Seduction: an extract from "Shig"

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07CSVM1MD/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i1

 

 

They met on a bench in the dusky shadows, under Abraham Lincoln’s stern gaze, and Shig handed Buscemi an envelope. He looked wrung-out, listlessly flapping at the buzzing insects with an unfolded Japanese fan.

“It’s not all there. In fact, it’s just more than half. I got a loan from a couple of friends. If I tried to get more, people would get suspicious. It will take some time to collect the rest.”

“You learned a valuable lesson. That’s good. But I’m beginning to worry about you. The way your appetites race ahead of your common sense.”

Shig sniffed in the muggy Washington air.

“I love this country so much. I love the smells. Coffee and barber shops. Movie theater seats. A mowed lawn. A hamburger sizzling on a grill with onions.”

His melancholy enthusiasm for America evaporated as suddenly as it had bubbled out of him. Morosely, he studied the silk bobbin hanging off the fan. 

“That woman…”

“I warned you about Carolina. Any woman who calls herself after a state, especially a southern state, is trouble. I warned you, but you went off with her anyhow.”

Shig bowed his head. The insects were getting trapped in his greasy hair.

“She’s calling me at the embassy all the time.”

“What’s her problem?”

“What’s not? First, the dress. She claims it’s stained. She said I spilt champagne on it. It can’t be cleaned for some reason. It must be replaced. And her bag. She says she left it in the cab. She says my behavior that night got her so upset she just forgot it. She claims there was a lot of cash in it. If she doesn’t get a hundred bucks from me by lunchtime the day after tomorrow, she’s threatening to take the problem all the way to the ambassador.”

“You’re in a hole, Shig.”

“I’ve got nothing in the bank. I can’t get my hands on that kind of money.”

           They brooded as the mosquitoes buzzed and the shadows lengthened. Finally, Buscemi spoke.

“There might be a way out.”

           “What way?”

Buscemi leaned forward, put his elbows on his knees, and spoke to the ground between them.

           “I know a guy in the Office of Naval Intelligence.”

           “What guy?” 

           “Just a guy.”

“So what’s the way out?”

“Take a couple of hours to sit down and write him out your job description.”

           “Job description?”

           “What you do. What you’re told to translate from all the stuff you read in the newspapers every day. The kind of items you’re told to look out for, where the emphasis goes, who reads the stuff, the route it follows through the embassy.”

           Shig stared into the distance at the clouds that were gathering along the edges of the Washington skyline.

“The ONI is always looking for information about what goes on behind the walls of the embassy of a potentially hostile nation. They’ll pay good money for it, enough to clear what you owe Carolina.”

Shig’s eyes went from the clouds down to the weeds that were sticking up around the bench. 

“A one-shot deal, a couple of hours’ work. I’m just giving you a chance to get out of that hole, Shig. I’m throwing you a rope. I’m not trying to tie you up in it. Give me a call.”

He stood up.

“Or don’t give me a call. Whatever you decide.”

He went away.

 

 

 

Comment

David Turri

Although I was born in England, I have lived in Japan for the past forty years. That’s why this country, its people and history, form the backdrop to many of my novels. I have no big ideas to peddle; I consider myself a simple story-teller and work hard at my craft. I spin my stories in such disparate genres as horror, espionage, war, occult - and humor. I live in Osaka with a wife, two grown daughter and two young grand-daughters – the whole catastrophe, as Zorba describes married life.

 

Tommy’s Drunken Dream - an extract from A Pig with Three Legs

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01M1YITQA/ref=dbs_a_def_awm_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i2

The wind was a steady roar, shaking the trees and blowing rain into their faces. Alec held the Victorian carriage light high. Tommy dug in the earth under its unsteady flicker.

And dug.

And dug.

And dug.

But Martin Bullock’s corpse was not there. Instead, three feet below the surface, his shovel hit metal. It was a trap door, rusty with age. Tommy lifted it up with both hands.

Alec lowered the carriage lamp, revealing an iron ladder bolted to the cement wall of a shaft. They climbed down the ladder slowly into a dank darkness. At the bottom, they stood upon an ancient timber floor.

The carriage lamp cast grotesque shadows on the walls of the vast cavern they found themselves inside. The walls were cold, damp rock, and the air was dead. 

Wooden crates were piled, high and haphazardly, all around. Beneath a slight rock overhang, there were four caskets made of black metal and arranged in a line.  They were small, like children’s coffins. Alec swung the lamp towards them.

 

 

 

USAF

AREA 51

TOP SECRET

DO NOT OPEN

 

“Don’t,” Alec warned.  

But too late.  

The body bag was oily to Tommy’s touch. The zip moved smoothly down, revealing a face that had the complexion of a sodden tea towel. Saucer-shaped eyes with blank triangle pupils stared sightlessly up at him.  There were no ears; only an incision for a nose and a lipless mouth that was open in a grimace of pain, showing rows of tiny, sharp teeth.  

“Zip it back up, for God’s sake.”

Alec stepped deeper into the cavern with the lamp and came to a row of padlocked filing cabinets. A cardboard box had been carelessly left out on top of one. It was stamped:

 

CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY

DO NOT REMOVE

 

In it there was a stack of manila envelopes. 

 

BETHESDA NAVAL HOSPITAL

KENNEDY AUTOPSY PHOTOGRAPHS

CLASSIFIED

 

“Alec! Over here! What’s this?”

It was a coffin glittering with gems, almost painful for the eye to behold. There was an inscription on the lid.

 

MARY MAGDALENE

WIFE OF JESUS

LOVING MOTHER OF SARAH AND BILL

 

Alec’s voice was breathless.

“It’s the Holy Grail. Open it. There’ll be a gold cup. Grab it and let’s get out of here.”

Tommy put his fingers to the heavy slab and pushed. It shifted with a loud, grating noise, an inch and then another.  

Suddenly, he stopped and looked at Alec.

“Are you smoking?”

“No.”

“Someone is.”

Alec sniffed the air.

“You’re right.”

A figure was watching them. The tip of his cigarette glowed as he inhaled, and a dry cough wracked his chest. He wore a suit and was well groomed, although dusty.  

He had a dignified face, a little puffy; a trimmed mustache. His hair was parted neatly on the left and slicked down. In his hand, he held a length of piping carefully bound with masking tape. Some bloody hairs were stuck to it. He approached them.

“Good evening. May I help you?”

“No, we’re all right thanks.”

“You shouldn’t really open that, you know.”

“Who are you?”

“The name’s Bingham. Call me John. Or Lord Lucan, if you want to stand on ceremony. I’m sort of, well, I suppose you’d call me the Guardian of the Grail. Does your nanny know where you boys are at this time of night?”

The ringing of a telephone penetrated deep into Tommy’s brain, like a nail being hammered through his skull, waking him up just as Lord Lucan’s clammy hand grabbed his hair.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comment

David Turri

Although I was born in England, I have lived in Japan for the past forty years. That’s why this country, its people and history, form the backdrop to many of my novels. I have no big ideas to peddle; I consider myself a simple story-teller and work hard at my craft. I spin my stories in such disparate genres as horror, espionage, war, occult - and humor. I live in Osaka with a wife, two grown daughter and two young grand-daughters – the whole catastrophe, as Zorba describes married life.

 

Words of Wisdom

Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.

When you’re right, no one remembers. When you’re wrong, no one forgets.

I used to have an open mind, but my brains kept falling out.

I can please only one person per day. Today is not your day. Tomorrow isn’t looking good, either.

Tell me what you need, and I’ll tell you how to get along without it.

Needing someone is like needing a parachute. If he isn’t there the first time you need him, probably you won’t be needing him again.

I don’t have an attitude problem, you have a perception problem.

I don’t suffer from stress. I’m a carrier.

If everything seems to be going well, you’ve obviously overlooked something.

Always borrow money from a pessimist. He won’t expect it back.

Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level.

Always forgive your enemies – nothing annoys them more.

The Evening News is where they begin with “Good evening” and then tell you why it isn’t.

There are three sides to any argument – your side, my side and the right side.

A consultant is someone who takes a subject you understand and then makes it sound confusing.

Everybody makes mistakes. The trick is to make mistakes when nobody is looking.

Comment

David Turri

Although I was born in England, I have lived in Japan for the past forty years. That’s why this country, its people and history, form the backdrop to many of my novels. I have no big ideas to peddle; I consider myself a simple story-teller and work hard at my craft. I spin my stories in such disparate genres as horror, espionage, war, occult - and humor. I live in Osaka with a wife, two grown daughter and two young grand-daughters – the whole catastrophe, as Zorba describes married life.

 

Gabriel Henning and Cole Finley, the most prolific illegal abortionists in New Zealand’s history.

[An extract from “29 Argyle Drive”]

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1495980960/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i4

 

Some of the women talked about their experiences on TV, with their faces hidden. Some gave interviews to the Christchurch press. More, following a public call for assistance in the investigation, told their stories to the police, under a guarantee of anonymity. 

For example: 

 

“Doing what they were doing…Gabriel didn’t think it was wrong at all. She believed they were doing a good thing. She hated men, actually.  She loathed them. The only thing a man wants, whatever he says, well, we all know what it is, don’t we? – And when he’s had it, he discards the girl and finds another one. It wasn’t murder, she said. Those fetuses weren’t children yet. There was nothing human about them yet. More than them, she was worried about the girls.”

 

And: 

 

“This was the Sixties and the early Seventies and things were different then. There wasn’t a lot a girl could do. She could abort herself with knitting needles, or by falling down the stairs, or jumping off a table, or mixing a bottle of gin with laxatives and sitting in a hot bath. I did that once. I don’t recommend it. I just ended up totally drunk and sitting in a bath full of my own shit. Or she could find a butcher, someone a lot, lot worse than Cole Finley was, and maybe get sepsis and die of it. Sepsis is bacteria that come from dirty instruments. It makes pus in the blood and it rots the tissues. A lot of women died of it in those days, thousands.”

 

And:  

 

“At the time, I couldn’t have supported another one, not on my husband’s wages. I didn’t have any other choice but to abort it. And watching my other kids grow up, I often thought about him, he was in the back of my mind and in my heart. But I never regretted it. I had to do it. It was necessary.”

 

And:

  

“It was the perfect place for young girls who had been abused by men to recover their spirits and their self-confidence and start afresh. The girls went there feeling shame and fear and resentment that their lives were being ruined because of a little thing inside them no bigger than a gob of spit. By the time they left, Gabriel had made us feel it was the most natural thing in the world to get rid of an unwanted baby as it was to have one that would be welcomed with love.”

 

And:

          

“Gabby was lovely to me. Like a mum. And Maggie was great too. Always there, with something hot to drink or something delicious to eat.  I’m a Catholic. I mean, I was. I mean – whatever. Gabby understood what I was going through in my head. The things she whispered in my ear while she stroked my hair really helped me come to terms with what I was doing. She was like Mother Teresa.”

 

Considering that Gabriel Henning and Cole Finley were ranked as the most prolific illegal abortionists in New Zealand’s history, the local newspapers self-censored only when comparisons to Mother Teresa came up in their interviews, which was surprisingly often.

 

Comment

David Turri

Although I was born in England, I have lived in Japan for the past forty years. That’s why this country, its people and history, form the backdrop to many of my novels. I have no big ideas to peddle; I consider myself a simple story-teller and work hard at my craft. I spin my stories in such disparate genres as horror, espionage, war, occult - and humor. I live in Osaka with a wife, two grown daughter and two young grand-daughters – the whole catastrophe, as Zorba describes married life.

 

Diogenes: mad, bad and dangerous to know

 

Aristophanes, perhaps the funniest man in history, often characterized the crooks, villains and scoundrels he wrote about in his plays as, “men you wouldn’t want to bump into in the Agora.”

The Agora was the central marketplace of classical Athens; also, the location of the city’s law courts and various other temples and government buildings. It was a busy place, the hub of Athenian life from sun up to sun down.

One of the maddest, baddest and most dangerous denizens of the Agora was Diogenes of Sinope (404-323BC). By occupation he was beggar and philosopher; by vocation, a royal pain in the ass. Plato once described him as “A Socrates gone mad.”

He hailed from the city of Sinope, where his father was a banker and which he was forced o flee because of his involvement with his old man in a scam to debase the local currency.

Diogenes was the archetypal representative of the ancient Greek philosophical school called Cynicism. The root of that word in Greek is “dog” and it actually means “dog-like”. The Agora crowd nicknamed him The Dog. When someone asked him why he was thus called, he replied:

“Because I fawn upon those who give me anything and bark at those who give me nothing and bite the rogues.”

According to Wikipedia: For the Cynics, the purpose of life is to live in virtue, in agreement with nature. As reasoning creatures, people can gain happiness by rigorous training and by living in a way which is natural for themselves, rejecting all conventional desires. Instead, they were to lead a simple life free from all possessions…One can become free by unshackling oneself from any needs that are the result of convention…By embracing shamelessness.

Diogenes embraced shamelessness shamelessly.

The bugger lived in a bloody big pot. Some writers call it a tub. It was lying cracked and unused in a corner of the Agora. Tired of waiting for a cottage someone had promised to get him, Diogenes moved into the pot or the broken tub or whatever it was and lived there for many years.

When asked what wine he enjoyed most, he responded: “The wine other people buy me.”

He used to beg in front of a stone statue. When asked why there, his answer was, “To get used to being refused.” When should a man marry? “A young man,” he said, “ought not to marry just yet and an old man, not at all.” Someone once criticized him for drinking in a tavern. He replied that he also had his hair cut in a barber shop.

I don’t know if the Gods exist, he said, but they ought to.

He is most famous, perhaps, for walking through the Agora in broad daylight, with a lit lamp, peering intently around. When someone asked, what the hell are you doing, he responded: “Looking for an honest man.” Finding in the Agora, alas, only rogues and rascals.

Where in Greece do you see good men? His answer, “Good men, nowhere. But good boys at Lacedaemon.” No doubt with a lecherous twinkle in his eye.

The story goes that one day he was invited to a rich man’s mansion and warned by its owner, who obviously knew him very well, “Don’t spit on my floor, please.” Diogenes cleared his throat and spat phlegm mightily into the host’s face, with the comment, “I couldn’t find a meaner receptacle.”

He used to bait Plato mercilessly, eating and drinking with great gusto during the great man’s lectures, belching and farting with abandon. Plato defined Man as – an animal, biped and featherless. Diogenes bought a fowl in the marketplace, plucked it and brought it into the lecture hall, announcing, “Here is Plato’s man.”

(As a result of Diogenes’ cynic performance, another characteristic was added to the definition: Man is an animal, biped and featherless, having broad nails.”)

Once, in Corinth, while Diogenes was sunning himself, Alexander the Great came upon him. I have admired you for years, sir, Alexander said excitedly. He offered to give him anything he desired. Diogenes lifted his head, frowned and said, “You’re blocking the sunlight. I’d really appreciate it if you’d move your ass a step to the side.”

As a man who is getting old at an alarmingly fast rate myself, one of my favorite anecdotes is when Diogenes, because of his advancing age was advised to slow down. “If I was running in the stadium, ought I slacken my pace when approaching the goal?”

Finally, the most scandalous thing about Diogenes’ behavior was that he used to urinate, defecate and masturbate in public, whenever the mood took him. Once he said, ruefully. “I wish it was as easy to banish hunger by rubbing my belly.”

 

Comment

David Turri

Although I was born in England, I have lived in Japan for the past forty years. That’s why this country, its people and history, form the backdrop to many of my novels. I have no big ideas to peddle; I consider myself a simple story-teller and work hard at my craft. I spin my stories in such disparate genres as horror, espionage, war, occult - and humor. I live in Osaka with a wife, two grown daughter and two young grand-daughters – the whole catastrophe, as Zorba describes married life.

 

The Interrogation of Margaret Thomassen - an extract from "Shig"

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07CSVM1MD/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0

 

Azuma’s destination was a nondescript stone building set back among trees in the Kasumigaseki district of government buildings. The Board of Audit stood just over a grassy knoll to the left, and an annex of the Ministry of Finance loomed to the right, beyond a pool graced by an elegant pagoda.

They entered their destination by a rear door, and Azuma led Shig up several flights of stairs to the top floor, leaving him panting, wheezing, and sweating. They went along a corridor to another steep staircase that took them into an attic room.

The air was frigid because the room’s two windows had been thrown wide open. Snow, driven in by the wind, was starting to form mounds over the floor, and Margaret Thomassen, blue from cold, sat naked on a stool, her spindly arms thrust down between skinny legs to hide her genitals. An obese, unshaven detective stood behind her.

           Azuma ordered him to close the windows and he sat down at a table on which lay paper, pencils, eraser, an ashtray, and a thermos flask. He waved Shig to take the other chair.

           “Before we begin, assure her that she will not be harmed. Tell her that her two colleagues from the school, after answering the questions put to them honesty and directly, have been released. Tell her that she, too, will be released, if she answers my questions as they did, honestly and directly.”

           He lit a cigarette and smoked it while Shig translated. Miss Thomassen raised her head and looked at him. Her face was tanned and creased, and when she spoke, Shig was impressed by the power of her voice, the tone of a schoolmarm facing down a classroom of ruffians.

           “The Reverend Moat must be informed that I have been detained. Until he gets here, I refuse to answer any questions. Tell this man that I must be taken from this room immediately, given my clothes back, and given some warmth. Tell him, if he hasn’t already noticed, that I am an old woman. I am also an American citizen. The United States and Japan are not at war. I hope and pray that the day will never come when we are. But if anything happens to me, the relationship between our two countries will suffer further.”

           Azuma’s eyes glowered with anger as he listened to Shig’s interpretation of her words, and his lower lip trembled. He drew himself up out of the chair and came around the desk, stabbing the air with his cigarette and letting forth a torrent of Japanese over the old woman’s head.

“You and your country do Japan a great injustice. A million people from our overcrowded nation have migrated to Manchuria, where they have been given the chance to start their lives afresh. We are improving the railways and the ports, opening mines, and making the area safe to live in.”

He waved away Shig’s attempt to interpret what he was saying, and his voice rose in pitch and passion.

“We plan to build a new state based on righteousness, a nation in which our various peoples, the Japanese, the Chinese, the Mongolians, and Manchurians can live together in peace and prosperity. And what does the United States do? It imposes trade restrictions, encourages the boycott of Japanese-made goods throughout Asia, pressures the League of Nations to demand our withdrawal from Manchuria, and intimidates the Japanese nationals who live in America.”

           At the end of this rant, he stubbed out the cigarette with great violence and snarled at Shig.

“Translate what I say from now on.” His eyes bored into Miss Thomassen’s. “And what do you do? You, who call yourself a missionary? You spy on us.”

           She shook her head when she heard this in English from Shig and repeated her earlier demand.

“I insist that Reverend Moat and the United States Embassy be notified immediately that I am being detained here illegally.”

Azuma ignored her.

“Ask her if she knows a young man by the name of Hori.”

           “She says there is a young man of that name enrolled at the Academy.”

           “In whose class?”

           “In one of her own.”

           “Ask her if she is aware this young man is a Communist with links to illegal Japanese agrarian organizations.”

           “She says she is not aware of that.”

           “Ask her what level class he is enrolled in.”

           “She does not recall.”

           “I can refresh her memory. He attends an advanced English conversation class that meets Monday evenings. But Hori has no education. He speaks no English. How does she account for the fact that he is enrolled in an advanced class?”

           Miss Thomassen explained her reasons.   

“All the lower level classes were full. Mr. Hori could only get away from his work on Monday nights. And he has a great yearning to learn. Times are hard at the school. We are in financial difficulties. I didn’t want to lose his enrollment fee, so I put him where I could.”

           Azuma accepted her answer with a nod.

“This class is held, not at the school, but in her house. Isn’t that irregular? Ask her why she conducts the class at home.”

“It is an advanced discussion class,” she told Shig. “I believe the more relaxed atmosphere of a living room, with coffee or tea, is more conducive to general discussion than a classroom.”

           “How many students come to her house on Monday evening?”

           “She says four.”

           “She gave each one an English name. Mr. Hori was Peter. The others were Mark, Luke, and Mathew. Hori does not know their real names. But Miss Thomassen does. Tell her I want those names, and insist that I want them immediately.”

Miss Thomassen said nothing. Azuma waited, but she remained silent. He nodded at the detective, who stepped up behind, closed his hands around her throat, and began to choke her.

She broke her fingernails clawing at the hands, and her heels beat the floor like hammers as her lungs screamed for air. Just before his fingers snapped the bones in her neck, he loosened his grip.

“I need their real names,” Azuma said again.

           She retched and coughed, and the words came out in a harsh rasp.

“I don’t remember.”

          Azuma glanced at the detective, who pulled her head back to his lips and thrust his tongue into her mouth. She screamed. His hands wandered over her body, to her breasts and into her pubic area.

He lifted her off the stool and bent her forward over it. His weight on her back kept her pinned down while he fumbled with his trouser buttons. She screamed at God and pleaded for the man to be called off her. Before he assented, Azuma wanted a point clarified. He asked Shig, “She will give me the names?”

“She will.”

           Azuma sent the detective out of the room for blankets and dismissed him from her sight after he had brought them. He poured hot vegetable soup from the thermos.

After she had drunk it, he asked his questions again, this time in a reasonable and quiet tone. She answered them, and Shig recorded those answers.

It was dawn before he was released from the nightmare into a blue and cloudless December sky. He crossed the parkland, crunching the frosty grass. Morning gongs sounded in hidden temples, and solitary monks raked the gravel. The air smelt of incense and cedar wood. Tofu sellers passed him ringing their bicycle bells. In Shimbashi, sleek military cars, their ID numbers covered and their windows darkened, carried home generals and admirals from the geisha houses.

He walked on, eventually reaching Tsukiji, where the sky was full of gulls driven crazy by the smells of fish from the market, flying in aimless, screeching circles in the air above his apartment. For once, they didn’t disturb him. He fell into bed and into oblivion.

 

Comment

David Turri

Although I was born in England, I have lived in Japan for the past forty years. That’s why this country, its people and history, form the backdrop to many of my novels. I have no big ideas to peddle; I consider myself a simple story-teller and work hard at my craft. I spin my stories in such disparate genres as horror, espionage, war, occult - and humor. I live in Osaka with a wife, two grown daughter and two young grand-daughters – the whole catastrophe, as Zorba describes married life.

 

From a Misty Cluster of Stars

My novel “Escarpment” begins with these lines:

“…The events described in these pages could not possibly have happened as recorded here, although they did happen exactly as I have written them…”

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/161296866X/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i2

Although many of the episodes in that book are based on incidents told to me by people who have Second Sight (the gift – or curse – of extrasensory perception) “Escarpment” is essentially a work of fiction.

So I guess that in the book’s opening I lied. Here, I don’t lie.

Kamishinden is part of the sprawling bed-town suburbia in the north part of Osaka city. It lies in a basin adjacent to a busy expressway. It used to be a bamboo forest and is still dotted with clumps of tall bamboo that sway and rustle in the wind.

I worked in Osaka’s commercial district, commuting by subway. It was just a forty-minute ride to Senri-chuo, my station at the end of the line. From there, a fifteen minute walk – out of the station complex, over the expressway and down into the Kamishinden basin – to where I lived with my wife and young daughters. The way was a winding path between high apartment buildings.

My own apartment was on the third (and top) floor of a small building. When the path made a final turn to the left, I could see it up ahead. Immediately behind it, rises up a hillside covered with foliage and undergrowth. On top of this, there is a golf-practice range, the high netting standing out against the sky.

I was making my way home, the time around nine o’clock at night. Behind me, I could hear another man wending his way home, too.

I often enjoyed a few drinks with colleagues after work, but that evening I had come straight home. I feel it important to point out that I was completely sober.

It was a clear, cold winter night. Because it was winter, the sky was dominated by the constellation Orion, which seemed to fill the sky above the netting of the golf-practice range. I looked at it as I walked; then my eyes followed the direction of Orion’s Belt to the south-west, coming to rest on The Pleiades, the misty cluster of stars also called The Seven Sisters.

           As I stared at that curious little cloud of stars low down in the night sky, the stardust that fills the cluster began to stir. To move, then to roil; finally, to expand.

I stopped in my tracks. The man who was walking behind me must have stopped to stare at it, too, because I have no recollection of his passing me.

Within moments, the stardust grew into a cloud much bigger than The Pleiades, so big that it blotted out that constellation entirely. I was mesmerized, rooted to the spot, watching an object move soundlessly out of the stardust.

           It was composed of three parallel, long and narrow rectangles, each one flush to the other, as though welded. The texture was metallic, the color lead. Their appearance made me think of some kind of undercarriage.

           There was no sound as it moved through the sky from the cloud of stardust, in a south-westerly direction, passing high above my left shoulder. How high it was, I couldn’t estimate. Nor could I judge its size, although it seemed to be very big.

           I have always regretted what I did next.

           Instead of continuing to watch it and communicate with the man standing just behind me, I let myself become overwhelmed by excitement. I bolted to my apartment building, thinking I would be able to track the object’s progress better from my third-floor veranda.

           My wife was cutting vegetables at the kitchen sink. I still remember rushing past her, shouting, “I’ve seen a UFO! I’ve seen a UFO!” I still remember her expression; it said, “Idiot.”

           Of course, there was nothing out-of-the-ordinary in the sky to see by then. And I never bumped into the man who had been behind me so I couldn’t verify what we had seen.

Or hadn’t seen. Or had dreamed, or hallucinated.

 

 

 

 

2 Comments

David Turri

Although I was born in England, I have lived in Japan for the past forty years. That’s why this country, its people and history, form the backdrop to many of my novels. I have no big ideas to peddle; I consider myself a simple story-teller and work hard at my craft. I spin my stories in such disparate genres as horror, espionage, war, occult - and humor. I live in Osaka with a wife, two grown daughter and two young grand-daughters – the whole catastrophe, as Zorba describes married life.

 

Perils of Sleepwalking - A short extract from Escarpment

Keiko had spent the time engaged in an intense Google search. When I got home, my dinner stood on the dining room table, each dish and bowl carefully protected with saran wrap, and she was waiting for me with the results of her investigations.

“Listen to this.”

As I peeled off the wrapping and ate the cold fare, she read out:

“Two weeks after our honeymoon, when the dreams were still continuing, I went to a psychologist and he told me I was being taken over by a ghost for minutes or even hours at a time.”

Thus it started, and so it went on.

A man in America, while sleepwalking, had stabbed his mother-in-law to death and tried to throttle his father-in-law.

Another, who had started sleepwalking when he was a teenager, once, while staying over with a friend, awoke to find that the friend’s kitchen walls were filled with doodles he had done while sleepwalking. Now he paints in his sleep, and galleries buy his works.

There are cases, Keiko informed me, of people sleepwalking outside and freezing to death.

Of falling out of windows.
Of engaging in sex with strangers.
Of mowing the lawns naked.
Of trying to strangle their wives as they lay in bed together.
(This last I did not feel, of course, sympathy with, only an intuitive understanding of.)

She related stories she had found on the internet of inanimate objects being possessed by spirits – a haunted grandfather clock, an eerie stuffed leopard, a possessed rocking horse…

While I tried to dislodge a fish bone from between my back teeth, she sat down at the table opposite me and read out from her notes in a slow, morbid tone:

“…Latent energy is the name given to the individual, collective or residual energy that remains with a specific object after the passing of its owner, who had a strong connection to it in life, or the energy left by a traumatic event that had once taken place involving the object…

“…At times, uneasy or unnerving feelings may be experienced when handling artifacts. Frequently, this experience occurs with items that have been picked up on wartime battlefields…”

Find “Escarpment” at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/161296866X/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i2

SAUCY TALES FROM HERODOTUS: SMELLS SO GOOD!

 

Kings are chosen in a variety of ways, but perhaps the most bizarre is recorded by the ancient Greek historian Herodotus, that anthologist of the bizarre, the strange and the weird – how Darius became king of Persia around 520BC.

Following the death of King Cambyses, the throne of the Persian Empire had been usurped by a powerful Median religious cult called the Magi, which had installed its own puppet to it.

Seven Persian noblemen plotted a coup d’état to topple the puppet and destroy the influence of the Magi. In this they were successful. What remained was to choose who among them should become king. Let Herodotus tell the story in his own words…

 

They discussed the fairest way of deciding who should have the throne. To choose which should be king, they proposed to mount their horses on the outskirts of the city, and he whose horse neighed first after the sun was up would have the throne.

Darius had a clever groom called Oebares. After the meeting had broken up, he went to see this fellow, and told him of the arrangement they had come to. “So if,” he added, “you can think of some dodge or other, do what you can to see that this prize falls to me, and to no one else.”

“Well, master,” Oebares answered, “if your chance of winning the throne depends upon nothing but that, you may set your mind at rest; you may be perfectly confident – you, and nobody else, will be king. I know a charm which will just suit our purpose.”

“If,” said Darius, “you really have got something that will do the trick, you had better hurry and get it all worked out. Tomorrow’s the day – so there isn’t much time.”

Oebares, accordingly, as soon as it was dark, took from the stables the mare which Darius’ horse was particularly fond of and tied her up in the outskirts of the city. Then he brought along the stallion and led him round and round the mare, getting closer and closer in narrowing circles, and finally allowed him to mount her.

Next morning, the noblemen, according to their agreement, came riding on their horses through the city and when they reached the spot where the mare had been tethered on the previous night, Darius’ horse started forward and neighed.

At the same instant, though the sky was clear, there was a flash of lightning and s clap of thunder; the double miracle was like a sign from heaven; the election of Darius was assured, and the others leapt from their saddles and bowed to the ground at his feet.

That is one account of how Oebares made the horse neigh. The Persians also have another, namely that he rubbed the mare’s vagina and then kept his hand covered inside his breeches. When the sun was rising and the horses were about to be released, he drew his hand out and put it to the nostrils of Darius’ horse, which at the smell of the mare at once snorted and neighed.

In this way Darius became king of Persia.

Comment

David Turri

Although I was born in England, I have lived in Japan for the past forty years. That’s why this country, its people and history, form the backdrop to many of my novels. I have no big ideas to peddle; I consider myself a simple story-teller and work hard at my craft. I spin my stories in such disparate genres as horror, espionage, war, occult - and humor. I live in Osaka with a wife, two grown daughter and two young grand-daughters – the whole catastrophe, as Zorba describes married life.

 

A Review of Wild Willful Heart

One complaint about this thing – it came to an end all too soon. Because I hadn’t been so snatched up and carried along by a book in a long time.

 

“Wild Willful Heart” is W. Boone Hedgepeth’s quest for spiritual authenticity. It is a book full of magic and true grit. Full of grace and darkness. Full of demons, UFOs and miracles. Of brutal honesty. Of sadness and hope. Of the South.

 

There is real horror in Black Mountain; and real beauty in the writer’s descriptions of that mystical North Carolina environment that was the dramatic stage for some of his spiritual struggles.

 

Boone’s writing style is clear, taut, measured and down-to-earth. He is a skillful storyteller. Wisely rejecting a straightforward chronological narrative, he weaves his tale out of different strands of his life in order to create maximum suspense and anticipation.

 

There is much that is fascinating in these pages, a lot to ponder and many things that linger in the head and the heart after the book is closed.

 

What lingers for me is the powerful image, early on, of the “marginal man”, a state to being to be avoided, but one that threatens all of us at one time or another; and, near the end, Boone’s (or Christ’s?) command to not be plagued by guilt or self-loathing, but to love yourself.

 

He writes, again near the end:

 

“…In the present and in the future, I will not cling to traditions of the past, but will seek new light and direction as a revolutionary, patriot, and saint in Jesus Christ…I am just an authentic person filled with countless flaws just like you. I am not greater than you are, I am your servant, you are mine, and we are learning simultaneously…”

 

I like that very much. We are all fellow-travelers.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Wild-Willful-Heart-Boone-Hedgepeth/dp/1483462986

 

 

Comment

David Turri

Although I was born in England, I have lived in Japan for the past forty years. That’s why this country, its people and history, form the backdrop to many of my novels. I have no big ideas to peddle; I consider myself a simple story-teller and work hard at my craft. I spin my stories in such disparate genres as horror, espionage, war, occult - and humor. I live in Osaka with a wife, two grown daughter and two young grand-daughters – the whole catastrophe, as Zorba describes married life.