It is a whirlwind in here



The Queen Gives Advice

In my novel, Fame’s Victim, my central character, ST (so famous he is known just by initials) has, on a number of occasions, done service for Queen Elizabeth II. They form a certain bond. The following is one of their interactions.


ST has the momentary feeling that he has been forgotten. The smooth running of the institution of monarchy must continue around the family involved. He imagines no one would be more pleased than the Queen Mother herself. The clasped hands of the Queen relax and she lets them fall to her side. She leans slightly forward as if something in the distance has caught her attention. She then pivots toward the two men.

     “It is expected of me to advise and caution my government.” She looks up at ST. “It is my duty so to do, and my prerogative.”

     “Ma’am?” ST is taken aback.

     “My advice is filtered through my government, and on to my people.”

     “Yes, Ma’am.”

     “As are my cautions.”


     “There are no grey middlemen at the moment, so I will speak for myself.”

     “That will be appreciated, Ma’am.”

     “You are remaining too reclusive, if Google searches for you are accurate.” She oddly mimics fingers on a keyboard. “I understand the temptations of your North Sea retreat, but they can do you no good.”


     “You once advised me to rein in my family. The results still prove positive.” The Queen puts a hand on ST’s shoulder. “It is not, however, a balance to go too far in that direction. Do not turn a refuge into a prison.”

     The Queen smiles at him, and her touch on his shoulder becomes a brief pat. She then looks directly at Howard as she steps away from the window.

     “It’s time to move on.”

     “Yes, Ma’am.” Howard starts toward the door.

     “Thank you.” ST is surprised by her comments and his voice is low.

     “Reciprocation.” The Queen is walking quickly across the room. “Howard will facilitate your departure.”

     As she goes through the door Howard has opened, ST takes a last look out the windows. As he turns and starts toward the door he shakes his head.

     “Howard. Was I just rebuked?”

     “No, Sir.” Howard follows him into the corridor and closes the door. “You were given advice by a friend.”

~ Dale Estey

Kafka And His Hot Summer Night Of The Dead


Kafka’s House: Number 22


In my novel, Kafka In The Castle, I fill in Franz Kafka’s missing diary entries. Every day chosen is a day where he either left no record, or destroyed the pages.

On this night, he meets the woman who was the girlfriend of Kafka’s neighbour on The Alchemist’s Lane, who had killed himself. Kafka found the body. He also found a note addressed to her, which he kindly burned.


25 July 1917

I had not been here long – the newspaper only partially read – when I thought I heard a noise at the door. A woman was framed in the open doorway, her hand still hesitant upon the wood. I rose from my chair, and she stepped back into the lane.

“Yes?” I asked.

“You knew him?” she asked in turn.

She was a slender woman, sallow complexion, and younger in age than Ottla. I walked toward the door, for it seemed apparent she was not about to enter.

“You were his neighbour – the Herr Doktor?”

She did not retreat any further, and I was now standing in the doorway.

“Oh,” I said. “You mean … ” But I had to stop, for I could not remember his name. I finally had to point to the house next door.

“Yes,” she said. “He killed himself.”

“Yes.” I had to agree.

“Did he …” she began, and I could sense her difficulty in having this discussion. “Did he say anything about me. I’m Julie.”

“We can go in, if you like. I do have a key.” I am an expert at stalling for time. “No one has moved in.”

She looked at me in disbelief, her face seeming to age as various expressions moved across it.

“No – that isn’t …” she began, staring at the other door. “I was never here. We didn’t have that type of friendship. But I have not been able to remove him from my mind. If he ever spoke of me, I care to know about it.”

My hope was that she would never ask about an envelope addressed to her.

“So you don’t wish to go in?”

“No. That means nothing to me.” She took a step closer. “Just if he talked.”

“You were his girlfriend?”

“He thought me so – though I told him differently, and offered no encouragement. But perhaps he drank too much to pay attention.”

“You were with another man?”

“He told you that? So – he did speak of me.”


“What else did he say?”

There are times to tell the truth; times to expand the truth for clarification; and times to compress.

“He said that he saw you together with a man. And that he missed you.”

“Did he say anything the night he killed … the night he died?”

I didn’t pause, because I had stalled just so I could answer this question.

“He asked me if I was going to be in my house over the evening.” Here I did pause, as if in thought. “And he said he didn’t like the other people on the lane.”

“Nothing else?”

“Pleasantries – good evening, etc. He said he liked our talks.”

“He talked a lot?”

“No, not really.”

“Was there a note?”

“You should ask the police about that.” I was very calm. “They searched his house.”

“Yes, perhaps I will. He said nothing further?”

“We did not really have conversations.” I shrugged my shoulders. “He was always drunk.”

“Even that night?”

“Oh yes. The night he hanged himself – most certainly.”

“And you were the one who found…”

“Yes, Miss. And, I contacted the police.”

“He was … was dead when you found him?”

“Yes.” I looked directly into her eyes. “He did a very effective job.”

She was quiet for a moment, staring at his door. She looked along the Lane, then finally at me.

“You have been most kind, Herr Doktor. I’m sorry to have troubled you.” She did not wait for a response, and was turning away when I spoke.

“If I may ask, Miss. This happened three months ago.”

“To the night,” she said.

“Three months. Why have you waited until now?”

“It does not seem long.”  She was conscious of others on the Lane looking in our direction. “His attention – though I never asked for it – was so total and persistent, that I have felt it deserved my interest.”  She shook her head slightly. “But not any more. I wish to put an end to it.” She unexpectedly stepped toward me. “That’s all right, isn’t it, Herr Doktor?”

The question was so intense that I touched her shoulder.

“Yes. Without any doubt – yes. You’ve spent enough time on a ghost within a memory.”

I smiled, and she walked away, quickly down the Lane. Death’s hand released its grip.


Moses And The Chicken (Check Your Bible If You Must)


So it has come to this.

A mindless voice with mindless tune singing softly in the dark.

My friend, I promise you that on such a night even the sages are locked babbling in their rooms.

You think me mad?

“Well, my boyze.”  (I talk in my best W.C. Fields voice).

“Well, my boyze. I had a hen who could lay a Golden Calf.

“And this weird guy – Moses was his name – yass, this Mozaz threw these stone tablets – threw, I say – these stone tablets on my hen, and killed her.

“Feathers everywhere.

“And I asked him – I said to him –  Mozaz, why did you flatten my hen and make the feathers fly?

“And he said to me  (can you believe this) – he said to me: `W. C., I was damn hungry.’

“And then I knew,

“My little chickadee,

“My little bottom-soft dumpling,

“I knew from that moment,

“The man was not sincere.”


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Avoid The Trial of Writer’s Block

chop away at the writer’s block


An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure (even in metric).

I experienced over two month’s of writer’s block many years ago. I did, literally, sit at my desk for hours, and can to this day accurately describe that desk. Its vision is before/behind my eyes as I key. It had a red leather surface, boarded in black. It was of thick mahogany with drawers. It faced the wall not far from the door to the room. I have placed it in one of my novels.

To not have this debilitating situation happen again, I have devised a scheme that I find is 90% successful in combating writer’s block.

Do not finish your thought on page or screen. Make sure it is solidly in your mind (make notes if necessary) but do not write it down.

If it’s a description – don’t finish it.

If it’s dialogue – don’t complete it.

If it’s a line of poetry – don’t end it.

The next day, start off with the phrase you would have ended with yesterday. Read the preceding page or two, and when you enter the phrase not completed, the odds are excellent you will continue on your way.


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