Raymond Pollard is a successful businessman, husband, and father. He has a beautiful family, a spectacular home, and though it wasn't always like that, now life is good. However, appearances can be deceiving and in Ray’s case, his past is about to catch up to him with one goal in mind— even the score.
In a fast-paced story with unexpected twists and turns, Raymond Pollard meets his match—the enemy within. Only this time, he doesn't have to do it alone. With the help of friends, family, and especially his son BJ, Ray finds the courage to confront his demons and protect all that he loves . . . by risking all that he has.
See Jane . . . and More
eBook versions of each story are available separately as short stories and a novella.
With the successful publication of his collection of digital books, L. Davyd Pollack turned his attention toward print editions. First on the list: See Jane . . . and More, an intriguing anthology of his two short stories, novella, and an excerpt from his newly released eBook—Positives & Negatives, Tricycles & Pancakes.
Davyd tells his stories with layer after layer of surprising plot twists and unique characters that span the gamut. First, there’s Jane, a successful businesswoman who has it all and fears losing it more than anything. Then, there’s Bryan and Michael, best friends for as long as they can remember, living life to its fullest—and suffering its consequences. Davyd’s casual style is comfortable to read but far from simplistic as it draws you into his stories. Read them once, read them twice, but don’t forget to read between the lines.
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My definition of a novel: a story designed to do all the work, so sit back, relax, and let it take you away. Before you know it, the trip will be over and you’ll be back home, ready for the challenges life brings.
Read from Positives & Negatives, Tricycles & Pancakes:
Scott awoke to his radio alarm at three-thirty a.m. It wasn’t unusual for top executives like Raymond Pollard to get an early start; many begin their workday at four, so a five a.m. interview didn’t seem all that odd. This was going to be a face to face with Raymond Pollard and it was important to get as much sleep as possible, to be sharp. Scott had showered the night before and everything was already packed in the car. All he needed was a little time to freshen up and get his head straight.
He really wasn’t very eager to do a rags-to-riches millionaire profile. In the sixties, it may have been interesting or novel, but today it’s different. There are literally millions of millionaires in America. The novelty has worn off and the reality is that no one really cares how another rich guy got rich. What they want to know and read about, is what does the rich guy plan to do next and how can I get in on it. Unfortunately for Scott, that was exactly the kind of information you wouldn’t get from Raymond Pollard, especially during an interview.
Scott hated writing interviews because it sucked and he sucked at it. Well, that wasn’t entirely true. Doing interviews was how he got his start and he excelled because he was a professional, not because he enjoyed it. Today, his job was an interview; he wasn’t happy about it, he didn’t really want to do it, and yes, that’s why they call it a job.
By 4:00 a.m. he was on his way to Krispy Kreme Donuts and thankful that dinner with Sabine turned out to be just that, food and questions. The night ended early and sleep followed. Now he had enough time for a quick breakfast and a big cup of Java. It would take about 30 minutes to get to his final destination because there wouldn’t be much traffic at this hour. If he planned it right, his sugar and caffeine high would hit just as he got to the Pollard’s front door. He hoped it would be sufficient to make it until lunch.
While driving, Scott occupied his mind by contemplating his situation. Why was I given this assignment? I don’t do interviews. I wasn’t given any time to prepare and I didn’t do any research. How am I going to start off? Should I ask him what his earliest memory is? That’s so basic; he’ll know I wasn’t prepared. Maybe I should ask him what his favorite activity is. Does he like sports? Oh, this sucks. I’m going to make a blithering fool of myself and . . . Was there a bright side or silver lining to all of this? If there was, Scott couldn’t find it, and then he thought of Sabine. Given his current situation, they had more in common than she knew. Only he was on his own, there weren’t any horny mentors for him to run to at the end of the day. Harvey really sucks sometimes.
With the coffee and donuts kicking in just as planned, Scott slowed to a stop and rolled down his window. But before he could press the call button, the gate bell rang with a classic tone, not a high-tech mechanical buzz, and then the gate opened.
At a few minutes before five, Susan Pollard was expecting the visitor and she was already dressed for the day. She had manually cleared the security protocol, which opened the gate without a fuss. The doorbell rang fifteen minutes later and she answered it.
“Good morning, you must be from the magazine.” She smiled and put out her hand.
“Good morning Mrs. Pollard, Scott Seibert, RMS Magazine.” He shook her hand and stepped through the door.
RMS wasn’t the original name of the publication. It had started out as Rags to Movers and Shakers Magazine. It was an attempt at bridging the rags to riches concept with the movers and shakers of society concept, and to do it without pretense. The name sounded better in the fifties when the magazine was first published. Susan Pollard chuckled under her breath.
“What’s funny at this hour of the morning Mrs. Pollard?”
“Ray, a mover and shaker, the thought is so . . .”
The reference to the magazine’s original name wasn’t lost on Scott. “Representative?”
“No, not for me or anybody else who knows him. The word I was looking for was dubious.”
“Why is that?”
“You’ll see. Have you had breakfast yet? I’ve got some—”
“Oh, no thank you Mrs. Pollard, I’ve already eaten.”
“Are you sure?”
“All right then, you better get started. He’s still sleeping.” Without hesitation due to the incongruity of her statement, she showed him to the bedroom and turned on the light. “You’ll have about five minutes to get ready. That’s how long it takes the light to wake him.”
Scott was confused. “Umm . . . Mrs. Pollard, this is the bedroom.” He was thinking a lot of thoughts at the moment but the one that stuck in his mind was that for most people, this wasn’t a bedroom, it’s a whole house. “And . . . uh, Mr. Pollard is still sleeping. Isn’t this going to be a little uncomfortable?” For both of us?
Mrs. Pollard smiled and said, “You’ll need to get started . . . and you only have about four more minutes to settle in.”
“That’s plenty.” It wasn’t. Nothing was right about this and Scott didn’t know what to do, so he went along.
Sue dragged a big heavy wooden chair over to the foot of the bed. It was upholstered only where it had to be. “The man sleeps like a baby, most of the time. The doctors say it’s good for his heart; that’s why I let him get away with it. Otherwise, I’d wake him when I get up.”
“Oh. Is Mr. Pollard having heart troubles?” Scott was sniffing at a lead that might be interesting, at least to Pollard’s competitors.
“No, I just want to keep him around as long as possible. Go ahead, have a seat, and make yourself comfortable.”
“Thank you Mrs. Pollard.”
“You’re welcome. I need to leave you now and start getting the boys ready for school. If you need anything give me a holler and don’t worry, he’ll be tough, but the once you get him started he doesn’t shut up. Good luck.”
With that, Mrs. Pollard left the master suite. It was a cavernous room full of heavy wooden furniture but with all that furniture, there was still plenty of room for more. The motif was kind of a modern, gothic style, difficult to pin down but it wasn’t dark or dingy and it all looked very expensive, and sturdy. There was a full coffee service and assorted pastries set out on the nightstand, mostly for Scott’s benefit.
Ray opened his eyes, “Damn it—is it today? I didn’t think you were going to be here until next week.” Ray was up and alert faster than a four-year old. “I was going to cancel this thing. It’s a bad idea. I never should’ve agreed to it. She and that son of hers kept after me all day long like there wasn’t going to be a tomorrow. I took the easy way out and look where it got me. She knew I thought it was next week and I bet BJ knew too. Damn. She—they planned it like this from the start. They knew if I had half a chance I’d cancel before you ever left the office.” Ray was mostly talking to himself. He didn’t care who the stranger in his room was. It was immaterial because if he got this far, he certainly wasn’t any kind of threat, just a nuisance and an invasion of privacy.
“Good morning Ray.” Scott wanted to establish himself as soon as possible, that’s why there was no Mr. Pollard.
“Did you hit any traffic on your way in?” Ray stretched.
“Nope, the drive was pretty smooth.” Scott didn’t look at Ray as he answered.
“Pity, I could have used some more sleep. To be honest this is a little unsettling. When she suggested we begin first thing in the morning, I didn’t think she meant it literally.”
Scott kept looking at the floor. “Funny.”
“I knew.” Scott had no idea that the interview would be bedside, but he saw an opportunity, a way to kick-start the interview and take control. “To me it sounded like an innovative way to begin, in kind of a Howard Hughes-ish or maybe Hugh Hefner-esque sort of way. I thought you were on board with all this. I apologize. But for now, I want you to relax. I’ll ask a question and you answer it. Be yourself and say exactly what comes to mind. After a while you’ll see, we’ll establish a rhythm. You may even find yourself enjoying it, most people do.” Scott knew it was important that he assert himself right from the start.
“Fine. What comes to mind? I’ll tell you what comes to mind. I need to take a mean morning piss. Will you be joining me? I’ll be happy to tell you exactly how I feel while I drain my bladder and if you stand close enough, I’ll shower you in the emotion.”
Momentum can shift just that easily but Scott wasn’t giving an inch. “No, that won’t be necessary. I’ll wait here.”
“Is it all right if I brush my teeth too, or is morning breath your idea of realism?”
Wanting to show that a little sarcasm wasn’t going to deter him, Scott said, “You have my permission to brush but don’t take your time about it.”
The bathroom door wasn’t closed and Ray left it that way. Due to the floor plan, Scott couldn’t see even if he wanted to but he sure could hear. Ray cracked a smile. When he was finished, he returned and climbed back into bed with a more open attitude. It did seem a little Howard Hughes-ish or Hugh Hefner-esque, but still, he wasn’t going to make it easy. “You should be talking to my wife. I don’t like doing this and I certainly don’t like waking up and seeing you sitting at the foot of my bed.”
“Maybe not, but that was what you and the magazine agreed to.”
“No, it’s what you and my wife agreed to. In fact, I think I’m going to pull the plug on this right now.”
It was another attempt at a momentum shift but Scott was ready. “Ray, do me a favor and please try to relax. It won’t be that hard and doing an interview like this is what will make it unique. That’s what this magazine was initially supposed to be about. Everyday folks and how they rose to the occasion, accomplished extraordinary things, and did it all while just trying to get through the day. In a way, you and I are taking the magazine back to its roots.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah . . . you sold Sue on the idea but not me. You’re a patronizing little sh—” Ray turned his back and pulled the covers over his head.
Scott sensed that this was rapidly becoming a battle of wits, one which he could easily lose. He needed to say something to reverse the course they were headed on, something powerful, something irrefutable, and again, he was prepared. “True, the magazine might have presented the idea to Mrs. Pollard first, but isn’t that what makes this important, the fact that she thought it was a good idea?”
Ray wasted no time raising his voice. “What? Why on earth would this interview be important to her? It’s supposed to be about me and how I go about my day, not my wife. If you can’t even get that simple fact right, why bother? I’ll tell you what. You have ten seconds to get your ass out of here. This is over. Sue!” There was a shuffling sound just outside the open bedroom door, then quiet.
“That’s not what I meant.” Scott’s words were ignored. “Okay Ray, I know this is a little unconventional and I can see you’re not happy about it. Give me a minute to pack everything up.”
“Fine, but don’t take your time about it.”
It only took a few minutes before Scott’s own words were being used against him and he didn’t like it. For all his rumored simplicities and down to earth gruff style, Raymond Pollard was sharp as a tack and at five in the morning to boot. But Scott was pretty sharp too and that’s why Harvey tapped him for the job; it was time to load the big guns.
“No problem, in a few minutes I’ll be on my way.” Scott knelt down and started packing up his pads, pens and the recording equipment. In reality, it wasn’t much but Scott was trying to buy some time to make one more point. While out of view and behind the foot of the bed he said, “As soon as I’m packed I’ll be out of here forever. I’ll go back to the office, tell my boss what happened and he’ll probably fire me. I’ll be bummed out for a time, then, I’ll hit the pavement and find another gig with some other rag that wants to pay me way too little for way too much, and that’ll be the end of that. It isn’t like it hasn’t happened before. A few years from now, it may not even be a memory for me. But for you sir, it’s a different story.”
Ray was angry but also intrigued. “How so?”
“You will need to explain to your wife what happened, because remember, she thought this was a good idea. You’ll have to explain it today, tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, and probably every day after that for the rest of your natural life. You’ll have to defend your rude behavior towards me and justify your reasons for embarrassing her, especially after all the hard work that everyone put in to set this thing up, including Mrs. Pollard. I doubt that she will settle for a simple I’m sorry dear.” Scott had no idea of the real impact those words possessed. He continued, “If you think about it, spending a few days talking to me is probably a bargain.” He kept on packing and unpacking the equipment waiting for a response, but it was dead quiet.
Finally, he heard Ray rustle in the bed. “Young man, I think I like you after all. You have a good head on your shoulders and you make good sense. I bet you were on the debate team in high school.”
The change in Ray’s tone was palpable and brought a smile to Scott’s hidden face. “Yes sir, but it was college.” Scott didn’t realize he was calling Ray sir, it just happened.
“Fine, let’s start where we left off. I apologize for being difficult. By the way, I’ve already told you to call me Ray, that hasn’t changed.”
“No sir, you didn’t.”
“Yes I did. Why else would you be sitting in my bedroom calling me by my first name at five in the morning?”
Scott thought about where this could go. “I’m sorry. I guess I must have missed it Ray. It won’t happen again.” Scott had already finished packing so he came out from behind the bed. “By the way my name is Scott, Scott Siebert.” Not that you even thought it important to ask.
“I know who you are.” Ray reached out and they shook hands. Scott originally intended for Ray to play by his rules, but the game was afoot and they were already playing by Pollard rules. “Good to meet you Scott. Yes, I think we will be able to work together after all.”
Scott smiled to himself as he went back to the foot of the bed and began pulling out the packed and repacked recording equipment. An even match of wits was good. He concentrated on setting the microphone in its stand at precisely the right angle and height. He tested it a couple of times studying the DB meters and when he was satisfied, he grabbed his notepad and pen. He placed himself back in the heavy wood chair that Mrs. Pollard brought over from the furniture set near the bay window. Though the chair was made of solid wood, it was surprisingly comfortable. He got himself positioned, then repositioned, then repositioned again, all while intentionally avoiding eye contact with his subject. He was stalling. The goal was accomplished, the interview was a go and after all he’d been though, Scott found himself with no idea of where to start. He continued to avoid eye contact even though his subject was ready to talk, which made the avoidance that much more perceptible. Now what? His original plan had evaporated and he didn’t want to blow it here, not now, but his mind was blank. Making things worse was Ray’s close scrutiny of everything and every motion. It was as if he knew that Scott was stumped and he wasn’t about to make it easy for him.
When you’re not sure what to do, go with the basics, just get the ball rolling and the interview will guide itself. That’s right, finally, he remembered. Scott tapped the microphone and took one last look at the meters as he phrased the first question in his mind. He settled back in his chair ready to begin and looked up. “OH, JESUS . . . HOLY MOTHER OF GOD! The pad and pen flew and Scott suddenly found himself precariously perched against the back of the sturdy hardwood chair trying to climb higher but having no place to go.