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.
“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.
“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