In My Hands Today…

The Shrimp People – Rex Shelley

724201As the drinks flowed, the noise and laughter became louder and louder. Female shrieks and uninhibited throaty guffaws. The band sensed the mood and began to play sing-along pieces. Bertha hugged Carl on the dance floor as he sang I’m in Love with Two Sweethearts, asking him who the other was, assuming that she was one. They sang Forever Blowing Bubbles , Girl of My Dreams and Bengawan Solo . Then suddenly it was over. The last dance … Singapore 1956.

Bertha was from a Portuguese Eurosian family. Pa (Father was what one called the priest) was in the force and, together with Ma, Eric, and Beryl, her life revolved around Sunday Masses, school, hockey, Christmases, weddings and family gatherings, where one danced, flirted with the boys or simply hung around the bar reminiscing the good old days. But the cold winds of change were blowing. Political violence and racial riots spilled onto the streets threatening to end forever the peaceful lifestyle of a fragile community. Against this backdrop of fear and uncertainty, Bertha is dragged into a deadly game of terrorism and espionage. Only she can prevent the impending bloodshed of war. But is she willing to pay the price of loyalty and betray the man she loves for her country … ?

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