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Albert Russo

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· The Quatuor of African Novels in a single ebook

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Short Stories
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· Call of the Falasha, from his book Futureyes

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· Choo-choo boy, from his book CWS2 (The Crowded World of Solitude, volume2)

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Books by Albert Russo
New York Bonus
By Albert Russo
Posted: Monday, July 24, 2006
Last edited: Wednesday, August 02, 2006
This short story is rated "G" by the Author.
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Recent stories by Albert Russo
· The age of the pearl
· Lebensborn
· Fast food Lisette
· Souk Secrets
· The spell of Mayaland
· Spirit of Tar
           >> View all 7
Australian tourist experiences a comical incident in the Big Apple

first appeared in Dreams & Vision (Canada)

Gladys felt radiant on this late summer evening, strolling through Central Park. It was her fifth day in Manhattan and she'd seen a lot of the city already, discovering its museums, going to Broadway shows, visiting Wall Street and the Village. She dared to take the subway a couple of times at noon, but mainly she traveled by bus and on foot. She marveled at the diversity the metropolis offered, at its stark contrasts, from posh Fifth Avenue to the seedy atmosphere of the Bowery.
The only organized tour she took was to Harlem and the Cloisters. She'd heard and read a great deal about the dangers of New York City. In the Lower East Side she did come across a few drunkards, cussing hobos and drug addicts, but accepted them as part of the city's folklore. Though she never ventured in the so-called hot spots after sunset, she was surprised to find how communicative and helpful New Yorkers could be. Even the squirrels in the Park seemed to beckon her with the greeting, "Welcome to the Big Apple, stranger." Yet, amid the motley crowds, she very soon shed her ‘foreign’ look and meshed with the surroundings as if she'd lived there f or years.
Had she not won that lottery ticket at the Senior Citizens' charity dinner, Gladys would never have dreamt of leaving the perimeter of her Welsh village. And here she was, at seventy-five, awakening to a whole new gamut of emotions. "How splendidly resourceful is the human soul," she remarked to herself when a tall bulky fellow accompanied by a boxer swung the door open for her as she entered the lobby of her hotel. The man, a middle-aged African-American clad in an expensive beige suit -double-breasted jacket, satin shirt and matching brogues - kept his dark glasses on and silently led Gladys into the elevator whilst the boxer blinked up at its master with expectant watery eyes.
“Stop fretting, Ladyl" the man commanded in a stentorian voice.
Gladys' gaze instantly leapt towards the ceiling, searching for an escape, and finally settled on the floor directory. The words still vibrating against the metallic walls within which she felt trapped, Gladys stood petrified. As her breathing slackened, like that of a hibernating lizard, her mind began to brim with apocalyptic images and flash warnings that translated into newspaper captions: Welsh septuagenarian assaulted by black mobster and his mongrel ... Foreign matron mugged in hotel elevator then raped and stabbed to death ...
At this point a second order was fired, more ominous than the first one: “Sit, Lady, I said SITI"
It appeared at once that a blizzard invaded Gladys' head, emptying it of all thoughts. Eyes glued to the floor directory which had just marked number 14, the old woman, slowly, very cautiously, slid into a crouching position. Her knuckles squeaked like a pair of absorbers that needed oiling. Reduced as she was to the state of an obedient robot, she ignored the lament of mortal flesh. “35", read her lackluster eyes.
A moment later, the now familiar voice boomed again, hoarse and ominous: "Lie down, Lady, it's an order!"
It took only seconds before Gladys stretched herself on the elevator's thick carpeting. “39", indicated the directory. Though she did not move, Gladys had the sudden and disagreeable impression that she was being immersed in a pool of sweat, or was it blood? She then perceived strange noises which grew closer and closer, like a veiled growl. She felt very wet and realized that someone or something was slobbering all over her face, more something than someone. Could it be ... a dog's tongue? The elevator beeped to a halt.
The next morning Gladys found herself in a quandary and kept asking herself, “Was that a nightmare, or did it really happen? It seems impossible." As she crossed the lobby towards the reception area she noticed an envelope in her key slot.
"Here, Ma'am," the young employee said, "a message for you."
"A message for me?" she repeated, incredulous, "but I don't know a soul in this town."
This is what the note contained:

Dear Gladys,

I hope you don't mind me calling you by your first name. Please accept my apologies for the inconvenience my boxer Lady and I caused you yesterday in the elevator. I must confess however that never in my life have I laughed so much. So that you may forgive us both, I'd like to extend you this invitation. You are personally requested to dine this evening at the Top of the World where my jazz band performs. You cannot miss me, I am the saxophone player.

Cordially yours,
L.J.J. (yes, the famous L.J.J.)

Web Site: Books by Albert Russo  

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