrecks, navigation, and ocean climates sat on a couple of old wooden chairs, and near them, an ashtray full of cigarette butts revealed an addictive personality. Various papers were strewn on his oak desk and a black phone, a bygone of earlier days, rested on a dusty window ledge overlooking the marina. And on the wall, several photos of Hennesey on the Golden Eye vied for attention with a map of the world showing various diving sites marked by colored pins.
Hennesey pushed aside some papers on his desk and took out a metal box from a filing cabinet behind him. He used a key from the chain he wore under his shirt to open the box, revealing a package wrapped in green silk. He carefully unwrapped it to expose a gold mask about two hands wide, its features simply executed. It was small, but it reminded Catherine of pieces by Henry Moore, a British sculptor who’d used relics from ancient and primitive cultures as inspiration.
She bent down to have a closer look. “It’s exquisite.”
“Inca gold. Worth close to five hundred thousand dollars.”
“And you keep it in a filing cabinet?”
“Not usually. I’m expecting a customer later.”
She was surprised he was showing it to her. Perhaps, he wanted to impress her. “Where did you find this?”
He grinned. “If I tell you, will you cross your heart and spit you won’t tell anyone?”
“On second thought, maybe I don’t want to know.”
He shook his head as he polished the mask with the cloth. “You people have so much morality oozing from your pores, it’s a wonder you’re able to do any work at all.”
She could’ve told him he was an asshole, that she knew he blew a hole in the ocean and was taken to court for dredging a coral reef and killing sea grass, but she said none of this. She didn’t want to get off on the wrong foot.
Instead, she said, “We all have opinions. It’s what makes the world go round.”
“You can keep your fucking opinions. If someone isn’t screaming about the fucking cultural heritage, they’re screaming about the fucking environment. They scream about everything. The last time it was about sea grass, as if there wasn’t enough of it anyway. It’s like lawns, it keeps growing.”
“That’s not what I read.”
“See, the media twists everything.”
She looked him in the eye. “One reporter called you an arrogant son of a bitch, a diver who thinks he’s above the law.”
Hennesey guffawed. “I’ve been called worse. What do you believe?”
She raised an eyebrow. “I’m leaning toward the media.”
“At least you’re honest.”
“I try to be.”
He rewrapped the gold mask, put it back in its box and returned it to the filing cabinet. He locked it and returned the key to its hiding place under his shirt. “So, Frank tells me he wants you for this dive. I find that curious.”
“I did a little background checking of my own. I know about your break from diving and why. Want you to know, I’m no goddamned babysitter.”
She snorted. “You worry about your end, I’ll take care of mine.”
“Yes, sir!” He saluted as he said it.
She hadn’t meant to reply with such a bite, but his attitude, complete with mocking grin, got the best of her. Why was she even considering going? Her instincts were advising her to run. She hadn’t come on board the project yet, and already he was under her skin. The media had one thing right. He was an arrogant asshole.
Thank you Diana for sharing part of your intriguing story. I look forward to reading the entire novel. I'm sure she would appreciate your comments.
You can discover more about this talented writer by visiting her website - www.dianastevan.com
Next week, you can help me with a new short story. I will be posting a first draft, unedited sample of a story I am considering for a novel someday in the future. Let me know your thoughts.
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