New York Central Park Bench
When he came walking towards me in that nonchalant way, I should have been more suspicious of that innocent look. Especially when he asked me if we need dice to play chess. But because he seemed interested, I suggested we play a match. At first, he refused pretending that he didn’t know how to play, that it must be very difficult, and that I must be an expert…he finally sat down. I told him to start with whites because he was a beginner. After barely 15 minutes, he completely surrounded me, eliminating any possible move. I couldn’t do anything to avoid a sure checkmate; he destroyed me. He looked at me with a smile, raised his coffee cup as it to give a toast and told me: “What can I do? Beginner’s luck.“ That night, I didn’t sleep a wink.
Café La Belle Epoque Retired
Almost as if time had stopped, the zinc counter, which had so many times witnessed good and bad times, had hardly changed. The odor of fresh coffee brought out the image of the unforgettable Nino, a waiter who was so understanding and who generously filled our glasses and always gave us credit when we were in need. How could we forget the long talks among friends around a drink or the day where “Big Nose” went on his memorable bender and we had to carry him all the way to his place. And how could we forget the time where “Li’l Cassis” having had one too many, wanted to recite a poem, climbed up on a chair, and couldn’t but babble a few jumbled noises before falling in a heap on the table, knocking over bottles, glasses, cups and everything that was in his way. Ah, “La Belle Époque!” Magnificent morsels of life, always engraved in my memory
Bill was horribly bored at work. His only escape was reading novels about the sea and pirates. His heroes were Sandokan, Blackbeard, Jack Sparrow and Popeye. One day he decided to build an extraordinary sailboat from an old bathtub, rusted pipes and old sheets. To the cry of “Ship Ahoy!” he took the sea for a trip around the world and his dream to become a corsair became reality. It took only 5 minutes for his superb sailing vessel to sink, but Bill, far from being discouraged, refloated the boat and to the cry “Hoist the Colors” again launched himself to conquer the oceans.
The Wine Tester
Louis-Philippe de Cabernet Sauvignon delicately placed the point of the corkscrew exactly at the center of the cork of the 1990 Bordeaux. Even if all the emotion made his wrist tremble, he slowly removed the cork and the characteristic pop of an uncorked bottle resonated against the walls of the wine cellar. He examined its appearance and while smelling it a slight smile illuminated his face. He slowly poured the precious liquid into a crystal glass which he raised a little to appreciate the clear and brilliant contents, an intense cherry red color with hints of ruby, and touches of sober red-browns.
When we went to dinner at “La Truffe d’Argent”, a famous five-star restaurant, we sat at a table next to the magnificent bay window where you could see the Seine and the Notre Dame Cathedral in their entire splendor. We peacefully contemplated the sunset which covered Paris with a faint red veil. Martin Ferney, the restaurant’s famed head waiter, explained the menu with such precision and detail that we congratulated him for his knowledge. “It’s nothing,” he said, “I know by heart all the wines from our extensive wine cellar and all the secrets of French gastronomy.
“No, no and no!” screamed Doctor Edgardo Cigno in the direction of his assistant, at the clinic “The Happy Pet”. “I already told you no!….I only treat real animals, tell this kid to take his teddy bear to the toy store and…” when suddenly the door opens and a little girl appears, crying, in her hand a stuffed bear with some stitching missing around the stomach. She tenderly looked at the doctor and said “pwease dotor, can you save ‘im?” The doctor raised his eyes to the sky, sighed, took the bear and while patting its head said “I see it is a case of extreme emergency, let’s see what we can do.”
The Tennis Player
At the hospital in Rosario, all the male staff suffered from stiff necks. The administration decided to look into the problem and discovered that the cause was the sensual swaying of the hips of Doctor Evangelina Gonzalez. Her ample cleavage and tight dresses turned the heads of all the male staff, except Toni, the nurse, whose interest in the opposite sex was, well, an illusion. The administration suggested to Doctor Gonzalez that she calm things down a little, but Evangelina wouldn’t listen. So they decided to transfer her to another unit. Two weeks later, all the cases of stiff neck disappeared, both doctors and patients. Because they all followed Evangelina. The only one who stayed was Toni.
For the third time that day, the Principle of the “Sacred Heart” school went to make a little visit to the class of Miss Liliana Pérez, the most attractive teacher at the school. Once again the students stood up and greeted the Principal in loud voices, “Good morning Mr. Principal.” “Alright, alright, that is enough,” he said, a little embarrassed.
A capable person, with strong character, expert in design technologies and in programs of computation, endowed with leadership skills, that is what is needed for the supervisor engineer of a large industrial complex, qualities that the engineer Hugo Desmedt had in abundance…..according to his own opinion. He loves his profession, but what he likes most is the reflective vest and his hard hat which, as he says, gives him an air of superiority and makes him irresistibly seductive.
The ski instructor had told me clearly “You should get off at the first stop on the ski lift”. Well, here I am, I didn’t listen and I find myself… at the last stop, on a black trail looking down from the top of the mountain, eyes bulging, at an endless slope of 45°. A bead of sweat drips down my forehead forming a stalactite at the end of my nose.
The Saxophone Player
A thick cloud of smoke had invaded the night club. Scantily clad women showed-off their generous curves. On the tables, bottles of whisky and unknown drinks of questionable distillation contented an inebriated public in the midst of vapors of cheap alcohol. The air was heavy. At midnight, after the striptease of “Rita the Savage” ended, the shy Jack Sax climbed on to the old stand that improvised as the stage.
Because of pride, Mauro Machado couldn’t tolerate his wife thinking that his washboard stomach of his youth was no longer the same. He decided that the best thing to do was to start running and he registered for the annual marathon. At the starting line, he left in a flash, elbowing his way through the pack, he put himself in the first line of runners.
“A little tap, nothing but one more stroke and I win the game” thought Peter taking his position about 70 cm from the hole. A shudder of emotion ran through his body and a teasing smile brightened his features. He was already basking in victory. His joy was proportional to the unavoidable deception that began to color the face of his rival and friend, Tom.
Each time Captain Antonin Eyssette asked something, the air hostesses did everything possible to satisfy him. All of them fell to his charms which oozed from his persona, from his seductive physique and his perfect teeth. He could do two long-haul flights without a break and still be as fresh as daisy. The only worry was that, from his lower extremities, emanated a strong odor of camembert. It didn’t bother him at all. Even more so, when he engaged the automatic pilot, he likes to take his shoes off, put his feet up on the controls and, with pleasure, wiggle his toes saying “This is life!” Meanwhile, his co-pilot, suppressing an urge to throw up, was preparing delicately his little sick bag, that by experience, he always kept nearby.
“Some glamour! That’s it, that’s it, some seduction. Click! Another one, very good, very good, and smile like a diva, put a spell on me, give me your femme fatal look. Click! Click! Click! Now the look of lust, eyes towards the camera. Click! Click!….Ok, another one, Click! Click!”
Luis hated prescriptions. Trying to decipher the incomprehensible writing of doctors drove him crazy. Two pills …, no two bottles per day…., no, no two… What the devil is written on this lousy prescription! All right, let’s calm down, breathe deeply like the yoga teacher said, close your eyes, remember your studies of pictograms and Mayan hieroglyphics and absolutely keep from getting too excited. There, I think it is written tricnine, no, en xyline… Where did this brute learn to write? Half a tea spoon of Mnncbli…, no Mencbli…What a dumb idea I had to become a pharmacist! Nothing I can do, I’ll just give him cough syrup, two boxes of aspirin, that never hurts anyone and I’ll get rid of the problem.” – Next please.
The Master Chef
When he was young, Juan Teruggi loved to help his grandmother, especially when she baked cakes, in licking the batter covered spoon. He always knew that he would be a cook but not just any cook; he would be a ‘Master Chef’. After two years of study at the most prestigious culinary schools the day of his final exam arrived.
The defendant was accused of assault with a firearm and the robbery of two chickens and six eggs. Despite the testimony of four witnesses, the discovery of hundreds of feathers in his house, without speaking of a stew pot full of chicken bones and an old frying pan with leftovers of an omelette, the famous lawyer Mario Puzotti, at the end of an eloquent defence, managed to persuade the jury of his client’s innocence and to convince them that the true guilty one was society. The accused was freed ipso facto and, under thundering applause and cries from the public of “encore, encore,” the talented lawyer was obliged to return several times to bow to his frenzied audience.
The Lady Lawyer
During her childhood, Vera Timmons witnessed numerous acts of delinquency. One day she saw her little neighbor, Peter ‘Freckles’, with a sarcastic smile, rip in to pieces the teddy bear of her friend Katherine. The following week, the same Peter, armed with a slingshot, broke Mrs. Carrigan’s window. Another day, ‘Freckles’ stole a handful of candy by putting his filthy hands in Aunt Mary’s candy bowl.
The Lady Dentist
“Doctor is this going to hurt much?” the terrorized patient asked Mariluz León, the dentist at the “Happy Teeth” clinic who, a little impatient, was waiting with a drill in her hand. “Of course it won’t, dear, you won’t feel a thing!” she answered trying to calm him down. “Listen, this is how we are going to proceed, take this tube of toothpaste in your hand and, if it hurts too much, squeeze the tube a little to calm yourself down.” The doctor started the drill and even before putting it into his mouth, the patient squeezed the tube so hard that toothpaste splattered on the ceiling and the doctor found her face covered with it as if someone had thrown a pie in her face.
“Your Honor, you cannot condemn this poor man to one year of prison for only stealing a cube of chicken broth”, the lawyer said. “No, that’s true” the Judge replied, “but after stealing it, it was not necessary to use a bottle of oil to hit the poor old lady who had witnessed the incident. Nor did he need to set fire to the soup shelf in order to erase his finger prints. Nor did he need to lock-up the shop manager when he wanted to flee. And most of all, there was no need to force the shop manager to swallow the cube in order to get rid of the evidence… He should at least have removed the packaging from the cube!”
“ Papa, papa, today we’re going to the beach, ok? Yippee, we’re going to the beach, hurray, hurray” cried Antonin jumping up and down while pulling with all his strength on his father’s shirt. “Oh no, no, today we are going on another tour by tuc tuc to discover the streets of the city and its monuments” answered Dominique to his son. “But papa, we already went by tuc tuc yesterday and saw 12 monuments, 6 markets, 4 temples and 2 museums” said a concerned Antonin.
Sacha put on his boots, took his rifle, his hat and his bag of ammunition. His dog, Tom, seeing what Sacha was preparing, leaped up and started running around. “Dear, we’re leaving to go hunting”, he said to his wife. Then, shutting his eyes a little and with an air of confidence, he added, “Tonight, for dinner, we’ll have duck”. After six hours spent in the marshes, after having emptied his ammunition box and even trying a slingshot and all the sticks and stones which he could find in his path, nothing worked, he couldn’t kill even one duck. Fortunately, the local supermarket was still open. That night for dinner, they ate a succulent farm-raised chicken.
At the “Crazy Hair” beauty salon, it’s the newest trends and fashionable concepts that prevail. The head stylist, Rossano Alessandro, created a fortifying hair treatment from Red Sea algae mixed with beaver urine, purple garlic from China, caviar from the Caspian and camembert from Normandy. His clients who love being at the edge of fashion were ready to do anything for a chance to have his capillary fortifying treatment. The experience is amazing. They stay for hours chatting while the magnificent balm takes effect. The perfume they inhale recalls the pomp of the court of Versailles and the noble scents that gave that place its rank and distinction. However, it is a little difficult to keep the flies away.
The Guitar Player
My mother always told me “Franck, you are a musical disaster! I make a special effort to speak softly to my plants and you, every time you play the guitar, you kill one!” When I told my family that I wanted to devote my life to singing, my brother almost died from laughing and my father had a heart attack. They told me that no one would ever come to see me and that I would be put in prison for the disturbing the peace, that I would die from hunger….How they were all wrong! Now, not only more and more people come to see my concerts, but the best thing is that, thanks to everything they throw on stage, my family opened a grocery store just next door.
The hole was far away, Mauro Rugolin needed to hit hard, but with accuracy. He knew he could do it; several times, he had seen Tiger do the same. That afternoon, a crowd had come to see him and they were all hoping to witness his magnificent drive. He spread his legs exactly how one should. In perfect synchronization, he initiated a rotation of his shoulders and waste while stabilizing his right knee just a little.
The Football Player
‘Bowleggs’ Alfredo Pozzi, was an ace, a master at dribbling the ball. During the Richieri school matches no one could stop him. We all envied him. One day he managed to dribble past two huge brutes from sixth grade. Can you imagine that? He left them standing in their tracks. A genius. And the touch of the ball that he had was…..incredible.
The Fire Fighter
Sergeant Germán Echeverría wasn’t afraid of fire. As a child, he loved to light his father’s cigarettes, he liked that so particular smell of suffer which comes from just lit matches. His mother always said, “Don’t play with fire or you are going to wet your bed”. In the fall, he amused himself by making bonfires with his friends and then by throwing handfuls of salt on the flames, listening fascinated by the crackling of the salt.
Doctor José Batle was a recognized expert in his field. His diagnoses, always exact, saved the lives of hundreds of people and earned him the admiration of high society. Everything was going perfectly until the day when, arrived to his office, the most well-known actress in Hollywood, the ravishing Marilyn Hayworth, victim of a sprained little finger.
Paquita Gutiérrez was scared to death of dentists. For the last few days she has been tortured by a tooth. At first, she was hoping that it would simply go away, then she tried all the pain killers in the medicine cabinet. After 3 days, she went to see Carmen, her neighbor who did talking therapy. After 5 days, and not being able to stand it anymore, she made an appointment with the eminent dentist, the doctor Salomon Mimran, whose reputation was the talk of Paris.
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