It Ain’t Necessarily So – 6

 

Aint 3 finalIt Ain’t Necessarily So
CHAPTER SIX

 A Birthday Kiss
Some birthdays you just can’t forget

 Marisha Toumanova and I were born on the same day, in the same room, but a year apart, more than 80 years ago in the mission hospital at Aba, a small station in the Northeast Corner of what was then the Belgian Congo.

Marisha’s parents were Russian aristocracy who fled Russia during the Bolshevik Revolution. My parents were Americans who fled the United States because of the scandal of a mixed marriage in that my father was Baptist and my mother was Presbyterian.

Out of Africa (film)

The Toumanova’s had a coffee plantation. If you want to know what life on a coffee plantation in Central Africa was like, rent the movie “Out of Africa” with Robert Redford and Meryl Streep, if you can still find it.

My parents were missionaries. If you want to know what the life of a missionary is like, don’t go to movies or anywhere else where you might have fun.

The Toumanova’s plantation was twenty miles from where we lived on the Aba–Dungu Highway, which was a single-lane, gravel road, but the government called it a highway, probably because it was the only road that went from Aba to Dungu some100 miles away. I’ve seen farm lanes that were bigger and in better condition than that highway, but I digress… Continue reading

Telephone Killer – 37

Well, now, Ralph was pleased enough to use the Ricin to murder his wife, but now he isn’t quite sure he’s happy with what Ferus has planned for him next.

THE TELEPHONE KILLER
by Paul J. StamPageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00023]

EXCERPT THIRTY-SEVEN

‟Hello, Ralph, did you try calling earlier?”

‟Yes, about five minutes ago. Nobody answered.”

‟I’m sorry I’m late. I got caught in traffic. Where are you calling from?”

‟Southdale Plaza. I stopped here on the way home from work, had something to eat and then wandered around pretending to do some shopping.”

‟That’s very good, Ralph. You’ve handled all of these telephone communications very shrewdly. Now, you still have some of the ricin I gave you left…”

‟No, Sir. It’s all gone.”

‟What did you do, use it all?” Ferus asked sounding surprised.

‟Yes, sir.”

‟I told you all you needed was a drop, less than a drop. There must have been at least five drops in the vial I sent to you.” There was a tone of reprimand in Vitium’s voice. Continue reading

Murder Sets Sail – 13

Lucky Jimmy Harris. He’s found a crew; Bill Maxwell and Larry Anderson to help him sail from Hong Kong to Hawaii, little does he know what he is in for. In this chapter spend a little time with Bill Maxwell and Larry Anderson. - Nice guys until you get to know them.

Murder Sets Sail is published by Second Wind Publishing.

Final MSS Cover frontMURDER SETS SAIL
by Paul J. Stam

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

Monday evening Bill Maxwell and Larry Anderson sat in their hotel room waiting for the phone call. A little more than twenty-four hours before they had settled things with Jimmy Harris. At nine that morning they had met with Fred McGuire, president of World Trading Company Ltd, a Costellos-owned enterprise. McGuire had phoned in the afternoon to assure them everything was arranged and they would be contacted that evening.

It was just after eight when the phone rang. Larry answered the phone and a voice that spoke perfect English with a slight Chinese lilt asked, “Is this Mr. Maxwell?”

“No, this is Mr. Anderson.”

“May I speak with Mr. Maxwell please?”

Larry handed Max the phone. “Maxwell,” he said into the mouthpiece.

“I understand you are interested in acquiring some jewelry, Mr. Maxwell.”

“Yes. Antique pieces if you have any.”

“We have some very fine old jade that might interest you.”

“Actually, I’m interested in fine quality carved ivory.”

With the exchange of the four key words – jewelry, antique, jade and ivory – the voice on the other end became less businesslike and more congenial. “I’m in the lobby of your hotel right now, Mr. Maxwell. If you are free possibly you would like to go to our showrooms now and see what we have to offer.” Continue reading

Muddy, Muddier, Muddiest

Mud-meWell, here it is Sunday again, Mud Puddle report day. Funny how that day comes around every week.

Just because I don’t have a lot of exciting pictures to show doesn’t mean I haven’t been getting muddy, maybe even a little muddier. I’m still striving for muddiest. I swear, one of these days I’ll get there.

Do you know I have never heard anyone say they love glazing. I like the results of glazing after it is fired, but I hate the job of glazing.

DSC02257So here is what I’ve been working on this week – glazing. So there they are; 23 items in all, count them. That blue thing does not have to be glazed; it is my cup of coffee, cold by now I’m sure. Continue reading

It Ain’t Necessarily So – 5

News Yellow

 It Ain’t Necessarily So
CHAPTER FIVE

 Survival Don’t Come Easy
If you were born you’re obligated to survive

So there I was in the middle of Africa. Literally. Well sort of. I mean, how do you find the middle of blob shape. However, if you were to take a map of Africa and draw a line from Cairo in Egypt to Durban in South Africa and bisect it you would be right smack, dab on top of me.

Africa-2

I have no idea why I was there except that’s where I was born, and as I said before, I wasn’t consulted about whether or not I wanted to be born there, or anywhere else for that matter.

My parents were there to save the heathen, but I liked the heathen just the way they were, heathenism and all. As far as I could tell my sole mission in life was to survive. I have to admit that both my parents took my survival, and that of my brothers and sister, very seriously, probably more seriously than they took their responsibility of converting the heathen. For that I am very grateful and hope the Almighty did not give them a black mark for that. If you want to find out some of the things some people will go through to convert the heathen, get my book, Of Chiefs and Giants. - What; did you expect me to pass up an opportunity to tout one of my books. But I digress… Continue reading

Telephone Killer – 36

THE TELEPHONE KILLER
by Paul J. StamPageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00023]

EXCERPT THIRTY-SIX

Vince had no intention of going to Aspen’s bar-b-que, but when he told Tori about it, she said, ‟Oh, can we go? I’d love to go.”

‟What in the world for?”

‟I’d like to spend an afternoon in the country by the river. It sounds like fun.”

‟Come on, Pussy-cat, there’s more in your beautiful little head than just the idea of spending an afternoon in the country. What’s the real reason?” he asked.

‟Well, you may not know it, but Dr. Aspen is a rather influential member of the Board of Directors at M.S.M.”

‟So?”

‟So, the school made a great deal of money on the sale of their old building downtown, and I would like to see part of that money go for an endowment fund for talented students who can’t afford private lessons, you know those special students who could be the greats of tomorrow if they just had the opportunity for special attention and training.”

‟And you expect to sell him on that idea at his picnic?” he asked pretending to be shocked.

‟Oh no. I just expect him to get to know me so when I present the idea at the proper time he will know who I am and maybe be predisposed to listen a little more attentively to what I have to say.”

‟Really, Tori,” he said shaking his head, ‟I didn’t think real artists stooped to such tactics.”

‟Oh, yes. The only reason the arts have survived through the centuries was because the artist managed to kiss-ass to get patrons.” Continue reading

Murder Sets Sail – 12

You met Max a long time ago in California when he and George were discussing how they were going to pull off this operation. Well, Now meet the other poor guy who, like Chris, has no idea what he is getting into. He is just happy that it looks like he has a crew to help in sail from Hong Kong to Hawaii.

I warn you, this is a rather long chapter, but a good one, if I do say so myself.

Murder Sets Sail is published by Second Wind Publishing.

Final MSS Cover frontMURDER SETS SAIL
by Paul J. Stam

CHAPTER TWELVE

In the shade of a tin-roofed shed, Jimmy Harris folded the blueprints and offset sheets in anticipation of the end of the working day. Below and in front of him, on the strip of land that separated the shed from the water’s edge, were several fiberglass-hulled boats in various stages of completion. Around those boats large crews of Chinese laborers worked diligently and quickly, polishing hulls, laying teak decks, framing cabins and inserting portholes. They would continue working until the moment the gong sounded signaling the end of the working day. Only then would they slow down, put the tools away and clean up.

To one side of the yard were several junks and sampans hauled out for repairs, their bottoms being cleaned in the time-honored manner of being burned with straw fires. The sampan’s blunt bows, charred hulls, and ornately carved deckhouses, contrasted sharply with the smooth lines and white hulls of the yachts that would soon be shipped to be sold in countries as far away as Europe and North America. Continue reading