Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Chapter 1: Sunset

This is the new Max Talbot story, "new" being the key word so please, please, please comment and tell me what you think. Your feedback is VERY important. Tell me the story could be better and how, tell me what you don't understand, that my choice of background sucks (don't get used to it, it may change) and if you don't want to make a public comment feel free to email me at

Thanks so much for reading!


Colors of red and purple, orange and yellow streaked the sky as the bright scarlet orb neared the jagged line of buildings, reflecting off the murky waters of one of the three rivers surrounding the city. I had yet to distinguish which river was which, but who knew how long I would actually be here this time. They were telling me that the dig would take at least a few months, but I planned on spending at least 6 months here. Which is why I had signed a 6 month lease agreement. Stay here in Pittsburgh for awhile before I got that itch again, then it was who knows where. Six months was a long time for me to stay in one place, but I needed this for at least a little bit. A little stability, while on a nice safe archaeological dig, I don’t think there are any grave robbers in Pittsburgh that would gladly shoot me up to get their loot.

I watch as the sun sinks a little lower in the sky, while I listened to the boxes shift around me, keeping on my toes incase something went wrong. It always amazes me the colors a sunset can make, yellows, oranges, purples, reds, pinks, the color palate was endless. The sun was one of the only constants in my life, the one thing I could count on to be there. It could be seen everywhere around the world, except for those particularly depressing days in the northern countries and in Antarctica. But other than that, it was always there. And it was here in Pittsburgh too, getting ready to hunker down for the night behind the beautiful city skyline.

“Miss, where would you like us to put this last box?” one of the 3 men wearing tan movers' suits asks.

“Anywhere is fine and thanks very much for your help,” I say turning around from my picturesque scene to acknowledge them before they left.

“Sure thing, good luck in the new place Miss,” he says with a tip of his hat before backing out the door.

I sigh and look back to my scene, hands on my hips. My eyebrows furrow and my right pointer finger comes up to tap the end of my nose as I try to remember where I had left my camera.

Coffee table!

I walk over quickly to the other side of the couch and pick up my trusty Nikon and head back over to the window. Quickly snapping the picture of the sun halfway below the city skyline and half above. I smile to myself, looking at the digital image in the camera. Another sunset from my travels, another snapshot of my life.

I turn away, abandoning the site for now, and look around the apartment I would call my home for the next 6 months. It was rather small, with a kitchen and living room that connected together. The living room lead off into a small bedroom and connecting bathroom and also into a small room, not much bigger than the small bathroom. I planned on putting up bookshelves and a desk there, making it my office. The apartment was rather small, but it was clean and just enough space for me. And it sure beat living in a small tent with 4 guys in the freezing cold of the far north.

There was quite a bit to fit into the space, mostly my photographs from all over the world. Some large ones would hang on the walls; others would decorate shelves wherever there was room. Yup, that ‘s mostly everything I have in my possession, books and photos. That’s all I needed, too much stuff and I would be weighed down.

There was a lot to do . . . but I was hungry. What time was it anyway? I look to the stove clock, “6:25.” My stomach rumbles in agreement with the clock that it was now dinner time.

I search around until I find my black Columbia fleece jacket and slip it on along with my trusty leather boots, that still had sand hiding in the inner corners from my recent trip to Egypt. I had been shooting some shots of the new boats, or rather ancient boats, they were finding in the sands by the pyramids. The wood had been perfectly preserved thanks to the dry dessert climate. It was an archaeological specimen that was too good to pass up.

I shake my head again with a chuckle, I was doing it again. Get back on track. Dinner. I make my way out of the apartment through the maze of boxes and lock the door behind me. Sliding down the aluminum railing of buildings stairs, I was in the cool October weather of Pittsburgh. I took a deep breath, inhaling the frosty air of the night.

I had been all around the world. Had been in all climates, most recently Egypt, Russia, and Israel, and they all were a little different. All of them had a different smell, a different feel. Pittsburgh was one of my favorite cities in the world. It was so unique in its multi culture and set up. I had come here toward the start of my career shooting pictures for a piece on the wonders of the steel city, and the remnants of the once great industrial age. I had fallen in love with the city, and when I was offered the opportunity to dig and shoot at Fort Pitt, I couldn’t say no.

I stop a few blocks from my apartment in front of a small hole in the wall pub with a glowing Guinness sign in the window and a wooden sigh hanging by the door that displayed a pig playing a fiddle. This place reminded me of my beloved birth place and area of my young childhood. With the sudden craving of some kind of sandwich with fries and a good cold beer to go with it, I smile and push open the door.

“What can I get you Miss?” a man in his late 30s asks, as I approach the bar. I could pick up a trace of Irish accent in his voice.

“I’ll have the turkey club sandwich with fries and a Guinness,” I smile at him as I jump to sit up on the bar stool.

“Sure thing, coming right up Ma’am,” he gives me a friendly wink and begins to turn away.

I sigh and my eyes drink in the place. It had low lighting that allowed for a very cozy atmosphere. On the walls hung things that spoke of it’s Irish origins. One picture that caught my eye was like that of the sign that hung out front. This place was called the Pig and Fiddle. There were only a few people that dotted the round wooden tables, making it apparent that this pub had good business, but it wasn’t well known. It was just the place for me.

“Here ya go,” the man comes back, placing my sandwich and beer in front of me on the bar. “Will that be all for now Miss?”

“Yup, that’s great. And it’s Maggie. Believe me I’ll be here a lot, it will be easier to know my name,” I chuckle before taking a swig of my beer.

“Well ok, Maggie. I’m Paul. What brings you here?” he asks wiping the counter next to me.

“Archaeological dig over at Fort Pitt,” I say with a smile.

“So you’re an archaeologist, I take it,” he says in surprise.

I nod, “Yeah, and a photographer for National Geographic.”

“Wow, that’s an interesting line of work,” he says immediately interested.

“You can say that again,” I snicker.

“Well, Maggie, I’ve got to tend to the other customers, but if I see you as much as you say, I’ll be expecting some stories,” he grins.

“Oh I have plenty, Paul,” I laugh as he walks away to the tables.

Out of the corner of my eye I see a man and a woman sit down at a table to my left, they looked to be about my age. The girl had a solid shade of brown hair that was stuck in place with lots of mousse and her boobs seemingly popped out of her tight pink shirt. There was no way those were real. I couldn’t tell what the man looked like because he had his back to me, but I couldn’t help but notice his broad shoulders. I bite my lip and turn around to take another sip of beer. After cracking my knuckles, a habit that pops up when I’m alone and bored, I dig into my sandwich.

“Max,” I heard the girl whine as she pouts her silicone lips

“I thought you said there would be other guys from your team here.”

“There will be baby, just give them some time to get here,” I hear the broad shouldered man say charmingly. I hated when girls whined like that, maybe it was because I had grown up with 5 older brothers.

“But Maaax, what if they don’t come,” she pouts.

I roll my eyes, not hearing what “Max” said back. His name brought back memories though.

I had known a Max when my family had lived in Quebec for a few years during my last years of High School. Max and I had always been at each other’s throats, but I had secretly liked him. I never regretted anything I did, believing that all things had put me where I am now. But I had always wondered what would have happened if I had told him. Oh, well. Wonder what had become of him anyway? He had always wanted to be a hockey superstar, I wonder if he had ever accomplished that dream.

Plus there was the Max that I shared a room with when I was at Monte Alban, photographing the ancient structures there, paying particular attention to the ball courts. Max was an archeologist there, new to the field just as I was. I taught him some tricks of the trade and he taught me about the Zapotec culture. We had a good time... especially in our off time. Boy that heat gets to you and makes the hormones go wild. Plus I was a sucker for blue eyes and this guy had eyes like ice. I grin thinking of Monte Alban. Not my favorite place in the world, but good times. My favorite place was the area of my birth, Ireland.

I was born into a military family; my Father was an Admiral in the Canadian Navy. We were always moving because of it. I was born in the same place as my mother, Ireland, and had lived there until I was 3. From there we had lived in France, Ontario, a few places in the United States, Australia, again in Ireland, before finally going to Quebec, the birth place of my father, around the start of my Junior year of High School.

The door of the pub opens and a sea of tall muscular guys come in, breaking me out of bitter thoughts of my childhood. Well muscled, like I said, and they weren’t lacking in the looks department either. They go past the table that had been making my ears bleed, as I pop the last bit of sandwich into my mouth. I take a swig of beer when a high-pitched squeal comes from Brunette Barbie.

“Jesus Christ,” I mumble, that voice could have broken glass.

I see the guys look over at the sound and break out into sarcastic smirks.

“Mad Max!” they all shout.

“Boys!” he rumbles back.

“Maxi, let’s go over and say hi to you team mates!” the girl squeals again.

I snort loud enough so that only Paul hears, and he lets out a hearty chuckle in understanding. I finish off my beer quickly and leave some money on the table, I wanted to get out of there before “Maxi” introduced Barbie to the guys.

“I’ll see you soon, Paul!” I call over the bar as I shrug on my fleece.

“Looking forward to it Maggie!” he chuckles.

I smile at him and turn around to leave, the smirk that was present on my face immediately drops when I realize that my only way out is passed Barbie and her boy toys. I groan inwardly with an eye roll and start over. Luckily as I approach I seem to go unnoticed as Barbie and Ken move over to the table of guys. I fix my collar on my fleece, pulling my wavy coffee colored hair out of my coat. It was weighing me down quite a bit lately, time for a hair cut I suppose.

“Guys this is… Maggs?” a voice asks.

My head shoots up at the sound of my name and my eyes connect with a pair of familiar blue grey eyes.


India said...

Ahh I already love Maggie - independent, she has a cool job (photographer for National Geographic) and she's what I call "worldly" ie she's travelled and has interests unlike the mentioned Barbie.
I wasn't expecting Maggie to already know Max, but it's an interesting twist.
I loved it and can't wait for round 2! :)

India said...

plus I thought the grey background was sort of fitting with Max - reminiscent of a bachelor pad and single life?

JustAWriter said...

you have no clue how long I have been waiting for this story to happy

I cant wait to see where this is going to go...very interesting ocupations

wispensfan said...

I really enjoyed this chapter. I also was surprised that they already knew each other but that past history should make it even more interesting. I can't wait to see what you have planned for these two, I can imagine that it is going to be interesting to say the least!

pensfan4life said...

Love it! Love it! Love it! What is it with Max and these Barbie girls?
I thought the background was fitting for the story but I did find the type hard to read. Don't know if it was the colour or the font but hey, that's just me!
Can't wait for the next update!

Anonymous said...

i like the twist that they already knew each other, and she secretly likes him - this should be interesting :)

Heather said...


I'm obviously VERY excited =)

Kate said...

Very interesting start! I was so excited when I saw this was posted!!
Like a few other people, I was also surprised Max and Maggie knew each other. And I like Maggie's personality so far. She seems like someone I could be friends with. (I loved her reactions to Brunette Barbie, lol).
Anyway, I can't wait to see where this goes!!

Anonymous said...

love that someone is finally writing a story about max...when i hear about a pens story it's usually always about crosby =p

Anonymous said...

Love this soooooo much. Your writing is amazing. Deff excited to read more of this :)