story,chapter 1

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story,chapter 1

Post by burdick » Sun Oct 14, 2012 4:51 am

Story, chapter 1

It was one of those fine days in Spring when the leaves on the trees were still yellow-green with birth and things felt new and clean, that John walked from the subway to the brownstone on State street. Aunt Fatma had been dead for a year now and Uncle Oguz had invited him to live in the second floor apartment with his son Jim.

It was a quiet street, not one that most non-New Yorkers would think of being in a place like Brooklyn. He walked up the worn concrete steps to the massive entre door and saw a set of three Intercoms and buttons, the middle one read “James Hacivat”. He pressed it.


“It’s me, Hacivat.”

“Come on up!”

John shifted his duffel and pushed the door open. Jim stood at the top of the stairs with a wide grin on his face, still the tall, dark, “bookish” sort of guy that he knew from his childhood.

“Bring your stuff right on through. You have the smaller bedroom in front.”

John poured himself a cup of coffee in the kitchen, went into the living room, and sat down with it. Jim put his things in order in his room, then went into the bathroom, flushed the toilet and joined Jim in the living room.

The two had been good friends since they were four. This was somewhat strange because they were so different.

Karagoz (the two always used the surnames to address each other) was muscular, earthy, red-haired and freckled. He had been on the football team in High School and had no interest in going on to college. He had joined the Army with the understanding that he would be an MP. He did well in training and because he spoke a little Turkish, was stationed at Incirlik Air Base near Adana. He decided to return to civilian life after six years of service. He had never had any problems finding girlfriends, but so far, had not had any long term relationships with any of them.

Hacivat, on the other hand, was tall, thin, and dark haired. His family had never wanted for money so when he had graduated from High School with honors, he went to Exeter College (Oxford) for a "gentleman's" education, resulting in a B.A. degree and a strong "cultured public school" accent. People see him as being aloof and uninterested in social interaction. Hacivat has always liked and trusted Karagoz, even when as a kid , Karagoz led him into mischief that resulted in punishment.

“Well” , said Hacivat, “Tell me your plans. You have told me about the job offer by that security firm here in New York but that is about all. You are welcome to stay here for as long as you like….you know

Dad likes to have you around, especially now that Mom is dead. He won’t accept rent from you, any more that he will from me. Brooklyn Heights is a nice place to live “

Karagoz smiled at his cousin and looked out of the porch doors down into the back yard garden. The spring flowers were in bloom, and the sparrows worked busily in the tree branches.

“Tomorrow I plan to go to their office and find out some more about what the job would be. Some of my friends who are MPs said that the police force might be a better deal. … or maybe I could join an escort service. Who knows? I’ve saved up some money, and I have time to look around. I’ve always liked New York. Can you still walk across the bridge to Chinatown?”

“Yes, it’s a nice walk this time of year. Good luck on the interview. I think it is a good idea to take your time and just settle in”. He took sip of his coffee, “I am working on a Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Columbia University, with a focus and dissertation in the field of anomalous experiences”. He took a quick look over at Karagoz, who looked as if he didn’t understand or didn’t give a damn.

“and women?’ asked Karagoz.

“hmmm, yes. I go to the singles club at Plymouth Church, and have met some very interesting ladies there. You can go over with me some night if you wish; it’s over on Hicks and Orange Street. They also have a very active web site”. (Oh, for some amusement”, he thought)”

A few days later, when Karagoz got around to going to the security firm he found their office in lower Manhattan. He would get a fair salary, with bonuses graded on the satisfaction of the client. He liked the idea of not having a 9 to 5 job and no need to report to an office and just sit! They were pleased with his background and the way he handled the interview. He signed on, and received his first assignment.

Hacivat sat down in the quiet apartment and closed his eyes. The street sounds were faint and quieting to him. He focused on a light in the centre of his vision, willing it into an open door down a long corridor, through which he could see a bright light, warm and pure. He sensed passage ways with closed doors on either side of the passage. He was no longer aware of any sound. Memories, like mischievous wraiths flitted in and out and were brushed aside. The side passages pulled at him as he willed himself towards the door and light. All seemed to fade except the doorway.

“Hey Hacivat ! Whatscha doin?”

“‘We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep’”.

“Yeah, right.”, said Karagoz . Going to the frig, he pulled out a cold beer, popped the top ,took a long pull from it and burped happily. He had just gotten his first assignment from the agency. A new client had just requested a man who didn’t carry a gun but was trained in defense and was able to carry heavy objects. His application to carry a conceded weapon had been filed, but not yet processed and so he was somewhat limited in the jobs he could take. This job was one of grunt and protect. Eli Jacobs , a jeweler who lives on fifth avenue was going to take his coins to a coin meet. He needed a person to carry the coins to and from the meet, and to wanted protection too. The meeting will be tomorrow (Saturday) at the. Museum of American Finance.

It was a damp, cool day and the joy of spring seemed far away as he walked to the hotel St. George and the subway. He was to meet Mr. Jacobs at his apartment at 8PM and the

Clark street stop was packed! After a bit of pushing and a short ride, he walked up the subway stairs on to Fifth Avenue and continued north. It was a pretty little brownstone, painted bright pink with white trim. Mr. Jacobs met him at the door, and seemed a little worse for wear. He had a black eye, and walked back into the house (Karagoz following) with a limp. Jacobs was not a “talker”! Karagoz carried three heavy plastic boxes to the car in the private garage and sat beside Jacobs has Jacobs drove the car through a maze of streets and finally downtown to the Museum of American Finance. Karagoz carried everything to the two tables that were assigned to Jacobs, and sat while Jacobs carefully arranged the coins in their cases.

The show opened and a lot of well-dressed men filled the aisles ,sat at tables , peering at coins through loups. Jacobs was busy most of the time. It was plain to see he knew most of the men well. Later, however, the aisles emptied and Jacobs sat in silence next to Karagoz.. He moved about a bit stiffly, and at last said, “I had a problem a few days ago that you might be able to handle for me. It would be independent of your job with Rogers Security, if you do it, however.”

“I guess I could do that, but let’s hear what you had in mind before I agree. If it’s illegal I couldn’t do it, of course.”

“No, nothing illegal, it would be recovering my cellphone from a lady that I had a disagreement with”. I don’t want my wife to hear about it and the phone has all sorts of sensitive information on it. I’d want you to call the lady up, make an appointment to go over, get the phone and return it to me. She lives in a brownstone on East 14th Street. I’ll pay you $500 plus expenses for the service”.

“Sounds easy enough. Give me the lady’s name a telephone number and I’ll see what I can do. It may take a few days, and you had better give a number to contact you privately.” They packed up and returned to Jacobs home, and Karagoz went back to Brooklyn Heights, where he gave “Mrs. Miller”a call.

“Hello, Mrs. Miller?”


“My name is John Karagoz, I work at Rogers Security, and I’d like to speak with you about a cellphone that Eli Jacobs might have left at your house”

There was a short pause, followed by:” Oh yes, he did. I’m sorry but right now I cannot tell you about it, but I will call you tomorrow if you give me your cellphone number”,

Karagoz gave her his number, hung up the phone and turned to Hacivat , who was pouring over his books and making notes in his computer.

“I’m expecting a call from a lady tomorrow”

“’ Man does not control his own fate. The women in his life do that for him.’”, Hacivat muttered.

Karagoz discussed the task that Jacobs had set him and the progress on in to date with the program director of Rogers Security early the next day. It was agreed that he would proceed with it. In looking in the data base, it was found that there was an “Elite Escort Service” listed at the East 14th Street address, headed by a Ms. H. Miller.

That evening Karagoz and Hacivat walked over to Atlantic Avenue for supper at one of the many good middle-eastern restaurants. They stopped at the Yemen-south Café from which came the clear rich aroma of roast lamb . they were warmly welcomed and found an empty table.

“I’ll have the Baba ghanoush , water, and tea” said Hacivat.

“and I’ll try your Fatah with Galabah, and a …. beer?”asked Karagoz.

“Sorry… haram , no beer or wine. How about some tea?”

“ok, but you had better add an order of Fatah for us too.”

They ate their meal in the comfortable, secure and happy space that is identified with most of the restaurants on the Avenue. Nothing fancy, but certainly great care had been taken with every dish.

Over tea Karagoz laid out his plan to get the cellphone back:

“It looks like I get to look into an ‘Escort Service’, could be fun. She wants me to come over to the place on East 14th Street. That’s still in the village isn’t it?”


“’she told me that she found the cellphone and would give it back to me when we met. She didn’t mention that she wanted any money for its recovery. The meeting is set for noon tomorrow

“Yeah, but be careful, remember your back in the Big Apple, not in eastern Turkey.You still don’t know the story of how it got lost, nor those boo-boos on Jacobs “

“yes…….and now the bad news. Rogers Security has to provide a night ‘Person’ for a warehouse up in the Bronx. Since I’m the last man hired I’ll been assigned the job. So my free days are over, the hours are from 6 PM to 1AM. Guess I’ll be looking for another job unless I can talk my way out of it.”

Hacivat finished his tea and said: “jobs are hard to find, so hang in there for a while. As Ben tells us:’ All human situations have their inconveniences. We feel those of the present but neither see nor feel those of the future; and hence we often make troublesome changes without amendment, and frequently for the worse.’”

“stuff it” said Karagoz.

The next morning was one of those fresh sunny days that demands to be lived to the fullest, so Karagoz decided to walk to the village. They were working on Brooklyn Bridge but it was still open to pedestrians ( and bikes!). He walked up Henry Sreet, to Middagh Street ,to the pathway that led up a stairway to the

Brooklyn Bridge Pedestrian Path. The walk across the bridge was as wonderful as he remembered it as a boy. He had to watch out more now, perhaps, for fast moving bikes, but less for “street people”. He threaded his way over to Madison and walked through Chinatown to Allen Street…(hey! this seems to be a longer walk than I remember it! ) where it finally turned into First Avenue. After he crossed 6th street there was a haven at last. Going into the McDonalds, he made a well-earned trip to the john, and sat down for lunch/breakfast before going on to the meeting at the proper time.

The brownstone, when he got to it, was the usual red-brown drab color. It was five stores high and four windows looked out on to the street at each level. Since there was no fire escape on the front he assumed there must be one on the back. There was a stoop and an additional apartment opening under it on the right side, while the left area was occupied by five quite clean, garbage cans. Modest enough , but the Elite Escort Service must has some assets to own it, since most of these (when they were for sale) sold for a couple of million. The first floor was high enough up from street level so you couldn’t see in, but never the less were covered with white sheer curtains. Sitting in front of one of them sat a large fat grey cat, who quietly studied him with his piercing green eyes. He went up the stairs to the front door and pressed the button labeled “ Nigar Miller”. The buzzer unlocked the heavy front door without a challenge, opening it he went in to meet her at the door of the apartment on the first floor.

“Welcome, Mr. Karagoz. “,she held out her hand to shake his, and smiled in perfect pose.

He felt that she must have a psychic link with the cat. Her eyes were, indeed, a shade of green, which went with her light brunette complexion and didn’t do too badly with a really nicely curved body! In short, she was a knockout. He approved and his body gave a salute. It had been a while. He followed her into the main front room (yes, she moved like a cat too) in which were settled two other women. One was a “big boned” blond (natural?) dressed in pastel shades of blue, the other a tiny oriental woman of uncertain age who seemed to be quietly foreign to everything around her.

Nigar moved to the blond,

“This is Ms. De Luca”

De Luca stood , shook his hand with a surprisingly firm handshake

“ I’m Angela”, she said.

Turning, Nigar introduced the last woman:

“and this is Miss. Sun-ja Park .”

Miss Park did not offer her hand, nor did she stand. She sat in the chair and nodded her greeting. She didn’t seem to be hostile or indifferent, just somehow apart from what was going on around her. Only her dark brown eyes failed to hide her calculating attention. Mrs. Miller seemed to be the ringmaster of this circus, and she continued to act in that role and said:

“Please sit down. I have the cellphone and will give it to you in a minute, but first I’d like you to hear about how I got it.

First of all, the three of us own the Elite Escort Service, and I am the chairperson of the board. The service owns this brownstone. We require our clients to read and sign this agreement (she hands him a three page document), which I would like you to read later. This (she hands him another, thicker, document) is a copy of the articles of incorporation of the firm. Now to the tale of the cellphone…..

Eli has been a client of our firm for some time. He and I have agreed upon certain additional services, provided by me, as are outlined in the written agreement. His wife is aware of our contract and does not disagree, so there are no problems there. Lately Eli has been having what some men like to call ‘a midlife crises’. The firm, though the computer networking skills of Miss. Park, keeps careful (and secure) records of the medical conditions of its’ clients. Before his last visit to see me, he had a ‘ t-shot’. It was given by his doctor, who has no record of the Viagra that he has been using. Sun-ja thought that there might be some problems with this (like side effects), and we decided that Angela had better monitor our meeting. (We have a system to do this and not be seen by the client. ) Angela has some skill in self-defense.

In short, the worse happened. Eli failed in what he wanted, become abusive, and Angela came in to solve the problem. Things got out of hand and I zapped him with my Taser. While he was ‘out’ we put him out on the stoop, and let him recover. What I didn’t know, and was quite improper, was that Angela’s old skills took over and she lifted Eli’s cellphone.

(Angela had the grace to look embarrassed and at the same time a little smug)

Eli was not really hurt, but his pride had been badly damaged. I am sure he will work this out with his therapist and we continue our relationship. All of this is probably best kept to yourself, unless you feel it is necessary to share.

Any questions to this point?” she asked, handing him the cellphone in question.

“Well,” he said, after pocketing the item.” Miss. Park must be very skillful to be able to get those medical records the way she did. Did she run a background check on me too? And…..what is all this material you gave me for? Why the meeting? “

Nigar nodded and smiled.

“Exactly! We have done our work and have come to the conclusion that it would be wise to add a male member to our staff, and we have agreed that you have the proper credentials to be that person. Why don’t you read the documents, do a little research yourself, and come back and talk it over with us?

If you accept, you could have the basement apartment as part of your employment benefits. It would need a good deal of work to get into shape .”

The cat, who had been watching them with a bored disinterest, chose that moment to jump down from the window, and leave the room, tail held high. Karagoz tried to do the same, but the exit lacked disinterest. He took the subway back to the heights , went back to the apartment, and sat down to study the documents he had. By late afternoon he had researched a number of details on the web and call Mr. Jacobs to tell him he had his cellphone. Jacobs asked him to send to him by a delivery service Jacobs often used and he agreed. No details were shared, nor even requested. Hacivat found him in deep thought when he came back to the apartment.


The little rains had come and the people of Addis Ababa breathed once more the cool moist African air scented by the tall eucalyptus trees. The valleys in the city had turned green at last and the steep hillsides populated with noisy and mischievous baboon families. The rains had not been enough in the past, and so the moisture was very welcomed. It was always quiet in the compound, which sat back from the street about 20 meters. The driveway was flanked by banana trees up to the walls. After the gate, it came up to the house in the center, then circled back. Extensive rose plantings surrounded a small thatched building in front of the house, that was caged and in which brightly colored birds seemed busy inside. In back of the house, built along the back wall were a number of small apartments of no more than one or two rooms each. They had small porches and a fire pit smoked under one of them. The main house was roomy, but not “grand”. One side of the compound wall was built along the edge of a deep heavily treed valley . the incline was too steep to go up and down, although the baboons and hyenas often used the slope to get to the compound. The servants would throw garbage over the walls for the hyenas. The baboons went where they wanted to; everyone knew it was best to leave them alone!

Aimone Makonnen looked out from the front window at the roses . the soft rain seemed to brighten their blooms and deepen the healthy green of their leaves. They had been the joy of his wife, Fenet, and he was pleased that they no longer were a melancholy pain of her death, but a piece of her life for him. Still…….it was lonely house. Ethiopia had seen more than her fair share of troubles in his life! Invaded and conquered by the Italians in 1935, she regained her independence and Haile Selassie regained the throne. There had been some good times. When he was 15 he was sent to Harrow, after which he went to Princeton University in the USA. He was talented in languages (speaking Amharic, English, Italian, and a little Oromigna) and studied Russian. All of this education was funded by his mother’s family. When he graduated from Princeton with a BA degree he was 23 years old. He returned to Ethiopia and taught Russian at what was then called “Haile Selassie I University” . in 1970 the Wollo famine cast a shadow of things to come,and in 1974, the world fell apart . Under the direction of Mengistu, the Red Terror swept the nation like a plaque. As someone said, "each squad a law unto itself. Some looked only for arms, but others confiscated food supplies, building materials, and gasoline; some considered cameras espionage equipment, and others regarded typewriters as highly dangerous." His mother was one of the many who went to the reeducation camps, and one of the few to return. Through it all, she was somehow able to hide the few letters from his father who had been imprisoned by the British (and died in the camp). It had been impossible to help his mother or the family that gave him his education, but because he was teaching Russian, he was not removed (to be reeducated) from his teaching position. His wife died childless. He had a house large enough for him and his mother when she returned from the camp. She lived a long life and died at 90 years old.

Now the servants took care of the compound. There were two apartments for them The one which had the fire pit in the front porch, was that of his cook and her husband, who kept the compound in order.

The other housed their daughter and her husband. The daughter cleaned the main house and tended the birds and roses. Her husband worked as laborer in the city.

Over the years he had become more interested in St. Mary’s church and the study of some Ge’ez documents in the library there. While he did not consider himself very religious, he enjoyed the services . The Easter service at St Mary’s had been beautiful. He loved the quiet of the church , the way that the congregation stood and the various ways they used their prayer sticks during the service. Most of all, he liked the group of monks, who sang the songs of Solomon in Geez after the service in the hall outside. The combination of the washint ( a bamboo flute ), the senasel,( a sistrum.),dominated by the kebero ( a large hand drum) stayed with him even now. He had known this land as “home “as a boy and man.

Now he was 72.

A lonely Amhara.

Well, maybe as a Ethiopian Italian?

…….and , perhaps, one with an important choice to make.

The law firm that had served the House of Savoy for many years had found him after a prolonged search. When Dominic Ruffatti (the man who his mother said was his father)died he left instructions of what was to be passed to a woman he had come to know, named Amara Makonnen. . in the event of her death the property was to be passed on to her issue. He had left instructions as to how the firm was to insure that the persons could be correctly identified. The letters were the best proof, and they were safely in Almone’s care. The firm had purchased first class airplane tickets for him to come to Rome, where a car would meet him and take him to the office in Turin.

His mother had told him about his father, Dominic Ruffatti, but she had decided to not make contact with his family, and told him it would be better if he did not. Dominic was a trusted member of the staff of Amedeo Umberto Isabella Luigi Filippo Maria Giuseppe Giovanni, the Duke of Aosta and died in the British prison camp with him. The fortunes of war had , as they always have, shaped the recorded and accepted account of what men did and how they would be remembered. That Duke of Aosta became a shadow and faded from the history books along with the House of Savoy.; and Dominic? Even more so.

With nothing to lose, and a free pleasant trip to Italy to gain, there was not much to consider

Aimone packed his bags and took the shuttle from the airport motel to the airport. He checked to make sure he had his passport, money, and ticket. He looked at the ticket, but was still unsure about the wisdom of this whole adventure.

In April, San Fernando took a brief break from its usual sun and clear blue sky, and had a period of welcome chilling rain. This is welcomed for the effect it has on the land. The hills turn briefly from a dusty brown to a fresh green. The house finches became active and their lengthy song spoke of new life. The enclosed yards of the houses all have vegetation that requires less moisture than their eastern counterparts. It is , in a way, a replication of the differences between green England and warmer dryer Spain. Spring is a happy time in a comfortable town, ah yes, it is true that San Fernando is a town surrounded by a thing called Los Angeles, but it is a little smug about how it sees itself.
The Casas home on Modd Street (just around the corner from the O’Melveny Elementary School on Woodworth Street) was a typical two bedroom house of the area. The residents were Emerico Casas (father)Laurita( mother) and Eulalie (daughter, age 7). Mrs. Casas taught 5th grade in the near-by school. Mr. Casas worked at the” younger actor studio” in Los Angeles (really, studio city) .and Eulalie was a gifted child who had been placed in the 3d grade where she seemed happy enough.
For a week Mama had been serving fish and non-red meat dishes, and they were good, but the Easter meal was to be special! The spicy smell of Arroz Con Pollo (chicken in a tomato sauce and rice, spiced with cumin, garlic, onion, and oregano) harmonized with the familiar odor of black bean soup. Mama loved to cook, and she was good at it. Papa was outside, and Eulalie was curled up in a chair reading a new book , a play by Shakespeare titled “the taming of the shew”. It was fun. She really liked the way Katherina made it seem like Petruchio was the” ruler” of the family , but Eulalie knew that this was a method for Katherina to maintain control. Mama was good at this too.
Walking outside, Eulalie found Papa trimming the grass around the palm tree. The evenings were the most pleasant time of the day for Eulalie.
“Hi, is the dinner about done?’, he asked in Spanish. When they were alone they would speak in Spanish. Mama didn’t speak Spanish, so they did not use it all that often….and Eulalie was not as fluent in it as English.
“Just about, it smells wonderful! I like chicken much better than fish.”
“Dinner’s ready!” called Mama from the front door.the evening meal was always a time when the family shared information and discussed future plans.
“Easter is here, so soon you will have a summer vacation. You could do something like go to a summer camp this year.” (Mama)
“well, “ said Eulalie thoughtfully ,”does your company still offer summer classes in acting for kids?”
“yes they do, is that something you would be interested in doing?”
“I think it would be fun, and I could ride in and back with you.”
“Sounds good to me. Let’s think it over for a while . I bet I could get a discount too! What do you think , Laurita?”
“I think it would be ok….i just hope Eulalie doesn’t like acting, it is a cut-throat business to be in.”
‘oh! I doubt she will find it that interesting.”, said Papa.
(We’ll see, thought Eulalie)

It was hot. Well, Julys in New York City are hot, and uncomfortable. Karagoz was in the kitchen of his new basement apartment on east 14th street, making a chili to match the weather outside. In April, facing employment as a night guard, he had given his two weeks’ notice and worked out an agreeable contract with “Elite Escorts”. Part of the deal was that he was to do most of the necessary work on the apartment himself. No problem, he had always been good with his hands and could do the job so it pleased him, and he did. He had a number of escort jobs,(all with women, thankfully) and had proved himself capable of the task. Sun-ja researched all clients and gave him a complete file on the client before the job. It was obvious that she had hacking skills and did not hesitate to use them.
The apartment was really roomy. It had a front living room, a hall that connected to a bathroom, two bedrooms, and a kitchen-dining nook. Outside doors lead to the street, to the inside hall and stairs, and the third to an open space in the back of the house. The fire escapes towered above this area. Since the brownstone faced north and was quite dark, he had spent a good deal on lighting. The basement also had a room for storage for the apartment tenets, and a room with a washer and dryer that connected with the inside stairwell.
Hacivat was coming for supper tonight. It would be good to see him again. As much as the two liked each other Karagoz doubted that the living together would have worked. Both needed their space. Hacivat had been dating a girl that sang in Plymouth church, and it sounded serious!
Karagoz smiled.
He thought he would make the second (unused) bedroom into a study.
Cicero, Niger’s’ grey cat, wandered into the kitchen, and smelling the chili, left at once. He seemed to be able to go everywhere, and did. He went to the spare bedroom, and sat in the last rays of sunshine that came though the wilndow.
The front door buzzer rattled though the kitchen, and Karagoz, after checking to make sure it was Hacivat, buzzed him in. They spend a quiet and enjoyable time together over the chili. Hacivat had brought a good red wine which went with the garlic bread nicely. Karagoz told him about the house ritual of all the tenants of the house having a meal together in Nigar’ s apartment every Sunday evening . At the end of their meal, Hacivat was talking about Nan, his new love.
“Hey, you said she was young. How young?”
“She’s 17, but looks and acts a lot older.’ He said, defensively.
“My god, she’s about 12 years younger than you….and legally off limits too! Are you sure you know what you are doing?” Karagoz blurted out before he could stop and think.
“I know, I know. Pop has already read me the riot act. It’s just that we really get along so well. I will be careful.” He moaned.
“For a guy so smart, you sure can do some dumb things”
The two friends left it there, and they were into other things as the evening closed into that pleasant mix of conversation and quiet time they both enjoyed. The sun had set by the time Hacivat left for the subway.
That Sunday evening meal was planned and made by Miss. Park. It was Jae-yook (Kim-Chi) Bo-kum( ,or Spicy Pork and Kimchi Stirfry.). Kim-chi is Fermented Cabbage . and the red pepper in it makes it HOT and spicy. She served it with white rice and a dry, light Riesling. As usual the supper was a pleasant meal with lively conversation, but …was there an undercurrent of something here? At the end of the meal, Nigar and Sun-ja cleared the table and stayed in the kitchen. Angela smiled at him. He liked her. She was a woman who used no guile at all, and she came straight to the point.
“The girls thought it would be best for me to talk to you alone. I’m the one who does most of the ‘added services’ for the firm, you see. Let me explain how it works. The elite escort service is just that. We serve that one percent that has it all, and wants more. Nigar has access to that society, and sorts though the various ‘want lists’. Those that are legal, and within our ability to provide, she passes on to Sun-ja for a background check. This includes health records of course. It’s surprising out many nasty little problems come to light.”
She took a sip of here wine, and thoughtfully looked at it.
“Anyway, all three of us go through the ones that pass that process, and assigned the appropriate person to the task. Nigar does all front work. She establishes what the service will be , how much it will cost, and collects the cash. Now we come to your role in the firm…as to ‘added service’ that is….and your response will not change your present status, so don’t worry about that.
Par amour has always been central to human beings, and that doesn’t change just because you are rich. You escorted Ms. Cabot recently. Do you remember her?”
Karagoz knew where this was going, and was glad that it was Angela who was laying this out… to speak.
“Yes, it was a pleasant evening. We had supper and then went to Lincoln Center”
“Susan is not married and does not wish to be. She wants to have a baby while she is still young enough to do so safely. She wants to have a white , red haired child. She doesn’t want to use the sperm banks because she doesn’t trust the doctors. They sometime will misrepresent donor sperm and substitute their own . (we live in such a shocking world) She also wants to have some pleasure in the process. Why not? You are quite acceptable to her. Nigar says it would be an extra $1000 a night in your pay check from the firm, and a bonus of $20,000 if you hit the jackpot. There would be all sorts of legal paper work to protect both of you, and Susan would have sole parenthood (no rights for you). Of course the firm makes a tidy profits. ….I provide added services in the same way. So, how about it?”
“I thought something like this might be in the works, and yes , let us try this out …at least once. I liked MS Cabot and think I could live with the conditions. The money is good too!”
“Fine! Now then, how about added service for men?”
‘I thought not’, said Angela.


There was a cloud cover over Rome so that one minute you were in the sun looking down on stark white clouds, and the next you were on the ground looking at a cold wet drab day. when Aimone reached the airport terminal he saw a uniformed driver holding a sign with “ Makonnen “ on it and worked his way through the crowd to meet him. They picked up his bag and went to the parked car, and with Aimone in the back they left the airport and took the A90 around Rome. It was a long drive north, and he fell asleep. He woke as they crossed A20 and drove into Turin. He checked into the hotel Chelsea and his driver told him how to walk to his meeting the next morning at 10 AM. The city was old, and wealthy, full of treasure carefully and tastefully scattered. The re-education camps seemed a stark and unlikely memory here. Still Italy, herself had been given her fair share of pain over the years, and what good was it to dwell on such things?
After a good nights’ sleep, and a fine breakfast, Aimone went to the lobby and sat in a comfortable chair and read the local newspaper, the Cagliari. There were articles on the president of the USA. a strike in Milan, and the economy. Nothing very different from the news in Addis. The report style was different, Italians and Ethiopians do have different values. At about 10 he walked the three blocks to the office to have his meeting. It would not be good manners to arrive too early.
The lawyers’ office was a den of books and warm rich woodwork, designed to state wealth and comfort.
It did.
The coat of arms of the house of savoy was discreetly hung among a number of photographs having some age.
“Mr. Makonnen , welcome! I am very pleased to meet you at last. The firm is acting as the executors of the estates of both your father and Prince Amedeo, Duke of Aosta. This is somewhat unusual, but then the whole situation is unusual. There are a number of details that need to be cleared up before I can tell you much more, but I assure you it will be worth the trouble.
First of all, you have some letters from your father to your mother?’
“yes, here they are”. Aimone handed him the rather tired looking packet of letters.
“Ah! Good! “ He took out an official looking form and wrote a description of the packet without opening it, signed it , and passed it back to Aimone.
“we will need to have these studied. This document states that we are responsible for them during that time”
“ok” said Aimone, somewhat puzzled.
“and now, it would aid matters greatly if we could have a small sample of your blood. This would establish that you are the proper owner of these letters, I think.”
“Ah! Now I understand. Yes, of course”
The lawyer stood (indicating that the interview was over)shook his hand and said:
“They will do that in the outer office now. We will need some time to get things in order, you understand, but we will contact you when we complete our task. The firm will pay all expenses that you have while you are here, and they will give you an advance of cash too. A fair exchange, I think?
Again, welcome to Italy, and enjoy your visit”
Aimone stood in the street outside the office.
(That was short and sweet! They want to make damn sure I am who I say I am, He thought, and I guess I am pleased with that. I wonder what will come of all this. Anyway, I am going have a good time here at their expense. They gave me 2000 euros as pocket money! I’ll send some of that back to the servants; they have been shorted for some time.)
Three days later, the firm called and set up another appointment.
“ Mr. Makonnen , please sit down, we have done our work now, and everything is as it should be. From this point on the firm now acts as your lawyer. This relationship protects both of us. Is that acceptable to you?”
“yes, of course.”
The lawyer beamed at him.
“your father acted as the aide-de-camp to the Duke of Aosta, and was interned with him in the British prisoner of war camp in Nairobi, Kenya. In February, 1942 your father died ,and he asked the duke to tend to his affairs and ensure that his natural son (you) received certain items from a bank box here. The Duke instructed this firm to do so, and we got and protected the items. He also asked that your father be given certain assesses that were his (the Dukes’) personal property, not that of the House of Savoy. We were instructed to find you and give them to you. On 3 march,1942, the Duke died at the prison camp, reportedly as a result of complications from both tuberculosis and malaria. You can understand why we were somewhat tarty in our job.
First of all, here are the letters to your mother.
Secondly, following the wishes of the Duke , you are now life owner of an apartment on via XXsettembre nearby, and a monthly endowment of roughly 2000 euros a month for life. The property is still owned by the House of Savoy, and will continue to maintain it and staff it. The House of Savoy has agreed to this in writing.
And at last, this is the only item we found in the bank box. It was sealed , as you see, by your father, and has not been opened. These things sometimes have surprises which can cause trouble. If you open it now, the firm, acting in your behalf, can advise you what the legal problems may be…..if any.”
He passed small strong box over to Aimone . it had an unbroken wax seal on it.
Standing, Aimone broke the seal without comment, and opened the box. Inside were a bunch of letters and documents, and a small jewel case. There were a number of what looked to be unset gemstones inside the case. Some of these were of the old rose cut design. The largest was a yellow color, somewhat flawed by a greenish cast….a citrine he guessed. There were others that were of better quality and different colors.
The lawyer looked at them and said:
“There may be legal problems dealing with those. Would you mind if we have a member of our staff that knows gems, look at them so we know what you have?”
“please do “said Aimone and sat down.
In a while an older man came into the room, walked over to the desk, took a look at the open box, and said: “it’s The Florentine”.

In California, it was another “California day”. When the Casas family sat down for breakfast, it was 75 degrees, promising another hot and dry day. A dry breeze moved the palms in a lazy dance. The end of summer was in sight, and Eulalie was looking forward to going to 4th grade. ( Maybe it was more that she looked forward to telling her girlfriends about going to the acting school. ) But then yesterday had been eventful! A man who was directing a play in a local theater had seen her act in the workshop, and had asked Papa to find out if she would play a part. Everyone in the family was thrilled, but no decision was made yet.
The play was” The Children's Hour” by Lillian Hellman. Eulalie was to play the part of Mary Tllford, who was a really nasty little girl. She was mischievous, disobedient and untruthful, and often led the other girls into trouble. It sounded like a lot of fun to Eulalie. She didn’t think she was allowed to be any of those, so why not try it out to see how it feels?
Papa was more concerned that playing such a role would stop a career in acting. Once she was seen to be a bad little girl, would the public see her as anything else?
Mama, on the other hand was more concerned with how the play would interfere with her normal life as a child. She wanted Eulalie to have a proper education, and that meant both what she was taught in the classroom, and what she learned by being in a mixed group of her own age.
After much discussion, the family agreed that she should take the part, if the director could work around her schooling. Papa thought the play would not get all that much attention so it would not have that much negative impact on an action career. Besides, she may not want to have an acting career. The play was last done at the Coronet Theatre in Los Angeles, in 1952, and he felt it was out of date.
There were a few rough spots in working out the details, but in the end Eulalie entered an early acting career. She knew that it was what she wanted, and was happy with the decision.
Last edited by burdick on Sat Dec 08, 2012 8:09 am, edited 31 times in total.

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Re: story

Post by bags123 » Sun Oct 14, 2012 6:52 am

Interesting read. Is there more?
I prefer to keep an open mind,....but not so much that my brains fall out.- Carl Sagan
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Re: story

Post by burdick » Sun Oct 14, 2012 7:39 am

well, I hope so. I usally fail at my writing prose. this time my son and my grandson are writing with me (that is they are writing stories too) and we have agreed to goad eachother on. (hmmm would that be "on goad eachother"?
I have picked a set form of prose, and the characters are traditional....the setting , however is mine as, will be , the plot.

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Re: story

Post by bags123 » Sun Oct 14, 2012 8:46 am

Well,...I'll be on the look out for more then. Good luck. :hello:
I prefer to keep an open mind,....but not so much that my brains fall out.- Carl Sagan
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Re: story

Post by LadySaturn » Tue Oct 16, 2012 1:16 am

I agree with Bagsy, this is interesting.. :hello:

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Re: story

Post by burdick » Tue Oct 16, 2012 4:00 am to do this? I want to post an add on to my story. I think I will revise my story in the panel. If someone has a better idea , let me know.

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Re: story

Post by heinzs » Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:48 am

If you wish to add more to the story you can post it as a reply or as a second topic. If you want it all together you can create it in your word processor and then replace the entire text in the edit panel of the first topic. Editing in the panel is difficult because the program drops you at a certain number of characters, and I forget how many that is.

I'll get back to this as soon as I can... am at work now.

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