In the last post: Dick Charmer hung a scarecrow by its neck. He didn't want to be around when it was discovered...
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 23
After Olive had stormed home alone from Ye Olde Inn’s disco, she'd slumped into her favourite easy chair and buried her face in her hands. Never had anyone humiliated her so.
Even though she'd dressed like a teenager in ultra-mini miniskirt, black bra, and see-through frilly blouse, Dick Charmer had rejected her: a look of utter disgust plastered all over his face. Who does he think he is? Just because all the silly little rich tarts swooned over him, there was no reason to snub her in front of everyone.
If it hadn't been for that interfering slob of a policeman, Dobbs, she would've scratched Dick Charmer's eyes out and tied his goolies into knots.
But the disastrous night was over and soon Dick Charmer would finish his work on the terrace house roof and leave. Good riddance to him; there were plenty more sweethearts in the world. Maybe someone a little older, a poet was her dream man.
She removed her make-up, tossed her clothes in the laundry basket, stood under a hot shower until the water turned cold, climbed into bed and pulled the sheets over her head. I’m not getting old, she consoled herself. The years creep up on most people like a serpent in the night. But I stopped ageing at twenty. I'm a ripe peach.
Drowsy, her wistful thoughts turned to her fiancé, Bert. He was a gigantic ugly brute with kind eyes. He wasn't very bright, either, and seemed not to mind her little flirtations.
And then she fell asleep and dreamt, and her dream was of the fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast: Bert playing the part of the beast, her the beauty.
In this version of the story, however, she laughs at the beast and runs away to her lover, the poet. Ah, aren't dreams wonderful!
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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