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Authors: Harry Cipriani

Heloise and Bellinis

BOOK: Heloise and Bellinis
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Copyright © 1986, 1991, 2011 by Arrigo Cipriani

All Rights Reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any manner without the express written consent of the publisher, except in the case of brief excerpts in critical reviews or articles. All inquiries should be addressed to Arcade Publishing, 307 West 36th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10018.

Arcade Publishing books may be purchased in bulk at special discounts for sales promotion, corporate gifts, fund-raising, or educational purposes. Special editions can also be created to specifications. For details, contact the Special Sales Department, Arcade Publishing, 307 West 36th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10018 or [email protected]

Arcade Publishing® is a registered trademark of Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.®, a Delaware corporation.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

Visit our website at www.arcadepub.com.

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is available on file.

ISBN: 978-1-61145-619-6

 

To My Faithful Olivetti,
Model ETV300,
For Writing This Tale with
Almost No Help from the Author

 

Speak Not
,

Please
,

Not a Word
,

Let the Sounds

Of Your Splendid Body

Be the Splash of the Spent Wave

Breaking on a Silent Shore
,

The Murmur of the Breeze

Through a Stand of Fir Trees
,

The Groan of Riggings

In a Boat
,

The Mournful Creaking of the Stays
,

The Howling Rage in Every Storm
,

The Still Calm

Of a Sun-flayed Desert Vastness
,

But Speak Not
,

Please
,

I Beg You
,

Not a Word
.

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION

CHAPTER ONE
In which we make the acquaintance of George Smith and the widow Heloise Svejk
.

CHAPTER TWO
The actual meeting of George and Heloise
.

INTERMEZZO BETWEEN CHAPTERS TWO AND THREE

CHAPTER THREE
In which the friendship of George and Heloise reaches a crucial point
.

INTERMEZZO BETWEEN CHAPTERS THREE AND FOUR

CHAPTER FOUR
In which George and Heloise finally leave the room and go out into the world
.

INTERMEZZO BETWEEN CHAPTERS FOUR AND FIVE

CHAPTER FIVE
In which Tom Margitai has some doubts and George and Heloise stop to rest on their journey by jeep
.

INTERMEZZO BETWEEN CHAPTERS FIVE AND SIX

CHAPTER SIX
In which Heloise lunches in a meadow with George and begins to speak
.

INTERMEZZO BETWEEN CHAPTERS SIX AND SEVEN

CHAPTER SEVEN
In which the High Command of the American armed forces in Lebanon discovers that George Smith is alive and well
.

INTERMEZZO BETWEEN CHAPTERS SEVEN AND EIGHT

CHAPTER EIGHT
In which General Custer continues his visit to Suzy, his secretary
.

INTERMEZZO BETWEEN CHAPTERS EIGHT AND NINE

CHAPTER NINE
In which George and Heloise receive a visit from Tom
Margitai accompanied by Lieutenant Ryland and Sergeants
Amundsen and Nobel
,

INTERMEZZO BETWEEN CHAPTERS NINE AND TEN

CHAPTER TEN
In which George and Heloise are taken to the headquarters of the armed forces of the United States of America
.

INTERMEZZO BETWEEN CHAPTERS TEN AND ELEVEN

CHAPTER ELEVEN
In which Harry Cipriani wakes up on the wrong side of the bed and begins a new day
.

INTERMEZZO BETWEEN CHAPTERS ELEVEN AND TWELVE

CHAPTER TWELVE
In which General Custer is rather drunk by the end of lunch at Harry’s Bar
.

INTERMEZZO BETWEEN CHAPTERS TWELVE AND THIRTEEN

CHAPTER THIRTEEN
In which General Custer wakes in the night, recites a poem, and reaches out to Suzy
,

INTERMEZZO AFTER CHAPTER THIRTEEN

INTERMEZZO BETWEEN CHAPTER THIRTEEN AND CHAPTER X CHAPTER X

INTERMEZZO BETWEEN CHAPTER X AND CHAPTER Y

CHAPTER Y
In which George is awarded the United States Army’s highest medal
.

INTERMEZZO BETWEEN CHAPTER Y AND CHAPTER Z

THE NEXT-TO-LAST INTERMEZZO

CHAPTER Z

CONCLUSION

THE LAST INTERMEZZO

 

Then he said calmly, “Maria, send me the tug.”

Her curiosity was aroused, and for a moment she looked at the terribly pale face that had not moved.

Little puffs of steam from his nostrils condensed and froze on the tips of his thick white beard.

She came close and brought her moist lips to his ear. Very softly she whispered, “I can send you the cruiser, my darling, or a destroyer, if you like, but not the tugboat. 1 can t.

A shiver ran through him, and one by one the icicles slowly broke away from his beard.

Two frozen tears, hard and hopeless, shattered his pupils forever.

THE END

INTRODUCTION

Only the last page of a long novel was found on the beach at Acapulco roughly forty years after the big cracker went off

Exhaustive research on the man with the beard showed that he was anything but the hero of the book—quite the contrary, he appeared inexplicably only in the last twenty lines. What was established with certainty is that he was born in the year 2001 in Alabama, the son of a Czech mother and an Austro-American father. His family name was Smith, because he had been legitimized by his father, but his given name was never known
.

The sad story was set in the port ofBarletta and had to do with the unrequited love of a young tugboat for a pretty little pilot boat
.

It also turned out that Smith, the man with the beard, was devastated by the thought that there was no way he could change what was a hopeless situation. That very afternoon he practically gulped down three liter-bottles of Chateau d’Yquem. Totally drunk, he identified with the little pilot boat and, as we just saw, asked Maria, the wife of the doorman at the Göteborg Hilton, to place the tugboat in Ms hands
.

No plausible reason was ever found for Maria to call him “darling. “ Aside from their fleeting romance of no importance, the only explanation for her use of that term of endearment might be the subsequently
discovered fact that at the start of the afternoon there had actually been six bottles of Chateau d’Yquem, and no trace was ever found of the three bottles that should have been left over after the three that Smith drank
.

It also needs saying that by the end of the book, the year 2040, he had gone blind. And, as mentioned, his birthplace and the identity of his parents were the subject of extensive and interesting research
.

His parents had met quite by chance in Beirut on July 14 of the year 2000
.

His mother, Heloise Svejk, had been a widow for just two days. Her late husband, a guerrilla fighter in the Christian militia, died from the consequences of being kicked by a horse. She did not love him, but two years earlier she had gone with him from Czechoslovakia to Beirut solely to get out from behind the Iron Curtain, which in the late 1990s had come crashing back down in a number of East European countries
.

His parents’ story began around eleven o ‘clock on that scorching day in July
.

CHAPTER ONE
In which we make the acquaintance of George Smith and the widow Heloise Svejk

Around eleven o’clock on the morning of Friday July 14, 2000, Private George Smith was breathlessly chasing a hand grenade along the sidewalk of the Avenue d’Angleterre in Beirut; he had forgotten to pull the pin before he threw it.

At that very moment Mrs. Heloise Svejk was crossing the same street from east to west. She balanced the empty coffin of her husband on her right shoulder. Three of his former comrades, guerrillas of the Christian militia, effortfully helped her. They were on their way back from the common grave in the cemetery They were returning the coffin to the undertaker, who usually bought back returns at half price.

A platoon of Fusiliers of Christ stopped Mrs. Svejk and her companions and asked to see the papers for the coffin at the very moment that Private Smith, a few steps away, was busy retrieving his unexploded grenade. Things looked very bad for Mrs. Svejk, because she had bought the coffin on the black market without a certificate of purchase. But what was taken for the threatening presence of peace-loving Private Smith sent the fusiliers rushing off, together with the guerrillas. Left alone with her heavy burden, Mrs. Svejk made a strenuous effort to lift the coffin onto her head. George Smith suddenly caught sight of her as she moved slowly down the avenue, quivering from the exertion. George was a private in the peacekeeping armed forces of the United States of America. He had been in Beirut for two years, and it had been two years since he set eyes on a real woman.

It would not be true, however, to say that any woman would have aroused such keen interest in George; the truth is that Mrs. Svejk was altogether special. It is absolutely true that the strain of her exertions made her quiver as she moved slowly down the avenue, but it is just as true that the best possible way of describing Mrs. Svejk would be to say that she was a beautiful woman always all aquiver. So without further ado: Mrs. Svejk was a beautiful woman all aquiver. Just so.

Indeed, the only part of her body that did not quiver as she walked perilously balanced on the high heels of two dusty black evening shoes sheathing two slender feet that supported not-too-thin but perfectly proportioned ankles, was her smooth, streamlined calves. Every other part of her exceptional physique seemed to be set aquiver together—-from the stupendous thighs to the hips marked ever so faintly by the outline of her almost invisible panties, hips that suddenly narrowed at the waist, a stem that supported in delicate balance a marvelous quivering bosom that descended in front of two slender, sinuous shoulders, to which was grafted a long neck barely shadowed by a jaw that jutted slightly forward. The lips were somewhat pouty, slashed out under an extremely delicate Greek nose that separated two dark eyes—surprised, wide open, frowning, as clear as they could be, and a bit innocently guilty as well, with the right eye occasionally covered by a stray lock of unkempt ebony hair. Her purple silk dress, scarcely more than a rag torn in hundreds of places, allowed a glimpse of small areas of wonderfully healthy olive-toned breast, stomach, and marvelously smooth thighs.

END OF CHAPTER ONE

CHAPTER TWO
The actual meeting of George and Heloise
,

So it is no surprise that George Smith was totally overwhelmed by sudden desire the moment he saw Mrs. Svejk. He quickly slipped the grenade into one of his socks, along with a pack of Lucky Strikes, and asked: “Pardon me, can I be of any help?”

Mrs. Svejk’s tone was resigned, as if she had seen everything and accepted everything: “If you like.”

George was a good giant. The pointed face he had inherited from his Austro-Hungarian father seemed always on the verge of an ironic smile. His blond hair and blue eyes came from an American mother of Swedish descent.

George was so overcome by emotion that he stood motionless for a long time without uttering a word. He walked alongside Mrs. Svejk in the burning sun, and his sweat seemed to be the only source of coolness. After walking side by side for an hour, they reached the undertaker’s premises. George said: “Let me handle it.”

The undertaker was standing in the doorway of a shed full of coffins, “Want to sell it?” he asked. “Yes.”

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