Dear friends, 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.
#2: Enchanter on the Roof ® James Field. Part 48
In the last post: Despite having the chagrined law on his collar, Bert acted casual…
“What happened here,” demanded Chief Inspector Dobbs. He'd changed into his ordinary civilian clothes: baggy trousers with turn-ups, and regardless of the mild morning weather, a yellow knitted pullover. “How did Dick Charmer escape from his handcuffs?”
Two policemen climbed out of their patrol car, their uniforms bristling with antenna and clumsy radios that peeped and squeaked. “Morn, Sir,” said the tallest as he straightened his cap. “Is this the man you want us to take in?” He nodded toward Bert and then searched the immediate area with his eyes. "I thought you said there were two? Where's the other man?"
“You're not taking anybody in yet,” thundered Chief Inspector Dobbs. “This is the man who can tell us how the other rogue escaped and where he went.”
“Yeah,” said Bert, mouth turned downward. “I saw it all and there was nothing I could do.” He clanked his handcuff chains against the restraining scaffolding pole. "I'm still captive."
“Tell me what happened, you blithering idiot.”
Bert buzzed his lips. "Had a nice breakfast?” He blinked twice, and then added, “Sir.”
The two policemen had joined the inspector, towering above him, one on each side. "I don't like the look of those dogs, Chief," said the constable on his left.
Bert's two Alsatians sat by his feet, unblinking eyes fixed on the officers, a deep rumble in their throats.
"Who let the dogs out?" demanded Chief Inspector Dobbs.
"I ain't saying nothing," said Bert, and then hurriedly changed the subject. “Seems Four Ps escaped from the mighty Inspector Dobbs too." He used Dick Charmer's nickname on purpose, hoping it would rile the inspector enough to forget the dogs.
“Chief Inspector,” screeched Dobbs, foam bubbling in the corners of his mouth. “Right. That’s it.” He whirled to face his constables and barked at them. “Take him in for questioning.”
Bert shook his head. “I ain’t got time for that. I’m on duty soon up at The Cloud Mansion." A new thought dawned on him and he puffed out his chest. "Anyway," he said, voice full of bluster, "how you gonna unlock me without the keys?”
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.
'Enchanter On The Roof' is reaching its end. In one week, 'Gamblers who Cheat' makes an entrance.
She contested the bygone will. He stood to lose his life's work. But neither had gambled on Alf.
See you there ;-)
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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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