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ENCHANTÉ – KATHRYN INTERVIEWS LU – Governor of Province America

Kathryn of OMAHA TV

“Welcome to the Mao Xi Jinping Tower, Ms. Kathryn,” says Lu Kung Si, Chinese Governor of Province America. “Look out to New Beijing,” he added proudly, pointing from his windows to the landscape of former New York City.

“Thanks, Mr. Lu,” Kathryn says. “Mars proposed to me on this building when it was still ours.”

“Please, sit down,” Lu says, ignoring Kathryn’s reference to better times for the U.S. “So, what can I do for you?”

“What are your plans for what you call ‘Province America’?”

“Province America will have semi-autonomous status,” Lu says. “But under Chinese rule of law, as I explained to your dear husband Mars last time.” (http://bit.ly/2Jvsfoq)

“But reports say America’s former economic boom has all but dissipated in the Province.”

“Not so,” Lu objects. “You forget that Province America’s economy is now mostly informal and not recorded in the government statistics and for good reason. No venture capitalism anymore.”

“But is that not a recognition that Chinese communism or socialism does not work?”

“How do you think China’s economy grew so fast that it beat the former U.S.A.?” Lu exclaims, vexed by Kathryn’s statement. “We apply our successful Communist Party’s mercantilism.”

“But is the slowing economy of Province America not due to the fact that China cannot steal the former U.S. technology anymore?” dares Kathryn.

“Ms. Kathryn,” warns Lu, “I hate to be impolite but the same rule I allow in interviews with Mars applies to you. One more impertinent question and I must order you out the door.”

“Let me rephrase the question then, Mr. Lu,” says Kathryn, unperturbed. “How come that the former innovative American mind does not produce the same results under Chinese dominance?”

“You are close to being thrown out the door, Ms. Kathryn. You may be a free resident of the State of Nebraska, but if you continue to disrespect China’s successful hegemony over Province America we shall have to reconsider the Xi Jinping-Buffett Convention.”

“We know that the Free State of Nebraska has become a thorn in the eye of your great President, Mr. Lu,” says Kathryn. “And you know that many of the great American companies that previously resided in what is now Province America have fled to my State, despite the Chinese Wall. Does that worry your Government?”

“Absolutely not. The previous economies of scale are simply not there anymore. The stock exchanges in New York are Chinese. All revenue is directed to the Chinese Treasury. Capital is made over there, not here. Buffett is aware.”

“But your great President wants his Buffett shares to flourish, no?” Kathryn asks, with a sly smile.

“We do not discuss the President’s musings, Ms. Kathryn,” Lu responds dryly. “Any more questions?”

“What are your plans with the former president of the U.S.? Will he continue to be imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay?”

“Yes, as will all of his collaborators, including the former First Lady. There’s enough room as we transported all previous Arab prisoners to Alcatraz. We  do not allow former disruptors of world peace to roam free in their countries of origin.”

“Thanks for that,” Kathryn says. “What about the Capitol, the former politicians? Will Province America still have elections for its local rulers?”

“There is only one Party now, the Socialist Democratic Party led by Bernie Sanders. They don’t rule but can use the Capitol for socialistic debates as before. No elections are needed. Bernie is socialist democratic enough and has been made Province of America’s Figurehead for Life, which at his age won’t be that long anyway. We will see what happens then.”

“Would Ms. Cortez succeed him?”

“I don’t think so. She is too toxic even for Chinese taste, even though the color of her lips represents the color of our flag.”

“But what about the other former politicians?”

“All non-socialist politicians are now in hard labor camps doing work for the first time in their life.” Lu chuckles.

“And what happened to the White House?”

“I thought a good journalist like you would have known that by now.” Lu flicks his hand, impatient.

“Well, I am asking for my audience,” Kathryn says, on the defensive.

“It’s being renovated as President Xi Jinping’s Eastern Residence for vacation.” Lu Kung Si seems hesitant in revealing this information.

“Would he rent out the Lincoln Bedroom?” ventures Kathryn, taking revenge.

“Watch your questions, Ms. Kathryn. President Xi Jinping is not as mercantile as some of your previous American Presidents or Secretaries of State who used public property for their personal pay for play schemes.” Lu smirked, contemptuously. “China is not corrupt. Your time is up, Ms. Kathryn. Come again.”

* * *

Relieved to fly back to Free Nebraska in her company plane, drinking Buffett beer, Kathryn files her report to Mars City TV. At Omaha TV she delivers it during the evening news. Back home, her secure cell phone rings. The screen announces, “Warren Buffett.”

“Well done,” he says. “We have a lot of border crossings from Province America. They’re digging tunnels to reach freedom. We’ve established a secure cyber link with Gitmo, but keep that for your self. We’re not giving up. Stay tuned.”

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ENCHANTÉ-INDEPENDENCE-THE FRIENDS INVITE MARS MAN

From left to right: Monsieur Enchanté, Mars Man on Mars, Mars Man on Planet Earth, and Kathryn of Omaha TV.

The friends are meeting for their Independence drinks in OMAHA’S Hullahoo Bar and invited Mars Man and his wife Kathryn from Omaha TV to join.

“Welcome Mars and Kathryn to the Friends drink at the Hullahoo for Independence Day,” croons Frank. “So glad you could make it.”

“Wonderful to be here,” Mars Man says.

“Likewise,” Kathryn adds, smiling her enticing Omaha TV smile, raising her martini.

“Tell us, Mars, how do you and Kathryn manage your life between planets?” asks Frank.

“Easy with our technology,” Mars says. “With my Scooter One, I’m here in forty-eight hours. More than lightning speed. Planet Earth is nowhere near that technology.”

“But how come you look like us as your Mars City TV face is alien?” Fred’s eyes burn with multiple questions.

“Again, our advanced transmutation technology allows me to change into my Planet Earth body on arrival. By the flick of my wrist.”

“And how did you and Kathryn get married?” asks Cindy, always out for romance.

“Mars knows me from Omaha TV,” Kathryn says, smiling again. “Mars can see mee from his Mars City TV where he is the Chief News Anchor. So he reached out to collaborate between Omaha TV and Mars City TV and we frequently do. When he sent me his Planet Earth picture I fell in love with him.”

“But Mars lives there and you live here,” Melissa interrupted. “How can long distance infatuation work?”

“Simple,” Mars said. “The same as you in Omaha and your loved one in New York: you commute. We get together as often as we can and have two lovely mixed children on Planet Earth.”

“What!” cried out Tom. “Does your Martian body work the same as ours?”

“On Planet Earth it does,” Mars says. “On Mars, we use electrodes for penetration.”

“So you have no sex problems on Mars like we do here?” Fred asks, his face looking perplexed.

Loud laughter.

“Unfortunately we do,” Mars says. “When your electrodes misfire, you may get sued. But we don’t text as you do here to find out if a person loves you. That’s oldfashioned. We shoot an electrode and if it finds access and shoots back, you’re in.”

“But how do your kids look like, Kathryn?” Maria asks, curious as ever.

“Like yours,” Kathryn says. “Except that they have bionic powers. That causes problems at the proms or in the classrooms when they hear what friends are gossipping about them.”

“Can you travel to Mars with your kids?” Fred asks, hoping to get a ride.

“Not yet. We’d need to wear space suits and our voyage would take much longer because we don’t have Mars bodies. And once there, we can’t take the suits off to be with Mars. But we’re happy here as long as Mars comes over. Thanks to Warren Buffett, Nebraska is still a free country in the midst of China Province America and Mars can land freely in Buffett’s cornfields.”

“That’s why all Friends live in Omaha now,” Frank says, bitter-sweet but utterly relieved. “We got here just before the Chinese built a wall around the border.”

“True,” Mars says. “During my last interview with Lu Kung Si, the Chinese governor in New York, he confessed that Buffett had bribed Xi Ping with a billion of Berkshire Hathaway shares.”

“Do you know how they build that wall?” Cindy asks.

“They stole the Trump designs and forced American dissenters in hard labor camps to do the work,” Mars replied. “The wall is so good that nobody gets in, even better than what the illegals faced in the south or the Berlin Wall in East Germany in the sixties. Kathryn is slated to meet with Lu next week as a free representative of what was once the great USA, to discuss China’s plans with Province America.”

“But how does she go to New York and back?” Ted asks. “Aren’t you afraid they may keep her there for ransom?”

“Kathryn gets special permission, with lots of Chinese red tape,” Mars clarifies, grinning. “And she flies back on the company plane. Lu knows that if he did anything bad to Kathryn his Xi Ping tower would be rubble the next moment.”

“I heard the Chinese also stole the NASA designs to go to Mars,” Fred says.

“We know, but Confucius said. ‘An oppressive government is more to be feared than a tiger.’ So we’re prepared. They may reach Mars but will melt on arrival.”

“And what if Kathryn came?” Maria asks.

“Red carpet out,” Mars said, laughing. “Happy Fourth!” And he raised his bottle of Buffett beer, formerly Samuels.

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“A beautiful story — full of suspense, drama, and enduring love centered around music. John Schwartz has created a whole world and a wonderful escape. The characters jump off the page with such personality and imagery that this book could make a great movie. Enchanting the Swan is a very enjoyable read, and I recommend it highly.” Neal Cary (Cellist -Professor – William&Mary)

“Enjoyed the book. Well written book. A very heartbreaking love story.” Vera Wilson

“Enchanting the Swan was a nice read, and a deviation from the predictable boy meets girl and falls in love formula. There were many turns in the book that are reminiscent of life in that they were off the path to the end result. The writing was very image evoking and it all made for a good story that kept me reading until the end. Looking forward to more from this author!” Amy

“A lively composition! The various moneyed people, their elaborately appointed living quarters, and their high-wheeling lifestyle add a dash of pizzazz.” Kirkus Reviews

 

 

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ENCHANTÉ-ATTIC GHOSTS TALKING

Squirrels Charlie and Charlene got fed up with their leaking roof in the sycamore tree and decided to find a better home for their upcoming babies. The nearby shed in their yard was too low, and the pine-oak they used to hang out in was removed by those unsocial humans they had to put up with. The sycamore tree had one advantage, though: a branch reaching to the humans’ roof.

“Come on Charlene,” Charlie said one early morning, shaking off raindrops from his tail. “Let’s go over there and take a look. Maybe we’ll find a hole somewhere.”

Charlene found this a great idea. The two rushed over the branch and hopped on the roof, the branch still waving up and down after they landed.

“Shoot,” Charlie said. “They covered the chimneys.”

“Over here,” Charlene squeaked, putting her claws on the gutter and looking down. “You see that vine on the wall? Next to it is a vent. Try to get in.”

Charlie studied the vine.  Then he hung off the gutter and dropped into it. “It’s holding,” he squeaked. “I’ll jump over.”

With an athletic swing, he landed on the vent and peeked in between the louvers. “It’s an attic,” he said. “Nobody there. Only a noisy machine and lots of dust.”

“Can you get in?” Charlene pressed, getting impatient because the clouds were turning dark, announcing another rain storm.

“Easy, girl, I’m trying.” Charlie put his claws on a lower louver and pressed his back against the upper one but there wasn’t much movement. “It’s hard,” he complained.

Charlene dropped into the vine. “Move right,” she said. “I’ll come over and we’ll try together.”

“Don’t!” Charlie warned, seeing the gardener coming with his loud sputtering mower. “Hang in there, I’ll come back.”

Both hung in the vine, hiding until the mower was gone. Charlie swung back to the vent, making room for Charlene. She followed and both pressed their shoulders in between the louvers and created a suitable opening to sneak inside.

“Not bad,” Charlene said. “Enough room to squat on the wood.”

“Sounds like a plan,” Charlie said. Just at that moment, a thunderclap blasted and a violent shower clattered on the roof and against the vent. The squirrel couple sat high and dry, hearing the gardener cursing and shutting off his mower.

“This is great,” Charlene said. “I can have my babies here.”

The night approached and Charlene gave birth to three little squirrels. Nicely protected from birds of prey and cold showers, Charlie and Charlene enjoyed peaceful family life. Early mornings Charlie ventured outside to get food from the yards.

Then one night the attic started getting spooky.

“Do you hear that, Charlie?” his wife asked, concerned.

A little cloud appeared and two mice peeked out.

 

 

“Hi,” one said. “I am Maxie, and I lived here before.”

“And I am Maxine,” the other mouse said. “We both lived here before, but we’re dead now. “

“What!” Charlie said, worried. “Are you ghosts?”

“They poisoned us,” Maxine said. “Me, Maxie and my babies. So mean.”

“Would they come here to kill us, too?” Charlene asked, looking scared at her babies.

“When they hear you squeaking, gnawing or grunting as you do, they’ll come after you,” Maxie said.

“Oh no!” Charlene cried. “Not now, the babies are too small yet to carry them outside. And that rotten weather.”

Suddenly the little cloud covered the mice again. “We’ll be back another time,” the squirrels heard. “We only get so much time.”

Charlie and Charlene shivered, hovering over their little ones, and tried to be as quiet as possible.

* * *

“Hi, John,” neighbor Kevin said. “Do you know you’ve got squirrels in your attic? Look up there.” Kevin pointed. “They creep through your vent.”

“I’ll be damned! We thought we were hearing noises.”

“You better get them out before they chew your wires.”

“The rascals!”

* * *

That night, my wife screamed. “John, John, the mice are back!”

Fast asleep, I woke up with a shock. “What, what, where, where? Can’t be, I killed them all.”

“There,” she hollered. “On the dresser!”

True. Maxie and Maxine sat there, enveloped in their half-open little hazy cloud, staring at us.

“I thought we killed you,” I said, in awe of seeing micey spooks.

“Murdered, you did,” Maxie emphasized.

“Our whole family,” Maxine whined.

“You weren’t paying rent, remember?” I tried to justify, feeling guilty. They looked so sweet. “And you were messing up things big time. Droppings all over, toilet paper chewed off, rice bags torn, sofas sullied, and I can go on.”

“Why not treat us more humanely?” Maxie asked. “Why leave us in the freezing cold while you’re happily warm inside?”

“Don’t do the same to those squirrels up there,” Maxine said. “They just had three lovely babies.”

“That’s why you came back spooking to tell us that?” my wife asked.

“We have to go now,” Maxie said. “They give us only so much time.”  The little cloud closed over them and they vanished in the dark.

“I think I had a nightmare,” my wife said.

“Me too,” and we went back to sleep.

* * *

The next day our favorite carpenter, painter, construction specialist and handyman, Yimy Romero, and I opened the attic door and looked in. And, yes, we saw them sitting up, their silhouettes visible against the outdoor light streaming in through the vent.

“We can take care of them,” Yimy said. “No problemo.”

“Let’s give them a month, their babies are still blind now,” I said. “I’ll send them an eviction notice.” I laughed.

“Oh, yeah? How’s that?” Yimy grinned.

“I think we have a communication channel.”

“Better throw some mothballs,” Yimy advised. “That’ll kill them.”

* * *

The following night, my wife poked my side. “I hear some rustling,” she whispered.

I sat up and the darling mice couple appeared again on the dresser, the little cloud surrounding them slowly opening up.

“What are you going to do?” Maxie asked.

“Chase them mice out!” my wife screamed, horrified.

“Okay, Maxie, Maxine, tell them four weeks, no more,” I said. “Now beat it and don’t come back next fall!”

* * *

A month later, Yimy came and we looked inside the attic again. Empty. Charlie and Charlene had moved out with their offspring. I cut the vine and Yimy’s grandson (his faithful help) pulled it down. With a long ladder, Yimy covered the vent with a thick mesh.

 

Charlie and Charlene now sit in the backyard, close to the high Holly shrubs, loving each other, nibbling on nuts, their babies roaming nearby.

Credits: David Gylland  (picture left); Val Vesa (picture right)

This story was inspired by Mark Spencer’s delightful book Ghost Walking. (Mark did some editing too)

Ghost Walking by [Spencer, Mark]

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https://amzn.to/31WFk17 (Paper)

Advertisement:

Enchanting the Swan

https://amzn.to/2XvKMsx

“A beautiful story — full of suspense, drama, and enduring love centered around music. John Schwartz has created a whole world and a wonderful escape. The characters jump off the page with such personality and imagery that this book could make a great movie. Enchanting the Swan is a very enjoyable read, and I recommend it highly.” Neal Cary (Cellist -Professor – William&Mary)

“Enjoyed the book. Well written book. A very heartbreaking love story.” Vera Wilson

“Enchanting the Swan was a nice read, and a deviation from the predictable boy meets girl and falls in love formula. There were many turns in the book that are reminiscent of life in that they were off the path to the end result. The writing was very image evoking and it all made for a good story that kept me reading until the end. Looking forward to more from this author!” Amy

“A lively composition! The various moneyed people, their elaborately appointed living quarters, and their high-wheeling lifestyle add a dash of pizzazz.” Kirkus Reviews

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ENCHANTÉ – D-DAY 75 YEARS LATER

Me, then and now

Many people watch D-Day ceremonies. Some of the brave, who were lucky to survive, share these ceremonies with us, aged, in wheelchairs, or supported by their siblings, children or relatives. I always wondered why the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. was erected before the World War II Memorial. Perhaps because of the collective guilt to erase the public perception that those who came back from Vietnam wounded but alive were considered less worthy, as that war had been made so unpopular, not in the least by the repulsive Hanoi Jane. But that Vietnam Memorial represents exactly the same spirit as the World War II memorial: it’s for those who died in the fight for liberty and the pursuit of happiness, the freedom of the human spirit and initiative as opposed to totalitarian might and communism.

I am not American, but I considered fighting communism in Asia as worthwhile as fighting Nazidom and Japanese imperialism during World War II. And what would have happened if the Allies had been unable to defeat the Nazis in Europe? Or if they had been unable to stop the Russians at the Berlin Wall? Would communism not have been all over Europe keeping it in a much broader grip of impoverished and mowed-down nations? Would the Jewish population still exist?

I was 8, playing some feeble notes on the piano at my piano teacher’s house when a man came in with an orange pamphlet (the color of the Dutch royalty) stating that the Allied Forces had invaded France at Normandy. I still feel her embrace, screaming, “Johnny, we are going to be free.” Well, that was June 6, 1944. It took a bitter year of bombs falling, Nazi cruelty, executions, razzias, the pursuit of Jews, a horrific hunger winter with deep-freezing temperatures and heavy snowfalls before the Allied forces finally reached us and chased the Nazis out the door on May 5, 1945.

German soldiers going home, defeated.

Today we commemorate the young and the brave who that last year fought their way through the foothills of the Ardennes, the battle of the Bulge, who died in the “Bridge too Far,” the failed attempt by General Montgomery to break through the Nazi lines in Arnhem at the Rhine, who struggled from Belgium to The Netherlands to lift us from five years of tyranny, fear, misery and murder. 

 

This time, my piano teacher could embrace me for real. Her street hung out the red, white and blue flags and orange banners; stalls rose on the sidewalks with food dropped by allied bombers in the nearby tulip fields and meadows; people danced in the streets and embraced the dapper allied soldiers, Americans, Brits, and Canadians. Bands with trumpets and drums marched, making loud music, a festivity I will never forget. Our Royal family returned home from exile in Canada. No more fears of bombs dropping on or near our house, windows shattered, fighter planes soaring through the sky and downed in the nearby wood, eating tulip bread, nettles, or turnips. No more sirens in the night and friends being rounded up and taken away.

“Bombers” dropping food bags

You have to have lived through the opposite to feel what “liberty and the pursuit of happiness” really means. Personally, I find that a good deal of today’s politicians on the left in the West have forgotten what tyranny, communism and socialism, and lack of freedom represents. D-Day is a day to remember that freedom and the pursuit of happiness is a precious gift the brave and the young who fell for it handed us and we should treasure this gift to the fullest. Any doctrine of socialism, communism and totalitarian government runs counter that human right. Such doctrines are creeping back into our world and endanger our freedom-loving society and would destroy it again if not contained. 

Marine Corps War Memorial (also called the Iwo Jima Memorial)D-Day is also to remember the Asian war and the terrible loss of American lives fighting for freedom over there.

Celebrations in Holland in May 1945, almost a year after D-Day.

I hope that today’s schools in the West teach the value of D-Day. But what one sees and hears in the media and on the streets, I’m not sure if our “millennials” and future leaders, and a good deal of today’s “loudspeakers,” acquire the wisdom of D-Day, or exude it to prevent that this awful history repeats itself. I want to be optimistic but I can’t say I am.

 

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