Tenuous Ties

Darlene checked into a run-down motel that she wouldn’t normally consider, in case anyone came looking for her.  She had been puzzled by the front desk clerk’s “hourly or nightly” question.  However, upon seeing a scantily clad, heavily decorated woman and a suited man enter the next room, she pieced it together.  The noises seeping through the paper-thin walls confirmed the nature of business conducted.  Consequently, she decided avoiding the bed would be in her best interest.

She huddled at the small desk, curtains drawn, door double-bolted, and lights dimmed.  The papers from Myrtle’s safety deposit box were spread on the desktop.  Darlene cupped her hands over her ears to muffle the grunts and groans from next door.  Finally, fifteen minutes later, she was blessed with silence when her neighbors left.

One of the pages caught her eye.  She recognized the Medical Enterprises of Grayhawk logo.  Her mom had gone there for her cancer treatment.  A few weeks ago, Darlene read in the Arizona Republic that early clinical trial results earned Grayhawk a large federal grant.  Darlene went numb as her eyes scanned the paragraphs.  Myrtle had cancer.  Behind the letter, she found a handwritten page.  She recognized Myrtle’s shaky penmanship.

She read through the letter twice and dropped it on the desk.  She shook her head.  It couldn’t possibly be true.  Myrtle claimed that Medical Enterprises of Grayhawk injected healthy patients with an aggressive form of cancer to gather more treatment data.  A European competitor, Sidney-Talbot, also had promising trial results, and Darlene knew being the first to market meant billions of dollars earned before patents expired.

Still, Darlene couldn’t buy the weak claim that her father, Andrew Moritz, injected Myrtle with cancer as retribution.  Retribution for what?   Her father had been a sales rep for New Way Pharmaceutical for twenty years, but that had nothing to do with Grayhawk.

Darlene needed more.  She needed Myrtle’s help.

New occupants entered the room next door.

Darlene decided to leave immediately.


TrifectaPicture11-1This is my response to the Trifecta weekly challenge, which is to write a 33 to 333-word response (mine is 330) using the following word/definition:

WEAK (adj): not factually grounded or logically presented <a weak argument>

If you want to read other responses, or try the challenge yourself, click on the tricycle picture to view Trifecta’s site.  Happy writing (and reading!)


This continuation of Darlene’s Story is still in Darlene’s point of view.  Click here for Darlene’s Story page if you want to read the entire piece.  Thanks so much for stopping by!


74 thoughts on “Tenuous Ties

  1. nrhatch August 5, 2013 / 12:09 PM

    You’ve got a way with words, Janna. Every time I think we’re going to get some answers, you crank up the intrigue another notch or two dozen.

    Now we got pharmaceutical conspiracies to unravel . . . amid the banging on the bedpost next door. “KEEP IT DOWN OVER THERE! WE’RE TRYING TO THINK!”

    • jannatwrites August 5, 2013 / 7:52 PM

      Your comment cracked me up, Nancy! I appreciate you following along with this story. There are still a lot of loose ends hanging, but I figured it was about time to share some of the motive behind what’s been happening 🙂

  2. windandlaughter August 5, 2013 / 12:27 PM

    Wow, I wouldn’t buy a claim like that either! I hope it turns out to be untrue :/

    • jannatwrites August 5, 2013 / 7:53 PM

      It does sound kind of ‘out there’ doesn’t it, Windandlaughter? 🙂

  3. Catherine Johnson August 5, 2013 / 2:20 PM

    I love what Nancy said. And I can’t wait to read a full length novel from you, Janna.

    • jannatwrites August 5, 2013 / 7:55 PM

      Thanks so much, Catherine! I am working on the longer version of this and hope that when it’s done, you’ll choose to read it 🙂

  4. Sean August 5, 2013 / 2:28 PM

    This is a good continuation piece from last week. Also a good use of a seedy motel. I think it adds more to the story then if she went to a park or something out of the way to read the papers and thank you for keeping it clean. This piece had a really good flow throughout. Thanks for the writing and keep up the good work. You are a very talented writer.

    • jannatwrites August 5, 2013 / 7:59 PM

      Thanks, Sean. I really do appreciate you following this story each week. Writing this part was tricky for me because I’m not one to do graphic details of what happens behind seedy motel room doors, but I wanted to give enough detail that readers would feel the scene. Hope it worked!

  5. diannegray August 5, 2013 / 3:14 PM

    There are so many layers in this story, Janna. Very well done! 😀

    • jannatwrites August 5, 2013 / 8:00 PM

      Thanks for reading, Dianne! I’m going to have to simplify things for the blog version or this will go on til Christmas 🙂

  6. pattisj August 5, 2013 / 4:12 PM

    This is well-written, Janna. Darlene’s actions and thoughts flow seamlessly.

    • jannatwrites August 5, 2013 / 8:01 PM

      I’m glad this part worked for you as you read it, Patti!

  7. Papparaci August 5, 2013 / 5:25 PM

    Amazing story Janna, a real nail biter! Great work.

    • jannatwrites August 5, 2013 / 8:01 PM

      I appreciate you taking time to read it, Papparaci!

  8. Michael August 5, 2013 / 5:27 PM

    Oh-HO! The plot thickens!

    • jannatwrites August 5, 2013 / 8:02 PM

      Yes, it did, Michael. She might be ready to a pull a thread that’s safer left alone 🙂

  9. Eric Alagan August 5, 2013 / 5:42 PM

    It is tough to read and focus when subjected to ‘I found heaven’ rhythms 🙂

    Medical/pharmaceutical conspiracy? So, it could be much more than some family squabble — loving the build up.


    • jannatwrites August 5, 2013 / 8:03 PM

      Hahaha! Funny, Eric 🙂 It’s more than a family squabble. But I’m going to try to save some of the secrets for the novel.

  10. Imelda August 5, 2013 / 5:46 PM

    Wow! I really see this work as being expanded into a novel. I am looking forward to th next piece. 🙂

    • jannatwrites August 5, 2013 / 8:05 PM

      Thanks, Imelda! I’ve been working on the novel. I’ve gotten two full chapters completed so far. (Well, first draft, that is :))

  11. oberon732013 August 6, 2013 / 12:19 AM

    Good piece Janna I enjoyed the intrigue of it all. In some ways it is closer to the true than we’d like to believe.

    • jannatwrites August 6, 2013 / 7:32 AM

      I’m afraid you might be right, Oberon. Thanks so much for reading!

  12. pilgrimofcognition August 6, 2013 / 1:05 AM

    Wow! I thought I was reading arthur hailey! This plot will make a very good novel- the one which is so racy, you are gripped till the end..Well done!

    • jannatwrites August 6, 2013 / 7:33 AM

      Your comment made me smile, Pilgrim! I’m so glad you enjoyed this part. I appreciate you taking time to read it 🙂

  13. vishalbheeroo August 6, 2013 / 3:10 AM

    nicely written story. You have a special talent with writing and conveying ideas:)

    • jannatwrites August 6, 2013 / 7:34 AM

      Thanks for your kind words, Vishal. I enjoy writing the stories, but it’s even more fun when others get into the story.

  14. Damyanti August 6, 2013 / 4:03 AM

    This is so well written. Only crib is it ought to have been longer.

    • jannatwrites August 6, 2013 / 7:35 AM

      Haha! My inclination is to write more, but I have to keep it within the 333 word limit for these challenges. On the novel-length version, I write as much as detail requires. I appreciate you reading this, Damyanti!

  15. Draug419 August 6, 2013 / 5:47 AM

    That’s a sinister mystery afoot.

  16. Gabriella August 6, 2013 / 8:04 AM

    This is still excellent and I love the lowly atmosphere of the motel. This is getting more and more mysterious and exciting!

    • jannatwrites August 6, 2013 / 7:10 PM

      Thanks for reading, Gabriella – I’m glad you’re enjoying the story 🙂

  17. Tara R. August 6, 2013 / 10:39 AM

    And the plot thickens…. I love all the small details you use. It makes the story seem so real.

    • jannatwrites August 6, 2013 / 7:10 PM

      Thanks, Tara! I appreciate you reading the story.

  18. Joe Owens August 6, 2013 / 10:46 AM

    Darlene cannot escape this for anything. She just dives deeper and deeper.

    • jannatwrites August 6, 2013 / 7:11 PM

      Maybe bailing out of town would be a good idea? (But there’s no story in that…unless trouble follows her.) Thanks for reading, Joe!

  19. philosophermouseofthehedge August 6, 2013 / 11:19 AM

    Hot sheet hotel! Oh, my – the place you’ll go.
    Somehow sleazy environment is the perfect place for the reveal of sleazy doings by a company.
    Tendrils of suspicion everywhere

    • jannatwrites August 6, 2013 / 7:12 PM

      I’m glad the setting wasn’t too offensive, Phil. There are definitely shady things going on – thanks for reading!

  20. Ivy (Mommy Dourest) August 6, 2013 / 1:44 PM

    Way to keep us in suspense! Can’t wait to read the next installment.

    • jannatwrites August 6, 2013 / 7:12 PM

      Thanks, Ivy! I appreciate you stopping by to read it.

  21. Debbie August 6, 2013 / 5:56 PM

    Janna, you really have a knack for spinning an interesting story, one filled with sensory details. More, please!

    • jannatwrites August 6, 2013 / 7:13 PM

      I’m so glad you want to read more, Debbie! Thanks for continuing to follow along with this story.

  22. agjorgenson August 6, 2013 / 6:25 PM

    I love the way you set up the scene in the motel… everything so clandestine, suspicious, and intriguing yet kind of repulsive. We want to see more, but maybe not.

    • jannatwrites August 6, 2013 / 7:15 PM

      Your comment made me laugh, Allen. Intriguing, yet kind of repulsive is a good way to describe it. I tried to keep the seedy details PG 🙂

  23. steph August 6, 2013 / 6:38 PM

    I echo with.. the plot thickens… Believable knowing the insidious ways of Big Pharma. Terrific, Janna. I see it as a movie as well as a novel.

    • jannatwrites August 6, 2013 / 7:16 PM

      Gosh, I hope this isn’t really happening or they will come after me for exposing it 🙂 (Paranoid much?) Thanks for reading and sharing your comment, Steph!

  24. Brian Benoit August 6, 2013 / 8:00 PM

    Dang, this comes across as so authentic, and the characterization just gets better and better. Also loved the color you gave the setting with Darlene’s “neighbors.” Great installment!

    • jannatwrites August 8, 2013 / 7:40 AM

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts on the story, Brian. I’m glad you stopped by to read it!

  25. Renada Styles August 7, 2013 / 7:58 PM

    as i’ve seen a few respond already, the plot thickens! i’m totally hooked on this tale!

  26. kallanannie August 7, 2013 / 8:53 PM

    I don’t blame her for not wanting to go anywhere near that bed! Ewwww! You just keep amping up the tension and throwing us curveballs–so much fun to read this!

    • jannatwrites August 8, 2013 / 8:12 AM

      Just writing that made me want to wash up and don a hazmat suit 🙂 Thanks for continuing to follow along with this story, Kallanannie!

  27. Tina August 8, 2013 / 5:20 AM

    This brings to mind all sorts of new questions! These snippets bring to mind Dickens or Dumas and their serialized novels published in the paper. Such mystery, and obviously there is more coming. I can’t wait for next months edition!

    • jannatwrites August 8, 2013 / 8:12 AM

      Thanks for reading, Tina! As long as the Trifecta prompts cooperate, I’ll add to it each week.

  28. Valerie August 8, 2013 / 6:16 AM

    As always Janna, I want more when I come to the end of each installment-and your opening paragraph on this piece was a pure delight to read! I’d avoid the bed too!

    Can’t wait till next time!

    • jannatwrites August 8, 2013 / 8:16 AM

      Thanks, Valerie! I have a thing for hotel bedding (don’t like it) and I guess it kind of amplified for this piece 🙂 I appreciate you following along as the story progresses.

  29. syllabubsea August 8, 2013 / 11:21 AM

    Looking forward to reading what happens next. Marie

    • jannatwrites August 8, 2013 / 9:32 PM

      Thanks, Syllabubsea – I appreciate you reading it!

  30. Maggie Grace August 8, 2013 / 1:17 PM

    Ah…the plot thickens in my kind of way. Such intrigue! Our govt funded the injecting of unwitting patients at Mass. General with plutonium to find out its effects and over what time period. You can google William Sweet, neuroscientist, plutonium. They were terminally ill but still made to suffer more and without permission. Such a dark underbelly to making money or beating the “other guy.” Wonderful!

    • jannatwrites August 8, 2013 / 9:39 PM

      I’m glad you like the turn, Maggie Grace. I read up on unethical experiments. It’s frightening some of the things they did. Not much was noted for the last thirty years or so. It makes me wonder if they stopped unethical experiments, or if they got better at hiding it.

  31. KymmInBarcelona August 8, 2013 / 3:01 PM

    Hourly or nightly, that is the question… hahaha
    Keep ’em coming, Janna!

  32. lovelylici1986 August 8, 2013 / 4:05 PM

    Gotta love it when an answer comes and right on its heels is another question. You certainly know how to keep tension in a story. Well done!
    – Alicia Audrey

    • jannatwrites August 8, 2013 / 9:41 PM

      I appreciate you stopping by to read this part of the story, Lovelylici!

  33. trifectawriting August 8, 2013 / 6:23 PM

    This mystery is leading to all sorts of places. Hopefully the next place will be cleaner!
    Thank you for linking up!

    • jannatwrites August 8, 2013 / 9:44 PM

      I think it will have to be cleaner next time 🙂

  34. Ashley K August 8, 2013 / 9:49 PM

    Suspenseful and dramatic! Love it!

    • jannatwrites August 9, 2013 / 1:55 PM

      Thanks, Ashley – I appreciate you reading it 🙂

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