Angel with a Broken Wing – Chapter 1

My new book, Below the Wheel, drops on June 22. Here’s a little taste over the next 3 days from last year’s novel, Angel with a Broken Wing.

 

ONE

Christian Blackmore sat quietly in the law office of Timmons and Weiss in Miami, Florida. He looked around the room at his mother and three sisters as the executor read the Will for his uncle’s estate.

He ran his fingers through his blonde hair and rubbed his eyes. He still felt hungover from last night after the funeral, but the dark cloud of alcohol was beginning to lift from his head.

“And to my dear nephew, Christian, I leave the following possessions… my entire record collection, because I know how much he loves music. My 1974 Ford Pinto, because I want him to have quality transportation. All of my custom luggage, because I know how much he loves to travel. Finally, my favorite briefcase, so that when he goes off to work, he’ll always think of me! HA, HA.”

“Excuse me, sir… But what’s so funny?”

“I’m not laughing, Christian.”

Mrs. Blackmore interjected. “Mrs. Weiss, I just buried my favorite brother. I think it’s nice that he thought enough of my son to leave him some of his personal belongings. I don’t think your attempt at levity is appropriate.”

“But I didn’t laugh, Ma’am.”

“We all heard you, Weiss. It’s the part about the Pinto, isn’t it?”

“Christian, Please. You don’t understand. It says here: ‘and my favorite briefcase so that he can always think of me when he goes off to work. HA, HA.’ That’s what’s written in the will, the words ‘HA, HA.’ See for yourself.”

Christian snatched the document from the old lawyer’s hand and read it closely.

“It does say that, Mom.”

“I told you…”

Mom… is this some kind of joke?”

Her eyes narrowed. “I don’t know, Christian. I just don’t know.”

The next morning, Christian loaded the Pinto and headed back to his home in Woodbury, New Jersey.  The old ‘gas crisis classic’ held up rather well over the two days it took him to get home. As he drove he had some time to reflect on his life.

“Five years.”

For five years he had worked for Midland Bank. It was a pretty good gig working down at the seashore. Though it was very busy during the summer season, it was dead during the winter months. He had had enough of the resort/retirement community and needed something more. Something that was at least consistent twelve months a year. He had tried to get a transfer within the company to the Philadelphia area. He figured at least there’d be more opportunity and exposure in a more populated area. After months of trying he finally resigned from his position with the bank.

He took a job with a finance company in Turnersville, New Jersey. It was in Gloucester County, a few miles outside Philly on the Jersey side of the Delaware River.

He found that the differences between banks and finance companies were radical. He was asked by management to refer to the firm as financial services, not a finance company.

One day he asked his boss why, and he told Christian that the phrase finance company held a certain negative image.

Christian figured that the job wouldn’t be much different from the one he held at the bank. But he couldn’t have been more wrong. It was like comparing apples to oranges.

When he managed a branch for the bank his duties were, do your audit and compliance books, open checking and savings accounts, develop new business, oversee branch operations, and most of all, keep your tellers happy.

If you get the occasional customer who wants to borrow money, it’s a no-brainer. If he or she had even one delinquent account on their credit report, you simply denied the request. It was that easy. The bank has the lowest rates, so they only lend money to the best customers.

But what if you had a good reason for your late payments? What if you lost your job, or your child was sick in the hospital and medical bills were piling up?

The bank doesn’t care that bad things happen to good people. Sorry.

So what does this customer do to get a loan? Where can he go to get a loan to help meet the needs of his family?

He goes to a finance company. The customer needs money to buy Christmas presents for his kids, or his daughter needs braces, or maybe she needs tuition for school. Whatever the client needs…Christian is there.

As he navigated the old Pinto North on Interstate 95, He thought of the hundreds of customers he had served over the years at Midland Bank. He visualized the typical customer walking out of his chosen branch where he kept his money after being declined for a loan. The bank where he deposited his paycheck every week. The bank where he had his savings account. The place his wife made her weekly payments into their Christmas Club. The bank where his grandfather renewed his certificates of deposit every six months. This man walks out of his bank and comes across the street to see Christian. Christian Blackmore. Finance Company Man!

He thought about how the meeting would go. Turning it over in his mind. They were all just different players in the same game.

His game.

“Hey Joe, how’s it going?”

“Not good, Chris. My bank just turned me down for a loan. I’ve been banking there since the joint opened!”

“Well Joe, maybe we can help you here.”

“Really? That’d be great!”

“Why were you declined?”

“I got hurt on the job a year ago, and I got behind on some of my payments because I was out of work for a couple of months.”

“Are you current with everybody now?

“You mean up to date on all my bills?”

“Yes.”

“Absolutely.”

“How much do you need to borrow?”

“About $1,500 would do it I guess.”

“Okay, that’s going to be $63 a month for say…18 months?”

“Yea sounds good. Hey, what’s the payment on $2,000?”

“Well Joe… let me get some more info and we’ll see if we can get this done today.”

“Thanks, man!”

Christian took a sip from the paper cup filled with bitter black coffee. He turned up the radio to drown out the hammering of the old engine as it pushed the tiny old Ford through the night.

He continued to relive his daily life as he drove on. His loathing for his job helped keep him alert as he entered his sixteenth hour on the road. He thought about how that very same customer would enter his office the same afternoon to sign papers and receive his check for $2,000.

Pretty amazing, Christian thought as he lit a cigarette. Quick and easy. The client’s happy. He can send his little girl to summer camp or get his leaky roof fixed, or pay off his gambling debt to his bookie in Atlantic City.

Who cares. He’s only got to come up with $100 a month. What a super job. What a great guy Christian Blackmore is. What a satisfying vocation he has chosen. Guy had a need, and he satisfied it. The client had some delinquent payments in the past but he’s current now. Handed him a check the same day. The bank would have taken a week and charged him about 12% had they approved him.

But they didn’t.

But Christian did. He charged Joe what his boss told him to charge on every unsecured loan he made, no matter what the credit score looked like. He charges them all the State Maximum for the state of New Jersey.

That rate is 30%!

30%! That’s only 20% less than the loan sharks in South Philly charge.

Christian thought about his boss. That pig Andy. He could almost hear his voice now… “Don’t lose any business boys. If they balk at the rate, cut it back to 28%. Show ’em we’re flexible.”

“Oh yea, thanks, Andy. They’ll love that rate. Don’t people usually like to have their clothes off when they’re getting screwed?”

Christian knew he needed to get out of this job. He could feel the rage rising in him. He took a deep breath and exhaled so as to not drive faster due to his anger. He spoke out loud to himself in the car.

“They love that low payment I quote them. Yessiree! That low payment is packed with Life, Disability, and even Unemployment insurance. It’s sick! People pay so much in interest and insurance we pack into these loans. We make a fortune from their misfortune. ‘At least we get ’em the cash when they need it.’ Andy says.”

“Yea… but what a price they pay. Jeezus, what I do to these hard-working people every day is criminal. I should just go put on a mini skirt and a pair of fishnets and heels, and just grab a handful of credit applications, and go stand on the corner of Mickle Street and the Admiral Wilson Boulevard in Camden, and peddle my wares with the rest of the hookers!”

Christian maneuvered through the traffic around the beltway in Washington, DC. The little Pinto would sputter and buck whenever he would gun the accelerator. He thought about how a huge part of his job was collecting payments from slow-paying customers. That was the worst part of the job.

“I gotta find another job. As soon as I get back, I’m going to do it. I don’t know what I’m waiting for. Damn slow accounts. Calling those people every Tuesday and Thursday night to see if they’ll make a payment on the overpriced loan I made them.”

Christian pushed on for another three hours until he arrived home. He pulled into his driveway. He began unloading his ‘inheritance.’ He was too tired to carry all the junk into the house so he locked it all in the garage, went inside his house, and fell onto his bed to disappear into blissful sleep.

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

10 Reasons He Suddenly Stopped Chasing You – Even When You Wanted Him To

He pursued me, then suddenly stopped.”

If there’s one thing that men like, it is the chase. They love it when you play hard to get and it makes them want you even more. Yes, we women enjoy it too. But what happens when they suddenly get tired of the chase and decide to move on? When he pursued you, there was slight teasing, you played hard to get and wanted him to pursue you just a bit more. You felt that everything was going well while you played the game of chase with him when suddenly he stopped chasing you.

When it comes to love, dating, and relationships, it is so hard to guess what the other person wants. The moment you feel that it is leading somewhere, he stops pursuing you, leaving you clueless about what happened.

The first question is how does a man pursue a woman? If he always initiates conversations, talks about meeting up, responds to your texts at lightning speed, gives you small surprises, then these are the sure-shot signs he is pursuing you, or in your case, “was pursuing you”. You feel that something has suddenly gone off about him and he doesn’t chase you like he used to before.

You want him to pursue you now but are worried that it’s too late. If you really like this guy a lot and want him back, you need to first identify the reasons why he has suddenly stopped chasing you. It could be nothing, but it’s better to get it cleared out before it’s too late. Here are 10 reasons why he suddenly stopped chasing you.

1. He feels that you’re not into him

He feels you don't like him

When a woman constantly turns a man down, they begin to think that the woman isn’t interested in him. They don’t want to sound all clingy and desperate in front of the woman and begin to feel that it is time they stopped chasing a woman who isn’t into him. Men like the chase, but when the chase gets difficult, they tend to chicken out, at times concluding that the girl is out of his league. If you are among the women, who have turned him down more than once, it means that the guy feels that you’re not into him. This isn’t the time to keep thinking about, “Why he stopped chasing me?”, but about, “How to get him to ask me out again?”

2. He feels like a rebound

Many times, when a man starts pursuing a woman who has just come out of a serious relationship, they feel that the woman is keeping them hanging because she wants him to be her rebound. He spots the signs of being a rebound, and he backs off. He doesn’t feel like he belongs there and realizes that pursuing someone who has just got out of a serious relationship was a big mistake.

3. He’s dating other people

Perhaps he is dating other people

Twenty-First Century dating is more about keeping all options open, weighing the pros and cons, instead of looking for cupid to strike you with an arrow. If this guy has suddenly stopped chasing you, there are chances that he’s dating other people or has found someone else more compatible. Of course, pursuing you does not translate into being exclusive with you!

You might have thought that he was exclusive but that was probably not the case. For him, the meaning of commitment might have been different from yours. If he’s dating other people, it’s time to move on.

4. He feels like a backup

Many people like to have backups. Backups are people which one person keeps to fill a void or when things get lonely. They know that their backup will always be there at their beck and call and thus prefer to keep them hanging. You may not be one of those women, who keeps men as their backup but if this guy has experienced being someone’s backup before, then he might feel so. He may read signs that he is your backup plan. If you are unintentionally keeping him away from your personal life, he might feel that you don’t consider him important enough to be a part of it. Making him a part of your life will solve this problem.

5. He doesn’t see it going anywhere

He feels lost

You might be wondering why he suddenly stopped pursuing me? After chasing you and trying to impress you for some time, he might realize that it isn’t going anywhere. He might be going around in circles without any actual results. If you were playing hard to get too much, he might have got the wrong signals and thought that you weren’t interested in moving it forward. A guy doesn’t like waiting for too long, they prefer in getting clear signals instead. Once he is tired of waiting, he will stop pursuing you and move on.

6. You’re a control freak

How you behave before getting into a relationship has a lot to do with men pursuing you. Men usually like to do all the planning. They like to lead with things and surprise their loved ones. If you’re a control freak and have taken control of things even before getting into a relationship, you’ve probably scared him away. He pursued you because he was attracted to you, but on seeing how fast you’re taking it without even asking him, is the thing that has probably scared him off.

This guy pursued you, went out with you for some time and you thought that it was finally leading somewhere. Before anything significant happening, this guy suddenly chickens out like Chandler in the first four seasons of Friends. There are high chances that this guy is scared of commitment. If you really like this guy and think that something could really happen, talk to him and see how he feels about commitment. If he admits to having commitment issues, take it a bit slow.

8. He’s not interested in you anymore

He is not interested in you anymore

If a man is interested, he will pursue you but when he realizes that he’s not interested anymore, he will decide to move on. Well, this is just how dating works. When a person is interested, he/she will pursue you to get to know you on a personal level. You either hit it off or you don’t. If he doesn’t feel a connection or feels like you aren’t someone he sees himself with, then he’ll stop pursuing you.

If he’s a gentleman, he will own up and tell you that things weren’t working out. But if he has stopped chasing you without telling you, you know what to call him.

9. His deadline has ended

Most men have a mental deadline when it comes to chasing women. It is because they don’t like chasing women for too long. They prefer in living in the moment rather than leaving it on fate to make something work. If you’ve kept him hanging for too long and he’s suddenly stopped chasing you, it means that his deadline has ended. He doesn’t want to keep chasing something that has a dead end and is thinking about moving on from you.

10. He has found someone else

He may have found someone else

Men stop chasing someone or put a halt to their chasing when they find out that someone else is into them. He could have also fallen for someone else instead. Your guy might have grown tired of waiting around and in the process might have found someone else. If he has been avoiding your calls and texts and is making excuses and ignoring you for someone else, then rest assured he has made his choice and you can’t do much about it.

When a man chases you, it is because he wants to prove his worth to you. He likes playing chase but when he doesn’t get the response that he was hoping for, he feels like it’s better to move on instead. If you really like this guy and are thinking that, “He stopped chasing me, but I want him”. There is some damage control that you can do. You might be tempted to taking him on a guilt trip or making him jealous, but the best thing to do is to talk to him openly about it. Knowing his side will help you understand the situation and clear misunderstandings if any.

If he’s still into you, you’ll be able to start things again and if he’s not, you will get some closure and will finally be able to move past it.

 

The Absolute Dater – Making Online Dating Easy Again

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

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