I have a few novels I’m working on. Here’s a piece of one:

On a 28th Avenue rooftop in Queens Celia is smoking a cigarette staring at the distant Manhattan landscape. She’s thinking about her old penthouse on the Upper West Side, the things she saw before she left to travel.

Celia spent four years travelling around the world. She lived in Costa Rica, Italy, Germany, Spain, Sri Lanka, Australia, Beijing, and Tokyo. Celia knows people. She always has a place to stay. When she made the decision to return to New York City, she found someplace to sleep after two brief phone calls.

Celia rarely has to make more than two calls to get anything.

The rooftop door opens and Trevor appears. It’s the first time the pair have seen one another since Celia’s return.

‘Trevor,’ says Celia with liquid eyes. Her feet are on the roof, her head is in the clouds, she left her heart in Italy, she’s grateful for Trevor’s presence. He’s the closest thing she’s ever had to family.

‘Where have you been?’ he asks squeezing her like she remembers and missed. Trevor is over six feet tall and used to make money boxing. At 32 he’s retired.

Trevor’s arms are a vice around Celia’s thin body. The comfort in the familiar fear a grab like that shoots through her, regardless of how much she trusts Trevor, is just one more reason why she believes returning to the city after so long was the right thing to do.

‘What are you doing?’ she asks pulling out a rolled Garcia Vega Corona from the pocket of her knee length denim skirt.

‘Nice boots,’ says Trevor looking at Celia’s snakeskin cowboy boots. ‘You’re always stylin yo.’

Celia forgets about business for the first time all day and smiles. ‘Tell me what’s good kid… I haven’t seen you in a minute.’

A steady smoke stream begins burning from the cigar and Trevor reaches in his pocket to reveal two small blue pills. He gives one to Celia who pops it in her mouth and reaches for the bottle of water sticking out from the top of Trevor’s right pocket. He’s wearing baggy denim shorts and a wife beater. Appropriate attire for a hot day in July.

‘Shoot, I’m keepin low. You know how we do. Delivering for that grocery joint near 43rd and Broadway.’ Trevor smiles and sunlight seems more golden to Celia. She missed him so much. ‘Question is what are you on? Nice briefcase,’ he says with a laugh. ‘I see you got the memo.’

These days on the subways backpacks get searched. Carrying a briefcase lowers the odds of this. The same way being a female does. When Celia first got the message in her mailbox to pick up a bag from E 91st and bring it to Queens for the trade, she didn’t put much thought into this. Her days of carrying more cash than most people ever see in lump sum amount in a grey Kickwear canvas bag are far behind her.

She’s holding a raspberry Prada briefcase.