(Mike Stang, seen here with helmet, about to liberate Paris from a flood of cognac after WWII)
Literati! War is Over!
And now the inundation of the glorious frivolities of peace! Imagine our goat-bladder of wine filled with the stories backlogged from the last few weeks, as now they come trickling forth! Patience, as we empty our bladder! Mike’s story is the first of many I hope to post this weekend.
We are contemplating the simplexities (I just made that up) of love with this contest. Love is a many rendered thing. Got your own personal take on it? Enter our contest and share the love. NEW DEADLINE IS FEB 28th!
Here is war correspondent Michael Stang’s
by Michael Stang
The two of them out there on the sidewalk as if no one else has a right to the street. Imagine hugging and kissing, pretending it’s the end of the world. Well I guess if I consider it, it is the end of World War II, in that case, but shameless just the same.
I was drifting in and out of the long view of a major artery in Paris while keeping myself to the corner at a table for two, my Rolleiflex protected by my side. The café takes up the corner, pushing pedestrians dangerously close into the insanity of post war traffic in a liberated city but never stopping these two. She, filtered by a dark wool skirt with a matching sweater over a white blouse, collar and cuffs stick out like little flags of victory against the last four years. Sensible hair, most conservative, but those lips—land-locked with his. And him, the Patriot. Unruly hair blessed to be out from under a helmet. Bony stance. A wool scarf billowing around the neck from a fashionable double-breasted overcoat; a peek of a tee shirt. The huge right hand around her slender shoulder as he bends down from the neck to meet her upturned face, says it all. The left arm habitually lifts a cigarette between thumb and fore finger. The new function of the celebrated champions, prizewinners all, taking over our treaded ways with conquering body language. Boys home victorious to lift us to a breathtaking future. I wonder when he will let her up for air.
I take the shot from the table unseen. Racing back to the studio to develop the film my mind races thinking of the headline for the afternoon’s edition. I know I’m right. We have fought too hard for the ground we kiss, never mind each other. Millions have died. Is now is the time to frolic and make gay? Next thing you know she will trade her sensibilities for a can-can number; him sporting white bucks. My god, I asked myself, has it come to this?
Dissolving chemicals expose a further background: Parisians about their business. Bits of motorcycles, street lamps, fuzzy buildings in the distance. I thought there was a dove or two in the sky but it was only a rumor. No one was clutching, swooning, or holding hands. Nothing was kissing. This new love-thing, my duty to quash it back to the closet where it belongs.
Four o’clock deadline came and went as I head to the newsroom. A crisp paper is sitting on my desk with a note from the editor.
Mark, never received the copy but you have quite outdone yourself with this inspiring photo of the sweethearts. I decided to run it front page as a herald for all of France that we have entered a time for love and healing, and a gentler way of life. I ran your By-line in bold, 16 pt, Thought you wouldn’t mind. Outstanding, my boy—Ed.
(editor in chief administers emergency breath of life to swooning nurse intern who administered to his needs during post-op)