In the last post: Dick Charmer chose a grotesquely lifelike scarecrow. Now he has to steal it before daybreak...
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 for free, or wait to buy the entire story when published.
Enchanter on the Roof ® James Field. Part 22
Dick Charmer removed a few bulky rocks from around the scarecrow's base, rested it on the ground, untangled it from its wooden poles, and hoisted it onto his back. Its weight surprised him. Although it looked like a fully grown man, it felt lighter than a toddler.
The work had taken longer than expected and the brief summer night was drawing to an end. A hazy glow of red on the horizon made him hurry. Sweat soon trickled down his spine and dripped from his brow, and just as the first cockerel squawked he saw a farmworker in the distance, strolling towards him.
Dick Charmer jumped into a ditch beside the gravel road and threw himself down. Thank God it was dry after so many warm summer days. When he dared to peek over the edge, the farmworker was no longer there, probably attending to the horses in a nearby stable.
Hoisting the scarecrow high on his back, Dick Charmer ran. Dogs barked somewhere, and as he dashed past the stable, he heard the farmworker chatting to the fillies. At any other time, the early morning sights and sounds would have soothed his soul and made him glad to be alive. Right now, he thought his heart might explode.
But he reached the row of three terrace houses without further trouble and slipped the scarecrow’s head through the noose hanging in front of Olive’s frontdoor.
The strawman swung gently by its neck, head slumped forward and facing the door, feet inches above the ground, arms dangling by its side. It looked so much like a corpse that the hairs on the back of Dick Charmer’s neck bristled, and a shudder tickled his backbone.
When Bert sees the result of his murderous plan, he thought, it'll be his heart that explodes. And then, hardly able to stop himself from laughing out loud, Dick Charmer slithered off to bed.
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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