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    #1

    Strawberries, part five

    This is the fifth part of my short story, "Strawberries". Please would you correct my mistakes.

    I had lost myself in thoughts, when the telephone rang. I picked up the receiver and could hear the sheik’s pleasant voice asking me if we had strawberries in our hotel. I told him of course we had strawberries. “Could you please bring us two bowls?”
    I went into the kitchen and opened a fruit cupboard. There were all kinds of fruits inside but no trace of strawberries. I opened two large fridges, but to my consternation, there was not a single strawberry. I started to panic. I had to find strawberries somewhere or face deep humiliation. Mr Goebbels would never forgive me and I would lose my job. My mind was working furiously. I could dash to another hotel and ask a night porter to lend me strawberries from their kitchen, but knowing how some people in this profession take pleasure in other people’s misfortunes, I was not sure he was going to help me. He would probably keep me waiting ages and then return from the kitchen only to announce with glee that there were no strawberries in their hotel either.

    I had to act quickly. I ran back to the reception desk, slipped on my jacket, pulled on the leather gloves and put on the cap. I took my bag with a hammer I always carried with me in case someone attacked me, and I raced outside into the empty street. I stopped by a supermarket around the corner. I did not bother to look around in case someone was approaching, nor did I bother to see if the windows were fitted with the burglar alarm. I crouched and smashed the large pane twice. The shards of thick glass flew around my head and clinked to the ground. I slipped through the jagged hole and hurried passed the food aisles to the fruit counter. How relieved I was when I saw them reposing peacefully in their plastic boxes and giving off their pleasant aroma. I dropped two boxes into my bag and rushed outside slipping through the hole into the silent street.

    I came into the kitchen panting for breath. I threw off my clothes, picked up two bowls from the shelves and filled them with strawberries. I breathed in deeply their scent which calmed my heart and mind. I adjusted my tie and went up with the lift to the fourth floor. I knocked gently on the door, and the voice behind it said, “Please come in.” The sheik sat in a sofa drinking tea and watching TV, which sound was hardly audible. He wore a red silk pyjamas and a pair of brown slippers. From the adjacent room I could hear a child talking and a woman’s voice singing quietly a song in Arabic, I supposed it was a lullaby. The room smelled of mint tea and flowers. I put the tray with the bowls on the table in front of the sheik and he thanked me. “They smell wonderful,” he said, and picked a strawberry and put it in his mouth. He stretched out his arm to the jacket lying over the armchair and pulled his wallet out of the inner pocket. “Where are you come from?” he asked picking up the banknotes. I told him and his face broke into a smile. “Oh,” he said, I’ve been to Sarajevo many times. Great city, beautiful people, excellent food. Pity you had that terrible war.” He gave me the money and cupped his ringed hands over mine. “Great service, thank you so much.”
    As I sat behind my desk and counted the money, my heart pounded in anticipation. Numerous euros, dollars, pounds and francs rustled under my fingertips and sent a feeling of warmth through my body. Usually I was stiff and tired at this hour of the night, but now I was as light as a dandelion seed. The adrenaline rushed through my veins. I had to restrain myself from jumping into the air. This feeling persisted the whole night. Around six in the morning, Mr Goebbels burst through the door. He was pale and haggard. I sent him an SMS in the night, but he told me his jealous wife had hidden his mobile phone, and he had spent a sleepless, miserable hours worrying about the sheik. When he heard the great news, his weariness completely vanished. Invigorated, he hugged me and bounded up and down the lobby looking at the ceiling and shouting, “Thank you God, thank you Jesus, thank you Mohammad, thank you Buddha. “

    When I came outside, I could see patches of mist drifting over the hills. A fine rain moistened the ground. Street cleaners in orange suits swept the streets and prettified the town for thousands of new visitors which were going to flood the town and its sights in a few hours. Two scantily dressed prostitutes came out of a brothel. They shivered with cold and lighted cigarettes. “How stupid of us for not bringing our jackets yesterday evening,” said one of them in German with East-European accent. The other murmured in agreement. I walked a few meters behind them and breathed in the scent of their perfumes and cigarette smoke. They had long blond hair, slender waists and beautiful shapely legs and ankles. Their high heels clicked loudly on the uneven asphalt. Their attractive bodies excited a strong desire in me, and my organ started to swell. I wished to strike up a conversation and discover what kind of fate had brought them here and forced them to sell their young bodies, but I was afraid they would make a scene and tell me to mind my own business. An angry pimp would be the last thing I needed.
    I strode over to the other side of the street and quickened my pace. I needed proper sleep and every atom of energy. My benefactor, the sheik, had booked the suites for the whole week, and who knew what kind of wishes and desires could spring up in his generous mind.
    The end
    Last edited by Bassim; 03-Mar-2015 at 18:18.

  1. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Strawberries, part five

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    I had lost myself in thoughts, when the telephone rang.
    Perhaps:

    I was lost in thought when the ringing of the telephone interrupted my reverie.

    (The English expression is lost in thought.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    I picked up the receiver and heard the sheik’s pleasant voice asking me if we had strawberries in our hotel. I told him of course we had strawberries. “Could you please bring us two bowls?” he said.
    Well, of course you had strawberries.


    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    I went into the kitchen and opened a fruit cupboard. There were all kinds of fruits inside but no trace of strawberries. I opened two large fridges, but to my consternation, there was not a single strawberry. I started to panic. I had to find strawberries somewhere or face deep humiliation. Mr Goebbels would never forgive me, and I would lose my job. My mind was working furiously. I could dash to another hotel and ask a night porter to lend me strawberries from their kitchen, but knowing how some people in this profession take pleasure in other people’s misfortunes, I was not sure he was going to help me. He would probably keep me waiting ages and then return from the kitchen only to announce with glee that there were no strawberries in their hotel either.
    There's a German expression for that: Schadenfreude.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    I had to act quickly. I ran back to the reception desk, slipped on my jacket, pulled on my leather gloves and put on my cap. I took my bag with a hammer I always carried with me in case someone attacked me, and I raced outside into the empty street. I stopped by a supermarket around the corner. I did not bother to look around in case someone was approaching, nor did I bother to see if the windows were fitted with the burglar alarm. I crouched and smashed the large pane twice. The shards of thick glass flew around my head and clinked to the ground. I slipped through the jagged hole and hurried passed the food aisles to the fruit counter. How relieved I was when I saw them reposing peacefully in their plastic boxes and giving off their pleasant aroma. I dropped two boxes into my bag and rushed outside slipping through the hole into the silent street.

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    #3

    Re: Strawberries, part five

    Thank you Tarheel,

    "Lost in thought" is the proper phrase, which I have forgotten to use. I am wondering about the sentence: "I ran back to the reception desk, slipped on my jacket, pulled on my leather gloves and put on my cap." Do I need to use "my" before all three nouns or is it enough to use it only before the first?

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    #4

    Re: Strawberries, part five

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    I came into the kitchen panting for breath. I threw off my clothes, picked up two bowls from the shelves and filled them with strawberries. I deeply breathed in their scent which calmed my heart and mind. I adjusted my tie and went up with the lift to the fourth floor. I knocked gently on the door, and the voice behind it said, “Please come in.” The sheik sat on a sofa drinking tea and watching TV, which sound was hardly audible. He wore a red silk pyjamas and a pair of brown slippers. From the adjacent room I could hear a child talking and a woman’s voice singing quietly a song in Arabic. I supposed it was a lullaby. The room smelled of mint tea and flowers. I put the tray with the bowls on the table in front of the sheik and he thanked me. “They smell wonderful,” he said, and picked a strawberry and put it in his mouth. He stretched out his arm to the jacket laying over the armchair and pulled his wallet out of the inner pocket. “Where are you come from?” he asked picking up the banknotes. I told him and his face broke into a smile. “Oh,” he said, I’ve been to Sarajevo many times. Great city, beautiful people, excellent food. Pity you had that terrible war.” He gave me the money and cupped his ringed hands over mine. “Great service, thank you so much.”

    As I sat behind my desk and counted the money, my heart pounded in anticipation. Numerous euros, dollars, pounds and francs rustled under my fingertips and sent a feeling of warmth through my body. Usually I was stiff and tired at this hour of the night, but now I was as light as a dandelion seed. The adrenaline rushed through my veins. I had to restrain myself from jumping into the air. This feeling persisted the whole night. Around six in the morning, Mr Goebbels burst through the door. He was pale and haggard. I sent him an SMS in the night, but he told me his jealous wife had hidden his mobile phone, and he had spent a sleepless, miserable night worrying about the sheik. When he heard the great news, his weariness completely vanished. Invigorated, he hugged me and bounded up and down the lobby looking at the ceiling and shouting, “Thank you God, thank you Jesus, thank you Mohammad, thank you Buddha.“

    When I went outside, I could see patches of mist drifting over the hills. A fine rain moistened the ground. Street cleaners in orange suits swept the streets and prettified the town for thousands of new visitors which were going to flood the town and its sights in a few hours. Two scantily dressed prostitutes came out of a brothel. They shivered with cold and lighted cigarettes. “How stupid of us for not bringing our jackets yesterday evening,” said one of them in German with East-European accent. The other murmured in agreement. I walked a few meters behind them and breathed in the scent of their perfume and cigarette smoke. They had long blond hair, slender waists and beautiful, shapely legs. Their high heels clicked loudly on the uneven asphalt. Their attractive bodies excited a strong desire in me, and my organ started to swell. I wished to strike up a conversation and discover what kind of fate had brought them here and forced them to sell their young bodies, but I was afraid they would make a scene and tell me to mind my own business. An angry pimp would be the last thing I needed.

    I strode over to the other side of the street and quickened my pace. I needed proper sleep and every atom of energy. My benefactor, the sheik, had booked the suites for the whole week, and who knew what kind of wishes and desires could spring up in his generous mind.
    The end
    That's all?

    Notes:

    1. The word perfume is not normally pluralized (like air, water, fruit, food, etc.)
    2. I would not think that the hero of our story really pays much attention to women's ankles (but I could be wrong).
    3. While I have been sitting here I have until recently been inhaling the delightful scent of the perfume of the young woman in the next chair. (Is that really relevant? Maybe not. But it sure was distracting. )

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    #5

    Re: Strawberries, part five

    Regarding women's ankles, maybe you are right. I think different men see women with different eyes and notice different details. I think that if a man walks behind two attractive women early in the morning, he is certainly going to notice more details than if he walked in the middle of the day on a busy street.

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    #6

    Re: Strawberries, part five

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    Regarding women's ankles, maybe you are right. I think different men see women with different eyes and notice different details. I think that if a man walks behind two attractive women early in the morning, he is certainly going to notice more details than if he walked in the middle of the day on a busy street.
    You may, of course, feel free to disagree with me. Such things are, of course, somewhat subjective. As for me, well, I rarely notice a woman's ankles. Calves and thighs however, hmm.

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