Short Stories for an Easy Read!
Enchanté! Cheers! Proost!
While Mars Man is traveling back from St. Maartens to St. Mars to join his TV team at Mars City TV, we do a little advertising to pay the bills!
ENCHANTÉ has issued 10 short stories so far, all represented on the right, of which nine under the banner “Some Women I Have Known.” I borrowed this title from my Great Uncle Joost van der Poorten Schwartz (1858-1915), who wrote some 14 books and 4 bundles of short stories in the English language, mostly in the nineteenth century. His “Some Women”, though more “Victorian” in concept than the ones I have known, is still a good read. Except the Audrey and the Lady D stories, which are memoir, the other stories are told through the voice of John van Dorn, a fictitious alias, to avoid that potential readers might say “Hey, that’s me,” or “Hey, that’s her!”
I – The Audrey story is a Memoir of how 13-year old Audrey Hepburn entered my life when I was seven. I had wanted to write this story for a long time and finally did. Her son Sean Hepburn Ferrer found it “sweet” and sweet it is. She had an indelible impact on my life, as I could never have guessed she would become so famous and well liked the world over. Her birthday, May 4, is coming up and a good opportunity to buy this story as the revenues accrue to the Audrey Hepburn Children’s Fund.
II – The Two Anns memorize first loves, seen from a young male’s adventurous POV (point of view). There are many women I have met and forgotten, but you never forget your first loves. It would have been interesting to know how these first loves remember me and if they ever wrote that on paper.
III – Lucy The Cello Girl got John van Dorn hooked for life with her bow, phrasing heavenly music from her instrument, when he met her in the basement of his boarding school. A lover of classical music, he fell for her instantly, but young love has its tragic moments of inexperience, immaturity and doubts, and it took many years to materialize.
IV – Tisja The Village Beauty is the naughty story about how Peter, another “alias”, loses his virginity. I guess nobody forgets that moment in their life. It’s worth remembering and I had a good laugh writing it up.
V – Geneviève The Adorable Pianist pictures the classical Love in Paris. Many loves in Paris populate books and movies, but each one is different and this one is no exception. Even today, soaps return to the Eifel Tower, Trocadero, the river the Seine and the Ile de France. For all its picturesque flavor, Paris remains a pitfall for amour. This one got started while playing quatre mains at the piano at the famous Ecole normale de musique, “mains” that got closer and closer and… well, you read the rest.
VI – Irene Femme Fatale is the eternal refrain of young libido gone haywire and ending in predictable disaster. Women are smarter than man, because they got that superior gift of nature to lure the male into the dangerous act of procreation and… you better watch out.
VII – Lady D is a Memoir of the quintessential grandmother. Some people are greater than others, and she is one of those rare people. Yes, at one stage they pass away and go to heaven, but they live on never to be forgotten, staying at your side throughout life.
VIII – Ingrid The Magnificent Viking is a goddess John van Dorn meets on the ski slopes in the Swiss Alps at a moment of great distress in his love life that turns into even greater distress in a mishap of sorrowful circumstances that should never have happened.
IX – Nyira, The Tutsi Queen, tells the harrowing story how John van Dorn during a posting in Africa meets a fascinating Tutsi woman in Burundi and rescues her in a narrow escape from tribal persecution.
X – Killing the Elephant Poacher introduces Yves Bret, a former sergeant and sniper in the French Foreign Legion, as “The Boutique Killer” or “BK” for short, who carries out hit jobs only when he considers them justified. In this first story the Central African Republic hires him to kill a terrorist elephant poacher. After a harrowing march through the African bush in the company of a band of army rangers and a horrendous gun fight, he finds himself trapped in the compounds of the Minister of the Interior. What to do?
The short stories are published for Amazon.com by Willow Manor Publishing in Fredericksburg in Virginia, and the cover designs are the product of Melanie Stephens of the same company.
They are available on Amazon.com for Kindle reading at the ridiculous price of 99 dollar cents or there about depending where you are, well below cost. Get them for an easy read during the weekend! If you do, give a review, if you can, by clicking on the story’s review link on Amazon.com. It’s simple and won’t cost you more than a few minutes of your time. We love your feedback.
Lastly, my romantic novel Enchanting The Swan is in the final stage and scheduled for publication in September. We will let you know!
All my best,
Overheard on St. Maarten’s Beach II
Still on the beach at St. Maarten, Mars Man sits with his dear Kathryn, Dr. Kisshanger and Lu drinking rum punch and munching on their Dutch oil balls, watching a multi-colored balloon drifting through the blue sky with a foolish overweight American dangling from a rope.
Kathryn: Look who’s coming, Mars! Aaron and Taher of the Israeli parliament! Remember we last met them in June 2010 at that Florida Beach? What are they doing here?
Aaron and Taher almost simultaneously: Hello you guys. What a coincidence! And hello, Dr. Kisshanger and Lu, what fun to see you all together!
Kathryn: Have an oil ball, fresh from Holland. No pork.
Mars Man: What brings you here?
Aaron: On our way to Washington D.C. to prepare Netanyahu’s visit to Congress. We thought we could get some ideas here, and low and behold, we stumble onto the most knowledgeable people on earth and beyond.
Kathryn: We were just talking about Washington. As you know, the President is holed up on Hawai after the military take-over. They only let him say prayers.
Taher: Foolish thing to do. Even at prayer he’s out of bounds. As a Muslim and Arab representative in the Israeli parliament, I can imagine that he, whose name is Hussein, does not want to call ISIS Islamic, but that’s what they call themselves. But then to compare them with what Christians did during the crusade 1000 years ago, or even refer to the Spanish Inquisition 6 centuries ago burning infidels on stakes, and then not naming ISIS Islamic, is fastidious to me.
Aaron: It’s topsy-turvy talk. They’d better get rid of his teleprompter.
Dr. Kisshanger: I’m afraid that wouldn’t make much difference. He must have listened to your TV show the other day, Kathryn. As you said, the Islamic year according to their calendar is 1435 so they are six hundred years behind us. But the President in absentia forgot to explain what you said, that religions seem to pass through the same evolutionary development span. These barbarians believe in their mission as much as those Spanish Inquisitioners did in their time. You see what they did to that brave Jordanian fighter pilot. Reminds you of the Nazis. That’s the issue and the danger.
Kathryn: Right, these people are willing to commit heinous crimes and die for it, like these Saudis on 9/11, but I’m not sure if the Spanish Inquisitors had the same obsession. You must confront it with utmost force right in the butt and not wait until they carry out more dreadful executions and come to the USA with another 9/11. Five centuries ago, Protestants Luther and Calvin stood up against the Catholic Inquisitors, but you don’t have those leaders yet in the Middle East. Only the US can lead, and they don’t. They’re only downplaying the danger to excuse themselves for not acting forcefully. Obama went golfing after an American was beheaded.
Mars Man: King Hussein of Jordan, Obama’s namesake, took brave actions and put the US on the spot. We should support the Jordanians forthwith. The US and whatever allies they have should put immediately twenty thousand troops at the Jordanian border with Syria. You imagine what could happen if they don’t? Jordan’s peaceful people and their beautiful treasures? Lu, you as the colonial master of the US, can’t you get these American guys to act like men?
Lu: We get oil from Iran. They are Shiite. ISIS is Sunni and they are based in Syria, where Assad, who is Shiite, is still holding out in part of the country. Maybe ISIS is in collusion with Iran? If you want to fight ISIS, you’d have to fight in Syria to get their rebels to join you. That would mean removing Shiite Assad first. Obama, his friends, Russia and we don’t like that because we don’t want Shiite Iran to get upset in the ongoing nuclear negotiations. Above all, we don’t want them to cut off their oil from us.
Dr. Kisshanger: We negotiated nuclear détente with the USSR at the time. It worked.
Aaron: The USSR didn’t have a plan to wipe Israel of the map. Iran has. They say it openly, Lu, and you know it. You guys and Obama won’t give a damn if we go to pieces, but we do.
Dr. Kisshanger: History has a tendency to repeat itself, although never on the same path. World War I started with the murder of the Emperor of Austria-Hungary by a terrorist Serb. It took some four years before the USA, with a Democrat President, Wilson, got involved, only when the Germans torpedoed American ships creating national uproar. World War II began with Hitler coming to power and invading Austria, Hungary then Poland. Europe acted far too late, with that British Nevil Chamberlain at the helm. By then Hitler had swallowed Europe’s continent. The unwilling USA, again with a Democrat President, Roosevelt, was forced into it by Pearl Harbour. Before that, Roosevelt had promised US soldiers they wouldn’t fight in European wars again. In my view, again with a Democrat President, the US has not been doing now what it should be doing.
Kathryn: But that same Democrat President and his Hillary went to war in Libya without Congressional approval and under false pretenses as the recent tapes disclosed. Nobody liked Gadhafi but look what we got in return. That’s why Petraeus took over.
Dr. Kisshanger: the grounds for World War III are already laid: Russia, Iran, ISIS, maybe you, dear Lu, against Europe, the USA, and Israel.
Kathryn: Iran and ISIS together?
Lu: Don’t they say ‘me and my brother against my cousins, me, my brother and my cousins against the stranger?’
Taher: People should make a difference between good Arabs and bad. ISIS is bad. Jordan is good, but they have many problems, refugees and ISIS hiding among them. They are very vulnerable. Iran doesn’t mind if Sunnis battle among themselves for political power. But to let a strident ISIS conquer the Islamic world is a life and death threat to the Middle-East, us and the West. What if Saudi Arabia goes? What about Egypt? Nigeria? Both ISIS and Iran must be dealt with now. ISIS with decisive military force, and Iran with the strongest sanctions to keep them on a tight leash, and to keep their proxies Hezbollah and Hamas off our back.
Kathryn: And that’s Netanyahu’s message to Congress?
Aaron and Taher at the same time: Yes, exactly. To kill the beast at infancy and not wait until we are forced into another World War.
Mars Man: Now we understand why the former President does not want to see him. His party doesn’t want to spent money on the military in lieu of his social programs to buy votes. Maybe you should ask that other former President, Carter. He looks a lot better now in comparison, and he seems very happy about that.
Aaron: Carter is a friend of Hamas because he still does not realize that Hamas is not the Palestinians, but a terrorist group. Palestinians tell us all the time how much they fear them.
Kathryn: I wouldn’t even try. The man is peanuts now. I also hear that Democrats want to boycott Netanyahu’s speech before Congress, only because the Republicans invited him. Boycott an ally and above all an allied Head of State? Only for party politics?
Mars Man: There are moments I’m glad I’m not American. They’re shameful. American democracy is in dire shape. But Alex de Tocqueville predicted that already.
Lu: The world will be a lot better when China controls it all. You can always come to China, Mars.
Mars Man: I keep telling you, Lu, you are too confuciused. You may be glad if you can keep selling your fortune cookies and American Wal Markt goods made in China with a deflated Chinese Yuan or Renminbi if you want.
Kathryn: Have another oil ball, Lu. I’ll get some more. Waiter! Get us another round of rum punch, we really need it here!
Overheard on St. Maarten’s Beach
Kathryn from Omaha TV
Mars Man and Kathryn are enjoying sunny conversations on the beach at St. Maarten, away from it all, especially the cold.
Mars Man: I believe it’s Superbowl today.
Kathryn: Yeah, the most inflated show of the year.
Mars Man: I hear the former president is going nuts confined to his golf club on Hawai.
Kathryn: From our perspective, he was already going nuts in the White House from what he was saying.
Mars Man: They beheaded another guy, the beasts. They must have stolen those orange suits from the Dutch soccer team.
Kathryn: What we need is a guy like Eisenhower. Go in there with allied forces in a big way and wipe them off the earth.
Mars Man: It seems that Petraeus isn’t doing much about it either. I’d hoped that by now he would’ve pulverized them to pork stew.
Kathryn: They don’t eat pork over there.
Mars Man: What about that tape story that the Pentagon undermined Hillary on that Libya war? What with the White House listening-in device! Remember Obama saying that Muammar Gadaffi had to go? Like poor Hosni Mubarak? And what did we get in return? Four brave Americans dead and more of BHO’s cruel Muslim friends.
Kathryn: He says he will degrade them and ultimately destroy them. What does that mean, degrade? So far they’ve been upgrading each day. Ultimately means he leaves it on the plate of the next president. Who said Michelle was a good cook?
Mars Man: America is in deep dodo with this man. The chickens will come home to roost, like his master the reverend Jeremia Wright said when BHO sat in his pew but wasn’t listening.
Kathryn: We heard the new Congress is acting up. All democrats are wearing long johns. Reid fell so hard over all his lies he was shoveling out of his office that he broke his nose, blinded one eye, and had to get a face lift.
Mars Man: I heard it was O’Connell who’d punched him K.O. because he’d been so mean to him for six years.
Kathryn: We got the measles again in the US. Unidentified measles. Came with the illegal border crossers from those third world countries visiting Mickey Mouse in L.A. Ever had the measles?
Mars Man: We don’t have them on Mars. What do they look like, shrimps?
Kathryn: Like mosquito or ant bites all over your body.
Mar Man: Another good reason to keep you earthlings away from Mars. That last spaceship went to pieces again. If humans want to come to Mars, let them take Amtrak, but they may get stuck on the way.
Kathryn: See who’s coming. Old Dr. Kisshanger and Lu from Chinatown, both peacefully together on the beach. Hi Dr.Kisshanger, Lu, how are you?
Dr. Kisshanger: Fine, I’m still writing more memoirs. Our days were so much better than yours. May we sit down?
Lu: Great to see you. Even though we’d hoped you’d do better under Chinese colonial rule, it hasn’t got any better in Washington.
Kathryn: You taught them how to lie. For six years we haven’t heard anything but. What do you expect?
Dr. Kisshanger: He who turns oriental gets disoriented.
Mars Man: Lies in Washington are just the plain truth. If you told the opposite nobody would believe you.
Kathryn: Well, Dr. Kisshanger, what do you feel about today’s world?
Dr. Kisshanger: No see, no hear, no speak.
Mars Man: But that’s Chinese!
Lu: No sir! This is plain Shakespearian English. Besides, in China we no think either, just do.
Kathryn: What would you do, Lu, if they are going to behead a Chinese?
Lu: We’ll send them Chinese fruitcake with bomb mix. If not good enough, we drop them a million mad Chinese women. Guaranteed to work or your money back.
Kathryn: What about all this religious doublespeak, Dr. Kisshanger?
Dr. Kisshanger: He or she, who is without sin, throw the first stone. That’s why Obama doesn’t want to make war. Jeremiah told him so.
Mars Man: Do you believe that, Lu?
Lu: Dr. Kisshanger is without sin, as he came to China first. We Chinese don’t know what sin means. We’re Confuciused. Shall we have a glass of rum punch?
Lu calls a waiter, who brings them four glasses of pink fluid on the ruble, with a slice of lemon, a straw, and loaded with rum.
Lu: Cheers! Let’s drink on peace the Chinese way.
Mars Man, sipping: What’s that, Lu?
Lu: In five years, China will be omni powerful, and everybody on Earth will speak, read and write Mandarin, starting at Kindergarten, and be happy. That will shut up the Islamic Radical Extremists, as we rightly call them. Next step will be Mars.
Mars Man: Don’t count on it, Lu. Your hieroglyphs aren’t working in space. You’ll be even more Confuciused and get stuck on the moon.
Kathryn: Okay, guys! I’ll get us some Dutch oil balls. I hear they are good over here.
Lu: Oil balls? Here? Can’t be. China has imported all the oil there is.
Kathryn: It’s balls of dough fried in cooking oil, Lu. Like your good fortune cookies, but without your pin strips of Chinese Confuciun.
Lu: I’ll come with you and then confiscate the oil.
Kathryn: You can’t because you’ll create war with the French part of the island. They bathe in cooking oil. See you later.