Ein Weihnachtsmärchen aus Hockenheim. Lesekost für die Weihnachtszeit.

(English version).

Diese humorvolle und leicht gruselige Weihnachtsgeschichte gibt es als ebook (nur €0.99) für alle Geräte (Apple iPhone, iPad; Smartphones, Kindle, Tolino usw.). Du kannst es leicht in deinem Lieblings-eBookstore finden – einfach nach “Clemens P. Suter” suchen.

“Großvater, Großvater, kannst du uns eine Geschichte erzählen?”

Der alte Mann wachte mit einem Schrecken auf. Seine Pfeife war in seiner Hand kalt geworden. Er bemerkte, dass die Asche ein kleines Loch in das weiße Tischtuch gebrannt hatte. Der Mann warf einen schuldbewussten Blick auf seine Tochter Annie, die gerade eine Suppe zubereitete. Er zog den Aschenbecher zu sich heran, um den Schaden zu verbergen.

“Na, mal sehen, ugh ughu”, hustete er. Die beiden Jungen setzten sich neben ihn, einer auf jeder Seite. Ihre Gesichter waren sowohl von der Kälte als auch von der Vorfreude gerötet.

“Die Festtage rücken immer näher. Vielleicht sollte ich mal eine Weihnachtsgeschichte erzählen, hmm?”

Vor vielen, vielen Jahren, aber einige Jahre nach den Corona-Pandemien, verdiente ich mein Geld in Hockenheim. Das Leben war ruhig… wenn man es mit den Zeiten des “Großen Umbruchs” vergleicht. Allerdings waren die Leute nicht reich, und die meisten Geschäfte in der Karlsruher Straße waren pleite, mit Ausnahme einer großen Anzahl von Bäckereien und Friseursalons. Aus unerfindlichen Gründen hatten diese es immer geschafft zu überleben.

Eines Tages, Anfang November, ging ich die Karlsruher Straße entlang. Ich bemerkte einen Umzugswagen, der vor einem kleinen leeren Laden geparkt war. Offensichtlich waren die Arbeiter damit beschäftigt, ein neues Geschäft einzurichten. Sie trugen schwere Holzmöbel in das Gebäude. Selbst der Regen, der gelegentlich in Schneeregen überging, konnte sie nicht ablenken.

Es war zu kalt, um stehen zu bleiben und die Szene zu beobachten. Ich zog den Kragen meines Mantels hoch, um mich vor dem Wind zu schützen, und ging weiter.

Einige Tage später wurde tatsächlich ein neues Geschäft eröffnet. Über dem Schaufenster prangte ein großes Schild mit der Aufschrift “Marie”. Das fand ich interessant, denn es erklärte nicht, welche Art von Produkten Marie anbot. Und auch das Schaufenster gab nicht viele Hinweise. In der Regel waren nur einige wenige Gegenstände zu sehen: eine Schachtel mit Kerzen, ein Stift auf einem roten Samtkissen oder eine Haarbürste. Manchmal war ein Regenschirm das einzige Stück, oder ein einzelnes Buch, ein Kleid oder etwas Gemüse. Die Gegenstände wurden jeden Tag gewechselt. Preisschildchen sucht man vergebens. Ich lächelte traurig, denn es war zu erwarten, dass auch dieser Laden bald bankrottgehen würde. Wie so viele ähnliche Versuche in dieser einsamen Rheintalstadt.

Nun bin ich kein Mensch für Klatsch und Tratsch, aber selbst ich schnappte einige Gerüchte über Maries auf. An einem Samstagmorgen, als ich mein Brot in meiner Lieblingsbäckerei abholte, bemerkte die Bäckereibesitzerin Frau Zeh, dass Maries Laden erstaunlich leer sei. Sie schüttelte den Kopf und ihre Mundwinkel zogen sich noch weiter nach unten als sonst. Auch Herr Gelb, der gerade hereinkam, um sich frische Brezeln zu holen, war nicht erfreut. Er erzählte, dass er bei Maries reingegangen war und nur ein paar Kleidungsstücke gefunden hatte: eine Hose, einen Mantel und eine einfache Strickjacke. Sein grauer Ziegenbart zuckte vor Aufregung, und er biss sich sichtlich verärgert in den Schnurrbart. Eine übergewichtige Frau meldete sich zu Wort. “Ich habe bei Marie Gemüse gekauft, aber es waren tatsächlich nur fünf verschiedene Sorten im Angebot. Können Sie sich das vorstellen?” “Na ja”, versuchte ich zu beschwichtigen, “es ist vielleicht nicht schlecht, nur Kartoffeln oder Erbsen oder Möhren anzubieten … wenn sie die richtige Qualität haben?”

“Ja, aber nur EINES von jedem? Eine Kartoffel, eine Karotte… EINE Erbse?” Herr Gelb schüttelte missbilligend den Kopf. Alle Kunden verstummten. Das war in der Tat überraschend. Frau Zeh schüttelte erneut den Kopf und sah weiterhin irritiert aus. Herr Gelb musterte unsere erstaunten Gesichter und gluckste triumphierend.

Meine Neugierde war geweckt, aber ich hatte keine Veranlassung, das neue Geschäft zu besuchen. Erstens hatte ich sehr wenig Geld, und zweitens versuchte ich als Junggeselle, mich von den Feinheiten des Dorflebens fernzuhalten.

Die Tage und Wochen vergingen. Mit dem Zusammenbruch des Golfstroms, einem der ersten Opfer der Klimaerwärmung, traf der Winter das Rheintal mit voller Wucht. Schwerer Schnee kam aus dem Osten, und die Dorfbewohner zogen sich in ihre Häuser zurück. Auch ich tat dies. Ich konnte mich glücklich schätzen, denn ich hatte einen Kellerraum mit Küche unter einem Fachwerkhaus, genannt “Der güldener Engel”. In einem kleinen Ofen verbrannte ich Holz, das ich im benachbarten Schwetzinger Hardt erbeutete. So konnte ich mit ein paar Wollpullovern übereinander auch die kälteste Witterung überstehen.

Eines Abends, etwa eine Woche vor Weihnachten, klopfte es an meine Tür. Ich warf einen Blick auf die Uhr: Es war neun, eine ungewöhnliche Zeit für Besucher. Doch nach einigem Zögern entfernte ich den Riegel, zog die Tür auf und sah eine dunkle Gestalt auf der Treppe. Hinter dem Menschen wehte ein wütender Wind Schneeflocken durch die Luft. Es war ein Bekannter, ein Mann namens Richard. Er trug einen schweren Mantel. Sein Atem kristallisierte sich in der kalten Luft.

“Darf ich reinkommen?”, fragte er. Ich hörte seine Zähne klappern. Gefrorener Schnee bedeckte seine Schultern.

“Sicher, sicher”, sagte ich und hielt die Tür auf. Er schob sich an mir vorbei durch den engen Flur und betrat mein Zimmer. Ich nahm ihm den Mantel ab und wir setzten uns an meinen kleinen Tisch. Ich schenkte ihm einen heißen Tee aus dem Samowar ein.

“Verdammt kalt draußen”, sagte er, “verdammt kalt”. Richard war groß, breitschultrig und hatte ein markantes Gesicht. Dunkles, lockiges Haar krönte seinen Kopf. Er sprach nicht und hielt die Tasse mit beiden Händen, offensichtlich um die Kälte aus seinen roten Händen und Fingern zu vertreiben.

“Was ist los?” fragte ich. Ich war von seinem Besuch überrascht, denn wir kannten uns nicht besonders gut. Warum hatte er beschlossen, ausgerechnet bei mir aufzutauchen? Nach Einbruch der Dunkelheit, die Straßen menschenleer und der Schnee knietief?

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Find more awesome short stories in this eBook.

France. Photos from our trip to France and The Provence

We spent a few days in the south of France – the weather was in our favor, and we could make several  leisurely walks, drink coffee and have some excellent food. Especially beautiful is that time of day when the sun starts to go down (and the tourists are at dinner) to wander the small streets of the old villages.

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Venasque – one of the many beautiful villages in the Vaucluse valley

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Crossing the Rhone by ferry

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Buddy’s new girlfriend

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A Jules Verne inspired merry-go-round

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Sunset on our last evening

Originally posted 2017-06-13 04:58:59.

Atheist joke – the genie in the lamp (starring Daphne and John)

An atheist (let’s say her name is Daphne) buys an ancient Roman Catholic lamp at an auction, takes it home, and polishes it. Suddenly, a genie appears, and says, “My name is John. I’ll grant you three wishes, My Mistress.” The atheist says, “Oh well, interesting… let’s say: I wish I could believe in you.” The genie snaps his fingers, and suddenly the atheist believes in him. The atheist says, “Wow. I wish all atheists would believe in genies.” The genie snaps his fingers again, and suddenly atheists all over the world begin to believe in genies.

“What about your third wish?” asks the genie. “Well,” says the atheist, “I wish for a billion dollars.” The genie snaps his fingers a third time, but nothing happens. “What’s wrong?” asks the atheist.
The genie shrugs and says, “Just because you believe in me doesn’t mean that I exist.”

More humor? Find it all blogposts tagged with HUMOR:

https://clemenssuter.com/tag/humor/

 

Originally posted 2017-06-13 00:49:21.

Fact vs. Fiction. Half truths and lies in pandemic times.

Today’s world is complex. We are bombarded with a never ending flood of information; through news, social media and personal conversations. News hits us from all corners of the globe: a hundred years ago nobody would have known (or cared) about forest fires on the other side of the world; today we feel directly affected by them. In addition, we are more than ever confronted with developments that impact all of us, such as the Corona/Covid19 pandemic (see previous blogpost) or climate change.
How to handle this confusion? Only a level-headed “cool analysis“ of the facts helps us deal with this complicated world. Without reliance on facts, the world becomes even more complex and reality even more difficult to handle. And we start making mistakes, after all, who wants to base decisions on wrong facts?

But how to distinguish fact from fiction? People spread half truths or lies in a number of ways. Here’s an example of how that works.

Creationists are convinced that, based on the texts in the Bible, the world is only a few thousand years old. You can think about this any way you want (many will conclude that his perception is wrong. As a biologist, I am slightly biased in this matter), but that is not the point that I would like to make. I would like to talk about the dilemma this causes for the creationist. The creationist has two options. First, the creationist could decide that the biblical text is correct and that no further discussion is needed. The creationist could then simply stick to this belief and not enter into any further discussion with anybody. This would be 100% consistent. After all, we all believe in certain things, and sticking to those beliefs is fully acceptable. Sure, it may have some disadvantages for the creationist: this person might feel isolated as many people will smirk at this idea, and/or the creationist wouldn’t be able to gain more followers. The creationist would definitely get less air time on national television! Many religious groups follow such an approach (e.g. the Amish people in the USA, who self-isolate pretty efficiently). Perfectly fine: they can go on with their lives, and I with mine. We mutually respect one other and might even enjoy our differences.

The alternative for the creationist is to collect information to prove that the world is indeed only a few thousand years old. The apparent advantage for the creationist is that the creationist can continue to interact and discuss with fellow humans, thus there is less risk of having to live the life of a recluse. It also provides a feeling that the theory is scientifically validated. And you can actually get invited for a quirky interview on TV.

This is what I call the Creationist Dilemma: the creationist needs to choose between these two options.

Remember, I’m not discussing the pros and cons of creationism. This blogpost addresses the dilemma that confronts many believers in many topics.

There are tremendous flaws in choosing the second option: what I call the Creationist Trap. In choosing the second option, the creationist starts to collect (scientific) evidence that “proves” that either the evolution theory has weaknesses, or that creationism is correct. In other words, the creationist starts out with a theory and then picks and chooses the evidence that supports that theory.

However, this is not how science works. To put it bluntly, it completely contradicts common sense.

It’s like driving a rattling car through the desert and firmly believing that it won’t break down (~theory) because you had it checked, the tank is full, the wipers and horn are working, and your highly concerned passengers were wrong in the past (~facts). Based on which you conclude: we will continue driving! (~action).

In contrast, real science starts out by collecting facts, from which a theory is created. To stay with the car example: oh my, the motor doesn’t sound good at all (~fact); is it breaking down? (~theory), let’s stop and check the motor before it gets worse (~action, leading to the collection of more facts).

The “beauty” of the creationist approach is that it allows anyone to “prove” anything.
Example: climate change. Many climate change deniers have a reason (their starting “theory”) for their denial of human-caused climate change. Perhaps they fear for the economy, or their job. Or they love big cars that use a lot of gasoline, or the theory doesn’t fit their understanding of freedom. Perhaps deep down inside they are afraid of change. In any case, they fall victim to the creationist’s dilemma: instead of simply saying: “Hell, I am not going to change my ways. I’m going to produce carbon dioxide and I don’t care what’s going to happen to the climate” (which would at least be consistent), they are tempted to start collecting data that “substantiates” climate change isn’t happening: they choose option two and fall into the creationist trap. They may refer to irrelevant climate change events that happened thousands of even millions of years ago, or to other „mistakes“ that so-called „experts“ made.

You think the Earth is flat? You think that the whole corona reaction was unnecessary? Do you believe humanity never landed on the moon? Are vaccines bad? Is homeopathy a proper medical treatment? You think brushing your teeth has no benefits? I can help. I’ve been working in science long enough to know where to find information, just give me sufficient time, and I will collect all the evidence you need to support ANY of your theories.

Is that a valid approach? No.

How to spot people that have fallen victim to the Creationist Trap? Have you perhaps fallen into it yourself? Here some indicators to look out for.

First, always question: why is this person making a certain statement? What is this person’s underlying motivation? In the case of the creationist it is simple: religion. Anti-vaccers may be driven by fear or uncertainty, or mistrust in institutions (like Big Pharma). In many cases the motivation may not be directly obvious, e.g. climate deniers may have many different reasons at the same time. And many won’t even tell or disclose what motivates them. Sometimes they do not even know themselves.

Second, are the person’s statements overtly negative, in a sense that the person is trying to DISPROVE a theory? An expert (this can be a scientist, but also a football coach, an iron monger or an accountant) makes mostly positive statements about theories, since they know the facts that support them. They feel comfortable with the evidence on which the theory is based. A flat-earther is on constant defence against scientists, the media, the world, and is thus attacking the idea that Earth is a globe.

Another telltale sign: is the person heaping up more and more evidence (true or false) from as many sources as possible to make their point? And if one argument doesn’t work, quickly switches to the next one?

Is the person relying on (sometimes amazingly good) oratory skills, is this person a smooth talker? Does the speaker transport knowledge or emotion? Knowledge and facts can be very boring; emotion can be very gratifying and exciting.

An expert knows that no one can know everything about a discipline. As a result, an expert will regularly use phrases such as: “there is no data to support that theory,” or even simply admit “I’m not sure.” A person stuck in the creationist trap will not allow any doubt to shine through. They do not discuss; they debate.

Is the evidence provided actually related to the topic? Are observations pulled in from cases that may seem similar, but that are in fact unrelated: whataboutisms? Typical statements to watch out for are “they were wrong about XYZ too” or “something similar happened then-and-then, and it turned out be completely innocent.” 

The indicators above may apply to any individual. But if many start to bubble up at the same time, your alarm bellS should start to go off.

In the end, the scientific method relies completely on common sense, the two are inseparable. Facts know no religion, no politics, no emotions. But they are key to get your rattling car out of the desert.

Find my visionary, corona pandemic novel TWO JOURNEYS for Apple devices here: https://books.apple.com/de/book/two-journeys/id381201439?l=en

You can get a copy of SHORT STORIES here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1014440 or on any device.
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Originally posted 2020-05-06 09:39:00.

Two Journeys – get Your Copy Today of this Exciting Post-Apocalyptic Adventure.

Two Journeys is available as eBook and Paperback at all stores and outlets.

“I loved this book. I rarely gush like this, but I feel strongly. […] I did not want the book to end, but the ending was incredibly touching and satisfying. Alan is an interesting and inventive human character. I will miss him!”

Get the  Two Journeys paperback or kindle at amazon – also in your country.  Get it on your iPhone through iTunes.

During a routine business trip to Tokyo, Alan finds himself to be the sole survivor of a global pandemic. A viral disease has wiped away all of humanity… and Alan’s past life. Fearing injury, sickness and hunger, he sets out to travel back to his family in Berlin, straight across Asia and 10,000 miles of hardship and adventure.
Suter combines post-apocalyptic elements with an adventurous road novel in this book about a man left alone on earth. The hardships and landscapes are described in all ferocity. A few other humans have survived, some eager to use the disaster for their own advantage. Electrifying chapters describe the encounter with Somerset, a charming yet psychotic warlord, who is assembling an army to conquer Moscow, if not the entire world.

An exciting, haunting book. “This apocalyptic thriller grabs you in the first couple of pages and never lets go.”

“Move over, Cormac McCarthy, another survivor is traveling the Armageddon road. Clemens P. Suter’s apocalyptic thriller grabs you in the first couple of pages and never lets go. The reader feels real empathy for the main character’s plight as he begins a seemingly impossible 9,000-mile trip to learn his family’s fate. The cause of the calamity is mysterious but clues are uncovered along the way causing tension to build until we reach the shattering climax. Two Journeys is not to be missed.” – G. Dedrick Robinson, author of Blood Scourge

“Short message to Roland Emmerich and Quentin Tarantino: This is the story for your next film.” Reader comment at Amazon

“This work of apocalyptic fiction belongs right up there with some of the best in its genre […] I literally could not put it down, it scared me, I talked out loud to it!, I gasped, I cared about the protagonist, and never once — never ONCE — did this book let me down. Read it. I highly recommend it.” Reader comment on Amazon

“I highly recommend this to those who like the genre. […] Save it for when you absolutely need a good and easy diversion to free your mind.” Reader comment at Amazon

“A well written and realistic ‘Last man’ book […]. The pace is quite fast and straight to the point, almost like a movie script and it works. […] I enjoyed the fact that it never flipped out. The language was excellent and easy to read.” Reader comment at Amazon

Get the  Two Journeys paperback or kindle at amazon – also in your country.  Get it on your iPhone through iTunes.

Originally posted 2017-05-22 12:21:23.

The Best Short Stories: The Baker and the Pot of Gold

“Grandfather, can you tell us a story?” The old man had fallen asleep at the kitchen table, but woke up with a start as his two grandsons entered the room. “Certainly my boys,” he said, and cleared his throat. He pondered the question for a while. “How about the story of the baker and the pot of gold?”

“Did you write that story, grandfather?”

The old man chuckled. “Oh no, no. This story is as old as the world. And it may seem to be a simple tale, yet it is very complex, the more you think about it. Well, anyway, it goes like this.”

A long time ago, a baker living in Warsaw suffered a reoccurring dream. Every night, the poor man would dream of a pot of gold, to be found beneath a bridge, in an unknown city. This went on for many weeks, until the baker decided that this couldn’t go on. He packed his knapsack, with the purpose to locate the bridge and to find the treasure. As his dream only provided the flimsiest of details, he had to search and travel for many weeks, but one day he ended up in Prague. And behold: there was the bridge that had disturbed his nightly rest.

However, he now encountered his next challenge. The bridge lead to a castle and was heavily guarded. He could neither cross the bridge nor reach the banks of the river beneath it, soldiers and policemen stood about everywhere. Impatiently he waited and observed the bridge for several days and nights, and time and time again he came very close to giving up the entire endeavor. However, he decided to stay on, partially because he didn’t want the dream to start reoccurring again, but also as by now he had developed considerable appetite for the gold. So he  decided to stay and wait for a good opportunity to get underneath the bridge.

This opportunity arrived a few days later. One dark and moonless night there was a rainstorm, which became worse and worse, and in the very early morning hours he took his chance. He slid down the wet bank of the river and found his way through the dark to the bridge.

But alas ! Almost immediately soldiers jumped from the bushes and quickly he was arrested. The men brought the baker to the police station, where he wasn’t treated in a friendly way at all. Without further ado, he was locked up in a cell. Shivering and full of fear he spent a terrible night on a hard bunk, without a blanket to warm him.

The next morning, the shining sun offering little hope, the door of his cell was opened. An officer entered and looked down at the baker.

“Well! I hope you had a good night!”

“As good as possible under the circumstances, my lord.”

“Tell me, what were you doing underneath the bridge? Were you trying to enter the castle illegally? And what for? The judges in Prague are not friendly towards thieves and terrorists! Tell the truth!”

The baker grew pale and decided to tell his story. The officer looked at him with great surprise and started laughing.

“My god, man! You came to Prague because you dreamed a treasure was buried underneath the bridge?! A pot of gold! Hahaha! Are you really stupid enough to follow such a ridiculous dream?”

The baker looked at the ground in shame. The officer continued: “There is no truth in dreams, every child knows that! I mean, a few days ago I had a very similar dream as yours. I dreamed of an old bakery in Warsaw, I saw it in my dream as clearly as I see you now.” He described the bakery in some detail. “And you know what? I walked into the bakery, and pulled the big iron stove forward, and this huge treasure of gold coins became visible. But does that mean that I am so naive to travel to Warsaw to dig out this presumed ‘treasure’, whereas I can expect to only find soot and dirt? Certainly not! Now off you go! I will be lenient with you, but only because you are such an ignorant fool.”

The baker quickly left the police station and Prague, and traveled home.

He arrived home late at night. He entered his bakery and with all his strength pulled the old stove forward. And there he found a treasure beyond his wildest dream, a large pot filled with gold coins.

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Well children: there are a couple of messages hidden in this tale. The most obvious one being that you should follow your dreams. The baker does so, but the guardsman obviously not. Another message may be that the greatest treasure may be right in front of you, without you knowing. Or that the path to your personal treasure may be crooked and full of hardship…

Interested in my books: click LINK

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Originally posted 2019-09-21 19:37:00.

Double Barrel of Adventure. Two Journeys and Fields of Fire. Confront your apocalypse!

Great adventure novels, perfect reading for the beach, the subway, the plane or a rainy day. Available as eBook and Paperback, in your favorite Internet store and on any device! Get your copy today: simply search for “Clemens P. Suter” on your device’s store.

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Banners for Two Journeys and Fields of Fire slammed onto a building in Japan

Originally posted 2017-05-06 19:47:13.

Doreen. A Short Story from the collection Amazing Stories

It was around the time that everybody stopped reading literature and switched to reading crime and mystery, when Samuel S. made his terrible decision. Crime and mystery stories had been around for a hundred years, and the genre had experienced its ups and downs, but around 2017 it became obvious that nobody was going to read anything else anymore. Anybody with anything to communicate had to wrap it into a whodunnit format, or take the risk to be completely and utterly ignored, and this was not just true for authors, but also for any socialite or politician, in fact for any public or private person.

Surely this is my biased view on the subject.

I think I met Samuel S. for the first time at a party. A barbecue at Barry Leon‘s place in San Diego, wasn’t it? An awkward affair, as on the one hand, Ken Griffin has been there, and Ken had formerly been a colleague of ours, but now he was Barry’s boss, as a result of which Barry had danced about all evening like a subservient ballerina, trying to please his new manager. Very awkward to witness. On the other hand, Barry’s buddy had been absent, I have forgotten his name, a colleague who was twenty years Barry’s senior, but who was inseparably connected to him at work, the two were like Siamese twins. On all emails to the one, the other was at least on CC. Being bad at names, I am actually not sure whether it was Barry Leon or Leon Barry, I usually called him Leon in my mind, which might be due to my Spanish heritage. To add even more confusion: did I actually meet Samuel S. at this party at all? Or was it at a similar affair in San Francisco that I had attended around that time? I recall the typical Californian evening light, but not much else. I have attended many such social and business events, in or close to Silicon Valley. We had seen a a hummingbird visiting our barbecue, that I recall with absolute certainty, as Samuel S. provided some pertinent facts about the hummingbird family Trochilidae to enlighten or entertain us. With Samuel S. you could never tell which; infotainment was his forte.

No matter. Samuel S. was short, shorter than I am, but he looked fit and in control of things, which makes it even more shocking that he ultimately arrived at this strange idea of his, with which he firmly shot himself in the foot; figuratively speaking off course, he was far too intelligent to own a gun.

Samuel S. and I developed a good rapport. We agreed on the pros and cons of the current and previous president. And the respective flotuses too. We both found the previous one more attractive. We agreed on Flaubert, Paul Auster’s best book and the beauty of orientalist paintings. Samuel S. was one of few individuals that went by their full first names, which I highly appreciated. Too many Michaels go by the name of Mike, too many Zebedeuses are reduced to Zebs, and too many Josephs are amputated to Joes. However, Samuel S. did read crime and mystery; I once met him in a bar where he dropped his keys, phone and such a sordid paperback onto the table. He also mentioned some popular mystery stories a few times in conversations at parties that we frequented. I won’t hold that against him. Like I said, this was the time when bookstores were virtually bulging with crime and mystery, and people started mistaking Shakespeare for Sherlock Holmes, Berlioz for Poirot and Truman Capote for Al Capone. For all his erudite ways and obvious flirting with intelligentsia and semi-revolutionary political ideas, it came as a surprise when he admitted to have frequented a prostitute. He hinted at this on two or three occasions, and not just to me but in a greater round. It didn’t sound like bravado, and adds some surprising color to his character.

He was married to Doreen, a retired physician and  fifteen years his senior. She was an extraordinary woman, taller than Samuel S., skinny, gray-haired, and I have to say, stunningly beautiful. She had a look that few elderly women carry: you could recognize a much younger Doreen in her face and stature. Some women grow old and simply look old, but others continue to carry a young girl within, if you know what I mean. It’s in their smile and in the spring in their step. Shirley McClain comes to mind, or Michelle Yeoh. But not Charlotte Rampling, not Judy Dench, although they are impressive women in their own right.

Doreen smelled of green tea. Or her perfume did. I don’t drink the stuff, the tea I mean, but I like the fragrance. She didn’t read crime or mystery, I’m happy to say. Befitting, she read books about Buddha, gardening, art and lifestyle, and the occasional novel. Unlike her husband, she didn’t travel much, but had visited India a few times. She enjoyed tending her garden and had a small greenhouse with cacti. I visited her on occasion, in the summertime, during that particular time.

Intellectually, these years were dire straights, and it was hard to find equally minded people for conversation. I was member of a group of half a dozen regulars and ten to fifteen satellites. Frustratingly, populism was on the rise, and people were either talking about perceived crises, ignoring the greatness of their lives, which was shouting into their bloated and stuffed faces – or they were shaking their heads in disbelief at the madness of it all and the way democracy and the environment happily bounced towards the abyss. Or they had already given up on the world altogether; and, you may guess it by now, had turned to reading crime and mystery novels. I had reached a stage where the flood of bad news started to trickle down my skin as if I had been dunked in Teflon. In this light, I found the mere existence of Samuel S. a relief, as he seemed to be less obsessed by current affairs, and could quickly switch a discussion about the devastation of the Amazons to the usage of curare for the hunt by the endogenous people of said delta. And with considerable and generally compelling detail too. He had a fine sense of humor and tended to tell the truth, which was refreshing. He was thus an enrichment of the circle of friends that I was part of, and all our lives might have just continued on and on, had it not been for the silly fact that Samuel S. decided that he wanted to divorce Doreen.

The two hadn’t even been married that long. Samuel S. had been single for most of his life, but Doreen has been married before, to an engineer. She showed me a picture once, of a fat bald guy. I had a hard time imagining them together in one room. She had three children from that marriage, all three had left home and were wandering the globe. In New Jersey. Samuel S. didn’t have any children of his own.

One afternoon, out of the blue, he told me about his plan. He would leave Doreen and start anew. Usually, he was a suave, confident person, but now his eyes flickered nervously and his tongue darted over his lips. He talked on and on, I couldn’t get a word in sideways. He didn’t give any clear reason, at least not in any way that was obvious to me, and I didn’t dare ask. At the end he was exhausted and frustrated, which surprised me. Most people that separate are at least a bit happy, but not Samuel S.. Afterwards he must have told someone else about his plan too, as the rumor went through our group like wildfire. In contrast to what some may say, the rumor didn’t come from me, let me assure you. The foolish man, I had the impression that he wanted us, yes: me, to guess what the underlying reason was. I was in the dark, and said so to anyone who asked. As if life is one of these stupid mystery story where we have to collect clues to come to some cheap thrill or fulfillment or insight. Whatever.

Strangely enough, his decision had great effect on the dynamics of our circle. Over the following weeks, changes started to occur, and for some reason they impacted me a great deal. Was it because I had introduced Samuel S. into our group? In any case, I started to notice that I was excluded from invites, or sidelined during conversation. On one or two occasions, people even turned their backs to me, or didn’t greet me.

To be honest, by that time I couldn’t really be bothered, as I had in the preceding weeks, become rather close with an individual that I highly respected. A person where everything just felt right. Yes, I had found love. I had been in relationships on and off, but none had stuck. Yes, I am a picky person, also when it comes to finding a partner, and I was therefore very happy indeed that I had met someone whom I really could trust. It felt as if we were like yin and yang. And the beauty of it all was that my counterpart felt exactly the same way. I could thus happily continue with my job during the daytime, while looking forward to slightly secretive nightly encounters, as we had decided to take our budding relationship step by step.

I hadn’t seen Samuel S. for weeks, when one evening he called and asked whether I would be interested in having a drink. I hesitated. I had already started to move on. Things that happened that year were now part of the past. But for old times sake I agreed.

We met in a coffee place of Main, where they serve a hundred types of latte, and a bookshelf with used paperbacks, mostly crime and mystery, occupies a corner.

He didn’t look good. His hair was unkempt and he had rings under his eyes. We talked. I asked him whether he still wanted to leave Doreen. I asked: Why? Why Samuel?

He looked down at the table. Can you really be so blind? I told you didn’t I? I did more than hinting. I think I said it to you straight. Why can’t you acknowledge it?

I looked at Samuel S. in absolute confusion. No, I couldn’t understand. What was he talking about?

Samuel, what have you told me?

Oh you fool! He blurted it out, and the other patrons lifted their heads in reaction to his loud voice. Don’t you understand, Susanne? I love you! That’s why I have left Doreen. I love you! Can you be so blind?

I stared at his face in shock. I was speechless. For a full minute my mind seemed to have stopped in its tracks. Then, slowly, I started to recount some of the conversations that I had with Samuel S., and some of the comments our mutual friends had made to me. Finally, the penny dropped. This man, this poor fool, had fallen for me, and in his sophisticated and round-about way, had been completely incapable of telling me straight to my face. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I would have refused him, surely. Ironically, through his confused action he had opened opportunities that he himself wasn’t even aware of.

I got up and looked down at him. His face was contorted by emotion. I said: I’m sorry Samuel. There isn’t anything else that I can add. We are not made for one another.

I walked out without turning back. Yes, this was the time that every bookstore, every internet shop, every library was literally exploding with crime and mystery. I’ve never been a fan. But if it’s mystery that the people want: so be it. And that included, alas, Samuel S.. I drove around for a while and after that I sat in my car at a Walmart, until sunset. Finally, I longed for home and bed and comfort and love. I drove to my place and unlocked the door. I threw my keys on the table in the hallway.

The lights were on.

Is it you? Called Doreen.

Yes love, it’s me.


This story is part of the collection Amazing Stories by Clemens P. Suter, available in all stores.

Find my paperbacks and Kindles at Amazon.com

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Reading: healthy and relaxing!

 

Originally posted 2019-09-14 20:06:00.

The #musclepack of #adventure #pandemic #highspeed reading

“Impossible to put down” get your copy today at Amazon USA. Also for your Apple device.

A great pandemic last-man-on-Earth adventure!”

More options to get these exciting books: here.

Originally posted 2017-04-25 21:15:20.

Many thanks for this great review of my book #Celeterra! #eBook #Adventure #Dystopia

As paperback or eBook

Woman reading a scifi adventure book by C. Suter

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Excerpt from Celeterra:

Altijd was wearing a ridiculous pair of tight black trousers, with big translucent yellow rhombs. His shirt seemed to be made out of some shiny crimson acrylic fabric. The buttons were open all the way down to his belly, revealing the scanty hair on his chest. The heels of his green and brown shoes were at least 2 inches high. Vance wondered how he managed to walk in them, let alone use them for dancing.

Vance opened his closet. New items had replaced all the clothing that had been there the morning before. Instead, he found a tight pair of cerulean trousers, with zigzag waves of ginger and pink, a huge white belt of imitation leather with a golden buckle and a shirt of the same material as what Altijd was wearing, but with scarlet and olive stripes. It had big imitation silver buttons. The shoes, on the bottom shelf, had flat soles and big bulges at the toes. The leather was black at the front and white at the heels.

Vance held up the garments, a look of despair on his face. Altijd laughed.

“Don’t worry Vance, you will look as hip as beans! Put it on! No, no, don’t try to put them away – you can’t go out tonight without the right attire.”

Vance closed the door in front of Altijd’s face and slipped into his new clothing, cursing. He looked at himself in the mirror – ridiculous! He was only doing this for his friend, if Altijd had not been waiting for him outside, he would have stayed at home!

Together, they hurried to the party. The tent was already full of people, all dressed as quaint as the two newcomers. There was Samantha, wearing a white Lycra bodysuit, with big red buttons and a purple belt; John (who had broken his neck in a riding accident), dressed in red jeans and a black shirt, with a pink cowboy hat and big knee-high boots. Eric had come in a shiny pair of bronze trousers, apparently made out of plastic foil, on top of which he wore a white shirt printed full with small red snakes.

Originally posted 2017-04-22 04:13:11.