In the last post: Bert needed consoling: strutting cockerels are not interested in old hens like Olive, they prefer the young chicks...
Dear friends, if you like a good chuckle, dim-witted heroes, and larger-than-life villains, then you'll love this fascinating series. On Tuesdays and Saturdays, I’m blogging nibble-sized chunks of new ‘Life in the Clouds’ stories. You can check in regularly and read them free, or wait to buy the complete story when published.
Enchanter on the Roof ® James Field. Part 05
Bert looked down at Morris, born leader and gardener, whose head hardly reached to Bert’s chest. “Thanks, mate. You always know how to say the right things. Come to think of it, you don’t look so good yourself.”
“Oh, it’s nothing.” Morris kicked a stone and pressed his hands deeper into his pockets. “I thought my turnips would win the prize for biggest example this year, but they didn’t. It’s enough to make me want to hang myself.”
“Yeah, me too." Bert hesitated before saying more. Morris wasn't the type to hang himself, and he'd miss him if he did. Best not to encourage him. Better to make him happier by giving a compliment. "You really cheered me up by saying Olive is a scraggy old hen that nobody wants—except me. Ain’t that right, Alf?”
Alf, his best friend and colleague, shrugged and spat. “I wouldn’t get your hopes up, Bert. I’ve known Olive longer than you and she’s always been a floozy.”
Not wanting to hear more, Bert slouched away. He squeezed between the dancing throng of ecstatic girls and tapped on Olive’s shoulder. “Cooee! It’s only me. Can I have a few words?”
“Not now, Pet,” she said, never taking her eyes from Dick Charmer. “I’m busy. Maybe later.”
Busy? Yeah, Bert knew she was busy all right: she'd pasted on make-up, fixed her hair, and drowned herself in pong; all for the sake of that showoff stud on the roof. Bert opened his mouth, but no sounds formed. Instead, he shook his head and plodded off home.
To be continued…
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A River in Darkness: One Man's Escape from North Korea by Masaji Ishikawa
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
To save the jobs of those in the Japanese government who helped him escape, Masaji Ishikawa wrote: “…obviously I wasn’t going to start talking to the press.” Instead, he wrote this mammoth best-selling book? Sorry, but I don’t believe this man’s autobiography can be true. If it is, then he is likely responsible for the sacking of those government officials who helped his return to Japan, and worse, expose his family to torture or execution in North Korea.
It may well be that he moved to North Korea in 1960, aged thirteen, where he lived until his escape in 1996. However, I rather believe his memoir is an over dramatised collection of exaggerated incidents he picked up from others. In which case, good for him.
I hope this is the case; otherwise, he puts himself in a poor light. From his book, he already comes across as egoistic, beating up anyone who upsets him and often leaving his family to starve while he runs off to find work to feed himself.
North Korea is undoubtedly not an agreeable place to live, but propaganda and false news flourish. The story in this book is captivating and mind-bogglingly tragic, hence four stars. I just don’t accept Mr Ishikawa’s life was as awful, or maybe I don’t want to believe, as he relates.
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