I am aged 89 – born in a small village in eastern Hungary in 1931. My father (pictured), like so many second sons, was sent to a military academy in Austria, graduating just in time to be sent to the Russian front with the Black Dragoons at the outbreak of Word War I. His timing was really bad – called up from reserves to serve in World War II and died as a serving officer in 40. During the brief interwar peace he studied law in Budapest but found it distasteful and instead became public notary in a small East Hungarian village dealing with family disputes and wills. By the time I (also a second son) reached 19, an Iron Curtain had descended from the Baltic to the Adriatic to isolate the Soviet Union and its satellites at the height of the Cold War from the perceived menace of the nuclear West The Soviets took over in 47 and installed a brutal regime determined to eradicate the middle classes, embarking on a paranoid purge of perceived enemies and suspected foreign agents. It became obvious that there was no future for us in Hungary. My older brother was sent to study in Switzerland in the last year when it was still legally possible, and we battened down to see how we could survive. I was barred from University and became a business machine mechanic – a fortunate turn of events, as became clear later. My mother was by then widowed and seriously ill. With the mother of a classmate they began to plot to smuggle us out of the country: they found and hired a farmer whose few acres stretched to the Iron Curtain. We left home at midnight, after a last supper, Easter, 1950. We had forged papers allowing entry into the forbidden border zone. It was raining hard, washing away the snow. We were to cross at midnight. The fence ran at the bottom of his garden: two barbed wire fences 3 metres high, two meters apart, a mine-field in between (don't worry, most are duds and I know where the rest are buried), watchtowers every few hundred yards... and a little creek which had swollen into a stream by rain and meltwater. We swam across, into the Russian zone of occupation, then trudged all night to reach the first outposts in the British zone. Got picked up by gendarmes, taken to a quarantine camp for interrogation and after two weeks allowed to hitchhike to Salzburg in the American zone. All this is reminiscent of today's migrants, determined to cross the English channel, come what may. I fell in love, first time in my life, but outbreak of the Korean War forced me to move on. I hiked to Switzerland, got kicked out as undesirable, and then applied to emigrate to Canada as a 'displaced person' – today's refugees. This was time zero, for me. In Toronto I worked as lab-technician and business machine mechanic, saved up to study engineering, met an English girl, moved to Vancouver, got a Fellowship to study Nuclear Engineering in England (getting a part-time job for pin money as assistant editor of the weekly Engineering in charge of Atomic Review). I got hooked on writing, in exile. It started with writing home, hiding my troubles in fictional accounts, and then got stories and poems published in the varsity magazine. In Montreal I met and married an English girl, moved to Vancouver and eventually to England where I liked their sense of humour and taste for warm ale. I continued to write and took up sketching to illustrate stories I had written, and then got some into print via Kindle. (In 84 I got my only piece of non-fiction published: Energy Ratios – still listed on Amazon, but not much use for audio). We live in Brighton, in close proximity to a daughter, busy looking after her family. I am looking for an audio book reader, preferably female Age and domicile are immaterial...someone who can voice English texts containing mediterranian phrases, possibly someone whose first language is Italian, Spanish, or Portuguese. The important quality is ability to render emotion and humour. I have several books in mind, though I am not a successful author by any means (rather a vanity publisher), so you may bear that in mind when deciding which of the payment options on offer you prefer. I have published on Amazon Kindle about a dozen works and would like to release them all in audio form. I list them here, with comments – most are available as e-books from Amazon: Gothic Tales – romantic crime fiction King Fingertip and his extended family – a children's tale meant for adults Romanza Epistolare – a romantic tale in the ancient form of letters Nativity – story to be read to a grandchild about to be saddled by arrival of a baby sister The frog and the butterfly – a very short story about a very short love affaire A Life, for what it's worth – an intimate memoir Tales of Palmeira – memoir of our life after settling in Brighton What I am Really thinking – story of an on-line suicide pact, with a happy ending of sorts Wall Games of Somerhill – an unhappy little boy gets bullied, but manages to outwit his tormentor Pillow Talk – chatter between a call girl and client, who ends up giving her sound financial advice Swiss Banking – with Dignity – an old woman outwits and takes sweet revenge on foreign scammers Romance in Tivoli – a bored businessman escapes from a seminar and finds a determined young matchmaker Inventory, at the end of an affaire – a poem of only a dozen lines Audition Script She was done for the night: two easy tricks under her belt to cover contributions to mum’s household expenses; she could quit, but didn’t feel like turning in yet – it felt too early. Footsore and too tired to walk home, she stepped into her neighbourhood bar to survey the scene. After a second’s careful study she made up her mind and sat down at the bar, a carefully judged distance from a solitary man draped over his drink. Forty-something, small, carefully dressed in suit and tie, unaware of her, probably inexperienced and shy. Drunk and unhappy - she judged on the basis of years of hard experience. ‘Wonder where the bartender is?’ she murmured, loud enough to be heard in order to provide him an easy opening: always the professional, even when not looking for business – that’s how she has managed to keep her life on an even keel all these years. The man looked up, slowly, eyes bleary, just as the bartender appeared. ‘Can I get you something, while I get myself a refill?’ he asked. ‘Just a coke for me, thank you….and ... you shouldn’t have any more … unless you happen to live upstairs … which I doubt, as I have never seen you here before.’ ‘Perhaps you are right. Just a coke for the lady, then!‘ he called. No longer shy, it all came tumbling out like a long-suppressed confessional: lived in the back, just around the corner; hated commuting; worked at IKEA as assistant manager in the house-plant section; married, deeply troubled, unhappy... ‘I think I will have that refill after all’ he sighed, rubbing his eyes. ‘You sure you don’t want something stronger?’ She shook her head. If he has one more drink he’ll be past it; not that it mattered to her, but why waste her time? She reached out and gave his arm a light squeeze, not just to be friendly and move their relationship forward a step, but also to check if she could handle him if things got physical. Un-athletic wimp, she concluded, she could handle him with one arm tied behind her back. ‘I am sorry about your marriage’, she added. ‘Whatever happened to it?’ He continued his tale of woe looking more and more miserable with every sentence: Karen was much younger, met her at the IKEA where she still works, first on checkout and now assistant manager of pots and pans, been married four years but lately she’s been seeing another man, her own age, also from IKEA, been going on for months; so he booked a holiday in Minorca to get her away from him; they were due to leave next day but this morning had an almighty row and she walked out on him to spend time with the boyfriend; they must have been planning it for some time and the row was probably just a deliberately planted excuse… and he loved her still, and wanted her back…wanted it very much. This was going to be a piece of cake, she told herself, provided she handled the money side with care: another squeeze of the arm and a few quiet words of sympathy: ‘No, don’t have that drink, love – or you’ll need help to get you home.‘ That perked him up a bit: ‘But you’ll look after me then, won’t you?’ he said, venturing even to be a bit flirty. Then – closure: ‘Sure, sure my love, but it’ll cost you.’ Then she added very quietly: ‘I am a working girl, you know.’ He looked at her properly for the first time, his eyes slowly clearing of condensation. Then he broke into a smile, a nice broad one, not pinched and snarling as she might have expected but instead: surprised, with sympathy. ‘Well ….I never!... I don’t think I have ever spoken to a ….to a working girl, not that I know of, at any rate.’ ‘You might have served me at the IKEA – I buy things there, you know…. ‘ …..then, seamlessly, back to business… ‘It’ll be £150 for straight sex and sympathy, up front; any extras subject to terms… ‘ She said it smiling; innocent, unaggressive, very professional. The bartender gave her a quick glance but took no further notice – prostitutes worked his bar and this one was a regular, an old friend who brought in business and never gave any trouble. The man shook his head in disbelief, then slowly took out his wallet. It was stuffed with Euros. They giggled while working out how much was needed in Euros to top up what he had in pounds. Then they slid off their stools and stood side by side getting steady on their feet. She was small, but on stiletto heels just the taller of the two. They set off, Kevin hanging on to her while unsteadily steering towards his home through what seemed to him thick fog, guided only by some atavistic instincts from the evolutionary past. It was a terraced cottage – even before he opened the door she knew what she would find inside, and where – not unlike her mother’s house three streets away they shared with her daughter aged nine – half furnished with worn-out Ercol from the 1960’s topped up with bright modern pieces from IKEA. She pushed him gently up the stairs and into the bedroom. There was a half-packed suitcase on an unmade bed and women’s clothing strewn all over the floor. He looked around in semi-darkness and then sank down onto the bed and began to cry. ‘Come on, love, let’s have none of that. Come here…’ she cajoled him. She swept the suitcase off the bed, pushed him gently onto his back and began to undress him starting with his shoes. He tried to help by pulling off his tie. Then he allowed himself to be rolled from side to side as she worked on him to free his clothing. She then stood up, lifted her arms above her head and struck some mock-provocative poses. ‘OK my love, how do you want me: clothed – bra and G-string – or naked? Lights on or off? Hair up or down?’ She turned round and round for him. He smiled at her stupidly, not knowing what to say. She shrugged and took her clothes off, carefully hanging each item on a chair. Then she put her handbag by the side of the bed and knelt down beside him. Is he too far gone? she wondered, as he seemed to have trouble focusing. She laid him out as if getting him ready for burial and climbed on top. This had no visible effect on him. She then moved lower and dangled her breast so her nipple caressed his prick and that brought some life into him. She then quickly reached into her bag and deftly unpacked a condom using her teeth, smartly swept it on him with one practised hand and then, straddling, brought him off in a few seconds. He groaned a little and rolled over, muttering something like 'Thank You', and fell asleep. She waited a bit beside him, then reached over to recover her phone from her bag. ‘I’ve got an all-nighter, Mum, I’ll be back in the morning. Don’t wait up for me.’ ‘All right my love, take care.’ ‘Give Binky a hug for me! ‘Read more Read less
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