Alexandra M. Păun
Old Man Nate's Halloween Tale
(Povestea de Halloween a Moşului Nate)

CreateSpace, 2011
Ilustraţii de Alexandra M. Păun & George D.

Prezentare autor

Alexandra M. Păun s-a născut la Constanţa, unde a terminat liceul ca şefă de promoţie în anul 2000, iar în 2004 a absolvit Facultatea de Litere, specializarea engleză-spaniolă. A lucrat în presă cu dorinţa de a promova artiştii şi cultura către un public cît mai larg, iar pasiunea pentru cinema a adus-o în Bucureşti, unde a fost co-editor la o revistă şi un site de profil. A devenit apoi producător de film independent, realizînd pînă acum lungmetrajele Elevator (2008), Bucharestless (2011) şi Omega Rose (2012) precum şi alte scurtmetraje şi videoclipuri.
Scenarist autodidact, Alexandra a cîştigat în 2008 concursul naţional organizat de TVR, fiind co-autor al scenariului de lungmetraj Donna Morgana, apoi a scris pentru sitcom-ul Meseriaşii (primul sezon) şi a lucrat în echipa de scenarişti a serialului Om sărac, om bogat, după care a dezvoltat mai multe proiecte de serial TV şi de lungmetraj pentru MPP. În 2010-2011 a participat la programul internaţional de scenaristică ScriptEast cu proiectul de lungmetraj Dincolo de cuvinte / Beyond Words.
Old Man Nate's Halloween Tale
reprezintă debutul editorial al Alexandrei şi deschide o serie de aventuri a unei găşti de patru puşti plus un motan special. Cartea este ilustrată de autoare şi este accesibilă vorbitorilor nativi şi cititorilor care au trecut în anul 3 de studiu al limbii engleze. Publicată în regim de self-publishing, ediţie paperback, Old Man Nate's Halloween Tale este disponibilă pe Create Space, Amazon şi alte canale de distribuţie online, iar din 20 decembrie 2011 o găsiţi şi în Bucureşti, la librăria engleză Anthony Frost, pe Calea Victoriei nr. 45, în Piaţa Revoluţiei, lîngă Biserica Creţulescu.
Primele 10 exemplare au dedicaţie şi autograful autoarei!

Prezentarea cărţii / intro

Motanul Keops are apucături de căţel. Stapîna lui, Molly, a reuşit chiar să-l dreseze, aşa că, pe lîngă treburile fireşti ale unei mîţe, Keops ştie şi să răspundă la comenzi, cînd are chef.
La numai 11 ani, Danny, verişorul lui Molly, este meşterul care repară bicicletele găştii; ba, mai mult, se pricepe şi la maşini!
Colegul lor, Malcolm, se distrează inventînd poveşti de groază despre "Moşul Nate", grădinarul bătrîn şi misterios din orăşelul lor. Nici nu e greu: Moş Nate e un singuratic, iar în faţa casei lui are o pădure de sperietori de ciori ce arată ca nişte oameni traşi în ţeapă!
Însă lui Johnny Junior, fratele cel mic al lui Malcolm, nu îi e frică de nimic, aşa că îi provoacă pe toţi să meargă de Halloween la Moşul Nate.
Intră şi tu în aventura lor şi descoperă ce au făcut cei patru eroi şi motanul Keops în cartea de limbă engleză Old Man Nate's Halloween Tale!

Fragment (primul capitol)

Ever since I was born, Old Man Nate - who wasn't so old at the time - was already known and established in our small town community as a downright weirdo, oftentimes walking around with shoes of different color, seldom talking to anyone, not really doing any harm, but not satisfying the fellow townsfolk's curiosity about him either. So we all pegged him for a loner, all right. A loner with strange, dark secrets, nonetheless.

Though he lived in a remote part of town, where hardly any body would walk by on any affair, his lawn was always perfectly mowed and his garden was a lush green splendor in all seasons. Perhaps because of this talent, he would earn his living by tending other people's gardens as well; still his greenery was always the most beautiful and best cared-for. You would never see a spider web or any other bug, good or bad, on his tended plants, trees or grass. And, yes, there are good bugs in the garden, like the ladybug, the dragonfly and even the spider, 'cause they feed on the bad bugs and their larvae.

Back to Old Man Nate, add to the above said also the peculiarity that all across his lawn there lies scattered a bizarre display of gravel patios and narrow walkways crossing each other, old climbing fences, pergolas, trellises on which no plants ever climb but which are painted white carefully to perfection every spring and, the strangest of all, a creepy collection of several very well kept, really menacing and obviously, quite effective...


Effective indeed.

You know, back in the day, people of the ancient history would use scarecrows not only to chase away birds from their crops, but also to discourage trespassers and thieves, because the scarecrows looked like impaled people and served as a chilling warning. Really scary, even today, because there's nothing friendly-looking about Old Man Nate's lawn-guards, if I do say so myself.

But one curious thing my mother noticed only casually one day, stuck with me for quite a while longer, adding to the mystery that my tender and fertile mind wove around Old Man Nate's persona: he never willingly planted blooming plants, nor any that would draw a honeybee or a butterfly. And the gardens that he tended which already had this kind of plants would suddenly lose their blooming power. They would still be green, lush and beautiful, but sterile.

This may be the reason why Gardener Nate got hired less and less over the years, until he became plain Old Man Nate, and sometimes even:

"No wonder her roses don't bloom anymore! Her new gardener's Crazy Old Nate."
"Do you think we should tell her?"
"Well... it's hard to make a case, I mean the garden does look so neat and it's obviously much better tended than before..."
"I hear he cuts off the buds as soon as they show, just to kill the bloom!"
" Now that would be a shame! Well, does he?"
"I don't know. Others say he just doesn't have a good hand for blooms. It's like bad luck for him, or like a curse or something..."

I overheard that conversation of my mother and her friend some three years ago. From then on, the "legend" of Old Man Nate grew to humongous proportions amongst us, kids. We have endowed him with wizardry powers and unholy works. Those creepy scarecrows and the fact that he never went to Church made a case.

Oh, and if all these were not enough, there is one more odd thing that sparked up our imagination, something my mother knew and told me once as a funny anecdote, but which I took rather serious and gave a whole lot of thought, afterwards, and here's why: Mom works at the only shoe store in town. She's worked there for enough many years to know the odds and ends of every townsfolk' feet. Not that she really wanted that information, but it's a small town and everybody needs shoes.

The matter at hand is, Old Man Nate never tried on his shoes and he would always buy two pairs of the same kind, only different sizes. Also, he would buy as many as six pairs at once - like, say, two pairs of boots, two pairs of wellies and two pairs of sports shoes. And he would wear down on those shoes until all of them broke to pieces. He sometimes even put on one crooked boot on one foot, and an awfully worn out tennis shoe on the other, just to avoid or to postpone as much as he could his next trip to the shoe store.

And it wasn't because he was too poor to buy shoes; he always paid in cash. But this made him such an infrequent customer that his every visit to my mom's workplace was like a big event for everyone there. Probably just the opposite of what the Old Man was trying to get whenever he bought such a truckload supply of shoes.

As I said, he never-ever tried on his purchases inside the store. Instead, he clumsily carried two old soles of his previous pairs, match them with the new acquisitions, have the clerk box them up, paid and left in such a hurry you'd think he remembered he left something on the stove or else that someone in the store will have him forcefully try on the shoes before buying them.

True, there was a rule in red paint - my brother and I did the work on it for 10 bucks once - in front of the store, that said: "Due to hygienic reasons, we will not refund customers for purchased shoes returned with obvious wear." But there was no rule saying that you have to try on your new shoes here and then.

So, why the double pairs? Mom guessed it was because he couldn't decide which size fit him better and he was somehow too embarrassed about some stubborn fungus to take his shoes off, but I know an odd thing when I see one. The worn out soles were of different sized shoes. As far as everyone knew, he never had a family and there was no one else living on his property...

Hence, the mystery!

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