If you like a good chuckle, dim-witted heroes, and larger-than-life villains, then you'll love this fascinating series. On Wednesdays and Sundays, 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.
#4: Evil Portent ® James Field.
Welcome to the start of a wacky new series.
In this post: Bert wonders, do aliens live among us?
Bert turned the page of his alien invasion magazine and could feel Olive’s impatient eyes burning a hole into the back of his neck. Knowing his fiancé as he did, she had some gossip she wanted to pass on.
“Why do you read that rubbish?” she said.
Bert swung around, causing the chair to creak under his weight. Olive stood with her hands resting on her generous hips, her left foot tapping. “This here,” said Bert, finger jabbing at his magazine, “is intellectual stuff, written by genuine professors about alien invasion and obstruction.
“Do you mean abduction, Bert?”
“Yeah, that’s what I said, up-suction. I’m reading it because you don’t like it when I read my Hulk comics or even Popeye. Popeye has a sweetheart called Olive, just like me and you, and when he eats spinach, his muscles grow so big that—”
“Stop it,” screeched Olive.
“Anyhow, these intellectual professors reckon aliens are roaming all over Earth.”
“And you believe them?”
“Yeah, of course I do, otherwise I wouldn’t be reading this rubbish, would I.”
Olive’s luscious make-up enhanced features broke into a smile. “Do I have your attention now?”
“Yeah,” Bert closed his magazine and sighed. “Fire away.”
“Have you seen the new neighbours at number three?”
Bert’s house was number one in Flintstone Terrace. Olive’s was the middle house at number two, which is where he now sat eating egg and bacon and studying the fantastic pictures in his magazine. Number three was at the terrace’s other end. “No. What about them?”
“They’re weird, spooky.”
“Maybe they’re aliens.”
“Maybe I should clout you around the head. Anyway, Florence told me she—”
Bert shut his ears off and let his eyes drift back to his magazine. The pictures of wiry aliens with egg-shaped heads fascinated him. If he ever met one, he wondered what he’d say. Probably something like, “Welcome, mate. Please don’t poop in the sink.”
To be continued...
The real world:
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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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