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Old 03-14-2018, 09:42 AM
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joseph engraver joseph engraver is offline
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Sarzana,Italy
Posts: 661
Default Re: Omens of bad luck

Thanking him, I picked up my raincoat then continued my walk down to the Seine. At the river side I found a bench and sat down to think about my future and enjoy the gardens, flowers, the quiet, and the lovers walking along the broad sidewalks.
The night air had turned cold. I put on my rain coat, as I did I noticed that one of the pockets had something in it. I could not imagine what it could be, as I pulled out a plain white envelope with the name Monsieur Wilson in script across it. Instantly knew that it had to be from the girl back at the Aviation Club. I felt the envelope, it was full. “Damn” I said out loud, “Don’t tell me she has given me money to pay for that hat.”I opened the envelope fully expecting that I would have to go back to the club and insist she keep her money. Instead I found a note and a red silk handkerchief .I read the note written in English with beautiful calligraphy, “Dear monsieur Wilson,
I have no words to tell you how much I appreciated you generous gift. My brother is a passionate fan of the TV series Dallas. I shall give him the hat for his sixteenth birthday. Your note I shall have framed and keep as a memento .I wish you good fortune in all of your life´s endeavors.
Marcella Guibert, Paris France”
Folding the note I placed it back into the envelope and took out the handkerchief. I held it to my face and inhaled the fragrance of jasmine. I sat there several minutes feeling the silk against my skin and the scent of the delicate perfume in my nostrils. I unfolded the handkerchief and discovered there was a white dolphin embroidered with silk in one of its corners. The Eiffel tower lit up at that moment breaking the spell. Slowly and with much care I placed the handkerchief into its envelope and placed it my shirt pocket, Stood, and began my walk back to the hotel.

While looking into the darkened shop windows along George V Avenue, I saw the reflection of a man.
For an instant I did not recognize the figure wearing the black raincoat as me. I thought I was seeing Lucky Bob, looking sad and lost. Hoping for luck and wishing he had someone who really cared. The image brought me to the moment of bitter truth. I am the same as Bob, wandering from one poker table to the next. Never making friends, for all the hundreds of players I meet are adversaries, hoping I will lose planning, strategies against me, oh, they smile, tell Jokes and stories and say “nice hand” when I took their money, just as I did when they took money away from me.
For some reason I thought again of the cashier back at the Horseshoe Casino, maybe it was the perfumed handkerchief in my pocket or the warm and friendly smile she gave me every time I saw her when I bought or cashed in chips.
I really did not know, hell, I did not even know her last name or if she was married, but I was going to make the effort to find out when I got back to Las Vegas.
I had been standing in front of my reflection for several minutes when the alley cat appeared out of the shadows and into the orange glare of a street light nearby.
It was playing with a mouse. I watched as it turned his prey loose, waited as the little grey creature ran towards the dark shadows and freedom, only to be caught then brought back into the light squeaking in terror. Suddenly the cat saw me, focused its yellow eyes on me, arched it back, snarled, then grabbed the mouse in its jaws and disappeared into the nights mist.
I am not a believer in superstitions, however this scene caused a cold shiver to run through my body, and I hurried towards the hotel determined to take a hot bath and get a good night´s rest.
As soon as I entered my room, I stripped off my boots and clothes, and then shaved as the tub was filling. I felt the chill leave my body, enjoying the luxury of the hot water while I came to a decision. I decided to return to Los Angeles.
Having settled that problem, I got out of the tub and dried off as the water drained away, along with my thoughts of Moss and that damned alley cat. Naked I went to bed and instantly fell asleep, but awoke early covered with cold sweat from a very disturbing dream.
The Dream
I was walking in the moon light .It was night; I was in a park surrounded by a garden of Hibiscus. There was a small pool; it was filled with fragrant pale blue Hyacinth and lotus flowers. by the edge of the pool was a large brown mushroom growing out of the blood drenched earth, Upon it a toad was perched in deadly silence .Only The pupils of his bulging eyes followed the movements of small butterflies attracted to the flowers as they danced in fascination of a glittering silver coin, suspended around the toad’s thick throat and neck. It was the same coin Moss carried, hanging from a chain composed of human bones.
I watched as the toads tongue flicked in and out until suddenly, he caught one small, bright red, dancing butterfly, crushing it and swallowing it instantly.

Not being able to go back to sleep I turned on the TV; found the French channel 24 to watch the mornings world news in English, until the time came to call the concierge to make arrangements for the first available flight out of Charles De Gaulle International to LAX, California.
With his promise that he would do his best, and ring me up when he had a seat for me, I hung up and started packing my belongings. That was the moment I heard the voice in the background from the news commentator say that the nude body of brutally mutilated and strangled young girl was discovered by a grounds keeper in The Jardins Du Champs Elyseés early this morning. Her Identity was being withheld pending notification to her family by the Gendarme.
I was shocked, the first thought that came to my mind was could Moss be involved?
I needed to know now, in bathrobe and bare feet I ran out of the room and down the stairs to the lobby and asked if Moss had returned. The concierge looked at me and said, “Monsieur Moss was arrested and escorted, in handcuffs, by the police from the hotel two hours ago.”
Standing there half naked I began to tremble. The sudden thought that Moss could possibly be involved in this murder left me speechless in the middle of the lobby, “Are you alright monsieur?”
“All right! Do I look as if I am all right to you? No I am not all right. I heard on the TV that a girl has been murdered in the park nearby and I had my suspicions that Moss is involved, which you have now confirmed. I came down here to confront him and hear what he had to say, but now that I know he is in police custody I shall return to my room and continue packing my valise. Have you been able to find me a flight yet?”
Staring at my bare feet the Concierge shook his head. “I am so sorry Mr. Wilson. What with all the excitement this morning it slipped my mind. I shall take care of the matter this instant.”
Suddenly understanding how ridiculous I looked, I apologized to the Receptionist, the Concierge and the group of tourists who were also staring at me, then made a hasty retreat up the stairs and back to my room only to find that I had locked myself out.
At that moment the concierge arrived to let me in, saying as he did, “It was very obvious that you had no key with you Monsieur. We do our best to see that the guests at the Amarante Hotel needs are anticipated.”I shook his hand and apologized once more.
“No need to apologize Mr. Wilson, it is a gruesome murder and she was so young, it is a shame, but life can be so unfairly cruel.
I shall find you a flight within the next hour. It should not be a problem as today is the eleventh of September.” I entered my room as he closed the door behind me and shut off the TV.
Sitting on the bed with my mind spinning, I could only think of the girls I had seen at McDonalds.
I wondered what had happened after I had left. It was a bad and fatal turn of the cards. None of it made any sense to me. I took a deep breath, exhaled, dressed, finished packing my valise, and then went down to the lobby to settle my bill.
In the lobby there had gathered several newspaper reporters, all of them questioning the concierge about the hotels American guest Mr. Moss.
When he saw me, he raised his hands in a hopeless gesture and shook his head, “I am sorry Mr. Wilson things are totally out of my control. I have failed to find you a flight.”Not wanting to become involved I responded to him with the same gesture saying, “Don’t worry I am able to care of myself.” I presented the receptionist my credit card and watched the vultures prancing around the overwhelmed concierge while she processed my card, gave me a receipt, then returned my passport.
I stepped out of the hotel looking for a cab, I did not have to wait long; one going in the opposite direction made a U turn in the middle of the traffic then pulled up in front of the hotel.
Not waiting for the driver to get out, I opened the door, started to toss my valise on the back seat when the stench of body sweat, stale wine and Goulioses cigarettes hit me. Closing the car door I waved the cabby off. He sat there motor running still expecting me to get in, then blew his horn, gave me the finger and drove off in a cloud of exhaust fumes.
I walked back to the curb saying out loud, “It has to be that damned cat last night.” Soon another cab stopped and it passed the smell test. I climbed in and said, “Charles De Gaulle and take your time please.” As the cabby made his way through the streets packed with cars, trucks, motorcycles and bicycles even this early in the day, I closed my eyes tried to relax. Then I remembered my rain coat,
It was still in the hotel room and decided I would need to call the concierge after I had a seat reserved for my flight home.
So it was that on September eleventh, seventeen years after two thousand nine hundred and seventy seven innocents died in a terrorist attack on the United States of America, I went to the American Air Lines kiosk with my ticket and asked if there would be a seat available for me on a plane to LAX. The queue at the desk consisted of a group of six Orientals that I presumed to be Japanese, one old man in a wheel chair, his granddaughter, and me. The concierge was correct, the International hub was eerily quiet, within an hour I had my boarding pass on the 09:30 AM flight leaving from terminal 2T with an arrival time 22:.55 in Los Angeles the next day. I could not have found a better day to fly. I took off my belt and silver buckle put it in the valise, and then handed it over to be checked in.
Walking down the nearly deserted corridor to Immigration and customs my friend ´s words came to me.
My friend the engraver has a philosophic opinion about people. We were sitting in his shop one day discussing the paranoia that people were experiencing over the coming of the end of the world in the 21st century year. When I asked him his opinion on the matter, He said without a trace of humor, “If you could take fear, ignorance, superstition, and deceit, and condense them down to a can of soup, eighty five percent of the world´s population would evaporate.”
Immigration and customs also were not overwhelmed with disgruntled tourists and in a matter of ten minutes I stood before the electronic gate to hell, dreading the, “Hands in the air and take off your boots, sir.” Very much to my surprise, I passed the examination without a problem and entered into the boarding area with relief in my heart and a boot full of cash.
Stopping at the first telephone, I dug out the checkout receipt with the number of the hotel on it and made my call. The receptionist answered and I asked for the concierge telling her as I did that I was Mr. Joseph Wilson.
While I waited for him to come on line I decided not to ask about Moss, after all it was none of my business, and having made a fool out of myself onetime, I wanted to keep it that way.
Several minutes passed, I was about to forget the call and leave the raincoat to the housecleaner when he answered, “Mr. Wilson, have you trouble in booking a flight, what can I do for you?”
“No, no, everything is fine, and you were right, the airport is a ghost city, The reason I am calling is that I forgot a raincoat in my room this morning and I wanted to tell you that if it suits your needs to keep it,” “Thank you, Mr. Wilson, you are most thoughtful, and is it not lucky that our maid found several very pornographic magazines in Mr. Moss´s closet and confided this to her friend the receptionist.
It was she who saw him enter the hotel early this morning with blood on his shirt, she called me, and when I had heard her story, I naturally called the police to come here to investigate.
It seems that he is a very evil man, and may have killed many other young girls in Europe. I do not know all the details and what I tell you is very confidential, but I expect that something this horrific will be in all the news soon”.
As there is no underestimating the fascination for gore people have, I had heard enough, so I said goodbye to the talkative concierge and hung up, then called Las Vegas to talk with Alfonso. He answered with his customary greeting, “Al´s Bar, She aint here, and I don’t know where he is either. It´s your dime what else do you have on your mind?” My ever practical friend Alfonso, “Al, its Joe da Fish, are you still trying to drive away your paying customers?” He laughed and said, “Only the ones who want a short loan or more credit on their tab, paying customers just show up.
I got your post card, are you still in Paris?”
“Al, I am here at the airport, leaving in a few hours and will be back in Vegas in a couple of days.
The reason I am calling is I need some advice. I want to make a good impression on a woman I hardly know, but would like to get to know better. As I am here, I was thinking of bringing her a present, but I haven’t any idea what to buy. You are expert of the workings of the feminine mind, as there is no time to write Dear Abby for advice; I thought you could help me out.”I could imagine him with a grin from ear to ear as he said. “That is a no brainer pal; buy a nice, but not too expensive pair of earrings, no diamonds, rubies, pearls or emeralds, and a small bottle of expensive French perfume. When you see her, give her the earrings and keep the perfume. If the next day she is wearing the earrings that means she is interested in you, then you give her the perfume, no earrings means you have struck out, but, you still have the perfume for trading stock .You now owe me one hundred dollars for advice to the lovelorn, have a safe trip.” Before I could say thanks, or ask about Bob the line went dead.
Placing the phone on its cradle I then walked down the corridor looking in the shops that have always been a mystery to me, and an aphrodisiac to women. Handbags ,designer shoes, dresses, silk lingerie and scarves, perfumes, jewelry, and elegant coats all displayed and priced with the aim of overdrawing credit cards.
I went into the first shop that had a large display of necklaces, rings, bracelets, earrings and other dangling things and found a woman who looked like she was a fashion model from Vogue Magazine.
I asked to see earrings that were not over three hundred dollars. She looked disappointed but smiled gracefully and pulled out a tray of small gold, silver, and glittering gemstones designed to be hung on a woman´s ears.
I wanted to get this over with as fast as possible. There was one pair that I instantly liked, pointing I asked. ‘’What about those?”
“These sir, are hand crafted with black Pietersite stones set in platinum, designed with French clasps. They are a bit over three hundred dollars Monsieur.” Joda Fish was about to swallow the hook,” How much over three hundred?” was my next obvious question. “They are only four hundred ninety five duty free Euro, Monsieur, but I am sure that they will bring much pleasure to the person you give them to, and are worth every centime.” I took the bait, she had set the hook. Taking out my credit card I heard myself say, “I will take them, and now can you tell me what perfume I should buy to go with this present.”
As she was debiting my account she asked, “Is this person your wife?” The very thought made my leg tingle, “No she is just a friend.”
“Well monsieur, if you wish her to be much more than just a friend, I would recommend my favorite nighttime perfume, by Houbigant, it is called Quelques Fleurs. It is very difficult to get and a bit expensive, but I am sure a small bottle will be immensely appreciated by your friend.
I have some right over there if you would like to look and test its fragrance.” After having swallowed the hook, I was now being led to the gaff.
Another eight hundred Euro later, I walked out the door with two small gift wrapped packages that fit easily in a mini plastic carry-on bag emblazoned with Fleurs de lis, saying to myself.
“What the hell, its only gambling money”.
With what I hoped would be welcomed gifts in my hand, I continued my stroll down long bright carpets, past more shops that I am sure the owners of them would have welcomed me with sunshine smiles. I soon found the “Coiffeur Pour Dames & Messieurs” beauty salon where I could get a shampoo, haircut, shave, and manicure for the amazing sum of only eighty eight Euro. As there was no queue waiting to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity, only two dowager´s were being sheared of their hair and money at the moment, I decided there on the spot to join the crowd, so I took off my beret put it in the shopping bag and sat down to wait my turn.
From the moment I sat down till I walked out; hair washed, trimmed, blow dried with every single strand cemented in place with gel, my fingernails manicured and eye brows trimmed to absolute perfection, and my face as smooth as a newborn baby bottom, I had killed another hour and forty minutes.
Continuing to leave a trail of money in my wake, I stopped to eat a Mc Fish burger accompanied with a small plastic bottle of water and a tab of only nineteen Euros.
I made it to my departure gate, just as the loud speaker announced the first boarding call, and was welcomed aboard by a cheerful stewardess with tired eyes, too much makeup, and her hair done in French braids, found my seat, took off my boots and buckled up for the long flight home.
After announcements, emergency instructions, the captains weather report and takeoff, the stewardess stopped by to ask if I wanted anything to make my flight more comfortable. I had been waiting for this moment since I buckled up. “ I would love Canadian Club whiskey in four of those cute little bottles, a glass of water, a package of peanuts, a pillow, and a blanket, and please don’t wake me until we land in L.A.”
"What a large volume of adventures may be grasped within this little span of life by him who interests his heart in everything"-Lawrence Sterne
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