Randall’s Ramblings, November 5, 2023

While Storm Ciaran battered France and southern England with heavy rain and winds gusting up to 100 mph, the impact in Scotland wasn’t as bad as it was with Storm Babet. There was still plenty of rain in the Tayside and Fife areas, causing localized flooding. We had gusts up to forty mph, which wasn’t unusual for this time of year. Right now, the weather has calmed down and the next week should be better.

There’s been a welcome sign for British motorists as the price of gasoline (petrol) dropped another three pence to £1.50 a liter.  However, with the pound strengthening slightly against the dollar, the equivalent price of a U.S. gallon increased four cents to $7.03.  Meanwhile, diesel dropped another two pence to £1.60 a liter, but increased by seven cents to $7.48 a gallon.

The writer is an explorer. Every step is an advance into a new land.  — Ralph Waldo Emerson. Compliments of https://selfpublishing.com/writing-quotes/.

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on November 5th, the first Sunday of the month. (Compliments of https://www.onthisday.com/birthdays/).

Hans Sachs, German composer, playwright, and shoemaker; Philippe de Mornay (or Philippe Du-Plessis-Mornay), French writer; Isaac de Benserade, French poet; John Brown, English writer; Moritz Szeps, Austrian journalist and newspaper publisher; Ruy Barbosa, Brazilian polymath, writer and politician; Ella Wheeler Wilcox, American author and poet (Poems of Passion); James Elroy Flecker, English poet and dramatist (Hassan); William Durant, American author and historian (The Story of Philosophy, The Story of Civilization); Charles MacArthur, American playwright and screenwriter (The Scoundrel); George Sheehan, American doctor, athlete and author (“Running & Being: The Total Experience,” NY Times best seller); Hasan Askari, Pakistani philosopher, critic and writer; John Berger, English art critic and author (Ways of Seeing); Leo Derksen, Dutch journalist (Telegraph/Sunday Newspaper); Clifford Irving, American novelist and investigative reporter (hoax autobiography of Howard Hughes); Christopher Wood, English screenwriter and novelist (Confessions); Sam Shepard Ill, American actor and playwright (Frances, Crimes of the Heart); and Joyce Maynard, American journalist and novelist (Labor Day).

Any names familiar to you? There weren’t any for me this time. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Work In Progress

Mission- YemenI was on a roll this week, not only finishing chapter seventeen of Mission: Yemen, Xavier Sear Thriller Book , but also chapter eighteen.

Reviewers provided another twenty-three critiques this week, bringing the total to 367. As always, they’ve provided plenty of recommendations for me to consider, and I’m always appreciative of the time and effort people put into reviewing my work.

Here’s another snippet. Please keep in mind that since these are first-draft chapters, things will likely be changed once I get to the editing phase. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions to improve the story, please let me know.

Yusuf gestured with a piece of the flatbread. “Prince Sami will arrive next week. Have you completed the arrangements for his visit?”

Wazir belched as he reached for a cup of mango juice. “Not yet. Most things are ready, but there’s a problem finding suitable ‘applicants’ for him.” Wazir used air quotes when he said applicants.

“So, what’s the problem? Take some beggars off the street and clean them up.”

Wazir shook his head. “I understand he wants someone who can read and write.”

“In Yemen?” Yusuf laughed. “That is a problem.” He tapped a finger against his lips. “Perhaps it is time to pay a visit to one of the wealthy families and see if they have someone who might be suitable.”

“I guess that is possible. But we must do it without Prince Hussein finding out. As far as I know, he is unaware of his younger brother’s nefarious activities.”

Both men laughed.

“Wait. What about the Bashari family? We already have their daughter. They have a son as well.”

Wazir nodded. “Yes, but he is a bit older than Prince Sami likes.”

Yusuf shrugged. “Who cares? This work is becoming more difficult all the time. I wish we were still in Aden, where it was easier to make children disappear.”

“Hmm. I guess you are right. However, we make more money working for Prince Hussein and do not have to work as hard.”

The men finished the last of their meal, wiping the final morsels from their bowls with a piece of bread.

“I suggest we have one of our men set up near the Bashari residence and make note of the family’s activities and how many people visit them.” Yusuf yawned. “We have a few days to set something up before we snatch the boy.”

“Where will we keep him?”

“In the same cell where we held his sister.”

Both men chuckled as they climbed to their feet and headed inside.

“Where have you been?” Prince Hussein glared at both men as they passed his open office door. “I expected you here sooner.”

“Sorry, Prince Hussein.” Wazir gave a slight bow. “We were outside eating and just finished.”

“Well, come inside and sit.”

Both men did as ordered.

The prince studied each man’s face in turn. “My brother, Prince Sami, will be with us next for a three-day visit. Make sure everything is arranged in advance. I also want to throw a small party for him so he feels welcome in Sana’a. The last time he visited we did not do anything, and he felt slighted.”

Wazir and Yusuf glanced at each other.

Yusuf turned to the prince. “Is there anything in particular you would like?”

“Just the usual guests from the diplomatic community and the local government.” He grinned. “Sami mentioned he was looking for a bride—it would be his first. So make sure some chaperoned women are among the guests. The party would be a good time for him to find someone suitable so an engagement celebration can be arranged for his next visit.”

“Yes, Prince Hussein.” Wazir scooted forward in the chair. “Is there anything else?”

Prince Hussein shook his head. “You are dismissed to go about your duties.”

Wazir and Yusuf stood and bowed before leaving the office and headed upstairs to the living area.

Yusuf rang a bell.

Moments later, a young male servant appeared. “Yes, Sayyid?”

“Bring us tea and a plate of dates.”

“At once, Sayyid.” The servant turned and rushed out of the room.

Yusuf glanced at Wazir. “Where will we find suitable women for Prince Sami to consider?”

Wazir laughed. “I’ll think of something. If Prince Hussein didn’t have his eyes fixed on Shatara, she would be a good candidate.”

More next time.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2023 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved

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