In the last post: Dick Charmer feared his crime was discovered. But he would soon turn the tables with a hilarious trick...
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 21
The moon was about to set: the night had grown dark, and all good folks were in bed. If Dick Charmer were to put his plan into action, he'd need to hurry. No one must see him. The morning was fast approaching and time was growing short.
Big fat Bert lay snoring like an overstuffed pig on the scaffolding above Olive’s front door. He'll get the biggest shock of his life when he wakes, thought Dick Charmer, and gazed into the distance in all directions. Nobody was about, so he crept back down the ladder and scurried from the terrace houses along a rutted road. After a few hundred yards, he swung onto a bridle path and quickened his pace.
He recalled seeing an army of scarecrows in a field over towards the Cloud Estate. The estate’s gardener, Lance, had placed them to keep the birds away from whatever tripe he grew there: peas, blueberries, or maybe cannabis for all he cared.
Some scarecrows were mind-boggling lifelike. Lance had dressed the best one in cast-off overalls, wellies and gardener’s gloves. He’d pulled a beanie down over the head, and a spooky Halloween mask covered the face. Dick Charmer didn’t know how the crows felt about it, but if a person came across it unawares, their blood would curdle.
Lance won’t mind if I borrow it, he thought. He checked he was still alone in the night and passed a nervous hand through his hair. Soon, the cockerels would screech and early rising farm workers would start their chores of milking the cows and feeding the animals.
He couldn't delay. Time to seize it and run.
To be continued…
The real world:
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Like to know more about Alf, Bert and the rest of the gang? You can read their chaotic history in What on Earth.
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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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