Monday, March 3, 2008

Introduction

To all my friends

I have no desire to publish my stories through an official publishing house.
My intention is to share my stories with friends and family.
All my stories are work of fiction. but the events really happened to my characters.
I welcome comments, criticism is very helpful in finding the road I need to take.
If you feel an urge to correct my English don't hesitate to do so. I promise to improve.

Hagai

Fishing season
Hagai Cohen

When our cargo plane touched down at Keflavik airport, it brought to an end two hours of strenuous and tense drama. Half an hour earlier, the three of us were prepared for a swim in the ocean. Luckily, the rate of the fuel leak, which was discovered in mid-Atlantic, slowed down as we approached the airport. After landing, the remaining fuel was enough for ten minutes more of flight.
We were busy discussing our incident to see the reception committee on the ground.
About fifty women from a nearby village came to greet us
They had heard about the emergency on the local radio, followed our progress report, and came to see “flesh and bone heroes”.
“What's going on here?” asked the first officer, as he stepped down the stairs. “Are there no men on this island?"
“Welcome to the land of the Amazons," declared the engineer.
“Wrong,” I said. “Amazons were single breasted women. These women look normal to me except they are all blonde.”
The women applaused as we stepped down the stairs towards their waiting cars.
The convoy escorting the three ‘survivors’ was at least 30 cars long. We were driven to an inn in a small village near the airport.
During the trip, our woman driver explained the mystery. “It's the herring season and all the men are out at sea.”
Before going to our rooms, I said to my crew: “In half an hour - at the bar! I am buying. We deserve it.”
I was the first down and discovered that the women had not left, and were occupying all the tables. I probably looked confused as three women approached. The first one offered her hand, held my hand in both of hers and said, “I am Inga”.
“I'm Jack,” I replied.
“Yack?” She said.
‘You know what, Inga, call me Yakov.”
“Yakov is an Icelandic name,” laughed Inga. The women laughed with her. The second woman repeated the handshake ceremony and said, “I am Solveig.”
“I am Yakov”.
When the third woman took my hand in hers and said, "I am Elvira”, I was sure I was participating in a comedy routine. Only later, I learned the people of Iceland do not talk unless they hold your hand, when they do it with both hands, they in fact asking permission to talk.
As there were no tables available, the generous women asked me to join them. I am always a gentleman so I signaled the proprietor and than asked the ladies: “Will you join me for a drink?”
There was an embarrassing silence.
Inga, the only one who knew some English, explained. “We do not drink alcohol during the fishing season. Only when the men come back at the end of March, we celebrate with drinks.” After a pause she whispered, “Between us, I am dying for a little Aquavit”.
Inga told me about life in the isolated community; where there are no locks on the doors, or any police or law enforcement people. The two official women at the airport wore the hats of Customs officers, immigration officers, airport authorities, and British Petroleum sales representatives. I was informed the total population of the island was only 180,000 people.
Solveig and Elvira who could not speak a word of English, only smiled and whispered, as if I could understand it if they shouted.
I could see that the women were conspiring to separate us. My two other friends were getting the same treatment.
During the meal of the Hangikj√∂t a local traditional smoked mutton, Inga told me that the telephone book in Iceland goes by first names. She brought me the book and explained: “My full name is Inga Gunnardoiter meaning the daughter of Gunnar and because there are many Gunnars who have daughters, my profession, Postmistress, is written after my name. And if the information is not enough, we add our grandfather's name.” I was still digesting this unusual information when Inga asked, “Who are your people?”
I was surprised by the question and was about to regale her with tales about the time ‘Israel was in Egypt land’ and the story of ‘Let my people go’, etc, when I suddenly understood what she meant. Who are your people means what is your family name. She told me that the women of Iceland do not change their names when they marry and, in most cases, they never get married, they just move in together.
This interesting conversation came to an abrupt end when loud dance music broke out over the speakers.
“You should invite my friends for a dance,” said Inga.
“A man has to do what a man has to do.” I said but really did not want to dance with any of them. They were young and blond, but very unattractive to my taste.
I danced once with Solveig and once with Elvira and when I turned to Inga, I knew by the looks of the women, I had done something wrong.
“It is an insult if you do not dance two dances with each girl, it is impolite and unacceptable behavior”, said Inga.
I apologized immediately and said, “Let’s start from the beginning”.
During the run of the next six dances, I felt I would not make it to the end of the evening. I was exhausted, but happy as I had fulfilled my dancing obligation. I was ready to retire when Inga said to me: “We have decided, the one you pick for the next dance will join you in your room”.
“Forget it, Inga. I am too tired”
“I have an idea how to refresh you and make it easy for you to decide”.
She spoke to Solveig and Elvira (the village plumber) and, before I understood any of it, I was given my coat and escorted/dragged to Elvira’s minivan. We drove for half an hour on a bumpy road to a geothermal pond that smelled like rotten eggs.
“The sulfur bath will wake you up,” said Inga.
Before I could figure out what that was, the three women stripped naked and moved slowly into the pond.
“Come on in and join us. It's fun," said Inga.”
I was getting cold the temperature was five below and I was dead tired.
“Ok.” I said. "What the heck!”
Very quickly, I undressed and almost froze to death. I moved quickly but stopped as my feet touched the water. The temperature was unbelievably hot. My feet burned while my body froze. It was a preview of what Hell might be like. Slowly, I made it into the water, but could not stand the heat so I ran out and dressed quickly. I was cold, cranky, stinking of sulfur, but, at least, as I was told, immune to psoriasis.
About twenty minutes later the three women had enough bathing and started to walk out. The women’s hot, wet skin exposed to the cold air formed a thick layer of dense fog around their bodies. Were they three ghosts marching out of hell or three angels from off a cloud?” I could no make up my mind.
I realized that avoiding these determined naked women would be tough. I did not want any of them. Not only were they unattractive, the very white skin of these blond Nords was now very red, and the idea of going to bed with a lobster wearing sulfur perfume was not at all appealing. I was silent on the way back, preoccupied with the mess I was in.
I do not know how it happened, but Inga decided she was the chosen one, probably by default because, she was the only one who could talk..
“I’ll get rid of the sulfur and join you shortly,” she said.
I knew I was doomed and I knew that whatever happened, she would be disappointed. After a strenuous emergency, nine consecutive dances, and a hot sulfur bath, Inga would be making love to a cadaver. She would enjoy it only if she were a necrophiliac.
I went to my room, took a quick shower, redressed and lay down on the bed, just to rest my eyes. In less than ten seconds, I was sound asleep.
In the morning, I knew she had come to visit. My shoes were off and she had tucked me in.
Right after breakfast, I went to the post office across the street to apologize to the Postmistress. There were no customers waiting but she ignored me completely; not a look, not a gesture, not a word nothing. She must be very angry, I thought.
I left to check about the status of my plane.
“The part will be flown-in this afternoon. You’ll be ready to fly some time during the night,” I was told.
I took the opportunity to visit some of the local attractions and later that evening, I decided to have dinner in my room. The last thing I wanted was to go through the selection board again.
To my surprise, the food was brought to my room by my three loyal beauties, Inga, Solveig, and Elvira. I learned a new lesson; Icelanders may drop in any time, unannounced.
“What was your thing ignoring me?” I asked Inga
“In Iceland we do not mix work with social life.”
“What? Not even an eye contact?” I protested
“No, we respect work.”
I did not pursue it; I was amazed how much one can learn in a day. Well, I thought, three are less dangerous than one. I must keep them together and find a way out.
An idea flashed through my mind:”Look”, I said, “it is a tough decision to pick one of you. You are equally attractive”, (that was the truth, so help me!) I paused to let Inga translate. “I suggest a competition”, I continued. “I will be honored to spend my time with the winner.”
I saw surprise on their faces.
I went into my bag took out a bottle of Liqueur and said, “The woman who can hold liquor better, wins.”
My idea delighted them. Immediately, Elvira left the room to fetch the glasses. Returning, she bolted the door and poured the liqueur.
The women held up their glasses awaiting my signal: “Let the best woman win,” I said, and the competition began.
I had of course a valid excuse for not joining the party. I had a plane to catch.
By the second drink, they were very happy. We lost Elvira between the fifth and the sixth. She lay comatose on the floor. “Shall we put her on the bed?” I asked.
“No” said Inga. “Leave her on the floor. We will need the bed.”
Solveig and Inga were neck-to-neck during the sixth and the seventh.
Solveig left the race before the eighth’s round. I caught her before she fell and lay her down next to Elvira.
Inga attempted to pour her eighth glass but spilled most of it. She drank what remained in one gulp, threw the glass, and cried: "I won, I won, I wo……..n," and collapsed in my arms.
I aligned her parallel to the other bodies, put a blanket over them, and went to bed.
At two o’clock in the morning, the phone rang. “This is your wakeup call Sir; your pickup will be in 30 minutes”.
I put on my uniform, packed, and closed my bag with the incriminating evidence concealed within.
I left a note in Inga’s pocket, apologizing for everything.
A mental note to me said:
“While it is an offence for the women of Iceland to drink during the herring season, ‘fishing’ for men is unquestionably permitted!!”


The end

2 comments:

Roger said...

Hey Yacob
Are you really immune to psoriasis?
Pity you rejected a foursome with the local beauties!
It was "Once in a Lifetime Opportunity....."

Congratulations on your Blog
Roger

Roger said...

Hi Hagai
You are Getting BETTER from story to story...
Is it true that Japanese w.c. have a special pushbutton to mask the peeing noise???