Glyn read a short story entitled “Long time no see”. “Why are you here auntie? I haven’t seen you since mother died almost ten years ago.” The narrator was a Dr Joe Richards, a plastic surgeon, who had not seen his auntie for 25 years. He was at present on a six month sabbatical. His auntie Lily had gone to the Sudan in Africa when he was 8. He had had no contact with her until an hour ago when he had been summoned to meet her. She asked for Darjeeling or Earl Grey tea but got Waitrose tea which was all he had. Although she was obviously well heeled she ate with her fingers, even though it was beef wellington that had been prepared for the meal. Glyn had to get something a bit controversial in and mentioned that Lily had said that clitoral circumcision was frowned upon in her village. When she went to the Sudan she had helped a family who befriended her to plant cotton, the first in the area, and the business had grown to be the largest in the area. His auntie said the village needed a locum doctor. She had booked him on a flight that night. She had to go to Argentina and would see him when she got back from there.
He went along. There were 3,000 inhabitants of the village, it had its own hospital, they had 2 mosques and even a Christian chapel. He went to the school to arrange for vaccinations and met a beautiful lady called Fatima. He assumed she was an assistant and asked in pigeon English where the headmistress was. Fatima said she was the headmistress and 5 years at Yale had perfected her English so there was no need for him to speak to her in a condescending way. They were married 18 months later and they had a daughter Fazil. His auntie Lily was still in Argentina and had set up a beef producing industry which again was the largest in the area. She was happy to hear about the birth of a granddaughter and wrote that her business would be ready for Fazil when she grew up and it would be “Long time no see” all over again. It was his auntie that had enabled Joe to go to medical college and become a doctor so he felt obliged to go and help her out in the Sudan but he was eternally grateful to her for the job he loved and his wife and daughter he also loved.
There were good comments.
Brenda read another part of her story The Diary. The diary was to explain to her daughter Minerva why she couldn’t love her the way she loved her sons. The narrator was Elizabeth who had met and married Will Davis, a railway guard in the 1890’s. Will asked her to be his wife but it was a bit of a predicament for her as she was already married. She contacted the minister of the church where she was married and found out that her husband had already divorced her for desertion and moved abroad. She left the asylum where she worked and married Will and moved into his mother’s house. Cyril was born to them, 4 years later Horace, then Mary in 1908, who died aged 3 months. Then Minerva was born. She had red hair and every time Elizabeth looked at her she thought of her own cold and heartless mother, who had also had red hair. Grace was born in 1912. Cyril hit his head and died. Will volunteered for the army and died in action. She was 41 years old and a widow. Horace also volunteered for the army and served on HMS Curlew in Bermuda. He came back, got pneumonia and died at 19 years old.
There were good comments. Nik said that you could easily lose the reader if there was not enough drama.
Mary read a pen entitled Hot Pen.
Oh why does it have to be Hot Pen Today?
I never ever know what to say
I’m scribbling away with all my might
But I’m smudging everything I write
Because my hands are so wet with sweat
Please don’t let him say time’s up yet
I feel the panic setting in
My face is fixed in a manic grin
Why do we put ourselves through this stress?
Do we enjoy it, well more or less?
One minute left well that’s enough
To finish off all this crazy stuff
There’s just one more thing for me to say
Oh why did it have to be hot pen today?
Ann also wrote a poem about Hot Pen. We were supposed to do “Hot Pen” today but because of so many things to read out – hooray! – there was no time for it.
Jane read out a story about the sale of a couple’s farm. She and her husband ran a pub, but had inherited Crows Farm 5 years ago on the death of her husband’s father. They considered what to do after the sale. Her brother John was in Auckland and she might visit him. The sale was in 3 lots, the acreage, the dairy herd and the house. She was distraught at the thought of not seeing her girls again – the cows! At the auction there was a telephone bid. The acreage went to Mr Perry. John rang; he had bought the herd and the house so that she and her husband could live there for the rest of their lives. How could they thank John enough for the house and their girls.
There were good comments. Emotion needed to be added.
Gerry read out “Angel’s story” Angel was a Spanish sailor and he was feeling terrified in the middle of a storm on the sea. “Mother of God help me” he prayed. He had sailed with the conquistadors as they fought against the English pirates who stole the Mexican treasure bound for Spain. The captain called him “Hijo de puta” son of a whore. He heard a scream and another crewman went overboard. It was daybreak, the light improved. The captain was a vicious man and if he survived the storm he knew he would be in trouble. At this moment the ship struck the rocks …..
There were good comments. Didn’t know where it was ‘on the earth’s surface’ should be ‘on the sea’. The members of the group thought it was a very graphic depiction.
Nik read the end of his story, the first part of which he read last week entitled “The Visitors “. Kate was hit in the head by an Apache, Ethan and Frank, her 15 year old twins, shot 2 of them. Kate said the rest of the Apaches would want revenge. The daughter Alice cleaned Kate’s wound. Alice was 13 and did not have a rifle before, but as Kate could not fire because of her wound, the Winchester was handed to her. The roof was made of slate so could not be set on fire. In the next 2 hours of whooping by the Apaches death seemed close and they thought they had killed 2 more Apaches. Grey Wolf the chieftain barked something at the warriors and urged them back and then left. ‘He has gone for reinforcements’ Ethan said. Kate and the boys went back to their loopholes, the hole through the window where they fired from. She said to make their bullets count. The Apaches axed the door, Alice got shot in the shoulder, Kate got one Apache, Frank got another one, and there were 5 left. Kate said she would dig the bullet out later. There was a thumping sound on the roof; they couldn’t burn the roof so were trying to break their way in. Although they were in danger Kate told the boys off for using bad language but they got back at her for saying ‘hell’. Kate was angry and braced herself; an Apache tumbled into the cabin, the shutters splintered. At that moment Grey Wolf came back and stopped the rest of Apaches. He had gone to get the reservation police and they were going to take the rest of the Apache runaways away; they had escaped from the reservation. Kate was glad to be alive. She was threatened by an Apache she thought was dead and he was shot by a bullet from a gun from the mountain. Kate recognized the sound as her husband’s gun. Grey Wolf helped the Apache to his feet. The wagon moved out. ‘Did you see that, that is some shooting’ said the boys. Later on her husband said “Have you been partying while I have been gone?”
How relieved we were that Kate and the family were saved and that dad got back in the nick of time and that Grey Wolf turned out to be a good egg after all, I just wish some of the animals could have been saved as well.
The group felt there was much tension in the story.
Hot Pen next week. What a pity I shall be away till the end of August!