Archives for posts with tag: Mark Stevens

Haresh Shah

Lonely And Lost On The Road

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I have just flown in from Mexico City. I’m sitting at the bar having a beer at United terminal of Los Angeles International Airport. I have almost an hour before the departure of my connecting flight to Santa Barbara. I’m probably scribbling some notes in my agenda while slowly savoring  my beer. Mine is one of the last flights to leave the terminal and there are only a few of us lingering at the bar, waiting. Among the people, I notice a middle aged woman at the other end of the bar. I feel her gaze pointed at me. Must be in her mid-fifties, longer than shoulder length frizzled hair and dull grey eyes, she looks haggard and somewhat drunk, twirling a glass filled with a yellowish liquor, probably some Scotch or a Bourbon based cocktail.  I get back to my scribbling and am absorbed in it when I feel a human shadow shuffling next to me.

‘Mind I sit next to you?’ Seeing me a bit confused, she doesn’t wait for my answer, instead she eases herself on the next bar stool, as unsteady as she is on her feet, and asks the bar tender for ‘one more of the same.’ I try to ignore her, but she is intent on making small talk.

‘So, where are you off too?’ she slurs her words.

‘Oh, not far. Just a quick hop to Santa Barbara.’

‘I’m going there too.’ I don’t respond to that.

‘My daughter goes to school there, you know, at UCSB.’

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Haresh Shah

If Only I Could See Through The Depth Of Those Eyes

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Not knowing what it is I want for lunch, I walk over to Briennerplatz and my feet automatically take me down the steps to Ristorante Positano. Just a few blocks away from Playboy offices in Munich.  It’s a little before two. The place looks deserted. Thinking perhaps they have already closed for the afternoon, I am about to turn around and leave when I hear some shuffling in back of the wardrobe room. A young woman emerges from the dark.

‘I’ll be just two minutes.’ She says, holding up her hand with three middle fingers raised. While I am mulling over why exactly “two minutes”, I notice her open palm. Didn’t she say two? Confused only for a flash, she turns her palm around, looks at it and slowly retracts one of the fingers.  A self-conscious smile breaks out on her face. From what I can tell, she looks Eurasian, with her narrow fish eyes, her smooth round face, and her silky smooth pitch black hair. I see something mysterious hidden behind the depth of those eyes, further intensified by the ambience of that dark corner of the restaurant. This is the image that has remained with me all these years later.

I stop to talk on my way out.

‘Where are  you from?’ I ask. California.’ She answers. This strikes me a bit odd, as if California were an independent  nation. Might as well have been because I have never been there and all that I have heard about it so far tells me that it must be a place like no other.

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Haresh Shah

The Beauty That Only Mothers Can See

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‘How about Terry?’  Bill asks. The question is directed more to his wife Irene than to me. And then looking at me, he adds: ‘You’ve got to see Irene’s daughter Terry. She is such a knockout!’

‘Bill!!!’ Goes Irene.

‘What? I think Terry is beautiful, don’t you think?’

‘Yes, she is, but…?

‘But what? I think she would make a perfect Playmate! She is just what Haresh just described. An all American pretty girl next door. What could be more American than a girl from Park Forest?’ He adds and smiles at his own clever connection – certainly a proud resident of southern suburb of Chicago.

‘She probably would, but…!

‘But what? Come on Irene. You’re just being modest. Let our friend Haresh here decide!’ Irene gives me a help me look.

‘Do you have a problem with that?’ Now excited, Bill continues.

‘Not really.’

So it went for a while between husband and wife.

Irene looks intrigued and seems comfortable with her daughter posing for Playboy.

‘Let me talk it over with Terry first.’ She says finally.

Encouraged, I put in my bit: ‘If Irene doesn’t mind and if Terry would be comfortable posing for me, I will be happy to submit her photos to Playboy here in Chicago.’

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