Anton's Ideas

Anton Wills-Eve on world news & random ideas

Category: flash fiction story

ONE BEACH, ONE HEAVENLY SHORE


ONE BEACH, ONE HEAVENLY SHORE

Asif felt the tiny make-shift raft bob up and down on the waters of the Aegean Sea. Land was in the distance, but far, far off. As far as he could see. Only his sister’s hand in his, as she slept, kept him in touch with any sort of reality. His mother and father had thrown them on their hastily assembled craft shouting “We love you. May Allah bring you safely to some foreign shore.”

Asif was only five years old and had lived all his days surrounded by angry shouting men, and ran rather than danced to the beat of guns. He knew he had to pray to Allah, but he had never been taught how. His kinsfolk had never had the time for luxuries like teaching between their daily forages for food in a land of mortar shells and flying stones. He looked at little Samia, a year younger than himself, and felt a glow of strength as he held her hand.

“Allah, whoever you are, wherever you are, don’t let my little sister die,” was all the little boy could ask and then, despite his new found valour, started to cry. A day and a night, a night and a day the little raft zig-zagged over the waves but Asif was sure the land was getting near. Samia had given him the few drops of water from the plastic bottle in her pocket and any crumbs that were left from their parents’ meagre pouch. Her big brown, sunken eyes looked pleadingly at her brother.

“Asif, I am hot and cold and hungry. Tell Allah for me, please.”  Once more the little boy begged his only source of hope to save them both, then brother and sister clung to each other all night for warmth. As daylight dawned on the third day they stared in amazement at the land ahead. A sandy beach was getting nearer every second. Their spirits rose as salvation seemed at hand. But a final hazard still delayed them. The wind got up and several yards short of sanctuary the raft at last gave out and sank. Samia could not swim but Asif made her cling to him, her arms round his neck as he made for the shallow waters from which he finally could walk to the beach. On land they both smiled and collapsed.

Father Francisco was taking his morning stroll along the sand before returning to say Mass as he did every morning on the tiny island with its hermit’s cell and altar. Other brothers would not visit him before lunchtime. Suddenly he blinked in disbelief, rubbed his eyes and stared again. He thought it was a mirage at first, a trick of the green sea light, but no, a little boy and girl lay on the beach. Blessing himself, thanking God and guessing their origin he thanked his Lord again  for teaching him some basic Arabic as well as Italian. He knelt and offered his hands to the little waifs.

Asif stared at this strange figure clad all in brown with a circle cut in his hair. He had but one thought in his head and, barely audibly, asked the hermit,

“Are you Allah? I asked you to help little Samia and me, and you did. Thank you Allah. Thank you.”

Tears streaming down his cheeks Father Francisco replied  in the little boy’s own tongue. “It was the will of Allah that you should be found, I am merely the person he chose to help Him. Come, I will find you some food.” As they walked towards his dwelling he  went on, “Children, there is only one God. He made us all. You call him Allah, I Christ, many people use many other names. But He does not mind. He is just happy that he has been able to show you how much he loves you by bringing you safely to this beach, this heavenly shore.”

AWE   

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A SOLE OBSESSION


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/brick/”>Brick</a&gt;

Sorry I’ve been silent for a week, my wife has had a major operation and everything’s been upside down. But she’s getting on well. Now to resume with the one word prompt , Brick.

A SOLE OBSESSION

When first reflecting on the single word brick, most people imagine many of them stacked together in all sorts of shapes and sizes to form buildings, towns and cities. But oddly I have never thought of a brick as anything other than just that, a single brick.

The first one I ever saw on its own was near the orchard wall on the side of our garden. It was very old. I was two so it probably had three hundred years more life than I, but it fascinated me by its dirty pinky brown colour and the bit chipped out of its side. I tentatively turned it over with my foot and recoiled in a toddler’s yucky horror. Stuck to its underneath was a nest of newly born beetles and two snails with slightly cracked shells. I felt sorry for them but was loath to touch them in case they might bite me. Insects and little life was something to be wary of at such an age. My sister, fifteen months older, was worse. She screamed and jumped backwards, tripped and fell over, ending up sitting in a patch of damp grass.

At that age I didn’t know how to tell her  “You’ve wet your arse”.

The second brick to challenge me all alone came much later when I had grown to nearly nine. There it sat on the garden path, between two sticks. But something was wrong. It was pristine, new unmarked and looking as though it had just been made and placed there on the gravel. My mind by now was curious and loved solving mysteries. Where had it come from, what was its purpose for no building work was going on at home. I was not afraid of bricks by then and picked it up to inspect it. The maker’s name, Thos James and Son. was clear to see,written on it’s gutter side. This had been embossed and stamped on it after leaving the kiln in which it was given life.  That made me wonder. Did it have parents, a whole family. Who were its kith and did its kiln have kin?

As I turned over in my hand the mason’s object, which he would coat with cement and change into an artefact of his trade with a triangular shaped tool, to add to many thousands more, I had a thought. Had this single brick been bought for its outstanding beauty, was it a pearl of its culture, cultured as pearls so often were? I only knew I had heard these words, I had no idea what one did to culture a pearl or anything else. But my boy’s mind wound magic properties round that brick, was it made uniquely for a jugglers  trick? Or had some foul felon commissioned just such a weapon, to throw at a millionaire’s window and gain entrance to priceless jewels in a study safe? That would be done by night, so was this brick fashioned by an alchemist at dusk and sold to some fiendish foe of Sherlock Holmes, whose tomes of detection were just entering the realm of my greedy young reader’s devouring mind? I dropped it on the ground, and later wondered was it ever found?

The next sole brick I used aged sixteen and for a sole purpose. I placed it oblong shape up beneath a window to peep in. My sister had taken a new boy friend into the withdrawing room and my mother forbade me to join them. What could they be doing? I had to see, so after a late tea I went round the side of the house and thought. ‘I’ll pick a brick’. First brushing off a lazy louse, I placed it at the perfect angle, stood on its top one footed and stretched up until I could see. They were only drinking cups of tea. In my chagrin I lost my balance as well, twisting my ankle very painfully. I watched it swell but could never say how I had injured myself that stupidly innocent day.

You would think as I grew older I would lose my interest in mundane things. Well on the whole I did, but on one glorious day at university I had my greatest encounter with a single brick. I was twenty years old and the college walls were half as old as time. The same one where someone wrote that famous Newdigate prize rhyme. The porter was helping to erect a wall,  just by the master’s lodge, to stop any bat or ball from breaking  downstairs windows. When from his wheelbarrow a brick fell free and, of course, it fell near me. Remembering my ancient passion for all things ‘brick’ I picked it up and took it back to my student rooms. There, amid  objets d’art and books,  I put it in a place of honour and soon it became a talking point. “That brick anything special, John?” I was asked.

“Worth several thousand,” I replied looking at its admirer’s aghast face.

“You paid that much just for a brick?” I nodded, but demurely refused to comment on what was the significance of the scratched engraving on it. Soon students came from all around to examine, marvel and shake their heads. It really was a wondrous hoax, that I kept up until the day I left. That was when  a rich American girl took me aside and offered me an enormous sum to buy it for her antique collection. When she left I had pocketed twenty thousand pounds, I never did hear if it was seen again. But I rather think not, for she took it home to Idaho. Where it’s probably got pride of place on her family’s old piano.

AWE

 

GIOVANNI’S LAST CASE


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/disaster/”>Disaster</a&gt;

I love one word prompts, they offer such unlimited scope to enjoy yourself.

GIOVANNI’S LAST CASE

The worst scenario now for Giovanni was the prospect of his Mafia ‘friends’ working out how he had escaped. What would they do to him if they ever caught him? But how could they? Jacob’s sister Barbara had assured him they would never trace a man who had changed his name, his country and his looks. She had done a very good job on him. So he went into the main waiting room at the railway station in Bologna and sat down to kill 25 minutes until his train arrived.

He put his small green suitcase down beside him and started to read the e-book on the tablet he had with him. Barbara had even given him her own pocket computer, so nobody could trace him through that. He was still fidgety, though, and was surprised to discover the book on the reader app was in French. He didn’t speak French, but it was too late now. He started to read ‘Malaise en Malaisie’, a two dime thriller that might have been romantic, pornographic, a ‘whodunnit’ or all three for all he could make out. But, in case he was being watched, he ploughed through it as the pages scrolled forward on an automatic turner. He was intelligent enough to realise that the main good guy was called Jean-Claude, his romantic helper must be Francoise, the arch hood was obviously Mephisto, well he had to be, and his moll seemed to be called ‘Ma Belle Etoile’. A bit of a mouthful in a crisis, Giovanni thought, but he wasn’t actually very bothered about the story. But he was a bit worried about a cute young girl who sat opposite to him and seemed to be watching everything he did while trying very hard to appear uninterested in him. 

As luck would have it his train was delayed, then cancelled and finally announced as arriving about two hours later than it should have done. Our fleeing hero was feeling hungry and decided to get a sandwich out of his case. The sandwich box, a thermos flask and some night clothes and wash things were the sum total of the possessions he had brought for the journey. The case could be stolen for all he really cared as nothing in it would identify him in any way. He munched hungrily on some pastrami and bread, and sipped a little coffee, as he became ever more engrossed in the book which became less comprehensible by the page. Indeed Mephisto  appeared to be about to shoot Jean-Claue, or it could have been the other way round, and the two women were knifing each other – at least he thought that was what they were doing – and the approaching climax had got him quite excited by the time his train pulled in.

Hastily Giovanni put the tablet in his small suitcase, shut it and ran onto the platform to catch his train to the Swiss border and freedom. But to his horror his pretty ‘apparent stalker’ jumped up and followed him. Who was she? Giovanni was taking no chances. He changed seats three times, but each time the girl moved to a position from which she could see him. He just prayed they would make the border before she could alert any Italian contacts. But no such luck. As the train started to move slowly out of the station at Turin, the last stopping point in Italy, the girl was up like a flash, snatched the suitcase, whisked open a door and jumped onto  the very end of the platform.

Giovanni was lost. Why did she take the suitcase and not worry about him? Well, she hadn’t bothered about him so he just sat back in his seat and relaxed for the first time that day. In the early evening he was very glad when he got out at Geneva and went through Swiss customs with no problems and nobody watching him. He was safe. And there, ahead of him by the taxi rank, was Barbara waving to him. He kissed her on both cheeks and asked her what they did now as she was the one who spoke French and would get him on to his next destination, London by plane. His English was fluent and his future safe. But Barbara looked at him stunned.

“Giovanni, where is your suitcase?” she asked, almost in a panic stricken voice. “You left it on the train!” Then he explained what had happened and wondered what on earth was so important about his only bag. Barbara asked him to describe the girl. When he had finished she  swore quite immoderately.

“You put my tablet in the green case? You idiot!  The girl you described is one of my best friends, Louise Martin. We have a bet on about which of us would read Coco Manche’s latest thriller first. I downloaded it last night and thought I had beaten her. You fool, now she will read it before I do. I lose a 500 euro bet. Honestly Giovanni, you are sooo stupid”. But our hero asked her to take out her mobile phone and text Louise. 

“This will win you 500 euros, Barbara , my thanks for your help. Just tell her  this. ‘On page 217 Jean-Claude is facing Mephisto at gun point. In the next room Francoise and La Belle Etoile are fighting each other’. You couldn’t know that if you had never read ‘Malaise en Malisie’ as I have , could you? Louise will admit defeat.” Barbara stared at him.

“But you don’t understand French. How could you have read all that?”

He smiled. “I don’t and I can’t. I only managed to follow those names, and the odd word here and there. Louise must have seen what I was reading and seen me put it back in my case. I hope I haven’t spoiled the plot for you, but then I may have got it completely wrong and only picked up the names. But she’ll still believe you’ve read it first!”

AWE

 

DON’T MAKE OBSTACLES


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/obstacle-course/”>Obstacle Course</a>

mea culpa

DON’T MAKE OBSTACLES

I had a day off work and some very unusual obstacles in my way yesterday, I’ve had one before but not to this degree. Time! By the time I got around to settling at the computer I reckoned I had some twelve hours straight  free for writing, allowing for natural functions such as not eating etc. So I picked up my novel and started where I had left off the night before, at page one. I thought another 15,000 words yesterday would be a doddle. Oh, if you are wondering, I aimed to work 8.00am to 8.pm.

Now this is a fascinating novel all about life, religion, angst, romance and filled with belly laughs and tears. It would lead to a certain Pullitzer- no I’m in the wrong country for that – have to be a Nobel Literature Prize. You know the sort of masterwork. Like Hermann Hesse’s classic “Die Glas Perle Speile”, which we can all nod knowledgably at when mentioned, but don’t understand it in German or English, can’t spell it in either, and assume it must be brilliant because the Scandinavians say so. You know the type of book, like Sigrid Unsted’s Norwegian classic rip roaring yarn “Katerina Laverenstader”, which takes five hundered pages for a mediaeval nun to die of the black death. Real can’t put down – when going to bed – stuff. Works better than valium too.

Anyway my contribution to the world’s fifty greatest ever books had really inspired my muse. I wish I knew which one I’m controlled by, I often need a word with her, who had told me the only truly great story never told – truthfully – was my own autobiography. But where to start? Do you crack in at the high point in your late twenties when everything is coming to the boil at once and you know your readers will never put the book down? Or do you take pity on them and begin with your birth and gradually introduce your fascinating, larger than life characters, so that by the time you are twenty eight in the book your readers know who everyone is? I had to consider this carefully as I didn’t actually remember my birth very well and my mother’s two sisters, who were not present at the event, had both given me incredibly viviid and totally different accounts of the event? My mother’s only contribution that I can recall is telling me that after her seven hours labour was over and I was born the wrong way round, she shouted “Well that bastard’s not going back in there!” The explanation for my odd positioning on entering this earth was best explained by her golf pro who told her that, earlier that day, she had hooked her drive to the fourth so badly it was probably the cause of my five weeks prematurity and had also turned me round inside her. She was rich enough to fire him.

But given that I was born I then had to decide how to approach the masterpiece. Should I write in the first or third person? My lovely Italian wife Francesca brought me in a cup of tea at this point, 10.00am and one paragraph contemplated, and on learning the problem said she didn’t really think it mattered. “Darling you speak fluent Italian, French, Spanish and some German. Why not make every fifth sentence a different language. Your publisher would like that.” Oh she of little faith, but an absolute corker of an idea you know. So I flexed my fingers and began THE BOOK.

Nací el domingo 10 de mayo de 1942 como bombarderos alemanes todavía sobrevolaban la zona. Aber das Krankenhaus Krankenschwestern wurden keine Angst und sah nach meiner Mutter und mir sehr gut. I came into the world at one minute into that Sunday morning  so, according to the old rhyme, I was ‘the child that is born on the Sabbath day is bonny, and blithe and good and gay’. Anche io sono molto sicuro che ognuno di tali previsioni si è sbagliato, soprattutto l’ultima. Je suis né le jour de la fête de Saint Antonin et ma mère avait toujours dit qu’elle allait me donner mon nom du saint natal, en anglais. Alors, j’ai été appelé Anton. Well, be fair that wasn’t too bad. My world shattering opus had got as far as naming me and it was not quite noon, four hours into my labours.

The trouble was that my muse,was flaming because I hadn’t included Greek and that was her language. That might be why I seldom follow her or understand her. But she did once inspire me to say Hagia Sofia, which is roughly the sound of Holy Sofia in Greek, so maybe that was her name. I pondered this over the ham salad and strawberries and cream that my wife placed beside me for lunch, and after returning from the loo around half past one I thought the target 15,00o words was looking unlikely. But I consoled myself with the fact that I had never set out to use five languages. But I also needed an informed opinion, and as Francesca spoke all five languages as well I decided to ask for her comments so far. After all I didn’t want to waste my time. The response was roughly like this, remember it was August the eighth 2015.

“Antonino caro, I know you want to write a masterpiece but this is not it. You have just created obstacles for yourself all day to be put out of your misery, haven’t you? It’s after two pm, you are an Australian and England have just thrashed you out of sight at cricket and won the current series three matches to one with still a game to spare. Well, darling it’s all over, England won before noon.

“So be a man and drive up to the cricket club to watch your young son playing in the game there today. You’ll take a lot of stick, but it will hurt a lot less than spending your time writing this tripe!” I hugged her, thanked her, and took her advice. The lad scored quite a few runs and everyone was very nice to me. But it was after 8.00pm when we got home, and my target had been missed by a far bigger margin than our defeat by England.

 

AWE

EXCUSE ME ARE YOU A POLICEMAN?


In a Crisis

reacting to a crisis

EXCUSE ME ARE YOU A POLICEMAN?

We were faced with a crisis once, the whole family, and it was my little boy, Freddie, aged eleven who whispered in his sister Ginney’s, ear an idea of how to save us all. She ran to the front door and shouted, “Help, Rape! Rape!” 

Imagine for a start our dilemma. We had just received a last demand for payment on an item we still owed about two hundred dollars on. At first sight Ginny’s action outlined above would appear completely useless. But just think. Who would you get flocking round your house?

The Police? Yes that’s a good answer. About ten of them, three women and seven men. The chief male cop burst into our hall screaming, “Let me get at the bastard. Where is the little girl? ” This is the point where granny came in very useful. 

“I was the victim, officer, 52 years ago. You know, down by the canal on a sunny evening. Young Jimmy Johnson went just that bit too far, you know how fellas do, and I whacked him a backhander that sent him straight into the water amongst those iron girders and other rubbish. He didn’t try that again, did you Jimmy?”

“No I Goddam didn’t, wheezed grandad from his Norman Rockwell pose in the kitchen nook. But see here, officer. Next time I saw Jessie here she was awful nice and forgave me and was real sorry for cutting my leg so badly. We told our parents about my acident and they left us at home, even though we was too young, and that’s when we first had it off, while she was bandaging me up. Tricky position, officer, you should try it some day.”

“Then the woman cop said to the chief, “Heston, your weapon’s slipping out,…..”

“Yeah, just what Jessie said to me , ma’m,” grandad butted in and effectively closed the conversation. But think how much we benefitted. The newspaper  reporters were round en masse, and they got quite a different picture. My eighteen year old girl was crying, prostrate across her mother’s lap, and I was screaming obscenities throught the open French windows into an empty garden.

“Yes sir, he was about six foot seven and muscles like a wrestler. Little Ginny here didn’t have a chance ’til my wife spun round with the skillet and nearly knocket him out. But he still got away. All these police are chasing after him even now. These are just the few who stayed to make sure we was alright.”

Then A lot of the people who lived in our street started using our house as a museum, open to the public for just one day, and started calculating the value of all our possessions. But when Hal Billbender tried to pocket my silver pen holder enough was enough and I grabbed a cop and said “That fellow looks very like the guy”, and pointed at Hal. I’ve never seen a man put a silver penholder back on a desk so fast. But a few of the others got the message and a lot of our things were given back in haste when the felons saw we really were prepared to shop them.

Eventually the crisis cooled down as my daughter refused a medical examination, although grandrad got quite chatty and suggested the chief cop ought to have one. He also asked the chief woman cop if she’d heard the one about the police station that put up a notice ‘man wanted for rape’ and they got a hundred volunteers in ten minutes. Through gritted teeth she told him she had, many times. One of the reporters had heard it too and thinking it was a party at which such stories should be told  the female cop smacked her baton across the back of his hand breaking his quarter bottle of bourbon. The neighbours gradually left. Finally at one in the morning everything was back to normal and we went to bed.

The next day the local papers were full of “Brave Ginny beats off band of abusers” and such like headlines, but it was a huge help at eleven am. That was when a smart dressed man in a necktie and glasses rang the door bell. I asked him what he wanted.

“Oh how do you do Sir. I am sure this won’t take a moment. I believe you have gotten some two hundreed dollars behind in your … Oh my God.”

“Ginney appeared behind me with a hankie to her face and grasping my arm. Not more of them dad. Oh please I couldn’t recite it all again.”

The impeccably dressed man told me he would not dream of intruding at such an awful time for us and told me not think any more about the bill.

I didn’t. But I often think about how to deal with a crisis.

Anton Wills-Eve

BUS ME MY LORD


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/smell-you-later/”>Smell You Later</a>

The prompt was on smells and transport

 

BUS ME MY LORD.

The very smell of your scent is enough to transport me to your side. For it is only there I sense that the fumes of your perfume can carry me away, locked in carreses and the smell of the flowers next which we lie. Does my after shave do the same to you,  my love? Are my manly scents the only smells for which you yearn and cannot wait for on days like this? Oh, the bliss of a kiss from your pert pouting lips, and the smell of the odour that goes with your dress. Lord bless all our senses when we are trapped thus in love. But especially bless our noses and the bed of roses that makes  both of us  adore, for ever more, the lavender of our  love as we sense the blossom of our embrace…….  etc….etc until I am actually sick.

AWE

THE TOWN SQUARE OR 180 degrees


https://antonwillseve.com/2015/05/31/the-town-square-or-180-degrees/

a change of ways

THE TOWN SQUARE, OR 180 Degrees

It was several miles from Paris when I started to wish I had accepted a lift from Jean-Claude and not tried to walk all the way back to my flat in the centre of Paris on the Ile Saint Louis. It was a warm spring day but dustier and muggier than I expected.

The road approaching the river at Chatou sur Seine stretched out like a scene from a painting by Monet even thouh it was 1960, a hundred years since he first painted it. I decided to give up my heroics when I reached Chatou and take the train into the city and then take a taxi from the Gare Saint Lazare. The welcoming station was just about in sight as I entered the town square and stopped at a Tabac for a cold beer and sandwich to keep up my strength. I thanked the young waiter but nearly choked before I even got the bread near my mouth.

“And consider yourself lucky you’ve got off so lightly! I usually prosecute thieves.” A small crowd gathered round a young girl lying exhausted on the cobbles, many of them spitting at her and making obscene gestures. One old haridan even went so far as to almost scream at her, “and if you haven’t any money make some the way you usually do! We don’t have whores in this town. We are a respectable community. On your way!”

I was quite simply horrified. Regardless of what she may have done she was obviously destitute and I was never so glad in my life that I spoke fluent French. As I walked over to the poor creature I could not resist shouting at the loud mouthed spokeswoman for the crowd, “Your husband must have very sore feet having to walk so far each evening.” Then I helped the girl to the place where I was sitting and asked what she would have. She looked at me as though I was mad. The waiter looked admiringly at me but out of his depth. I repeated my question and the owner of the cafe came up to me.

“I am sorry, Monsieur, but we do not serve girls like Nicole. It is house policy. Do please have your beer and sandwich on us.” I could not believe the double standards in what he said. But I silently took he sandwich and drink and stood up. All I said was,

“How do you know she is called Nicole? She seems too young to be your sister!” And he was so offended, and indignant in his stuttering reply, that Nicole had time to drink half the glass of beer before I took her by the hand and she ate the sandwich as we strolled to the station. It was only when I bought two tickets to Paris that she pulled up abruptly shaking her head. “Non, Monsieur, my appartment is further on by the river.” She was scared of me now and in an odd way for both of us. She was not exactly shabbily dressed but her shoes and thin jacket gave away the state of her finances. I was so set on helping her that I just sat on a bench outside the station and beckoned to her to join me.

“Now Nicole, I assume that is just your name for today, why can’t you make any money as you usually do? Are you ill, and what are you scared of?”

Then she told a tale straight out of an opera. “Oh Monsieur. It is true I have been working as a prostitute for more than two years now and I am not yet twenty, but I have never had any parents. The nuns at the orphanage assumed that all the girls there would become nuns and all the boys priests. They lectured us to death until one day I accepted an offer from a rich middle aged man to have dinner with him. Need I tell you the rest?” I shook my head. But I did ask one more question,

“You seemed very scared back there, what are you frightened of?” Her story was dreadful. After her first protector had finished with her she was roped into working in a brothel but she was scared that she was possibly pregnant. She was not sure, but her pimp told her he could get rid of any possibility of that. Then one lesson the nuns had taught her that had impressed her came back. All life was sacred and she could not kill an infant no matter how young. Life began with conception, she had been taught and she believed this. Even being uncertain that she might be pregnant she would never kill a baby. Her pimp gave her two days to reconsider and then he would make her wish she had never been born. She had no money and did not know what to do. So I told her.

“Well, to start with, what is your real name, I am only going to help you,” she told me it was Janine.”Eh bien, Janine, if you want to try to settle into a happier and less frightening life, I can help you. I am extremely wealthy and live on the Ile Saint Louis in Paris. I am in my last year at university at the Sorbonne and then hope to work at UNESCO for the United Nations. You know what all these organisations are?” She nodded but could not see how this would help her.

“Well, Janine, I have only six weeks to go at University and then I want to start writing a book on internatonal cultural relations. I shall need a secretary and I assume they taught you to read and write well at the orphanage. Would you like the job? You speak with quite a pleasant voice and nobody need know about your past?”

It was obvious the idea was magic to her, but she knew nothing about me. I could see this and did not know what to say to convince her I meant what I said. Then I had an idea. I could see her jacket had pockets in it and I slipped an envelope into one of them. “Janine that will cover all your needs for at least a month.” It was $5,000 in French francs and my address written on the envelope. I gave her one of the train tickets I had bought and said I hoped to see her very soon. When the train came we got into different carriages. I said a silent prayer for her and made my own way back to my luxury appartment.

For nearly three weeks I kept a daily look out for her but she never came. I had put my first name only on the envelope and had almost given up hope when I was intrigued to notice a man very obviously keeping an eye on me in my local bar and favourite restaurant for three days in a row. On the fourth day, wearing just a shirt and slacks I let him get close to me when I spun on him and pinned him to a drain pipe. “Why are you following me, who are you. Be quick or this knife in my other hand will really hurt.” He was sacred stiff.

“You are Monsieur Paul?” I nodded. “And this is yours?” He handed me my envelope without a note spent from it. He was smiling now. “I have been looking into you and your affairs for nearly a month now and am satisfied that you are a good man, a rich man and a clever man. You are also, I can see, a very compassionate man.”And he held out his hand.

We went into the bar and over a glass of wine he told me he had been at the orphanage with Janine and had been trying to get her to give up her way of life for some time, but finally gave up.

It was she who came to him on the night we met and told him about me and how much she wanted to work for me. But she was scared of me because she knew nothing about me at all. She gave him my money and he had been looking after her until he knew enough about me to be sure she would be safe working for me. His name was Pascale Boncourt. He wanted to take me to Janine at once and we went to his appartment near the pont d’Alma. She was in tears on seeing me and flung her arms round my neck.

I accepted the $5,000 I had given her and could see Pascale had bought her clothes and anthing else she needed.

I had started writing my book but suddenly realised it was in English and might be far too difficult for her. It was, but I told her all I wanted was a clean copy typed version and there was no rush. She might even learn some English at the same time.

“Janine, I own the first and second floors of this building, facing the river, a total of 14 rooms. Also there is a lift to all five floors and I know that there is a four room appartment to let on the fourth floor, so if you are happy to work for me for $1,000 a month that should keep you in all you need. Oh, by the way, are you pregnant?” She shook her head and added,

”I have not yet met the right man!”

I start work at UNESCO in two weeks time and that is our situation as of today. Oh, in what way was any of this a complete turn about in my normal behaviour? Well it was the first time I ever picked up a whore in the street.

Anton Wills-Eve

THE BOY WHO HEARD TOO WELL


Slash and Burn

I originally posted  this story some time ago in 507 words. subtracting the title and the first 250 words I reduced it to this 250 words (without title)

THE BOY WHO HEARD TOO WELL

Callum’s brain was much the same as anyone else’s except that he suffered from advanced hyperacusis. His hearing was by far his most acute sense. He could hear people talking in whispers on the other side of the street and had to concentrate to shut out other noises when following a conversation or lecture. But this condition served him more good than bad.

His family attributed his success, in being offered a place at Cambridge University to read theology, to his ability to digest an enormous wealth of spoken knowledge despite his limitations in communicating it to others. But what part did this knowledge play in his own belief in God? I determined to ask him when he attended my tutorials in his second year. He said

“Well, doctor, it’s the sound of God’s love that effects me most. I love God because I can tell just by the sound of his words how much he cares for what he has created. I have no sort of vocation to any religious life or service but I do enjoy praying. It’s saying prayers, thinking them through and listening to others reading them out loud that really convinces me that God exists!”

So I asked him to prove how he knew, just by saying and listening to prayers, that God had actually created the world and everything it. He replied, “Well my favourite line in any prayer is, “Behold the hand made of the Lord!”

No one had told me he was dyslexic.

AWE

ps: how on earth can any of you know I am telling the truth & ergo meeting the prompt?

IN A COMA


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/three-letter-words/”>Three Letter Words</a>

a post with no three letter words

                          IN A COMA

I lost consciousness with a vague, very vague memory of driving; no more than that. A girl sitting next to me laughing, lurched towards me as a lorry smashed into us. I lost control of everything, brakes, steering wheel even my ability to think.

That really is when my coma must have started. Nothing I have tried to recall comes back into my head. I remember a dreadful pain in my back, otherwise just blank frames of nothing fleeting across my brain. I felt scared without even knowing what frightened me.

Many days later I learned about what happened, details that sort of thing. However, while suffering, afraid in my nightmare awareness because anything that remotely made sense remained well beyond my cerebral powers. My first intimation of recovery came with being certain I could pick out a light. A doctor or nurse’s torch, perhaps, though very faint at first.

Flickering, quite certainly a light, followed by returning sight allowing me to pick up shadows of human forms. Nurses in their uniforms became clear at last. However, when trying to shout or speak I realised I was incapable of making a sound. I tried three languages, every one to no avail.

“Aiuto!, Au secours! Help!” Nobody moved or looked at me. I spent three days like this, apparently, in unconscious hell before I found gradual, returning hearing accompanied my sight. After that faces around me smiled as they realised I understood what they were saying to me. That I could communicate again started my mind thinking normally, while being able to move my limbs came next, before eventual full recovery.

Where does a human mind go when in a coma? I have no idea. What I do know, though, is that I never want to go back there again as long as I live.

Anton Wills-Eve

 

Patrick Fowlds’ Last Lesson


<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/call-me-ishmael/”>Call Me Ishmael</a>

 The first line of my favourite book is not in English, but that need not worry you. It’s very short.

                                                      Patrick Fowlds’ Last Lesson

“Conticuere omnes intentique ora tenebant.

“Johnson! Yes you, boy. Put that mobile phone away and pay attention to the text. This is a Latin class not a computer lesson. These words of Virgil were written two thousand years ago and deserve your full respect. The language may virtually be dead, but I still teach it because of the wonderful stories that have been written in it.!”

At this another fifteen year old interrupted, his questioning hand waving loftily above his head.

“Yes Mitchel?”

“Please Sir, how many years have you been teaching Latin, Sir?” Patrick Fowlds could see genuine interest in the eyes of the pupil so answered him honestly.

“Since I was twenty two.That is forty four years ago and I shall be retiring at the end of this year. I only hope my subject does not retire with me. It is full of such super tales.”

The class actually began to feel a little sorry for their teacher, so often the butt of schoolboy humour  and even laughed at when his laboured jokes completely misfired. He greatly envied those popular masters who also taught cricket and football and were the heroes of their students. In recent years he also had to compete in the popularity stakes  with young female teachers who had even more enticing ways to attract their charges. The staff in general tolerated rather than encouraged Patrick to join in their amusements, but it is probably true to say that hardly anyone would miss him when he left.

How many years had he told Mitchel? Was it really forty four? Well at least he had spent those years in the company he liked more than anything else – his classics books. He cast a glance round the form room before continuing. It was odd, he felt a bit dizzy and his tie was tighter than usual under his collar. He tried to continue the lesson but had to ask,

“Sims! Could you open that window by you please? It’s getting very stuffy here.” The boys watched transfixed as Mr. Fowlds suddenly clapped a hand to his chest and almost shouted out the first line of second book of The Aeneid again. “Conticuere omnes, intentique ora tenebant!” Then he crumpled in a heap on the floor of the dais in front of the blackboard. All twenty three boys rushed to his aid, one of them dialing for an ambulance on his cell phone. Harper tried to give him some cola which he kept in his desk, then just before another pupil suggested trying to resuscitate him, Mitchel asked the dying man, out of sympathy more than interest,

“Tell us, Sir. That line you’ve just read, what does it mean, Sir?” And with his last breath he told them,

“It says…it means ..’all gathered round him eagerly waiting to hear the story unfold.” But the boys never heard the story;not how the Greeks entered the city via a Trojan Horse,nor Cassandra’s prophecy, or Achilles dying with an arrow in his heel, the towers of Illium crashing down and killing king Priam. They knew nothing of Helen watching as her lover Paris was killed, or Laocoon being crushed to death by the sea serpent for foretelling his nation’s doom and above all Aeneas’ flight through secret passages and tunnels to escape and fulfill his life’s mission, to sail the world as it was then known, even if it meant deceiving Queen Dido, and finally establishing ‘the city of the seven hills’ that was to become the Empire of Rome.

No, Patrick Fowlds took the greatest story ever written to his grave with him. But that evening after school, Mitchel stopped off in the school library and took out an English translation of the book. He felt he owed the old man that much.

Anton Wills-Eve

The Language of Things.


Word Press prompt for Dec 16th 2014.

as requested this is written in a language only my wife and I understand!

My Darling Thingy,

I cannot stop thingking of you since you have been away. You know the sort of thing I feel,like a nightingale thinging before it dies or a thingamejig doing its particular thing. In my dreams you always wear the prettiest things, thingly disguising the thingy we never talk about that always turns me on.

Your own,

Thingy.

 

 

 

 

 

Just for you.


                                   JUST FOR YOU

“Look Glen. I know I should have thought first and then hit him. But, my love, he said you were a bitch! Well what would you have done in my place?

“You’d what? This phone line’s bad. What? You would have shot him? Don’t be mad. Oh, shot him there. Yes, well I might have, but I don’t tote a gun! Oh, damn this line. Did you say one at a time? You must be a good shot.

“Ha, ha ,ha. Oh Glen! you would have been put in clink for that, good shot or not. Yes, if I’d had a gun I might have done the same. But my aim is not as good as yours. No! Calm down, I said ‘as yours’. Look change your phone!. That’s right, the green cell phone.

“Great, I can hear you now. what’s that? What did you say you were? Yes, Glen of course I know you are. I pay the bills don’t I? But he had no right to call you one. That’s just for me to do! See you at the club babe. No not this week I’m in court. Well he did say he’d sue me for that left hook.

“Of course you’re worth it my sweet. Hey,no more of your cheek. Hah,hah,ha.

“See you soon. Take care my Glen. Bye. Love yer. Ciao!”

Her phone shut down and she could not hear my kiss.

Anton Wills-Eve