|The Story||The Authors|
|And as the lead hit me I knew that I would never lay down by her side again, never touch her smooth hair again, never even see her bed again. And suddenly I start to feel cool and freazy more and more. I knew that in a few hours I would not be the man I was until now. I would be free...|
...Aben snapped off the radio in disgust. More of that depraved music which the
infidels some managed to sneak in under the nose of the Official Censors, time
and time again! Love, they sang about, love and the creeping perfidies of the
flesh! It was the devil's work for certain!
Glancing in the rearview mirror as the cab idled at a donkey-crossing, he noted the creamily smooth skin of his passenger as she reapplied her makeup in a compact mirror, and the thick-vined arbor of her dark tresses. Saw her head tilted back and the same hair, sweat-roped, falling down across her bare breasts and... But no, he told himself; may God strike me dead if I think such thoughts!
In a single fluid movement the woman snapped shut her compact and caught his gaze in in the rearview.
"Were you staring at me just now?" she inquired.
"No!" he said and jerked his gaze back towards the marching line of donkeys in
front of his cab.
"Well, why not?" she taunted. "Is there something wrong with me?" She leaned forward so that he could feel her warm breath on the back of his neck as she spoke. "Something wrong with you?" She giggled, tossed her tresses and sat back on the sticky vinyl seat.
Aben stared emptily at the donkeys trip-tropping by, their stiff mains jiggling and their tails waggling as they trotted. And the males with their vulgar sex organs hanging out for all to see. Nasty, large, animal things. He could feel himself getting larger. No! He told himself again. Get thee behind me satan! Get thee behind me and ride me like a - The blare of a horn from the car behind him derailed his train of thougt. He looked ahead and the donkey's were gone.
"Well," his passenger snapped. "What are waiting for?"
|"Thousand pardons, memsahib," replied Aben, with no small edge to his voice. He put the car into first and eased his foot off the clutch.|
As he often did at moments when he found himself confronted with a passenger in
the back seat who produced in him a feeling of unease, or uncomfortability, or
something far more unmentionable, Aben cleared his throat and asked the first
in a series of embarrasing personal questions which would remain on the same
inane keel until the passenger lapsed back into stony silence or threw money at
Aben and leapt of the taxi cab into heavy traffic. He'd learned these questions
from a xeroxed "Learn Anglaise" book some sniggering Dutch hippies had traded
him for three grams of kif so cheap and ill-refined it might as well
have been generated by the lower intestine of an aged camel, and Aben had
always delighted in being able to ply his passengers with the bright syllabics
of all those smudged sentnences he'd somehow been able to cognate without ever
"So," he asked the woman riding in the back, "Tell me when was you got it your last menstruation?"
"Very good, very good! And have you have any zee discharge of wheech color?"
In his rearview he could see the woman's face had turned a dark shade of beet. It pleased him that he was making her happy this way. So much better than those blasphemous songs from the barbarian West. He continued:
"Please now for to step into, into the stee-rups. And to relax! I want for now to show you have a look at your sair-veex."
"I want I am going to eex-yam-een you va-chy-na. Please to lie back. I am very good spee-kair uff Anglaise, no?"
(The somewhat dim and superstitious workings of our Aben's brain could not possibly have grasped the chain reaction his ill-communicated words were having on the passenger in his back seat. Like dominoes, baby. For his words -- learned, as the reader has no doubt guessed, not from English Grammar, Third Edition, as he been so erroneously led to believe, but to a sample dialogue form Chapter 2 of Zeig and Bettmann's Etiquette for Gynecologists -- had set off a mnemonic chain lightning in the woman, a chattering chorus of dim familiar voices all round her, Babel of bright lights and faint green lozenges of ash leaves fuzzy and indistinct through frosted glass windows and the cold tiles of the tub when the nurses bathed her, steam billowing round her and Mr. Quack, her rubber ducky, bobbing updownupdownupdown in the water at her side, flagship to a seaa-force of windup plastic frogmen all set to invade the barbaric heathen kingdom of Mu... And then...