Dec 17, 2015

France still exists (2)

So we went on another excursion because Chang can no longer handle Michael's self-centered talk about yet another book project. Here's the result (Aix en Provence). The picture is a comment on Jean Cocteau's characterization of the city as un aveugle qui croit qu'il pleut (a blind person who thinks it rains), intended as a reminder of Aix's abundance of fountains. 

And here's another fragment from "The Senator and I." Alice, the narrator, has been adopted by this bizarre household, and now she's meeting the natural children of the household for the first time:

There is something about forms, or conventions. I had been declared a “member” of the “household,” I had been fitted with “The Ring,”—and so I was seated at the lord-of-the-manor table, served French fare, and exposed to the physical proximity of complete strangers who were my family but not really good at small talk. Still, I was on a high after my first ocean experience, and the food was good, and I dared to tell unasked about the freak wave, and my seeing a real-life ocean for the first time, and even about my feelings, how elated I had been, and still was, how happy. Occasionally they frowned their brows, and when they did, Xato corrected my pronunciation. Of course, we weren’t from the same location (spoiler alert: we weren’t even from the same continent). I did speak English, it felt like my mother tongue, and I somehow knew theirs, their accent, but they didn’t know mine [Indian accent]. Eventually they stopped listening, and I fell silent. They munched on their fries. The Cointreau glass had been full, empty, full, empty. It was half-empty when Lydia raised her voice a bit and suggested that I should join Hollie and Era in their exploits after lunch. That wasn’t well-received, though, because the kids wouldn’t go back skiing, the snow sucked, and there wouldn’t be a spare pair of skis for the girl anyhow (Erasmus didn’t remember my name, apparently), not of the new XXX-skis that you would need for this mess up there.

Whether they had seen traces, Lydia asked. No, the boy said. Yes, Hollie corrected him, there had been traces, very clear ones, better than last time, in the snow, of the three giants. Footprints. “Giants?” I asked. Yes, the giants that live up there, well, perhaps you don’t know (poor foster-child), the snow giants, enormous prints, three toes per indentation, in the snow, but the snow sucked.

We were in the future and I didn’t even know the season. Hollywood---that would be California, wouldn’t it, where they have eternal spring. “It’s spring,” I said, half-asking. No reply. “Does anybody know which year it is?” I asked, but was misunderstood, except by Xato perhaps, who whispered: “Three-hundred twenty.” Three-hundred twenty didn’t ring a bell at all.

The Lady’s glass was still empty, the MAs stood to attention like matchstick men in a high-school play, the frightful horses were relieving themselves one more time, nothing made sense, why should I  still make sense. So, I said: “No, I mean it, I must be in the future.”
“No, you are not,” somebody said. The Lady herself had spoken with her raspy voice, to me. It was a momentous event, judging by the body language of everybody else. Erasmus whistled.
“How do you know,” I asked.
“The Senator will explain,” she said and let her shoulders slump a bit further.
“The Senator will explain,” Xato echoed/whispered into my ear. The case was closed. We went silent. In the meantime we were having desert (I could have had a “crème de something” but ordered plum pie), and coffee (all this without the participation of The Lady or Lydia), and now we were waiting. The Cointreau glass was still empty. Nobody was working an iThing, or any other hand-held device. Hollie stole a studious regard at her mother. How would this end? Well, she slumped off her chair, is how it ended, or almost, since Xato, the nearest assistant, had saved Her Lady from dropping to the ground and was now holding her up with stretched-out arms, the strong man. And before we knew it, a wheel-chair had arrived on an S (the standing platform), a self-steering chair, this one, and the Lady had been cushioned into its seat whence the vehicle made back onto the platform, Lydia in tow, and they were swept away. The rest of the family rose.

Are you still there? Then you may like Michael's first novel, GREEN EYES. which is out now, available on Amazon under this link:

Night Owl Reviews

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