Monday, September 12, 2005

Quelle drame!

Charles and Marilyn came home early from France to go to the opening of the Denver opera. They never got to see it. For Charles, dressed in his tuxedo, with luminous orange shirt and bow-tie, ended up in the emergency room at the local hospital.

I had stayed home while Charles and Marilyn got all dickied up and went off to the opening performance. I was expecting them back about nine-thirty. At nine, I went downstairs to their condominium's guest apartment, where I was staying, to pack for my departure the following morning.

At ten I went upstairs again to find them returned, changed out of their finery and chastened by a sequence of events which had shaken them to the core.

Charles was barefoot, in his vest, a white circle of bandage in the crook of his arm. He looked very pale. But not, Marilyn assured me, as pale as he had a couple of hours earlier. At the reception before the opera, he had crouched down talking to an elderly lady for nearly ten minutes. When he stood up he immediately collapsed.

Bad enough in normal circumstances. But Charles had had a heart attack several months ago, and was still in recovery mode.

He got back to his feet and collapsed again, before Marilyn took charge and rushed him off to the hospital. Fortunately blood tests showed that he had not had another heart attack. The most likely cause was a restriction of his blood supply from crouching too long, allied to the effects of the drugs he is taking.

The good news is that he had a good night, but it was Marilyn who took me to the airport this morning.

Goodbye, Denver. Speedy recovery, Charles!

So, just after one o'clock, having crossed yet another time zone, I landed in Houston, Texas, to be met by an attractive young lady called Martha. She was holding up a sign which read: "Sam Houston State University Welcomes Peter May".

Martha led me out to the biggest 4X4 I have ever seen, which was driven by another attractive young lady called Ginny. These guys are students at the Sam Houston State University College of Criminal Justice, and assistants to its Dean, Dr. Richard Ward. Without Dick I could never have written the China Thrillers. It was his introduction to the Chinese police which opened doors for me in China that would otherwise have remained firmly shut.

As one of the world's leading criminologists, Dick spent several years in China training the top five hundred cops there in the latest Western policing techniques. It's nearly ten years since I first connected with Dick, but he has been a tireless advisor and reader of my manuscripts. He is also fabulously generous, and has put a driver and vehicle at my disposal for my stay in Texas, as well as welcoming us as his guests at the university hotel in Huntsville - about an hour north of Houston - and setting up a lunch and presentation at the university itself to sell and sign my books.

He was out of town today, but left instructions for his inner coterie of students to entertain us to dinner last night - which they did royally at The Junction restaurant. It is is sited in one of the oldest buildings in town, which was once an Indian lookout. It is the same restaurant where we had lunch five years ago with the Sheriff and the Chief of Police when I was researching "Snakehead".

Afterwards Ginny treated us to Root Beer floats at a drive-by and promised to pick us up at 7.45 am tomorrow to whisk us off to Houston and the first of a series of radio and TV interviews which precede my bookstore presentation at "Murder by the Book".

The biggest treat of the day, though, will be seeing Dick again. He is hurrying back to meet us in time for lunch in Houston.

Oh... and did I mention? After I was met by Martha and Ginny at the airport terminal, I was whisked off to the international arrivals hall to meet La Patronne off her flight from Paris. We shared a big, long hug and talked nonstop all the way to Huntsville in the back of the 4X4.

Ghhhhrrrrrmmmmm (Homer noises), I'm happy again.

Charles and Marilyn set off for the Opera


Elizabeth Carr said...

I wish our beloved older people would quit keeling over and scaring everyone! We want them here and hardy ...


Anonymous said...

To add to my previous posting: my comment was not meant to be flip, but sincere; it comes from a similar close experience. Peter knows. The very best wishes and a hearty recovery to Charles and Marilyn.


ARGIL said...

ce soir, petit dîner entre amis du Lot (les Aucoincoin) où nous parlons de toi, Janice, Martha et Ginny autour d'un verre de Glanes.
Laurène réclame un paquet de fortune cookies aussi intéressants que le tien. On en veut tous!

Marilyn Munsterman said...

Charles is feeling great. He saw the doctor today who confirmed that his fainting episode was a combination of squatting down for too long and his heart medications. His heart is ticking fine.

I overheard this in the building lobby today, "Did you see that cute guy who was staying here with a pony tail and a kilt?" I wonder who they were talking about....