The chapter below is from the sci-fi, triller book Fear is in the Air by Eva Newermann
Outside, nine white, eye-catching Volkswagen Beetle limousines are waiting. They all carry two flags, one black and one white. The black flag symbolizes the deaths of Lillian and Dexter. The white flag symbolizes, the christening of Lilliana.
The cars following each other along the motorway are a spectacular sight. Each car seats six people.
The inside is spectacular too. Each is equipped with a beautiful bar and a silver champagne cooler. A vase with two roses is hanging over the window. The small TV screen/DVD player is mounted on the ceiling. It is showing a documentary from Stonehenge.
Between the seats is a gold telephone. The seats are made of leather, and so soft that when you sink deep into them, it’s hard to get up. But who would want to get out of this quirky car anyway?
The cortege of cars drives at a low speed on the motorway, so we can really enjoy the scenic English countryside.
Finally we can see our accommodations, the colorful tepees.
I will be sharing mine with Lovise. Our butler greets us in the tent. He is dressed in a red, open-neck silk shirt, black leather vest and black leather slacks. He has dark skin and, when he smiles, the whitest teeth I’ve ever seen.
“Welcome! Welcome!” He takes our bags and leads us into the tent.
Lovise is in front of me, I can hear her gasp.
We are of course used to luxury, flying around the world, staying at five-star hotels, but when I enter the tent, I have to gasp, too.
It looks like a scene straight out from Arabian Nights. Including Genie’s oil lamp hanging from the ceiling. All the walls are painted to look like the inside of a cave. The cyclorama effect gives you a 360-degree view.
Hundreds of lit candles are placed near the ceiling and walls. No, wait a minute! They are not candles, but lights with a bulb inside that flickers like a candle.
Our butler takes a bow. “Welcome to the Cave of Wonders. You may call me Genie.”
Of course, this is from the story “Aladdin and the Genie.”
On the floor is a Persian carpet and piles of large colorful silk pillows. In the middle of the room, a table holds grapes, dates, nuts and oranges.
I can see some small treasure chests filled with faux jewelry, pearls, crystals, glitz and glam. They all sparkle from the lights.
Two laced chiffon draped canopy beds with elaborate red linens are standing next to a beaded curtain. When we slip through the beads we are inside the bathroom. There is a shower, a toilet and a sink. On the floor there is another beautiful Persian rug.
Lovise and I look at each other. Unbelievable! When we get back after our little sightseeing tour, our Genie has set up a massage table. “Who wants to be the first one for a rubdown?”
“I do! I do!” Lovise hollers and I let her.
Genie has also lit some incense sticks and the whole tent is filled with an exotic aroma. I go to my bed and just lie down on top of it, resting. I must have fallen asleep, but I wake up when Lovise shakes me gently.
“Your turn, Ewa,” she says and walks through the beads and into the bathroom.
“Please tell me a little about yourself while your fingers do the walking,” I say to Genie before I lie face-down on the table.
I just have to keep my eyes closed, so I don’t have to look into his ugly brown eyes.
Genie takes some aromatic oil on his hands and rubs it on my legs and starts working. He does have magical hands.
His voice is a little husky when he starts talking. “I was born in Egypt, a town called Alexandria.”
Hey, I once knew a good-looking Pharaoh, too bad he’s six feet under someplace now.
“I’m 24 years old and an exchange student. I study economy, I’ve got one more year left. I will go back to Egypt after graduation. I took this job to make some money. My parents are poor so I send them some money every month. I have an older sister and a twin brother. They still live with my parents. My hobbies are archery, horseback riding and girls.”
Not necessarily in that order, I bet.
“I don’t have a girlfriend right now, but I would really like to find somebody to marry.”
OK, so that’s his story. Nothing original. He does have good hands, though.
He works on me for an hour; Lovise is sound asleep when I go into the bathroom to take a shower.
I had told Genie to put the Do Not Disturb sign outside the tent. He promised nobody would disturb us until the next morning.
I sleep through the night without stirring, until I open my eyes and see Genie standing over Lovise’s bed, staring at her.
You’d better not get any sticky fingers here, Genie.
I turn towards them and he takes a step away from her bed.
“Oh, you’re awake? I was just going to wake you. Breakfast is nearly ready.” He walks to the door.
“I’ll bring the breakfast in 20 minutes. Do you want tea or coffee?”
“Give us one of each,” I say, while getting out of bed.
Twenty minutes later, two servants and Genie serve us breakfast. In actuality, it’s more like an Arabian Nights feast. They have lit real candles, all over the place and in all shapes and sizes. I get my exotic-smelling tea and Lovise gets her Arabic Coffee.
The coffee set looks to be made out of brass, but is fitted inside with a small china cup, which holds the coffee. There is also a serving tray, matching the cups, for the coffee. The coffee itself is made from freshly roasted and ground beans. My tea is called Arabic Chai and is served in a larger cup than Lovise’s.
Instead of the usual eggs, bacon and orange juice breakfast, we are getting something different.
It’s freshly baked pita bread with labneh. Labneh is soft cheese made from yogurt. There are also dishes with sliced tomatoes, salad leaves, chopped onion and tahini sauce. Tahini sauce is made from sesame seed paste, Genie tells us.
“This breakfast is called Alafel, in Egypt you have something similar called Taameya,” I say to Genie. “I had that last time I was in Egypt.”
Genie nods and puts a beautiful silk napkin into Lovise’s lap.
Didn’t his hands rest there a little too long?
Then he squeezes her shoulder, looks deep into her eyes and says, “Have a wonderful breakfast…and maybe somebody would like a massage afterwards?”
Lovise blushes, stammering, “Oh, I don’t know, maybe later.”
Genie smiles at us both and walks out of the tent.
“Well, well, well,” I snicker, “I think our Genie is getting a little fresh out of the lamp.”
Lovise, saying noting, starts to eat.
What do I know? Maybe she likes the attention? I’d better shut up.
While we are using pieces of the pita bread to scoop up the veggies and labneh, I say, “By the way, do you know how the pita gets the pocket in the middle?”
Lovise looks up and smiles “No, but I’m sure you, the walking encyclopedia, will tell me.”
“Oh, this I learned at a bakery in Egypt. You put steam into the dough, which puffs it up. When the bread cools, a pocket is left in the middle.”
“Lucky for us,” Lovise grins, and fills her pita with goodies.
After breakfast we go outside and into the large tent. James, Irene and Lilliana are sitting at one of the tables, together with Liz, the girl who has managed to arrange all this.
“Liz!” I pull her out of the chair and hug her “This is so fantastic! I could never imagine anything like this! I don’t know how I can ever thank you!”
Liz is laughing, “Oh, don’t worry. Just wait until you get the final bill!”
Now nearly all our guests are in the tent. They also are raving about the accommodations, food and servants.
On a big billboard is our itinerary for the following days. This evening there will be three different events to choose from. Since we are living in tepees there will be a one-hour lecture on how the Native American Indians lived.
The second event is storytelling from “1,001 Arabian Nights.”
The third is a lecture from the Summer Solstice Sunrise over Stonehenge.
They all sound interesting, so I decide to attend all three.
The next day, which would be the nineteenth century, there is a scheduled helicopter tour. If you don’t like flying, you can go on a limo sightseeing tour, which includes local bar hopping.
Since I’m in the air most of the time, the bar hopping ride sounds good to me.
The June 20 event is billed as everything you always wanted to know about pit cooking but was afraid to ask. We’ll all be students of pit cooking, preparation and execution.
The tepees have to be disassembled and removed by June 22.
That’s why everybody is going to stay in a hotel the last night before flying back to Miami.
Most of the guests choose to stay in Southampton, close to the airport. I, on the other hand, have booked a room close to Stonehenge. This is a hotel that had been built using some of the stones taken from Stonehenge.
Every day now, our butler, Genie, has been behaving like a horny, sex-starved jackass.
Lovise has finally had enough of his insinuations and comes crying to me. “Ewa, I just can’t take it anymore! What a jerk! He thinks he’s God’s gift to women.”
I pull her into my arms and talk soothingly. “Don’t you worry, Lovise, I will take care of the problem.”
This butler doesn’t know who he is dealing with. Instead of “the butler did it,” maybe I should do the butler?
He has been coming on to me too. This guy should be easy prey.
Lovise has finally calmed down and I go looking for my Genie. He will need a big lamp to get out of this trouble. I find him in the main tent and have him sit down at a table.
“Do you know who I am?” I’m forcing a smile. Genie looks at me a little puzzled.
“Well… You are Ewa.”
“That’s right, I’m Ewa. Ewa Lowe, and I’m the one who is paying for everything. This is my party and I can hire and fire whomever I want.”
He looks a little worried, as I continue.
“Lovise has a boyfriend in America. They are going to get married soon. I don’t want you to bother her, or even talk to her in the next two days, is that clear?”
He nods, and looks like a puppy that has just been kicked.
“OK,” I go on, “now that’s out of the way, I would like you to give me a Swedish massage.” I get up from my chair, put my hand on his shoulder and squeeze it gently, smiling. “I, on the other hand, like your company very much, and I’m free as a bird.”
Trying not to look too long into his ugly brown eyes, I start walking back to my tent, Genie following his master, of course. After the massage I mix us both Ewa’s easy-on-the-Coke Cuba Libre.
He takes his drink, saying, “I’d better be careful, I’m not used to hard liquor.”
“Don’t worry.” I lie, “It’s not very strong.”
A little plan is developing in my mind. Well, maybe not so little….
The chapter “Arabian Nights” is from the sci-fi, triller book “Fear is in the Air” by Eva Newermann. Available on Amazon Kindle and Apple Books