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King’s Life

May 8, 2017 Leave a comment

Bartholomew King was proud of his eccentricity. He knew that he was regarded as a shallow, slow-witted, trust-fund child. By the time he was 28, he was well established as a wealthy nut. Fortunately for Barth (as people liked to call him), he never had to earn a living. His parents had accumulated a substantial fortune in the medical marijuana industry, growing and distributing through their burgeoning chain of greenhouses. Unfortunately, they lost their lives prematurely, while testing their design for a four-seated hang-glider.

Of course, Barth immediately sold the marijuana business and closed down the development of the hang-glider design. As a result, he was sitting on almost three million after-tax dollars. He did regard himself as the king, at least in the large county where he was highly influential. As such, he demanded exclusivity – in everything.

He had a ranch built to his own, eccentric design. He had Brigham Coachworks build a custom body of his own design. He had it built on the chassis of an Alpha Romeo Disco Volante, the most exclusive car he could find. The Disco Volante body was discarded and the new body was constructed of aluminum.

There were many opportunities for a prolific social life laid at Bartholomew’s feet. He was hesitant, because he was never certain which woman might be the most exclusive. He attended dinner parties, if the guest list was sufficiently exclusive. He attended sporting events only if the event was rare, such as polo for blind players. He was introduced to many very beautiful women, but he was unable to feel certain of the one of a kind that he sought.

On a rare evening out, with one of the women who hoped to be The One, Barth saw The One. It was not the woman with Barth. Rather, it was a woman who sang on the small stage of the club they were in.  After they ordered, Barth looked casually toward the stage. A woman stood at the microphone in baggy, blue denim bib overalls, singing a twangy country song. A keyboard player, a guitarist, and a drummer backed her up. The woman’s face made Barth’s stomach flip. She was gorgeous, almost exactly the face he created in his mind to be the exclusive one.

She appeared to be more than 6 feet tall. Barth was an average 5’9”. Barth’s problem was, he didn’t like country music, or the rural wardrobe. The drinks arrived at Barth’s table, and he clinked glasses with his date and sipped his Highball. The country song ended and Barth turned to look at the stage again. The woman had dropped the baggy overalls and kicked them aside. She stood in the spotlight in a blazing green Spandex body suit. It fit so tightly, it looked painted onto her body. She had the shape of an oversize mannequin, virtually perfect. She began to sing a love ballad, “The Nearness of You,” and the mellow tones of her deep voice infused Barth with passion.

Barth knew that this woman was the exclusive beauty he sought. He unashamedly ushered his date out the club door and put her into a taxi. The outraged woman made a scene throughout the club, and people knew that it was just Bartholomew King being Barthish. He gave the driver one hundred dollars and asked him to take her wherever she wanted to go.

Barth returned to the club and boldly went backstage. In an open area, the trio of musicians were sharing a joint. In her dressing room, the woman… The One, was sitting at her makeup table.

“I’m Bartholomew King,” he said. He extended his hand. She ignored it.

“I know who you are,” she said. “Where’s your date?”

“She had to leave,” he said. “I wonder… would you come to dinner with me tomorrow evening?”

The woman stood up and looked down at Bartholomew. She put her hand on his shoulder and walked with him toward the dressing room door.

“I want you to know something, and remember it,” she smiled. “No. Never, nay, no way. I only date exclusive men. You are so common.” She gave him a gentle push out into the passageway, and closed the door. He heard the click of the lock.

06. THE LAND OF MILT AND HONEY

May 4, 2017 Leave a comment

Chapter 6

Milton Korn sat in his cramped studio, staring at the unfinished canvas on his easel. He was unable to get clear, his vision for the painting, and it was almost frightening for him. He’d never before had the real world interfere in his private, creative world. For the first time, a melange of thoughts pressed his creative mind aside.

His thought batted back and forth, like a badminton bird over a net. One moment he’s consumed with concern about his bold assertion to Honey Freed. He could easily afford the 100 acres, with money left over to build a studio. His mind pulled from thoughts of Honey and wandered through visions of the property. The Maple forest on the southernmost 12 acres was a rare enclave of mature trees that had not yet been cut into lumber. If he was owner… co-owner… he could protect those ancient beauties.

Would Honey Freed also be a tree-hugger, or might she be mercenary, and wish to turn the trees into cash. Hopefully, she would share Milton’s ecological interests. If not, perhaps he could help her to understand its importance.

Milton forced himself to stop beating around the bush in his head. What about Honey Freed. She’s smart, a successful professional, tall, and too goddamn gorgeous for Milton, he thought. He would have living quarters adjacent to his studio, on a wing of the house far from Honey’s quarters.

He envisioned separate basic bathrooms for each of them, conveniently connected to their living quarters. Each would have a sink, a toilet, and a medicine cabinet. There would be a mutual bathroom, with a spacious Jacuzzi tub and shower, mirrors and so on. They would make a schedule between themselves, as to when the central bathroom priority was for Milton or Honey.

As for Honey Freed, she had less time to muse on the proposal than had Milton. She was busy with pre-production meetings, casting sessions, and all the other complications in producing commercials. When she at last got home, at 2:20am, she began her analysis of Milton’s suggestion. She had come to think of it as, “The Korn Roast.”

She tossed her clothes on the floor, and stepped into her shower. As the warm water flowed softly over her body, she didn’t need to think about the property. She had been enjoying it in her mind for months. She had to think about the romantic aspect of sharing a home with a tall, good-looking, successful artist.

Honey imagined that they’d design the home together. They could have their rooms across a hall from each other, just for safety. They could have animals, and let them be free to wander in the Maple forest, and frolic on the open pasture. She hoped that Milton liked the idea. She felt certain that he’d want to keep the forest safe and whole. If not… it would be a problem.

Both Milton Korn and Honey Freed slept well, with visions of their possible partnership in the country. Milton dreamed of beautiful light in his studio, and the peace and quiet in which to paint. Honey saw herself in farm clothes, caring for horses, Scottish Highland Longhorn cattle, lamas, goats, and dogs. Lots of dogs.

Within a week, if Honey decides to accept Milton’s offer, they’ll be negotiating joining lives, while they don’t even really know each other. They are each very intelligent, and will be aware of the inevitable problems they will have to overcome.

05. THE LAND OF MILT AND HONEY

May 2, 2017 Leave a comment

Chapter Five

 

Milton Korn had never had any interest in cars. He didn’t actually like to drive. On this occasion, with Honey Freed doing the driving, in an Alpha-Romeo Spyder, Milton began to feel in a unique mood.

The make of car meant nothing to Milton, but the beautiful design and the luxurious leather upholstery gave him a feeling. He had never felt any feeling from riding in a car, but on this occasion, he had feelings.

The top was down, and the wind noise made conversation uncomfortable, so Honey just drove, and Milton sat and thought. He began to think about Honey, and her car. He was comparing the character of the car with the character of the woman. If she is successful, and can choose any car she’d like, and she chose this example of understated elegance, perhaps she is not superficial or false.

The road was wide and smooth at first. When Honey took an exit off the Autoroute onto a two-lane, the surroundings became interesting. Broad fields of corn, hay, and soybeans lay like blankets across hundreds of acres on both sides of the road.

Before long, Honey turned off the secondary highway, onto a dusty dirt road. This road led them away from the open, cultivated fields. They drove through the cooling shade of huge Maple trees that lined the small road. As they emerged from the grove of hardwoods, Honey tuned up a long, dirt driveway that led up to the top of a large hill. Honey stopped there and got out of the car. Milton followed suit. They stood together and looked out over the grassy fields.

“Where’s the house?” said Milton.

“There is no house, yet,” said Honey. “I’m going to design and build my own, if I can ever get to own this place.” She pointed out various features of the land, and said that she wants her home to be on this hill, where they stood together.

“Do you want a partner?” said Milton.

“God, no!” said Honey. “I want to be free.”

“So do I,” said Milton. “This is a great spot. If you change your mind about sharing, I’ll put up the money and you could repay me your half.”

“Geeze, that’s a serious temptation,” said Honey Freed.  “I have to think about it.”

“I have to decide where I’ll go if  you decide to take this on alone, so please try to decide soonish,” said Milton Korn.

“Within a week, okay?” said Honey.

“Okay, thanks,” said Milton. He stood there and visualized  what it would be like to have a home and studio in this environment. He thought about buying this place out from under Honey. The acquaintances each had to make a hard decision.

03. THE LAND OF MILT AND HONEY

April 24, 2017 Leave a comment

Chapter Three

Milton Korn wandered down to the gallery the day after his show was launched with a traditional vernissage. It wasn’t the gallery he wanted to visit, it was Honey Freed. He saw her a half a block past the gallery. She was producing a commercial for a shampoo product, and they were taping the final scene. A woman with gorgeous hair blowing in the wind was to stride happily past a hair salon. The wind was produced by a six-foot tall fan.

Milton stood quietly at the side and watched the busy crew. They pushed the camera around, they hoisted lights and deflectors, and they pulled a large number of heavy cables back and forth. In the midst of the controlled chaos, Honey Freed stood tall and looked beautiful and exciting. She was tall and slender, in tight blue jeans and a white shirt tucked in at her tiny waist.

There were some uniformed police around the location, to control traffic and people. One of them went over to Milton and asked what was his business there. Milton just wanted to watch the crew work, without getting in the way. That’s why he stayed back there. The cop told Milton to move on, which pissed Milton off. He told the cop he was a friend of Honey Freed, the boss of this crew. The cop said he’d ask her.

Milton watched the cop thread his way between boxes and light stands, over cables and sand bags, up to Honey’s side. He spoke to Honey and pointed at Milton. Honey shaded her eyes from the midday sun. When she saw it was Milton, she broke into a broad smile and waved him to come close. He picked his way through the same obstacle course as the cop, who scowled at Milton as he passed, on his way out.

“I’m so glad you’ve come,” she said, and put her hand on Milton’s shoulder. He felt the heat. It’s strange, he thought, that a casual connection can generate such physical responses. He believed it was olfactory at work. An unscented fragrance, if that’s possible, that arouses otherwise dormant feelings in two people. Not any two people, but two people whose fragrances attract each other.

Of course, Honey’s physical beauty was certainly magnetic. She was accustomed to men approaching her, dating her, and sometimes proposing to her. Honey was not a lonely woman, but she was not living the life she hoped to live. When Milton felt the warmth of her touch, Honey also felt the heat.

Honey also felt something unique when she studied Milton’s artworks. She sometimes collected art, and was knowledgeable on the subject. She apologized to Milton that she had to work for the next couple of hours, to capture the final shot they needed.

“Can we meet for breakfast one day?” Honey said.

“Tomorrow?” said Milton. “I have nothing scheduled.”

“Tomorrow morning, 8:00am, at Goldstein’s on Walsh Avenue,” she said, decisively.

“See you there,” Milton said, and went home.

(To Be Continued)

The Woman With Her Kite

April 24, 2017 Leave a comment

Sunday morning dawned sunny and warm. I went out to the porch with my coffee and sat to look at the old park across the road. Huge, ancient maple trees dotted the broad, grassy clearing in the centre. Further along, there were the high fences of the tennis courts, and a children’s play area.

I finished my coffee and took the empty mug into the small kitchen. When I went back to my chair on the porch, a woman had appeared in the park. She had a large kite, and she was trying to get it up into the morning breeze. She was too far away for me to see just what she looked like, but I could see that she was very tall and slim. She moved like she was an athlete or a dancer. I went down to the street and across to the park

I sat in the sun on a bench that faced the clear area where the woman was working with her big, red kite. She was getting frustrated. Frankly, so was I, watching her try repeatedly to get the kite to fly. It just flopped along on the grass, while the woman ran across the clearing in vain. I stood up and took a step toward the kite.

“Perhaps I can help,” I said.

“I don’t want no help,” she said, in what was almost a snarl. I stepped back and sat down again. I’m an average sized man, about five-foot-eight, and the woman was considerably taller than I am. I didn’t want to antagonize her. She looked tough and sounded tougher. I watched for a while longer as she helplessly laboured with her kite. After another half hour, she was clearly dejected as she walked over and sat on the other end of the bench.

“Would you like a cold drink, or coffee or something,” I said. She was sweating and breathing heavily. She looked at me with hard eyes. I could see, now that she was close, that she was perhaps in her thirties, and had suffered some hard times. Her face was attractive, although somewhat lined and stern.

“Coffee would be great,” she said, perking up a bit. He voice was softer, but still tough.

“I live just over there,” I said. “Bring your kite. You can sit and relax on the porch while I start up a fresh pot of coffee.” I strode briskly away to my place without looking back. Once on my porch, I glanced back to see that she had rolled up her kite string and was following me, with her large, red kite carried like a warrior’s shield in front of her. I decided to think of her as a warrior

I was setting up the coffee maker when I heard her behind me. She stood in the kitchen doorway and leaned on the door frame.

“Why did you offer to help me?” she said.

“Because you were trying so hard, and failing,” I said. “You were trying to do alone what is really a two person job.”

“Nobody has ever offered to help me before,” she said.

“What, to fly a kite?” I said. “How do you take your coffee?”

“Black,” she said. She went back to the porch. I followed soon after, with two mugs of black coffee. We sat together in silence for a while, until she turned to me.

“May I stay with you tonight?” she said. I didn’t expect that, and I was wary of the situation. The woman was a stranger; she was bigger than me, and in much better physical condition.

“Why?” I said.

“You might not believe this,” she said, “but your offer of help was something I’ve almost never heard before.”

“That’s difficult to believe,” I said.

“I’m not often around people like you,” she said. She looked into my eyes. “I want to see what it’s like to be held, gently.”

“You’re bigger than I am,” I said. “Do you think I can give you what you seek?”

She stayed the night. I taught her gentleness, with caresses and kisses in special places. I made us Eggs Benedict in the morning. We kissed goodbye, although I was uncomfortable that a woman had to bend down to kiss me. She left, and I’ve never seen her again. I don’t know her name, and she doesn’t know my name. However, the big, red kite is still here. Perhaps she’ll return for it someday.

THE LAND OF MILT AND HONEY – 2

April 8, 2017 Leave a comment

Chapter Two

          The night was warm and humid. Honey Freed had two more days of shooting her production in this town, and she was lonely for home. She had a tuna salad and a Perrier sent up to her room. She ate alone and watched television news. She went to bed at nine-thirty, but was unable to sleep. She tossed and turned a few times and became fed up with wasting her time in bed. She rose, dressed, and went out into the night for a walk.

There was a gentle mist in the air. The street lamps glowed with brilliant haloes that reflected in the street. She was unfamiliar with the small city, with no known place to visit. Without really planning it, she wandered toward the site where she had been shooting a scene. The lights were on in the Art Gallery Communicate, like a brilliant lure amid closed, darkened stores. Honey Freed, moth like, was drawn to the light.

Through the storefront window, she watched several people mount paintings on the white walls. All the paintings were obviously by Milton Korn. His style was unmistakable, although his subjects and his media varied. There appeared to be several large sculptures that were covered by sheets. A few smaller statues were being placed on pedestals.

Honey was eager to get inside and see each painting properly. She went to the door and tugged at it. It rattled, but did not open. The woman to whom Honey had spoken earlier in the day, came to the door. She waved off Honey, and spoke through the glass door.

“Come back tomorrow,” she said. “We’re closed now.”

“Would any of you like coffee, or something to eat?” Honey said. The woman inside turned, and said something to the others. Honey could see them look up, smile and nod. The woman turned back to Honey.

“It seems to be yes, thanks,” the woman said.

“I’ll be back in five minutes,” said Honey. She strode away purposefully, heading for an all-night donut shop she’d noticed on her walk.

Within five minutes, Honey returned with a boxed dozen assorted donuts, and a cardboard tray of coffees, some sugar envelopes, sweetener envelopes, and cream tubs. The owner let her in, and declared a coffee break. People took seats on the floor and on some chairs and chatted.

“Which of you is Milton Korn?” Honey asked. Milton said nothing, while all the other men pointed at him. “I am fascinated by your work,” she said. “I hope to get a break in my shooting schedule, so I can come to your vernissage.”

“Thank you,” Milt said. “What kind of shooting is it that you do?” Honey crossed the room to take a seat on the floor beside him.

Milton Korn fascinated honey. He was tall, lean, and good looking, in a tousled, unkempt way. Honey looked at his work, and back at the artist, and decided that she was going to know this man, very well.

THE LAND OF MILT AND HONEY

April 7, 2017 Leave a comment

Chapter One

Most of the people who had been born and raised in Whitewood had long since left for big cities that were bustling with advancement opportunities.  There was nothing to keep young people in the tiny hometown so they went away to work in office towers and underground shopping malls and suburban offices in busy urban areas.  The few that stayed in Whitewood took jobs either in Korn’s Super-Econo Market, Korn’s Fashion For Families shop, Korn’s Electronics and Computer Centre, and Korn’s Fine Pine Furniture Manufacturing Corporation.

The only young person that remained in Whitewood but did not work for one of the Korn family’s enterprises was the Korn’s only son, Milton.  The Korn’s only daughter, Rebecca was twenty-two, two years younger than Milton was.  She had moved to Montreal at eighteen for a job with an advertising agency.

Milton had made himself a studio in an unused space over the three-car garage behind the Korn mansion.  The well-known residence stood back from the road on their five-hundred-acre horse farm.  Milton was an artist who created paintings, sculptures, carvings and drawings of various kinds.

Milton’s works sold for good prices at biannual art shows in Winnipeg, where locals with an interest in art respected and collected his work.  Most of the time, however, his parents supported him.  That is to say they fed, clothed, and housed Milton, but there was no moral support or encouragement.  Quite the opposite most of the time as his parents said everything they could to discourage him.  They refused to recognise the value of his work, even when he turned over to them the proceeds of his sales, usually between ten thousand and twenty thousand dollars during each show.  The derision intensified when Rebecca took on her job in the city, and escalated even more when she was rapidly promoted to more and more responsible – and lucrative – positions.

Insults flowed whenever Milton was in earshot.  He began to live in the studio constantly, and rarely saw his parents.  His mother and father took turns slapping him psychologically with statements like:

“You’ll never amount to anything doing art.”

“Your father needs you to help with the business.”

In spite of the scorn, Milton Korn continued with his personal career.  He was twenty-four years old and past the time when he should be away from his parents’ home and perhaps getting married.  Milton’s father barely spoke to him, crushed that his only son was uninterested in taking over the family enterprises.   Samuel Korn had worked all his life to create wealth and security for his family.  It was an unbearable burden of the ageing man, and his health was fading with the stress of watching his son waste his life.

Milton didn’t feel that he was wasting his life.  The more art he created, the better his art became.  He worked intensely on his oil paintings, watercolours, clay and wax sculptures and woodcarvings.  He also enjoyed an active social life.  He was tall, lean, and handsome, besides having a wealthy and influential family.  His gallery showings garnered him a lot of attention from women young and old.  He enjoyed the attention, but never intended to unite with any of his female companions. He always made certain each of them understood that this was his intention.

His parents pushed and bribed him.

In the end, Milton Korn’s parents gave him 30 days to vacate the family home.  Over the years he had been given much by his wealthy parents as the only way they knew to get him to be what they wanted him to be.  Everything that anyone would want – cars, boats, money, travel, and credit cards were handed to him without question – obviously meant to bribe Milton into obedience.

In preparation for setting off into the real world, Milton arranged for a one-man show of his art and design work at the Gallery Communicate in Regina.  Every piece but one was sold, and Milton had almost thirty-four thousand dollars after the gallery’s commission, but there was much more to come in a form he had never contemplated.

On the prairie flatlands outside of Regina a crew was producing a television commercial for an importer of Asian automobiles.  With a Sunday off, most of the crew wandered around the city sightseeing and relaxing.  The producer, Honey Freed, wandered into the Gallery Communicate, and was surprised and excited by what she saw, in the work of Milton Korn.  She asked the proprietor if she knew the artist well, and was told that he was familiar.  Although he was rarely seen in town, he was well known, because his family virtually owned the town.

Honey learned that during this night, the crew would be setting up an exhibit of Milton’s work. The vernissage will be tomorrow.

(To Be Continued)